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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Bastion
The Kid's Age
Rucks states that the Kid joined the military because "School ain't workin' out." Assuming shared school-ages between Earth and Caeldonia, he would drop out of highschool (age 17), opt out of college (age 18-19), or drop out of college (19-20). That gives us a four-year age-range. After his five-year tour (I think it was five), that puts him at 22-25 years old. His second tour was interupted by the Calamity, which gives us a range of 0-5 additional years, but more likely 1-4 (at least one full year served and at least one full year left). This give us a final range of 23-29, not a child by any means, but still young enough that fifty-or-sixty-something Rucks would be justified calling him "Kid."
  • My guess is high-school drop-out, serving a four-year second tour. 17 + 5 + 4 = 26
  • I'm going to go with a younger age, the world of Bastion seems to be in the industrial age, where it is not uncommon for a kid at the age of 12 to leave school. Give him 9 years of service, that puts him at 21 for the game, plenty young to be called "Kid."
    • That was how I took it, too...but I figured he'd spent closer to a year or two into his second tour of duty, making him more like 19, tops.
  • Why does he have to had dropped out during high school? He might've dropped out at age five, and been 14 by the events of Bastion.
    • He was patrolling the walls of the city, and probably actively fighting off threats - Rucks implies that no one had ever signed up for more than five years on the Walls, most likely because it's dangerous. I can see him being as young as fourteen or fifteen when he signed up, but it's difficult to imagine a child younger than that being strong enough to scout for days and fight off dangers with a hammer.

The Bastion never has enough power to rewind time far enough.
While it's not explicit, when starting a New Game+, Rucks' last words to the Kid at the end of the game are heard, right before the narration starts at the very beginning with the Kid waking up.

This could easily suggest that while The Bastion's true function actually works, its intent fails miserably, both in that it will never be able to truly erase the Calamity and that there is no way to inform the past of this fact, causing a recursive loop until someone breaks it.

  • Or, due to Zulf's destroying of the monument, the Kid's failure to get a few cores and shards, and the Ura's attacks on it The Bastion will never have to send the survivors all the way back into the past before the calamity. Even in New game +, Rucks will make comments about already saying things or having dejavu on saying them, so the memory function is at least partly functional just like the time travel part, sadly they will never enough power to go back far enough, and thus be stuck in the loop till the kid breaks it.

All replays are canon
One of the endings allows you to rewind time to before the Calamity. With this, every time somebody plays the game can be canon, and all cases of New Game+ are simply a sign that things happened differently before the Calamity.
  • Because of this, one could say that the characters are doomed to be trapped in a time loop for as many times as the player chooses to rewind time, the loop only broken when they finally decide to leave the Calamity in place.
  • However, another theory could be the Calamity CAN be prevented through repeated timelines, but each time you replay the game, that is the product of a 'failed' timeline wherein the incremental changes where not enough to prevent it. The only way to go back and prevent the Calamity from ever occurring will be from the very game where you choose to reset the world and then, rather than starting a New Game+, never play that game file again.

Rucks is related to the Kid in some way
Possibly even his father. Both have white hair, even though Ruck's could be from age it seems to be implied that white hair is unusual in Caelondia as both the Kid and his mother were ostracized for it. Also how coincidental is it that the man who created the Rippling walls, The Bastion, and helped create the Calamity is alive and so is this one other guy who happens to have the city crest which is somehow connected to the Bastions Reset Button function.
  • However, Rucks is old enough to have come by his white hair honestly.
    • A oneliner that renders the white hair point moot is that Rucks explicitly says that "he got it off his mother" and the way Rucks talks certainly implies that he never had those problems. This means that white hair definitely isn't something that the Kid got off Rucks, but doesn't elimate Rucks as his dad definitively.
  • And we're specifically told that "everybody on official business for the City carries the Star of Caelondia," so that's not so useful.
    • The question then becomes, since the Crest protected The Kid, and probably causes the "land forming under his feet" effect ("there's a bit of the Bastion's power in the Crest," Rucks tells us), why didn't anybody else's Crest work like that?
      • The Kid survived because he was scouting the outer edges of the Wall, not because of the crest. Zia and Zulf survive because they sheltered in Ura Dens. Only Rucks' survival is unexplained in the game. Presumably, anyone's crest would work, as long as they survived the Calamity.
      • Rucks was able to survive due to already being at the bastion before the calamity happened. The restoration ending which shows the survivors what they were doing before the calamity, shows him next to the monument.
  • Somewhat related: the first time I heard about the Bastion's time travel powers, I almost immediately thought Rucks would turn out to be Kid himself, stuck in a time loop.
  • "He reminds me of myself when I was his age."

