From Destinypedia, the Destiny wiki

(Redirected from Great Machine)
Image captured by and belongs to Sinkento
Red War
Photo Credit: MidnightTheMech at DCV
Photo Credit: Xepahr
Biographical information

Other name(s):

"The Great Machine"
“The Traitor Machine”
"The Gardener"


Unknown; billions of years old


Paracausal entity


Female (implied)


The Light
The Last City
The Fallen (formerly)
The Guardians
Harmony (formerly)
Ammonite (formerly)

Notable info:

Source of Light
Terraformed multiple celestial bodies
Uplifted numerous ancient civilizations
Awoke and broke free of the Traveler Cage, killing Ghaul

"The best voices never let themselves be heard at all. This lesson is worth teaching again and again. The choice is never mine. It is always yours."
— The Traveler[1]

The Traveler is a mysterious spherical paracausal entity associated with the Light. Massive in scale, it hangs motionless in the skies above the Last City built in its shadow. Once responsible for terraforming the worlds of the Sol System, it was rendered largely inactive during the Collapse, when its ancient enemy arrived and launched a devastating assault on human civilization.


The Traveler is an ancient and immensely powerful entity, the source of Ghosts and the paracausal powers of the Guardians. It is a source of Light, though not the only source in the universe. Its outer shell is made of lead, neutronium and "electroweak matter"[2], the latter based on a fundamental force that hasn't existed since the dawn of time.

The Ghost Balthazar claimed that Ghosts originate within the Womb, a place inside the Traveler described as a "cosmos inside a bottle" or an "infinite space enclosed within a celestial egg", where trillions of star-like souls orbit each other in a complex weave. Another Ghost named Peach was dismissive of this description, contending that neither she nor Balthazar can remember the time within the Traveler.[3]

Origins and Purpose

"Oh the headache again. I swear it's these symbols..."
This article does not meet Destinypedia's standards. You can help by cleaning this article.
The Traveler hovering in place over the Last City

The origins or nature of the Traveler is not clear to anyone. Some information can be gleaned from the poem known as Dreams of Alpha Lupi; based on this work, it appears that the Traveler chose Earth and humanity for a reason; it detected a "face" emerging from the Sun, later hearing a roar that contained something that it described as "a lucid melody". The Traveler felt joy, as it felt "the first hope in ages transform [it]," and it resolved to become strong enough to fight the Darkness.[4]

The Traveler exists to help other worlds, but has never wished to be worshipped as a god, nor made its presence known any more than necessary to cultivate a civilization. When its work was finished, it would simply leave without fanfare.[5] It would seem then that its defense of humanity was an extraordinary act under dire circumstances.[2]

Saint-14 suggested that the Traveler had previously visited other species before finding humanity.[6] The Fallen civilization in particular once hosted the Traveler, which they named the Great Machine.[7] However, it left their system around the time of a catastrophic event only known as the Whirlwind.[8][citation needed] Other than the likely involvement of the Hive,[9] little is known about this event, though it is thought to be similar to humanity's Collapse. After the destruction of their homeworld, the Fallen went in search of the Great Machine, leading them to the Sol System. All of their previous conflicts with humanity have been attempts to claim the Traveler for themselves, in an effort to prevent the destruction of their race[10]

Other species the Traveler has also uplifted include the Ammonites and the Harmony. The Cabal are aware of the Traveler's existence and nature, with some indications that they knew of it from other species. Ghaul in particular wants to receive the same power as the Guardians, believing himself to be more worthy.[11] It is later described in the lorebook Constellations that the Traveler felt more afraid of Ghaul, the Red Legion, and the cage device than its ancient arch-enemy itself, the Darkness. [12]

The Hive uniquely hold the Traveler in special contempt, as it embodies the antithesis of their culture and society. One of the objectives of their crusade is to hunt down and destroy the Traveler once and for all.[13]


The Ancient Past

The earliest recorded mention of the Traveler comes from the Books of Sorrow, which record the early history of the Hive. In these records, the Traveler, or another machine identical to it, visited the home system of the Hive and Ammonite around the same time that the Hive formed their pact with the Worm Gods.

