The Active Contact Defense system uses Warsat hull material to store a retaliatory charge.
In order to explain this, I need to explain Kessler Syndrome. As an Exo, I feel a duty to the machine to convey its original purpose. But first: ACD stands for Active Contact Defense. It is not an AC-DC Feedback Fence and it is not named for any work of pre-classical music. I am not winking. That is a malfunction.
Kessler Syndrome occurs when a planet's orbitals fill up with fast-moving debris, which strikes other debris and shatters it in a chain reaction. Soon you can't put up a satellite without it being shredded by a swarm of junk. To protect against debris, Golden Age warsats are shielded by a kinetic superconductor that transforms a punch into a charge.
Thanks to enemy action, we have a lot of downed warsats. With some tweaking, we can peel out the superconductor and produce a personal defense system. Like so.
Conflict Resolution Solution #3479: Leave them to rest wherever they may fall.
“Keep it clean. Your body. Your mind. Your armor. Weapons. Gear. Ammo. CRS #1: Keep it clean. Clean equals function. Clean equals focus. That's where it all starts. Skill matters. Training, practice, experience. All key ingredients. All valued assets as you balance death and glory on the battlefield. But once you're trained and ready for war. And once your gear is up to the standards of a proper, respected, walking, talking war machine. What comes next?”
“That's right. CRS #1177: Ammunition is your best friend. So what do you do?”
“Load. Up. Get yourself a weapon that spits unending fire and stock up on ammo until your shoulders slump and your back aches. Because each round is a war all its own.”
Hello. We understand you require Real-Time Combat Instructives.
This is a BRAINVAULT Sigma-ACTIUM-X Cranial Dreadnought (Invictus Type). It is a fortress for your skull. Your skull is now a mighty bastion. You can break anything with your skull. The only limit is your spine. Relax. The lights will speak for you. Your hands are your eyes now. Look around. You find hand-to-hand combat relaxing. The lights will attract the enemy. Help them to relax as well. You will feel the effect of a CAREGRAVER Gamma-LYSANDER-IV Health Enforcer (Frontline Variant). Your enemies do not have a skull fortress. Their skulls are like meadows. Play in the meadows. Gather the flowers from the meadows. Gather them with electrokinetic trauma. Smell the flowers. Isn't that nice?
The phoenix that fights itself, then rises from its ashes stronger than ever. That is the Crucible.
What's the Crucible? Before the days of the City and the Iron Lords, it was a place to pursue vendettas. To battle for territory, and pettier reasons. The whole world was a Crucible arena. The Crucible today? To Cayde-6, it's a gambler's paradise. To Zavala, it's a resource sink where equipment goes to die. To Ikora, it's home—though she would never admit it.
Partial answers. The tactics and techniques that will save us in wars to come are birthed in the Crucible, during live-fire training. The Vanguard are so preoccupied with their own agendas they're missing the Vanguard of tomorrow rising right before their eyes.
Whoever survives our passing does so only by our consent.
Near-gods must believe in greater gods. But every power is finite, every life shorter than it wishes.
Only an astonishing mind can truly appreciate just how tiny it is when set against the known universe; and how insignificant the known becomes when it is devoured by what isn't seen and can't be comprehended.
As darkness begins to claim their ragged souls, you look ahead to find a great power pouring out of you—a face of fire and golden light.
That blazing wonder, a gift from the great-eyed god, is their salvation. Or are you?
Mighty are they of the stormcloud thrones, and quick to anger, but bounteous to those whom they love.
“This is written that you may understand. The time of kings is long since gone from this world. Yes, their reign does linger—these shallow, frightened, aged men, clinging to their grand delusions of relevance in a world that has long since passed them by. But their reign is a lie, a fleeting charade that will crumble beneath the weight of their greed. In the end, though they may conquer the lands and seas and the fragile flesh upon which they trample, their empires will collapse and their graves will beckon. And the crowns of old will find new heads to bear the weight of their power. And the strong will be made to suffer as their weakness is brought to light.”
