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Altars of Reflection - Dispatch
1. Regarding the power known as Deepsight and its use within VIP #7282's throne world:
2. Access to this power requires spending time with the Relic, and subsequently, in one of the Pyramids. Long-term exposure to Darkness in this manner carries inherent risk, and the process is nontrivial. However, in the interest of learning everything possible about this space and the relevant VIP, certain chances must be taken.
Considering the sensitive nature of the topic, reports should be directed subject to the attention of IKO-006 only.
3. So far, it is estimated that Guardians have been able to view memories that #7282 wants. This supposition is upheld by #7282's specific and personal input on the memories in question. But why these memories? This remains a worthwhile question to answer in order to understand #7282's larger goal.
4. Hidden agent (LIN-357) was dispatched in full understanding of requisite risks to determine the following as possible: limits and potential of physical space, applicability of other items and memories, span of #7282's attention to the mentioned spaces, possibility for use of Deepsight outside of Altar parameters, and possibility for use of Altar parameters with other applications.
5. LIN-357 is also to assess potential danger in continuing and encouraging Guardian access to and use of Altar spaces.
Altars of Reflection - Assessment
1. I arrived onsite and made my way into the Altar space. It doesn't appear to have changed much, if at all, from earlier provided telemetry. As predicted, there were barriers to access: several of the Lucent Brood obstructed my passage and were subsequently dispatched without much trouble. Additionally, the same complication as previously reported blocked the way—Hive runes. Parsing their nature and repetition of specific patterns was required to gain full access to the Altar.
2. On the topic of the presented resistance: there were significantly fewer Hive defenders than could have been mustered, given intelligence on available forces. Based on the token nature of this resistance and the fact that VIP #7282 surely knows that Guardians have been here, it can be assumed that the defense is not a sincere attempt to keep us out. Historical precedent exists for setting a guard on a location or item to make it appear more attractive.
Precedent also exists for opening the way for Guardians to participate in the Hive sword logic. I do not yet have reason to believe this is taking place here, especially given the severance of #7282's connection to the Worm Gods that have otherwise led her species, but it does not pay to be incautious around the Hive.
3. Once appropriate precautions were taken against any further incursions, I deployed sensors to record what data is possible, focusing on the central Altar and its exterior boundaries. Simultaneously, it was necessary to assess the available space for myself; impressions follow.
It is more aesthetically appealing than we usually associate with Hive—only the structures bear vague resemblance to those on Luna. The colors are pleasing, far removed from scarlet and rot, and the area lacks jagged edges or significant quantities of bone. Structurally, it is a space clearly built to highlight the central area, and indeed, it draws one to the Altar itself.
All told, in architecture alone, the creator demonstrates a clear evolution, presumably mirroring her own.
4. On the topic of the structure: although the available space does not appear to have walls, there is a definite boundary. Matter grows foggy, and there is a strong sense of pushback when moving away from the center. Initially, I believed this to be a function of the architecture, but significant willpower was required to force myself to look further into testing the concept. That alone suggests it should be investigated more.
Conscious of the bias in doing so, I am marking it for later experimentation, as it would involve straying from the central objective. Further data forthcoming.
Altars of Reflection - Control
1. With the perimeter secured and all sensors ready for analysis, there is no immediate further obstacle to the initial experiments with Deepsight. On Vanguard authorization, I've borrowed one of the existing artifacts that has been used to produce and view VIP #7282's memories. Item: a shard of the crystal that #7282 used recently as a protective measure, cf. REP # 197-HIVE-SAV.
2. In summary, following the known and established process, there is no deviation from what was previously reported. The memory of #7282's death and subsequent acquisition of Light played back as expected, identical in every beat. (See attached file for additional details as necessary.) This is not unexpected, and the recording, etc., have been made largely for archival purposes.
3. Subsequent repetitions of the same process revealed additional words from #7282. Perhaps foolishly, I replied to portions of her dialogue that seemed to request a response. However, there was no explicit answer—I believe it is safe to conclude that there is no awareness of hers here, and what is heard is likely a recording coded to this specific memory and/or object. Her use of this method to influence and sow doubt is not unexpected.
4. As a test, I used the crystal item to invoke Deepsight in the same fashion I used previously, this time with the intent of viewing something different—there are plentiful records of #7282's interactions with Vanguard and Reef personnel around the larger crystal this piece was retrieved from. However, none of these were viewable. The same item only allowed viewing of the same memory, suggesting a permanent association. I have some additional analysis planned to confirm this.
At first glance, these observations imply that if we wish to discover further memories, we will need to collect additional items, likely of personal relevance to #7282. (Confirmation of required item nature forthcoming.)
Altars of Reflection - New Input
1. Logical next steps in analysis involve changing a variable in the known functional equation. I've taken the liberty of borrowing some items from others in order to conduct some tests regarding expectations—it is worth assessing how much influence the viewer has on the outcome.
2. First test—Introduction of reasonably generic items. As expected, a chunk of Glimmer did nothing. A broken-off piece from the grip of a new sidearm, purchased specifically for this purpose—next to nothing. For a moment, there was a shadow, something that vaguely resembled the gunsmith at work or in conversation, but no memory replay as seen in the items known to produce memories of VIP #7282.
3. Second test—I had an acquaintance borrow a trinket from a friend of theirs whom I have not met. The item is a medallion smaller than my palm, with old, rubbed-faint engravings. Following the introduction of this item to the Altar, a visible memory resulted, playing out in third person much like the other memories. I recorded details of this memory for reference and confirmation of accuracy. (Specifics omitted here as irrelevant.)
