"Of course, I'm wounded. That's what we do. We're Guardians. We die so that others might live." —Reed-7
"Whatever that thing is, we've gotta take it down!"
Amanda Holliday's voice crackles over the comms. Reed-7 glances at his Ghost, then pulls up alongside Holliday's Hawk and gives her a nod. He falls in behind her, with Shayura and Aisha following behind him in tight formation.
Ahead, the beam of light extending from the Traveler is brighter than the sun. Instrumentation goes wild in its presence; astrogation systems don't know what to make of it and register the beam as a star. His ship tries to steer him away. Reed flips off autopilot.
"Fly free, navs are down," he calls out to his fireteam.
"Flying free," Aisha replies over comms.
"We're right behind you, strike leader," Shayura affirms.
Reed tightens his grip on the controls. "Holliday, take us in."
"Block formation, let's give 'em the ol' Razzle Dazzle," Holliday radios to the strike team. Reed-7 boosts ahead under the Hawk and pulls up in front while Aisha and Shayura move to Holliday's flank. Reed activates manual targeting, reticle appearing on the windscreen. He tracks the shape held in the Traveler's beam—an impossible silhouette floating free in the void of space.
The Witness is nothing more than a sliver of dark shearing through a field of white, but even at such a distance, Reed can feel its eyes on him. A chill jolts down his spine the moment the reticle locks on. His Exomind throbs with the sense-memory of a migraine.
He immediately knows something is wrong. He turns to his Ghost. His Ghost looks at him, but it's already dead. The world separates into slices.