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Discuss the deep lore of the Destiny universe.

8/9/2014 8:20:54 PM
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Exploring the Exo:

Hey Bungie Community! In my wanderings through these forums, someone asked me: "What are the Exo?" I'm a really philosophical guy, so I started my answer to help out and tell him what we know, but as I dove deeper it developed into a discussion not only of what an Exo is, but what it means to "be" Exo. The remainder of this post is my answer to him (heavily edited and expanded), and I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you to maybe provide a new perspective on, and perhaps a new appreciation for: the race of Exo. With that introduction, I give you: Exploring The Exo: The Exo were war machines designed and built by humans. The Traveler wiped their memories of all of the time before and then blessed them with true sentience. The Exo are true thinking, feeling beings now. They are still machines inside and out, but they absolutely have full and evolving personalities like everyone else. The Exo must confront their lack of mortality (an Exo lives forever with effective maintenance), to my knowledge they cannot mate or reproduce (I'm fairly certain the secrets of building the Exo was lost in the collapse as well), and that they cannot remember any of their existence before the Traveler uplifted them. There are both male and female Exo. I believe this is only for the purposes of defining themselves as having a male or female persona now that they are sentient, rather than for mating capability. The body types are likely different to accent and celebrate that "choice." I know gender isn't a choice per se [at birth], so when each Exo was uplifted by the Traveler, it was likely "born" in that moment and must have realized that they were either one or the other. That issue of gender without gender roles may be another of issues that every Exo faces. They also have no childhood, no learning process through years of experiences under the guidance of parents to make them who they are. They were static. One moment they did not exist from their own perspective, and the next moment they did. Its like their entire personality, all of who they are... was just given to them, handed down from on high, rather than developed over years of growing up and experiencing things. Its gotta be a shocking way to enter the world, and it can't be comforting to know that SOMETHING ELSE decided who YOU were going to be. To look at another possibility, assume for a moment that when they were born in that moment of uplifting it was as if they knew nothing at all (emulating a human newborn), then they would have learned everything from humans (in the Golden age and early stages of the collapse there were no Awoken, and those who existed in the dark ages lived almost exclusively on the Reef. This would make it very unlikely for an Awoken to have ever "raised" an Exo). What would that mean for them? How alien would it feel to sit down to a family dinner when you cannot grasp the concept of food? As children, these Exo would not have been smaller than their adoptive parents, they would in most cases be physically superior. By what method then could a young Exo be disciplined? As a sentient being, every Exo should be vulnerable to feelings like pride or anger. How would a proud and self aware Exo take orders from a mother or father figure whom they could beat to a pulp in seconds? Why must he or she listen to those who cannot enforce their own rules? In the end I don't know if one or either of these cases is the truth concerning the uplifting of the Exo, but both possibilities are rife with unique challenges that simply are not faced by members of any other race. The Exo are philosophically pretty cool. They can make really interesting characters, especially when/if they learn that their entire race were once unthinking slaves used by humans for protection and warfare. This event raises some wicked questions. How does that make them feel about the robots that we see doing all of the menial labour in the tower now? Would they understand that the use of a non sentient machine is different from slavery, or would they see what they could have been and be disgusted? Even better, how does that make an Exo feel about being a Guardian?A being brought back from the dead for the singular purpose of protecting the City by roaming the solar system and killing every single threat to its inhabitants? Does that diminish them once again into no more than slaves used by others for protection and warfare?With the knowledge of his or her race's past available to them, An Exo guardian