The Golden Age

"Traveling. Moon X. Look, we need to stop even thinking of it as a satellite or a false moon. It's big, but it acts alive— this thing moves with purpose. It's a visitor. It's… a Traveler."
Evie Calumet

The Traveler first came to human attention when it appeared around Jupiter and terraformed two of its moons. Initially dubbed "Moon X", it quickly became the center of international attention. After finishing its work on Jupiter, it vanished for fourteen months, reappeared to terraform Mercury, vanished again for seven months, and then appeared again to terraform Venus.[14] Questions about the identity of Moon X abounded, and cults worshiping it emerged, some of which fell into conflict.[15] Other cults held demonstrations calling for the unification of Earth's governments.[16]

When Moon X was detected approaching Mars, a mission to intercept it was hastily organized.[17] Initially known as Project Catamaran, the effort was renamed Ares One on the day of launch.[18] Four individuals were chosen to be apart of this historic mission: Jacob Hardy, the pilot and mission commander; Evie Calumet, a theoretical physicist who first discovered Moon X; Qiao, the navigator; and M. Mihaylova, a artificial intelligence specialist. While the team played a game of basketball and brainstormed ideas for the mission, Evie dubbed Moon X as the "Traveler" due it moving with a seeming purpose.[19] By the time the ship landed on Mars,[20] the Traveler had brought the first rain to the desert planet.[21][22] It helped humanity expand across the solar system, teaching humans new technologies, helping them terraform planets and leading humanity into a Golden Age.

The Collapse

"The knife had a million blades."
— Dreams of Alpha Lupi

Some time later, the Traveler's enemy, the Darkness, appeared in the solar system, leading to the destruction of almost all human civilization in an event known as the Collapse.[23] For the first time, the Traveler decided to stand and fight the Darkness,[8] as it abandoned its work on Io and raced to rescue its "children", humanity.[2] At the end of the wars that terminated the Golden Age, the Traveler, in its sacrificial last gift to humanity, came to rest over a small area of the now wasted human planet. The Traveler laid dormant, apparently stripped of its senses and "flesh" by the Darkness, made blind, deaf and mute to the outside world. [24] As humanity struggled to rebuild itself from these events, the crippled object gifted its protection and powers to the recovering humans. Although the times after the war were difficult, humanity persevered and with the help of this celestial guardian, and the humans eventually began to re-explore their terrestrial and solar domain.[25]

The Dark Age

In its last breath, the Traveler created the Ghosts, to seek out those who can wield its light as a weapon. The Ghosts revived fallen warriors as Lightbearers, with the intent of protecting humanity when the Traveler no longer could.[26] Unfortunately, many Lightbearers would choose to become Warlords, subjugating the survivors of the Collapse throughout the Dark Age, where humanity faced the threat of not only the Warlords and the hardships of survival, but also the threat of alien races such as the Fallen. Lightbearers with integrity would band together to stand up to the Warlords in groups such as the Iron Lords or the Pilgrim Guard.[27][28] Over time, the Warlords would be beaten back.

The City Age

"I wish for something to grow in my shadow."

