Phobos Warden Armor
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Phobos Warden Mask / Helm / Cowl
Zavala stared at the blank pages on his desk.
He sat with his back to the window. The Traveler shone brightly outside, but there was little warmth in its light. Since its reformation, Zavala found it strangely unfamiliar. Its size made everything else seem smaller somehow.
He shifted in his seat and tried to relax his shoulders. He reached up to rub his temples and found he was clenching his jaw. He stretched his neck and placed his palms flat on his desk. His hands were cold.
He knew where it ended, but he didn't know how to begin.
Phobos Warden Grasps / Gauntlets / Gloves
Osiris walked into the office without hesitation, as if it were his own. Zavala looked up and pushed his blank papers to the side.
"Osiris," he said. "You don't seem to be taking your exile very seriously of late."
"I treat it with the same regard you give its enforcement," sniffed the Warlock as he crossed his arms.
Zavala raised his eyebrows but saw traces of a smile around Osiris's eyes. He leaned back in his chair and gestured for him to continue.
"I bring hope from an unexpected source," Osiris said. "There is a devotee of mine on Mercury—a certain Brother Vance—stationed just outside the Infinite Forest. His point of view is unique, but it may be more valuable than I had anticipated."
Osiris opened his hand and cast a small projection: a fleet of Pyramid ships.
"Since the Traveler's reformation, Brother Vance has been studying prophecies where such an event took place. He believes he has discovered a way to stop the Pyramids."
A spiderweb of trajectories crisscrossed the projection. There was a flash and the Pyramid ships melted into Osiris's palm.
Zavala leaned forward. "He found this by studying simulated realities?"
"Specifically realities where the Pyramids invade our system and the Traveler reforms," Osiris said. "In all the realities where the City survives, Brother Vance believes there is a common thread."
"I… know Vance," Zavala said carefully. "Can we put our future in his hands?"
Osiris bristled reflexively, but then made a reconciliatory gesture. "We have seen more than our share of tomorrows, wouldn't you agree? We have done so through the strength of our community." The Warlock laced his fingers together.
"Brother Vance, he is one man, true. But so were you. So was I. It would be unwise to dismiss what his future may hold."
Phobos Warden Vest / Plate / Robes
The silence in Zavala's office was interrupted by a burst of static over the comms.
"Asher," Zavala said into his comms. "What have you got for me?"
"Oh, just some ravings about how best to handle the encroaching Pyramids, if that sort of thing is of any interest to the Vanguard," Asher said.
"Go on," said Zavala.
"I analyzed the paracausal shockwaves from the Traveler's recent inexplicable pulse. I believe I could assemble a machine that would allow us to render these malicious polyhedrons inert." Asher paused. "Vulnerable. Does that appeal to you?"
"How does it work?" Zavala asked.
Asher made a noise of deep dissatisfaction. "I could either build the machine or explain its purpose to you. Both would take equal amounts of time."
Zavala smiled. "Build your machine," he replied. "Is there anything you require of me?"
Asher considered for a moment. "No. I anticipated nothing more than your tacit approval, so I am already thrilled with this conversation," Asher said, not sounding thrilled. "I will do the same thing I always do: find answers. Then I will deliver them to you and you can use them to form some sort of plan. How does that sound?"
Zavala took a breath. "Agreeable."
"Very well. Do try to manage your enthusiasm," Asher said dryly. The signal went dead, and Zavala was once again alone in his office.
Zavala disconnected from the call and looked down at the blank pages in front of him. There was another burst of interference as the audio system squealed against a forced reconnection.
"Hm, and thank you," said Asher's voice over the speakers. "That will be all!"
Phobos Warden Strides / Greaves / Boots
Deputy Commander Sloane sighed as she entered Zavala's office. She fell into the chair opposite his and waited for a moment, head down, elbows on her knees.
Finally she spoke: "Somebody's selling pretzels in the Hangar. They're all out now, but I could smell them when I docked."
Zavala leaned over his stack of blank papers. "They're very good," he confided. "They have little containers of beer mustard, too."
Sloane looked up and shook her head in disbelief. "I've been away too long," she said.
"It's good to see you," Zavala said. Sloane stretched out in the chair. She looked comfortable.
"Listen," he began. "You've held Titan against the Fallen for long enough, and I figured you could use a change of scenery. You've heard about the uprising on Europa. I'd be grateful for your expertise."
The woman sized him up. A smirk played across her chapped lips.
"You want me on the front lines again?" she asked. "Must be a very credible threat."
Zavala looked down. "I'd go myself if I could," he said. "We're being hit on all sides. I feel as though I'm just barely holding this system together." His mouth was tight, but his eyes were pleading.
Sloane leaned forward and placed her hand on his desk. "Don't worry," she said. "We've survived many horrors. We'll survive this one, too."
Phobos Warden Cloak / Mark / Bond
There was a soft knock on the door and a technician tentatively poked his head inside the office. "The system is ready, Commander."
Zavala looked across his desk. No echo of the past called out to him, no guilt-driven daydream—just a young man from the City, nervous about disturbing the commander.
Zavala rose to his feet. He stood and braced himself against the desk for a long moment, arms wide. He took a steady breath and nodded.
The technician synced the office systems and initiated a broadcast, then stepped to the side as Zavala approached.
"Sir," he whispered urgently, gesturing to the neat stack of pages left behind on the desk. "Your speech."
Zavala left the papers where they were and began to speak.
"People of the Last City. Humanity has endured a devastating blow…."
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