might feel more like a slave than a hero. As if we didn't have enough degrees of separation already, the Exo also don't sleep which is admittedly badass and quite useful, but could also be very lonely in a world of Humans and Awoken. Could this make Exo society self contained? When the Humans and the Awoken of the City go to sleep (I can't comment on the sleep patterns of the Awoken, they may not match those of humans, but lets assume for now that they're similar), the Exo population in its entirety remains exactly the same. Naturally they could spend this time together, and no member of the other races can be there for them all the time. Eventually the differences in schedule and culture could lead to many Exo folk drifting away from organic society, preferring their own kind exclusively. There are likely no rituals for eating, there are none for sleeping, waste excretion is a non issue. Routine maintenance could be better understood by those who also perform it upon themselves, and of course there must be many other issues besides. In addition, organic races would eventually be surpassed in knowledge and wisdom by the Exo, who have lived every moment since the moment of uplifting to the present (with the exception of those who died and were raised as Guardians, they/we clearly missed a big chunk of time). The sheer number of experiences they have would make most Exo very wise and interesting people. This raises another interesting question. Does the Exo have limited memory storage space? Of course it probably does internally. Exo memories were never designed by humans, but rather were "granted" by the Traveler. The physical computational memory used by them as machines of war before their transformation is certainly quite significant, but is that how they record their memories now? If that was so there would be a defined limit to what an Exo can know and remember. This is true for all races, but the Exo may be forced to actively pick and choose which of its experiences, which parts of its life to simply erase. At first glance such an ability is both a blessing and a curse. It is also one more thing that may prevent the Exo on a fundamental level from fitting into the human societies we all know. Moving on from there, we've assumed so far that as sentient mechanical beings the Exo are fully emotionally capable... so then what in Gods name does an Exo do when they fall in love with an organic? It could happen to an Exo as easily as to a Human, and as any wise person understands, we can't choose who to love. The Exo don't need sexuality as part of their companionship, but its presence in organic life could make that a serious barrier to her (or him). They could not produce offspring with that person, and if they were exclusive romantically, they would condemn their partner to a life with no sexual component, and more importantly no children. Then, even if all that works out, when the Exo's organic partner dies, they have to continue on alone. Nevermind all of the potential social stygma around the idea of organic/synthetic relationships. Like I said earlier, the Exo are philosophically very interesting. Just by virtue of their birth race they can be quite tragic characters. They must shoulder burdens we can only even wonder at. They see a World they cannot be a part of that has existed since before they themselves were even an idea. They owe the Traveler their "existence" (in its Cartesian definition), but they would not exist without the Humans who built their bodies. All they are, the good and bad, was someone else's decision. Do they love the others for making the right decisions, or hate them for making the wrong ones? Should they thank us for their existence, or blame us for the pain they suffer because of it? There is an old saying that "To 'ere is human, to forgive, divine." The Exo are neither. Thanks for reading -Thoughtfully yours, TheDestined
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  • I really enjoyed reading this and it has given me a little further insight as to where the Exo's stand in relation to the organics races. As for me, I do sort of like a comment someone posted a little further up or down on this thread (Internet directions conveluted, got mecha-phallus stuck in rotating, ceiling mounted, bladed, spinner). However, the way I see see it is the Exo's might not have been solely built as war machines. Look at the battle-frames in the tower, for example. Their name says what they were created for but, we see many of them serving other useful purposes such as janitors, mailmen, merchants and similar tasks. Now, knowing that the Exos are, for all intents and purposes, an "upgrade" if you will on the