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This Week At Bungie 11/19/2020

Source: https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/49853
This week at Bungie, the Crow has found a new nest.
Hello, and welcome to the second TWAB of Beyond Light. We’ve got a bit to cover today, so we won’t spend too much time on introductions. Season of the Hunt kicked off proper on Tuesday. If you haven’t jumped in just yet, we have some wonderful web lore to get you prepared. I wasn’t mentally prepared for part 2...

IMMOLANT PT. 1 // IMMOLANT. PT 2

TWO DRINK MINIMUM

Wrathborn Hunts have begun. We still have the Deep Stone Crypt Raid, The Dawning, Trials of Osiris, Iron Banner, and more to look forward to over the course of the Season.
First stop: The raid.

On Your Marks. Get Set. Raid.

Season of the Hunt isn’t the only thing making its grand entrance this week. At 10 AM PST on Saturday, November 21, the Deep Stone Crypt will become available.
Video Link
We’ve talked through Contest Mode, shown off some fancy rewards, but we wanted to get in a final reminder before the show begins.
World First Verification Timeline
Once the raid has been conquered, we will announce that the activity has been completed from @Bungie on Twitter. After this, our teams will start diving into the data to verify that the first completion was clean. Our hope is to be able to announce the winners shortly after World first, but we want to ensure our validation efforts are sound. Ultimately, our goal is to have a post congratulating the winning team on Monday, November 23.
Contest Mode Reminder and a Quick Stasis Update
Full details on Contest Mode can be found in the This Week at Bungie – 10/15/2020 article.
Quick bullets that all should be aware of:
  • Contest Mode will cap all players at 20 Power below each encounter for 24 hours.
  • Artifact Power will be disabled during Contest Mode.
  • Your team’s Power Cap goal is 1230 for all the encounters.
  • Being above 1230 will not provide any additional advantage in the final fight.
Earlier this week, an issue was discovered where Stasis was doing large (and we mean insanely huge) amounts of damage to bosses. The team worked at lightning pace to develop a fix for Destiny 2 Hotfix 3.0.0.3, thus preventing impact to the upcoming raid! We have a few more notes on general Stasis balancing later in the TWAB, so keep reading if you want to know more! This may not be a piece of Contest Mode, but we wanted to make sure to call this out for those who may have seen an interesting video or two over the last few days.
There Will Be Loot
Now, it wouldn’t be a race if there wasn’t something on the line. While many of you may have seen these rewards on our Instagram or even a preview on the Bungie Store website, we wanted to make sure to show these off in a TWAB before the raid released!
World First Raid Title (don’t call it a belt)
The first Fireteam of 6 to complete the Deep Stone Crypt raid will be declared World First by Bungie from @Bungie on Twitter after verification from our analytics team. Official rules can be found here.
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Day 1 Raid Emblem
Complete the Raid within 24 hours with Contest Mode active (by 10 AM PST on Nov 22) to unlock this unique emblem.
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Jacket Quest: Parka Edition
Complete the raid by 9AM PST on December 1 to unlock the Bungie Rewards Deep Stone Crypt Raid Jacket for purchase.
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Additionally, there are two deadlines that players should be aware of:
  • Deadline to Claim Reward Code: December 31, 2020 9 AM PST
  • Deadline to Purchase: December 31, 2020 11:59 PM PST
For additional details, please refer to your Bungie Rewards page, or the Bungie Store pre-order page.
Now, only a few questions remain...
  • Have you gotten your Power high enough?
  • Do you have your raid team assembled?
  • Are you prepared for battle?
  • …and for those of you who may not be racing, who will you be watching?
See you Saturday. It’s going to be a blast.

Securing the Entrance

Our Security team has been working on a variety of projects to sharpen our tools for cheat detection. In the coming weeks we’ll begin rolling out a new security measure for newly created accounts on PC. Our hope is that this deters some players from breaking the Code of Conduct.
For a quick explanation of what’s coming, our friends from the Security team will be taking the stage to walk you through the process of SMS verification.
What is SMS verification?
Bungie is implementing a quick account validation step for free-to-play players who want to access our high-stakes PvP modes in Destiny 2 on PC. Free-to-play accounts (PC only) will need to link and verify a cell phone number to their accounts via Bungie.net before being able to access those activities.
What activities are high-stakes?
Trials of Osiris, Iron Banner, and Competitive PvP playlists are examples. As this feature rolls out, we will be looking to how it can grow, and potentially expanding it to alternate activities in the future.
Why are we doing this?
Unscrupulous players can negatively impact everyone’s gameplay experience and undermine the hard-earned achievements of others. Bungie takes the threat of cheating seriously. We will continue implementing systems to help verify that accounts engaging in Destiny 2 activities are honoring our Code of Conduct and Terms of Service.
What do you need to do?
If you are a free-to-play Destiny 2 PC player you will receive a notice in-game the first time you try to access a protected activity. This will provide you with a “Verify Now” link to follow to Bungie.net and process your SMS linking. When you enter your cell phone number and request a verification code you will receive a quick text message with “Bungie Code: ######”. Once you enter that code on the Bungie.net page to complete your verification process you can sign back into the game to get immediate access to the activity you want to play.
Once this feature is live, free-to-play PC players will see an image in-game which will walk them through the signup process.
For announcements regarding this security rollout, please follow @BungieHelp on Twitter. We will also release some help articles over the next week to give full details on the upcoming feature!
As a reminder, if you encounter any players that you suspect of cheating or breaking our terms of service, please use the in-game report tool and submit a report using our contact form on Bungie.net.

