You guys also touched on the EDZ, and why it’s called the EDZ. I also happened to be reading a nuclear toxicology study at the same time, and it got me thinking. The EZD and the Farm are obviously not dead in anyway. So perhaps this is name that the region acquired after the Shard dropped and perhaps released something toxic to humans during the collapse. A little like the Exculsion zones we see around Chernobyl and Fukushima. Or it could be to do with a mass extinction event of humans during the collapse. I mean it’s pure speculation, but the area doesn’t present any signs of toxicity to non guardians. There is plenty of fluara and fauna. Even in the ‘spooky’ forest surrounding the Shard.
Also, there are more than one dead zone. Idle conversations from Xander 99-40 from D1 talks about the Brazillia dead zone, and the Manhattan nuclear zone And that’s just the ones I’ve heard and managed to transcribe.
But going back to Hawthorne. You forgot to mention her poncho! In the cut scene The Farm Hawthorne puts Ikora in her place for being condescending to her skill because of her ‘just being a normal human’. It feels to me that there may be some societal prejudice here at play. Hawthorne may have left the city because she was sick of being belittled for not being a guardian, and for being perceived as weak/in need to saving. So she has consciously decided to wear a poncho as a statement that she is not a guardian, or one of Caydes hunters (I also believe that cayde is probably pretty liberal in his views, I’d see him encouraging anyone to be a hunter as long as you get the job done)
And can I mention that she obviously suffers from anxiety. Listen to her idle dialogue in both the Farm and the Tower and you will hear her calming herself down due to being around so many people. Being uncomfortable with being away from the wilds. Etc (I’m in the process of capturing idle dialogue. Long road ahead on that one) So it’s interesting to see that she took a direct role organising and looking after the refugees directly after the cabal attacked. A job needed to be done, and she did it even though it would have been mentally very difficult for her.