battle frame design, what's to say they weren't built to serve all purposes as we see even a certain Exo Gunsmith who doesn't seem to concerned with doing battle. Now excuse me for a moment while I jump of the deep end for a second. Let's just say, for example, the Exo weren't always just a set routine of man's design and were granted sentient thought by man for some reason (or as another poster wrote having been turned from human into Exo keeping the brain intact) What would stop these Exo from creating for themselves a way to self-modify into genders for their own reasons (again, let's say your sentient brain was taken from your body and placed into a far superior robotic shell without a means of sexual satisfaction) you'd go a little insane after a while because, scientific studies (I believe, if I read the article I read correctly) have shown that the longer you have gone without sexual activity after becoming sexually active (As a human should at some point in his/her life do to our nature and subconcious primitive mind telling us that sex is good (but, that's another arguement for somewhere else)) will actually cause mental stress, frustration and in some more severe cases a decline in sanity so, with that thought process, as an Exo, why wouldn't you want to show your love interest an intimate feeling that you once probably had as a human (again if we're assuming Exo are human brains made eternal in robotic form). Now with all that being said, I should probably contribute to the characterization I'm thinking of (I saw... I think... uhhh... Kierrok? saying something about his Exo). My Exo, Joltz, could likely have been me (for example) pre-collapse (I know I'd jump at the opportunity to live forever as a badass robot) and let's just go ahead and say my wife did too. We both loved each other before becoming Exo and our minds being transferred into these shells would only serve as an eternal show of that love. Now whether or not the reproduction of Exos works like humans (let's be honest... ROBOT BABIES... kinda cute to think about but, is probably one of those things that only looks good on paper.) I know for a fact I'd make some upgrades on myself over time to realize certain human needs that would arise being that my human mind is now in the body of a superior machine. Granted that, at the moment, our Exos hang out on Old Russia near Rasputin's bunker far too often than what is probably recommended for any [REDACTED DUE TO ADULT MATERIAL] to happen but, I digress, I feel it wouldn't be too far-fetched to assume that over time an Exo could give him/herself the necessary upgrades to facilitate sexual desires or needs (based on your standpoint). As for me, I often feel that my exo standing in the wreckage of a ship with his trusty sniper rifle with his wife at his side is something that resonates deep in me as one of those "One day..." feelings. So, that being said, to all my Exo brothers and sisters out their, I am Captain Joltz of the Black Jack Army and I am not a machine... I am truly alive and no being, bet it the overcalculating Vex or the ravenous Hive can ever take truly away my life.
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  • Great post. Tho I understand what the game says, and your theory. But. I presonaly like the idea they were once human, or an awoken, that got SERIOUSLY F-ed up. Turning them into a cyborg. Now the only living parts are their brain, heart, lungs, perhaps stomach tho idk. Here's how I see it, opinions may differ. The bio says they're war machines, created by humans. It's possible humans had idea to make a cyborg soldier, but needed a volunteer, a Robocop. But unlike Murphy, who was forced into a cyborg. These Exo volunteers, were visited while they were on a hospital bed, missing both legs, an arm, crushed ribs, basically look like shtick. Agents come holding a clipboard "We have an experimental project, that "could" save your life. You might not be completely yourself, but your mind will be your own. All we ask... Is your name." This is how I see it. If anything the Traveler may of gavin a jolt to power the cyborg. Tho, I don't like the taking your memories, cus you'd forget how to hold a gun, tho Ghost does reference this at the start. BUT. It might be a little lore breaking, but this is what I wanna believe my Exo is. A cyborg. Who was part of a squad, but was dead for a year till Ghost found him.
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    • This was one amazing post although the one thing that may be conflicted with your theory is how the Traveler gave them sentience. The stranger says she is not of the light yet he is sentient, so were they always sentient to an extent ?
