Disclaimer: The Operator in this is a young adult, so over 18+. Also, the way Primes are made was change a little for the sake of the story.
The Operator of the ship was kneeling in front of the star chart, both hands on his thighs. With his body still, it was clear that there were thousands of thoughts running through his mind. Besides his soft breathing, one could only hear the ambient sound of the ship working.
"Operator? Ordis wonders... what are you thinking about?" A silence followed that question, and after a while, it was broken by a sigh.
"Her. As usual, by now," He answered sharply before returning to silence.
Ever since he has upgraded Valkyr into her Prime version, control over her has been troublesome, to say the very least. It was challenging, even before the upgrade at times, but at that moment? It required an intense amount of focus and it strained his mind too much after prolonged use. And that was when it was simply moving her around and fighting from the distance. Void knows it was a bad idea when he tried to get up close and personal with a Grineer only to freeze in place moments before the strike made contact.
"Operator, the armory is filled with -killing machines- different Warframes. Perhaps Ordis should prepare a different one for the nex-"
"No. I can't just switch to a different one and give up. If I settle with that, I'll never be able to control a Prime," Tenno firmly interrupted and rose up from his knees.
"Very well, Operator. Is there anything else Ordis can do for you?" The Cephalon asked, adding 'Ordis shall not offer to switch to another Warframe' to a certain list, right under 'Ordis shall not order any chairs for the ship without asking'.
"If you could, look for alerts, preferably nothing too difficult. I want to train with her again."
With that out of the way, the Tenno proceeded to the arsenal. The ramp that blocked the deeper part of the ship hissed and lowered itself down, making it possible to pass through.
And there she was. Standing still at the very rear of the lower deck, like a statue waiting to be brought back to life. The Operator moved to the front of his Warframe and stopped right there, glancing at her face, if he could even call it that.
"Still fighting against me, huh," He asked, immediately scolding himself in his thoughts for not breaking the habit of talking to things that won't talk back. That being his Warframes. Mostly.
He kept his eyes on her, losing himself in thoughts once more. Valkyr has always been the first choice when it came to various missions, be it rescue, capture, assassination... She was certainly the Warframe he used the most. Melee combat always brought a sense of satisfaction with each strike, something distance weapons couldn't quite provide for him. So naturally, Valkyr was the perfect fit. That fact made it even more frustrating when he couldn't control her enough to fight in a way he loved to. But he knew, or rather hoped, it was just a phase that would soon be over and that he could rely on her again in no time. The bond between them was strong, just a matter of patience.
The depth of their bond was cemented during the time he first discovered his nature. During the Second Dream. A lot of memories from that time are still hazy, due to his weakened state back then. What he could clearly remember was the feeling of helplessness, when the air his lungs cried for was blocked by a cold hand of Stalker. It was the first time he truly felt fear, the first time he was at someone's else mercy.
It was different from the time he had first awoken from his cryo-sleep -- he still had a way to fight back and, in the end, overcame Vor's plans of capture. With Stalker, all he could do was to try to pry off the hand that was about to end his life. And that would happen if it wasn't for Valkyr who saved him. Without any order, simply on her own, she broke apart the sword called War, ending the Hunhow's almost perfect plan. What followed is unknown to him, as his consciousness slipped away, only to later wake up in the hands of Lotus.
It was the first, and so far, the only time something like that occurred with any of the Warframes. Tenno's fondness of Valkyr only grew after that and when an opportunity to upgrade her into a Prime version appeared, he did it without a second thought.
"Operator? There is an alert mission, on a small Corpus frigate. It's sabotage, and the reward for it is resources that might become useful in the future," Ordis said after a moment of consideration if it was a proper time.
The teen shook his head, blinking a few times. "Corpus, huh..." He had yet tried doing a Corpus mission with Valkyr, avoiding it out of fear that it might be too much to control his Warframe, due to her past with them.
"Accept it and head towards the enemy ship," He said, feeling his heartbeat rise ever so slightly.
"Are you sure? Ordis reminds you that it is a Corpus ship."
