IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early. submitted by
The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster.
In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly.
The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged.
Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms.
The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist.
The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale.
‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing.
It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment.
Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge.
That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted.
The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions.
Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge.
Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it.
Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales.
Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others.
This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse.
Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away.
These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk.
If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced.
If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober.
The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs.
The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them.
This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame.
Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier.
There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language.
What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand.
That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough.
If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses.
As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial.
The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt.
Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame.
This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’
So Stokes punches him.
It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road.
Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks.
Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him.
Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended.
Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop.
Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance.
‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’
The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’.
The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back.
After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed.
If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence.
Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued.
‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass.
A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’.
The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now.
Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa.
It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’.
The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
Hello everyone. A few years ago I posted a complete summary of the Borderlands games up to Borderlands 3. Today I am back to update the story summary with all of the new events and lore revealed in Borderlands 3. That original post can be found here
. If I missed anything or got something wrong, please comment down below so I can amend it.
Be warned there are MAJOR SPOILERS
ahead for Borderlands, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Borderlands 2, Tales From the Borderlands, Borderlands 3, DLC expansions, and the future of the series. Without further ado, here it is, the complete story of the Borderlands franchise! Lore
Long ago, an ancient alien race known as the Eridians
inhabited the universe. Originating from the planet of Nekrotafeyo
, Their technological advancements far exceed anything the modern universe has been able to create thus far. The Eridians created Guardians
, mechanical constructs, to protect their race and caches of technology, riches and weapons, known as Vaults
. Powerful women imbued with supernatural powers known as Sirens
begin to appear at some point. Only 7 Sirens can exist in the universe at a time, and when one dies, her unique powers are passed to another individual. Of the 7 known Siren Powers, we have seen 5 of them; Phaselock, Phaseshift, Phasewalk, Phasetrance, and Phaseleach.
At some point in their history, the Eridians encountered an immensely powerful interdimensional creature called The Destroyer
. The Destroyer threatened all of creation, and in a final effort to stop it from destroying the universe, the Eridians sacrificed their race to trap the beast inside The Great Vault
, a massive Vault the size of a planet. Nyriad
, a Siren, completed the sealing of the Great Vault through use of a Powerful Machine
on Nekrotafeyo. Following this, Nyriad, in an effort to prevent her Phaseleach powers from transferring to a new host, locked herself in the Vault on Nekrotafeyo to die. The Phaseleach powers would not be transfered to a new host upon her passing.
The Great Vault would later become known as the planet of Pandora
, with her moon, Elpis
serving as the Great Vault’s key. In an effort to keep the Destroyer dormant, a feeding hole was constructed through which sacrifices would be made every 200 years. A Vault Monster known as The Warrior
was left behind on Pandora to protect the Great Vault, and a Vault Monster known as The Sentinel
was left on Elpis to hold knowledge of the Great Vault’s purpose.
Fast forward millions of years to modern times. Humanity develops faster than light travel and begins to explore the galaxy. A small company known as Atlas
encounters an Eridian Vault on the planet of Promethea
, and the riches within allow Atlas to become the largest and most powerful corporation in the galaxy. The Corporate Wars
, fought between massive corporations over resources began shortly after.
Corporations, like Dahl
and Atlas, settle new and exotic worlds, one of which is the world of Pandora. Dahl expands it's mining operations to Pandora and her moon, while Atlas extends its rule over Pandora with its elite military unit known as the Crimson Lance
. Typhon DeLeon
, seeking a life greater than that of his turd farming parents, sets out to find more Vaults following Atlas’ discovery of one on Promethea, gaining notoriety as the first Vault Hunter. During his travels, he meets a woman named Leda
, with whom he accidentally discovers the ancestral homeworld of the Eridians, Nekrotafeyo, while making love. The couple would concieve their children within the Vault after opening it and slaying the Vault Monster within. Leda gives birth to conjoined twins, whom Typhon would separate so that they could survive, unbeknownst to the fact that they had absorbed the Phaseleach Siren powers of Nyriad. The twins were named Troy and Tyreen
, and would later become known as The Calypso Twins
. At some point of their childhood, Leda would be accidentally killed by Tyreen while exercising her Siren powers, resulting in Typhon becoming a stricter father. The twins would later escape from their protective father, fleeing the planet.
Pandora is bustling. Research facilities, mining stations and trade posts spring up overnight. A global network known as the ECHOnet
is established, linking the planet’s populace. Little did the inhabitants of Pandora know, however, that they had settled during the planet's seven year winter. When the summer rolled around and the local fauna came out of hibernation, a nearly planet-wide exodus occurred. Those who couldn't leave took up shelter. The planet became a lawless frontier nearly overnight, with Dahl abandoning their facilities and letting loose the prisoners they had employed as slave labor. Hector
, and his battalion are trapped and left in a mine on Pandora during Dahl’s exodus. Atlas abandons their the top-secret Gortys Project
, which hopes to control the mysterious Vault of the Traveler
, and locks away various pieces of the project across their facilities all over Pandora.