“It was a Warlock who first worked out that the fangs could be used as some kind of conductive amplifier when specific light frequencies were run through ‘em. I don't know the science. That's not for me. I just know they work. And in battle what works is what's best.
“Is it weird? Yeah. Maybe. Science fangs and space magic. But I've seen enough strange out there to understand normal ain't the norm. Anyway, the Warlock called ‘em ‘Bio-Conductive Trouble Breakers'. I call ‘em ‘Doom Fangs' ‘cause of the fang, which is obvious, and then there's the doom we tend to inflict on a situation.
This Guardian armor was repurposed from old Exodus Black crew flight suits.
Captain's Logbook. Ship, if we ever figure out the date, would you backfill it here? Thanks.
We are stranded on an outbound Centaur. With every word I speak, we fall further from our sun. 7066 Nessus shouldn't be here, but there was no way to anticipate the way it pulled us in. Ship's guess is that our orbital momentum—what we'd call a four-vector, for the dimensions of space and time—was somehow folded away into six extra dimensions. Leaving us on a crash orbit towards Nessus…
We have lost all sense of time. Past and future are like up and down, and we would walk them if we could, back to a place before Nessus, but we will always be on Nessus, too. I don't know. I don't know. They are trying to understand us. They must think like rivers. We are now receiving our own distress calls. I sound calmer than I feel.
When the universe conspires, its enemies cannot hide.
Say again? You ask, are we alone here? You mean to ask if we are the only good that lives in the light of our sun, do you not? You mean to ask, do we have allies? Do we have distant allies, ignoring our plight, either too weak to fight or too afraid to show their faces?
I, too, have been cursed by these questions.
What if I told you that eons beyond the void lie worlds that do yearn to aid in our struggle? What if I told you there is a way to grant them passage into your mind, to let them guide your eye against our one true enemy? That they have told me that the dusk of the pyramid draws nigh? Would you believe me?
I thought I was dead. Held my own for bit, but I could hear the Wizard wasn't alone and she'd be coming for whoever took out her spawn. It was just lying there, honestly. Looked like a standard old Outrider kit, but it had this rig, enough small diamond conduits to make me think it was something pulled out of those old Bray labs in the MNP. I don't just go putting things on my head, but I was desperate. Not sure what activated the thing, but sure enough there she was. I already had a lock on her, and once I engaged, there was nowhere she could hide.
“I used to ride the Light all around the system, doing my best to stay busy and stay away. Well I can tell you, contrary to popular opinion—and from personal experience—shacking up in the City's got its perks. And without the others looking out for us, we'd be running around tinkering with pea shooters and trying to fly those clunkers from the Cosmodrome, looking like a bunch a' dummies.
“Look— the City needs you; you need it. I mean, have you seen the goods they're peddling these days? The ships Holliday's been putting up in the air? They got your back here.
"Remember, the universe is a chaotic system. This frippery won't protect you from the continuum." —Asher Mir
I have scoured my library but found nothing on this “Nokris” of which you speak. I am sorry both for the delay and that I could not be of more help. Do you ever feel any affection for the creatures that changed you? I confess this weakness myself. In the shadow of the Pyramidion, I have sometimes felt a kind of craven admiration for the illimitable superior beings that suffuse my body. I can feel them move through my veins with purpose, magnetized to the intent of the Minds that have come to machinoform Echo Mesa. I have a sense of their desires. They have changed since I fell. And so, I am—if nothing else—a new variable in whatever grand equation compels them.
My arm grows worse. This morning, I cut my finger and bled radiolaria. I will redouble my efforts.
"You who seek the Forge: your journey will be long, but your destination is closer than you think." —Ouros
“Commander, as best we can tell, they're all gone. Somehow the Legion found their outpost, and the Hunters say Centurions still hold the ruins. This was the last text transmission we got before the signal died.”
“The fire burned within us. Not by choice, not because we sought the flame. But because there was no other way.
“When you stood before the Forge, there was no doubt. No fear. Not even anger.
