"Commander Zavala, it is good to see you. Or what remains of you," Queen Mara Sov says with a cutting elegance as we exit our ship and board the Leviathan. "I believed you dead."
"Part of me was. I am glad to have found you," he says.
"We are in need of all the allies we can find. And you bring the Bray sisters, I see."
I bow. "It's good to see you again, my Queen." I learned in my time with her, before everything collapsed, that the Queen is particular about her customs.
Mara smiles back at me. "And you, my friend."
"Where is Calus?" Zavala asks.
"We are unsure of his whereabouts. A problem for another day."
She's surrounded by Cabal and Fallen working alongside what's left of the Awoken army. I had heard some defected to Eris after Mara's failed assaults. Everyone has lost so much to the Dark armies.
"I'm surprised you don't have Vex here as well," Ana says discourteously.
"An attempt at humor, my Queen," I say, nudging Ana in the hopes of conveying to her that the Queen expects respect.
"The Vex are trapped in time by our betrayer and her Dark army," Mara says.
"We have something that we believe can turn the tide," Zavala says, gesturing toward Rasputin. "The Warmind can locate the Traveler using Clovis Bray's tracking algorithm. We know how to capture the Traveler once we find it, but we'll need your army to build the harness."
"I have slowly been gathering forces in preparation of striking back at Eris and the Witch Queen. I would invite you to join our ranks and swear allegiance, but I can smell the aroma of Darkness around you," Mara says, her gaze resting on me.
"My Queen," I say, lowering my head, "I am wielding Stasis, but we want the same end: to survive this."
"Elisabeth, you once asked me to pick a side, even if it was the wrong one. Tell me, did you choose correctly?" she asks.
"I should hope so, since I am at your side once more."
Mara and Zavala exchange a loaded glance and he nods, offering his approval.
"Do not mistake my hospitality for trust. You will earn it on the battlefield."
I bow again. Ana does not.
Later, as I approach the Queen's quarters, I overhear Zavala. "…have to be aware, I do not fully trust her. I think she has a thirst for Darkness."
"We will do our best to keep a close eye on that one," Mara responds.
How could they still not trust me?
"If things go south, I'll do it myself. Ana is my friend, after all," he replies.
"What are they saying?" Ana whispers, startling me.
"Nothing. Let's go," I say quietly.
"Is there a spy in our midst?" Mara calls out. Not quiet enough, I guess.
"No, ma'am. We were just coming in to talk strategy," Ana says as we enter the room. Quick thinking! "The Leviathan presents some interesting possibilities."
"My forces are constructing the harness as we speak. No matter what advantages you believe we have, we are still underprepared for the threat we face. Eris Morn is powerful in ways even I do not comprehend. She is using the Darkness to its full potential."
"What if we're able to do the same… but with the Light?" I propose.
Through the unending expanse of space, we see a soft light, a beacon. The Traveler.
"There you are," Zavala says to himself as Mara and her makeshift army ready themselves.
As we approach, I am awestruck. I forgot how massive it is. We have one shot at this.
"Red says he's able to access some of the ship's higher functions and weaponry. Dormant satellite arrays as well. Could prove useful," Ana says.
"Some good news, finally," Zavala exhales. "Elisabeth…"
Suddenly, Zavala collapses to the floor, grabbing his head and screaming loud enough to echo through the Leviathan.
"What happened?" Mara demands.
"I don't know! He just fell," Ana responds.
His eyes open wide. He calms. Then he speaks.
"We need you. Return to us."
Is he? He's speaking… to the Traveler?
"You chose us before. Please, give us another chance."
He closes his eyes and rubs his head.
"It intends to run," Zavala says, standing and regaining his composure.
"What are we gonna do?" Ana asks.
Zavala releases a deep, focused breath. "Take it back. By force."
"Launch the harness!" Mara Sov commands as her crew gets to work.
It fires as the Traveler becomes aware, burning with a rich, luminous glow. Too bright to keep staring. I shield my eyes hoping we built this right.
The Leviathan shakes, and I grab onto the wall to keep from falling.
The light fades, and my eyes adjust. Sure enough, the harness has latched onto the sphere like a barnacle, the six arms gripped tight. The Leviathan erupts in applause. I look for Ana, but I can't find her in the mass of bodies.
"We're coming home, Ikora," Zavala says pridefully.