The remnants of humanity built the City beneath the resting place of the Traveler, where they were safe from the continuous onslaught of the various alien races and the now-declining Warlords. This city rests in the shade of the great sphere, built under its protective aura as a last bastion of humanity. Over time, the people of the early City formed factions, dividing it and marking the beginning of the Faction Wars, which threatened to bring the City to its knees. It was during this time that a new generation of Lightbearers known as the Guardians emerged, taking a stand to end the fighting to focus on the outside alien threats.[29] The Guardians are destined to protect this city and its inhabitants, and as such are gifted with some of the magnificent powers of the Traveler.[30] Some believe that the Traveler chose Earth for a reason, and it is humanity's obligation to prove itself worthy of its light.[31]

With the Darkness returning, humanity fears they will not be able to survive it this time. As a last ditch effort, the player is given the ultimate task of attempting to wake the Traveler before the Darkness arrives, in order to drive it back.[23] The Guardians are able to help the Traveler slowly restore its light, first by stopping a Hive ritual in the Chamber of Night that is siphoning light from the Traveler, and then destroying the heart of the Black Garden.[32]

Red War

The Traveler following the events of the Red War.
"In this dream, a horrible, brutal hand stretches toward you. But this is not the old enemy you know, it is something new."
— Constellations

Two years after the Taken War, the Cabal Empire's Red Legion launched a major invasion of Earth headed by the leader of the empire, Dominus Ghaul. A devastating surprise attack on the Last City was launched, trapping the Traveler in a cage to siphon off its Light while separating it from the Guardian forces.[33][34] Though trapped, the Traveler sent visions to the now Lightless Guardians to seek out one of its fragments in the European Dead Zone, whereby they could regain their powers. Dominus Ghaul attempted and failed to win the Traveler's approval and make him into a Guardian, and simply took the Light by force. When he gloated in front of the Traveler, the Traveler suddenly broke its cage and destroyed Ghaul, as well as slowly healing itself by drawing fragments back into itself. With the invasion ended and the city retaken, the Traveler was declared no longer dead but living once more.

Despite having awoken, the Traveler has still remained hovering above the Last City and has not taken any direct action. However, Benedict 99-40 claims that the Traveler has been busy.


A year after the Traveler woke, Ikora Rey revealed that the Traveler had been speaking to her and several other Guardians through visions since its awakening. Ikora then instructs Guardians to follow visions of light. Eventually, the visions lead the Guardians to Io, where the remnant light there grants them new abilities.

An Old Foe Returns

The Traveler repairing itself.

As the Guardians continued to protect the Last City and the Solar System from various threats, ranging from a looming Lunar Hive Fortress, a resurgent Vex invasion, scheming Psion Flayers looking to subvert time, to the Red Legion superweapon, The Almighty, being turned into a kamikaze weapon directed towards the Last City, the Traveler's old enemy, the Darkness, slowly made its way towards the system. Though the Guardians soon gained a glimpse of the Darkness from their discovery of a Pyramid on Luna, the threat continued to ominously hang over them, especially as the Darkness made contact with The Guardian, addressing them not as their enemy nor their friend but as their "Salvation".

In time, following the Almighty's destruction, a massive fleet of Pyramid vessels descended upon the Sol System, confirming the Vanguard's fears that the Traveler's counterpart has returned. However, as the Guardians work in deciphering what the Darkness wants, the Traveler continues to hang motionless over the Last City, even as the Pyramids touch down on various worlds. Even Zavala noted that the Traveler appeared to do nothing to combat its ancient enemy. Nonetheless, the Guardians continue to work diligently on figuring out the purposes in the messages the Darkness is sending while protecting their holdouts in the system.

As the Pyramids approached and consumed Io, Mars, Mercury and Titan, the Traveler, in an event which saw all fireteams return to the Last City to witness it, gathered light in order to repair the damage which had been caused by the events of the Red War.

The Traveler later called out to the Crow, sending him dreams of flying over the European Dead Zone and other areas he had previously visited. When the Guardian went to investigate the locations featured in these dreams, they discovered paracausal feathers at each site. Later, the Crow and the Guardian went to a region of the EDZ featured in these dreams, and were led by a spectral hawk made of Light to a previously-undiscovered shard of the Traveler. On top of the shard lay an effigy of the Hand Cannon Hawkmoon, crafted out of the material of the Traveler's outer shell.

