They were right about that tall guy never slowing down. He kept a brisk pace even through the harsh winds and thick snow without the slightest flinch. While we staggered after him, trembling in the cold and navigating around scattered corpses. I could've sworn I heard the soldier apologize to one of them when his foot bumped against it. It was only when the blizzard started to let up when I saw lights blinking faintly in the distance.

"See that?" Axton said aloud.

"Yeah." said the siren, the word escaping her cobalt lips with a puff of mist, "Do any of us have guns? Y'know, just in case…"

He shook his head, placing a hand protectively on the box strapped to his hip. "I still have the sabre, but she got damaged in the blast. I'm gonna need some time to repair'er" The siren nodded and shakily ran her fingers through her hair.

"Hey, if we get in a tight spot I'll lock 'em in place." she offered. As we walked closer, the outline of a large structure came into view. "Well, one of them anyway."

The structure seemed to be just another mound of junk, but the holographic road sign out in front of it suggested civilization. I peered through the snowflakes to make out the letters. It looked like it was originally supposed to say "Welcome to the Shelf", but several letters had burned out, making it instead read "Welcome to hel"

How fitting.

When we finally made it to the trash heap, and the assassin was waiting for us next to a ramshackle mailbox. He was bending to search through it, presumably to find information about whomever lived there, but the box was empty.

"There's a door up here," he called, "probably a bandit camp, that raids from wrecks."

"So what do we do? Knock on the door?" asked the siren.

"Suppose so." said the assassin with a shrug. He wrapped his gloved hand tighter around the handle of his weapon, and I did the same around mine. Discounting whatever strange powers the siren had at her disposal, we were the only two that were armed.

Even so, the siren strode bravely forward and rapped on the door, trying to peer through the circle of thick glass. "You might not wanna look at that directly." Axton warned.

She glanced behind her at the three of us. "Huh?" She startled a bit when the door scanner started up and cast a neon grid of light on our group.

"Saturday night rave!" I shouted excitedly. The light flashed red and shut off in abrupt response.

"Access denied. Intruders at the door." said a digital voice mockingly. Axton sighed and adjusted the box strapped to his side. He shot me an annoyed look before waving the siren out of the way and bracing himself.

"I'll just kick the door down, it can't be too…"

"I got it I got it!" he trailed off when a voice sounded from inside the shack. The lense buzzed a couple times, suggesting that it was zooming in on each of us individually.

"What's the password?" asked the person on the other side of the door through some sort of radio transceiver. They sounded pretty young. Didn't sound like a bandit at least, unless they started recruiting children. The siren glanced back at us, her eyes narrowed in frustration, clearly way to tired and cold to be dealing with these sort of shenanigans.

"Let us in, kid!" she demanded.

"Kid?!" the gatekeeper cried indignantly, "I'll have you know I'm one hundred percent woman."

"Who's at the door?" someone with a thick, accented voice called in the background of the transceiver.

"Let's see here... there's some lady with blue hair, a really big muscle dude, Guy-Manuel, and a life-size G.I. Joe!" the girl shouted loudly as if she were trying to talk to someone across the room, "They wanna come in!"

"Ehhh, I dunno. They sound like losers." could be heard faintly in the background.

"Oh come on!" Axton snapped and rammed his fist against the door. "It's fucking freezing out here! Let us in!"

"Why should I? For all I know, you people could be bandits, come to steal our vast hordes of ammo-wait shit! Probably shouldn't have mentioned that!" The last sentence was whispered, but the transceiver still picked it up.

The siren sighed heavily in exasperation and leaned closer to the door to make sure her voice was heard. "We're not bandits, we're vault hunters! We were on a train to a resupply station! It blew up and we're stranded out here!"

"Oh my gosh, me too!" she gasped, "How crazy is that?!"

"Wait hold up! Step aside, let me see them!" The accented voice interrupted. There was a shifting noise, and a small grunt of protest from the younger one as it sounded like she was shoved aside.

"Mi amigos!" exclaimed the thick voice suddenly, "Let these fine people in, right now!"

