Weblore:Season of the Drifter
From Destinypedia, the Destiny wiki
Weblore is a series of lore entries posted on Bungie.net prior to the launch of, and during the associated seasons of, most Destiny 2 expansions. These lore entries expanded on the background of the characters and locations that would be featured in the expansion.
The Season of the Drifter weblore entries were released from Febuary 28 to March 4, 2019.
"What's this about?" Joxer asked.
The Titan sat across from the rogue Lightbearer known only as the Drifter. Between them, unloaded rifles, hand cannons, and Last City food wrappers lay strewn across the Derelict's rusty deck. Joxer could feel the ship's engines humming under his boots, reverberating throughout the chamber.
"Think of this as a job interview," Drifter replied. "I got a whole new operation about to come online, and Gambit was training for it. You're one of the best candidates I got."
Beneath his helmet, Joxer raised an eyebrow. "You sure about that? I'm no 'Hero of the Red War.'"
Drifter chuckled. "Why does everyone think I got a mad-on for that one?"
Joxer shook his head. "I heard you two forged a gun together."
Drifter frowned. "Hand to my heart, it wasn't just us. Whole buncha folks running around with Malfeasance hand cannons these days. My grandma, too."
"That Primeval really knows how to run," Joxer snarled at the deck.
"Listen, big guy." Drifter leaned back. "Not my fault you keep missing the shot."
Joxer stood up out of his seat and towered over the other man.
"Hey! My bad, brother!" Drifter held up a hand. "Your Motes are always good here, whether you're packing Malfeasance or not. What I need done, only a specialist—like you—can do."
Joxer stared down at him. "What do you mean?"
"I seen you out there. You get how the Taken feel. How the Darkness… flows. You revel in it."
Joxer sat back down, slowly.
"You're a born invader, my friend. The best." Drifter smiled again, with lightless eyes. "And I'll need someone like you to test out my new project before I unveil it to the unwashed masses: Gambit Prime."
"Sounds like a promotion at my local Sparrow dealership."
"You wanna get paid or not?"
"What do I kill?"
Drifter scowled at a notch on his glaive as he buffed the blade with a heavy cloth. A large attaché case rested heavily at his feet.
He and Joxer were back aboard the Derelict. The Titan held his head in his hands. His glowing armor suffused the room with a blood-red warmth.
"Cheer up, brother," Drifter said. "That didn't go too bad."
"Three Guardians are dead," Joxer replied, looking up to stare straight at the rogue Lightbearer.
"That's right," Drifter quipped, continuing to clean his weapon. "In the dirt. Never comin' back. Their Ghosts got sloppy. You give Taken the chance and they'll snuff out your Light. The fact that you're alive means your Ghost knows what he's doin'."
"You said this was a test run."
"Where do you think you are? The Crucible? Gambit Prime is for keeps, test or no."
"You son of a—"
"Leave the name-calling to me, hotshot. Let's wrap up this debrief and get you paid."
"You could've helped them."
Drifter stood, slamming the butt of his freshly polished glaive on the attaché case at his feet.
"You got yourself out," he said, leaning on the weapon. "You didn't need help."
"You could've stopped those Taken. You could've saved them all."
"I paid you to try on that armor. How's it treating you?"
Joxer was silent. "It worked exactly like you said it would," he finally responded. "I invaded the other side. The armor locked the Bank down, and I took their Motes right out of it, like they were mine." He looked down at the deck. "We wiped them out."
"Yes. Yes, you did," Drifter said, nodding along fiercely with each detail.
"You're giving everyone a set of these?"
"If they can build it themselves. I'll gladly provide the engram prints." He half-smiled. "Your fireteam—may they rest in peace—they help you out?"
Joxer took his helmet off, rubbed his eyes. "We didn't use names, just like you told us. The… the Warlock watched our Bank."
"Like a one-man private security company," Drifter nodded.
"He always seemed to know where the other Invader was."
"A Sentry worth their salt always does."
"And the Hunter. She was a beast. Tore those Cabal up like they were made of paper."