Game2Give 2020 Fundraising Campaign – Light Keepers

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Over the years, this community has proven time and time again that gaming does good. You've acted as Guardians of the world, providing aid to people in need, no matter the challenge. We’re excited to announce our next initiative, partnering with Game2Give, starting on December 1! Without further ado, we’ll pass the mic over to the Bungie Foundation to run us through this wonderful event.
Bungie Foundation: Gear up for our second annual Game2Give charity event in support of the Bungie Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, benefitting sick kids across the country. We invite the Bungie Community to join us in celebration of what we can accomplish together through games and giving.
Starting today, we invite all of our Bungie Community members to sign up to host your own Destiny 2 fundraising stream between December 1 and December 13. We have some incredible prizes for you all at various fundraising milestones.
On Giving Tuesday, December 1 at 10 AM PST, we’ll be kicking off a 24-hour streaming marathon with some of your favorite influencers from a variety of channels including Twitch and Facebook Gaming. We’ll have featured live streams taking place throughout the entire 2-week campaign, so be sure to follow us @BungieLove to receive the latest information!
We are excited to share the sweet prizes we have to thank our donors for their amazing contributions to help kids. Check them out:
Donation Incentives
  • A $25 donation will earn you the 2019 Mist Blossoms Emblem and Gilded Shell Exotic Ghost.
    • If you missed them last year, this is your chance to get your hands on them!
  • A $50 donation will earn you the above items, plus the new Light Keepers Emblem.
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  • A $100 donation will earn you the three items above and will enter you to win an item from the Bungie Prize Pool. Prizes include GameStop/EB Games gift cards (U.S. and Canada only), Destiny 2: Beyond Light Digital Deluxe Editions, and Destiny 2: Beyond Light Physical Deluxe Editions.
Best of all, 100% of donations go directly to the charities. All in-game digital incentives will be automatically redeemed via donors’ Bungie.net ID and will appear in the Destiny 2 Collections tab on or after Tuesday, December 1.
This year, we have also partnered with the online fundraising platform Omaze. Gamers from around the world can enter for their chance to win $20,000 to create the ultimate gaming rig and support this fundraising initiative! More details will come leading up to our campaign’s launch.
As we head into the holiday season, we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude for each and every one of you, who continue to bring smiles, joy, and hope for Little Lights everywhere. We hope you see yourself reflected in this mantra and hold it dear.
We are Light Keepers
Those who dare to ignite hope in the face of uncertainty
By our united, global passion we protect those in need
Making a lasting difference for the Little Lights around the world
We are Light Keepers
Love,
The Bungie Foundation
We’re also planning a few other goodies for you to unlock throughout the event when reaching certain donation milestones. Stay tuned for the full Game2Give 2020 article planned for December 1!