In the year 2873, 2 years before the events of the first game, Patricia Tannis
, who was employed by Dahl, had uncovered fragments of a Vault Key
, confirming the suspicion that a Vault was present on Pandora. The key was stolen by bandits and spread across Pandora. Speak of the Vault swept across Pandora...
Meanwhile, on Elpis, the situation was not much better. Dahl’s military force, led by Colonel Zarpedon
denounced their ties to Dahl following Zarpedon’s encounter with the Vault on the moon. The military force became known as the Lost Legion
and swore to protect the Vault. Extensive mining efforts by Dahl on the surface led to what is known as "The Crackening"
. The moon burst, opening great chasms and lava flows. The destruction of their mining facilities and the mutiny commited by Zarpedon forced Dahl to abandon Elpis. They fled the Pandora system shortly after.
With the moon under the control of a crazed military legion and Pandora, a lawless frontier, all seemed to be lost for the system, until... Borderlands
The year is 2875. Four Vault Hunters; Roland, Mordecai, Brick and Lilith
arrive at the small town of Fyrestone. Led by a mysterious ”Angel”
, the Vault Hunters slowly begin clearing out local bandit populations until they encounter a bandit boss known as Sledge. Having killed Sledge, the Vault Hunters retrieve an Eridian artifact which is revealed to be part of the Vault Key. At the same time, Commandant Steele
, acting Crimson Lance Commander on Pandora declares rule over the planet and demands any Eridian artifacts be turned over to the Crimson Lance.
The Vault Hunters travel to the city of New Haven
, one of the largest surviving civilizations on the planet and learn about the location of Patricia Tannis. Tannis directs the Vault hunters to the next three pieces of the Vault Key, during which they encounter the Crimson Lance. Upon killing the bandit boss Flint
who is believed to have the final Vault Key piece, it is revealed that Tannis had the final piece and was working with the Crimson Lance all along. Steele disables the ECHOnet and the Vault Hunters set out to the Crimson Enclave
, a Crimson Lance base, to rescue Tannis.
Upon saving Tannis and reactivating the ECHOnet, Tannis sends the Vault Hunters after Steele who is attempting to open the Vault. The Vault Hunters fight through Lance and Guardians alike to reach The Vault
just before Steele opens it. Upon opening the Vault, Steele is immediately killed by The Destroyer
an ancient alien that was housed inside the Vault. The Vault Hunters kill the beast and return the Key to Tannis, whilst it is revealed that Angel, the guide to the Vault Hunters has been communicating to them through a Hyperion
satellite the whole time. Events Leading up to The Pre-Sequel
The opening of the first Vault triggered the release of an element called Eridium
, which slowly begins popping up all over the planet of Pandora. Detecting the release of the element, the Hyperion corporation begins to move into the Pandoran system.
The Vault Hunters are summoned shortly after by an ex-Lance officer known as Athena
. Athena assists the Vault Hunters in striking down an already crippled Crimson Lance and their sole surviving general, General Knoxx
, driving the Lance off of Pandora for good.
Meanwhile, a Hyperion experiment that was intended to rid Pandora of Vault Hunters goes awry when a reprogrammed CL4P-TP unit, better known as a Claptrap
unit sparks a revolution among Claptrap robots. Hyperion contacts the Vault Hunters and asks for help in dealing with the problem. The Claptrap revolution is shattered and the Claptrap robots are returned to normal, or at least as normal as Claptrap robots can be.
Roughly 2-3 years pass between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel The Pre-Sequel
With the Crimson Lance all but defeated, Athena seeks work as a hired gun. She comes across a distress signal put out by a Hyperion engineer by the name of Jack
who reveals his position to be aboard a Hyperion space station known as Helios
. The station is under attack by Zarpedon’s Lost Legion who hope to halt the progress of construction of the station above Pandora. Athena, as well as mercenaries Wilhelm, Aurelia Hammerlock, Timothy Lawrence
(who has undergone facial reconstructive surgery to pose as Handsome Jack's doppelganger), Nisha
, and Claptrap travel to Helios to rescue Jack and save the station.
The Lost Legion are repelled by the Vault Hunters, and Jack launches the crew to Elpis in search of a jamming signal which is preventing fast travel off of Helios. The crew encounters Janey Springs
who helps them get to the city of Concordia
, a former spaceport before The Crackening. After dispatching some scavengers, the team enters Concordia, meeting up with Roland, Lilith and Moxxi
who assist them in disabling the jamming signal, allowing Jack to fast travel off of Helios.