Once a recording had been made and committed, I accessed the file provided by the owner of the item. This file included summaries of what he thought were the most likely memories to be associated with the item. As you can see, details of what I observed matched one of those summaries. Owner's Ghost to provide additional context if necessary, either on my return or when another Hidden agent reaches out.
Would like to recommend that another agent repeats the same test to see if they can view something different.
4. While we had no reason to doubt the previously revealed memories, all this adds an additional layer of certainty: that which we can ascertain via the Altars is the truth, full and clear. The only remaining doubts are regarding why, and which memories. VIP #7282 is known to be cunning but has ultimately been truthful in previous dealings with the Vanguard. Regrettably, these things are not mutually exclusive.
5. I had additional plans for analysis of the Altars involving personal items and memory, but I am reconsidering the wisdom in doing so, as well as the necessity. Beyond confirming that the memories produced are repeatable, true, and personal, do we need to know more? I will be moving on to the substance of the world next.
RE: Altars of Reflection - New Input
1. I moved forward with invocation of a personal item anyway, despite previous report concluding that it was unnecessary. Testing continued with the cloak I have kept from back then, the one I was wearing when I was found. I don't know what I was expecting from it—just that after all that time not remembering, my curiosity won out. I wanted to know.
2. The memory was… like a key in a lock, all the rest laid open to me once I remembered this one thing.
The first time I witnessed the memory, I barely processed any of what was happening; I was so caught up in simply looking at her. I forgot to breathe. She had the most luminous blue eyes… how could I have ever forgotten her?
Everything in my head was jumbled, all the things I'd forgotten were trying to be heard at once, and she was the only constant. So I used the item again, this time intending to make a coherent report, thinking I could process by writing it all down. I just wound up watching again, caught up in remembering the three of us. This awful set of moments, suspended in perfect replica.
Before this, I didn't recall anything of the incident, even who my fireteam was at the time. I'd wondered what might be in that gap, and why I hesitated even when I was curious. It wasn't enough to know that I had survived and should not return. I think, despite all that wondering, some part of me didn't want to remember.
But that's how lies happen, isn't it? In the places we don't want to look. Little by little, we let the weeds grow and the shadows encroach, and we tell ourselves there's nothing in the overgrowth. And if there is, it isn't something that matters very much…
Deepsight does not allow for such deceptions.
Altars of Reflection - Conclusion [Draft]
1. Assessment—Low physical threat presented. Despite the known involvement of VIP #7282, there is no direct contact here now. Further, the Altars are absent of traps or lethal intent as long as [Data missing]
2. Recommendations—Access to be restri [Data missing]
3. Final thoughts—[Data missing, awaiting input]
I… haven't been as thorough as possible. There is still data that could be extracted from the Altars. I haven't committed to due diligence. After seeing old memories of my own, I initially wanted to leave as fast as I could. As if I could leave those memories behind too. But it's safe enough here for now, and I still have a job to do as a Hidden agent.
Study to carry on a little longer. I'll submit this report when I'm sure I am done here.
I still can't accept this memory. I repeat it anyway, telling myself that this time, I'll spot the right detail, the sign that means I can put it down. But I don't: it stays just the same every time. Again and again, no matter what I try, what intent I approach it with. What happened, happened.
I remember that I wanted to forget it all. Forget her, forget them, so that what I'd done wouldn't matter. So it could disappear into the array of past missions with the rest.
And I think, this is the only place I'll ever see them again. So I call it up one more time, just to look her in the eyes. I'm not sure how long I've spent on this, it probably isn't wise… but just once more.
One more look, and I'll be sure to remember them, even when I've left.
I don't know how many times I've said "one more." Have I learned anything at all?
There was one thing…
I close my eyes. Think about it. What do I want least, right now?
I draw a breath. I don't recognize the scents. I remember again when I last came here, when I thought not of accessing memories but instead of the architecture and how it directed us inward…
And then I turn away from the unvarnished truth of my worst moments and walk. I'm not going anywhere in particular. Just… out. Away. Crystal and runes and the impression of beauty grow fuzzy and frail around me, and the steps to take grow harder, as if dragging my body through mud instead of walking on solid ground. Fog blinds me, and now I hear it: whispering, barely distinguishable, but louder as I go.
I know what my body failing feels like, and I don't care. I walk as far as my legs will carry me, listening to the whispers of the Witch Queen, searching for the meaning here in this liminality.
Piri wakes me under a high-vaulted ceiling, and I remember what I must.
Altars of Reflection - Conclusion
1. Assessment—Low physical threat presented. Despite the known involvement of VIP #7282, there is no direct contact here now. Further, the Altars are absent of traps or lethal intent so long as one remains within the bounded space accessed by the specified method.
However, impacts of using Deepsight should not be underestimated.
2. Experiment notes—Telemetry includes sensor readings, breakdown thereof. "Object produced expected memory" applies to the vast majority of tests.
3. Recommendations—Guardians should not be encouraged to visit the Altars. Use of Deepsight under these circumstances has provided valuable information, but given the initial involvement with Pyramids, etc., and the inherent danger in long-term occupation of #7282's throne world, it should not be relied on. Further, the resurrection of old personal memories creates vulnerability and distraction and has the potential to trigger long-lasting psychological detriment to the visitor. None of the possible applications are worth enough comparatively.
4. Final thoughts—If there is any further value to be found here, it lies in the spaces between what VIP #7282 has created. Knowing that we see true memories does not mean there isn't a secondary agenda, and above all, we should ask: Why these memories in particular? What is it #7282 has to say to us, and what might the wide dissemination of these truths do? What do these truths say to you, IKO-006?
I would prefer to avoid further deployment of this nature.