Status variations

The Traveler's emission of Light appears to undergo cyclical fluctuations. These fluctuations are tracked by the Tower and reported over loudspeaker in the Tower North.[32] Traveler status announcements include:

  • "Traveler at 1 revolution per zenith."
  • "Traveler approaching zenith."
  • "Traveler entering zenith."
  • "Traveler intensity at zenith."
  • "Traveler exiting zenith."
  • "Traveler declining 1 revolution per zenith."
  • "Traveler entering declining phase."
  • "Traveler entering retrograde phase."
  • "Traveler entering equilibrium."
  • "Traveler approaching theta state."
  • "Traveler entering theta state."
  • "Traveler in theta state."
  • "Traveler exiting epicycle. Returning to main cycle."
  • "Traveler at minimum valence. The Light persists."



  • The Traveler first appeared in another Bungie game, Halo 3: ODST, where a hidden poster made it appear innocuously like the Moon.[35]
  • The Traveler's size has changed over the course of development. Early concept art depicts a Traveler the size of a small moon orbiting Earth, while its finalized appearance in the game shows it hovering much closer to Earth's surface, within the atmosphere, and roughly the size of the Last City. According to a Reddit post made on /r/DestinytheGame, players were able to determine the Traveler's in-game size (as seen from the Tower and Bannerfall) as 1.2 kilometres in radius.[36] Destiny 2 concept art (see gallery) revealed that the Traveler's diameter is seemingly fourteen kilometers.
  • The terms "Retrograde", "Zenith", "Epicycle" "Theta State" and "Valence" are used in tracking the Traveler's Light output.[citation needed]
    • "Retrograde", "Zenith", "Epicycle" are astronomical terms. In astronomy, the zenith is the point at which something appears directly overhead relative to an object or observer. Epicycle is a former astronomical term which was once used to describe the motions of other planets, relative to Earth, but has since been disproven; however, it still finds use in astrology. It was based on the old "geocentric" belief that the heavens and all objects within it travelled around the Earth. Observers would often note that the planets seemed to slow and change their trajectories in the course of their passage across the night sky, appearing to trace loops in their orbits relative to the stars behind them. This led to the concept of an epicycle: or a smaller rotation of a planet around a barycenter in the course of its larger rotation around the Earth itself. The period in which a planet appeared to slow and descend into a loop, just prior to appearing to move backwards, was known as the declining or descending phase. The period during which the planet traced the bottom half of the loop, appearing to move in the opposite direction from its orbital path is known as the retrograde phase. "Equilibrium" denotes the point at which the planet ceases to move backwards and begins to ascend out of the loop and into its normal orbital path once again, denoting the end of that particular epicycle. This particular astronomical theory was eventually proven to be an optical illusion after Copernicus introduced the then-radical notion that the Earth was not the center of existence & that all planetary bodies within the solar system, including Earth, revolved around the Sun. Johannes Kepler later proved that the so-called "epicycles" were the result of the Earth's orbital position relative to that of the planet being observed.
    • The term "Theta State" refers to a Theta Rhythm, which is an oscillatory pattern of brainwave activity in electroencephalography (EEG). This rhythm occurs within the human brain's hippocampal and neocortical regions at between 4 Hz. and 7 Hz. In both regions, these signals have been associated with transitioning from a dream-state to wakefulness, as well as a state of deep meditation.
    • In chemistry, the "Valence" of an element is a measure of its ability to bond with other atoms when it forms chemical compounds or molecules.
      • These terms are drawn from three different fields of science and the exact manner in which they apply to the Traveler's Light output is unclear at this time, save that they are used to indicate a repeating pattern.
  • The Festival of the Lost features a mask of the Traveler that can be obtained by players, and which is worn by the Speaker for the duration of the event. The back of the mask is marked by the tricorn symbol worn by the Speaker and included in Destiny's logo.
  • According to Fenchurch Everis, the inside of the Traveler "smells faintly of vanilla".[37]
  • The pre-Golden Age magazine depicting the Traveler shows it in a damaged state, although it only became damaged during the collapse, as seen with the Destiny 1 intro and simulations of the past in the Infinite Forest, where it can be seen undamaged in the background.
  • After the Traveler's reawakening at the end of the Red War, it began projecting a dome of light over the city. The extent and power of this dome are unknown, but it was strong enough to deflect debris from the Almighty away from the city.