The Kid is the son of Asura
White hair, uncanny determination and battle dialogue composed almost entirely of enraged grunts.
  • No, he's the son of Mithra. The white hair skipped a generation.

The "reverse time" ending goes first, then the "evacuation" ending on the New Game Plus
At first, the Kid thinks it would be a great idea to restore time to before the Calamity. When he finds out this doesn't work, he decides to go along with evacuating everyone, since it's the best option for everyone. Besides, the Kid keeps a lot of stuff on the New Game+, but no one else can remember a thing. He clearly knows a lot more that it looks like.
  • After all, the player is sure to pick up that the reset didn't work and since he's an extension of the player...
  • Heck, even without the Kid remembering, it's clear that some variables are randomized since everything doesn't go exactly the same. Provided there was any chance at all of him choosing the second option, do that enough times and you're bound to get it eventually.

There are other tribes of people out there in the world who survived.
The Kid, Rucks and co. will link up with them after they evacuate the Bastion. Though this is more of the optimist in me speaking than anything from the game.
  • Don't be so negative about that - After all, the background during the Evacuation ending shows the party sailing, Sky Pirate style, towards a small town on the edge of a large, probably solid landmass. Personally, I think that they fly the Bastion back to the Cael homeland. Set their sails and fly back to home, sweet home, and then dock that thing right on their doorstep, so to speak.
  • Not to mention that hey, an awful lot of Ura survived the Calamity and it was specifically designed to kill all of them. Granted, they did this by burrowing underground, but surely some people farther from Caledonia would do even better.
  • Also, it should be noted that the Calamity is specifically described to only have targeted Ura, with Caelondia added in at the last minute. Assuming that these aren't the only two countries in the world, then presumably the rest of the world is untouched by the Calamity.
  • The Calamity was sabotaged to "blow up in their faces," which I interpreted to mean that it actually affected Caelondia more than the Ura; this certainly jives with the number of Ura we eventually see compared to the number of Cael survivors. Still, the point stands that if so many Ura made it, lands even further away would fare even better.
  • It's almost explicitly stated that Caelondia is a colony, presumably on a different continent then the Cael homeland. Since distances are never mentioned, and the only other city (If it can be called that) Kid visits is the Tazal Terminals, it seems fairly reasonable that only a (relatively) small area of the world was affected. After all, the Calamity gun was just a weapon of mass destruction, not a full-fledged doomsday weapon.

Zia planned to betray the Bastion to the Ura survivors, while Zulf was completly sincere
Think about it; The game pretty much spells out Zulf was a diplomat, so making friends with Caelondians was his job. He most likely planned to get back in touch with the rest (now that he was no longer forced to stay) and broker a peace deal between the survivors. When he found the journal and found out what cause the calamity he was pissed off and tried to restart the war instead.

Meanwhile think about Zia's motives; before the calamity every Caelondian she knew either mistrusted her, played with her feelings and stabbed her in the back or otherwise gave her nothing but Fantastic Racism. While it's possible she didn't hold a grudge (since she was culturally Caelondian anyway), keep in mind that her song/theme is basically (well, see my next WMG, but still) a threat aimed at Caelondia from the Ura. Therefore it's possible that when she slipped away to investigate what Zulf told her, she disgarded her harp for being Caelondian, met the other Ura with the intention of betraying The Kid and Rucks to them, realised that they were still jerkasses (given how well their meeting went) and decided to side with The Kid when he turned up to rescue her.

  • I think Zia's statements around the end sort of imply otherwise. She saw what happened since the end of the calamity in a largely positive light. It's unlikely that if she only joined the Kid because she found out that the Ura were just as bad, that she'd really want to stick around for skypiracy with him. There's also a huge difference between disliking a people and nation that discriminate against you and planning to destroy the efforts of a pair of them desperately trying to survive. Where Zulf saw things from a larger diplomatic perspective [having lived as an Ura and an ambassador], Zia's problems were all internal to Caelondia; she might have had a romanticed picture of them in her head but she didn't have a reason to sell out the two who helped save her to the Ura.