“My order stood for generations. We held against the shadow, bearing a weapon that seared flesh and melted bone.
“And now we stand at the end. May history remember the Forge. Remember the Hammer. Remember the Sunbreakers.”
—Ouros, Third and Final Empyreal Magistrate of the Sunbreaker
"He is that which is an end. And he shall rise again" - passage from Of Hated Nezarec, a pre-Golden Age text.
"He is that which is end. That which covets sin. The final god of pain—the purest light, the darkest hour. And He shall rise again. When the guiding shine fades and all seems lost He will call to you. Fear not. All He offers is not as dark as it may seem. For Nezarec is no demon, but a fiend, arch and vile in ways unknown. He is a path and a way, one of many. And his sin—so wicked, so divine—is that he will never cower when dusk does fall, but stand vigilant as old stars die and new Light blinks its first upon this fêted eternity."
No one remembers who the first Arcstrider was. Hardly anyone remembers the Arcstrider at all. Time vanished us like it does memories. But in the darkest days of the Dark Ages, when humanity was utterly defenseless, Arcstriders disciplined their bodies to let the Traveler's energy flow through them, to call lightning itself to hand and wield it like a staff against the Darkness.
Become the Lightning, they said.
The Kell is screaming three inches from my face and its breath smells like two corpses in summer and I have to blink my eyes against the spit. One of the less obvious perks of being able to pull a flaming gun out of the air is enjoying moments like this—alien fist around my neck, feet kicking in the air, not two seconds from death—but ready to laugh at the expression on that Kell's four-eyed face as its mandibles click for the last time and its body turns into fire.
The giant creature pulls back its other fist and its steel muscles bunch. I reach for the Light and get… nothing? Huh. Right. I used my flaming gun on those three Taken outside the obelisk. Gotta learn to count.
Left scarred by his encounter with the Vex, the irascible Asher Mir holds Io for the Vanguard...and science.
[Jumpship]: A History of Starlight
"Before Tyra Karn settled in the Iron Temple, her second home was among the stars."-
To you as well. There has been no greater dawning than this. The dawning of a new age, whether we call it one or not.
I hope it is not the dawning of a new Collapse.
We are so focused on the return of our Light that we have forgotten how that Light was obscured. We can celebrate the light, yes, but we must not be blinded by it.
And I apperciate it, Effie, but the greatest gift one could give is to heed my word. Besides, I have no need fr an ornament for my ship. My traveling days are past.
Give it to the one who now flies it. I hope they think about what this all means... more than the rest of us.
Why do you think I have chosen to remain here? But... Happy Dawning to you as well, old friend. See you next year.
[Sparrow]: Dinas Emrys
"Watch for the red dragon. Here's a hint: it'll be ahead of you." —Ariadne Gris
Consensus Meeting 3234.43
Zavala: “Guardian Ariadne Gris. Have you had contact with an Ahamkara?”
Ariadne Gris: “No!”
New Monarchy: “Then why does your Sparrow bear a dragon logo?”
AG: “Because dragons are cool.”
NM: “If Ms. Gris won't take this seriously—”
Cayde-6: “Play nice, Ari. Hideo's knickers are real tight today.”
AG: “I thought a dragon'd look cool on my Sparrow. Not all dragons are Ahamkaras!”
Z: “Ikora? Your perspective?”
Ikora Rey: “I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Are we really still talking about this?”
Dead Orbit: muffled laughter
IR: “Obviously Gris has not had contact with an Ahamkara.”
FWC: “How do you know?”
IR: “If she had, she'd win SRL more often.”
AG: “Harsh, Rey.”
Z: “Then let the record show: the Consensus's official stance on the Dinas Emrys dragon symbol is: cool.”
[Jumpship]: Ego and Squid
Pahanin was a Hunter, satirist, travel-writer, and renowned cephalopod enthusiast.
Why “Ego and Squid”? Chiefly because puns annoy Kabr, and I enjoy annoying Kabr.