Jack confronts the Meriff
, mayor and sheriff on Concordia and kills him. He then formulates a plan to retake the station. The team head to an old Dahl factory and assemble a robot army to retake Helios. This raises concerns among Roland, Lilith and Moxxi, however they go along with Jack. Jack and the team travel to Helios with assistance from their robot army and confront Zarpedon who reveals the location of a Vault before being killed.
Elsewhere on Helios, Professor Nakayama
A deranged Hyperion scientist begins working on an AI prototype which he hopes he will be able to use to cheat death and upload a patient's consciousness onto a computer.
Roland, Lilith and Moxxi turn against Jack, seeing he is going mad with power. They head after the Vault, hoping to claim it before Jack. Jack sends his crew back to Elpis in search of the Vault.
The team dispatches Eridian Guardians as they head deep into Elpis, eventually reaching the Vault Elesser
, beating Roland, Lilith and Moxxi. They defeat the guardian, The Sentinel
, and Jack arrives just in time to claim an artifact inside which gives him visions of a new Vault on Pandora, home to an even greater power. Lilith enters Elesser and smashes the artifact, scarring Jack and pushing him over the edge. Jack adopts the identity of Handsome Jack
with a mask covering his scarred face. With the company of Hyperion in his control, he begins seeking out the Vault on Pandora. Events Leading up to Borderlands 2
Jack, learns of a secret weapon hidden away inside of Claptrap, known as the H-Source
. Jack sends his crew inside of Claptrap’s mind in order to retrieve it. The team fights throughout Claptrap’s subconscious, learning more about the robot than they could ever care to know, until finally retrieving the H-Source and returning it to Jack. Jack uses the code to destroy all Hyperion Claptrap units. He executes the Claptrap belonging to his crew and dumps him off in Windshear Waste
where he is discovered by Sir Alistair Hammerlock
Athena and Aurelia leave Jack at this time, both disgusted by his actions. Athena settles down with Elpis native Janey Springs
. The couple moves to the town of Hollow Point
on Pandora shortly after, and much to the chagrin of Janey, Athena continues in her mercenary ways. She almost immediately picks up a contract put out by a man named Felix
, who hires her to protect his two adopted daughters.
Aurelia disappears, whilst Nisha, Wilhelm and Timothy Lawrence stay by Jack's side.
Jack’s takes over the Pandoran mining town of Lynchwood
for his girlfriend Nisha. Wilhelm, Nisha and Jack attack the city of New Haven, prompting Roland, Mordecai, Lilith and Brick to defend the citizens while they evacuate. Jack kills Brick's dog, while Wilhelm nearly kills the Vault Hunters, driving them away. Wilhelm and Jack then board a train commandeered by Helena Pierce
, leader of New Haven and execute her as well as the city's residents.
This loss of New Haven and his dog prompts Brick to split from the original Vault Hunters. Mordecai isolates himself, while Roland and Lilith begin assembling an army of ex Crimson Lance soldiers under the banner of the Crimson Raiders
to protect Pandora. They face initial resistance from Jack and are slowly pressed back to their headquarters in the city of Sanctuary
Jack, utilizing Eridium to power his weaponry and having declared himself dictator of Pandora, begins sending out messages drawing new Vault Hunters to the planet in search of the Vault. Jack systematically kills off all new Vault Hunters that arrive on the planet.
Roughly 2-3 years pass between the events of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2. Borderlands 2
A Vault Hunter team comprised of Axton, Maya, Salvador, Zero, Gaige
survive a train bombing and crash in Windshear Waste in the year 2880. They encounter Claptrap who leads them to Alistair Hammerlock in the small town of Liar’s Berg
. All the while, Angel directs them and pledges to help defeat Jack. Hammerlock sends the Vault Hunters after clearing out local bandits, which opens the way for the Vault Hunters to travel to the city of Sanctuary. At Sanctuary, the Vault Hunters are informed that the Crimson Raider’s leader, Roland, has been captured by a bandit known as the Firehawk. The Vault Hunters confront The Firehawk, who turns out to be Lilith whose elemental Siren
powers have been enhanced by the release of Eridium across the planet. Lilith sends them after another bandit tribe who has Roland, and upon freeing him, learn of a plan Roland has to defeat Jack.
The Vault Hunters attempt to recapture the Vault Key from a Hyperion train with the help of Mordecai and Tiny Tina
, however they find Wilhelm, Jack’s enforcer instead. He is narrowly dispatched by the Vault Hunters, and a power core is retrieved off of him that Angel insists can be used to shield Sanctuary from Helios’s barrage of fire. The Vault Hunters return the core to the city, and upon plugging it in, the core drops Sanctuary’s shield. Helios opens fire on the city, prompting Lilith to teleport the city away.
