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A Light in Time (Chapter 1)

A Light in Time (Chapter 1)

…..Venera’s Landing — Station 17 …..

…..Several hundred kilometers Southeast of the Ishtar Sink…..

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…..Day Five — Investigation of an Undetermined Vex Warpgate Location…..

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…..Guardian — Erebus Eques — Warlock…..

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…..7300S30300E…..

Venus, a warm and very wet planet. It is astonishingly beautiful, but I hate it. I prefer cold climates. They’re more predictable. In any case, I am stuck here, where the rain is oftentimes acidic and the wildlife large enough to swallow me whole. I am sure that this planet was a lot more forgiving before The Collapse, but over the years it has become a ruin… A fossil from The Golden Age.

I have spent five long days near Venera’s Landing attempting to locate and destroy a Vex Warpgate. The Vanguard had recently uncovered evidence of suspicious activity of the Hezen Corrective in this area. Unsure as to what this might mean, the Vanguard sent me on this task to scout, locate, and destroy any possible threat. Unfortunately, I have been sent to this location alone and without backup. The Vanguard deemed the mission fit for only one Guardian…

We believed we had all sources of Vex activity located and monitored on Venus, but it appears we were wrong, Ikora Rey told me just before I departed the Tower on Earth. We were standing in the Hall of Guardians, along with Cayde-6 and Commander Zavala, looking at a map of Venus. It appears we were wrong in that assumption. Near the old Venera’s Landing outpost we have noticed a surge in Vex activity. Ikora looked at me and I saw her determination in her eyes. We believe there is a Vex Warpgate hidden somewhere near this location. Find it and destroy it. I nodded in approval and left the Tower shortly after our meeting.

Since my arrival to Venera’s Landing I have had little success in locating any surge of Vex activity. I have journeyed through some abandoned cities, wandered through unexplored jungles, and patrolled over some remarkable territory, but I have found little information that would be of any value to the Vanguard, especially concerning any hidden Vex Warpgate.

That is, up until just a few hours ago.

My Ghost and I were exploring an abandoned outpost from the Golden Age when, below some foliage, we discovered a dormant Vex material node. At first glance I shrugged it off as wreckage from the abandoned outpost, but the faint glow emanating from within the device caught my eye. It was square in shape, about two feet tall and two feet wide, and it was planted deeply into the surface. I noticed that the soft glow was coming from thousands of thin lights moving in a grid-like formation from beneath the square metal plating.

“What do you think it is?” I asked my Ghost.

My Ghost began to hover over the formation and examine it carefully.

“I believe it is a terminus and it might open a passageway nearby. Let me check it out,” the Ghost replied.

My Ghost expanded and analyzed the material node more carefully. After a few moments delicate rays of light began to materialize above the rock, extending and bending their way upwards until a small tower of light stood before me.

“I believe that this is what we have been looking for,” said the Ghost, “and there should be some sort of passageway nearby. I am sensing it somewhere to the south of our location.”

I turned around and began walking. “How far south?” I asked.

“I would imagine it being within walking distance. Perhaps it…”

The voice of my Ghost trailed out as I suddenly fell through a small hole in the ground that was not originally there.

After I landed I quickly recovered from the fall and drew my hand cannon and checked my immediate surroundings for any enemy presence. After a few tense moments I lowered my weapon as my Ghost slowly descended into the pit to accompany me.

“Let me shed a little more light for you,” it said.

As the light began to illuminate around me I was able to notice that we were not in some random pit, but rather a dark chamber. The floor and walls were plated with ancient Vex material and the ceiling above was made of an exotic Vex stonework. Thick moss was growing near the entrance to the chamber and small plants made their way through the cracks of the ceiling. To my left there was a dark corridor illuminated on each side by two thin glowing white lights. A warm breeze passed over me from within.

“What do we do?” asked the Ghost.

“We go in,” I stated without hesitation.

My heart was pumping in anticipation as I left the small antechamber and entered the dark corridor. The ground was damp and blistered with moss and other vegetation, occasionally revealing a dark Vex material beneath. The light of my Ghost reflected off of walls around me and I noticed small, thin streaks of light running along the passageway, as if the passageway was some sort of large datamind feeding information and knowledge to an unknown Vex entity.