Tuning the Darkness

It’s not often that an entirely new subclass makes its entrance into the ecosystem of Destiny 2. The team has been hard at work over the last year building abilities and Supers powered by the Darkness. Enemies around the solar system are shaking in fear of your Stasis powers, including your fellow Guardians in the Crucible.
Depending on when this article goes live, a hotfix may or may not be in the wild. We have some notes from the development team on what’s changing in Destiny 2 Hotfix 3.0.0.3.
Development Team: We have seen a lot of feedback on Stasis since Beyond Light launched last week. We’ve heard it’s a ton of fun to use, but certain aspects of this new subclass can be frustrating to go up against (looking at you, Shadebinder Warlocks). We have a few minor tweaks planned to go out in Hotfix 3.0.0.3 this week. Our goal here is to do some early tuning to rein Shadebinders back in while still maintaining their overall efficacy and power fantasy.
Stasis Changes:
  • Stasis Breakout Damage reduced (110->90hp).
    • Adjusted the curve that reduces breakout damage using resilience.
    • Increased the damage reduction effect resilience has so that higher tiers of Resilience are more valuable.
    • Caps out at 90 Resilience.
  • Penumbral Blast (Stasis Warlock Melee) projectile speed reduced by 20%.
  • Penumbral Blast (Stasis Warlock Melee) range reduced (was 28m now 16m).
  • Winter Wrath (Stasis Warlock Super) duration reduced (30s -> 24s).
  • Winters Wrath Light Attack (Stasis Warlock Super) cost reduced (5% per burst -> 4.5% per burst).
  • Cold Snap seeker speed reduced by 23%.
Against Guardians:
  • Cold Snap freeze duration lowered (4.75s -> 1.35s).
  • Ice Flare Bolts freeze duration lowered (4.75s -> 1.35s).
  • Penumbral Blast (Stasis Warlock Melee) freeze duration lowered (4.75s -> 1.35s).
  • Winters Wrath Heavy attack (Stasis Warlock Super) no longer affects players who are not encased.
With all that said, we believe strongly in the “cosmic ice” wizard fantasy in PvE so we’re trying to target changes where we can towards the PvP experience specifically. With Stasis we’ve tried to push the sandbox in new directions and that increases the likelihood we introduce something spicier than normal.
When it comes to crafting new abilities, we believe the risk of shipping something a little hot is better than playing it safe and shipping something that doesn’t get you excited. As always, we’re going to be using data, playtesting, and feedback to help refine our direction and we’re going to keep responding. This will not be the last change to Stasis this Season. As we get closer to future changes, we’ll make another appearance in the TWAB for a patch note preview.
Thanks for playing, and we’ll see you out there in the wild.

Let’s Talk Loot

Since Beyond Light launched, we’ve been working through a whirlwind of feedback. What feels good, what needs work, and most importantly, how are you feeling? Today, we’ll be talking through a bit of player feedback concerning loot, and some short term plans the development team is working on.
Development Team: As Beyond Light has launched we've been tracking your feedback around loot, particularly weapons, and wanted to take a moment to let you know how we are processing it. Today we're going to talk mostly about the short-term, with more information to follow in the future around the long-term as we work through those problems.
Infusion caps are intended to help keep Destiny 2 evolving and ensure that every release the new rewards are exciting and relevant to the meta. However, we agree with your feedback that there’s currently not enough variety in the world loot weapons available to players this season.
To that end we are adding back in a selection of weapons that will help alleviate this issue. We will also be watching to see how the landscape changes with the addition of weapons from Season 12 and this week’s Raid launch. We also agree that getting near-cap weapons from random world drops is frustrating. Thus, we are removing those from the pool, and are weighting drops more heavily towards newer weapons.
Here’s a list of adjustments to the world loot legendary weapons pool you’ll see with our November 24 hotfix:
  • Remove all legendary weapons that hit their infusion cap at the end of this season
  • Add all of the Seventh Seraph weapons from Season 10
  • Add all of the Season 11 seasonal and planetary reprisal weapons
  • Weight drop chances so the newer an item is, the more likely it is to drop.
While we are not yet ready to dive into the long-term strategy yet, we are listening to feedback and watching how the player build landscape evolves over these first few weeks of Beyond Light, and incorporating that feedback as we plan out future Seasons.
Feedback never stops, and we’re always excited to hear how you’re feeling about Destiny 2. Keep it coming.

