endothermy

Feb. 24th, 2017 10:06 pm
sideways: [o] heart being brandished in air (►she keeps my heart)
[personal profile] sideways
Title: Endothermy
Rating: G
Series: Bungie's Destiny (original characters)
Wordcount: 749
Summary: In which there are some hurdles to being the only human on a fireteam.
Remarks: Pure unbridled sap, as a gift for some friends. Of course they then swung around and outsapped me by actually drawing a bit of it! Critical hit.

The wintering has settled across the world in merciless detail: in the Tower, bright banners hang stiff and Guardians hurry from door to door, collecting snow in their collars; in the Cosmodrome, slick patches of ice lurk between drifts to catch over-enthused wanderers and Fallen gather in taciturn huddles, clutching the warm cores of their shock rifles close.

In the Giant’s Husk, wind threads through every needlepoint hole and Kass folds her gloved hands deeper into her sleeves, thinking ruefully of Mars.

No fire can be lit, either at their feet or in the palm of a hand; they are uncommon subtlety tonight, seated in deep shadow with a clear view to the pathway below. The Exos with her are dimmed and muted behind their armour, talking only in quiet words and careful gesticulation. Guardians do not, as a rule, do ambushes – but tactics are always tailored to the target.

“Bah and double pah,” Yarrow mutters to her left. A curious choice of expression for an entity without lips. “Just our luck if there’s a blizzard coming in on that breeze.”

Breeze, Kass muses. She is chilled beneath three layers of fabric and armourweave designed to insulate the wearer.

To her other side, Euclid turns his head to face it, horned visage masked by a round helmet for once. The cool pulse of the void is a secondary current around them with her fellow Warlock at the centre – a net cast wide in preparation for four-armed fish – but it must be a different set of senses he consults as he says, “Not tonight. I think. I really need to update my predictive software, there’s nothing comparable on Venus.” Bright optimism. “But a blizzard might be to our advantage in any case!”

“Not likely,” Yarrow says. “They scuttle.”

“Ah, the lightweight physiology. Impressively adaptable.”

“They can adapt to my fist.”

“Titan talk,” Kass says mildly.

“Bite your tongue,” the Hunter retorts.

The wind wails somewhere close, the low, wobbling music of an inexperienced piper struggling over their mouthpiece. Kass exhales slowly inside her helmet, and feels the heat of her breath warm her cheeks, too briefly.

Euclid’s head swings back around, so sudden that Kass and Yarrow both glance automatically along the path in expectation of movement. “Kass,” he is all he says, though, concern woven around the word. “Your core temperature is g-getting a bit low. And you’re shivering.”

Before she can respond, Yarrow makes a muffled grinding sound and says, “Wait, those vibrations are you? Light and laughter, I thought something was making a burrow under our feet.”

We are all the Traveler’s chosen, Kass thinks, and says, “Well. It’s very cold.”

“Obviously,” Yarrow says, impatient, “but the rattling’s a tad distracting, so just-”, and then stops.

Kass waits – patient. And, she will confess, a little petty.

Unconscious homeostasis,” Euclid says in tones of deepest self-reproach, at the same moment Yarrow thumps the heel of her hand very lightly against her visor and says, “Oh, right.”

Discomfort is the Guardian’s due. They work when cold, when tired, when bleeding vital fluids into the sand. It is to be expected.

Less expected is the sudden movement: the arm around her neck, the tug sideways against a solid body, the “You honestly can’t take ‘em anywhere,” said over her head in Yarrow’s lofty tone.

Surprised reflex alone places Kass’ palm against Yarrow’s side – a point of vulnerability in most organics, only slightly less so in an Exo – but the storm stays subdued inside her and the Hunter doesn’t recoil. The crudely thoughtful gesture does little on its own in any case, though she knows from Guile that the smooth synthetic would be warm underhand if she were ungloved, and the cloak is one more layer; more immediately effective is Euclid’s slide into bright radiance as he shuffles close to box her in from the right, a wash of unseen sunlight that provokes an echo from the solar seeded deep inside the Gunslinger on her left.

They are hard edges, heavy weights, and entirely within her personal space. She might, in a few minutes, be warm.

“Will we make our attack tangled together?” Kass says dryly.

“Cannonball,” Yarrow says with relish. “Ether Runner wouldn’t see that coming.”

(It’s not a very long drop. It’s still not a very appealing idea.)

Euclid’s chin shifts on her shoulder. “You know, that is a rather, er, Titan-ish strategy.”

“Strike that, I’m booting Euc over the edge first.”

Winter howls - and here, finds itself rebuffed.
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