The door swung open unexpectedly to reveal two very interesting characters standing in the doorway. The first I laid eyes on was short. And I mean comically short. He had to be the man they'd mentioned earlier; the one they'd given up looking for. He was surprisingly brawny, like he'd been cut from a chunk of sandstone. Despite the muscle, he still looked like he could fit inside a suitcase, easily. He also looked like the sort of guy that would punch your lights out for mentioning his height discrepancy. The brass knuckles he clenched in one of his fists solidified that thought.

The other was a thin, scrappy-looking girl with fiery orange hair. The gatekeeper, I assumed. She observed each of us with her bright green eyes, adjusting the goggles strapped to her head with… what appeared to be a robotic arm.

What could she have gotten into to cause that?

The tarnished, punkish clothing, metal chokers, and defiant glint in her eyes all screamed rebellious teen. Whoever the hell let someone so young on a planet like this had to have been almost as psychotic as I was.

"What a surprise, I thought you all died!" The short one held his beefy arms out, flashing us a unexpectedly white smile. I couldn't help but notice an open bullet wound in his right shoulder and the blood staining his orange shirt around it. But it seemed that I was taking more notice of it than he was.

"Salvador! We thought you died!" Said the siren, returning the excited greeting. The group of them all shared in a round of nervous, sitcom-quality laughter. They were still pretty shook up from the train explosion and nearly freezing to death, obviously.

"Please." Salvador waved it off nonchalantly, "It takes a lot more than that to kill me. Same goes for you guys, huh?."

"Hehe, yeah." she siren chuckled and sighed wistfully, "You must've come to before we did."

"Yeah, me and her woke up a while ago to some annoying robot… speaking of which, where'd he go off to?" The short one looked over at the teeny-looking girl questioningly, but she only shrugged.

"I dunno, he said he was getting us drinks. Oh, man, he's gonna be stoked to meet more vault hunters!"

"Wait a second…" said Axton, holding out a scar-dotted arm, "if you guys were up before we were, how did you not see us? We were spread out all over the crash site." The two new vault hunters exchanged vacant glances, slowly realizing their mistake. "We were out there looking for survivors for hours!" Axton's voice hit a higher tone of disbelief as he spoke. The short man scratched his chin thoughtfully and stared at his feet.

"Look for survivors… that was probably a good idea." he mumbled. Axton and the siren looked down on him in shock.

"Well, uh, hey! Sorry about that!" offered the redhead, "How about we all head inside and talk it out! It's pretty damn cold out here, right?!" The vault hunters all mumbled in agreement and started shuffling through the doorway as the girl excitedly gestured them in. A little warmth sounded wonderful to me at that point, especially due to my strictly-enforced embargo on shirts. My way inside, however, was blocked by the redheaded girl.

The assassin went stiff when the girl stepped in front of him and extended her hand. "Hey Guy, no hard feelings right? I'm a big fan."

He didn't respond. He only stared down at the hand, cocking his head to the side as if he didn't quite understand the meaning of it. Without a word, he ducked away from her and followed after the others down the icy, disheveled corridor. The girl shrugged to herself and sent a smile my way. "Well come on in why don'tcha? We were just about to have some snacks I think!" She jogged ahead and motioned for me to follow her. I stepped forward haltingly, my twitching suddenly becoming more violent than usual.

What's the matter with you?

I ran my shaking fingers along the blade of my axe, staring down at it hungrily before fixing my gaze on the backs of the vault hunters.

Ohhh no. You're not laying a finger on any one of them.

I made a strangled, desperate noise. It'd been who knows how long since I killed something.

You're not forgetting our little agreement, are you?

I ground my teeth so hard that they creaked in protest.

You'll find something to kill soon enough. On this planet? Trust me, you won't have to wait long.

I groaned in resignation and followed the others, my nostrils twitching as I caught the familiar smell of rotting flesh again. We entered a makeshift living room. The odor was strong, but it was considerably warmer inside the walls constructed of ice and garbage. Corpses were everywhere, laying beside the furnace, slumped on the dingy sofas, The soft light of a furnace lit up the room, casting a reddish light on the bodies. Disturbingly so, they looked like they were posed by someone.

"I have beverages!" sang an unfamiliar voice.

Everyone turned their attention to a little robot that came wheeling in, holding a tray with several cups on it. I'd seen that model before. One or two broken ones lying around the wastelands I mean. I'd never actually seen a functioning steward bot before. It observed each of us with its optic, rocking back and forth on its singular wheel.