Bashing Some Bugs

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This last week has been a whirlwind. New content, new bugs, and new investigations. Destiny Player Support has a full report of what’s we’ve found, and what we’re still on the hunt for.
This is their report.
HOTFIX 3.0.0.3
Today, November 19, maintenance for Hotfix 3.0.0.3 will begin. Below is a timeline of events:
  • November 19, 8 AM PST (1600 UTC): Destiny 2 maintenance for Hotfix 3.0.0.3 begins.
  • November 19, 8:45 AM PST (1645 UTC): Players will be removed from activities and won't be able to log back into Destiny 2 until 9 AM PST when Hotfix 3.0.0.3 will be available.
  • November 19, 9 AM PST (1700 UTC): Destiny 2 Hotfix 3.0.0.3 has begun rolling out across all platforms and regions. Players will now be able to log back into Destiny 2. Ongoing maintenance is expected to conclude at 10 AM PST.
  • November 19 10 AM PST (1800 UTC): Destiny 2 Maintenance is expected to conclude.
HUNT OR BE HUNTED
This week, Season of the Hunt activities and story content unlocked for Season Pass owners. In order to access the Season intro mission, players should make sure to have completed the initial Forsaken and Shadowkeep story missions, which are free to all players.
Players should also make sure to have space in their quest inventory prior to interacting with Spider or the Crow in order to acquire Seasonal quests.
For more information on Season of the Hunt, please follow this link to our Season of the Hunt Guide.
ARTIFACT PICKUP
We are currently investigating an issue causing players who acquired the Seasonal Artifact before completing the full New Light Tower introduction to be blocked from progressing in the Season of the Hunt story and missions.
New Light players should be sure to complete the full Tower introduction prior to picking up the Seasonal Artifact from Zavala’s office.
We are continuing to monitor for reports of veteran players encountering this issue. If you believe you've been impacted by this issue and are not a New Light player, please report to the #Help forum.
DESTINY ADD-ONS
Players who encounter issues with their Season Pass, expansions, or Beyond Light Character Boost are encouraged to view our Purchased Destiny Add-Ons Help article for information and troubleshooting steps they can take. Click here for more information.
PC MIGRATION AND BATTLE.NET LOGIN ENDING SOON
Beginning on December 1, 2020, at 9 AM PST, logging in using Blizzard Battle.net accounts will no longer be possible on Bungie.net or the Destiny Companion app, nor will users be able to migrate their Battle.net account to Steam.
Users who only have a Battle.net account linked to their Bungie profile are strongly encouraged to either link another platform to their profile, or to perform PC migration to Steam (unless you already have a Destiny 2 Steam account). Click here for more information.
KNOWN ISSUES
While we continue investigating various known issues, here is a list of the latest issues that were reported to us in our #Help Forum:
  • We’ve identified an issue where the Vanguard strike Playlist difficulty was unintentionally set to 1100 Power.
    • We are developing a fix to reduce the Recommended Power of Vanguard strikes Playlist to 1050.
  • The Exo Stranger’s weekly challenge is mistranslated in languages other than English – players need to defeat combatants with or affected by Stasis off of Europa.
  • Sparrows on Europa are not properly despawning.
  • Meleeing as a Titan while using the Stasis subclass can result in a visual of multiple rapid punches.
  • The lift tubes in the Warden of Nothing strike can close before all fireteam members are successfully through.
  • The lift tubes in the Warden of Nothing strike fully drain Super energy.
  • The Warsat Heroic Public Event in the Mothyards of the Cosmodrome doesn’t count completions for objectives.
  • Yellow subtitles will appear as white even when the yellow option is selected.
  • The Braytech RWP Mk. II no longer appears as owned in Collections for some players.
  • High value target reward chests do not grant the proper amount of Glimmer.
  • The holograms on the Stella Incognita bond and Bond of Last Departure ornament bounce aggressively.
  • The eyes on the Phenotype Plasticity Mask no longer glow red.
  • Adored cannot be reacquired from Collections.
  • In-game PlayStation friends lists are missing large amounts of online friends.
  • Player heads may not render when inspecting players in the Tower.
  • Later Crucible rounds may display an inaccurate round timer.
  • Vest of the Great Hunt clips through the Moonfang-X7 Cloak.
  • The Titan Shiver Strike and Glacial Quake melee have inconsistent hit registration.
  • Reaching Power Level 1200 may result in a “New Adventure” popup even though Adventures are no longer available.
  • An incorrect amount of Orbs of Power may drop than what is displayed to have dropped when defeating enemies with a Masterworked weapon.
  • In Survival, players may not enter into overtime when both teams have an equal amount of lives remaining.
  • PlayStation Remote Play controls may no longer function for some players.
  • Mida Mini-Tool and Drang cannot accept ornaments for their Baroque versions.
  • Fallen Empire and Stasis Fragment quests can be purchased even with a full quest inventory.
  • Participant kill audio plays in the Crucible even when not involved in a player kill.
  • An increase in ARUGULA errors for players completing the Beyond Light campaign.
  • In the Insight Terminus strike, Kargen will continuously perform ground slams and not allow players to progress past the conflux space.
  • Combat Drill bounties say they require Clash kills, but actually requires kills in Elimination.
  • Players may be directed to reacquire the Seasonal Artifact from Zavala’s office when they already have it in their inventories.
  • The Garden of Salvation and Crown of Sorrow Warlock armor sets are not visible in Collections.
  • The Unsecured/Outcry ship has the rocket engine effects floating behind the ship model.
For a full list of emergent issues in Destiny 2, players can review our Known Issues article. Players who observe other issues should report them to our #Help forum.

Always Watching

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We’ve been spending a lot of time over the last week and a half watching players reacting to live events, expansion launches, and more. There have been a few moments where we were watching players taking advantage of some interesting bugs, too. Don’t worry, we aren’t keeping a naughty or nice list. You’re all still winners in our hearts.
Well, sort of. The actual winners for MOTW put out some fun videos that creep me the hell out. Festival of the Lost may be over, but there are still echoes of darkness reverberating through our Creations page.
Movie of the Week: Truth
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Movie of the Week: The Curse of Bad JuJu
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Movie of the Week: Risen (Warning – Strobing Lights/Imagery)
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If you’d like a chance at our new MOTW emblem, make sure to submit your content to the Creations page on Bungie.net. Tag it with #MOTW, and please credit everyone who contributed to the video in its description.