“This seems to be an entrance to a Vex network. I can feel it pulsating,” observed my Ghost. He continued, “The Vex… Their power is like a surging virus, dormant at first but deadly if left unattended for too long. They are fascinating, but at the same time dangerous and unforgiving.”

As I followed the faint streaks of light running along the passageway I could not help but notice small crevasses along the floor that appeared to plunge deep into nothingness. I kept a keen lookout as I carefully walked along the path as not to fall into the depths that would lead me to certain death. Each crevasse emitted wisps of steam along with a distinct smell of sulfur dioxide. Although regarded as a natural chemical produced on Venus, I had previously noted that when the Vex teleport on Venus they produce clouds of smoke and electricity that oftentimes reek of sulfur dioxide. I kept my weapon ready, waiting for any possible Vex confrontation.

We seemed to be going very deep into the Venusian surface. Although the moss was still littered along my path I did notice that any real vegetation had ceased to exist. The glow of the thin lights along the corridor helped illuminate the passageway, but I could not resist the feeling that I was in a dark and lonesome place as I plunged deeper into the unknown.

I had traveled a great distance through the corridor when I reached a crossroads in my path. I was puzzled as I looked around at the three separate passageways joining the one I had just come from. I peered down into passageway to my left and I felt a cold, brooding presence that seemed to lay just beyond where the light of my Ghost reached. I looked to the passageway immediately in front of me where the path seemed to continue to descend into nothingness. However, it was to my right I noticed that the thin streaks of light turned and continued down the path.

“Look, here,” said my Ghost.

Below my feet, where all four corridors met, was a large stone plate with vague but discernible runes etched into its surface. Although unable to understand what exactly the runes meant, I understood them to be of ancient Vex origin, similar to runes I found near the Vault in the Ishtar region.

“Ghost, are you able to determine the meaning of these runes?” I asked.

My Ghost shined its light over the rune pointing towards the corridor I had come from. The rune was a triangle with a small circle in the center. “This is an ancient Vex rune for ‘Present’, or what exists as of now. Judging by where we came from I can expect that this is their idea of entering into present-day Venus.”

My Ghost hovered over the rune directly in front of me pointing towards the corridor that descended into nothingness. The rune contained the three corners of a triangle, the top corner connected by two lines to a circle in the center. “This is an ancient Vex rune for ‘Time’ and ‘Ontology’, the idea that time and reality can separately coexist and that true existence is dependent on both.”

The Ghost’s gaze passed over to the rune pointing towards the left corridor, where the cold brooding presence seemed to push through my Ghost’s light. The rune contained a reverse triangle, two incomplete squares, and two circles. The incomplete squares lay on either side of the reverse triangle, enveloping one circle each. “This is the ancient Vex rune for ‘Death’ or ‘Eradicate’, the idea that any form of existence that oversteps the boundaries set before them must face the insurmountable opponent that erases them from existence.”

My Ghost passed its light over the final rune that pointed towards the right, where the streaks of light silently ran along into the darkness beyond. The Rune depicted a lone triangle with a pinnacle atop its peak and a smaller, curved line crossing at the very top. “I am a little unsure as to what this rune depicts exactly, but I believe it is the rune for “Power”, the idea that power is dependent on control and that control is dependent on the confluence of all days future and past into one cognitive stream.”

I pondered over what my Ghost just told me. “It sounds like something familiar, something sort of like the vault in the Ishtar region,” I said.

“In reality, the Vex seize as many opportunities as they can to control all aspects of time. Whether an enemy that exists in the future trying to take control of the past or an enemy in our past trying to seize the future, they are a dangerous military group that could quite possibly eradicate us and many other lifeforms.” My Ghost briefly paused then continued, “They are a virus to our known existence and must be stopped, but they cannot be stopped unless they are more fully understood. We must continue on so that we can send more information back to the Tower.”

I quickly thought about the possibilities of the three corridors that lay before me.

Should I investigate the cold recesses to my left, where boundaries may be crossed? Where death may be a more certain possibility?

