Here was another Destiny 2 writing challenge from our Project Exodus Discord run by someone other than me! Here were the summer-themed prompts put forward by the very talented HiseuminGo:
Challengers could veto two prompts to meet the goal of five and get their prize. Or, if they were feeling extra ambitious, they could complete all seven and get the prize of a role of their name and color of choosing.
Here’s what I came up with. My personal favorite is “Fireworks,” which is best consumed if read after the lore tabs for Mantle of Battle Harmony, Cuirass of the Falling Star, and Omnioculus, in that order.
“Not used to eyes on me, Warlock.”
“Not used to seeing people here, Hunter.”
The two remained frozen, staring at one another behind dark sunglasses, hands hovering around their hips. But of course, unburdened by their armor and weapons, there was nothing to reach for.
“Had enough of your mug on the Chelan job, to be honest,” the Warlock groused.
“Yeah well,” the Hunter said, unfurling a towel with a snap and letting it settle on the sand, “you may have taken the largest share on the Chelan job, but you still don’t own the beach.”
“Had enough of that attitude, too.”
“Then by all means, stop talking to me. You ever take a vacation from running that mouth?”
The Hunter spread out on the towel, but could only pretend not to feel the Warlock’s eyes on him for so long. After a minute, he whirled on his side, propping himself up on his elbow. “Seriously. What?”
The Warlock looked away at once. “Still tired of looking at you.”
The Hunter fished around in the pocket of his swim trunks. He crushed whatever-it-was against his chest and disappeared, leaving behind only a faint shimmer and indentations of his body in the sand.
The Hunter’s voice came from empty space. “Better?”
The Warlock’s answer came as a mutter: “Some vacation this turned out to be.”
Today, while exploring around the base of the structure the Guardians collectively refer to as the “Tower,” the hatchlings and I were startled by the very sudden appearance of a body as it fell from the sky.
Needless to say, most among us were very shocked and upset by this. Luckily, a friendly Ghost popped up to explain that their Lightbearer had been careless climbing some scaffolding outside the Tower, and apologized for the fright.
Just as everyone had settled down, someone shouted a warning and another body came down, not far from the first.
Some kind residents of the City had the sense to usher us away from that section of the wall. They took us to a wooded “park” nearby, with a perfect view of the Tower, where groups of spectators idly stopped to watch flailing Guardians fall. One spectator, called Prak’kesh, even took handfuls of Glimmer as others “bet” which obstacles these Lightbearers would strike on the way down. I found it funny, though unsurprising, that while the spectators happily watched this violence, they were still wary enough to keep their distance from our little group.
I expressed my disbelief that all Lightbearers were so clumsy, and a kind bystander told me that it wasn’t all accidents: sometimes Guardians took these falls just for fun. Sometimes they pushed one another as a kind of revelry. Sometimes, another said, the height of the Tower wasn’t enough to sate them, and they would take to the skies and fall from their jumpships. They spoke of this humorously, and I did my best to hide my shock at this strange practice.
I wonder if this behavior is yet another side effect of the immortality afforded to our new hosts. After viewing the bloodsport known as the “Crucible,” I cannot say I’m all that surprised.
“Didn’t even realize that was you, Goldie,” says a voice, closer than she expected. Rhiannon fumbles with her clip, shamed and angry to have been caught reloading, a million times worse that it’s by her. There must be something she can do to quip back, startle her, stall for time–
“All the same. Nothing personal, sweetheart.”
The lack of notoriety hurts worse than the bullet the Hunter leaves in her heart before the Rat Man yanks the Invader back to the other side.
Silver brings her back and she’s rabid, unhinged, flame quickening her heels as she sprints past Taken and teammates for the dark portal and claws her way through too fast for the Drifter to even announce it over comms.
She explodes on the other side like a meteor, a sword in each hand, roasting everything her Light touches. A Warlock and a Hunter–not the Hunter she’s looking for–drop a fat bounty of motes as they both go up like twin suns. Rhiannon’s team cheers her, but she doesn’t hear the praise that normally nourishes her so. The Titan fires something heavy at her, and Rhiannon retaliates with a cruel lick of flame.
“Tracking module on that rocket,” Silver calmly informs her.
She dashes midair microseconds before impact. The Titan stares at the injustice of it just before being reduced to a smudge of ash on the pristine Vex landscape.
“You heard what I–”
“YES!” Rhi barks at her Ghost. She looks to the far corner of the map where she sees the glint of a scope disappear as a giant drill bit descends from above.
