Chapter 1

"Wish for tea?"

Wishing was a dangerous thing, something he had far too much experience with in his long years, yet he smiled and shook his head. "Thank you, but no, I will not be long."

The Fallen, who would have perhaps been a Vandal but for the long robes of a scribe and the royal colours of the Reef, closed his outer eyes and left the Warlock to his records.

The scribe returned hours later with refreshments, and the human smiled sheepishly. The nitrogen tea was scalding hot, but the sensation was far away from the Warlock's detached attention. His finger followed the words of the datapad and he mouthed each one with care. His pale eyes twinkled with interest.

...Exodus Prime...

The scribe, seeing the hint of a smile, chirped quietly. "Find sought-thought?"

For a moment, the Warlock allowed himself to admire the quality of the translator. It was undeniably not human, or even neohuman, but like he had with Variks, it was something clear and comprehensible. The clicks and barks were difficult to avoid, even with a vocal synth, but understanding was all that mattered. The Awoken didn't seem to mind.

"I have," the Warlock answered. "Thank you for allowing me this oppurtunity."

The Fallen scribe closed his outer eyes once more. A polite gesture, the Warlock knew. "I have next-inherit and guard work of Master Ives. Is mine-honour-task, yes?"

"I understand."

"Hello, Failsafe," the Warlock greeted softly. He sat by the wall of the AI's mainframe. It had been some time he was there last. Nessus was far removed from the troubles humanity faced.

"Captain! I received word of the Cayde Unit's life status!" ("Donezo.")

It hit him like a quick punch to the abdomen, and the Warlock found it tougher to breathe. "Yes. He's... gone."

"Please let me know if there is anything I can do to accelerate and conclude your grief process!" ("'Cause I'm fine.") "As the AI of Exodus Black, I experienced the death of every single one of my crewmembers! I hypothesized that the more loss one has suffered, the easier subsequent losses become! Field research has proven my hypothesis false! Losing Cayde makes me feel... f-f-feel... f-f-f-feel..." ("AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH.") "I feel terrible!"

He took a deep breath and welcomed the burst of support in the back of his mind, the warmth in his hand. His Ghost had always been vigilant. "Actually, there is something I wanted..."

"What is it?" ("Another chore. Joy.")

"What do you know of the Exodus Prime?"

He expected Failsafe to cheerfully give him everything he needed to know. He never anticipated what felt like all that was left of the Exodus Black freezing up.

Failsafe resumed her normal functions moments later, but the pause is noticed. "I apologize, but my databanks are experiencing difficulty. I'm afraid information regarding your request is simply inaccessible!" ("We're under orders.")

The Warlock frowned thoughtfully. "Who's orders?"

"I am not authorised to say!" ("A Warmind.")

"Maybe Zavala's right," the Ghost said, manifesting beside the Guardian. "Rasputin causes trouble everywhere he's involved."

But the Warlock wasn't deterred. "If there's records of it in the Vestian Cryptarchy, then there will be other sources." He stands up.

"I hope you find what you find what you're looking for!" Failsafe happily told him. "Maybe Captains Lennox and Jaxson can assist you! Together, a fireteam never loses!" ("Except when they do.")

The Warlock's stance faltered. This one felt like a Cabal is hammering the breath out of him with its bare fists. "I... I'm afraid that won't happen any longer, Failsafe."

"What do you mean? Please elaborate!"

"We have... parted ways," he admited. It's a hefty weight, especially when he acknowledged it out loud.

"I am sorry to hear that!" ("No news like bad news.")

"As am I. I bid you farewell."

"Well, that was a waste of time." His Ghost finally said, once they were out of the centaur's orbit. The Galliot around them purred like a living beast, a swift bird of prey still searching for Skiffs and Harvesters to rip apart. It was one of the greatest gifts he has ever received, but the cost was far higher than he would have willingly paid.

"On the contrary, I think we have learned much."

His Ghost gave him a disbelieving look. "We barely talked with her for two minutes, and you tell me we got what we came for?"

"No. But she has put us on the right path."

"Oh, I can't wait to see how this pans out."

There is no doubt in the Warlock's mind that the Cryptarchy of the Last City would have records holding further information on the topic, but those gates had been closed to him.

Instead, he turned to Mars. If nothing else, he might dig up something in the Futurescape.

Ana intercepted him before he could enter the Mindlab. A two years apart and she looked as busy as ever.

"I heard what went down," she told him. "I'm sorry. But you're probably sick of hearing that."

The Warlock shrugged. "I could do without the reminder."

"Then sorry for reminding you. Now, what are yo doing here? Not that Red and I don't like you, but isn't there something with apocalyptic power for you to fight?"

"Jaxson has that covered."

"He's good at that."

"Titans usually are. Their obtuse methods has its uses."

The Hunter smiled. "So, what are you here for?"

"I'd like to talk to 'Red'. There's a topic I've been investigating and I've been led to believe he may have the answers I seek."

"What is the Exodus Prime?"

::Gone. Beyond.::


::Everything is gone.::

"But the Exodus Prime, where has it gone beyond?"

::Beyond my sight.::

"That's... Wow, okay. Thank you."

"What's your interest?"

The Warlock spared his Ghost a a glance. "I'm just curious."

She wasn't finished, though. "No one's heard of it. Even I haven't heard of any Exodus Prime, and I've been inside more Golden Age installations than I can count."

"Project Amrita came after it."


"The Yang Liwei. Mara's ship. The Exodus Green."


The Warlock smiled apologetically. "Sorry. Not explaining very well, am I? The Yang Liwei and every other ship of Project Amrita were armed to the teeth. They weren't the first to attempt to leave Sol. The ones before just disappeared, right off the map, communication lines cut."


"Right, you know about the Exodus Black? An attempt to colonize Kepler-186. The Exodus Green was meant for the same thing, to live outside of the Traveler's gaze. Well, I think the Exodus Prime was the first, the one we lost."

"What's your hypothesis?"

"Anything could have happened. Maybe the Hive found it, or the Cabal, in which case it's truly gone."

"But you think otherwise."

"No, I hope otherwise. And yet, it's the worst case scenario. If there's any chance it's any way like the Awoken and their Distributary, then it's a weapon for the Hive to use. We already have enough trouble with the Dreaming City. Imagine they found it, a stranded pocket universe. It would be a kill battery in which they could amass infinite tribute and power."

"Oh. That isn't good."

The Warlock agreed wholeheartedly.

His Ghost flexed her shell. "What do we do?"

"We need to find it."

"And then?"

"Keep it safe from the Enemy's hands."