Following the trend of non-linear narrative, the sixth episode of Beacon 23 once again visited the past, where we came across a stranger trying to blow up the titular space lighthouse for political reasons that weren’t clearly explored in the episode. As the episode began, the common AI of the Beacon system, Bart, initiated a conversation with the stranger who was arming an explosive to his quantum servers. Bart knew that it was one of the comrades of this stranger who had planted the bomb on Beacon 24, and therefore, he tried to buy some time so that he could protect the lighthouse. The AI smartly raised the topic of “relics” as he knew that it would grab the visitor’s attention, and through this discussion, we got to know more about the suspicious rocks and their connection to Aster Calyx. The episode also went back in time to reveal Aster’s backstory, something we have long been awaiting. So, without further ado, let’s connect the missing dots to have a clear picture of the story so far.
Who Was The First Keeper Of Beacon 23?
In Episode 4, Milan Aleph, one of the founding members of the QTA, came aboard the space lighthouse to find out more about the research of the first keeper, who had witnessed a strange comet in the vicinity of Beacon 23. In Episode 6, Bart finally revealed her name, Doctor Ree Avalon, who arrived at the lighthouse some two centuries ago. The QTA had partnered with the ISA to establish these space lighthouses at strategic points so that they could detect dark matter in outer space and ensure the safety of passing ships. According to Bart, it was Avalon who created the Beacon AI system, which is Bart itself, and coincidentally, she was one of the last humans to be born on Earth. Avalon had brought with her a picture of a lighthouse that she had put up on the cupola of the Beacon 23. The picture perhaps gave her a sense of hope and nostalgia for the place she had come from. Additionally, it was the same picture that Halan used to adore in times of need, as it gave him a sense of belonging to the world that was unknown to him (it could be speculated that he had never been to a place with so much water). Symbolically, the lighthouse, be it in space or on Earth, gave a sense of hope to the strange travelers.
What did Avalon find out?
As Avalon began her duty at the lighthouse, she instantly noticed a phenomenon that she couldn’t explain. But what was strange was that Bart’s detection system couldn’t observe any such occurrence, which established the point that only the human eye could witness it. This brings us to the fact that Bart mentioned earlier in the episode, where he told the strange visitor that the column was hiring people based on their ability to see the relics. The same thing was mentioned by Milan Aleph, who revealed that neither an AI system nor a hologram of a human individual could see the comet, which compelled him to come on board Beacon 23 to witness the strange phenomenon with his own eyes. It is no surprise that QTA has been obsessively trying to track down this relic, believing it would bring about a revolution in the area of study.
In no time, Avalon got obsessed with these strange occurrences and even started hallucinating like Halan. It was implied that these relics toyed with the human mind and made them see things that weren’t real. It took away their inability to differentiate between reality and imagination. Avalon wanted to know more about the reflection of light and the formation of the rocks in outer space, but Bart still wasn’t able to detect any anomalous objects.
Is Avalon dead or alive?
Somehow, Avalon was able to trace the exact spot where these rocks were appearing and finally decided to go out there so that she could procure a sample to support her research. Bart knew it was a suicide mission and tried his best to stop her from going out, but Avalon wouldn’t listen. In the end, Avalon got trapped in her hallucinations and, under its influence, opened her space suit helmet and stepped out of the picker to touch the artifacts. Something strange happened, and Avalon disappeared without a trace, along with the artifacts. Bart tried to locate her presence in the vicinity, but there was no sign of her anywhere. It could be speculated that these relics belonged to some alien species or probably acted as a portal of some kind that transported Avalon into some other realm. We are not certain, but we want to believe that Avalon is still alive somewhere. These rocks or relics had been trying to communicate with her in her visions, which perhaps got her obsessed in the first place. It is likely that Avalon will pay a visit to the show again and share her experiences of what she saw inside the unknown white light.
Who were Aster’s parents?
The second story that Bart narrated to the uninvited stranger was of a couple who arrived on Beacon 23 to serve their duties. Throughout these decades, there have been numerous arguments revolving around the beacon keepers, as many of them deserted their posts because, obviously, it was difficult for an individual to spend the rest of their life in isolation. It was a prison sentence that they had voluntarily applied for to earn some money. Many in the space guilds proposed fully functional AI-operated beacons, but ISA and the unions were against it. We believe that QTA, too, had a say in it, as they knew that only human keepers would be able to witness the strange phenomenon that the organization was extensively researching. In order to change the pattern, the ISA sent a romantic couple, Grisha and Farut, to the space lighthouse, but they made sure they were infertile so that they didn’t reproduce in space, as it would only be draining the available resources.
What Happened to Parsim?
Perhaps due to the effect of these strange artifacts, Grisha got pregnant, and Bart didn’t waste a moment to inform them about ISA regulations, according to which they might lose their post if they decide to keep the child. The couple decided to give birth to their daughter and requested that Bart not speak of it with the authorities. They had planned to leave the Beacon a few months before their assignment ended and smuggle their daughter on a supply ship so that the couple could start a family somewhere on the outer rings.