She slides, ruining the hem of her fine crimson robes, slithers into the portal that drops her from the ceiling. The last remaining Hunter turns, but Rhiannon is quick like fire and twice as hot as she throws a sword overhand, pinning Ezra like a trapped insect. She’s saved the best for last.
Rhiannon closes the distance between them and transmats her helmet away.
“This is personal, Fletcher,” she says, her green eyes glinting under the Solar Light pouring off of her.
She departs a kiss on Ezra’s helmet, just where her lips would be, as the tracking rocket zips through the portal and finds them both.
The Titan thundered up to Jin, catching him in a corner of the Tower far from the prying eyes of techs and vendors.
“Yeah, don’t think I didn’t catch on to you sneaking around the whole match, trying to get close to me.”
Jin put up a hand. “Think there’s been some kind of mistake…”
“I know you tried to take my shotgun. I couldn’t see you, but I FELT it.”
Two hands up, now. “I don’t know what you’re—”
The Titan grabbed the front of Jin’s jacket, towering over him before slamming him into the wall. “I was supposed to get a Ballyhoo for winning that match. What’d you do with it, Hunter?”
“Ballyhoo.” Jin looked down at the Titan’s waist. “…That Ballyhoo?”
The Titan’s snarl melted as he gave in and looked down. Slowly, he let go of Jin’s jacket and scratched the back of his head. “Sorry. Um.” He gestured up and down. “Your kind, when you go invisible, it kinda just—it makes me so mad.”
“No worries, man,” Jin said, patting the Titan’s chestplate. “Tough match on everyone. Hard fought. Real close. And hey, that thing with the hammer? Totally didn’t see that coming.”
“Oh. Yeah.” He waved off the compliment, suddenly bashful. “Well, now you know. For next time.”
“Next time,” Jin grinned. He held it until the Titan rounded the corner out of sight and earshot.
An orange-eyed ghost appeared over his shoulder. “Risky lift, that was.”
“Couldn’t get close enough to him without him noticing,” Jin explained, spinning a hand cannon from behind his back. “Had to think of a way to get him close to me.”
He turned the weapon over in his hands, examining it: heavy, mostly gray and white, studded with spikes, and something red-brown splashed from the knife affixed under the barrel.
“This is what we’re looking for, right?”
“I don’t know,” Q said primly, spinning their shell. “According to official Vanguard policy, that weapon doesn’t exist.”
Rogue rode through the outpost the other day; dumped a survivor in our laps and wouldn’t leave until we paid up. Forked over most of the Glimmer we had, but I’d be damned if we were about to fork over supplies, what with the Proving Grounds just a stone’s throw away.
We were all a bit suspicious at first—said he found the survivor in that wrecked frigate that came down in no-man’s land more than a week ago. No way he could have survived that long, no food, no water, Lightbearer or not.
Anyway, the rogue took off. Whatever. This isn’t about him.
Took some coaxing to get the survivor’s Ghost to come out. Convinced her a reset was the best option—he’d come back awake, if still starved, at least long enough to get some food and water in him.
Panesh—that’s what he was called—didn’t talk much. Didn’t ask any questions. Should have seen that as a sign of trouble then. Idiot took off in the middle of the night on one of our sparrows. After some arguing, I decided to go after him—at least to make sure his little Ghost didn’t get picked off by Psions scouting the area.
Nearly ran over him walking back the way he’d come, only swerving as I saw him in a sudden flash overhead—mortar fire from the next field over, lighting up the sky like fireworks. He was dragging this… well, it had once been a Cabal, Legionary by the looks of the armor, but I’d never seen one look like that. Shrunken, starved… not at all the meaty menaces that liked to pancake us in those damn drop-pods.
I saw red. THIS was what he was risking his life for? And mine? But I tried to grab him and—I don’t know. Another flash lit up his face… something in him had really cracked.
I forced him into cover at least, as my Ghost calmly told me there were two Psions watching from the adjacent ridge. Panesh shoved me off, crawling back to the body—fine. Whatever. I could cover him for a rez if needed. Starting to think being dead for a bit might serve him well.
But then the Psions didn’t shoot, they just… watched. Watched this Titan as he sobbed over some dead, shriveled Legionary. Panesh shucked off his armor—skin and bones underneath, it wasn’t pretty—and started using his pauldrons to… well, anyway, I helped him dig the grave. Didn’t finish ’til morning, and Panesh finally came quietly. Different sort of quiet than he’d been before.
