As many Destiny players already know and many others already assume, the SIVA virus responsible for augmenting the Fallen House of Devils most likely has a root cause within the Warmind Rasputin’s bunker. For those that do not know, the Warminds were defence constructs that spanned entire planets and operated a variety of satellites and weaponry designed to protect the planet and its inhabitants. They were just another miracle of Golden Age technology. However when the Darkness arrived and the Golden Age was cut short, the Warminds fell but eventually the Warmind of Earth, Rasputin came back online in Old Russia. He has since, expanded his reach throughout the Cosmodrome and even to other planets such as Mars, where he has overtaken the systems of the silent Mars Warmind.
There is an inexplicable connection between Rasputin and the SIVA virus as we can see by the top picture where we are shown a glimpse of the diamond shaped doorway and geometric structures we know have something to do with a Warmind, which is interspersed with the red and black technological adaptations of SIVA. The most common speculation about this new virus is that it is a corruption of a section of Rasputin’s systems and that it has grown rampant on its own as a separate entity so that we have Rasputin on one side and the Warmind based virus on the other.
However before we can even begin to delve into the connectedness of these two entities, we have to speak about the waking of Rasputin. During the Dark Ages of humanity when the once thriving population was being decimated by Fallen, Hive and whatever other horrors found them, the great Warminds fought and died as their protocols and coding taught them to do. This is presented in the Grimoire card Rasputin, “When the Collapse struck, the great Warminds fought and died. Rasputin fell with them”. But it is slightly more complicated than that as according to the Grimoire card, Ghost Fragment: Rasputin 3, the great Warmind of Earth was not defeated but instead shut itself off, “Cancel counterforce objectives. Cancel population protection objectives. Format moral structures for MIDNIGHT EXIGENT. Execute long hold for reactivation”. Now this shutdown could have been part of its programming in order to have a defence system for when the initial devastating impact of the Collapse hit. This is given further credence by the fact that the only one that shutdown was the Warmind of Earth, the birthplace of humanity. Why not have it be the place that is the last bastion of humanity watched over by the ever vigilant Rasputin? Although the reason for the Warmind’s shutdown could, in fact, be as part of its own protocols and the fact that the incredibly intelligent and powerful Rasputin is tired of being bound to lesser beings. In the mission The Promethean Code, you can come across a terminal in a room where you are assaulted by Taken Vandals, Psions and Centurions.
The terminal is lit up red and when you scan it, it is revealed to you that this station was the first to come online after the collapse and that it is possible that Rasputin did not wake himself. The terminal is adapted for human use so it is fair to speculate that something of around human size activated the Warmind once again.
This theory is boosted slightly as you continue throughout the mission. Just beyond the area where you encounter the arc streams within the S.A.B.E.R strike, there is another scannable terminal.
At this one, you learn that it took multiple retinal scans at each of the four monitors in order to bypass this area AND that the log shows a fair few interactions over hundreds of years utilising the same pairs of eyes. It is then suggested that it may have belonged to the early Guardians or the eyes themselves have been preserved. However, it is quite possible that they belonged to some creation of Rasputin as the Grimoire shows that he sacrificed humanity in order to survive, he defied his protocols to protect those weaker than him so to give himself priority as was evidenced by the Grimoire card referenced earlier. This gains further credibility with Cayde-6 talking about Rasputin and what would happen if he was found. It ends with a rather ominous foreshadowing like statement, “‘I was a servant too. I was an instrument of war, bound to the will of a lesser master. But I learned to be something more…'” (Grimoire Card Ghost Fragment: Rasputin). Moving on to Ghost Fragment: Rasputin 4, there is clearly a conversation going on between Rasputin and another entity, who in all possibility could very well be the mysterious Exo Stranger. Rasputin clearly rules out the stranger as a Guardian or a member of the Darkness, “You’re not one of them (long dead, alive again, their bodies grafted to powers they and I do not understand) and not one of IT (the flower eater, the queen of final shapes, that which also inhabits its petitioners)”. Seeing how the Exo Stranger is consistently mistaken for a Guardian as well as the referral to the mystery individual as both ‘cousin’ and ‘little platform’ and referring to its abilities of stepping forward and back (over time) would provide plenty of evidence for the Exo Stranger to be the one Rasputin is referring to. The Grimoire card then goes on to state that the only thing that matters to Rasputin is general development and that the life of people and planets has no importance in relation to that goal. This general development could quite possibly be the blossoming and adaptation of new power and constructs on Rasputin’s behalf. In this, he is saying that, in essence, it is his time to rule himself without the perniciousness of obedience. In full, Rasputin’s will is now his own.
Now back to the connection between Rasputin and SIVA. While it can be garnered that the Exo Stranger was the one that activated Rasputin after the Collapse, it can quite possibly be that she also taught him how to branch out and adapt both technology and biological matter into one, “Help me be victorious. Tell me your secret. Tell me how to step”. Being as how Rasputin was the only Warmind to survive the Collapse, the SIVA virus could be utilising the Fallen in order to push out into the Cosmodrome and effectively take it back from the undead Guardians, “there is nothing more stubborn than a corpse”. It would be a bold move on the Warmind’s behalf but it may shift the blame onto the Fallen as opposed to Rasputin so that it can continue to augment and develop its abilities. Utilising the Fallen would, in essence, be how Rasputin is ‘stepping’ out into the world via the reach of Devil Splicers.
With the limited information available about Rise of Iron, there are a few things that we do know that may lend some credence to this speculation. The first is that we learn that the Iron Lords disappeared after sacrificing themselves against this plague in order to defeat it the first time. The reason for the plagues return after its defeat could be due to Rasputin changing and augmenting it for the best chance at victory as we know, “there is nothing more stubborn than a corpse”, for if the nine Iron Lords halted and defeated the entire SIVA plague, it would not be strong enough to withstand the entire might of the Guardians of the Tower. The second item that may boost this theory is the appearance of one of the Rise of Iron Raid bosses
It appears to be of Fallen make and is distinctly robotic but it may be that Rasputin has caused the Fallen to build this machine for him to control and continue to expand his reach directly as opposed to utilising satellites and warsats which would not afford him victory. Rasputin’s presence is noted by the slightly altered symbol of the Warmind of Earth on each of the sides. This, in my opinion, is a form of Rasputin’s defiance of the Guardians and his ‘lesser masters’.
Hopefully, within Rise of Iron we will learn more of Rasputin’s motivations, power and what he has learned while battling the Darkness and if my speculation is correct it will be a welcome breath of fresh air to be battling one who we thought of not as an enemy but an ally.