An Updated Theory on Time in the Destiny Universe

Taylor-B- revisits his ideas of the passage of time within Destiny due to new information from Shadowkeep.

In the past I’ve shared some ideas I’ve had on Time Travel in the Destiny universe as well as an idea about how Destiny operates on a single timeline structure. With the release of Shadowkeep we’ve gotten some pretty cool lore books. With some of them in particular, I felt like I could revisit my ideas and flesh them out more fully. While I’m not calling these ideas spinfoil anymore, I just want to preface this by saying that while I feel things very strongly point to these conclusions at this point, I’m happy to explore branching or different ideas on the subjects and don’t mean to sound absolute about anything. That being said I am excited to revisit the above ideas with you and hope we can have some fun discussion about them! 


The observable rules of Time Travel in the DU are, in my opinion, as follows. I’ll try to quickly try to explain why I believe these to be the rules. I go into greater depth in my previous posts and I’ve updated them now that there’s new information in my entry here. Not everyone always agrees, and that’s ok. For sake of argument and so we can all go down the list on the same page though let’s begin with the following rules:


– Rule One –

To travel through time you have to also travel through space. That is to say you have to know exactly where to go. This could be accomplished by knowing where the target destination was or homing in on a beacon of sorts for example. Say you were the Vex, if you’re constantly broadcasting to safe pockets in time you could perform all your lengthiest calculations in those spaces without worrying about someone like the Guardian or the Vanguard interrupting. If you’re recording what spaces the greater Vex network occupies you can send troops and oracles to the point of collapse in the timeline. 


From the writers at on the subject:


For instance, it’s May 9th 2008, you want to go back to Nov 4 2007.

If you just pop back in time, without moving in space, you’ll wind up on the other side of the sun from where you want to be. Due to the Earth being in a different place on Nov 14th

The Earth spins counterclockwise at approximately 1675km per hour, looking down from the north pole. The distance from the Earth to the Sun changes due to it being in an Elliptical orbit. The Average distance is 149.6 million km with the Perihelion (shortest distance) being on January 3rd 147,300,000 Km, and the Aphelion (longest distance) being 152,100,000 km on July 4th.

You’ll need to find a way to move through the Suns gravity well to the point where the Earth was before.


– Rule Two –

Due to the first rule, you can only “travel” backwards through time. Depending on what you’re sending back there is graduated difficulty.  This reminds me of articles about under what circumstances birds IRL will actually fly. Messages are easiest and physical beings are the hardest observed traveling. Messages to the future are unnecessary because the future started in the past and already possesses the information present. This can be found in a few examples in game. Most notably from the Vex. 


— — —


In the Vault of Glass encounters the Vex send back Oracles. In the Grimoire Card for The Templar we first learn that Oracles are said to “see what is to come”. In the Lunar Mission Handbook we find that when an Oracle is present there’s no chance of uncertainty in probability. If Oracles can remove uncertainty from a probability kiln then it stands to reason that they are communicating with certainty from the future.


In an entry from the new in game lore book Aspect we learn that the easiest things to push out of the Vex network is a message, and when they become confident in that they escalate to sending physical data through to the outside world. In this case the next level of data is a physical object.


In the Grimoire Card for the Exo Stranger, she recants experiencing the same moments over and over. In the D1 campaign she refers to a previous meeting with us when our Guardian first meets her. If she is moving backwards through time as we experience it in game then her lines in the campaign make more sense. If she can’t move forward through time her beginning at the same moment each time she rides the timeline in her card follows as well. 


In D1 Ghost remarks on the fact that the Hive have broken the Bekenstein limit. What Ghost was saying was that the Hive had access to more information than was possible within the finite space we were observing them in. I believe the Vex have done so as well. If they’re able to host their networks in various safe spaces throughout time then the information stored within the network can go beyond conventional limits. This network allows the Vex to record data and use it to simulate an ever spanning tree of possibilities until they can find the one that best suits them. When you have infinite processing capacity tackling infinite possibilities that spanning tree might look more like an Infinite Forrest.


The Vex, and Osiris, use the Infinite Forrest to simulate outcomes looking for favorable futures. The Vex, even with processing power that breaks conventional limits, only simulate things they have data on. As they encounter new data they can add it to the spanning network and make it part of their simulations (with some notable exceptions like Guardians and Rasputin). Without an Oracle, the future demonstrably has to be predicted by the Vex.  


In game there is only a single timeline that we have experienced and continue to experience. All other timelines referenced are simulations within the Vex networks. This isn’t to say other more physical timelines don’t exist within the game universe; only to say that we don’t experience them.


In the Ishtar Collective Grimoire Cards all extra timelines referred to are simulations from within the Vex network. In the case of the example, 221 “timelines” were simulated by the Vex.


In the story mission where our Guardian captures Skolas, he pulls Fallen from various potential future “timelines”. This fight ends almost like a scene from Back to the Future. The Fallen continue to come through the gates until we capture Skolas. His capture prevents those future timelines from occurring so there weren’t any Fallen to come to his aid. If he had been pulling from the past (which would raise a lot of other problems potentially) or across from other timelines that weren’t dependent on the outcome of the fight there would be no reason for the fallen to stop coming through the gates.


In the Vault of Glass if a Gorgon spotted you there were only a few moments away from erasure. The Gorgons had to be communicating with the past for this to be possible. If they were communicating with the future it wouldn’t prevent your existence and if they were able to communicate/travel across timelines then there’d be no reason to even fight us. They could just move to one where we don’t exist or never enter the Vault.


The ideas above are meant to reflect the Guardian experience in game and how the observable rules apply to that experience. The ideas about extradimensional spaces and the magic that makes them, in my view, aren’t in conflict with these ideas. What do these ideas potentially mean for lore or in game? In my opinion, it makes for a lot of fun ways to look at lore and story missions we’ve already done across the two games and it allows for some very cool potential plot lines. The coolest part for me though, is I think these rules give the differing descriptions of the Vex networks some structure and make what they’re doing easier to wrap my head around.


When we apply a rule set and structure like this to the Vex Networks we can potentially better understand what’s happening with them. For example, Praedyth in Aspect and why he’s able to communicate with simulations from the Golden Age to send messages and equipment to our Guardian in D1. They bounced around a message, then graduated to objects. Had they more energy, they might’ve been able to send out Praedyth himself. Additionally if the messages are his Ghost shells and the armor is the VoG set, our experience is in reverse order of how Praedyth sent them out. When we figure out the rules behind events, the story becomes more accessible and enjoyable. At least for me ^^.


To close I just want to thank you for taking the time to read my out-there ideas. I have a lot of fun pondering these questions and trying to use what information I’m provided to try and make sense out of things. It’s kind of like playing detective but the case ends with me enjoying the material more. I hope to hear feedback and other ideas from the community to help expand upon my own. So please, don’t be shy. 


Thanks again, Guardians!            

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