Dark, Flowerless Future

Excalibur grunted as he rolled and bounced down the hill, flung from the top by a Grineer Bombard. Eventually, he reached the bottom, but by the time he had picked himself up and reorientated himself, the Grineer responsible was dead, its head laying by Excalibur’s feet.

“You alright?” a familiar face asked. The unblinking eyes of Volt always strangely made Excalibur feel better. Yes, this veteran was covered in bright yellow colours and gleaming metallic armour, but something about him seemed weirdly relatable to Excalibur.

“I’m fine…” Excalibur sighed. “Damn these Tusk Grineer and their anti-aircraft rockets.”

“They pull them out of their asses, I swear!” Volt beamed, patting Excalibur on the shoulder. “But don’t worry. Happens all the time. That’s why I invested in an Amesha… until I realised those rockets knock Amesha Archwings out of the sky too…”

Excalibur looked back up at the top of the hill, still sighing to himself. In the time it had taken Excalibur to get up off his ass, Volt had captured the Grineer target they were after, slaughtered the remaining Grineer and had managed to slide down the hill to join him.

Again, Volt patted Excalibur on the shoulder. “There’s something wrong, isn’t there? And it’s not the fact that we didn’t get that Warframe part and the Endo you wanted.”

The young Tenno didn’t answer. Instead he decided to head off towards extraction. The bounty was over, they’d gotten some resources, a mod and two relics. He’d been bashed around a bit due to the high number of Grineer around. There were other things on Excalibur’s mind.

“Excal? You there?”

Of course Volt had caught up. Even with a five second head start.

“Not really…” Excalibur slowed down, then came to a halt by a small river running through a rocky creek. “There is something bothering me. Something I don’t know how to explain.”

“Like what?”

“I’ve had this Lotus constantly telling me what to do. She’s always there, guiding me. Even if I already know how to open a relic or capture a target. But what is she? She’s not one of us. I know I’m not supposed to know the truth yet, but I’ve heard whispers. And things like that.”

“What sort of whispers?” Volt’s confidence faded ever so slightly. And it wasn’t because the sun was setting. Excalibur and Volt both knew that the beasts that came out at night were no threat to them.

“She’s not human. She’s not alive the way we are. She was meant to do something else. She was meant to destroy us but then she took us all in. We slept in safety because of her. But that will change.”

Volt shrugged. “Well, you are right. Completely right. Especially since we’re literally doing simple bounties here in Cetus so you can get Endo to level up your mods so we can get you to Ceres and Jupiter.”

“I… I overheard Frost and Ember discussing it all…” Excalibur admitted. He started walking again, following the stream. “I heard them talking about a sacrifice. And I’ve seen those other Excaliburs. The angry, scarf-wearing ones that seem to constantly be in pain. It’s all connected, even if I don’t know the details.”

Volt hesitated, then chased after Excalibur. “Do you want to know the truth?”

Excalibur turned back to Volt. “No. I just want to know who I can trust. I think I can trust Ordis. I think I can trust you. Maybe I can trust some other Tenno…” Excalibur paused, then tutted. “Okay, yes, I do want the truth. Can I trust the Lotus?”

Volt sighed. “No. She’s not even around any more. You’re seeing pre-recorded messages and transmissions. You’re completely right not to trust her. Because people can change, but people can also change back.”

Sirens blared in the distance, warning Grineer to return to their bases. Excalibur didn’t seem too happy. He wasn’t happy that his thoughts and gut instincts had been right all along. Volt though didn’t seem to mind. He cheerfully put an arm around Excalibur.

“Don’t worry. Us Tenno watch each others’ backs. Even if things get worse, even if there is a war or something, you’ll be fine.”

“A war?” Excalibur exclaimed. “What do you mean by that?”

Volt shrugged awkwardly. “You never know.”

“I hope there isn’t a war…” Excalibur sighed. “I’m gonna need way more Endo if there’s a war…”

“Well let’s go get more Endo then. You need Endo anyway.”

Volt skipped off back to Cetus, seeming slightly less anxious. Excalibur shrugged, then followed. Even if there was a war, at least he had friends.