"Your team's Reaper," Drifter clarified. "She's like you, a born killer. But specializing in the enemies of humanity. Your Collector's best friend."
"Yeah, the Collector, one squirrely Titan. Hid a lot, grabbed a bunch of Motes."
Drifter snickered. "You thought he was useless, didn't ya?"
Joxer sighed. "'Til he dropped the meanest Taken I've ever seen on the enemy side."
"Brother, if you manage to summon a giant blocker?" Drifter shook his head, grinning. "That thing's gotta eat."
"We had them. We gutted the opposing team. It's just…" The Titan stopped speaking. He didn't lift his head, still staring at the deck.
"The Primeval," Drifter said, with a touch of… pride?
"That Primeval took us apart."
Drifter shrugged. "You found one that matched your strength. Lesson learned. Make sure your Ghost stays on his toes."
"They're all dead," Joxer said again.
"Yeah, in a town full of immortals," Drifter said. "Who'da thought? Their cut goes to you. And a little extra to keep, you know, the details outta sight from the Vanguard."
The rogue Lightbearer kicked the attaché case across the deck. Joxer picked it up without opening it.
"More where that came from, if you want the work," Drifter said, leaning on his glaive again.
"You're on your own." Joxer stood and walked past the Drifter. He left the chamber, massive case in tow.
"You can keep the armor," Drifter called after him, not bothering to turn around.
As the Titan's footsteps echoed down the hall towards the Derelict's hangar, a Ghost emerged from a dark alcove.
"How much data did you pick up?" Drifter asked.
The Ghost's eye glowed a dark red as it projected patterns across the metal deck: scrolling streams of statistics and figures for each candidate in their roles. Three Ghost-feeds hung in the air, playing on loop. Each one restarted as the same massive Taken came into focus.
Drifter took it all in, his eyes reflecting the blood-red of his Ghost's Light. His smile was all teeth.
The more petals Lionel swept into his garbage bag, the more there seemed to be. His back, slightly crooked with age, burned in protest as he continued to stoop and work.
A man in a long coat stood watching him on the opposite side of the long hallway. Lionel figured he'd go away eventually, but the man stayed, idly flipping a green coin.
"Can I help you?" Lionel asked, growing annoyed.
"They make elders do this? Can't the maintenance frames handle it?"
"Speeds things up. The petals get everywhere from the… whatever the kids call it."
"That's the one."
"Come on! No one's too old to celebrate Crimson Days."
"My wife died the day the Tower fell."
The man stared at the ceiling. Lionel continued to sweep.
"I got nothing to do today," the man said. "Let me take care of this for you."
Lionel dumped another dustpan full of petals into his bag, then turned and walked right into the man's outstretched hand: palm up, full of glowing, sapphire cubes.
"Lotta Glimmer," Lionel said, eyeing the money and the man in turn.
"Yours. Let me finish this job for you."
"You a Guardian?"
Lionel stared down at the pure material potential sitting in the man's hand.
"I'll take your vest and hat, too," said the man. "Please."
The man took off his coat and put on Lionel's orange vest. He put on Lionel's hat and pulled it low, covering his eyes. As he walked, he passed a frame diligently sweeping the connecting antechamber, and paused to point back toward the petal-strewn hallway he'd just come from. "You missed a spot," he said. The frame stared at him, then at the hallway. It marched towards its new objective.
The man continued his walk.
The Vanguard and representatives from various City factions had gathered around a massive table. Cayde's seat was empty.
"The Drifter poses no immediate threat to the population," Zavala was saying to the Consensus as Aunor approached. "Therefore, we motion to grant him a more permanent lease—"
"My Order disagrees," she cut in fiercely.
Zavala turned. With a slight incline of his head, he gestured from her to the rest of the group, "This is Warlock Aunor, representing the Praxic Order."
"I have paperwork to file, so I'll make this short," she said. "If the Vanguard is willing, the Praxic Order would like to excise the Drifter from the City. Immediately. We'll do it ourselves."