With the city crippled, Angel begs to be forgiven, telling the Vault Hunters that Jack is using her to charge the Vault Key to open the Vault and release The Warrior
, an ancient alien that will serve whoever releases it. Angel tells the team that if Jack opens the Vault he will destroy Pandora. Angel reveals where she is being held, in a Hyperion facility and urges the Vault Hunters to free her. The team, led by Roland, Mordecai and Lilith gather what they will need to assault the compound, recruiting Brick along the way. The team assault the Hyperion base and encounter Angel, who is revealed to be Jack’s Siren daughter. She tells the Vault Hunters to kill her to stop the key from being charged, and when they do, Jack kills Roland and captures Lilith in order to use her to finish charging the key. Following Angel’s death, her Siren powers are transferred to Tannis, who keeps her anointment of Siren powers a secret from the rest of the Crimson Raiders.
With Roland dead and Lilith captured, Mordecai and Brick lead the assault through the Eridium Blight
to the Vault. The Vault Hunters arrive at the Vault just after Jack opens it and releases the Warrior. The Vault Hunters kill the Warrior and Jack and free Lilith. Lilith, wanting to destroy the Vault Key accidentally activates a map showing the locations of more Vaults all across the universe. Events leading up to Tales from the Borderlands
The Vault Hunters split up, some traveling off planet to find new Vaults, others staying on Pandora, taking up mercenary work. During a game hunt with Sir Hammerlock, the Vault Hunters encounter Professor Nakayama holed up in a crashed Hyperion ship. Nakayama falls down a flight of stairs and dies. His body is recovered by traveler and collector Shade
after the ship is looted by the Vault Hunters.
With Jack dead, a power vacuum is created on Helios. A Hyperion executive known as Saul Henderson
takes control of the company, but he is murdered shortly after by Hugo Vasquez
, who regains control of the company. At some point, Timothy Lawrence, as well as all of the other Handsome Jack doppelgangers are instructed to travel to The Handsome Jackpot
, a massive casino space station, where they are trapped, facing the threat of being blown up by a injected bomb.
It is unknown how many years pass between the events of Borderlands 2 and Tales from the Borderlands. Tales From The Borderlands NOTE: Not all events in Tales From the Borderlands are canon. While the overarching story is canon, certain events, such as characters that died or survived or minor details may differ from playthrough to playthrough. Gearbox has not confirmed which events from the game are canon, or if certain characters died or are still alive.
In the city of Hollow Point
, three con-artists, Felix
and his two adopted daughters, Fiona
, set up a con involving a fake Vault Key. Fiona delivers the fake Key, built by Felix, to Sasha and her boyfriend August
At the same time, a cybernetic enhanced Hyperion middle manager by the name of Rhys
, seeking a promotion from Henderson, is shocked to find him dead, launched out of an airlock by Vasquez. Vasquez demotes Rhys to Assistant-Vice Janitor but not before letting a potential deal with a Vault Key slip. Rhys, angered by Vasquez, recruits his friends Vaughn
to interrupt the deal and get the Vault Key. They travel to Pandora where the face bandits in the town of Prosperity Junction
. Yvette sends down a Loader Bot to help them. The Loader Bot flies away, dispatching the last of the bandits upon Rhys's order.
Rhys and Vaughn enter The World of Curiosities
where they find the taxidermied body of Professor Nakayama. Rhys recovers a data chip off of the body before they meet Shade, who introduces them to August and Sasha, the owners of the Vault Key.
The deal goes awry when Bossanova
, a dub-step loving bandit boss, and Zero, crash into the World of Curiosities in the heat of battle. The fake Vault Key is smashed and Bossanova takes the money and escapes, followed by Zero. Amidst the confusion, Rhys and Vaughn try to hijack Felix's caravan. The two are taken prisoner by Fiona, Sasha and Felix. Hoping to prevent being tossed out of the caravan, they reveal they can track the money. The two sides form a temporary alliance. Rhys, hoping to find the money, plugs the recovered data drive into his head and collapses, while Vaughn successfully tracks the money to an abandoned Atlas warehouse.
Rhys comes to and they form a plan to recover the money from Bossanova who offers it to whomever wins his death race. Zero crashes the party and kills Bossanova, and just as the crew are about to get the money, it is captured by Felix who betrays Fiona and Sasha. Depending on your choices during the game, Felix will be blown up by the rigged case, or will toss it and escape. Either way, the money is destroyed. The group begins searching the arena for something of value. Rhys stumbles into a cellar which contains rare Atlas treasure. Fiona and Rhys each obtain a mysterious artifact that, when joined together, displays a map to a Vault.
A construct of Handsome Jack appears to Rhys, threatening to kill him. Rhys, obviously startled, tells Jack that he is dead and is merely a hologram. They infer that Jack's consciousness was aboard the data drive he took from Nakayama. Meanwhile, Fiona, Sasha and Vaughn uncover the location of a secret Atlas facility which they hope will lead them to the Vault.
