YUGA SUNDOWN: 5 Questions For The Future In “Destiny 2: Lightfall”

With the weekly reset on February 14th, Destiny 2 has capped off the “Season of The Seraph” storyline with a brutal finale mission and an even more brutal cinematic. Rasputin is gone, and the Universe has lost one of the few ballet fans left in existence. The Traveler is in low Earth orbit, no longer hovering right on top of the Last City. And the Pyramid Fleet is approaching from Jupiter. For the next two weeks, players are definitely going to be empathizing with the residents of the Last City, asking, “What happens now? Where do we go from here?” Yes, we’re all going to be flying out to Neptune, but we don’t know what to expect. Still, we can make some reasonable extrapolations about what may be happening in the Solar System going forward.

1. Warsat Public Events Disappearing?

The cinematic finale for “Season of The Seraph” shows the destruction of the Warmind’s vast network of warsats, orbital and deep space weapons platforms originally designed to protect the Solar System from outside threats. They were also surreptitiously programmed to destroy the Traveler if it looked like it was going to bail out on humanity. As players learned during the season, Rasputin was in the process of locking up the Traveler during the Collapse to do just that, but ultimately decided against pushing the button. Apparently, all those discussions of philosophy and other humanities really did get Rasputin thinking about consequences, about the moral and ethical impact of his actions.

“Are we doing this or not?”

From a practical perspective, this could mean that players will not be seeing public events involving crashing warsats anymore (but don’t worry, we’ll always have Lost Sectors“). Because Rasputin sent the command to destroy the entire warsat network, the logical conclusion is that there are no more warsats around to crash down on various locales. On the other hand, it’s also possible that while all warsats connected to the network were destroyed, there may be a large number of “dead” warsats which were not connected to the network for one reason or another. That would be consistent with the idea of dead satellites crashing down on planets (they apparently made those things to take a beating back in the Golden Age). We’ll see if there’s a sudden drop in that activity or a handwaved explanation in a future “This Week At Bungie” article.

2. Is Eramis Getting Soft?

Let’s be clear: Eramis is, as villains go, a cutthroat pirate queen who for some reason is still playing around with Stasis despite getting turned into an ice sculpture on Europa for a little while. Granted, she seemed to have a soft spot for Eido during “Season of Plunder,” but it’s still kinda murky as to whether she was looking to turn the young scholar to her cause (and against Mithrax) or if she really did have something resembling a moral event horizon. Her efforts to gain control of the warsat network have been an understated thread throughout “Season of The Seraph” and the finale mission sees us trying to thwart her efforts to do what Rasputin already refused to do before. As rematches go, it was a little unsatisfying that she bailed out after about losing a third of her health bar, but whatever.

“Would you like to leave the airlock with an air supply or without one?”

During the finale cinematic, we do see some hesitation on Eramis’ part, one hand on the key which will unleash caedometric hell on the Traveler when she turns it, as Mithrax tries to talk her down. The Witness does make a brief appearance, basically egging her on to turn the key, yet this suggests that Eramis might not exactly be fully on board with discovering the Final Shape. She’ll undoubtedly show up at some point during the next year of Destiny 2. Could we be looking at a Darth Vader-like redemption arc for Eramis? Or are we being set up like Eido for a devastating sucker punch?

3. “You’ve Lost Another Pyramid, Witness?”

From everything we’ve seen so far, the Witness isn’t exactly under-equipped for the final showdown. The Pyramid Fleet we saw sailing away from Jupiter (and presumably towards Earth) looked pretty substantial. And yet, we’ve got three pyramids here in the Solar System that, as far as we know, aren’t going anywhere: one on Europa (which led to Stasis abilities being unlocked), one on the Moon (which deposed Emperor Calus may or may not still be connected to in some fashion), and one in Savathun’s Throne World (which may do who knows what with Rhulk being defeated in the “Vow of The Disciple” raid). Three pyramid ships, at least one of which seems to be actively working against the Witness by arming and training their putative enemies.