Tenno took another glimpse at the Valkyr, trying to set his mind at ease. It was a risk, but...
"I know, heard you the first time. A chance to test it in a semi-safe mission is not that common and I have to try it sooner or later," he paused, giving it the last consideration, "Yes, I'm sure. Fly the ship there, Ordis."
With the final confirmation, Cephalon turned on the engines of the Liset and put in the coordinates of the frigate.
The Operator closed his eyes, breathed in deeply and focused on his Warframe and nothing else. It didn't take long for the link to be established. When he 'opened' his eyes again, he found himself in Valkyr's body, controlling it. To some extent, anyway.
He looked down and moved his fingers in front of his face, the claw-like hand following his order. The Tenno couldn't help but wonder how nice it would be if it was always that easy.
The Warframe was taken care of, now it was time for the weaponry. The arsenal machine quickly made use of its various arms, bringing up the usual weapons for the mission from the current load-out -- a Burston, a Skana and a Lex. Tenno didn't bother with checking while equipping them, as he trusted Ordis that they were in the best possible condition. Most of the time, anyway. Everything was ready for the mission and all he could do now was wait for the arrival.
Tenno kicked down the air shaft, dropping alongside it to the metallic floor of the Corpus ship with the grace of a cat.
"Our target is the reactor. Breach engineering and destroy it. Be careful," Lotus said, always there to remind him of the goal.
"Got it," was all he responded with, as he grabbed the Burston from his back.
The Operator was now faced with a choice -- either to do the mission stealthily or not. Keeping it quiet would make it less risky, of course, but that would take forever with a Warframe that doesn't specialize in it. He decided to go with being loud, as it would make the practice much more rewarding. Besides, he has never been a fan of being quiet.
Tenno ventured forward, carefully minding his surroundings, watching out for any enemies. Controlling Valkyr Prime provided him with a slight headache followed by dizziness. Being surrounded by Corpus machinery only seemed to make those effects much stronger, just like Operator had expected.
Even with her version before, fighting Corpus always felt a bit different. He felt much more angry, furious when fighting them. It made sense that Valkyr Prime would be trouble in such scenarios too.
He continued forward, until finally coming across a single Crewman walking through the corridor of the ship. Tenno aimed the Burston and shot him right in the head, the bullet piercing through the helmet, the lifeless body dropping to the ground with a thud. There must have been a Moa nearby, as it let out its characteristic screech and ran to the source of the fire. After it came to view, he fired another series of shots, the first one being absorbed by the shield followed by the second piercing the robot right through.
That only resulted in a chain reaction of more and more Corpus units getting alerted, Moas roaring, and Corpus units giving orders in their language. Soon after an alarm followed, alerting the rest of the ship of the presence of an intruder. The Tenno reloaded his weapon and took cover, preparing for the assault.
The Operator was breathing heavily at that point, the long encounter with the Corpus troops taking a toll on him. They didn't damage the Warframe much, but Valkyr was becoming harder and harder to control.
When he was getting close to the reactor, the pain just got worse. The headache was making it hard to focus, and his body felt as if it was falling asleep. He wasn't sure if it was because of Corpus or some other reason, but it was simply getting difficult to move. He focused for a moment and exited Valkyr, standing now on the ship on his legs.
"Operator, there seems to be some strange interference, is everything alright?" his Cephalon chipped in and asked.
"I... I think so. Valkyr is becoming hard to handle, so I'm gonna go on my own for the reactor. We might not be able to take both out though... Eh, should be enough to break or cripple the ship at the very least."
Ordis did not respond further and just cut the connection. He trusted in his Operator's skills, and now he had another task -- finding the source of the strange signal.
The Tenno continued the mission, eliminating occasional troops with his amp. The main bulk of their forces got defeated in the first encounter, leaving only some leftover robots and Corpus troops.
Eventually, he got to the reactor, but... he also noticed something. Something at the back of his head, a sound that was blocked out by all the fighting. There indeed was some strange static in the background, nothing serious to cause problems with communication, but still. It must have been the signal that his Cephalon mentioned, he thought. He didn't think much of it for the time being, as there were more pressing matters. He removed the reactor core and threw it on the ground, the coolant no longer helping with the ship's heat system.