Made it back without any trouble. Guess the Psions had disappeared sometime in the night.
Dunno what exactly it is we’re trying to prove in all this Proving Grounds shit, but I hope the top brass figures it out soon.
It’s the look on Ezra’s face that stops Perse in her tracks. “What’s going on?”
“Ez ate a centuries-old candy that she found in a desk drawer in a Braytech office, and now she can’t figure out the flavor,” Flynn supplies.
Rodi floats forward and scans the golden wrapper with a thin beam of light. “Centuries old? It probably doesn’t taste like anything.”
Ezra shakes her head, frowns. “It tastes like something.”
Perse picks up the wrapper, piecing it back together as she tries to read the faded print. No luck. “What sort of something?”
“Sandy, if I had the words, I’d tell you. This doesn’t taste like anything I’ve ever had.”
“Why’d you stick a centuries-old piece of candy in your mouth, anyway?”
“Candy’s candy, Sandy. What, like it’s gonna go bad?” With an exaggerated, wet smacking sound, the Hunter pops the candy from her mouth and waggles it in the Warlock’s face. “Wanna try?”
Perse hesitates, then calls the bluff. She darts forward. The candy disappears between her lips.
Ezra laughs in disbelief. Both of them look away from one another. The Warlock mulls it over.
“Pineapple,” she finally says, like it’s so obvious.
“What?” say two Ghosts and the Awoken Hunter.
“Pineapple!” She looks around expectantly, but there’s no hint of recognition. “Pineapple?” She fumbles for her notebook and scribbles down a shape: a jagged circle fraught with zig-zagging lines, adorned with a spiky headdress of leaves. “Pineapple!”
“Nobody knows what you’re talking about!” Rodi cries, flying in her face.
She bats him away, so frustrated she could–
Ezra’s eyes go wide. “Did you just–?”
“I didn’t mean to!” Perse covers her mouth, feeling around for a large enough piece to salvage with her tongue. As if she’s going to just give it back. “You didn’t get more?”
“Believe me, I tried.”
“She wanted to find one for you,” Flynn says.
“I’m really sorry,” Perse whines, still covering her mouth. “I’ll make it up to you!”
“You could just give me a k…” Ezra suddenly busied herself with the fire. “…Candy. Like, another type of candy. Whatever ones you like.”
“I’ll do you one better,” Perse said, reaching for her datapad. “Next time I leave, I’m not coming back until I bring you a pineapple.”
“Sandy,” Ezra says, “if you never come back to this campsite because you’re on some Odyssey to find me some imaginary fruit, you’re gonna break my heart.”
“It exists!” she insists. She mimes, her hands hovering around her waist, “It grows in the tropics on like this spiky shrub… thing.”
Ezra turns to Rodi. “Did you know, when you raised her? That she was the galaxy’s foremost expert in imaginary fruit?”
Rodi shakes his shell. “I should have seen the signs.”
The Hunter crouches down again, elbow-deep in saltwater as he digs under the anemone, willing it to come loose from the rock it’s so insistently tethered to.
“What are they for?” his Ghost asks. He looks up, surprised to see her out, before a sudden stinging in his fingertips makes him hiss and focus back on the task at hand.
“Dunno,” he replies. He finally pries one up, grabbing it by the squirming base and dumping it unceremoniously into the bucket of seawater next to him. “The Warlock’s paying me to harvest them, not to ask questions.”
The Ghost takes notice of movement and narrows her aperture to see a hermit crab venturing on the rocky shore from one tide pool to the next.
“Go get a closer look,” he nudges her. She’s been sticking so close to him these days–he figures it can’t be healthy.
He returns to his work. She floats closer, stopping and spinning as the creature withdraws swiftly into its shell at her approach. Gently, she scans it with a thin beam of Light.
“It’s protecting itself from threats,” she assesses.
“With its shell,” she says.
There’s something she’s getting at with this, but he knows better than to dig. She’s not an anemone. She’ll get around to it eventually.
The hermit crab tentatively pokes its eyes out, notices her still hovering, and retreats once more.
“Do you think something like this would have helped?”
He blinks, but doesn’t look up. “I mean, it couldn’t have hurt.”
She sinks to the ground, settling herself on one of the rocks. The Hunter watches her.
After some time, the hermit crab feels safe venturing out again and scuttles into the newer, bigger pool.
“Can you do something for me?”
She perks up at once.
“You see one of those types of shells but empty, make a scan of it. I’m thinking of a new project I wanna start.”