Forum:The Black Fleet
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|The Black Fleet|
Solar system (currently)
Ostensibly reduce complexity to simplicity
At war with:
- "We were betrayed. Our savior, our messiah, has fallen to them. We have fled our home. We have nothing left to shelter behind. Please, we beg of you, do not cast us out to the dark."
- — Ikora Rey
The Black Fleet is a fleet of tetrahedral megastructures responsible for the enshrouding of the Solar System. They are the eternal nemesis of the Traveler and all servants of the Light, and actively pursue the Traveler wherever it may go.
An ancient and highly advanced "race", these ships have been around for approximately as long as the Traveler. Few have survived their onslaughts, which are as mysterious as they are arbitrary—each species that the Traveler visits, they arrive shortly thereafter, be it a few centuries or long millennia. By then the Traveler has long departed, leaving some to speculate that it may be their agent, while those that have witnessed the Fleet's hostility towards it have argued the opposite. No clear consensus has ever been reached, nor are their goals as clear-cut as one of their servant species, the Hive.
The Ancient Past
Millions of years ago the Black Fleet had waged war against an advanced civilization known as the Hierarchy of Hierarchies and an AI God of the fourth singularity. This war lasted for many centuries, the archailect using Displacement cannons to fire implosion bubbles to great effect against invading Hive forces and was capable of destroying minor pyramids. It was all for naught as the pyramidic fleet discovered the clarketech device left behind by the Traveler and used it to detonate the system's star, and the archailect succumbed to a Vex mind-eater virus.
At least one major pyramid unit was left behind, heavily damaged, in orbit of Titania for inscrutable purposes.
Arrival of the Black Fleet
Many months after the destruction of The Almighty, during which the remnants of the Cabal empire trickled in after the sudden loss of Torobatl and their core worlds, the Black Fleet arrived en mass into the system. Multiple pyramidic fleet units entered from all areas surrounding the system, taking up holding positions around the major Jovian worlds, and began converting all local matter into gigantic constructs called "J-brains". Uranus, Neptune, and most of the Kuiper belt bodies were absorbed in this manner. Saturn was the next to fall, the inert Dreadnaught becoming a seed for the new J-brain, and Jupiter soon followed almost simultaneously.
None of this happened without major resistance. The House of Time launched several attacks upon Saturn's growing brain, utilizing hundreds of thousands of ships in its greatest offensive since the Red War and the Viral conflict. To a ship they were summarily executed, their forces no match for pyramidic scales. The forces of the Nine also launched a similar assault on the invaders of Jupiter in conjunction with the Reef and, bizarrely enough, a Cabal warfleet that had been intent on conquering the asteroid belt. These too similarly failed to catastrophic effect; the survivors universally fled to Earth and cis-lunar space, Mars having been swallowed up completely.
The Traveler was the final stand against the onslaught. Venus and Mercury disappeared, and the very Sun itself started to go black from the first stages of enshrouding—for the construction of each J-brain projected an unfathomable amount of physical Darkness. Soon it became a literal battle between Light and Dark, as the Traveler's form grew visibly brighter with pulsations of energy, and the boundaries of its influence mingled with that of the pyramids on the Moon, where horrors were birthed out of the twisted graves of the First Collapse. In the outermost limits of the atmosphere, the fleets of Caiatl's regime and the House of Time battled against endless sorties of scales.
Upon Earth itself blights appeared everywhere except where the Traveler's shield of light was strongest. Hordes of horrors poured forth—Nightmares conjured out of the collective psyches of many species. Cabal and human fought side by side, Eliksni and Awoken defended the walls of the Last City, which had grown to encompass most of South America and parts of Central America, against the armies of the Dark. The Guardians themselves numbered in the hundreds of millions, the greatest concentration since the Twilight Gap; nary a free Ghost remained Unpaired. It seemed it would be an endless stalemate, the Traveler still recovering from wounds both deep and ancient, and fresh and recent, and the Darkness in the fullness of its strength.
The Darkness had a backdoor. Through the power of Stasis it wielded an undue influence over the minds of those Guardians who adopted its usage, and gradually began to sow discord within the ranks of the Alliance. Those Guardians who hadn't fully embraced Stasis were less affected than those who did; and they who were most affected began to forsake using the Light, preferring to fight fire with fire. They started exploring the rifts and portals created by the Darkness, ending up in strange and mysterious places, and some became lost. When they returned, they had become twisted—the first harbingers of the Shadowkeepers.
Among these were the Guardian themselves. A notable figure in the history of the Last City, who felled numerous godlike beings and slew countless lieutenants of evil, they were among the first targets the Darkness attempted to subvert to its own side. After Stasis was gifted to them on Europa, through the siren song of the J-brains, the Guardian began to lose sight of their mission and started becoming despondent. Their Ghost obviously noticed this and was concerned, only to have it waved off. Though they remained mute their neurological patterns became nigh unintelligible, rendering them effectively mad.