An Artistic Touch

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I will always have great appreciation for those with a green thumb, but even moreso for those with a green thumb for art. These skills are earned through hours, days, weeks, months, and years of practice… but I will always be amazed at the pieces we see shared throughout our community. This week, we have an amazing take on Beyond Light, and more.
Featured Art: Go Beyond the Light
GO BEYOND THE LIGHT! Hope you like my Beyond Light poster! ❄️👾🖌#Destiny2 #BeyondLight #destinythegame #DestinyArt #xbox #XboxSeriesX #SeriesX #PlayStation #ps5 #Halo #Commission pic.twitter.com/vz7powNNPp
— jack 🎨 (@jackdrawss) November 14, 2020
Featured Art: Immolant Pt. 2
🔥☀️ IMMOLANT PT.2 ☀️ 🔥
//In that last moment she seemed
as wholly luminescent as the Sun,
and I wished to be so brave.//#Destiny2 #destinythegame #DestinyArt pic.twitter.com/cvnrsPUXKL
— StellarStateLogic ❄️🧊🥶 { Comm.: Full 3/3 } (@PedanticAuspice) November 17, 2020
Featured Art: Europan Fireteam
ローンチおめ!(再掲) pic.twitter.com/I31Q2e3ARk
— 𝙏𝘼𝙈𝘼𝙈𝙄❄️ (@tmaaaaa3) November 11, 2020
If you have any Destiny inspired art, make sure to tag it with #DestinyArt on Twitter, Instagram, or whatever image hosting site you use! Each week, we pick a few and grant unique emblems to their creators.
I’ll admit, this TWAB has been somewhat difficult to write. Don’t get me wrong, what’s said above is incredibly important! Charity initiatives to help those in need, the upcoming raid race, new security measures, and Stasis tuning are great things to see. It’s always a fun time collaborating with the various teams of Bungie to get you a weekly dose of information.
That said, I’m just itching to get back into the game. It’s about time for me to go hunting. See you next week.
...wait, I'll more than likely see you on Saturday for a raid race. Either way, I hope you are in good health, and wish you a good weekend.
Cheers,
-dmg04
submitted by DTG_Bot to DestinyTheGame

