Speed Metal Shell

For Ghosts who are pretty and pretty dangerous.

I should have missed this speck of a station on the way to Pluto. Except that, for all it lacks in size, it's surprisingly warm—almost a full degree above the background of space. Practically a flare.

My ship's engines whir through cooldown as I step out into the landing bay. It's a stock design; years ago, I could probably tell you which floorplan it used from FabriDyne's showroom. Ishtar registration. Probably an observatory forgotten in the Collapse.

But what's waiting past the hatch isn't stock. Atmo gear—shiny and new. Someone's been here since the Collapse. I unshoulder my rifle and warm up her power cell. A handprint. Grease and dust pressed sharp against the white wall; sized for a Cabal, but… Five fingers.

There's more. A smear of rippling silver and broken bits of something familiar. Too big for a gun, but maybe for that hand—

A rustle behind me breaks the silence. I fire.

"Don't shoot, Exo," a small voice begs. "I-I-I'm just Tokki!" Her glowing lens pokes out from behind the doorframe.

"A Ghost?! Why are you here?"

"I heard the c-call."

The call? To a Guardian? "There's no Humans this far out."

"Well, I know that now."

Her body ripples in the light, looking oddly familiar. "What's up with your shell?"

"You like my silver? My friend showed it to me."

"Another Ghost was crazy enough to come out here with you?"

"No, ma'am. I met her here."

Her fins coax something into view—a beautiful little mess of ribs and sails, with six bright eyes appraising me. I reach for it—

—And Ana's tiny hands pull me into a hug. Her dress is dirty and she's crying; Grandfather's totally gonna freak, I think as I pet her hair. "It's okay. I'll help."—

I start as Tokki's friend slithers into my hand and coos. "I'll… help," I realize.

Protector of Ghosts

Category: Ishtar Collective

Terminus Horizon