What Ghost could decipher was a consistent sense of urgency; at first this was assumed to be the destruction of the Pyramids, however impossible that sounded. What was not clear was that this urgency was actually directed towards getting closer to the source of the songs. After long last the Guardian volunteered on a solo mission in the depths of the European Dead Zone, where the Shard of the Traveler once lay, and subsequently disappeared. The Vanguard were too busy to be concerned when they did not return; Elsie Bray, however, went after them with Eris Morn.
Instead they encountered the Black Swordsman. They briefly fought him until the Guardian themselves reappeared. Their Ghost was gone, their arms and armor replaced with living Darkness. Before, the Black Swordsman was evenly matched with the Exo and the Hunter; with the Dark Guardian, the battle was turned in their favor, and the two Allies barely escaped with their lives. They were able to make it back to the City in time to relay to the Vanguard and the Consensus the terrible truth before the Descent happened.
The Second Collapse
At the head of a great army of Nightmares and twisted beings now known as Shadowkeepers—fallen Guardians among them—came marching the Swordsman and Dark Guardian. In the skies above the unified Cabal and Eliksni fleets broke and fell, and a great Pyramid began its descent downwards. The Moon started to disassemble itself into a J-brain. The Traveler pulsated, and blasted forth a wave of power. The Shadowkeeper host was obliterated—save for two. The Dark Guardian had thrown a shield of Darkness over themselves and the Black Swordsman. When it lifted, a third figure had joined them: the White Angel. More portals were opened and a new host of Shadowkeepers poured forth, encompassing the walls of the City, and began their assault. The Last City's end was nigh.
Again the Traveler pulsed with power—it rose up into the sky to meet its dark mirror, a living sphere of flame against an obsidian diamond. The Pyramid fired an esoteric beam of power and the Traveler halted, shivering slightly, as their ontological energies clashed. More pyramids entered, adding their own weaponry to the fray. Upon the ground the Last City's walls had collapsed and the endless cycle of death and destruction had begun. Millions upon millions were slain, Zavala among them. With a final scream the Traveler split in two with a dazzling burst of light. Its lower half disintegrating completely, the upper was propelled out into space, blasting a hole through the first Pyramid.
As the Shadowkeepers faltered those of the City who were able to slip past fled into ships in secret places, and launched after the Traveler. The pyramids in the skies were not as dazzled—scores upon scores of ships were annihilated as they turned their paracausal weapons upon them. Ketches and Barques exploded like crystals, Cabal warships and carriers fell like stones, City jumpships simply faded away into puffs of dust. Nonetheless over a thousand ships were able to breach the atmosphere and penetrate the almost physical mesh of Darkness now beginning its enshrouding of Earth.
They fled onwards, fleeing Earth, following after the dying guiding light of the Traveler. Pyramidic scales picked off ships like flies, until two hundred and twenty ships remained to exit the realm where the Solar System had once sat in. The age of the City was over, and a new age of Darkness had begun.
The main composition of the Fleet are its monolithic Pyramids. They are uniform in shape yet widely vary by size—the largest measures over fifteen thousand kilometers evenly spread; the smallest nearly a thousand meters.
Being regular tetrahedrons, in which all four faces are equilateral triangles, they contain no distinguishing features apart from banks of exotic weaponry running the length of their edges and converging at each point, and their armor plating. This plating is made out of a black substance that absorbs light and suppresses electromagnetic radiation, earning their name well, and seemingly ripples and flows like water to the naked eye. Any apparent injury will leave a minor scarring of orange-red glowing material that quickly recovers to its original smoothness. Light-blessed beings report a chilling sensation upon touch.
The pyramids possess a form of shielding that "freezes" oncoming projectiles by shifting them onto an alternate plane of reality into eternal stasis, and is always active. Their weapons defy analysis, capable of wiping entire enemy fleets with but a single pulse of enigmatic energy. There is no apparent visible means of propulsion or power generation as no reactor core was ever discovered upon a pyramid prior to their invasion.
Though no clear fleet-based roles have been observed, from catastrophic engagements with them the following hierarchy has been tentatively reconstructed.
- Ordinary Pyramid—the most common, numbering over ten thousand ships, and the smallest, measuring nearly a thousand meters.
- "Light-class" Pyramid—the next most common, numbering almost a thousand ships, two kilometers. They possess fewer "weapons" but seem to bear the most pyramidic scales yet far.
- "Heavy-class" Pyramid—the third most common, numbering around five hundred, anywhere between five to a hundred kilometers, and act as escorts.
- Large Pyramid—the second least common, numbering at fifty, these behemoths are fifteen thousand kilometers in size, yet almost seemingly massless.
