The first season of Beacon 23 was about Aster Calyx coming back to the titular lighthouse so that she could find answers to the questions that had been haunting her since childhood. In the sixth episode, we find that Aster’s parents, Grisha and Farut, were the co-keepers of the lighthouse before Smythe Solomon took charge. Against the rules and regulations of the ISA, the parents gave birth to their daughter on Beacon 23 and deserted the position after the young girl grew obsessed with a ring of “rocks” appearing outside the station. Grisha believed that the so-called artifact was toying with her child’s mind, and therefore, to protect Aster (or Parsim), they deserted the lighthouse. The seventh episode revealed that ISA arrested Farut some years later, and he probably took his last breath in confinement. Grisha, on the other hand, died a natural death and looked after her child till the end. It was implied that Aster, since her time on Menelaus, had been struggling with things she failed to comprehend, as a result of which she took on an adventure that would silence the voices inside her head. However, throughout this time, it was the artifact that had been calling her back to her birthplace so it could communicate something to her. Episodes 7 and 8 build up the mystery around this message but fail to answer it in the end. Nevertheless, let’s look back at the events of the Beacon 23 Season 1 finale and partake in a little speculation.
Why did Bart self-destruct itself?
Previously, I pointed out that it was impossible for an AI like Bart to not recognize Aster Calyx when she returned to Beacon 23. However, the beginning of Episode 7 quickly gave a reason for that. After Bart helped Grisha and Farut desert their positions, the ISA (and the QTA) sent Solomon to fill in and make amends to the AI that had gone rogue. In an attempt to do so, Solomon reverted Bart’s memories to the day of his inception, so he forgot everything that had shaped his personality up until then. He even forgot the existence of his original creator, Doctor Ree Avalon, who was the first beacon keeper to spot the artifact in outer space.
In Beacon 23 Episode 7, Keir, a member of the activist group The Column, returned to the space station as he got obsessed with Bart’s story in the previous episode before he was arrested by the ISA. Keir was very well aware of who Aster was and could understand her obsession with the artifact, as he was struggling with getting a handle on the same. The man believed that the artifact held answers that could revolutionize humanity for the better and, therefore, wanted Aster to make contact with them so that she could receive the message. But, when Keir arrived on Beacon 23, he tried to remind Bart of their friendship, but Bart failed to recall any of it, which made him question his existence. The AI felt suffocated and strangled in his own system and couldn’t accept the fact that Solomon, whom he worshiped like a master, had deleted his memories so that he could make the AI a docile pet. As a result of his loyalty towards Solomon, Bart made some really poor choices for which he held himself personally responsible. He couldn’t forgive himself for it and, therefore, shut off his cooling system in order to self-destruct his cores. In simple terms, Bart died by suicide because he was betrayed by the man he once cherished the most. He just wanted to be at peace now. However, something tells us that maybe Bart isn’t completely destroyed and may return in Season 2. He might have shut himself off completely so that he could relocate the files Solomon had deleted in order to become the empathizing AI he once was.
Why Did Milan Aleph Hire Aster Calyx?
In Episode 4, Bart killed Milan Aleph because he knew what evil this man was capable of. For those who don’t remember, Milan had been obsessed with the artifact since the first keeper, Doctor Ree Avalon, spotted them near Beacon 23. The man paid a personal visit to the space station to find out more about Avalon’s research, where he met with a beacon keeper named Sophie. The woman might not have created the technical wonders of the world, but she knew more about humanity than the man standing in front of her. In his own words, Milan wanted to harness the power of the artifact to revolutionize humanity and expand its reach to the unexplored corners of the universe. In short, he believed in the expansion of human civilization, but the likes of Sophie and Keir thought differently. As mentioned in the previous episode, the process of expansion alienated communities from each other. It’s true that the outer space colonies are connected with each other through modern gadgets but still have lost the essence of living in a society, which makes them feel like outcasts. In simple words, they found new colonies, but it didn’t feel like home anymore, and it was impossible to make Milan understand the same, which was why Bart killed the man so that he wouldn’t initiate an extinction-level event.