The song Zia sings actually a lot less warlike than it sounds.
Reading the lyrics it sounds a lot like a threat from the Ura to Caelondia. However when you think about the double meanings in the other songs with lyrics ( Zulf's theme is about going home while he's slowly dying, however it also echos The Kid returning home to finding his mother had died and someone had simply pocketed the money he sent back, Coming Home has the going back in time business and The Pantheon is both Rucks having a Rage At The Heavens and lamenting his own mistakes) it could just as easily be a warning (after all, if the Ura had religious beliefs against living above ground and they were on good enough terms to send a diplomat they might be inclined to "warn" the Caelondians. It could also imply an intention to build stronger ties; "So build that wall and build it strong/'Cause we'll be there before too long" could mean "Make sure you're well defended, because we're going to attack" or it could mean "make sure you've got some good housing sorted out for when we join you".
  • There's validity to this but it misses the critical element of the Caelondians. Caelondia suffers from Hubris, turning the Gods into toys. From this point of view, Caelondia is basically a big tower of Babal; they're building walls to reach the Gods and sooner or later it's all going to blow up in their face whether or not the Ura do anything about it. While the Caelondians are trying to build their great civilization and suffering from the whole Hubris of man, the Ura are living in a humble and maintainable way. The message, "We'll be there before too long" can be taken to either mean "When you collapse and are just a hiccup of history, we'll move back in and pick up where we left of". However just as easily, it could be a sign of mending branching and friendliness, which better fits Zia's role to the heroes; When everything collapses, we'll be there to pick it up and help start over.
The song is the Caelondian perspective on the Ura.

This is a theory I saw represented in the main page, but it's not here so I'll add it. The logic goes that the song is indeed talking about how the Ura are going to come and wipe out Caelondia in spite of the Rippling Walls... but if Zia is from Caelondia, where would she learn a song like that? When you first begin to hear it at Prosper Bluff, Rucks says "there the Kid hears something he ain't heard in a long while. How's it go again? Yeah, that's the one." Indicating the Kid's heard the song before, and implying he himself has as well, so where did they ever learn it? The song wasn't written by the Ura, it's form Caelondia. So it's not the Ura saying "OMG we're so badass and we're gonna beat you," it's the Cael saying "OMG the Ura are so scary and we're all doomed." Not to mention, this ties in perfectly with how the Calamity was caused by an attempt to stave off the threat of the Ura, while the Ura were actually trying to make peace; and with how Caelondian-raised Ura like Zia aren't allowed to have contact with their homeland, so neither side knows all that much about the other. To the Cael, the Ura are like some mythic boogeyman, ambassadors be damned.

  • It doesn't really sound like it's from a Caelondian perspective, though - it's basically saying that all their effort to build their walls and cities are for nought, without really going into what the Ura would do to them; it's more about demoralizing rather than demonizing people. Considering Rucks says that Zia "took to studyin' arts. Learned more from music than from history books", it's probably an old Ura song that was widely sung after the war, found its way into Caelondia through Ura immigrants like Zia's father, and then sought out and learnt by Zia who was eager to discover more about her heritage in spite of her father's silence. Also, if it was meant as anti-Ura propaganda it would have been sung a lot more in the run up to the calamity - the fact that the Kid hasn't heard it in a long time implies it's not that popular among Caelondians, which makes more sense if it's an Ura song.

Rucks is actually the Kid
. He seems to be the only one to have partial memory of the events occurring, and tells the full story to Zia, even parts that he probably wouldn't have heard otherwise. Because of the damage to the Bastion, instead of sending back all of the occupants with their memories intact, only the Kid (the one who pulled the switch) makes it back to Caelondia about twenty or thirty years before the Calamity. They dress nearly the same, they have the same hair and (from what I can tell) eye color, and Rucks seems to be vaguely aware of the workings of the time loop caused by restoration.
  • Wait a minute. If The Kid gets preserved in each Restoration, how did we end up with two? Also, Rucks advises The Kid in the game... if he knew that much, wouldn't he have fixed the problem when he was still young enough to get around?
    • It's an interesting enough theory that could be salvaged as Rucks is the Kid from an early run of the Bastion from a timeline where the Ura really did overrun Caelondia. Or some other tragedy occured where he was the sole survivor. In this instance, the Bastion sent him further back than the later cases and things played out differently, so that he managed to delay things a while and grow old why trying to ensure the peace. The Kid this time around is doing much the same but until he manages to push back the tragedy even farther, the same characters will keep looping over and over. The main issue with this is that Rucks doesn't seem to identify with the Kid's past which, mysterious and unreliable as his narration is seems odd if he is infact the kid.
      • That doesn't explain why there are two of them. If Rucks is older than the Kid because he was "sent back further," then there would also be two versions of Zia and Zulf, except they would be identical twins. Not to mention that if that's how the Bastion works, there would be an extra version of everybody for each time time is rewound - which is implied to be several times, and the player can make it so by their actions - not merely two. (In other words, if the Kid is sent back and becomes Rucks, then what happens to the older Rucks in the "new" timeline, or Zia and Zulf for that matter?)

