Chapter 1: Solas
Aphrodite Terra, Ovda Regio
The sound of distant active volcanoes seemed almost artificially muted so deep in the vast Venusian rainforest. The boom and rumble bounced and distorted off the thick trunks of the local flora so much so that to the uninitiated, it was as if the canopy itself was voicing its displeasure at the foreign presence of a guardian. However, Solas-3 was anything but uninitiated in the ways of this world.
The Exo walked carefully through the dense growth, taking care to disturb as little as possible. The warlock knew through research and harrowing experience that while there were far more dangerous things on Venus, even the Fallen scouts learned to fear what naturally lived here. Predatory beasts, as well as violent plants knew the balance of this place, and were quick to attack what seemed out of place.
While the tense peace of this place always intrigued Solas-3, this incursion was for a different purpose. Two days earlier, orbital scans revealed the specific non-baryonic signature of a new Vex conflux being formed. While the majority of Vex activities have focused more on the planet’s other continent, their actions have been less predictable since the Black Garden was cleansed of the evil heart and returned to the normal spacetime flow of our universe. While researchers and talking heads back at the City would consider the ramifications of these scans for days, Solas was far more of a hands-on intellectual.
“Wisp,” Solas whispered as he placed every step with care on the moss-covered ground. His ghost materialized a few inches from his shoulder, hovering beside him. “How much further?”
“According to our ship’s latest low-orbit scans, the neutrino confluence is directly ahead.” informed Wisp calmly. Solas-3 slowly dropped to his stomach and began to crawl. In a few feet, he found himself at the lip of a large and deep depression in the land, perhaps created from an ancient celestial impact. A clearing in the canopy let some sunlight in, but the Vex synth-stone structure as it riled and folded into our 3-dimensional brane did far more to light up the space, casting its cold glow not just on the local wildlife but on the several dozen Vex units as well. Solas-3 chose to engage, numerous harpies would lock him down long enough for the goblins and minotaurs to destroy him. The enemy was most certainly attempting to gain a foothold in this new area and was ready to repel any small scouting party, thought Solas-3.
At this point in the reconnaissance mission, Wisp would be keying up the armour’s sensor suite, being sure to keep all scans passive while Solas-3 would drop into a trance and seek what the universe was only willing to reveal to one who walks in the light. However, a ping caught both their attention before this could happen.
“Priority Gemini recall order from The Tower.” said Wisp, “No further information, but it looks like it’s just for us.” Solas-3 sighed slightly. It was a low-level fireteam recall, usually used to lure guardians into non-critical operations. Newer fireteams would usually scoop up these jobs off the general relays to rack up favour with command and others influentials. For this type of recall to be sent specifically to a veteran fireteam was odd.
Wisp grabbed what data it could before Solas-3 cautiously vacated the area. An hour later, his ship auto-extracted him from a bare cliff to deliver him to those who beckoned him.