- "Jupiter-class" Pyramid—the least common, numbering just twelve. These solitary, gargantuan vessels measure at 70,000 kilometers with an approximate mass of Jupiter, are constructed in situ out of the solar system's own mass, and are the source of the enshrouding of Sol.
Each pyramid contains a fleet of "scales", hexagonal prisms with daggerlike points orbiting about them. These dagger points are apparently semi-autonomous and will react as either a unit or individually, by either physically swarming the target or attacking from afar. The "scales" are known to the Hierarchy as autowars, and range from a few dozen to a hundred meters. They are made from the same substance as their larger brethren and are equipped with similar weapons.
Though no clear fleet-based roles have been observed, from catastrophic engagements with them the following hierarchy has been tentatively reconstructed.
- Ordinary Scale—measuring ten meters evenly, they seem to favor swarm tactics.
- Medium Scale—measuring between ten to twenty-five meters, they seem to favor support roles.
- Heavy Scale—measuring between fifteen and thirty meters, they seem to favor "bubble" tactics, that is englobe a select enemy and drown them in weaponsfire.
- Autowar Scale—measuring one hundred meters, named such by the Hierarchy of Hierarchies, they construct new Scales in situ and send them into battle, and are just as deadly as their smaller counterparts.
The name given to entities wholly corrupted by the pyramids in service to the Darkness is simply the "Shadowkeeper". There is no distinction between willing servitude and outright enslavement. Members of all six species present in the solar system are among their ranks—Human, Awoken, Eliksni, Cabal, Hive, and Vex. Their physical appearance is that of a rippling shadow, more opaque than the Taken armies commanded by Oryx, with eyes of golden fire. They command powers and abilities that are the antithetical opposite of the Light—Stasis, Entropy, and Fracture.
According to remnants of Rasputin's analyses from the First Collapse, there is growing evidence that these beings are wholly artificial, drawn out of the collective psyche of entire racial minds. Examples include the Black Swordsman, otherwise known as Kirito, apparently created wholesale out of an artificial program that had formerly been under Rasputin's prerogative, which in turn had been based upon a character from a centuries-old entertainment series. This means that they are specially constructed, tailor made even, for each invasion of a targeted species. They supplement the Nightmares that soften up resistance to the Pyramids until the main Fleet arrives.
The most notable of these servants is simply The Guardian, hero of the Last City and killer of their many and varied foes. It is unknown how The Guardian finally fell to the Darkness' service but it is believed exposure to Stasis is what hastened their fall, much in the same manner as what happened to Rezyl Azzir. What is known for certain is that, during the war against the Black Fleet, the Guardian slowly and surely grew more erratic, disappearing for weeks on end in pursuit of the City's enemies—and finally, one day after a very lengthily departure, returned at the head of an army by the side of the Black Swordsman and the White Angel, and overran Earth's defenses. They personally slew millions of Guardians and civilians where before they had once staunchly defended.
Armies of Darkness
The former hero of the Last City, now sworn in service to the Black Fleet as a hollow nightmare of their former selves. Personally massacred millions of civilians and Guardians of the City.
A rogue a-life program once in service to Rasputin, designed and modeled upon an ancient Japanese military program known as A.L.I.C.E., for the development of better weapons and defense protocols for the betterment of humanity. Corrupted by the Black Fleet during the First Collapse, the Swordsman lost all trace of its former identity and reverted to what it knew: killing or be killed. It went dormant throughout the majority of the Dark and City ages until the Black Fleet reawakened it in preparation for their assault.
A rogue a-life program designed by Rasputin to keep the Swordsman in check as its necessary other half; as a paired set of programs, their "existence" is slaved to the other. Corrupted by the Black Fleet during the First Collapse, losing all trace of its former personality and reverting to what it knew: killing, healing, or be killed. Unlike the Swordsman it remained semi-active on the Moon, repelling Hive and Fallen forces from its facility, until the Black Fleet reclaimed it in preparation for their assault.