"Uhh… did you two invite friends?" It asked in a shrill voice.

"Claptrap, hey! These guys are other vault hunters from the train we were on!" said the redheaded girl enthusiastically. The cups nearly clattered off the tray as the robot hopped on it's wheel excitedly.

"Holy skagsuck, what does that make? Six of you? Jack really dropped the ball this time! Welcome, mighty vault hunters, to my humble abode! Sorry about the rotting corpses and lifeless Claptrap units I may or may not talk to to distract from my crippling loneliness! If I knew this place was going to become the barracks for my minion army I would've cleaned up!" The redhead let out a loud snort at that comment, but it took no notice. It held the tray out to us eagerly.

"Please, take a drink, near-death experiences always leave me parched!" The vault hunters gathered around Claptrap, each taking a cup for themselves from his tray. They frowned when they noticed the thick liquid sloshing around in the cups was oil, not black coffee.

"Thanks…" Axton mumbled halfheartedly. The short man, Salvador, was the only one to actually take a sip. He let it sit in his mouth, briefly considering the taste before spitting it out and glaring at the cup in mild disapproval.

"So, Claptrap," the siren began, leaning on her knees slightly to get to meet the robot's eye-level, "where are we exactly? Before I got on the train I was all the way back in the badlands. Bandit Country."

I'm pretty sure every country here is Bandit Country.

"This here is the Southern Shelf, Handsome Jack's personal landfill for murdered vault hunters! And also discontinued robot models."

"Landfill…" she echoed dully, "wonderful."

"I've gotta say though…" purred the robot, "Nice tatts, toots." Her friendly expression quickly shifted into a disgusted glare as she realized Claptrap's optic was zeroed in on an exposed patch of her chest. Her tattoos flickered threateningly, but before we all became witnesses to the wrath of a siren, the redheaded girl marched right up to the little robot and stamped her foot on top of it's chassis.

"Hey, pervo-roboto!" she barked, peering down at the AI over her scraped knee, "How 'bout you go get us some real food?!" Claptrap waved its tiny arms around in protest to the weight being pressed down on it.

"I don't have any-" it began, but the girl was quick to cut it off.

"Unless you'd like to have a little more playtime with DT?" The robot trembled slightly under her shoe, its arms dropping to its sides in resignation. "Off you go then!" she shouted, lifting her foot from the boxy android and giving it an encouraging kick to the side. It whimpered and swiftly wheeled away, disappearing behind a metal flap shaped exactly to fit its redhead gave a curt nod of approval and turned to the siren.

"He's sort of a creep." she said with a crooked grin as she pointed a thumb in the robot's direction, "But I think he's gonna help us get off this berg. Now, if you'll excuse me!" The redhead pulled a pencil from behind her ear that was covered in what looked like blood. The siren's eyes widened and her mouth shot open to presumably to start asking some questions. But the girl paid her no heed and plopped down on the couch next to the short man. Everyone except for me and him gagged in disgust when she took the pencil and shoved it inside his open bullet wound. I'd seen things that were much more grotesque, but I still was pretty disturbed by the whole display.

"What are you doing?!" cried the siren, forcing herself to look away as the girl jiggled the pencil around in Salvador's shoulder.

"Trying to get this bullet out. Duh." She rolled her green eyes at the siren's obvious concerns and continued to dig at the wound. While most men would be crying out in pain, this one sat completely still and gave an nonchalant nod.

"That is really not how you do that!"

"Lady, if I can cauterize my own arm stub, I'm sure I can get a measly little bullet!" She wiggled the pencil around some more, emitting a sickening squelching noise. Axton looked as if he was about to vomit.

"Just… how about I do it? I have some medical training." Salvador sat up in interest at the mention of 'medical training'.

"Hey, I appreciate the effort," he patted his amatuer doctor on the shoulder and offered an encouraging smile, "but how about we give the newbie a shot at it, ah?" She rolled her eyes again and shrugged before getting up and offering the gore-covered pencil to the siren.

"That's fine, I got it" she said waveringly before taking a seat next to the man. She pulled a multipurpose knife from her pocket, switching the protruding blade out for a metal pick. She began working at the wound defty, her argent eyes falling into a focused, half-lidded expression as she carefully tried to coax the bullet out. I couldn't help but notice the tiny white fleck of a snowflake that had settled into her long, dark lashes. It was starting to melt in the firelight, threatening to drip on the fair skin of her cheek. A passing thought had the impossible idea of gently wiping it away with the pad of my thumb.

