Behind the Eververse counter in the Tower, Tess Everis stood smiling and waving at Guardians as they passed. A novice Hunter, barely out of the Cosmodrome, had just purchased a new shell for his Ghost. The frames were unloading a new shipment from Fenchurch, which were sure to be hot sellers. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and after the recent successes of Vanguard operations against the Witness’s pyramid ships, spirits were high — and wallets were open. It was going to be a good day for business. Soon she would have enough to buy that Golden Age relic Spider had mentioned in their last communication. The Vanguard wouldn’t approve, but what they didn’t know couldn’t hurt them.
Tess was snapped out of her reverie by the arrival of a new customer — a Titan in metallic purple horned armor, creating an effect reminiscent of a giant beetle. The Exo narrowed her eyes, or did the best approximation that her features would allow for, and placed her hands on her hips.
“Greetings,” Tess began. “Eververse trades in goods that we feel enhance a Gua-”
The Titan put one hand out. “Enhance a Guardian’s journey, I know,” she said. “I’ve heard the spiel about a thousand times before hanging around the Tower. What have you got in stock this week?”
Somewhat taken aback by the rudeness, but familiar enough with Titans not to take it too personally, Tess tapped her datapad to bring up her new inventory. “Well, Guardian, perhaps you’d like a new look for your armor? We’ve got a selection of shaders, including Erebos Glance, Circadian Chill, Chalco’s Finery, Coastal Suede, Polished Sea Stone, and Golden Age Wine.”
The Exo shook her head. “Got ’em already. What else?”
Tess cleared her throat. “I can tell you’re a discerning Titan. We’ve got the Calyptra ornament for your Le Monarque bow, or the brand new Calefactor ornament for Forerunner. It’s even Black Armory-themed. Relive the good old days of the Forges?”
Shifting on her feet, the Titan seemed to consider it. “I’ll take it. The Forerunner one, I mean. How much?”
“It’s yours for the low price of 1,250 Bright Dust,” Tess replied.
The Titan sighed. “Alright. I don’t even understand how this economy works. Why are you the only place that doesn’t take Glimmer? What even is Bright Dust”
Tess grinned. “Don’t worry about it! You’ve got Dust, Eververse has got the wares. Could I interest you in anything else? The Synthowl ship is only 2,000 Bright Dust, and the matching Vice Cruiser Sparrow is 2,500. You could pick up the Phoenix Renascence ornament for a Warlock friend who loves their Dawn Chorus, or Acolyte’s Ambition for a Hunter whose Wormtusk Crown needs some sprucing up? Or why not treat yourself? You deserve it. Get the…” Tess hesitated for a moment, “Hjörprimul ornament for your Loreley Splendor Helm!”
“Just the Calefactor, thanks.”
“Are you sure?” Tess asked, leaning across the counter. “I’ve got some fun emotes for sale. Flamenco Dance and Mandolin-sistence for 700 Bright Dust Each.”
The Titan slammed her hand down on the counter, and Tess leapt back. “Yes, I’m sure! And how can you even sell the concept of dancing, anyway? Are you teaching me dance lessons? How to conjure a mandolin out of light? It doesn’t make any sense!”
“Yes, well, no need to get testy,” Tess said, ringing up the purchase on the datapad, handing over an engram containing the ornament. “After all, we’re all friends here.”
“Are we?” The Titan asked. “I’ve never understood how any of this is supposed to work. Where are you getting new inventory from every week?”
By now, a crowd had started to gather. But Tess, consummate saleswoman that she was, maintained a calm veneer.
“My uncle Fenchurch carries out expeditions to find rare goods and has them shipped back to me, of course.”
“So let me get this straight. I’m out there everyday fighting deposed Cabal emperors, time-traveling robots, and exploding zombies and the Vanguard is allowing — maybe even encouraging — you to spend resources on maintaining your little commercial enterprise?”
Murmurs of agreement arose from the crowd. The situation was getting dangerously out of hand, and the Titan wasn’t letting up.
“We’ve got people living in slums, civilians being captured by the Shadow Legion, infrastructure in dire need of repair, and we’re focusing on making sure everyone can do funny little dances? That’s insane!”
Tess’s smile didn’t falter. She put the datapad down on the counter and folded her hands, casting her eyes over the assembled group of Guardians, technicians, and other passers-by. “Friends, I hear your concerns. And I want you to rest assured that the good of the Tower and humanity is the very highest of our priorities at the Eververse. And as a token of our goodwill, I’d like to give everyone present 100 Bright Dust, totally free of charge.”
The Titan tried to continue her tirade, but was soon drowned out by the crowd pushing its way past her to the counter. “And remember,” Tess called out, locking eyes with the Exo as customers swarmed the counter, “Eververse isn’t just a title, it’s a family philosophy. Always another mile, and forever another tomorrow!”
Some time later, Tess Everis left The Ether Tank with a small parcel. She carried it back with her to her quarters and carefully unwrapped it on the table, a broad smile spreading over her face as she revealed the small, stout plastic doll. It was in near-perfect condition, the paintwork on its white shirt and brown paints completely pristine, with only a small mark on its thick black glasses. She gingerly placed the doll on a shelf alongside dozens of similar stature, each differing in its features and coloration. She imagined these icons must depict some important religious or political figures of the Golden Age, and she cherished them like nothing else.
Meanwhile, the Spider grabbed a pinch of Bright Dust between his claws and sprinkled it over a dish. He didn’t know where the powder came from or how it was made. All he knew was that a sprinkling of it elevated a simple bowl of ramen into a culinary delight worthy of an Eliksni of his stature.