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      • Edited by OujiFuta: 8/12/2014 4:48:17 AM
        One, amazing post. Made my day. I read this whole thread! My input and ideas focus on love and sexuality. I read the few who mentioned that love would be false love, if not probable. I would say in their current situation and even for all guardians that companionship a friend or fireteam out in the galaxy would bring a lot of positive into their own existence. Better survival chance, someone to share the burden of fighting the darkness, maybe rousing conversations. Yeah you will have lone wolves but undoubtably there are perks to traveling with others. Us and The Exo sentience have the ability to respect, like special qualities, and favor others! If you had the choice you would go with guardian you liked most and growing more connected with more time spent together. The way you feel about a best friend or family member is a love unlike the one that drives us to copulate. This is the love i believe Exo could experience. When the galaxy is filling with darkness you hold onto those who xan fill your world with light and you protect them. I would say Exo's, for not have the wiring like our biology, would not have sexuality preferences. With only a physical gender but not a reproductive one they probably do not see the reason of their own gender needing to be an issue on those they like most. I believe that if the other they liked enough to be inseparable, Exo will learn of the others potential desires, and lusts of the bedroom. Brining me to my other thought. If we built these robots during the Golden age and can do ok with technology after the collapse, hard to not imagine some smart or very curious being to have tried in creating sexual organs or devices for Exo's. If pleasure could be programmed, Or maybe already programmed from original creation. If they made to protect us should they not relate to the human experience even if they will not share in it all? However since they are not bound by typical human sexuality and Love making practices they could be crafted some unique sex bits. Imagine, only if you dare, an Exo knowing the secret desires of their best buddy is getting roped up. Using said knowledge having a custom part built that is long thick cord filled with pressure sensors that would activate joy and if possible exhilaration feedback. Tying up said bestie with what could be best called a very long sex orga and both sharing some form of bliss. But more conventional means would probably be the popular option for sex related upgrades. However if pleasure cannot be possible what other method would make an Exo go as far out of their way for someone else to do such lewd things? To show their respect? To earn respect? Provide a more personal usefulness and he pride of doing so(why i have come up with ideas of alternate appendages than a robo wang)? Or, to share the happiness they receive from the conversations and time spent with their bestie, but on a higher level? Last little bit of say is some idea to why the Exo were created with difference in bodies and faces and minds. Variety would help their acceptance. If they were all carbon copied they would be a literal walking stereotype. If people had fear or doubt or concerns it would brew negative thoughts about Exo's entirely and you cannot have broken team like that on the battle field. If one carbon copy Exo made a mistake we would say all of them do that. They would be seen more as animal and separate to how we see ourselves and treat each other. The creators needed us to work well with them. All looking the same creates stronger connection to the Exos but less to us. even having humans and Exos turn on another. My thoughts a little less cohesive but touching on points i wanted to flush out more. PrinceFuta
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      • Everyone who read all that shit, you the real MVP!
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      • Could you do one for the Awoken? More specified the Awoken that reside in the Reef. Or the relation of The Awoken that have been uplifted compared to the Awoken that serve their Queen. Since it is stated in the lore that Awoken Guardians don't receive a warm welcome from The Queen. Feel free to correct me if there are any lore discrepancies.
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        • I've spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of this. I started writing a fanfic of my hunter exo and found myself contemplating some of these issues. My exo will question the struggle of humanity while out on patrol only to come up short for reason. He'll continue to fight for us (humans) because without us he wouldn't exist, but he's torn. His experiences come without any personal gain. He fights to protect those that gave him life if only to find out why he lives. My writings become difficult because I find my exo wants something more than existing without understanding his existance. Thanks for this bit of personal insight! I would ask what your view is of Exos like Lakshmi? She seems dogmatic, something must be driving her beliefs.
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          • This is easily the most civil forum I have ever seen. Apparently the people who read and understand this are of higher intelligence. These are intelligent debates, not ignorant arguments.
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            • But why do the female exos have breasts?
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              • Edited by Partarar: 8/10/2014 8:44:27 PM
                As an Exo in destiny, this is how I think I think, if you know what I mean. It is my goal to challenge my fellow guardians, and try to be one of the best. That a large part of why I fight: competition. Also being a hunter, my detachment from society is matched only my my trust and companionship for my fellow guardians. I also fight to save all of the intellect that remains to be protected, in whatever form it comes in. I am fascinated by every mind and what it thinks, and they are all worth protecting. That is also why I fight. You must remember though that consciousness is not accompanied by deep affection of the caliber you described. Although powerful friendship can be achieved, the traveler would not have cursed exos with the ability to love organic life forms.
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                • Edited by johnny900000000: 8/10/2014 5:57:01 PM
                  Wow. This needs to be a book in destiny or something "the lives of the exo" created by the destined
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                • Edited by Kierrok: 8/10/2014 5:38:17 PM
                  Regardless what others say. Sex and reproduction isn't everything. There's many couples gay/straight who never had sex once. Because they believe, that you don't need to have sex to feel love. No one blow this out of proportion, it's an example. But you love your dog/cat, but you wouldn't sleep with, would you? ...Please don't answer. The rest tho sounds pretty spot on, maybe a little over assumption, but is very good and sad.