Does the path directly in front of me hold the secrets of the Vex and their ability to travel across vast reaches of time and reality?

Or should I go to my left, in the direction of the lights running along the walls, where I may possibly reach something of immense power?

After several moments I made up my mind. “We go right, in the direction of the lights. I believe that our current mission lies in that direction.” I paused and looked down at my feet, looking over each rune individually. “Ghost, I need you to scan these runes so that we can provide this information to the Tower when we return.” My Ghost nodded in reply and quickly scanned the runes.

We began our journey down the right corridor, the lights on the walls almost acting as silent sentinels escorting us along our path. The passageway was silent and warm, almost too warm for comfort, and each step I took seemed to resonate in the quiet recesses of this Vex underground. The crevasses along the floor began to grow in abundance as I traveled further through the passageway, forcing me to carefully choose where to place my feet.

At great length we came to a gaping hole in the floor. I looked down into the dark abyss and saw nothing put wisps of vapor and smoke below. Hovering slightly ahead my Ghost said, “The hole is only a few feet wide. It also appears that the lights along the walls stop here.”

I looked towards my Ghost and then again back down into the crevasse in front of me. Taking just a couple of steps back, I decided to run and jump in order to pass over the crevasse and meet my Ghost where it waited for me. I ran, I jumped, and immediately after landing on the other side of the crevasse I felt the weight of my body fall forward. To my horror I did not immediately land on the floor of the passageway, but rather I was falling forward into an unknown space.

I began to think about where my body would land and how my life would end when I all of a sudden hit solid ground several feet below from where I fell. I quickly picked myself back up, noting that that was the second time I had fallen unwillingly into an unknown area. My Ghost hovered down beside me, chuckling.

“You do have a way with unexpected entrances, don’t you?” it said sarcastically.

I shook my head in quiet disbelief at the humorous comment and then asked, “Where are we?”

My Ghost illuminated its light through the darkness and it soon became apparent that I had fallen into a large chamber. The streaks of light from the corridor ran out and along the walls of the chamber, marking the four corners and converging into one solitary blue orb in the wall in front of me. As my eyes adjusted to the dark chamber I could see that I was in a large room made up of simplistic Vex stonework with metal plating interspersed throughout. Immediately to my left and right were two large pillars, both about ten feet tall, and directly in front of me was a smaller structure that stood about two feet above me.

I could not quite make out the shape of this oddity standing in front of me, but as I walked up to it I noticed that the center of it was hollow and contained a glass orb in its cavity. The orb contained a white, glowing liquid, frothing and bubbling inside. I reached out my hand to touch it, but before I made contact a flash of light shot out and struck me, launching me back into the wall behind me.

I quickly got to my feet, my head throbbing and my legs slightly trembling from the force of the impact. I looked ahead of me to where the structure stood and to my horror I realized that it was no native structure to the chamber at all, but rather it was a dormant Vex Praetorian waiting to be awoken for passage. Its three red eyes awoke and blazed in the dark, the large center eye focused on me, and its arms began to eject from their placeholders at its side. The Vex guard grew in stature as its legs fully extended and brought it to alarming heights, dwarfing me in its presence.

A loud screech emanated from within, echoing throughout the chamber, followed by a series of clicks and beeps. The Praetorian raised its weapon, a large torch hammer, and I saw the deadly radiation smoking from its tip.

I went to draw my weapon, but nothing was there. I looked around me in an effort to arm myself, but once I saw my firearm out of reach to my left I resorted to my secondary plan. I raised my hands in front of me, letting the surge of adrenaline and light flow through my body. My hands began to pulsate and dark wisps of violet circled around my gauntlets. I stared directly at the giant machine in front of me, waiting to make my move.

The Praetorian let out another loud screech and slammed its foot into the stone floor….

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About David Stillman

By trade I am a film and TV music composer, but in my spare time I love playing Destiny, enjoying time with my family, and reading/writing fiction. Since I was a kid I would always immerse myself into strange and forgotten worlds through storytelling. In an effort to give back to the community I have created this entangled series about the Guardians of the Last City.
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