"Introductions!" The redheaded girl announced loudly. I startled back to attention and turned my head to see everyone had taken a seat in the couches around the fireplace after shoving the corpses from the threadbare cushions. The girl was smiling widely as she pointed at the soldier. "Starting with you! Who the hell are ya'?"

"Ahm..." the man stared down at the cup the robot had handed him. It was chipped, leaking oil onto the dingy saucer. "I'm Axton."

"And?" she asked.

"And what?"

"Give us some background info here! How'd you end up here on this lovely berg on Pandora, Mr. Axton?" The girl extended her hand as if she was holding a microphone to his mouth. Axton swallowed and shuffled awkwardly in his seat.

"I'm in a, um… secret mission for-" he trailed off and stared down at the rippling oil, "Ugh, there's no point in lying to you guys. What do you care?" He leaned back on the couch in resignation, setting the cup on the floor.

"I'm Axton. I was a sergeant in Dahl's military. Made some stupid decisions and, consequently, people died. I was supposed to be executed but a friend helped me out. Went AWOL, ended up doing some bounty hunting here. That's pretty much it." A hush fell over the room and the group nodded their heads in sympathy. Except for the redhead.

"Wow, nice tragic backstory, it totally beats mine!" she exclaimed with a smile, "Okay, we're going clockwise here sooo, Ninja guy, you're up next!"

"I am called Zer0," he answered, his robotic voice sounding somewhat irritated, "I came here for a challenge, maybe some loot too."

"A ninja named Zero? Wow, that sure isn't cliche." she murmured, rolling her eyes. His helmeted head snapped in her direction and she grinned sheepishly. "Would you like to share anything else with the group?"

"No." he flatlined.

"Of course ya don't. Next!" The siren glanced up from Salvador's arm and pushed her hair away from her face, realizing it was her turn.

"Well, I'm Maya." she said with a light smile before bending back down to pay attention to the wound.


Simple, yet elegant. A very fitting name in my opinion. I mean, not to say that she was simple. She seemed very intelligent, definitely more so than I'd ever hope to be. But I digress. I rolled the name over and over in my head, as if I was afraid I'd forget it. I didn't have much trust in my memory those days.

"Wait, before you start," giggled the redhead, "I gotta know where you got those sick tattoos."

"I was born with them." she answered simply, sounding a bit distracted. A triumphant smile played across her lips, signalling that she'd found the bullet. The short man only winced slightly as she worked at tugging the pesky thing out.

"So, you're a siren right?" Axton asked, "I mean, I saw you use your powers on the train, but..." She smiled even wider and nodded her head.

"That's friggin' kickass!" Salvador shouted approvingly, pumping his fist and jostling Maya's delicate work. She shot him a mildly annoyed glare and he settled back down, mumbling a quick apology.

"Uh…. yeah…" Axton interjected; he seemed far less excited, "Just watch your back, okay? You have no idea how many bounties are on your head." Maya's eyes widened at him as if to ask if he was being serious, but the grim expression he wore provided her answer.

"Sooo how about that life story?" Maya quirked an eyebrow at the redhead as she leaned back into the couch cushions, resting her robotic arm languidly behind her head.

"Do I really have to? It's not that interesting."

"I mean, I'm not gonna force it out of you, because you could probably turn my brain into turd or some crazy shit like that! Buuut if we're going to be friends, I think it's highly important we know about eachothers' dark pasts!"

"Fine then, I'm from Athenas." She looked as if she was going to continue, but the girl was quick to cut her off again.

"Where's that? Oh wait… isn't it that cult planet?"

"Yeah. I lived in a monastery there-well, I was raised there. I left recently to start living life on my own." I listened intently from the seat I'd taken on the floor beside the couch. Outwardly, I grunted as I rummaged through a pile of trash I was sitting in, thankfully occupied for the time being. As for Maya… she didn't strike me as the 'monk' type. I mean, after seeing her splatter that engineer's brain matter across the train car's floor, that wasn't really the first notion that came to my mind. I do faintly remember watching a movie about a bunch of 'kickass battle monks', but it's accuracy was pretty questionable.