The ship unexpectedly shook, all the lights flickering a few times, a loud groan of metal pushing on other metal from the depth of the ship.
"O—tor, what is going on! I'm l-- signal, get o-" It was the last thing that managed to go through the comms before the connection with his ship was cut off.
Tenno could feel his heart beating faster, thousands of ideas on what was happening on his mind. Did the ship's power being down somehow cut the connection? Was he under attack? He took a deep breath to calm down and began sprinting back to his Warframe. No matter which one was the truth, the best course of action was to get back to Valkyr so he could defend himself against this possible threat.
He was getting closer, the ship shaking from time to time, the lights flickering from the secondary power source. When he finally got to the hallway where his Warframe was left, he froze. Valkyr... was gone. His body began to tremble a little, from panic or maybe even fear. He slowly walked towards the exact spot she was last seen in, noticing that all his equipment was laying on the floor. Was it possible she was just taken? Was this a trap set up by Corpus? Could it have been Stalker even? If it was Corpus, how would they even be prepared for him, it's not like this ship was transporting remotely that valuable.
For few moments , he simply stood there, unsure what to do next. After walking in a circle, he made his mind up -- Valkyr must be somewhere on the ship. She just had to be. He picked up all of his weapons and proceeded with the new task -- finding her and taking down however took her.
After retracing his steps and exploring the ship further, he couldn't help but wonder where the crew was. After taking out a reactor, there should have been a patrol sent to check on it. His questions were quickly answered when he took another turn and paused, the view being the last thing he expected. The corridor walls and floor were covered in blood, freshly splattered around like some sick artist that made their vision come true.There were scraps of robotics scattered around, and some... of the crew's parts around too.
"What the?" he whispered to himself, as he looked around the aftermath of a massacre. After checking one of the... limbs that were left over, the damage was done by something with a lot of brute force and most likely a sharp edge. That's the most he could get from it. He bitterly thought that two of his previous guesses are out -- it was in no way Corpus' doing. And that only left him with one explanation... But why would the Stalker go for the Corpus instead of him directly, while he was without his Warframe?
The assassin didn't strike him as a type that would play around with the kill. With some hesitation, he continued forward. As he went further, he wondered if that was how his enemies felt. He never really paid attention to how brutal some of his fights were. And how many lives he has taken. During combat his mindset changed -- enemies weren't alive, didn't have their hopes, worries, anything. They were targets, to be taken down. Meeting with the reality of it was... unsettling.
Eventually, he found something interesting. It was a crewman, with his body mostly intact. He crouched in front of the man and examined the wounds. His arms appeared to have been torn apart from his body, most likely still laying nearby. The victim died from shock and bleeding out shortly after it seemed. There was one odd thing about the murder scene -- there was a surprising amount of blood behind the body. The Operator turned it around to see what the source of it was, and felt a shiver run through him as he stared at the wound with empty eyes. Blood and gore weren't anything new, no. What shocked him was how this wound was made -- by a claw. It didn't take him long to connect the dots, but he had trouble accepting what it meant.
He wasn't kept in dark for long, as in the next corridor he found something that stood out -- that is, something that wasn't on the ground dead. It was a humanoid shape. He aimed his weapon at it and slowly moved closer, not taking the shot yet. A flickering light next to the figure blinked a few times, giving enough light to confirm who it was.
It was the back of his Valkyr, standing still. He felt all of his muscles relax from being all tense. She was there, he was worried about her being taken and some such, meanwhile she was just... there. Standing. Far... away from the spot, he left her.
"V-Valkyr?" He asked.
The Operator couldn't -- didn't want to believe his eyes. Only then did he realize that on the claws of his Warframe there was fresh blood, drops of it falling to the floor. The Warframe slowly turned around, as if reacting to him calling her name. Her head was staring at him now, even without her eyes -- he could feel the intense gaze of a predator.