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                • Thanks for making my choice of character race even cooler. All the RP potential!
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                • That was an excellent read, thank you. I too like philosophizing on parts of Destiny. And you really hit on my favorite topic of the Exos. I suppose that's why I like playing as a exo and while playing through the game I really am going to try and fill my grimore so as to understand the Destiny universe in its entirety. I also hope to find more on the exos and their feelings on many of the topics you stated. I almost can feel an urge from my character to understand his existence and meaning.
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                • Exo. All. The. Way.
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                • I am eagerly awaiting your Awoken topic, should you decide to make one.
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                  • I'm only exo, of parts and wires, I'm made Exo, born to make mistakes.
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                  • There's tl;dr, then there's this!
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                  • What if the exo name means that they are actually part organic but no one knows everyone just thinks they are full robot?
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                    • 0
                      ThatGuy42
                      ThatGuy42

                      The Lost Lurker - old

                      On what basis do you (OP) conclude that the Exo are physically superior? Machines can be made with various degrees of power. Even humans must train to develop muscle mass. So are all Exo created equal? Or are there some with better components and parts? Can they upgrade themselves? The world may never know...
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                      • Edited by ShadowNinja77: 8/11/2014 7:25:48 PM
                        & this is why schools are stupid, it's no longer about teaching it's about grades & desired traits. If we had people writting or replying to stuff like this more often in schools it be much better. But that aside, you bring up a lot of points, I'll address some of them. 1st off we really don't have solid in-game lore of the Exo we just have the general philosophy of sentient robots. Also i'm unsure if Awoken are immortal or not. If not we know both humans & Awoken would live atleast 300 years becuase the opening of Destiny said "The Travelers appearance tripled human life span" so it might not be very bad infact 1 theory about the Exo is that they had the human soul transfered into them or perhaps if a human wants, once they die they just move into a robotic body. Lack of lore is quite a big deal currently. As I've said before I'll be extremely displeased & will change my Exo Hunter to a different race if the Exo's turn out to be a full blown western styled robotic race, western cultures are illogical when it comes to robots because they think they'll be freaking Terminators & will go all Shodan on us for very small reasons. A truely sentient robotic race would be too diverse to be like that, some would be racist robots that think like Shodan &/or Skynet saying they are superior or that they were slaves, the others would say that organics & robots are equal, both are similar therefore neither are superior & that it wasn't slavery it was more indentured servitude (totally different from slavery) & that organics had very little choice anyway & both need each-others help. Not to mention robots have a choice organics don't, they can choose to make themself permantly good, organics are always grey they can be good but not permantly good they always have a dark side no matter what, but robots run off programs they can make a sentient choice to be permantly good. Infact I wouldn't be suprised if robots wared with robots over organics, infact the enemy robots on Venus might simply be Shodan like robots that think they're better & Exo's are the opposite. They lost so they are coming through time to the future from the past to stop senethosis. The Exo's upon sentience simply realised organics were diverse, some organics didn't like them, while others did, while others simply did not care 1 bit, plus hearing about the general organic philosophy of sentient robots. Thus they might see organics as a brotherly race to help them along, realising both needs the other - Yin & Yang. As for they're sentience it's kinda the same for organics, organics simply 'became' sentient from no-where. Now I don't know if Destiny's world still has internet but if so a Exo can just review everything esential to know from the internet, I assume everything is still recorded but the era when the Darkness attacked they didn't have time to record it, so a lot that happened during that time isn't recorded. Otherwise organics would have books, art & internet things discussing it. The only records really is past down word of mouth stories about the Darkness. The only time Exo's might refer to organics is for "hands-on" experience. As for love & $exu@lity, uhhh I assume they might simply make... "toys" to make that happen on both ends. Let's not go deep into that subject of $ex because it'll get really weird, really freaking fast. Love itself they might like or some Exo's might even say "Well we are immortal, if we don't like the love 1 we chose we can just wait it out XD" kind of thing. As for the subject of soul & sentience I'll include a link to a different forums website post where I discussed it more thoroughly. Here it is: https://forums.dust514.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=122632&find=unread