The team meets back up with Loader Bot, and travel to Hollow Point for repairs to the caravan. They are shot at by the moonshots on Helios, and Rhys and Vaughn are separated from Fiona and Sasha.
Rhys and Vaughn travel across the desert until they encounter Vasquez, furious at Rhys for the blown Vault Key deal. Rhys and Vaughn escape thanks to help from Jack and Loader Bot.
Fiona and Sasha arrive at Hollow Point, and with the help from Scooter
, repair the caravan. The sisters are attacked by two goons whilst looking through their old home; Kroger
. They escape from Kroger and Finch and run into Athena, whom they also narrowly escape from. The sisters are reunited with Rhys, Vaughn and Loader Bot, and they leave for the abandoned town of Old Haven
, where the Atlas facility is located.
They discover an Atlas facility hidden underneath the town, but are ambushed by Vasquez and August. Rhys and Fiona take their artifacts and join them with a machine deep in the facility, all whilst Vaughn and Sasha are held at gunpoint. The machine connects the artifacts and releases an object known as Gortys
, a large sphere. Rhys triggers the facilities security system, deploying drones. They meet up with Vaughn and Sasha amidst a firefight between August's goons and the facility's security drones, and manage to escape. Outside of the facility, the team run into a bandit boss by the name of Vallory
who orchestrated the Vault Key deal. August and Vasquez emerge from the facility and are interrogated by Vallory, who kills Vasquez and demands that Fiona and Rhys hand over Gortys. Vallory attempts to execute Fiona before she is stopped by Athena, who scares off Vallory, her son August and their goons.
Rhys activates Gortys, and she reveals that she can locate and control the Vault of the Traveler, but needs a few upgrades first. Athena joins the crew as they set off for Gortys' first upgrade.
Along the way, Jack, who has been berating Rhys since revealing himself, and Rhys form a hasty alliance, although Rhys never fully trusts Jack.
The team arrives at an Atlas biodome situated far out in the tundra. They encounter an Atlas scientist named Cassius
who reveals where the upgrade they are seeking is located. The team splits up, with Vaughn, Loader Bot and Gortys staying behind with Cassius, while Rhys and Sasha seek out the Atlas Security Station, and Fionna and Athena go after the upgrade.
Fionna and Athena recover the upgrade and are attacked by Vallory upon meeting back up with everyone. The group is separated once again across the facility. Rhys meets up with Sasha and Loader Bot and they attempt to rescue Gortys who is being pursued by August. Fionna, elsewhere, finds Athena fighting Brick and Mordecai, however they are both incapacitated. Vallory gathers the prisoners and tells them that they are working for her now to try and recoup her losses from the failed Vault Key deal. Athena is hauled off by Brick and Mordecai, who Vallory reveals were hired to remove her from the picture. Gortys reveals that her last upgrade is on Helios station in Jack's old office.
Back in Sanctuary, Athena recounts the events of the presequel to Lilith while being interrogated. Lilith orders her execution, but Athena is saved when a mysterious Guardian known as The Watcher
tells Lilith that there is a war coming, and that they are going to need all the Vault Hunters they can get. Lilith, having already sent Gaige and Axton to Epitah
in search of new Vaults, contacts them and tells them to spare the life of Aurelia, whom they found on the planet.
Fionna, Sasha, Loader Bot, Gortys, and August travel to Hollow Point to seek help from Scooter and Janey. Meanwhile, Rhys, Kroger and Finch travel back to Old Haven to recover the face of Vasquez, which Rhys says will let him digistruct a disguise to get them into the station. Vaughn is left at the biodome with Cassius. They return to Hollow point, and the team, along with Scooter, launch to Helios. Along the way, the rocket sucks up the corpse of Henderson, which requires immediate attention. Fionna and Scooter go outside to detach the rockets, but Scooter is caught and sacrifices himself to keep the mission going.
The team arrives on Helios, and Rhys, disguised as Vasquez, encounters a furious Yvette. Rhys knocks her out, out of fear of compromising the mission, while Fionna and Gortys attempt to infiltrate A Hyperion tour to gain access to Handsome Jack's office. When that plan goes awry, Jack reveals to Rhys that there is a hidden trapdoor into his office. Rhys, Fionna and Gortys meet up below Jack's office, where Rhys enters the office and retrieves the upgrade. Here, Rhys claims the deed to the Atlas corporation, which Jack has been holding onto since destroying the company. Jack convinces Rhys to sit in his chair, and either traps him and uploads himself into Helios's computer, or convinces Rhys to upload Jack of his own volition. EIther way, Jack now has control of Helios station, and tells Rhys that he is going to graft an endoskeleton into him so he’ll have a new body to control, however Rhys escapes.