The Kid is Roland Deschain.
Based solely on the Ground Hog Day Loop nature of the game's plot, and the fact that the kid can equip himself with some badass revolvers. There's not enough evidence otherwise; this theory just seems rather cool.
  • Alternately, The Kid is Arthur Eld.
  • I consider this canon simply because I imagined Ruck saying "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

He's at least 20 years older than the other 3 main characters. So who says one can't move up the ranks of an organization? Maybe the reason no one expects someone to take multiple tours of duty as a Mason is because they expect you to either retire or change career paths. He could have started as a Mason, moved up to being a Trigger and obviously ended a Mancer.
  • When choosing the Cael Hammer/Army Rifle combo he comments that this is his own favourite set from the past. Given that both weapons seem to be EXCLUSIVE for a particular guild (The Masons and Triggers respectively) it's possible that he worked his turn on the Walls, then enrolled into the Army.
    • But Rucks also designed the Walls. Which is kind of weird since he was a soldier in the war yet was already engineering major infrastructure for the city, and that's if we avoid how old he'd have to be then.
    • That isn't as odd as it sounds. As it says on The Engineer, before a certain point in history all engineers were military engineers. It's quite possible that the project to build the walls was spearheaded by the Triggers and the Masons (Rucks amoung their ranks) split off as an engineering corps (since every other public service branch seemed to be militarised).
Rucks has had a literal Multiple Choice Past.
It's heavily implied in the game that this isn't the Kid's first go 'round. Why would it be Rucks'? Just as the game has kid return his next attempt with improved weapons, Rucks' might come back remember another career path in his life that somehow helped lead to the calamity.
Rucks knows Cave Johnson
Because I have added this moment of epicness to my own personal canon.

Caelondia eventually becomes the city of Oneiros, seen in Clive Barker's Undying
Think about it. Both were once magnificent cities destroyed by a mysterious disaster, and remain as chunks of masonry floating in an infinite void. Both also feature pieces of land spinning up to form walkways for the player's convenience. Sure, Oneiros looks a lot more decrepit, but that's because it's been in such a state for so much longer.

Zia was deliberately manipulated to give Caelondia a reason to use their new weapon.
The young man who befriended/seduced Zia was an agent of the government, who was engineering an opportunity to do what many of the people of the city still wanted to do - attack the Ura and eliminate the threat of war once and for all, and/or take revenge for lost loved ones. He might've been motivated by lost family, or they might have offered him some form of payment. Either way, he won Zia's trust with deception, deliberately turned Venn against Zia, gave Zia the idea to run away, and told the guards where she'd be so that the government of Caelondia would have something to point at when people criticized them for attacking the Ura during what was apparently peacetime. ("He was using his own daughter to sell City secrets to the Ura! Surely they were planning an attack!") Since the Ura were making overtures of peace - see Zulf's presence there - they needed something like this so that they could act with impunity, and Zia was just a convenient pawn to them.

The Ura attacked first
In the Ura-Caelondia war the Ura made the first move and ultimately lost (it says somewhere in-game that they surrendered). Zia's song, Build That Wall, implies an Ura invasion rather than retaliation or an attack during the war.

Gon' build that wall until it's done/but now you've got nowhere to run and So build that wall and build it strong 'cos/We'll be there before too long

So the Ura took on a target too big for them and lost in the end. Of course, it's hinted at that Caelondia was a colony of an empire somewhere far away, so the Ura had good reason to want to attack them, but it sparked widespread fear and hatred of the Ura that made a weapon that could cause the Calamity something that the people would want. It's possible everything could have been avoided if the Ura had just left the Caels alone.
  • Technically possible, yes, but suggesting it would have been a good idea is like suggesting the Native Americans should have rolled over and let the Europeans slaughter them and drive them off their lands. Bastion is fantasy, sure, but it's not so fantastic that it contains human beings who take kindly to that sort of un-neighborly behavior.
    • Rucks outright states it in his narration. While he does generally paint the Caelondians in a good light, the fact that he admits a few minutes later that they were building railways over their lands [which you later find out are subterreanian implying that they may have been causing cave ins], it seems pretty reasonable to assume that this was the cause of war and the Ura are ready to take back lands taken from them by Caelondian settlers.
  • Also this fails to address the sparking event of the Calamity. Rucks states that Venn was forced to "press the button," but we're never told of any Ura attack that led to that decision. Basically the Caelondians fired a nuke at a neighboring people who had surrendered to them.

