Rise Of Iron has been out for just under a week now and most Guardians have fought and died against the SIVA augmented Fallen. But what do we truly know about SIVA and how can it apply to a Guardian? We learn early on in the campaign that every Fallen house from Winter to Kings to Devils have a sect dedicated to what is in essence bioengineering. Developing their abilities and survival to make the house prosper, and it was the Fallen Devil Splicers that unearthed and discovered SIVA after the Iron Lords fought and sacrificed themselves to bury it within the Plaguelands in a replication chamber.
However the Fallen were not the ones to create the deadly technological plague, as that honour goes to the Clovis Bray organisation within humanities Golden Age. It was just another technological invention, another way to increase the brightness of the Golden Age or as Clovis Bray wished it to be, the “New Machine Age”. SIVA was designed to be a self-replicating nanite that was controllable by the user. According to Dormant SIVA : Clovis Bray 1.5, the nanites were designed to be used as an extremely versatile tool that could alternate to suit an unimaginable number of tasks, “Full functionality of our test nanites in our two hundred tasks over multiple trials and environments”. It was designed to be a compliment to humanity, but controlled by humanity. The problem with the development of what is an artificial intelligence, is that eventually it becomes something more than it was intended.
This was helped along with the building of a replication chamber that, like the name suggests, would replicate the nanites indefinitely, supplying the sheer demand that would be heard for SIVA. In the Grimoire Card Dormant SIVA : Clovis Bray 1.9, we learn that Clovis Bray had successfully developed the chamber, “The complex is ready for the wholesale replication of the SIVA nanite”. This chamber it seems was under at least partial control of the Warmind Rasputin due to the style of its architecture and the fact that Lord Saladin states that Rasputin had an almost physical presence when the Iron Lords first battled SIVA.
Within the Dormant SIVA : Iron Lords 2.2 it is stated that “The SIVA learns from what it consumes” which is the root cause for one of the most common phrases within the Grimoire and SIVA related weapons, that is ‘consume, enhance, replicate’. Hence why everything that attempts to control it ends up being overwhelmed instead. It happened with the Fallen Devil Splicers and it happened to the hundreds of Iron Lords that attempted to storm the replication chamber. Lord Saladin and the other Iron Lords just wished to utilise the Traveler’s gift to make a better home for the remnants of humanity – make it seem like they were put there for a real reason. But like those before them SIVA consumed them, “Should have never contacted the Warmind. Trying to help. Trying to rebuild. Thought ~consume, enhance, replicate~ was the key” (Dormant SIVA : Iron Lords 2.5).
Now if we consider both the initial cutscene and the final battle of ‘The Iron Tomb’ where SIVA was destroyed there is clear evidence of SIVA controlling Guardians, albeit without the gifts of the Light, being more proficient with powerful tangible weapons. In the first cutscene we see Lady Jolder and her chestpiece being covered in the tendrils of the SIVA virus. Similarly it is her as well as Gheleon and Felwinter that we fight, while they have been totally consumed and controlled by SIVA, becoming angry technological monstrosities.
But what if SIVA could be properly controlled and possibly altered so that it would only enhance and replicate instead of consuming. Could Guardians reach a whole new level of evolution much like the Fallen and wipe out the encroaching Darkness so to usher in a new Golden Age. Because while SIVA for the most part was uncontrolled by the Fallen there is Aksis the Archon Prime, who is the final boss in the Wrath of the Machine raid. He had fully submerged himself in the apotheosis of SIVA and had transcended material needs. No more ether dependency or gods to worship, Aksis had managed to carve himself out a new future fuelled by agency. The downside to this is that it had completely wiped the uniqueness from his form making him a powerful master and slave of SIVA at the same time.
It would seem that since it is a technological virus it may sever the connection to a Guardians Light but would enhance other abilities, perhaps in relation to their armour or armament. Because the ability to enhance anything that SIVA comes into contact with could be wonderfully beneficial to the cause of the Guardians…that is, if it can be brought under heel. Though with the replication chamber blown up I doubt it can get any further under heel.