Venus has been reclaimed by the jungle. Dragonflies flit through ruined academies and abandoned dig sites. Volcanoes smolder. Here and there a line of light marks where ancient Vex spires, thought long-dead, have once more been energized.
Ghost Fragment: Venus
You see history hidden between the barren rocks and within the high acid clouds. You see the ruin ready to claim its birthright.
Sunlight starves. The fierceness chills and thins and runs sweet. A new ocean emerges, thick and salty and hot, from springs and geysers that drench the dead ground.
You wonder: will this world's second birth be its finest?
The Ishtar Sink region looms large in our surviving knowledge of Venus. Guardians come hunting the ruins of the legendary Ishtar Collective, a sprawling Golden Age scientific project. But the ancient ruins that brought the Collective to the Sink have awakened again.
We aren't the only ones interested in the Collective. The Fallen House of Winter has hurled its assets into pillaging the ruins, hunting for some advantage - whether from the Golden Age, or forgotten times beyond. The House of Winter's presence includes constant Skiff overflights in support of ground teams and hints of an improvised command post or staging area in the volcanic Cinders.
The situation is degrading into a race against time. We must claim the Collective's ruins for our own - and hope they will warn us what other threats now rise from Venus' acid seas and ancient stone.
Ghost Fragment: Ishtar Sink
The box appears to be copper.
The red lid is dented, one hinge shattered.
Inside waits a small quantity of the finest, driest powder, more brown than gray, more blue than green.
The greatest minds in creation make quick work of the material. The powder is weighed by the grain, and studied close, and remembered. One hundred billion bits of near-nothing reside inside the copper box, all of them tiny and nearly spherical, all etched with the outlines of continents and islands and icecaps. Each sphere represents a planet, and some of these tiny globes match known worlds.
There is one Earth and one Mars and a Venus too.
The box holds renderings of every habitable world in the galaxy.
One of them offers a simple explanation:
"The box is a message. The message is the minuscule nature of the box's cargo. It's the image of one hundred billion worlds barely filling two hands."
But if so, who is delivering this message? What vastness do they wish to impress on us? Is it a warning, or an invitation, or a taunt?