Crimson Helmets: Chapter 1

Was it simply curiosity, or did it truly become an obsession? Vieru could not distance himself from the past he saw in his dreams. He saw it every time he slept. Smoke, rubble, blood, destruction. The sounds came next. Fire, explosions, screams, death.

“Vieru.” A voice called out. Calm, calculated, concerned; it sounded out of place in this wasteland.

Vieru turned, he looked around. He saw nothing, but the voice called again, “Vieru.” So calm, it didn’t fit into the dream. It almost sounded… mechanical. At that moment, Vieru’s mind seemed to take over and he looked up at the blue, glowing sun of his dream.

“Vieru!” The voice called out louder and suddenly, Vieru’s eyes opened. He shot up from his bed and his face slammed right into his Ghost, “Dammit, Apollo!” Vieru exclaimed as he leaned to the side and rubbed at his face.

The Ghost stabilized itself and spun its shell a bit before tilting to the side, “Sorry about that. We’ve got a transmission from Yulin.”

The Human sat up more cautiously and locked his—rather unamused—blue eyes onto Apollo, “Eh? The Cryptarch we met? What did he say?” He asked, moving strands of his long, white hair from his face and adjusting the elastic that held his hair in a now-messy ponytail.

Apollo spun its shell once more before playing poorly recorded audio of a young man speaking:

“Was that the right button…? Is this recording…? Oh! Mister Vaterio? Hi, it’s Yulin, the Cryptarch you met in the city the other day. I came across something in my studies related to what you asked me about. Those dreams you’re having. It’s kind of weird, though… your Ghost found you in Old Russia, but the dreams you’re having seem to point to a place in what used to be Rome, Italy. I think if you go there, you should be able to find some answers about those dreams. So… yeah. Also… I know you could always talk to Master Rahool in the Tower, but… if you find anything interesting, please bring it to me!? Heh… yeah… okay… um… is it this but—“

“The transmission ends there. He sent… coordinates… too…” Apollo added on, turning as he watched Vieru climb out of his bed and instantly move to putting on his armor, “No shower, then?” Apollo asked.

Vieru waved Apollo away, “I showered last night before bed.” He muttered.

The Ghost tilted over a bit, “You were kind of sweating while you slept…”

“Seriously, Apollo… I’m going out to a place most likely overrun by the House of Kings. I’m not really too concerned about making sure I smell good for them.” The Titan informed his companion while closing the latches on his armor, “Request clearance for our launch.”

“On it.” Apollo responded, spinning his shell around before swinging around to float in front of Vieru, “What makes you say that there are Kings in the ruins of Rome? It’s only a short distance from London. Shouldn’t we expect Devils, instead?”

Vieru’s helmet closed and he stared at his Ghost while the HUD powered up, “I… don’t know, actually.” He responded.

Once Vieru’s armor was all on and comfortable, Apollo shed his shell and joined Vieru, “Weapons?” The sentient Light questioned.

“Red Hand?” Vieru Asked.

“Are you sure? We’re going into fairly unknown territory. Let’s go with the Crusader.” Apollo suggested.

Vieru sighed as he walked out into the Tower, “Fine. What about Judgment?”

“Prudence may be a better choice.”

“Let me guess… Admonisher for the final choice?” Vieru asked, making his way to the ship hangar.

“What? No. Prestige. Admonisher is no good if we don’t know the terrain too well.”

Vieru could only wish his helmet was off to rub the bridge of his nose in frustration, “Apollo, if these dreams don’t make me go crazy, you will.”

“You’re not already crazy?” The Ghost teased.

Apollo accessed the Vault while they were still in the tower, delivering the requested weapons to their ship. Within a few more minutes, the pair were cruising in Vieru’s custom, red Hildian Seeker. Their destination wasn’t too far, but Vieru didn’t want to blow through their fuel just to get there, “What is it?” Vieru spoke out loud while gazing at the passing terrain.

“How can you tell I want to say something?” Apollo questioned; his shell sitting on the dashboard of the cock pit.

“You’re staring at me in your shell instead of just sitting in my armor.” Vieru responded, turning an unamused look to his Light.

Apollo floated up a bit, spinning its shell about before finally speaking, “Your Shader, why don’t we go with something more fitting to the terrain? That color just… stands out a… lot.”

The man laughed and shook his head, “Nope! Choose my weapons all you want, Apollo. But my God of War Shader stays. How am I supposed to feel the adrenaline if I’m hiding like a frightened Hunter?”

Suddenly, the radar of the ship began to beep and text began filling the screen, “Looks like we’re here.” Vieru said, taking hold of the controls. Apollo stared at him for a few moments before suddenly lowering as if in defeat, “You really are crazy.” He muttered, shedding his shell.

Vieru flew directly to the coordinates given to them by Yulin. Apollo recommended against it, but when they came across a grouping of Fallen, Vieru’s very temperament changed. His heartrate sped up and his breathing quickened, “Are we going to find an L.Z…?” Apollo asked, trailing off as he noticed Vieru unbuckle himself, “Of course…” He sighed.

Vieru suddenly put the ship into auto pilot and hit the Eject button. The Titan was launched into the air and a vicious, almost dark laughter came from him. Adrenaline was taking over, “Let’s go!” The man’s voice rang out. Blue bolts and lasers shot out at him and suddenly, a spark shot out from his body. “You really are crazy, Vieru!” Apollo called out. The man’s armored body plummeted down into the group of Fallen into a vicious shockwave of raw Arc Energy. Seven enemies down all at once.

His blue eyes were no longer calm, they were bloodthirsty as they gazed out through his helmet’s HUD. He drew his Scout Rifle and began to shoot at enemy after enemy. One, two, three, four; Dregs were falling like flies. Five, six, seven, eight; Shanks barely even got a fix on him as he jumped from cover to cover. Nine, ten, eleven, twelve; Vandals were completely losing focus of the battle, they had to call for help. Thirteen, “Well… I just wasted our Final Round.” Vieru said as the Captain’s Arc Shield allowed him to brush off the round, “We should have brought Judgement!” The Titan yelled out as he dropped his Scout Rifle and brought up the sights of his Sniper Rifle. One, absorbed by the shield; two, the shield was down; three, the Captain’s armor cracked; four, the Captain was down.

“A whole fucking clip…” Vieru muttered.

“Language…” Apollo teased.

“Judgement could have brought him down in two pumps.” Vieru complained.

“You would have tried to punch him for fun.” Apollo retorted.

Vieru sighed and mounted his Prudence on his back, “Well…” his word trailed off before grabbing his Crusader. He reloaded and looked around at the ruins. Ancient remains of a city; Rome. It was depressing; as if some deep spark of hope remained that the city could have stayed intact.

“Vieru…” Apollo spoke before materializing in his shell and floating above the Titan, “… we’re getting a Guardian’s Distress Signal from the area… it’s weak, but someone is here and they’re in trouble.” He informed his Human while shifting about to get a better read on the signal.

Vieru nodded as he walked over to one of the Vandal’s bodies, staring down at the golden color donned by the Fallen, “Set the course.”

“You were right about the Kings… but how did you know?” Apollo asked, materializing Vieru’s Sparrow and dematerializing himself.

Vieru shook his head, “No idea.” He muttered before mounting the Sparrow and speeding off towards the waypoint set in his HUD.