The Tenno took a step backward and without a moment wasted, turned around to dash away from her, afraid for his life. As he was running away, he heard the roar that was so familiar, but never had it been so terrifying.The chase was on.
He used his Void dash to gain an advantage, as many times as he could before the energy ran out. He then quickly checked the map for the fastest route to his ship. It was way too far away to make it in time. It wasn't long before he could hear metal steps closing in on him. There was no chance he could make it before she would catch him,but there was no way he'd just give up without at least putting on a fight.
The Operator went to the very end of the corridor and took the Burston to his left hand, the Amp in the other, waiting. Besides the sound of her running approaching closer and closer, he could feel his heart racing. It almost felt like everything was in slow-motion when the Valkyr Prime suddenly appeared out of the corner, running straight for him with her claws to the side. Without much of a choice, the Operator opened fire, the Amp quickly getting rid of her shield and the Burston's round hitting her armor. Just as she was about to pounce on him, he Void-dashed through her, avoiding the attack. He turned around to continue the attack, a rope of energy shot through the hall, carefully aimed at his right hand, wrapping itself around it. The berserker did not waste any time and pulled hard on the rope, bringing the Tenno closer to her and pushing him off-balance.
Before he could regain it or get free, something with the force of a truck hit him, pushing him on his back with his head hitting the metal floor from the impact. There was a loud clunk as his weapons dropped to the floor alongside him. After a moment of being dazed, he had no choice but to look up and stare at his Warframe. She pinned him down to the floor and held his arms slightly above his head, her body over his torso, straddling it with her legs.
That was it. There was nobody to come to save him this time. Out of everything in this hostile galaxy, it was his pride and stubborn attitude that finally got him killed. Maybe it was a fitting end. The Operator closed his eyes and waited for the final blow, but... None came. He carefully opened them again, only to see Valkyr's head closer than before, simply watching him.
After a few seconds, that felt like hours, he heard a growl coming from her as she moved her face closer to his. She didn't kill him yet. For some reason. She could have easily done it if that was her goal. And yet...
He gulped and decided to risk it. "V...Valkyr is that... you?"
She tilted her head when Operator used her name, moving her face so it was above his. She nudged his helmet a few times, ending it with what now sounded like an annoyed growl. Valkyr loosened her grip on his arm, making the message clear. The Tenno used it to open up his helmet, now staring at her with his own eyes.
He didn't dare to move an inch, the possibility of her going berserk and painting the walls as she did with Corpus still in the back of his head. Then, after another pause, something unexpected happened -- Valkyr moved in closer and placed her cheek against his, moving it up and down against it. Because of the whole strange situation, it took him a moment to realize it very much could be a sign of... affection. He was sure of it when he felt vibrations coming from her head, a soft purring sound now coming from his Warframe.
As she was doing that, he tried to calm down his breathing and heart that was about to burst out of his chest. This was a lot to take in, especially after thinking this would end up in his death. Hell, it most likely could still end that way if he wasn't careful. Feeling risky, he slowly moved his hand to her cheek and traced it to the top of her head, to attempt to pet her. There was no fur to speak of, of course, but the action was appreciated if he had to guess by the purring getting slightly louder.
That lasted for a minute or two, enough to give the Operator some time to accept this as a fact. That yes, his Warframe, for some unknown means was moving on her own. Murdering as well. He felt an odd sense of pride in the last part.
Lost in thoughts and petting her head, it took him a moment to realize that Valkyr lowered her body so she was laying on him, gently moving against him. He had no idea that the Warframes were so warm. Or maybe it was just a new perk by this newly found sentience. Her skin was also surprisingly soft, extremely tough as well, it felt oddly organic.
Wait, what was she doing again?
The petting turned into cuddling, as she coiled around the boy like a snake, taking him in her embrace. It was very calming, the feeling of danger and approaching death was fading away.
"Valkyr, could we... get up now? Ordis must be worried." The Tenno asked somewhat awkwardly. To his relief, Valkyr complied and let him free while getting up herself.