List of appearances


  1. ^ Bungie (2020/11/10), Destiny 2: Beyond Light, Playstation 4, Mysterious Logbook: NOTE Third Vision
  2. ^ a b c Bungie (2014-9-9), Destiny, PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: The Traveler
  3. ^ Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken, Activision Blizzard - Lore: Ghost Stories - Difference of Opinion
  4. ^ Bungie (2014-9-9), Destiny, PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: Earth
  5. ^ Bungie (2014-9-9), Destiny, PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: The Traveler 2
  6. ^ Bungie (2014-9-9), Destiny, PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Darkness
  7. ^ Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Grimoire:Allies/Legends & Mysteries#Mystery: Vault of Glass
  8. ^ a b " Gameinformer: What’s Going On In Destiny’s Story, Anyway?
  9. ^ Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: The Taken King Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Item Description, Doom of Chelchis
  10. ^ Bungie (2014-9-9), Destiny, PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Variks, The Loyal
  11. ^ YouTube - Destiny 2 – “Gameplay Premiere Livestream (US)"
  12. ^ Bungie (2019/12/10), Destiny 2: Season of Dawn, Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Constellations: Entry IX
  13. ^ Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: The Taken King Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard Grimoire: Grimoire:Enemies/Books_of_Sorrow#XXXVI:_Eater_of_Hope
  14. ^ Bungie (2018/8/5), Destiny 2: Warmind Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Hardy's Journey
  15. ^ Bungie (2018/8/5), Destiny 2: Warmind Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Hardy's Calm
  16. ^ Bungie (2018/8/5), Destiny 2: Warmind Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Qiao's Strides
  17. ^ Bungie (2018/8/5), Destiny 2: Warmind Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Hardy's Orders
  18. ^ Bungie (2018/8/5), Destiny 2: Warmind Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Hardy's Control
  19. ^ Bungie (2018/8/5), Destiny 2: Warmind Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Qiao's Care
  20. ^ Bungie (2014-9-9), Destiny, PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: Humans
  21. ^ Bungie Destiny Story
  22. ^ YouTube - Destiny: Official E3 Gameplay Experience Trailer
  23. ^ a b Gameinformer: Jason Jones – The Destiny Interview
  24. ^ Bungie (2014-9-9), Destiny, PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: The Traveler 3
  25. ^ Game Informer January 2014, page 52
  26. ^ Bungie (2014-6-12), Destiny: Alpha PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghosts
  27. ^ Gameinformer, What’s Going On In Destiny’s Story – 2016 Edition
  28. ^ Bungie (2019/3/5), Destiny 2: Joker's Wild, Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Ecdysis
  29. ^ Bungie (2014-12-10), Destiny: The Taken King, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Rezyl Azzir - Before These Walls
  30. ^ YouTube: Reveal Trailer - Official Destiny ViDoc: Pathways Out of Darkness
  31. ^ Bungie (2014-6-12), Destiny: Alpha PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Human
  32. ^ a b Bungie (2015-3-10), Destiny: Activision Blizzard
  33. ^ Polygon - Watch the first teaser for Destiny 2
  34. ^ YouTube - Destiny 2 – “Rally the Troops” Worldwide Reveal Trailer
  35. ^ Ben Hanson, How Bungie Teased Destiny In Halo 3: ODST (GameInformer, Jan. 9, 2014)
  36. ^ reddit: We found the traveler's size! (using parallax on bannerfall) ("Used parallax and private matches to try to figure out the size of the traveler.")
  37. ^ Destiny Tracker: Traveler Mask