Frontier – Act03 Chapter08 – Twist of Fate

Chapter 8: Twist Of Fate

Venus
Forward Base Lambda

If the Martian city of Freehold represented the public advancement of The Golden Age, then surely the Ishtar Collective represented the scientific paragon of that time. The best minds humanity had ever crafted did their work under the Collective’s watch, and surely a great wealth of it survived The Collapse.

Over the last few months, Vanguard Command has applied increased forces to Venus theatres. The goal was to put pressure on the now-weakened Vex and keep them under wraps while City forces dug in and took control of key assets.

The Fallen House of Winter represented an entirely different problem. Arguably the biggest, strongest and most aggressive of the Fallen houses, Winter was present during The Collapse and has been picking at the bones of our past for a very long time. Vanguard Command had found that even though operations to eliminate key members of their leadership- not the least of which was their Kell Draksis – were successful, their ability to project force on Venus has only increased.

Telemica was not considering strategy. At the moment she wanted nothing more than to put her fist through the table, but her titan honour wouldn’t allow such a display against a superior. Commander Zavala had come to Venus to inspect the ongoing operations there, and would no doubt be leaving in a dourer mood than usual. Those that he appointed to take control of the planet were using guardians as regular soldiers, holding rigid lines and waiting for orders.

Over the years, the Consensus built a regular military so that guardians would be more available for special missions of greater import. Over time, power brokers within the bureaucracy weaved Vanguard Command into that military structure just enough that guardians could be used in regular deployments. It was a situation Zavala, Cayde-6 and Ikora Rey had yet to find a solution for.

Guardians make their own fate… Telemica thought over and over in her head as useless yes-men buzzed around the Commander. How would he be able to make proper choices if all his advisers fed him nothing but half-truths and placative lies?

Zavala requested that Telemica attend the meeting in the cramped prefabricated bunker. He’d look at her every so often as the others spoke. She’d check her posture and try to look like she was honestly considering the empty words of these gnats in uniform.

Guardians make their own fate…

Her fist clenched and relaxed.

Guardians make their own fate…

She tried to focus on overhead readouts that should be showing all the lives lost due to bad command decisions but instead heralded unimportant gains.

Guardians make their own fate…

She suddenly noticed Zavala was ignoring his lackeys. His eyes were affixed to a map showing one of Winter’s ketches. It was once Kell Draksis’ seat of power, but since influence had shifted after his death, it was just one more ship in their fleet.

Zavala raised a finger and pointed at display, triggering a holographic representation of the area to appear above the centre table. The room lit up with images, reports and parameters as the ketch grew. “And what of this?” Zavala interrupted with, moving to the table. “Why has a major Fallen asset like a command-level ketch been designated a low priority?” He grabbed a report frame from midair as if it was on a physical clipboard. “This report suggests a new Pra-Kell has taken it over, and is perhaps even constructing a new subprime servitor.”

Excuses rang out. Guardians couldn’t assemble in great enough numbers, in proper formations and quickly enough to mount a classical frontal assault on such a hardened target. Excuses. Blame shifted to guardians in the latest of half-veiled efforts to bring them more firmly under boot. Zavala’s eyebrow raised at that and his eyes found Telemica’s, knowing her titan honour was just as much on the line as his. “What do you think, guardian?”

Telemica’s face exploded in a predatory grin that would strike fear into even the most stalwart foe. That was why Zavala had asked her to be there. Zavala needed a real guardian victory, and he knew Fireteam Warden would deliver. Her voice rang out so that even those working outside would hear her call to arms, “Guardians make their own fate!” she roared before charging out the door and into the Venusian midday rain.

The officers protested. Zavala barely cared to hear them.

Solas and Vatyr were under a tent tending to their own equipment. Vatyr whistled a tune as he calibrated some of his armour’s tactile feedback routines. “You may want to finish up. We’re about to embark on another ill-advised endeavour.” said Solas as he and Wisp finished up a report. Before Vatyr could ask what he was talking about, Telemica joined them, giddy with excitement.

“I’ve got our next mission!” Telemica proclaimed.

“Do tell.” responded Vatyr, who now knew what Solas was warning of and that the next words out of Telemica’s grinning face would be tantamount to suicide.

Telemica’s fist clenched and rose with assured victory, “We’re going to steal a ketch from the House of Winter.”

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