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                      • Edited by TheRedHanded: 8/10/2014 2:47:50 PM
                        Wild speculation about a sentient machine's learning process here. Much like a computer, an Exo could be accumulating his most recent memories and experiences in some sort of cache. Every once in a while (daily? weekly? monthly?), the Exo would have to enter a dormant state in which the data stored in this cache would be compiled, then undergo some form of analysis and be compressed in a format that can be stored for long term use in a larger database. Once compressed in such a fashion, the data could even be used to modify the Exo's operating system as some sort of patch that would affect his behavior and personality from now on. For instance, an Exo who recently faced numerous Fallen in battle could enter a dormant state once he has safely returned to the Tower. His combat experience would be analyzed: he could rate the effectiveness of his combat tactics, develop strategies tailored to any discernible enemy attack patterns and edit or flag relevant footage of his battle for future reference. Such vital data would then be assembled as a patch that would be immediately applied to his main operating system, effectively enhancing his combat efficiency in future encounters with the Fallen. Of course, that "learning" process would be applied to all experiences, from combat to social interaction. This brings us back to the arrival of our Ghost, outside the Wall in Old Russia. By bringing our Exo back from the dead, it would effectively be reviving it's main operating system. This system would, of course, lack any form of database to use as a reference. All the data compiled and stored for efficient long term use would have been lost. A blank slate. The most sophisticated computer the galaxy has ever known, connected to an empty hard drive, if you will. Well almost empty. Somewhere, hidden deep and brought forth by the light of the Traveler, a shadow of our former selves. A glimpse at who we once were, our past existence. A path to thread once more, in our tireless war against the oncoming Drakness: Titan, Hunter or Warlock. Edit: Excuse my English, this isn't my first language!
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                        • I had the intention of saying something about the matrix and blah blah but I read your theory and enjoyed it. While I may not agree on every detail, (personally I believe EXOs power down for maintenance/sleep) it was an interesting read. Thanks man.
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                          • Edited by PsycheDiver: 8/11/2014 2:59:55 AM
                            Very well done. The only conjecture I'd not agree with is sleep. I think the Exo would certainly sleep as we do, but for them it's far more about mental rest and psychological maintenance (much like we do in DMT-regulated REM states) than with physical recuperation. I'm also not quite sure you've given enough thought as to the sexuality portion of your analysis, as mechanically-assisted pleasure is something women have been keen on for centuries. However, the reproduction issue does stand. I hope to explore all these issues and more in a fictional work I'll begin after I complete the story portion of the game. I hope you'll follow me on this forum and keep and eye out for it. EDIT: I just recalled that there was a class item (a hunter's cloak, I believe) that depicted an algorithm given to the Exo by the Traveler and granting them sentience. The wording of the item (which I can't seem to find on the internet) makes me believe that Exo were granted sentience BEFORE the collapse. I'll continue to look for this item for you so we can discuss.
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                            • Edited by HankTheYank27: 8/11/2014 6:55:01 AM
                              Very good! You should work for Bungie! Or be a writer. Or both. Question: What if the Exo's sentience is not truly their own? What if they are actually the souls of dead Humans and Awoken who's bodies have been too mangled or have rotted away? This would make the Exo a potential catalyst for virtually anyone. Think of all the awesome things you could do with that! Technically you could revive anyone from history! Great leaders and warriors from the past could be reborn to advise humanity in our struggle and fight again! [insert favorite historical figure here] as a badass robotic alien killing space wizard!
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                            • I like your picture
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