|Angel||Baseline soldier of the Black Fleet, armed with Shadow Launchers and utilize Barrier Shields.||Angelic Shadowkeeper||Angelic Nightmare||Angelic Dreg||Angelic Psion||Angelic Thrall|
|Archangel||Frontline infantry, comes in light and heavy variants; light variant carries Shadow Launchers and Barrier Shields, heavy variant carries Pitch Javelins and Shade Bulwarks.||Archangelic Shadowkeeper||Archangelic Nightmare||Archangelic Centurion||Archangelic Knight|
|Ruler||Morale booster unit, extremely aggressive, armed with Darkness Scepter and uses Darkness Blasts.||Ruling Shadowkeeper||Ruling Nightmare||Ruling Phalanx||Ruling Hydra|
|Power||Long-range rearguard support unit, armed with Chaos Rifles and Fusion Knives.||Empowered Shadowkeeper||Empowered Nightmare||Empowered Wraith||Empowered Minotaur|
|Stronghold||Large defensive unit that flank and provide heavy support, armed with omnidirectional Shade Bulwarks and Soulrenders.||Fortified Shadowkeeper||Fortified Nightmare||Fortified Wizard||Fortified Harpy|
|Lordship||Support unit, actively heals others, armed with Shade Incantation and Tenebrous Shield.||Lord Shadowkeeper||Lord Nightmare||Lord Servitor||Lord Wyvern|
|Throne||Mobile siege cannon. Shielded by Stasis, a Darkness-based subclass.||Enthroned Shadowkeeper||Enthroned Nightmare||Enthroned Legionary||Enthroned Goblin|
|Cherub||Lesser command unit, provides various debuffs for enemies, has greater morale boosting range. Shielded by one of three Darkness-based subclasses; armed with twin High Swords.||Cherubic Shadowkeeper||Cherubic Screeb||Cherubic Acolyte|
|Seraph||Higher command unit, provides various buffs for allies; makes certain units invulnerable until killed. Shielded by one of three Darkness-based subclasses; armed with a High Sword and Tenebrous Shield.||Seraphic Shadowkeeper||Seraphic Colossus||Seraphic Ogre|
|Incarna||Highest command unit, provides buffs and debuffs for allies and enemies; shielded by all three Darkness-based subclasses; armed with a Soulstealer Sword and Darkness Glyph.||Incarnated Shadowkeeper||Incarnated Guardian||Incarnated Techeun|
Weapons of Darkness
- Shade Launcher
- Pitch Javelin
- Chaos Rifle
- Fusion Knife
- Shade Incantation
- High Sword
- Soulstealer Sword
- Darkness Glyph
- Barrier Shield
- Shade Bulwark
- Tenebrous Shield
- Darkness Scepter
The exact process of this procedure is not fully known, but its primary engine of operation is the complete opposite of how the Traveler does it. Once a J-Brain has been fully completed, a process that by itself can take from anywhere from a few months to years depending on the local concentration of available matter, it begins to "tunnel" a rift between the dimensional fabric of reality, similar to creating a wormhole.
After the wormhole nexus is generated, godtech then stabilizes the aperture and keeps the throat open. "Physical" Darkness begins to pour from the wormhole and emanate from the J-Brain in all directions in an ever-expanding sphere for roughly a thousand astronomical units in all directions. With this range a single J-Brain can cover the entire Sol system from its central star to the Kuiper belt in a matter of days. Multiple J-Brains extend the range by an exponential amount—usually between ten to twelve such megastructures can create a sphere of Darkness that's voluminous enough to touch the outer boundaries of Alpha Centauri.
During this process the J-Brains realign themselves into an equidistant orbit about fifty astronomical units from the central star. All available planetary material by then will have been consumed by their construction, and what's left is transformed into a system of moon-Brains which orbit their host J-Brain. Where the material for their construction comes from is uncertain, but all evidence points to the wormholes. The moon-Brains seem to act as amplifiers, keeping the field of Darkness constant and stable.
What happens to the system's host star as unclear. Its light no longer shines, permanently snuffed out, but the physical body of the star still exists. Survivors posit that enshrouding is an elaborate godtech version of a Matrioshka hypernode, except instead of completely disassembling the stellar object it is instead compressed into the functional equivalent of a black hole. No supernovas have ever been detected from an enshrouded system. The theories for such enigmatic construction out of a thriving civilization are many and varied, but the most chilling notion of them all is that the Black Fleet establishes an enduring base of operations that would outlive the heat death of the universe, and continue their reign of terror upon a new unsuspecting universe.
Any attempt to penetrate an enshrouded system ends in failure, the prospecting spacecraft "shifted" onto another plane of reality. creatures and beings sensitive to the flow of time report unusual congregations of various timelines fracturing and diverging from the system. Speculation running rampant posits the Black Fleet continues their conquest upon all iterations and possible existences of a targeted system, completely ensuring that only their version is what remains. That this is not unlike the Vex's goal of Convergence is not a comforting thought. Once a system's enshrouded, all of the Black Fleet's armies seemingly disappear, or at the very least do not reemerge to terrorize any survivors.
Curiously enough, some systems and civilizations are "spared" the enshrouding completely, as what happened to the Taishibethi system and the Hierarchy of Hierarchies, instead suffering only the detonation of their star and the unmaking of their whole world. No one has offered a satisfactory answer, and it may well be an utter mystery.
Realms of Glass
Those who weren't able to escape the enshrouding of Earth fled instead to a Vex-like construct embedded in the twisted and splintered fragments of of the Vault of Glass. This minor dimension is scarcely larger than Phobos in size and is almost completely inaccessible. So far the Fleet has not made any move towards invading it; the survivors who live within have made efforts to find a way back into the material universe without attracting notice, but have not found a way.
List of appearances
- Destiny 2: