The Veil

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The Veil
Full View
The Veil.png
Veil Containment
TheVeilBody.jpg
Biographical information

Other name(s):

Winnower

Species:

Paracausal entity

Political and military information

Affiliation:

The Darkness
The Witness
Neomuna (As source of power)

Notable info:

Primordial source of Darkness
Carried by the Witness into its campaign for the "Final Shape", later by Nezarec and finally hidden by Savathûn in Neptune
Discovered by the Ishtar Collective, where it played an important role in the founding of Neomuna
Paracausally connected to the Traveler
Source of Strand found on Neomuna

 

The Veil is a paracausal entity associated with the Darkness. It is currently located deep below the surface of Neomuna, where it serves as a power source for the city, and also projects a paracausal energy field that forms the basis of Neomuna's CloudArk.

Overview[edit]

"This thing, the Veil. It's... it's some kind of web of consciousness. Just like the Vex network, but organic instead of artificial."
— Chioma Esi[1]

The Veil somewhat resembles a plant or jellyfish, with a bulbous, cup-shaped main body, branching root-like tendrils that can rapidly grow and generate an indestructible dome, and an opening on its underside that emits a bright white light. Its upper surface has a large circular opening, within which is what appears to be an energy field decorated with intricate blue and purple patterns.

According to Rasputin, the Veil is connected to the Traveler, and upon entering close proximity to the Veil, Ghost mentions that it gives him a feeling which reminds him of the Traveler. However, it is elsewhere described as an "artifact of Darkness"[2], and its presence in Neomuna suffuses the city with Strand energy - Strand being an elemental manifestation of the Darkness. Furthermore, the Radial Mast is stated by Ghost to resonate with Light, and Ghost himself is later used by the Witness to interface with the Veil. Collectively, these facts indicate that the Veil is closely tied to the Darkness, but that it may also have some relationship to the Light and the Traveler.

According to audio logs left by Chioma Esi, the Veil is determined to be a "web of consciousness" similar to the Vex network, but biological in nature rather than artificial.[3] She also noted that the Veil registers as an "electromagnetic anomaly," possessing no mass while having a tangible physical surface; she once described it as "like a thesis statement to the Von Neumann-Wigner Hypothesis,"[4] seemingly suggesting that its nature points to an interaction between consciousness and quantum mechanics.

History[edit]

The Ancient Past[edit]

The origins and true nature of the Veil are unknown, but it is known to have existed for billions of years, potentially at least as long as the Traveler. In one of her messages to the Guardian through Sloane, Ahsa makes reference to "two halves of a whole, long divided," which in context seems to suggest that the Traveler and Veil were once part of a single entity, or at least share a common origin.

At some point, the Veil was discovered by an ancient humanoid civilization, who had previously found the Traveler half-buried on their homeworld and had since enjoyed a golden age that had lasted for eons. In their studies of the Traveler, the civilization had determined that it had a counterpart entity in a distant star system. They named this entity "the Veil," and discovered that it was associated with a force opposite to that emanating from the Traveler, one linked to the mind and consciousness rather than the physical universe.

The species traveled to the interstellar location of the Veil and began to study it. Through discovery of the Darkness via the Veil, it was discovered that they could alter the nature of reality to eliminate the chaos of existence. Seeking to obtain this power so as to convert the universe into an eternal, perfected form they called the "Final Shape", the civilization brought it back to their homeworld.

However, upon attempting to link the Veil and the Traveler, the Traveler left the planet and fled into the far reaches of space. Unwilling to abandon their quest, the civilization used the Darkness to bind their consciousnesses together and merge into a singular entity: the Witness.

The Witness then departed its homeworld with the goal of finding the Traveler and uniting it with the Veil by force. Although not explicitly stated, it can be presumed the Witness carried the Veil with it on its journey.[5]

The Collapse[edit]

During the Collapse, the Disciple of the Witness known as Nezarec led the Black Fleet's assault on Earth, and at some point carried the Veil aboard his Pyramid. However, he was betrayed by Savathûn, who killed him, cursed his remains and spirited the Veil away to Neptune. Osiris speculated that Savathûn may have done this with the express intent of having the Ishtar Collective find the Veil when they subsequently visited the planet.[6]

It is implied that after the Collapse, the Sol Divisive created the Black Heart at the behest of the Witness, as it hoped to use the Black Heart for the same purpose as the Veil. However, the Black Heart was seemingly a failed replica.