However, before dying, Milan triggered his most ambitious tech so far, which was to copy his consciousness into an AI that could travel to any corner of the universe in a matter of seconds. However, the drawback of such a transfer was that Milan (or Aleph, as he liked to call himself) couldn’t see the “relics” or the artifact any longer. He tried to persuade Sophie in the pursuit, but when the simple woman denied his request, he went back to QTA in order to begin his hunt for a human being who shared his obsession. Perhaps Aleph knew everything about Aster before he hired her to go to Beacon 23, which made her the best candidate for the job. Aster, on the other hand, didn’t have any memories of her childhood and took on the mission because the artifact had been calling her back all along.
Why did Keir shoot Aster?
Keir was an ambitious man who wanted to make a difference in the world. He wanted people to remember him just like they respected all those scholars he read about. Perhaps it was the reason why Keir joined The Column—he believed that through its machinery, he would be able to bring about a revolution in the universe. It was Keir’s curiosity that made him obsessed with Bart’s stories about the relics, and the man spent a lifetime in pursuit of them. Keir knew that only humans could witness the presence of the artifact, but the man also knew about a girl who had the means to communicate with them. Perhaps he convinced himself that the artifact was trying to convey a message to Aster that might save humanity from the likes of Aleph. It was implied that Milan’s exploration of the unknown might end up destroying the world, and perhaps Keir believed that the artifact knew the means to stop the evil. In the sixth episode, the ISA arrested Keir and put him behind bars, which I believe he escaped, and began his pursuit of the young girl named Parsim, whom he had heard about through Bart.
Throughout the Beacon 23 Season 1 finale, Keir tried to stop Aster from communicating with Aleph, as Keir knew about Aster’s love for Halan, because of which she may make a deal with Aleph. Halan was a deserter, and the military was looking for the man to give him a death sentence, but Aster knew that Aleph could save Halan’s life. In exchange for the information inside the artifact, Aster wanted Halan pardoned so that the man could live a peaceful life with her thereafter. However, Keir feared that if Aleph got his hands on the secrets of the artifact, then the evil genius would use the information to further his scheme, which might bring about doom to humanity. At this juncture, Keir was helpless and had no other means to stop the exchange but to kill the messenger himself. At the end of Season 1, Keir unwillingly shot Aster with Saldana’s gun.
Is Aster really dead?
During Beacon 23’s ending, Aster finally made up her mind to go into the void and convinced Halan and Harmony to do the same. But before she could initiate the journey, Keir shot her, leading to fatal blood loss from her head that might take her life. However, before the screen fades to black, we see a glimpse of the artifact in her eyes that takes her consciousness to an abandoned spacecraft with her younger and older selves present in the same corridor. Surprisingly, Halan is there too, whispering to the younger Aster to go and meet her older self, as she has been calling her for a long time. The union between the two leads to a magical glow that fills the screen, where the younger Aster finally asks, “What Is the Message?”
I have strong reasons to believe that there is no “message” at all, and it’s yet another hallucination that Aster is experiencing. But what I am certain of is the fact that Aster isn’t dead yet, and the artifact will somehow bring her back to life. Her resurrection can be seen as something similar to Aleph’s own revival. In Aster’s case, it will be a magical one so that she can fulfill the divine purpose that Keir has been pressing upon throughout the finale. These relics may give Aster powers that a human mind or an AI cannot comprehend, which will eventually turn her into a messiah, as hinted throughout the finale. The series has introduced the themes of religion and technology and the eternal fight between the two. Aster may become the bridge between the two polar opposites and the one who brings balance to the world. She may also end the struggle between the two extremist groups, who are doing nothing but bringing destruction to humanity in the name of evolution. Whatever the case might be, Aster’s role in saving humanity hasn’t come to an end. Not yet. And she will have a larger role to play in Beacon 23 Season 2, where Halan and Harmony will help and support her to fulfill her cause.