I have an important announcement at the end of the chapter, but for now, just enjoy this short chapter.
Chapter 8: Rising Action
Nico had lived on Pandora his whole life, and was in a mercenary group for almost five years. He had been shot, Lit on fire, corroded, electrocuted, attacked by midgets, and hit by trucks, but when he opened his eyes, and light poured onto his face, it was one of the worse pains he felt.
He grabbed his head and groaned. His head was pounding louder than a bass drum. He clenched his teeth and stood up. He grabbed his gear and stumbled his way out of his room. He entered the main room, and saw Rook and Desmond doing something unexpected. They were playing chess. They didn't have any pieces, but in their place was ammunition. A rocket was the king, a large sniper round was the queen, submachine ammo were the bishops, assault rifle ammo where the knights, shotgun shells for rooks, and pistol ammo for the pawns.
Rook looked up at him. "Hey, how's the head?"
Nico staggered toward them. "Not great. What the hell happened last night?"
Desmond moved his bishop and took a pawn. "You got in a drinking contest with Ella. She kicked your ass and won your E-tech shot gun."
"Yeah. Now go wake her up. We got an echo from Gaige."
He walked into Ella's room. She was buried under the cover, snoring loudly. He grabbed her shoulders and shook her. "Wake up Ella." he said. He continued shaking her, but to no avail. He stopped. "Screw it." He picked up a small trashcan and turned it over, putting a live grenade inside. He covered his ears.
Ella shot up. "Did the samples explode? What's…" She grabbed her head and fell back into her bed, groaning. "Ow…what happened?"
"Get up." Nico ordered
She kept groaning "Can you tell me what happened?"
"You won a drinking contest."
She got out of bed. "This is gonna suck."
He smiled at her. "Yeah, it'll go away in a while. Just fight through it." The two walked into the main room. Rook and Desmond were picking ammo off of the floor. "What happened?" Ella asked.
Rook stood up. "Desmond is a sore loser."
The android threw a shell at him. "You cheated."
Rook shrugged. "Anyway, Gaige echoed us, and said that tundra express was a trap."
"What?" Nico said, shocked.
Rook nodded. "Yeah. The vault key wasn't on the train. Wilhelm was. They killed him."
This shocked Nico even more. "They killed Wilhelm?"
Ella interrupted him. "Who's Wilhelm?"
"He was a half robot half human that almost killed Roland and his friends, and completely destroyed new haven." Desmond answered.
"Anyway, they called us and said that he dropped some sort of power core. Roland said he'd have a job for us once they got back. If you aren't too hung over, we should head over there."
Nico nodded. "We're fine. Let's go."
The four walked outside. Nico shielded his eyes, his head still hurt. The sun was still low in the sky. His eyes climbed to the Hyperion moon base. Something seemed off about it. He had a bad feeling in his gut, and it wasn't the hangover. Something bad was going to happen. He turned to the rest, about to say something, when Rook's ECHO went off. Handsome Jack himself. "Hey Rook, long time no see, considering you're under cover. Just figured I should let you know, they took the bait. Oh, and you're fired. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have another rant to make. Caio."
Everyone stood there, stunned. Desmond aimed Infinity at him. "What the hell was that?"
Rook stood there, completely stunned. He tried to run past him. "We need to get to Roland!"
Nico stopped him. "We want answers first. What the hell was Jack saying?"
"We don't have time! The angel…"
Angel's voice played through their heads. "Lowering sanctuary's shields, Jack. Executing phase shift."
The shield around Sanctuary flashed for a moment, then disappeared. The moon base flashed, and mortars started shaking the city. One landed close to the group, knocking Nico on his face. As he peeled himself off the ground, he learned that explosions were really good at distracting you from your Hangover.
Scooter came over the ECHO. "Someone start getting everyone underground!"
Nico got off of the ground. "Ella, you start leading people into Marcus's. Desmond, take Rook back into the base, and keep an eye on him. I'll go see what I can do." He ran up to the center of town. He saw Scooter, Gaige, and Axton working on the ignition primers. The rest were gathered around Lilith.
A mortar hit CRHQ, then Roland came over Maya's ECHO. "I can't get the Eridium to Lilith. Get to me!" Nico followed the other four vault hunters up the stairs of the HQ. Roland was buried under some ruble, Eridium scattered about the place. "Get the Eridium to Lilith!"
Nico ran over to Roland. "You guys get the Eridium, I'll help Roland."
The four left as He started digging Roland out of the rubble. He stopped for a moment. "I just want to say, sir, that it's an honor to be saving you, sir."
"Are you here to save my ass or kiss it?"
"Right, sorry." He started pulling the rubble off of him.
As Nico pulled the last of the rubble away, a purple light filled the room, then the whole place started shaking. As the city lifted off the ground, the building tore in two. As Roland fell into the fissure, Nico grabbed his arm. Sanctuary continued to rise into the air, the city still shaking from the lunar mortars. Nico pulled Roland up, and right after, Jack came over the ECHO. "So that's all you got, a flying city? What could you possibly have that could make you think you could stop me?"
Roland smiled. "A siren."
The entire city disappeared into a flash of purple.
Nico started walking out of crimson HQ, on his way back to the base, but what he saw made him freeze. The sky outside the city glowed a brilliant purple, and the world outside of sanctuary was distorted, yet seemed like it was rushing past him. Just looking at it made him sick. He forced himself to look away. He saw Lilith, her hands on the pillar in the center of town. She was emitting a crazy amount of energy. He walked past he and made his way to the base. He had a more pressing matter to attend to.
Inside the base, he saw Rook tied to a chair against the back wall. Desmond and Ella keeping a close eye on him. Ella looked up at Nico. "He said he wanted to wait until we were all here."