Discovery by the Ishtar Collective[edit]

The Veil was later discovered by Ishtar Collective researchers who had traveled to Neptune aboard the Exodus Indigo during the Collapse. According to audio logs left by Chioma Esi, every researcher on the initial survey team died after making physical contact with the Veil, instantly entering a state of brain death. Exos present on the colony mission experienced psychological disturbances due to the electromagnetic signals emitted by the object, hallucinating and in some cases entering a state of "billboarding" similar to that which had occurred in early exominds prior to Clovis Bray I's invention of the Alkahest. When examining the object, Maya Sundaresh heard her own voice in her head speaking to her, telling her that the artifact was called "the Veil," and became convinced that it would be their "salvation".

Some time after the Ishtar Collective's arrival, Vex forces began making incursions into the colonists' territory, but were apparently repelled by the Veil's influence, preventing them from simply dropping into the midst of the Ishtar Collective's habitat and forcing them to engage the colonists' defenses.

Eventually, Maya and Chioma developed a prototype interface by which the Ishtar Collective researchers could receive and interpret the psychic emanations coming from the Veil. In Chioma's words, the system was designed "like an orchestra," with a central "conductor" guiding an array of other individuals whose minds were linked together in a network; the system was inspired by networked intelligences like SIVA and the Vex. According to Chioma, the risk involved with this approach was quite severe, with a high projected mortality rate.[7] Indeed, during the initial test of the interface, all participants were killed.[8]

Undeterred, and against Chioma's wishes, Maya repeated the test with brain-dead Exos whose minds had been wiped during initial contact with the Veil, placing them in the Veil interface in lieu of biological human participants. In doing so, she reversed the machine's function: whereas previously the system was designed to have a single "conductor" guiding an "orchestra" of participants as they communed with the Veil, this new approach directed data from the assembled Exos into a central recipient. For unknown reasons, Maya had also provided her own mental imprint during the test, to be overlaid on that of the central Exo recipient.

The receiving test subject in this experiment was Lakshmi-2, an Exo Maya had known prior to arriving on Neptune, but who had undergone brain death like all the others brought on the mission. The experiment resulted in Lakshmi awakening, but also with her mind having become either a total or partial copy of Maya's, speaking with Maya's voice and possessing some of her memories.[9]

Eventually, Maya managed to successfully connect living, human Ishtar Collective researchers to the Veil using her prototype interface, without killing the participants.[10] However, she would later be found dead in the "conductor's chair" of the Veil interface, apparently having tried to connect with the Veil herself for unknown reasons.

Founding of Neomuna[edit]

The Veil would go on to play a central role in the founding of Neomuna, serving as the main power source for the city and the basis of its CloudArk infrastructure. An Ishtar Collective facility, the Irkalla Complex, was constructed around it to study it and keep it safe. During the early history of Neomuna, an atmospheric spectrometer was developed which displayed unexpected properties, which Maya Sundaresh speculated to be a result of the Veil's influence. The Ishtar Collective also designed a firearm capable of using the Veil's paracausal field as a supplemental power source, which remained unfinished for centuries until Osiris discovered the schematics and used them to craft the Hand Cannon Epochal Integration.

Lightfall[edit]

The Veil's existence was revealed to the Guardian by Rasputin in his final message, revealing that it resides in a hidden Neptunian city and that it is of immense paracausal power.

After the Witness communed with the Traveler and received a vision of the Veil on Neptune, Calus and his Shadow Legion invaded Neomuna and attempted to use the Radial Mast to create a link between the Veil and the Traveler. They were ultimately unsuccessful as the Mast was destroyed, but following Calus' defeat the Witness was able to create the link by taking control of the Guardian's Ghost. This caused the Veil to emit an energy beam that allowed the Witness to open a portal on the surface of the Traveler.