The Line Pt.2: Whiteout

(Read the previous part here)
Max:
“And you’re certain he hasn’t left?” I asked the very bored Flight Controller back home.
“Jovian Flight Control has not clocked any jumpships leaving Europa without authorization, sir.” He droned.
My eye twitched. We’d been holded up in this Light-Forsaken Comms Center for a week, eating cold beans, with cold vegetable puree on the side. No one had caught such much as a glimpse of The Target since we’d landed. It was beginning to feel like we were wasting our time.
More than that, I was beginning to feel like my Patron had led me out here as some sort of elaborate practical joke. Not that it mattered, the lead had brought me to a moon full of exactly the sort of scum I was supposed to destroy.
It was becoming impossible for me to so much as step outside without seeing a Traitor wielding the power of The Enemy. It made me sick to my stomach, and I’d locked myself in this dim backroom with George and Noma, practically fused to the radio, resisting the urge to burn heretics while my friends kept themselves entertained.
Noma had taken to polishing her Machine Gun three times a day, until the barrel shone bright silver. She was careful and she was meticulous, ensuring every inch of her weapon was well maintained when the call finally came in.
George, on the other hand, had decided that dramatic poetry readings would cheer us all up. He would pace around the room, scrolling through his datapad looking for another piece of free verse to belt out.
“Ah yes… marvelous.” He said, deciding on his next rendition.
Noma looked up at him, then across at me, and rolled her eyes. I smirked, and faked gagging. She laughed a little, and turned back to polishing her weapon.
“I can see you, you know.” George said, without raising his eyes from his DataPad, “This one is called…. Dogs.”
Dogs?
“It was written as the libretto for a piece of Classical Music. Floyd’s 10th Symphony, 2nd movement.”
He readied himself to begin his recital, when the door slid open, accompanied with a blast of frigid wind. Victor stepped through the door, and shook the snow off his cloak.
“Storm’s coming.” He said, patting himself down.
“Welcome to Europa, dipshit. There’s always a storm coming.”
The Traitor’s friend glared at me,
“Not like this. The Vanguard’s got a scout team on the far side of the Abyss reporting the biggest storm they’ve ever seen rolling through.” He took a chair from the plastic table stuffed in the corner, “Got any food?”
Noma continued polishing her gun. George resumed his dramatic reading, and I dialed in the radio, trying to get more information out of the Flight Controller on the other end. The signal was patchy at best, and the Controller didn’t seem to be in the mood to divulge anything.
Within a couple of hours, the storm hit. Comms vanished completely, probably down to the interface being output by Europa’s electromagnetic winds. This ended my conversation with The City quite abruptly.
In the strongest gusts, the entire station felt like it may get tossed away by the force of the storm. Inside, it sounded like a Cabal Centurion was trying to bash down the door, a relentless series of low hammer blows on the thick blast doors.
Nothing was going to get in, but going out could be incredibly hazardous.
George stepped across and sealed the door, as he seemed unsure as to whether or not it would ever close again if someone opened it from the other side. The tiny communications kit we had with us wouldn’t get a signal out of Europa’s atmosphere.
For the foreseeable, we were cut off from the Vanguard’s network, from vital intel. I was going to go insane if I didn’t find a method to calm down. George would suggest reading, and Noma would suggest a nap. Jess would suggest meditation. I decided that was likely the best course of action.
This lasted about an hour.
“I’m going out.” I declared, slipping on my helmet and walking towards the door.
“To do what?”
My brain blanked. I actually had no clue what I wanted to do, I just knew that If I stayed here any longer, I’d shoot Victor out of boredom. Knowing how these things tend to proceed, I might just shoot him for fun.
“No you’re not.” George said, climbing down off the table and stepping between me and the door. He pushed me back down into a chair.
“Why?” I asked like an angry toddler.
George didn’t answer, instead just fiddling with his DataPad, as though he could find the answer to the question ‘Why’ on VanNet. The comms blackout preventing him from finding any answer, and instead he scrolled through the settings, trying different encryptions and transmission bands. None of them punched through the storm. He paused, considering something, before handing me his DataPad,
“Because you have a job to do.”
I raised an eyebrow,
“Do I? Aside from slowly decomposing?”
“Yes. Try and get that DataPad to interface with that gargantuan dish on the roof.”
Slightly perplexed, I took the Pad and looked around the room for an input. It took me ages to find a cable that would let the City tech talk to the dormant Golden Age comms system all around us. It took a weird combination of cables, short-range signal boosters, and a few bodged-together lines of code to eventually give the DataPad access to the Communications Center’s control.
“George!” I said excitedly, scrolling through the building controls, looking almost certainly like a little kid who’d just broken into the cookie jar.
“Mm?” George asked, suddenly roused from his power nap.
“I did it. I’m into the settings!” I exclaimed excitedly.
“Oh.. great. Give it here.” He said, trying to grab it.
“No!” I held the pad close to my chest, “I cracked it, so I get to play with it.”
George closed his hand, and sat back down, folding his arms disapprovingly.
“Why do you want it?’ I asked him, scrolling through the menus.
He steepled his fingers, tapping them together over and over again. Something didn’t sit right with him. When he was unsettled, it was usually for a reason.
I set the DataPad on the side, and leaned forward.
“What is it?”
“Probably nothing..” He conceded unconvincingly.
“George… come on. What?”
He scratched his purple head, his eyes scanning the ground.
“I…” He paused, collected himself, and spoke clearly, “This storm seems like perfect cover for House Salvation to deal real damage to us. There are probably dozens of Fireteams operating out there, with no support. It’s a perfect recipe for an ambush.”
Picking it up off the side, I handed him the Datapad.