Rhys encounters Yvette, who he explains to that Jack has control of the station. Yvette joins them as her and Rhys head for the reactor core while Fionna and Gortys are ordered to evacuate back to the shuttle.
Fionna and Gortys encounter August who leads them back to the shuttle, where they are betrayed by Finch and Kroger, who take Sasha, Gortys and her final upgrade.
Rhys and Yvette enter the reactor core, where Jack tries to stop them, however they successfully shut down the core, triggering a meltdown. The entire station is evacuated, and Loader Bot sacrifices himself to launch Yvette and Rhys's escape pods. Fionna escapes at this time, as does August.
With Helios falling out of the sky, the scattered crew lands in what appears to be the Eridium Blight. Rhys makes his way to Jack's shattered office, where Jack manages to jump back into Rhys. Rhys's mechanical arm is skewered on a piece of metal, and he rips it off, as well as digging his cybernetics out of his head, despite Jack's pleading. Rhys tears out his echo-eye, and either destroys the device or holds onto it. Either way, Jack is no longer a threat to Rhys or the crew.
Elsewhere, Fionna emerges from her escape pod, and begins searching for her sister. A fleeing bandit informs her that Vallory upgraded Gortys and that the Vault was opened. Fionna picks her way across the wreckage, finding Vallory shooting a rocket launcher off into the distance. She attempts to confront Vallory, but is stopped by Finch who says that her sister put up a fight. Fionna kills Finch and confronts Vallory, who says that they need to destroy Gortys (now a gigantic robot) because she is keeping the Vault monster on Pandora. Vallory is smashed and Fionna rushes over to the launcher and aims it at Gortys. Sasha appears and helps her, and the two destroy the beacon atop Gortys, which releases the Traveler..
With Gortys seemingly destroyed and their adventure over, Fionna and Sasha return to their old ways in Hollow Point, while Rhys travels back to Cassius's facility and is outfitted with new cybernetics. Fiona and Rhys receive ECHO beacons roughly a year later, which leads them to the town of Prosperity Junction, where the whole adventure started. They are both kidnapped by a mysterious Stranger
, who demands they retell their entire story, from the Vault Key deal to the opening of the Vault.
They both tell their stories as they travel back toward the wreckage of Helios, where the Stranger turns them over to Kroger, in exchange for a captured bandit. Kroger threatens to kill Fiona, but is strangled to death by the Stranger. The bandit reveals himself to be Vaughn, who has adopted the leadership of the surviving Hyperion employees.
Vaughn leads Rhys and Fiona back to his home on Helios with the Stranger in tow, while explaining how Cassius helped him escape from the Atlas biodome following Vallory's ambush. Vaughn made his way to the wreck of Helios and began organizing the survivors.
Back at Helios, Rhys, Fiona and Vaughn interrogate the Stranger, who reveals himself to be Loader Bot. Loader Bot explains that he survived the crash of Helios and witnessed Fiona and Sasha destroy Gortys. Betrayed, he transferred himself into Jack's exoskeleton and formulated a plan to rebuild Gortys. He captured Rhys and Fiona to better understand what happened, but with the air cleared, Loader Bot revealed his plan. He scavenged up Gortys's parts and hopes to reactivate her, this time with proper assistance from Rhys and Fiona this time.
Vaughn shares a plan to defeat The Traveler
, a massive Vault monster that has teleportation abilities. He tasks Fiona and Sasha with detonating a bomb inside the monster to cripple it, while Gortys will fight the monster into position in front of Helios's moonshot cannon.
Fiona recruits a team of people to help. Gortys is reassembled and the Vault of the Traveler appears. Gortys is adamant about fighting The Traveler again, however Rhys reassures her that this time will be different. The team forces The Traveler to teleport, at which point Fiona and Sasha jump the caravan into it with a bomb. Inside of the monster, Fiona plants the bomb, however as they make their escape, the detonator fails to work. Sasha sacrifices herself to detonate the bomb while Fiona escapes. The bomb is detonated and Gortys wrestles The Traveler in front of the moonshot, where The Traveler is blasted apart.
The team finds Sasha dead, but she is resuscitated by one of Felix's gadgets. While the team begins scavenging loot, Fiona and Rhys head toward the Vault, reminiscing about their adventure and Rhys's attraction to Sasha. They enter the Vault and head up a staircase leading to a chest. They open it together and disappear as they Vault teleports them away. Events leading up to Borderlands 3
It is unknown what happens to Rhys, Fiona, Sasha, Vaughn, and the other Tales characters at this time. What we do know is that whatever Rhys found inside the Vault allowed him to rebuild the Atlas corporation with help of Zero. Vaughn stays on Pandora with his clan of bandits within the remains of Helios.