“All units reporting in.”
“All of them?”
“OK, almost all units reporting in.”

This begs the question: will a detachment of the Pyramid Fleet be heading to Neptune? And if they do, will they be working against the Guardians? Or will they be helping develop their new Strand abilities to their fullest? The idea of a “mutiny” among the Witness’ forces, comparable to the adoption of Stasis among Guardians, would be an interesting wrinkle, a sense of a larger cosmic force of balance between Light and Darkness.

4. Is Clovis Bray Done?

As Ana Bray herself remarked during the latest season, “Clovis is the walking talking definition of ‘necessary evil.'” His considerable talents were of obvious help during the early stages of the season, but it was clear that Clovis’ first loyalty is to Clovis, whatever platitudes he might voice towards protecting humanity. You could practically smell the dagger being aimed at our back as he schemed to use Rasputin to bootstrap himself into the warsat network. But with Ana kicking him out and Elsie returning to the Beyond camp on Europa “to keep an eye on that old bastard,” the AI specter of humanity’s biggest genius (and possibly biggest egomaniac) has to be feeling mighty unhappy.

“See?! I DO have the biggest brain in the Solar System!”

So what does a wildly intelligent AI with a bruised ego do in the face of invasion by forces which appear to be beyond his ability to comprehend, much less rationalize? It’s unlikely that Clovis would throw in his lot with the Witness, if for no other reason than his ego wouldn’t allow him to be subordinate to anybody or anything. Honestly, it’s kind of a surprise he doesn’t hold a grudge against physics, with all those pesky rules and laws and such. That said, he could conceivably figure out ways to screw over Guardians for their part in his “betrayal.” Europa might well become a far more dangerous place for Guardians and House of Light Eliksni going forward.

5. Is Rasputin Really Gone?

No lie, that scene where Ana sends the self-destruct code and unplugs Rasputin was a gut punch. We’ve spent several weeks genuinely learning about Rasputin, getting the real skinny on his personality and his memories without having to learn Russian. He’s basically a more cultured and erudite version of The Iron Giant, a weapon who knows he can be and is more than just that. For sci-fi fans of a certain age, there were echoes of Keith Laumer’s Bolo stories in Rasputin, as well as a somewhat more grim echo of his other highly famous character, James Retief. Rasputin’s done some dirty deeds in the name of keeping humanity safe, and he’d probably do them all over again if he determined it was necessary. But he’d still bleed for it, agonize over what he’d done even if it got the results needed, because that’s the person he became under Ana Bray’s tutelage. As Zavala notes in the lore tab for the Spirit of The Warmind ship players receive as the reward for the “Abhorrent Imperative” mission, “I see an old warrior doing his best. And that will always earn my trust.”

“Cool thumb drive, Ana.”

But is he really gone? The thing about an AI is that it is ultimately a computer program. Highly sophisticated, but still a collection of files, subroutines, and data. And we’ve already had one mission during “Season of The Seraph” where we had to pull data out of a site which was deliberately kept cut off from the Warmind’s network of facilities. One has to imagine that Rasputin, before the Collapse, kept a backup of his code someplace nice and out of the way. Someplace where nobody could easily find it. Depending on the point where he made such a backup, it’s possible somebody could restore him and at least have him functional once more. Without the warsats, obviously, but still basically the same personality. It would be an interesting narrative thread watching how the Vanguard and Ana would react to Rasputin-2, having different experiences and learning about different memories people have of his earlier iteration. More interestingly, without the warsat network, what would Rasputin become? Exploring the existential development of a weapons system without weapons would be deep material for a “mindless” loot shooter.

As of the time of this writing, it’s less than two weeks till Lightfall launches. Bungie has been promising that this expansion will be “the beginning of the end” for Destiny 2 players. All new gear and a wildly new locale, along with an all-new storyline, are waiting out on Neptune. And all of it has expertly built up to with this past season. Where we go from here is the question, and all of us are looking forward to finding the answer.

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