Fragment: At Dawn (April writing prompt for [community profile] nexus_crossings)

Apr. 30th, 2016 11:12 pm
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[personal profile] rekindledtitan
The Warlock wouldn’t give her co-ordinates. Just a name and time.


Mercury. Dawn. Her ship a spark racing down the terminator line between retreating night and oncoming sun. Shield systems complained about the temperature differential; solar furnace on port and inky void to starboard.

The Traveler had changed almost everything about this tiny world, given it it unnatural gravity, atmosphere, fertile soil. Transformed it from a ball of iron to a tiny glowing paradise, before the Vex froze it back into sun-scorched metal. One thing that never changed was the rotation period. When one day lasted a couple of Terran months, you knew the dawn would wait for you.

They flew through a sea of comm ghosts, Vex signals whispering to one another from floating fortresses, plucking at the dimly-sensed trespasser above them. Maybe the signals were Vex.

Ulysses had warned them. To listen too closely was to invite infection but her Ghost could sift them, with care.  They scrubbed their comms and ran on with shielded ears.

They decided they’d found it when the echoing signals and sensor flickers went quiet. Blaze cut their thrust, brought the ship around. It was a pocket of silence in the Vex architecture. A hall as jumbled and irregular as the rest. But this one was marked out by Light: a scar in the unbroken machinations of the Vex world.

They went down, of course.

She knew it for an arena the moment her boots crunched down on glass-swept stone. The echoes of furious Light surrounded them, a hundred thousand outbursts marring the peculiar resonances of Vex energies. Then, the architecture fit. She walked beneath brilliant guide beams, through circular vaults and seemingly-disordered halls. Found them all empty.

She came out onto a courtyard, the far side a cliff open to the rising sun. The light was just breaking over the eastern horizon; she could feel the coronal radiation already showering her detectors. This close to the surface they were sheltered from the worst, but their time was short.

//Do you get the feeling we’re being watched?//

//Yeah. Vex? Why aren’t they attacking already?//

//I don’t know. They must know we’re here.//

At the cliff edge was a low platform. She strode up the steps, kicking up glass sprays. Her sweeping optics took in the carvings beneath her feet: the interlocking arcs and rays. But the Light called her attention to what waited at the center.

It was… almost invisible. A twist in the air above a dark well. The memory of fire beyond comprehension. She lifted a hand, reaching for it, entranced, but it was only an echo.

An undying ember, waiting to be kindled. She could feel its demand. Expectation. It called to her, but it was maddeningly faint.

//Getting the feeling someone hasn’t told us something…// she muttered without thinking.

//It’s an incredibly powerful source of Solar Light- I think it’s connected to the sun itself. But it seems to be dormant.//

//Maybe it needs a reason to wake.//

//What kind of reason?//

//Don’t know, yet.// She lifted her gaze to the sun, the silent spires rising from the plain below her. //I think it’s time to find out.//
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