I'm getting off topic.

"Good for you!" bellowed Salvador good-naturedly, taking care not to move this time, "And hey, here on Pandora we accept all religions. Hell, I knew one guy who worshipped a porta-potty!"

"Who the hell worships toilets?" She smirked at him briefly and tilted the tool in her hands, digging it further into his bullet wound as she felt it brush against metal.

"Not 'toilets'. Just the one." This earned a light snicker from Maya.

"Enough stories about your crazy acquaintances!" the redhead snapped, a huge grin plastered across her face as she turned to face me. "Hey, muscles! You're next!" She seemed to be referring to me, so I looked up from the moldy book I had been tearing pages out of. It looked like an instruction manual for that annoying robot's model.

"Nyyaaagh! There are no windmills!" I yelled hoarsely, tossing a handful of crumpled-up pages in her general direction. She only blinked as she watched the pages flutter to the floor, waiting for some sort of clarification.

"Umm, he's not really… all there." Maya said delicately. The redhead hummed thoughtfully before turning back to me.

"Nah, I get it buddy." she grinned amiably at me as she leaned over the arm of the couch, "You talk about it when you feel like it, m'kay?"

An awkward silence followed as I continued to dig through the garbage, tossing anything I couldn't easily break or tear in half over my shoulder. They were waiting for me to say something, but for some reason I decided to not be social.

I guess I'll go ahead and start.

Of course they couldn't hear me, but I continued anyways. For… sentimental purposes, I guess?

My name is Krieg. I think. I've been living on Pandora for a while, but my memory's gone to shit these days so I'm not quite sure for how long or where I came from. I escaped from a slag experimentation lab and I've been running rampant on a psychotic killing spree ever since. Please excuse my outbursts, I'm really a pretty mellow guy. Just bare with me and I'll try my best not to murder you.

By the time the thought was finished, they'd turned their backs to me and resumed swirling their cups of oil around or holding their hands closer to the rumbling furnace.

"Hehe, just look at you all." Salvador chuckeld, breaking the silence, "You guys look like a bunch of abandoned skag pupsss-ahh!" He trailed off as a small, bloody pellet finally popped from the hole in his shoulder. Maya grinned in satisfaction at it for a few seconds before tossing it off and holding a hand out to the soldier.

"Axton, hand me another hypo."

"But Maya-"

"I do not want to deal with infections here, come on." He complied, looking mildly guilty. I'd imagine someone like him was all too familiar with rationing supplies to make them last. Maya gingerly pressed the needle into his shoulder, injecting a small amount of the glowing liquid into the wound. The flesh knitted itself back together obediently, and Salvador smiled his thanks.

"Gracias, I was starting to think I'd just have to let that one sit in there." he sighed in relief and patted the bloody patch of his torn shirt, "So uh, what was I saying?"

"Uhhh… something about how we looked lost and pathetic?" offered Gaige.

"Oh yeah! I was just saying, I deal with kind of shit daily. Believe it or not I was born and raised here, native Pandoran! Frig, if I had a dollar for every time someone tried to blow me up with five hundred kilos of C4… I'd have five dollars!"

"That must've saved on travel expenses." Axton commented, "I'm surprised you've only started to go vault hunting now."

"No no, my friend, you misunderstand. Sure, some riches from the vault would be great. But my real target is the son of a bitch that tried to shoot up my hometown." He clenched the brass knuckles in his fist, speaking slowly with a rumbling determination, "Jack."

My head jerked the minute I heard the name, as my hand closed tightly around an empty soda can I'd found. It crinkled noisily, and for a moment I was terrified that I'd make another 'scene'. I glanced around the room searchingly, but he was nowhere to be seen or heard. Just a bunch of Vault Hunters. I settled down, thankfully.

"Oh yes, I think all of us are holding a bit of a grudge against that man at this point." murmured Maya.

"Good then!" he chucked darkly, "Then I can count on you!" Axton's brows furrowed curiously.

"Count on us to-?"

"Blah blah, my turn!" the redhead cut in, commanding everyone's attention with a few snaps of her metallic fingers. Salvador didn't seem to mind the interruption, he only waved a hefty hand to signal the floor was all hers. She took the moment to start on an animated whirlwind of an introduction.