Farut, like the previous keepers, witnessed the strange phenomena, but he didn’t pay much heed to them as he got himself busy raising his daughter. Some five years later, their daughter, Parsim, frequently witnessed the artifacts outside the space station and got obsessed with them. She started singing in a foreign language that even Bart couldn’t comprehend. Bart speculated that these artifacts belonged to an alien civilization that was trying to communicate with humans, but he didn’t have enough data to support his theories, and most importantly, he wasn’t able to detect them. Grisha, on the other hand, tried to protect her daughter, but Parsim grew violent over time, and therefore, the mother decided to abandon the lighthouse as soon as possible.
How Did Parsim Become Aster?
Much like Avalon, Farut got obsessed with the artifacts and was willing to risk his family’s lives just for the sake of his research. In the end, Grisha had no other option left but to destroy the artifacts so that they couldn’t harm her daughter anymore. She directed the outer space drones straight into the formation of the rocks, which destroyed the artifacts for the time being, and their effects on Parsim quickly disappeared. However, the destruction of the drones had alerted the ISA, who were soon arriving on Beacon 23 for an inspection, and therefore, the parents didn’t have much choice but to send their daughter away for her own safety.
Bart knew that Parsim wouldn’t remember him, so he gave her a pendant with a symbol that looked similar to the molecular structure of these relics. It is still a mystery, though, how he was able to analyze these structures if he didn’t have the ability to see these rocks in the first place. Before sending away her daughter, Grisha gave Parsim a new identity, Aster Calyx, so that the ISA wouldn’t be able to hunt her down and she would be safe on the outer space planet of Menelaus. It was the same planet that Aster spoke about in the second episode, therefore suggesting that she was safely smuggled into it. The episode didn’t explicitly mention what happened to Aster’s parents. It is most likely that they left the space lighthouse along with Aster and ended up on Menelaus to start a new life. Perhaps the upcoming episode will shed more light on what exactly happened to them.
Did the Relics Call Back Aster to the Beacon?
Aster told Halan that the pendant was given to her by her mother, which implied that she didn’t have any long-lasting memories of the time she spent on Beacon 23, as Bart had speculated. However, the AI should have remembered Aster when she came abroad to the same lighthouse a few years later. Or the machine, too, lost track of those data in the following years. We know that Bart has struggled to access his own data since the beginning of the series, and it might be a result of that. But did Bart know that Aster would come back? Or did Aster have an intuition about the relics and Beacon 23, which made her come back to her birthplace?
As suggested in the series so far, these relics have the ability to toy with the human mind and make them see things that don’t exist. My guess is that even though Aster’s parents sent her away to an isolated planet on the outer ring, the relics didn’t lose track of her. They stayed with her, just like they stayed with Halan all along, and coincidentally, these rocks become the common link between the two. As Aster grew up, she always felt the need to explore the unknown, which was perhaps the rocks trying to persuade her to find them, and that was the reason why she chose the mission herself and came to Beacon 23 to explore more. Everyone who once had the sight of these artifacts got obsessed with them, and Aster was no different. Even though she never realized it, she had been following the trail for so long, and finally, at the end of Episode 5, she witnessed the phenomenon that had become a common occurrence in her childhood. It was the reason why Aster was able to recognize the formation of the rocks at the end of the previous episode, and it is most likely that these rocks are trying to communicate something to her. If she follows the pattern of previous keepers, Aster will indeed try to go into outer space to get a closer look at this phenomenon, but will Halan let her sacrifice her life like that? And what are these artifacts really trying to convey? Is it really about human expansion?
Why does the episode focus on expansion?
At the end of Beacon 23 Episode 6, we could finally surmise that the strange visitor wanted to blow up the lighthouse because his group of rebels didn’t agree with the theory of human expansion. He believed that humans’ obsession with finding new land and expanding their territory beyond the unknown was breaking apart human society from within. Most of these expanded colonies in the outer rings weren’t suitable for living, and they were so detached from civilization that their existence ceased to matter. The corporations were dividing people and spreading them all across the known universe so that they could rule over them without much struggle. Additionally, these people would someday lose track of their roots and culture, and no two individuals would be able to connect with each other again.
The space lighthouse was a means to facilitate safe space travel, and blowing them would hamper the system, which would force people to focus on developing the society they had instead of going on voyages to expand more. It does remind us of Marcel Proust’s famous quote, and perhaps the alien civilization was trying to communicate the same with humanity through these artifacts. Earlier in Episode 4, Bart had come to the conclusion that Milan Aleph’s pursuit of these artifacts would bring about doom to the entire human existence, which is why he took matters into his own hands and killed the person by suffocating him in an airlock chamber. I really believe that Bart knew a lot about these relics but had been hiding information all along, as it was best for humanity to be unaware of such knowledge. Fear of the unknown is not always a curse to the curious mind, but it also protects from the perils that lay ahead, and Bart wanted the keepers to feel the same.
Perhaps in the upcoming episodes, Aster will be able to decipher the message of the alien civilization, and with Bart’s help, she will be able to bring about a change in the system that would stop Milan and the likes of him from falling prey to their greed for human expansion. Many individuals, like the strange visitor, believed that we had explored enough, and now it was time to settle down and reflect within society instead of looking for more and more land. In the end, Bart agreed to the same, but he couldn’t let him destroy the space lighthouse because the structure had a much larger role to play in the future. Therefore, in order to stop the rebellion, Bart diverted his attention through the story of the relics and, in the meantime, informed the ISA about his arrival. At the ending of episode 6, the authorities finally arrived on Beacon 23 and arrested the man trying to blow up the lighthouse.