Colonel Hector and his Dahl Battalion escape the mine they were trapped in at some point after it was discovered by Cassius, and upon finding out Pandora is a desolate wasteland, become hellbent on creating the paradise the Dahl Corporation promised them long ago. The New Pandora
military clear Vaughn’s bandit gang out of the remains of Helios and attack the Crimson Raiders’ base of Sanctuary with a toxic gas which leads to rapid growth of plant life, created by Cassius.
Lilith and the Crimson Raiders are forced to flee Sanctuary, and come across Vaughn in a bandit outpost known as The Backburner
. They team up to stop Hector. The Raiders come across Cassius at the site of the collapsed mine where Hector and the New Pandoran army were trapped, and upon learning that the gas is being used for evil, Cassius agrees to help make an antidote. Hector floods the facility with gas, infecting Cassius who must be killed so that the Raiders can make an antidote. Cassius’ blood is harvested and an antidote is created. The Raiders assault Sanctuary, now overgrown with plants. Hector has ingested the gas, mutating him into a monster who consumes the Vault Key and Sanctuary. Lilith has no choice but to destroy the floating city, killing Hector and scattering the Vault Key somewhere in the Pandoran desert.
Now without a base, Ellie
, sister of Scooter, is tasked with building a new base of operations for the Raiders, the Sanctuary III
spaceship (don’t ask what happened to Sanctuary II)
Pandora experiences a period of (relative) peace, with the corporations gone and Hector’s New Pandoran army defeated. The Crimson Raiders mostly dissolve, with the Vault Hunters going their separate ways. Maya retires to the ancestral Siren world of Athenas
to train a girl who will become a new Siren, Ava
, Gaige becomes a wedding planner, Kreig secludes himself in a cave to mend his mind and conflicting personalities, and Axton and Salvador become game show hosts.
The Calypso Twins begin spreading their gospel about the Great Vault over the ECHOnet, gaining a large following. They find that the bandits and psychos of Pandora are especially susceptible to their propaganda, and the various bandit clans of the planet begin to unite under them, becoming known as The Children of the Vault
. The sheer number of bandits and psychos following the Twins alarms Lilith, who begins to reunite the Crimson Raiders to fight back.
7 years pass between the events of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3. Borderlands 3
It is the year 2887. Lilith sends out a distress call for new Vault Hunters, attracting FL4K, Moze, Zane
, a Siren, to Pandora, where they help Lilith assault a Children of the Vault base. Lilith tasks them with finding the Pandoran Vault Key that was lost following the destruction of Sanctuary. The team encounters Vaughn, who helps them recover the Key, which directs them to the ecumenopolis of Promethea. Before they can board Sanctuary III however, Lilith’s Siren powers are leached by Tyreen in an ambush. The Children of the Vault take off to Promethea, where they believe the Great Vault is located.
The Crimson Raiders follow them to Promethea where they find the planet under siege by the Maliwan Corporation
, led by Katagawa Jr.
. The Raiders make contact with Rhys, now CEO of the reformed Atlas, who requests their help breaking the Siege. The Raiders travel down to the surface and successfully hold off Maliwan forces, which have allied themselves with the Children of the Vault. Rhys directs the Raiders to Athenas, where part of the Promethean Vault Key is under protection of Maya and the Sages. The Crimson Raiders travel to Athenas and repel the Maliwan assault there, claiming a piece of the Promethean Vault Key and recruiting Maya and Ava.
The Raiders rejoin the fight on Promethea and manage to recover the other pieces of the Vault Key after killing Katagawa Jr. They travel to the Promethean Vault, believing it to be the Great Vault that the Twins are seeking. Inside the Vault however, they find a Vault Monster, The Rampager
, and not the Great Vault. Tyreen and Troy arrive at the Vault after the Vault Hunters kill the beast, and Tyreen leaches the Rampager’s energy, revealing their plan to absorb the powers of Vault Monsters. Maya is killed while attempting to save Ava from the Calypso Twins.
The Crimson Raiders regroup on Sanctuary III. Tannis suggests that the Raiders slay the Vault Monsters before Tyreen can leach their energy. The Crimson Raiders travel to the swamp planet of Eden-6, headquarters of the Jakobs
corporation. There, they meet Wainwright Jakobs
, heir to the Jakobs corporation. He informs the Vault Hunters that Alistair Hammerlock, his lover, has been captured by his sister, Aurelia, who has claimed the Jakobs corporation with help of the Children of the Vault. The Vault Hunters rescue Alistair, acquire the pieces of the Eden-6 Vault Key, and confront Aurelia in Jakob’s Manor, killing her. They open the Vault hidden beneath the manor, and kill The Graveward
before Tyreen can leach the monster’s power. Infuriated, she takes Tannis captive.