"Okay! Name's Gaige! So, before I came to Pandora I lived on Eden 5 and went to a really shitty high school there. I built this kickass robot for the science fair, but freaking Marcy Holloway stole my idea and cheated to get first place. I got third place. Third. Freaking. Place. So of course I called her out on her shit! The bitch shoves me in the shoulder, and DeathTrap liquified her! Like, she straight up exploded! Oh my god! I think I brought the shirt with her bloodstains on it, I've gotta show you guys!"

"Woah woah woah," interrupted Axton, "Slow down." She took this opportunity to catch her breath before beginning again at a much slower tempo.

"I built. DeathTrap. Bitchface Mcgee. Stole my. Idea."

"What's DeathTrap?" She sighed loudly, as if Axton's questions were asking far too much of her.

"He's my extremely awesome, hand-built death-bot that kicks a serious amount of ASS! I'd show him off, but he's recharging right now. Don't let Clappy know that though!" She flashed him a wry smile and a wink. Everyone still stared at her, considering her story in silence. I wondered whether or not she was bluffing about the supposed death-bot. "So, we all caught up then? Introduced? Zorro, windmill guy, anything else to add?"

"It's Zer0!"

"It's a saucy sort of sickness!"

"Cool! So… now what?"

The group shifted in their seats glancing between one another and the icy floor. I finally lifted my head from the garbage pile and glared at them. Without any sort of warning aside from an irritated grunt, I took my axe from the ground and lobbed it at the wall before me. Ice splintered and shattered from the place where it had hit as the vault hunters jumped slightly in surprise. I only casually stood back up and went to wrench it out of the wall.

"You know how to mangle, don't you STEVE?!" I barked, taking a moment to glance at them over my shoulder before making my way to the shoddy metal door Claptrap had disappeared behind. A resounding metal clang filled the room as I gave the door a harsh kick, my metal-tipped shoe leaving a sizable dent. The robot poked back through the flap and waved its little arms frantically.

"Hold on, just a second!" I paid the robot no attention and brought my foot down on the door again.

"Release the beast!" I shouted at the top of my lungs, "I'll always be hungry, alwaaays!"

"I can get the door open! Cut it out! One second!" The robot tapped at the keys of a control panel and the door gave a low groan in response. It slowly lifted from the ground, but I kept kicking it until it was too high to reach with my foot. The dents I'd left in it screwed up the mechanism, to the point where the door got caught and stuck just a bit lower than my neck. I had to duck in to enter, but I was out.

I chuckled and loomed over the robot, lowering my axe to tap him on the head a few times with its blade. I was a little surprised at what seemed to be an affectionate gesture, but the moment was soon over. With a malicious cackle, I grabbed it from the top of it's chassis and threw it across the room, sending it crashing against a nearby pile of boxes as it screamed for it's synthetic life.

"I love it when you grovel, DO IT AGAIN!" I grinned like a maniac underneath my mask and clanged the blade of my axe against the icy floor.

Would it kill you to tone it down?!

"Aw c'mon Muscles, you're letting all the cold air in!" Gaige called after me. She sounded hardly frightened by my violent behavior.

"I can appreciate your enthusiasm minion, but jeez!" squealed the robot. It brushed snow and bits of garbage from its chassis before lifting itself up and wheeling out of the pile of rubbish. "You're lucky all that noise didn't attract any bullymongs!"

A distant, animalistic roar could be heard. The group of us all fell to silence as it echoed through the icy chamber. Before the robot could make a comment along the lines of 'Oops, spoke too soon!', the redhead lept from the couch and cackled excitedly. "I'm guessing that's a bully-man! What are they like?" A loud creaking noise echoed through the room, then another growl. This one sounded distinctly closer.

"Bout' to find out, sister." Sal mumbled, a grin slowly spreading over his scarred face.

The next few minutes happened very quickly, so forgive me if I'm not descriptive enough. But yeah, just about the biggest bullymong I've ever had the displeasure of seeing sailed in through a hole in the chamber's roof. It roared deafeningly at us, spittle flying from it's exposed mandibles. (I recall a glob of it splattering across the tall man's helmet.) But instead of going for us, the bullymong snatched the robot from where he stood. The group looked on with widened eyes as it jammed it's calloused fingers around the bot's optic, ripping it from the socket in one swift motion. Claptrap cursed shrilly as the beast tossed it to the ground. With that, the animal took the optic and lept back through the skylight.