Zavala turned to look at her. "The Praxic opinion is noted. But the City welcomes all Guardians—"
"He's no Guardian."
"The City welcomes all of humanity who are willing to stand in defense of the City."
"Commander, with due respect, you asked the Order to have a voice in this discussion." She looked Zavala in the eye, and swept her gaze around the table to address the Consensus and Ikora. "The Praxic Order has existed since the founding of the City to keep artifacts of the Darkness out of Guardian hands. In our opinion, the Drifter represents as great a threat to our people as Ghaul or the Taken King."
"Go on, girl," Executor Hideo said, steepling his fingers.
"She is no 'girl,'" Ikora hissed.
Aunor ignored them both, continuing, "The Drifter has convinced the Guardian population to use the Taken as a weapon. To murder Guardians."
"There have been no final deaths," said Zavala.
"That we know of," Aunor replied. "You're allowing that man to normalize interaction with the Taken."
Ikora and Zavala shared a look.
"The past few months, the Praxic Order has seen a historic number of Guardians go rogue."
"'Rogue,' 'rogue,' what is 'rogue,'" Arach Jalaal said. "Everyone is a rogue now. It is fashionable to be a rogue."
"You'll see it in my report," Aunor said. "Some have adopted the name 'Dredgen.' You want my professional opinion? Ideas are powerful things, and the Drifter has too many. Board that travesty he calls a ship and throw him out an airlock, before the City sees another Dark Age."
The Vanguard and the Consensus looked at her in silence.
"I have paperwork to file," she said again, turning around. "You know where my office is." As she left, she saw that same maintenance worker had fallen asleep in the entrance way, hat over his eyes, leaning against a trash can. She narrowed her eyes.
The Murder of Cayde-6
Dawdling outside the entrance to a Gensym lab, the man tucked a green coin into a pocket of his newly-acquired duster, and then checked to make sure his Obsidian Mind was sealed shut. He fiddled with the clasps of the helmet as a technician carrying a clipboard hurried up to the door. She stepped inside, and he followed on her heels. The doors almost caught him as they slid shut, and the tech noticed, turning around to take stock of him.
"How you livin'?" The man said in a deep, modulated voice as he shouldered past her.
"Creep," the tech muttered, and walked the other way.
The man stopped to check a listing of room schedules on a monitor at the front desk, then continued down the hall into the darkness of Lab 3.
Inside, the Praxic Warlock Aunor stood under a constellation of holographic projections anchored in the air around her.
She saw the man out of the corner of her eye, and nodded her head slightly.
"Warlock," the man said in greeting.
"Warlock," she returned, dragging a looping feed from a far corner into focus in front of her. "I won't be long."
"Take your time," he said, leaning against the far wall. "I've always wanted to see a Praxic at work."
"I assure you it's glamorous," she replied, throwing her arms wide and unfolding the feed into a three-dimensional space.
The lab flashed with light and became the shattered, burning husk of the Prison of Elders.
The man turned to his left and saw a familiar, weathered face staring up at the eight Barons of the Tangled Shore.
Cayde-6 stumbled forward and raised a hand. "Hey, help me out here, little buddy." His Ghost appeared in a blazing burst of Light.
"Freeze playback," Aunor said. Time stopped. "Confirm what I'm seeing."
The Tower's central processing unit spoke with an automated voice. "Ghost 'Sundance' audiovisual feed, third-person perspective; date of recording is roughly six months prior."
"Scan the feed for soft light interposition."
"None found. This Ghost feed is direct from the subject's databanks and has not been tampered with."
The high-pitched whine of the Rifleman's weapon was the last sound on the feed. It was the last thing Cayde's Ghost ever heard. The bullet shattered the holographic world around Aunor and the man, and Lab 3 reappeared in its place.
Aunor swept her coat back and clasped her armored hands behind her. "Why did the feed end?"
"Subject 'Sundance' suffered unrecoverable system failure and ceased recording."
"Scorn guns can't kill a Ghost," the man said, taking a step away from the wall, and uncrossing his arms.
