Following Destiny 2: Season of the Seraph’s finale, The Traveler is poised to protect Earth, not flee it
No longer something to be coveted, The Traveler covets Earth.
The finale of Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph was a mind-blowing, pulse-pounding experience for any Destiny 2 player invested in the game’s story. Eramis put her plan into action: she armed Rasputin’s Warsats, set their sights toward The Traveler, and fired. Thankfully, the work players put in over the season to give Rasputin a way to disable the Warsats paid off, but not before The Traveler left The Tower, its throne since the Destiny 1 Alpha days, and soared into Earth’s orbit. While at first glance it may look like the big ball tried to abandon the Guardians — as it’s abandoned countless other civilizations — we believe it’s protecting us instead.
A matter of perspective
Related: Destiny 2’s players face extinction in Lightfall, and Bungie’s latest ViDoc highlights the oncoming threats
There’s a lot to unpack in the finale video for Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph. For example, it was confirmed that Eramis has been working with The Witness, the big bad of the upcoming expansion, Lightfall. On the face of things, Bungie also really wants to hammer home the idea that everyone in the Tower believes The Traveler wanted to flee and escape its imminent death. This is reiterated in the conversations you could have with various NPCs after the cutscene ended. Finally, The Witness itself seems to think it knows The Traveler’s intentions. When Eramis asks, “why does it not flee?” The Witness replies, “because it has nowhere left to run.”
The scene is framed to make you feel betrayed, abandoned, and angry at The Traveler for wanting to go on the run again and find a new world to skulk off to where its enemies can’t locate it. However, there’s more evidence that The Traveler was doing the opposite of running and hiding in this video and the lead-up to Lightfall. If you dive into the details, it becomes apparent that this machine deity was actually protecting the last people in the universe who serve it.
The way we see things, The Traveler detected danger when the Warsats took aim and moved closer to its enemy. It did this to protect The Tower, The Last City, and a large portion of Earth that would have been scarred by the fallout if it were blown to pieces. Out in space, it can take the hits, die, and be blown to smithereens, but it won’t hurt anyone else in the process. Think back to the shards of The Traveler that once littered Earth, their size, and the devastation that would be caused if more of them were strewn across the planet. Any debris would fall to Earth and most likely burn up in the atmosphere. Viewed in this light, what The Traveler did was noble. It was going to sacrifice itself to give Guardians a chance to defeat the incoming threat The Witness presents.
If you watch the video closely, you can see Eramis hesitate before triggering the Warsat firing squad. She looks behind her to the door even though The Witness is staring down at her on a monitor, willing her to fire. Some part of her clearly felt that this was wrong, but The Witness had exploited the very real pain she still feels over the way The Traveler abandoned her people long ago. This act of defiance proved Eramis wrong. More than that, it showed her that she should change her ways and trust it, because it’s broken the cycle of pain that led her to where she is today.
No longer something to be coveted, The Traveler covets Earth.
Protecting a legacy
Related: Destiny 2 fans are heartbroken after the latest mission, sets the stage for Lightfall
Even if you disagree with our interpretation of the video above, you can’t ignore the facts. The Traveler has been a protector ever since it was discovered by humanity. When faced with the first Collapse, it didn’t try to run and hide; it broke itself to produce Ghosts. These machines created Guardians, and while they might be an autoimmune defense from an unfathomably complex machine, they’re effectively The Traveler’s children. If The Traveler was going to flee, it would have been then — long before we first took on the role of Guardians.
Over the course of Destiny 2’s story, we’ve seen The Traveler prove time and time again that it wants to protect us instead of leave us. It shattered its shell when Ghaul caged it and stole its Light. No matter what has come our way, it’s been a constant fixture in the sky. But its position was a cowardly one, half-hidden by Earth’s atmosphere. In its new position, The Traveler stands to face any danger before it reaches Earth. All this time, everyone in The Tower has been working to find ways to protect The Traveler and Earth before an imminent threat annihilates them. Now the tables have turned, and The Traveler is a shield that will give us time to take down The Witness.
Everything has a price
The Traveler doesn’t act often. In fact, you can count the number of times it’s revealed that it’s listening on a few fingers. This is a choice, though, one that it makes to keep itself hidden from the darkest horrors of the universe. It knew when it broke out of Ghaul’s cage that there would be consequences. It knew it would need to fight, so it repaired itself. Now, it knows that Earth needs help, so it’s moving to a position where it can be a protector. But it also knew it needed help, which is why it made Guardians.
The Witness might seem certain that it will win any war we wage against it. But it’s wrong. The Traveler isn’t sticking around because it has nowhere else to run. Quite the opposite. It’s right where it wants to be, between an unknowable force of darkness and the purest form of its own power, Light.
Unfortunately, The Traveler’s new position and act of defiance will likely cost it dearly. It wouldn’t move into space if that wasn’t the best place for it to be in the long term. It must have known that if the Warsats didn’t kill it, the impending battle with dark forces will. We have no idea what The Witness wants to do with The Traveler, and that is utterly terrifying. It could enslave it, tear it to pieces for scrap and parts, or even torture it. The name of the next expansion, Lightfall, doesn’t exactly have positive connotations for beings of Light.
The Traveler is known by many names, including Machine God. Just like a god, its motivations and thought processes are unknown. We’d even go as far as saying they’re unfathomable. The big white ball could see or think through time and space in ways we can’t imagine. Everything it does has a purpose, and the reasoning behind its big move at the end of this season was not to get out of dodge. It was to finally dive into the thick of it with Guardians and shine a light so bright that there’s no shadow left for the forces of Darkness to hide in. The Traveler is going on the offensive, and it’s our enemies, not us, who should be scared.