Asher Mir discovered information on the Veil independent of the Guardians and the Witness while traveling through the Vex Network, and devoted an unknown amount of time after the Arrival of the Black Fleet to researching and manually simulating it. He was able to achieve a full simulation of the Veil and send the data to Earth, though doing so cost his life as he was forced to resume his integration into the Vex Network to gain access to the necessary resources.

Season of the Deep[edit]

Following Titan's reappearance, Ikora and Osiris noted that the Veil's paracausal signature had become stronger, and speculated that the connection between Titan and the Veil could hold a clue as to how to follow the Witness.[11] Osiris would also work with Nimbus in understanding the Veil's role in Neomuna's founding and of its nature. Both soon learn that both Maya Sunderesh and her partner Chioma Esi studied the Veil extensively but as they continued, Maya became more and more obsessive with her research, leading to a fallout to occur between the two scientists. Maya's obsession with the Veil led to some astounding moments, such as the creation of the CloudArk and the creation process of the Cloud Striders. However, it also led to just as many painful moments such as rendering all their Exo patients brain-dead, led the Vex to find Neomuna and the creation of Lakshmi-2 herself before Maya herself was found dead in her lab. Chioma Esi was left shaken to the point of being traumatized by all that had transpired with Maya's research before deciding to lock away the Veil and encrypting her logs, wanting to have Neomuna's future generations start with a clean slate.

Osiris would summarize their research as confirming that the Veil is darkness, the power of thought and consciousness, just as the Traveler's Light is the power of the physical plane. Maya's and Chioma's experiences with the Veil would also serve as a cautionary tale in allowing one's obsessions consume their life.

Season of the Witch[edit]

Though there were no more logs from Chioma Esi, Osiris managed to decrypt the data core from the Conceptual Mind the Guardian recovered after its defeat using Esi's algorithm. The data within reveals Vex's blueprints for their artificial Veil: The Black Heart. Despite making a connection with the Traveler at the time, its design was inherently flawed as it weakened it, and created static in the flow of their cosmic forces, thus not creating the link that The Witness desired. This indicates a possibility that both Traveller and the Veil were once part of a whole.

Osiris speculated that when the beam from the Veil was fired at the Traveler, it linked to a point inside of it. And whatever's inside the Traveler is where The Witness is. Thus, when the Traveler went dormant, its attention was directed inward and focused on the true threat.

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • A number of pre-Lightfall Lore entries make reference to a mysterious "veil", which may or may not refer to the Veil itself:
    • The Lore entry 'Reextinction' contains a dialogue between the Nine in which they make reference to "laying themselves bare before the veil".
    • The Lore entry "Irrealis" contains the phrase "somewhere, a veil is always lifting" in reference to the timeless nature of the Black Garden.
    • The Lore entry "The Witch" describes a "falling veil" that will soon snuff out the Light of Guardians.
    • The D1 Grimoire entry "Ghost Fragment: Future War Cult" contains a FWC member referring to what they call "The Opening of the Veil," a sensation experienced by individuals making use of the FWC's "Device".
    • The title of the Lore Book Unveiling may allude to the Veil.
  • The Veil bears some resemblance to the Tree of Silver Wings encountered on Io and Essence, specifically in having a branching root system and a hollow, cup-shaped "canopy". What significance this resemblance has, if any, is unknown.
  • In a tweet by Bungie lead concept artist Dima Goryainov, the Veil is described as a "physical manifestation of incomprehensible cosmic energy. Window into the mind and memory of the universe". To what degree this description applies to in-game canon is unknown.[12]
  • The physical shape of the Veil resembles a diagram describing the cosmogony of Jakob Böhme, seen in texts such as The Philosophical Sphere or the Wonder Eye of Eternity dating from 1620. Böhme's ideas have been referenced elsewhere in Destiny, most notably in the Unveiling Lore Book, where the Darkness alludes to Böhme and his philosophy specifically.
  • In various Indian religions, there is a concept known as māyā, which has a variety of meanings generally relating to the illusory nature of reality, or the ability to turn ideas into physical reality. In some contexts, māyā is described as a "veil" hiding the true nature of the universe. Additionally, māyā is an epithet for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Collectively, these ideas may be alluded to by the story of Maya Sundaresh's experiences with the Veil, and her creation of Lakshmi-2.

List of appearances[edit]

References[edit]