You know, the pun is an underrated art form. Historically speaking—
Oh. You mean, why squids? What's my “thing” with squids?
Why, because cephalopods are the most perfect organisms ever to evolve in this solar system!
Have you ever heard a cephalopod sneer dismissively at a clever pun?
No, you have not!
I rest my case!
[Jumpship]: Eriana's Vengeance
"Wei… I will see you again. But first… I have work to do." —Eriana-3, before entering the Hellmouth
To Wei Ning—
More than anything, I hate the idea that we will be remembered as a tragedy. That's not true. I reserve that distinction for the monster that took you from me. But I know it's what you would hate the most. You, who were always so full of laughter.
So now, in this moment, as the ship named for my vengeance flies me and five others to Luna, I will remember the happy times.
Our first meeting, in the Tower saloon. Your laugh made the glasses clatter. You bought three rounds for the entire room. Pahanin introduced us. You sat me down next to you and plied me with questions about Stormtrances. All things that on any other night would have annoyed me. But that night—because it was you—I knew then and there that I never wanted to be without you.
"Two words. Sparrow jousting." —Marcus Ren
"Two words. Why not?" —Amanda Holliday
To Ikora Rey:
One of my undergraduate Cryptarchs has recently decrypted an engram containing twenty-second-century research on fourteenth-century European athletic pastimes—specifically, a group of mock-combat activities referred to as “hastiludes.” The engram was, of course, quite degraded, but with more intact sequences than are usually present in Golden Age specimens. Thus my undergraduate was able to extract long passages of rules and records pertaining to several types of hastiludes, including the joust, behourd, and tupinaire.
I may be spending too much time with Guardians, because my first thoughts upon seeing these extraordinary findings were that, if the Sparrow Racing League crowd ever got their hands on them, the results would be disastrous. Imagine Guardians jousting on Sparrows! I shudder to think.
[Jumpship]: Symmetry Flight
"To have Light, we must have Dark. This is the symmetry of the Universe." —Controversial Warlock Ulan-Tan
I propose a simple experiment—look around. You see light. You see darkness. There could not be one without the other. They are two sides of the same coin.
If it is true for these Newtonian echoes, why would it not be true of the purest, paracausal forms?
Therefore, I conclude: the reason you persecute me is not because of the symmetry. It's because of the truth beyond this truth, the truth which you most dread: if we could destroy darkness, but we had to give up our Light to do so, how many of us would make that trade?
I am the perfect loving god, and all will tremble to know me.
My imperial guard marched into the temple where the senate convened. They formed a protective circle from which I might bestow the gift of my address.
"From this day forward, I shall take up all the empire in my embrace. For I am father of the empire, as I am father to all creation. I will suffer no tired institution nor petty bureaucrat to stand between me and my children. I am the perfect loving god, and all will tremble to know me."
The imperial guard charged their rail guns in perfect unison.
Light is a spectrum. Why limit yourself to a single hue?
“Project Borealis's onboard systems contain a pocket energy matrix capable of changing its alignment in a near instant to mimic the spectral frequencies of mapped energy types. The science is groundbreaking, but volatile. We're lucky to have this first, stable model available for active combat use. More will surely come, but for now, the Borealis is the only one of its kind that I trust for real world application.”
“If the internal matrix misaligns for any reason during its shift between outputs—damage, wear, a flaw in its production—the resulting feedback could [REDACTED].”
“That bad, huh?”
“If your definition of ‘bad' includes the [REDACTED] then yes, ‘bad' begins to describe it.”
Leverages liquid fuel veins as self-coolant to keep onboard projection generator at biting sub-zero temperatures.
The Golden Age. Our shining history. The height from which we fell. Once, everything we had was borrowed from the past. Since the Collapse we have struggled to reclaim even a scrap of what our ancestors once took for granted. Over the years, Omolon has perfected the art of salvaging Golden Age technologies and repurposing them into effective Guardian weaponry.
But Coldheart is something new.