The Bastion causes the Calamity.
Tying into the nature of the stable time loop of the Restoration ending, the reason The Bastion never rewinds to a point before the Calamity is because the use of the Bastion itself is what caused the Calamity. In the rewind endings we see Ruckus next to the Monument, and we know he has a lot of regrets in his life to the point almost having a death wish. He might have been helped along to make the decision to use the powers of the Bastion to turn things back to the point of averting the war with the Ura, or maybe one of the other people involved with the Bastion's construction gave him false information, but in the end the first time the Bastion was used, it caused the Calamity, and thus established a 'save point' to rewind back to the next time it was used. It never can go back to a point before the game occurred, because it had never been used to establish a point of return before that moment, and it just so happened that the process of such a task had unforeseen consequences for the rest of the world. Rucks did say the thing was unfinished after all.
  • I'm not sure this makes a huge amount of sense, but it wouldn't surprise me if beneath the Monument (the bit where the Kid can choose which Protocol to implement at the end) was the business end of the full-scale Calamity Cannon. Having a rewind button on your WMD and a safe place from which to activate it and watch the fireworks are both fantastic design decisions.
    • That seems a bit like launching a nuclear missile from a fallout shelter. Granted, this is done, but it severely jeapordizes your "safe haven" to make it the one place the enemy would need to attack first. Especially since it doesn't seem to be very well defended.
  • Only issue is that it is a massive design flaw to put a rewind button on a weapon to the point that is just after it is used. Ruckus could maybe be exaggerating his role and not understand as much as he lets on [maybe he is only a grunt after all and the Mancer stuff is made up] but I can't understand why anyone would set it up like that. It's possible Zia's dad did it while sabotaging the weapon. Don't know how Ruckus having a deathwish would put him anywhere near the monument though.
  • Venn is the genius who devised the Calamity. Rucks worked on it but didn't get anywhere, instead focusing on the Bastion. They're two separate things, made by two separate individuals. And since Venn set the Calamity to "blow up in their faces," it seems like the Bastion should have been more ravaged than anything.
  • Rucks said himself that they can't test it, though, so perhaps the Mancers never realised it'd work that way. And they didn't have much chance to do extensive research what with the events leading up to the Calamity; time was running out as far as they knew, so they had to just strap on a prototype solution and set it running. Not to mention the rewinding of time was probably an afterthought; they didn't realise the thing was sabotaged and as far as they were concerned they were just going to wipe out the Ura scum - the potential to undo it wasn't the most important thing to them at the time. Which makes me think:

When Zia's father sabotaged the Calamity Cannon he also sabotaged the Bastion to stop the rewind feature from working correctly.
Judging by the beginning of New Game Plus mode, the rewind point starts just as the Kid is waking up in his bed, the time when the Calamity happens. We know her father was working for the Mancers who were also designing the Bastion if Rucks is to be believed. He sabotaged the Calamity Cannon out of a desire for revenge for what the Caelondians put him through, and if he knew they were also designing a failsafe to undo its effects, he'd most likely break that too so that his revenge couldn't be recovered from. Disabling it entirely would have risked drawing attention and made them avoid using the Cannon long enough to find his sabotage, so he just set it to only go back to just as the Calamity happened. This would work perfectly - not only would they not be able to do anything about it, but the people who had made him suffer would have to relive him killing them again and again, forever. Talk about a dish best served cold.

Bastion is set in the same world as Thief.
...the City is another, older colony from the Cael homeland, and Rucks and Garrett are distant relatives.

The Distillery works by The Kid taking a shot of each beverage before taking the skyway of the The Bastion.
Which is why he can only use more that one drink after he has gained levels, otherwise he would be too drunk to operate in the ruined world. Also counts as needing some liquid courage to scavenge the broken remains of the his world.

The Caelondians and Ura are gnomes, rather than humans.
Their short stature and large heads aren't just part of the art style, that's their real proportions. This explains why there are so many huge animals and plants around; they're really just regular sized and wouldn't be a threat to a human, but to gnomes they're very dangerous.

Rucks created the titular weapon Red wields in Transistor.
The transistor shares voice actors with Rucks, true it sounds more youthful however it makes sense Rucks might design it based on an idealised version of his younger self. Also the transistor's ability to create a tactical view that allows accelerated movements could well be a form of time manipulation and Rucks helped create the Bastion, who's purpose is also to manipulate time.

Caelondia is Xen

The Aperture sentry turret was right. After the calamity all the human characters died off, along with most of the wildlife, leaving only the creatures you see in Half-Life, who live in a different part of the continent than you see in the game. Whatever sent the turret also sent it back in time to before all this happened.

The game takes place in the Bioshock multiverse

There's a city (Caldonia). There's a man (the Kid). And the Bastion's the lighthouse


Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: GaidenWMG/Video GamesBatman: Arkham Asylum

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