Chapter 13: Desert Creatures
The Black Garden
It was a rare occurrence when Vatyr found it difficult to believe what he was seeing. He’d read the reports of this place, of course. He knew about the Vex and how the Traveler had supposedly trapped them here in a pocket of spacetime, along with a piece of the Darkness itself. He knew about the brave guardians who dared to break in and slay the “heart” of Darkness that the Vex worshiped. Still, for a place of such evil, it was amazingly beautiful and alive.
Massive corridors of synthstone still coursed with Vex energy. Lush flora grew everywhere, providing a living snapshot of the Martian ecosystem that was being encouraged during the Golden Age. Bioengineered flowers with blood-red petals must have been a common sight in Freehold gardens before the Collapse, but without humanity to nurture the changing global ecosystem, Mars returned to the sand.
Ever since the Garden was freed, teams of scientists had taken up residence within its walls, attempting to unlock its secrets. Fireteam Warden was on-site as part of a bolstering of military security, courtesy of the Tower. Fireteams would shift in and out, making sure the remaining Vex presence didn’t become a problem for the expedition. So far it had been going rather well.
Vatyr had taken up a well-used sniper perch while he listened to chatter and gazed at the beauty of his surroundings. It was rare for him to be so relaxed while operating in a combat zone. Solas was off assisting the group of scientists tasked with surveying the shrine where the heart of Darkness once resided.
Telemica was called away several hours ago and seemed far too rushed to explain what was going on. Vatyr didn’t even consider how long she was gone until she opened up comms with the rest of Warden on a secure channel.
“We have a big problem.”
“Nice to see you too.” quipped Vatyr at the video link of Telemica in her ship’s cockpit.
“The Cabal are coming.” stated Solas so dryly it was as if he was stating that the sun was hot.
“How did you-? Yeah. Cabal. Scouts have been tracking increased activity for some time now, as well as changes in the Exclusion Zone satellite network. We thought it was a response to the increased guardian presence of the last few months but a few hours ago we caught a huge spike in activity. Sats we thought were going one way darted off in another and-” Telemica took a half-breath, knowing her team could piece together the rest.
“They’re taking the Garden from us.” said Solas with a hint of sadness.
“The interference lattice is already coalescing around you. Normal communications are already dead and all our orbital assets are either dead, blind or getting extracted. The only way I’m getting through is ghost-to-ghost quantum entanglement, but that only gives us a minute at most. The bulk of the Blind Legion is coming and will have their main imperial land tank on top of you in a little over one hour. I’m just ahead of them and burning hard on a suborbital apogee. You two need to evacuate everyone and everything you can.” Telemica commanded as her signal began to devolve into static. “We’ve got forces and transports on the way but the Cabal will get there first! MOVE!”
The last command was mostly eaten by static as the line went dead and a rumble from above.