He nodded wordlessly, and started to manipulate the menus. The various consoles around the room sprang to life, startling Victor, who dropped his revolver to the ground.
“The hell are you doing?” He asked, scrambling around on the floor.
None of us responded.
A speaker popped and crackled into life. Before anyone had a chance to react, George linked in his headphones and the first syllables of a message vanished. His expression soured, he listened intently for just a few moments before standing up abruptly.
“Victor, are you ready to move?” He asked the Hunter.
“...yeah?”
“Grab your things.” He said, pulling on his duster and checking his SUROS Impromptu-49 rifle was loaded. “Noma and Max, stay here. Hold down the fort, stay on comms.”
“But…” I started to protest.
“Stay here, m’dear.” He instructed, before nodding to Victor and walking through the door, into the whiteout.
Victor:
We cruised through the storm, pressed in on all sides by the weather. George rode ahead, only visible by the faintest glow coming off his Sparrow’s engines.
The Sparrow he’d given me to borrow was a bit old, and its engines were in urgent need of a tune-up, but it just about let me keep up with him.
“How’s it running?” George asked over crackly comms.
“Fine. Care to tell me what spooked you?”
“That scout team’s stranded out on the Ice, and they’re broadcasting wide-band.” George said gravely, as though he was announcing their deaths.
“They’re broadcasting wide, so what?”
George was quiet for a moment. I thought I could make out him shaking his head.
“So, their message is out there for anyone with a powerful receiver to pick up.”
“Like Max.”
“Yes. And also, more than likely, House Salvation.”
“Oh.”
“Oh indeed. With luck, we’ll make it to their camp first.”
He still seemed to be blowing things out of proportion.
“It’s one fireteam, can’t imagine they’d send more than a Pike Gang.”
The ground shook beneath our Sparrows, blurring everything in front of us. The low screaming roar of a ship dropping out of Warp straight into the atmosphere tore above the storm. A Ketch. House Salvation had sent an entire Ketch to obliterate this fireteam.
“That… may have been premature.”
George chuckled, and revved his engine, disappearing into the storm ahead.
“About 4 kilometers to go.”
I nodded, and pushed hard, pulling alongside him as we thundered onwards across the flat ice sheet.
“George, tell me something…” I said, focusing on what lies ahead.
“Mm..?”
“Max...he’s…”
“Zealous?”
“I was going to say ‘nuts’ but zealous fits.”
George chuckled, I could see his helmet lifted towards the sky, trailing the orange dots that signified the Ketch’s engines pushing it through the storm.
“Yes. Even within the Order, who are hardly a group of moderates, Max’s zealotry is considered extreme. There are very few like him, who have such a single-minded obsession with besting fallen Guardians.”
He paused, adjusted course slightly, and continued to tell me as we plunged towards the camp.
“He has reason to be. A personal stake, if you like.”
“What’s that?”
“He once had a great love, as I suppose we all do at one time or another, and they were taken from him by one who fell.”
“What happened?”
“It was on a Strike mission, in Old Chicago. The third member of their crew was a Warlock, who was under suspicion by The Order. They’d cleared him for active duty, and mid-way through the mission, he disappeared. When he returned, he started behaving strangely.”
The storm eased slightly, and our Sparrows started to move a little quicker.
“Max told him to calm down, and got hit in the side by a Devourer round. She stepped in the way, and this Warlock tossed her into a Hive nest.”
George sighed.
“He never saw her again. After the mission, The Warlock was placed before a Tribunal, and begged for his life. He got placed in Bakken Prison, serving an indefinite sentence…”
“And Max didn’t think that was good enough.”
“No. He joined The Praxic Order the next day, and began hunting down those that’ve gone rogue.”
“Any good?”
“The best. He’s fuelled by a vendetta that can never be satisfied. I warn you Victor, for the sake of your friend…”
“He does not make exceptions, he does not make deals, and he does not take prisoners. If Max reaches Dvol, he will kill him.”
“Unless Sarech bests him.”
“I’ve read the file. He won’t”
I nodded.
Flashes of light, and the rumble of explosives detonating in the distance reached us.
“Nearly there.” George increased his speed, and I matched.
A Skiff flew overhead, firing only a couple of shots from its turret, more focused on its destination. High up in the storm, the Ketch dropped heavy artillery onto the ice sheet. The explosions burst bright orange, silhouetting two Hunters locked in melee combat with Fallen.
“Elksni ahead.” George said evenly, taking one hand off his Sparrow’s controls, and placing it on his rifle.
Elksni. Right.
Something jumped at me out of the storm, and I felt something sharp slip through my armor as I hit the snow. A spear, several feet long, had been driven into my shoulder by a lone Wretch, who screamed with glee as it jumped onto my chest and drove the spear further into my shoulder.
I grunted, trying to lift my gun arm, but it was no good. The Wretch squealed and pressed it deeper, pinning my arm to the ground. My left arm was still free. There was a popping noise from above, like corn in a frying pan. Orange spots flashed on the dark shape of the Ketch hovering far above us.
Incoming artillery fire. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
The Wretch wrenched his spear out of my shoulder and pointed it towards my forehead. Someway behind him, huge solar rounds impacted. Huge orange flashes went up, silhouetting the Elksni standing on top of me.
The shockwave from the explosion staggered the Wretch, giving me a moment to grab my knife and jam it into the back of the Elksnis knee. A rush of snow fell on top of me, as I ripped my knife backwards, cutting bone. The Wretch fell off me, and I tore his spear free from my armour.
On my feet, I flipped myself over and drove the tip of my knife into his esophagus. Ether splurted out onto my faceplate as the two-armed Fallen clawed at me, clawing to stay alive. He failed, and died underneath me.
The storm intensified. I could feel the cold eating into my skin. Could Exo get frostbite? I suppose I was about to find out. The snow pressed in around me, gripping my skin. It hurt. My time was running out.
I got to my feet, struggling to keep myself upright. The wind was vicious, trying to bury me in the snow building around my feet.