Nico sat in a chair across from Rook. "Okay, I'm here. So, care to explain what the hell Jack meant?"
Rook looked at the ground. "I…" He let out a deep breath, and looked back at him, staring him straight in the eye. "I'm a Hyperion spy."
Nico swore. "Damn it, Rook. This whole time?"
Everyone was ticked, especially Ella. "Damn it, we trusted you!"
Desmond put infinity away. "But, Rook, Jack burned down your home! He…" He stopped. "That was a lie, wasn't it?" Rook nodded. Desmond punched the wall, his fist leaving a large hole.
Nico got out of his chair. "I'll make this quick. Have you told us the truth about anything?"
Rook looked at the ground, not saying anything.
"Damn it Rook, I…"
The city lurched forward, causing him to fall over. Nico looked out the window. The sky had returned to normal. The city was now floating over a fixed position. He saw Roland and Lilith walking toward the base. "This is about to get ugly."
Lilith barged through the door, and she seemed pissed. "What the hell is going on? We got an echo from Jack, saying that someone was behind this."
Roland saw that Rook was tied up. "It was him?"
Lilith reached for her pistol. "Then let's deal with this now." She rushed forward, putting the barrel between Rook's eyes. Before she could do anything else, she felt something against her head. A Maliwan pistol, Ella's finger placed firmly on the trigger. "Don't even think about it, bitch."
Roland drew his gun on Ella, and Desmond and Nico did the same to Roland.
After a few tense seconds, Rook, gun still pressed against his forehead, spoke. "Maybe we could talk this out?" He looked at Ella. Ella looked back, then removed the gun from Lilith's head.
Lilith stood there for a moment. Roland put his rifle away. "Lilith…"
She looked back at him, then let out a sigh. "I'm trusting you on this." She holstered her pistol. She looked back at Rook. "But I'm watching you."
"Why, Rook?" Nico asked.
Rook looked at the ground. "I'm from off world, and I didn't know Jack was trying to kill everyone, just the really bad bandits. He told me he was trying to find a way to deal with sanctuary peacefully."
"And you believed him?"
"You are a gullible dumbass."
"I know. But I thought…" He stopped. "I'm sorry."
Lilith's tattoos started to glow. "Sorry? At least ten people were just killed, and all you can say is sorry?"
Rook looked up at her, anger in his eyes. "We are going to stop Jack. He is going to pay, and I'll do whatever I can to make up for this, and that is a promise."
Lilith opened her mouth to speak, but she was interrupted by her ECHO. Mordecai was on the other side. "Guys, we have a problem. Bloodwing got captured by Hyperion, and now I have no idea where she is."
"I know where she is."
"Don't listen to him, Mordecai." Lilith said.
"And why the hell not?"
"I had nothing to do with Bloodwing's capture, Mordecai." Rook shouted. "But I do know where she would most likely be."
There was a short pause, then Mordecai spoke again. "Sorry Lil, but he's my only lead."
"She's probably being stored at the Wildlife exploitation preserve. Just north of the highlands."
"Don't blame me if it turns out to be a trap." Lilith added.
"So, what now?" Nico asked.
"He's with you, so you decide what to do with him. I have to head back to HQ. Lilith, you coming?" Roland asked.
"Okay." She turned to Rook. "But I'm watching you." The two left, leaving just the four remaining vault hunters.
"Rook, I saw that you undid the rope, you can drop it." Desmond said.
The rope fell to the ground. "Thanks for standing up for me, guys. I appreciate it."
"Doesn't mean we still aren't mad at you." Ella said.
"Now Rook, we want the truth. Who are you, and why are you here?" Nico asked.
Rooks face fell, and he let out a sigh. "Okay. First off, my name is Rick"
"Went all out on the alias then."
"I used to be a police officer on Eden-6, but things went bad. Gangs put hits on me, so I tried to move me and my family to keep them safe. My wife. My daughter…" He paused.
For the first time, Nico could see the pain in the large man's eyes. "Had that been there before?" He wondered.
"We were on a shuttle, but we got hit by an asteroid or something. We crash landed on Pandora. Most of the people survived the crash, but scavengers, bandits, came and searched the wreckage. I fought back but…They don't take prisoners." Tears rolled down his face. "I was the only one to leave the wreck alive."
Nico was shocked. He had never thought that Rook had been hiding this. He looked at his two other team mates. Could they have gone through something awful, and he just didn't notice?
"I wanted to make them pay, I joined Hyperion, part of a small team, but when we got to the camp, it was mostly women, children, and older people. My team opened fire, but I ran. I found this old man, he said that I was destined for something. He gave me the shield, then was shot dead by some guy named Louis. Asked why I wasn't killing the bandits. But this people weren't bandits, so I killed him, and the rest of my team, and left. Jack told me that he didn't know there weren't bandits there, but decided that I 'didn't work well with others', so he sent me undercover here, and got me to give the fake train schedule. He didn't tell me why."
"Rook... I'm so sorry." Ella said.
Rook looked at her. "Thanks, but, I lied to you, and I'm sorry, but if you'll let me, I swear that I'm with you guys 'till the end."
The three looked at each other. They all seemed to agree. Nico got up. "Okay Rook. We'll trust you. Handsome Jack will be sorry he messed with us."
Desmond smiled. "Hell yeah!"
Ella pulled out her shotgun. "Now let's go kick ass!"
And the four heroes charged out the front door, ready for a new adventure.
Okay, I'm sorry to be leaving you at a time like this, but i'm out of time. The school I go to gave us computers for the year, and I have to give mine back soon, so I'm going on Hiatus until further notice. My best guess is that I'll be back in mid to late September. When I do come back, it will be better then ever. If you have any ideas or comments, please review. I'll see you soon.