Destiny 2

Our Ghost is going through hell, it’s partially our fault, and it’s going to get worse.

destiny2 3 - Our Ghost is going through hell, it's partially our fault, and it's going to get worse.
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Foreword

I have never been 100% on Team Traveler. Yes, the Darkness is inherently destructive and violent, and has brought humanity to its knees, but I think what the Traveler has done is a lot more insidious. I see the Traveler as a cowardly god: faced with a threat it could not beat on its own, it created life (Ghosts, who are inherently sentient beings) whose sole purpose was to reanimate dead beings, conscripting those beings to fight and die in a war against an incomprehensible enemy, over and over again. My trust in Ghost has always been less than rock solid; sure, he's loyal to us to a fault, but he was made to be that way, and I strongly suspect that part of that attachment is due to both the protection we provide him and the inescapable duty of defending the Traveler he was charged with. Ultimately, we are Guardians of the Traveler; we never asked for this duty, and I do not trust that the Traveler won't just spend our lives if it thinks that our sacrifice might mean that it gets to survive another day.

I say all of that to give you a heads up: take this with a grain of salt. Whether you agree with me will probably depend on a lot of things: how you feel about the Light and Darkness as moral forces, how you feel about whether or not us being brought back to life is a good thing, and how much you enjoy war. I hate fighting (and yet I love Destiny, I know I'm a bit hypocritical), so take from all of this what you will.

Poison

After completing The Dark Priestess mission, I was taken by surprise when Ghost suddenly apologized to the Guardian for being so negative. It says something to the effect of "Light or Dark, I'm your Ghost, and I'm always on your side."

Up until this point, I had been fairly annoyed with him. He spent the majority of the BL campaign complaining about our use of the Darkness, giving pithy reminders that the Darkness is bad, and basically begging us to stay true to the Light. It seemed to me that he was incapable of seeing just how bad things were getting, how narrow our choices really were. This feeling grew stronger as I dispatched more and more enemies with Stasis, due to the fact that it's literally impossible to finish the fight without it. When Eramis crushes the splinter we carry, inadvertently revealing (with a little explanation from Elsie Bray) that we've always carried the Darkness with us, that seemed to settle the argument. The Darkness was here to stay, Little Light, and if you're gonna tag along with me, you're just gonna have to get used to it.

But then he apologized, and that felt…wrong. It made me realize a couple of things.

  1. The Light may be what gives Guardians power, but it is much more essential to a Ghost than we probably think about on a regular basis. Think about how weak Ghost was after Ghaul caged the Traveler, how drained he sounded. Light is a Ghost's oxygen, its water, its food, the aether of its existence, and Darkness is in direct opposition to it. When we travel through Darkness zones, it probably feels like being plunged into an atmosphere of toxicity for the little guy, like inhaling poison gas. Now, we're carrying that toxicity with us, enhancing it, increasing its potency. Being with us has to feel like being in the room with a tear gas canister for him.

  2. It's bad enough that we're basically poisonous to our Ghost, but it's easy to forget that the Darkness has not just been an inanimate opposing force, as far as he is concerned. It has hijacked his body on multiple occasions. It has turned him against us, borrowed his voice to mock us, and most recently, encased him in ice, rendering him powerless to even move, much less help us. Ghost stands to suffer a fate worse than death, with the Darkness so close by.

Ghost's apology, in this light (no pun intended), feels like battered spouse syndrome. Our path is hurting him, at times robbing him of his very identity, and yet he feels like he has to apologize for complaining?

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Original Slave

The thing I think I forgot in all of my "Traveler is the real monster" theory is that Ghost is just as much a tool of the Traveler in this war as we are. He obviously cares for us a great deal, and it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that he empathizes with our pain every time we die in battle. The Traveler may have made us conscripted soldiers, but it made the Ghosts to be desecrators of graves and architects of suffering. How does it make him feel, knowing that every time he resurrects us, we are doomed to repeat the cycle again and again?

Honestly, I think he's even more of a puppet than we are. At least we have the option to choose the Darkness, to be as good or as evil as is or prerogative, to question the duty we've been charged with. But what choice does Ghost really have? As I said before, the Light is literally his life. Embracing the Darkness means death or worse. His only options are to be a slave, a puppet, or a purposeless wanderer. I know there's a war going on, and that sometimes war makes terrible actions into necessary evils, but this is a shitty existence for a sentient being.

Guardian's Choice

So there it is: the living being that is bonded to us for our unnaturally long and durable life is being forced to tolerate the fact that we carry the toxic anathema of its existence, and by our actions, we have basically told him "suck it up, this is war." Worse, he has accepted it, cowed to us to the point where he views concern for his life as wrongdoing. There are not words to describe how fucked it is that we have basically broken Ghost's emotional attachment to the thing that gives him life, but like an evil Billy Mays, "just wait, there's more!"

It must be said that though the Darkness is giving us powers, it seems to be giving us those powers in order to fight more and stronger enemies that it also empowered. Where does this cycle end? Do we keep engaging in battle royale, proving ourselves the the fiercest and strongest of the wielders of Darkness until there's no one left to fight, nothing left to destroy? Doesn't that sound familiar?

Let me say it plainly: I think we've taken our first steps in following the Sword Logic. Like Oryx and his sisters, we looked to the Light to save us in our hour of need, and when it failed us, we took up the Darkness instead. Ostensibly, we're using the Darkness to vanquish the Darkness, but now that we have this power, will we be willing to give it up? What incentive does the Darkness have to stop feeding champions for us to slay so that we may become closer to it?

Ghost will feel that, if that's what it comes to. If our Darkness grows, it will likely cause him more and more pain as it does. How much psychological battering from the Darkness – and indifference from us as that battering continues – can the little guy take?

I don't know if the Traveler is completely good, and I don't know if the Darkness is completely evil, but I do know that Ghost is a person. He's an annoying person sometimes, and there's an argument to be made that he should have let us rest in our graves, but it still makes me troubled to know that I might be contributing to his present and future suffering. Two wrongs don't make a right; even if the Traveler is as much of a cowardly god as I believe, I don't want to hurt Ghost, who is a much of a pawn in this game as I am. With the Darkness being part of us, we will always cause him pain; the only way he gets a happy ending is if we win the war and he gets far, far away from us.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, "No, Ghost, I'm sorry. I can't change what I am or what I have to do. All I can say is that I hope this doesn't hurt you more than you can handle."

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