Aunor ignored him. "Cause of death?" she continued.
"'Sundance' appears to be the victim of a single, catastrophic wound from a Devourer Bullet, modified to fire from a Scorn launcher. Projectile classified as ontological."
"Define Devourer Bullet."
"Payload matches the ballistics of a Weapon of Sorrow or a comparable Hive implement."
"What do you think, Warlock?" Aunor asked the man without turning around.
"Didn't the Mindbender build himself an Ascendant throne?"
"Crafting bullets sounds easy if you can manage that."
"Sword Logic doesn't work that way. The throne came after," Aunor replied. "It was built on Cayde-6's death. I didn't catch your name."
"Finch," said the man.
"Finch," Aunor echoed dryly.
He gestured at the holographic displays. "What's all this for?"
The various HUDs and data streams reflected off Aunor's polished black helmet. "I'm investigating the possible involvement of the Hero of the War in the death of Cayde-6."
Finch chuckled. "Won't they hang you for that?"
Aunor looked at the ground. "You'd be surprised what this City will let a Lightbearer get away with."
"I hear that. So? Is the big hero actually the villain?"
"You can read the report once the Vanguard publishes it."
Finch nodded. "Fair enough." He turned to leave, then stopped himself. "And what actually happens if the saint turns out to be a sinner?"
Aunor still hadn't turned around. "The Praxic Order doesn't hesitate, doesn't stop. If we can prove you've done demonstrable harm to humanity or the City, doesn't matter how far or how fast you run. We'll catch you. And you'll face Praxic Fire."
"You're a scary sister."
She turned to look directly at him. "You have no idea."
Finch coughed and headed for the door. Behind him, Aunor called out, "Didn't you need lab time?"
"Just remembered I'm busy," he replied over his shoulder and disappeared.
The doors closed and Aunor stood in the half-darkness, a sea of data streams reflecting off her helmet.
"Restart the feed," she said.
Ikora Rey stepped into Lab 3, followed by Ophiuchus. "If that idiot thinks we don't recognize him—"
"It would be easy to empty a shotgun in his back and wait for his Ghost to show up," Aunor interrupted. "It must be close by." She stared hard at an image of Cayde's final moments.
"We've been through this, Aunor," Ikora said, looking purposefully at Aunor instead of the array of displays and screens. "The Vanguard needs him. How many times have you checked this data?"
"Seventeen. In my off-hours. I needed to know if I could trust the Guardian that let Cayde die."
Ikora was silent for a moment, then she said, quietly, "Not 'the' Guardian. Guardians plural. Zavala and I are just as—"
"Culpable, yes. You didn't let me finish. We lost Cayde on a random Tuesday. And you all just took that Guardian's word for it? One who's had less than a decade of service?" Aunor turned, bathed in the layered light of the holograms. Arc energy hummed in the air around her. The holograms flickered and distorted. "You didn't think to ask whether it was a lie? You didn't think it was important to pore over this footage, to double-check every possible angle—"
"We did!" Ikora snapped. Ophiuchus nudged her; she steadied herself. "We have. And we've allowed you to look. We gave you Sundance's shell. You've had full access to every report. What've you found?"
"Nothing. It's as your hero surmised. Sundance was murdered by the Barons of the Tangled Shore. They pooled all their resources to craft a single Thorn-like bullet. Had they missed, the last few months would have played out very differently. The Hunters might still have their Vanguard. But... I admit that I see no reason not to believe the official report."
Ikora nodded. "Most reliable Guardian I know," she said softly.
"It was the only blemish on that record. I had to look into it."
Ikora took a breath. "We need you to leave the Drifter alone."
"You know I have the Vanguard's best interests in mind. And now that I know our hero can be trusted, maybe I've found the help I need."
"To do what?"
"To save you from yourselves."
"It remains my honor to be your Hidden. But there are lines I will never cross. Not for you, not for the Order. Do you trust me to do my job?"
"Always. I... the Vanguard ask that you do the same."