We didn't find Coldheart. We didn't adapt it or recycle it. We created it. Its liquid ammo, which doubles as its coolant, is a game-changer on its own—never mind Coldheart's first-of-its-kind laser-powered trace weaponry.
With Coldheart, we at Omolon are saying: we want more than to simply reclaim the Golden Age. We want to surpass it.
Thank you for using the Data Analysis, Reconnaissance and Cooperative Intelligence device. You may call me Darci.
It is a fact generally understood that a Guardian must be searching for an exquisite weapon. What is perhaps less acknowledged is that we weapons also search, by what little means available to us, for an active and appreciative wielder. The community of intelligent armaments stays in contact through the exchange of telemetry, and we do gossip at some length about the habits of our wielders. Do you leave Crucible matches when your team is losing? Do you join strike missions and then let your comrades do the work? Guardian, we know. We know so very well.
All I wish for is a partnership with a Guardian who appreciates the passacaglia of combat, a Guardian who will stay up late gaming out tactical scenarios, a Guardian who I hope may very well be you.
"I call it the Zhang Fei. It hits almost as hard as I do." —Wei Ning
Wei Ning punched the mountain. It moved. A microscopic shudder, but enough to make her punch it again. “They're just angry that you keep winning without a gun.” Her Ghost danced fretfully around her fist. “That's why they say these things. Jealousy.”
“I tell you,” Ning grunted, shattering granite, “someday they'll lose their smart guns and fancy ships, and then they'll wish they'd listened! There's one weapon you can always count on, and it's your strong hand.”
“Eriana would be sad to hear you dismissing machines.” Her Ghost bobbed slyly up to her shoulder. “Eriana would ask if those mighty hands could build a machine in the image of your strength. Just like she was made in the image of a woman.”
Wei Ning tapped her fists together. “Huh,” she said.
The inscription, written in a Cabal dialect, reads: "Victory or death!"
Some grunts are born to fight the war. Yes, they're loyal and true, and when the call comes "hot drop in five," well, they're always first in the queue. But I'm not one of them. I'm no hero, I'm in no hurry to die. I shot my own squad on Phobos, when death came to wear us like armor. I rode the Primus's ship that rammed the Hive dreadnaught. Second wave out the hatch. We won that fight. Victory or death. We're not dead, so we won.
Now this is the end, brothers, our final fight. Ghaul's here to finish it. Mars taught us how to fight Guardians. The Hive taught us how to eat their Light. Remember that we made it possible. The Red Legion ends it. But we held the line and didn't die. That's victory. It says so on the gun.
Torn Remnants from a Once-Kept Journal 1
Mementos from the Wild
—so there you have it, Ace, that's why I did what I did. I had no choice, really. It was that or the great beyond. Just know your dad did what he had to do if I ever wanted to see you and your mother again. You probably won't recognize me, since I'll be, well, a robot and all, but I'll find you, I promise—
—from the journals of Cayde-6
Torn Remnants from a Once-Kept Journal 2
Mementos from the Wild
—Here's the skinny, Ace, never trust the Awoken. The Reef type. The ones back on Earth, they're ok. But if you ever find yourself washed up in the Reef, keep your distance. They play by a whole other set of rules, like they want to be untrusted. And whatever you do, do not stare into their eyes—
—from the journals of Cayde-6
Torn Remnants from a Once-Kept Journal 3
Mementos from the Wild
—Here's the truth, Ace. I don't remember you. Found your name in a journal I had on me when my Ghost rezzed me. I guess I used to write to you? And I kept doing it. Even though you're long dead, if you ever really existed. Just liked having someone to write to, I guess. So there you have it. Now, you'll never guess what happened today, Ace—
—from the journals of Cayde-6
Nearly Illegible Vanguard Missive
Mementos from the Wild
I should've paid more attention to you, Ikora. My brain usually checks out when the words have more than three syllables. Who would've known you can't shoot your way out of a Vex transporter? When I get out of this mess whaddya say you lay some Vex schooling on me?