Bang, bang, bang.
Another barrage from the Ketch lit up the dark. Something orange was glowing at the edge of what I could make out. I staggered forward, trying not to seize up from the cold. I shivered, which felt wrong. Like it was something that should be impossible for me to do.
Every step was harder than the last, battering against the storm and scanning through my snow covered vision for the sight of any enemy lunging towards me. Another artillery blast landed somewhere to my right, but I couldn’t feel it.
The orange light was closer, and closer, and closer.
I was practically frozen solid by the time I fell face first through the shield and into the bubble of warmth. My armor began to melt, and I could feel the ends of my fingers again. Oh thank the Light.
Inside this strange orange bubble of warmth, sat George, conversing quietly with two Hunters. The Vanguard Scout team.
“You seem to be missing someone.” George said, in a way that suggested it was a question.
The Hunters nodded.
“We came out here, as a team of 3. Heard rumours about the entrance to the Deep Stone Crypt. So far all we’ve found are these weird heat bubbles, thought to set up camp in one, and brought their whole House down on our heads.
A sound like an anvil being dropped onto my head detonated above me.
The Ketch’s freshed barrage caused the shield over our heads to groan with the strain of holding us up.
George ignored it, and carried on interrogating the Hunters.
“Where is the third of your party?”
The two survivors looked at each other, as another blast deafened us from above. We all winced, and I spied what looked to be a Skiff prowling outside the bubble. I lifted my Hand Cannon from its holster and rested the barrel on the top of my wrist.
A line of Fallen appeared out of the storm, and charged into the bubble. I shot and killed the first two before the others fell on top of me. I hit the hard metal plate beneath my feet and slashed wildly with my knife, killing a third Fallen before I stood and fired at the last Wretch to charge.
3 bullets from George’s rifle dropped them before I had a chance. I turned to look towards him, nodding my thanks, and spying the tell-tale shimmer of a Marauder slipping into the bubble behind him.
Without warning him, I fired a bullet over his shoulder. His attacker’s head popped, and the body dropped to the floor. George shouted my name as he fired at something behind me. A Captain died on the floor behind me.
The survivors were on their feet, firing into the storm, hopping their shots would connect with one of the attackers who swarmed our tiny bubble of safety. Another barrage was dumped onto us by the Ketch above. The shield quivered, it was weak. About to break.
Fallen soldiers kept pouring in from all sides. They were more bodies than I had bullets to beat them back. George was backpedaling, firing furiously to try and keep them down. The survivors were being overrun too, and it seemed like the Ketch was readying to drop another barrage on our heads.
Something with two arms and two legs sprinted into the bubble. He was dressed head to toe in black, and brandished a white katana in his right hand, while holding a staff made of ice in his other hand. His face was entirely obscured by a breathing mask.
With a sweep of his staff, the oncoming force of Fallen froze in place. He turned on his heel and pointed his staff towards another oncoming front of Fallen, and they too turned to ice. He moved around the circle, using this power to hold every enemy that charged towards us in place.
Then, he stood in the center of the bubble, and raised his staff over his head.
A sound like a huge bell being struck reverberated my insides. It felt hollow, Light-eating, like a yawning chasm opening up and devouring all other sounds around it. The wind and the sound of ice shattering filled the circle.
Every enemy that had begun to invade our bubble of safety had been shattered into a million pieces. Our savior’s staff disappeared, and he took a seat, clearly exhausted from the effort. George, without missing a beat, stepped forward and extended a hand.
“Perfect timing.” He said. The new guy waved him away.
I looked up in time to see the Ketch pull away into the night. Guess they got bored. With more than a little relief, I slid my gun into its holster. The two survivors didn’t. Instead, they pointed the guns at their teammate.
George and I looked at each other, then to the survivors. Their faces both suggested that whoever had saved us, wasn’t their teammate. My hand went back to my gun, as George retracted his.
No one spoke, as the new man rose, and raised his sword.
“Who are you?” I said, asking the obvious and boring question. The Man looked at me, and opened his left palm. A beam of frigid cold shot out of it, and encased my feet in ice. I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t feel my foot. What the hell was this stuff?
George pulled his Pulse Rifle off his back and aimed it. The Man didn’t look at them, instead he simply focused on me. Behind his black-tinted goggles, any recognisable features were completely hidden.
“Don’t follow me.” He said, voice garbled by the electronics in his mask.
Even so, without a doubt, I knew his voice instantly.
Sarech Dvol summoned a Stasis crystal in his hand, and threw it at the ground. Between him and George, a wall of ice erupted from the warm metal. Through it, I could hear the sound of his pulse rifle discharging, trying to break through.
Without so much as a look back in my direction, my friend disappeared into the storm.
The ice wall disappeared, and my foot was freed as he disappeared. Without hesitation, I sprinted after him. Or I began to, before George’s hand clamped down on my shoulder.
“Are you sure?”
I looked out into the storm, any sign of him completely lost. He’d been like a Spectre, there one moment, gone the next. No guarantees I would or even could find him again. But I had to try. After everything we’d lost together, and everything I’d staked on coming here, I had to try.
“Yes.”
And I followed my friend into the darkness.
//Yowza, the Deep Stone Crypt raid is really something else. My LFG team and I managed to clear the first encounter, but the first boss fight is a real challenge. Day One raiding ate a lot of my time today, and so this entry in The Line arrives slightly later than intended. Join us next week for Max’s descent, and a collision of ideas.//
(Read the entire series here)
submitted by Wilbsorama to DestinyJournals