The Let's Play Archive


by Pythonicus

Part 11: The Cabal, Part 1

So let's talk about the Vault of Glass. I'm sure some of this is stuff you could infer from the Grimoire cards I posted with the raid itself, but let's take a little bit of a deeper look, since the game really, really doesn't explain things very well.

Let's go with the surface facts. There was a Guardian, a titan named Kabr, who had made it his mission to fight the spreading Vex threat. He ventured into the Vault of Glass to investigate it and found himself overwhelmed by the dangers within; more specifically, the Templar and his oracles. In his final moments he sacrificed himself and put his power into a relic for future Guardians who might take up his mantle and end what he began.

That being said, Kabr was not the only one with his eyes on the Vault. Our lovable and somewhat oafish Hunter Vanguard Cayde-6 also had aspirations for exploring its depths before being recruited into the Vanguard ranks, and there were countless others. The question then remains as to why the Guardians weren't able to do it before the player group busted in and stormed the place. The answer to that one might lie with the card for the Black Garden. The Speaker hypothesized that whatever ritual was taking place in the Garden was meant to summon the Vex from the Vault into the greater picture. I'm not personally sure if that means just Atheon, or if it's the summation of everything in the vault, including the Gorgons and the Templar. Assumably there was a direct link between the Garden and the Vault, and perhaps any assault on the Vault was doomed to failure until the Sol Progeny - and by extension, the Heart - were defeated. We do know, after all, that the Vex are more or less spacetime wizards.

My thoughts are that the Exo Stranger somehow knew about all of this after seeing what happened to Kabr, and led our Guardian deliberately through the steps that would eventually lead to the downfall of the Vault. There's still danger, though. If the Vex are allowed to do their function, and somehow revert the Vault back to its original state, there's no telling how we'll be able to defeat them.

But that's enough about that. Let's get into some new cards. Today let's look at the Cabal.

Grimoire Card: The Cabal posted:

"I think you could follow a trail of shattered worlds all the way to their home."
Tactically efficient, disciplined, and unrelenting, the Cabal are the greatest known military force in the system. Their origins and ultimate objectives are a mystery, but it seems clear they have conquered more worlds than humanity has ever known.

Cabal soldiers wear pressurized armor that replicates the environment of their highgravity homeworld. Their field tactics depend on ranks of Legionaries supported by air power, elite infantry, and ultraheavy armor.

Grimoire Card: Legionary posted:

"Their only tactic seems to be 'slow advance.' The problem is, they're really good at it."
Propelled by jump packs and wielding powerful slug rifles, Legionaries are the Cabal's line infantry and the backbone of their military power on the ground. Common Legionary tactics center on the bounding advance - some units attack the target while others close the range or find new firing positions.

Grimoire Card: Centurion posted:

"They're not breaking. Why aren't they breaking?"
Centurions are tactically intelligent, highly skilled field commanders. Their armor boasts a formidable array of combat electronics and deployable munitions.

Grimoire Card: Colossus posted:

"Where a Colossus stands, many will fall."
Towering over other Cabal, equipped with rapid-firing heavy weapons and nearly impenetrable armor, the Colossus is the most devastating heavy infantry unit in the Cabal order of battle.

Grimoire Card: Psion posted:

"There is no higher warfare than deception."
Psions are smaller than all other Cabal morphs, and may be an unrelated species. Hyperintelligent, fast and unpredictable, they possess strong psionic capabilities - including the ability to emit disorienting and deadly psychokinetic Arc blasts.

Grimoire Card: Phalanx posted:

"Remember, they have to take a shot sometime."
Phalanx soldiers carry massive shields, used for both attack and defense. While this protection is nearly impenetrable, clever opponents can bait the Phalanx or sneak shots around the shield.

Grimoire Card: Sand Eaters posted:

"The sooner we're extinguished, the sooner they can go home."
The Cabal formation first and most frequently encountered by Guardians, the Sand Eaters represent the numerical bulk of the Cabal presence on Mars. Their equipment, tactics, and morale all show the weight of a long deployment but they continue to pursue their objectives with dogged, weary determination.

Grimoire Card: Dust Giants posted:

"Position compromised. Casualties unsustainable. Request heavy air. Request [Dust Giants]."
Highly trained and heavily conditioned, Dust Giant soldiers seem to be recruited from veteran Sand Eater infantry. The Cabal order of battle positions them as a mobile reserve and shock force, rolled in to blunt major Vex offensives and reinforce crumbling lines.

Grimoire Card: Ghost Fragment - Cabal 1 and 2 posted:

I have stayed with the Cabal, even as the Light in me dims - I have been too far from the Traveler for
too long. If I am not destined to find my own Guardian, at least I can inform the City of what I've learned.

I thought Mars would be the place to find a Guardian. The sand preserves everything well, and Clovis Bray had been famous for attracting talent. The brave, the brilliant, the footloose, those restless on Earth and itching for fame. I stowed away aboard a Mars scout ship, hoping.

No luck. The sand ate everything. Clothes from skin, skin from bone. It was as if there were never any people here at all. I have been through every broken window in every building. Nothing. That is, no Guardian material. And no ride back to Earth. The scout was long gone.

What I did find, however, was a way into the Cabal Warbase. Their runty piggish eyes are too dull to see me, as long as I stay out of their defense systems. The Psions are a different matter: Too quick, too clever, throwing their minds around like hammers. I creep around walls, or dig into a heap of canisters and watch from there.

There is a vast Empire behind these creatures, many star systems away. Some pledge allegiance to that far Empire, obeying their ancient marching orders. Some do not. They disagree among themselves about the answers. I wish arguing Cabal on no one. They slam their plated bodies into each other with horrendous roars. Intelligence gathering has never been so painful.


A hologram of a spinning golden planet, in stasis, turning gently. You can see the storms moving over its face. But when the Commanders congregate below it, when they activate whatever controls are below, it changes. Fissures appear on its face. Is that their home? When the room empties I play with the controls, but it's older, native technology that I don't recognize at all.

I don't know what it means. It's not difficult to hide in these caverns when you're as small as I am, although the Psions tend to look around them when they pass me. There are infinitely many cracks and crannies. They are not a race that fears infiltration or espionage.

There is meaning to the structure and layout of their buildings. This is a warrior people, and they lay out their fortifications along ancient principles and timetested strategies. I can't figure out the sense that lies behind it. I would need ten times the computing power for inference calculations. But I know it's there. I can intuit it. It's like an open hand, ready to squeeze into a fist. A threat. A gesture of power.

For all their might and strength, for all that they have dug into Mars and flung up battle walls with the bureaucratic grimness of conquerors, I suspect they are fleeing from something. That within their hard shells and thousand-folded shields is a sharp seed of terror. But of what? Does something follow them? Should we fear it too?

Alright, thread. I've made my conjecture for the day. What do you think of that last couple of lines?