I lowered my axe as the creature disappeared into the night. "AWWWWW!" I whined loudly, disappointed at the prospect of losing such a worthy opponent. My head swung around to glare at the vault hunters accusingly, but they seemed to be just as surprised as I was, if not more so.

"Huh…" Salvador lowered his fists to hike his belt up casually, "That's weird." The robot whimpered quietly as it tried to lift itself from the snow. A spark or two flew from the exposed wires hanging from it's optic socket.

"What's weird?" Gaigie had a hammer in her hand, still raised in a fighting stance. She also seemed to be disappointed by the monstrous bullymong's departure.

"They usually prefer meat over metal. Surprised the bastardo didn't go for us." the man chuckled as he strode over to where the robot was slowly lifting itself back up on it's wheel. "Ey, did you and ugly have a personal dispute or something?"

"I don't wanna talk about it." the robot answered weakly as it put one of it's 'hands' over the sparking wires. It tilted forward, it's other arm hanging at it's side. "I am… blind. Yep! Completely blind! Guess we can't get off the glacier now. Oh well. I hear getting eaten alive by bullymongs isn't such a bad way to go." The group exchanged looks with one another, a surprised silence falling over them. A silence that was soon broken by the redhead. It seemed to be a habit of hers.

"Man, fuck that! I'm not staying here, it's cold as crap!" Gaige holstered her hammer and started to stride off defiantly.

"Hey don't forget that yours truly is some grade A Hyperion tech!" Claptrap yipped, "You guys won't be able to get through the security without my impressive hacking know-how!" She stood still beside me before she could duck through the door to leave.

The robot had a point… sort of. I mean, I've always just had to slash through any Hyperion goons that got in my way. But the high-grade, impenetrable, electrified, turret-mounted gateways… if the robot could get us through those, then hunting down his optic really would be worth our time. Not to mention it probably knew more about the environment than the rest of us.

"Then what do we do?" Maya asked evenly. She seemed to have a similar idea.

"Well… if you kids got my eye back for me, I could guide you through this rakk-hole no problem..." Zero shook his head at the bot before stiffly turning and walking to a nearby cardboard box.

"A waste of my time." he stated flatly, "Your help is not required. I'll find my own way." Axton and Maya exchanged a worried look before one of them, the soldier, spoke up.

"You're going off by yourself?"

"It's better that way. Less distractions and chatting. I shall depart soon." The assassin fished a pack of pistol rounds from the box and quickly pocketed it before digging to search for more supplies. Axton shrugged before turning to Claptrap.

"Welp, I guess I'll help you get it back. Hell knows we could use some directions."

"Better than directions, my rippling friend!" chirped the robot, clearly excited by the idea of having followers, "I have a boat on the glacier's edge! We can drive it right to the mainland!"

"So we find this 'bullymong', we get your eye from it, and then we get out of here?" said Maya thoughtfully. A little crinkle would appear between her brows when she was thinking about something, I noticed. "How are we going to defend ourselves though? That thing looked like it could tear us limb from limb, no effort."

"Oh! I've got just the thing!" Claptrap said excitedly. It held its arms out as it wheeled around past us, but even with the effort it still hit a piece of shrapnel and tripped forward, it's chassis clanging loudly into a cabinet that was lying on it's side in the snow. It felt for the handle before clumsily swingning the door open and fishing a small object from inside.

"Found it!" he exclaimed triumphantly, holding a pistol high in the air. A little underwhelming, though; it was a small, rusted, dinky excuse for a gun. Hardly enough to take down that thing.

Think I'll stick with the axe.

Salvador took the gun and stared at it appraisingly. He clearly wasn't impressed. The assassin stood up suddenly and turned to look at us, his neck bending at a nearly unnatural angle as he did so.

"So all you with Claptrap, you're planning to fight that beast? Just with that pistol?" he queried. Axton only offered a shrug.

"That's the plan I suppose."

"I do love a challenge." The assassin seemed to have a change of heart. He followed as the group of us started making our way to the door. The rush of cold air sent a new chill through my being. I was looking forward to getting away from it. Unless the robot was bluffing about the supposed boat. Either way, we had a bullymong to track down.