The Raiders pursue the Twins back to Pandora, where they rescue Tannis from bandit bosses, Pain and Terror. It is here that Tannis reveals her Siren powers to the Raiders. Troy begins the process of opening the Great Vault, activating its Vault Key, the moon of Elpis, which begins to tear Pandora apart. The Raiders assault the Children of the Vault headquarters, and kill Troy who is leaching his power from Tyreen. Upon killing him, Troy’s Siren powers, which were in turn stolen from Maya, are passed onto Ava. Tyreen escapes before the Vault Hunters are able to kill her.
The Vault Hunters are shortly contacted by Typhon DeLeon, who summons them to Nekrotafeyo. When the Vault Hunters meet the first Vault Hunter, he explains to them that Pandora is the Great Vault, and that if Tyreen wakes the Destroyer, she will be able to leach its powers and become the most powerful Siren in existence. He points the Vault Hunters to the Machine, the massive engine that sealed the Destroyer away in Pandora long ago. With the Pandoran, Promethean, Eden-6 and Nekrotafeyo Vault Keys, the Machine can be reactivated and the Destroyer can be sealed away once again. Before the Machine can be activated however, Tyreen teleports onto the planet, disabling it and mortally wounding her father, Typhon. Typhon tells the Vault Hunters not to be the last of their kind before succumbing to his injuries.
The Vault Hunters chase Tyreen back to Pandora just as she leaches the power of the Destroyer, merging with it. The Vault Hunters fight hard and eventually defeat Tyreen the Destroyer, which returns Lilith’s Siren powers. Lilith, in an effort to stop the Great Vault from being opened and destroying Pandora, sacrifices herself, flying up to Elpis and branding the moon with the firehawk symbol. Pandora, and the universe is saved. Events leading up to Borderlands 4(?)
Following the battle, the Moxxi and the Vault Hunters travel to the Handsome Jackpot where they find Timothy Lawrence. After Hyperion collapsed, the station fell into chaos. Jack’s former court jester, Pretty Boy
has gained control of the station, and is seeking Timothy’s “winning hand” access, which would allow him to take control of the Loaderbot factory deep within the station’s bowels. The Vault Hunters defeat Pretty Boy, and Moxxi agrees to go on a date with Timothy Lawrence.
Elsewhere, on the frozen world of Xylourgos
Wainwright and Hammerlock prepare their wedding, planned by Gaige. It is briefly interrupted by a fanatic cult worshipping the still beating heart of a long dead Vault Monster, but it is nothing the Vault Hunters cannot deal with.
Tannis, in an effort to study the minds of psychos, begins examining Kreig’s broken mind, and helps him come to terms with what's happened to him and Maya’s death, bringing him back into the fold. THE END
I believe this is the most comprehensive story of the Borderlands Series so far. If I missed anything or got anything wrong, please correct me in the comments! Thanks for reading everyone!
Top 10 casino cities in the world By LLM Reporters on 21st May 2019 There’s nothing quite like that surge of adrenaline you get when you’re standing at the roulette table awaiting the next roll; it’s a special kind of thrill that could win you big – and set against the glamorous backdrop of one of the world’s finest casinos, the excitement only intensifies. We take a look at five of the greatest casino cities in the world, based on revenue streams, visitors and reputation. Read this article to gain interesting insights to the world of gambling and get inspired as to where you should go on your next vacation #5 – Paradise Island & Nassau, Bahamas. In the Caribbean archipelago we find the beautiful country of Bahamas with everything the heart ... Biggest Casino Cities in the World There’s something almost magical about walking into a casino. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can you walk out with life changing sums of money for just a small investment. The bright lights, the flashing machines and the general buzzing sound of players at the table. It’s something that an online casino would never be able to recreate ... Some cities in the world might be known for their stunning architecture or their history. They might be known for been home to some of the greats and legends of past ages or for the ability to have stood the test of time. Some might even be argued as myths or can only be remembered in the pages of books. These cities are all over the world we know or might not even know. If yes, we have a list of some of the best casino cities from around the world where you could dabble in gambling and earn some bucks! Time stands still in casinos when all you hear are the clinking of slot machines and the shuffling of cards. While some people travel the world excited to encounter a new casino, many tourists inadvertently stumble upon casinos and find themselves having a ... 8 Biggest Casino Cities in the World. By Frances Cary. Posted on October 31, 2020. If you’re passionate about gambling, then you probably have a couple of world’s casino centers on your must-visit list! Of course, considering that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, you’ll probably have to put off traveling to these places for some time. Still, it’s good to remind ourselves of ... Play FREE casino games! Over 50 slots, bingo, poker, blackjack, solitaire and so much more! WIN BIG and party with your friends! To make sure that you are prepared well, we have created this list which contains the 14 most dangerous casino cities in the world. 1. Cape Town. Country: South Africa. Population: 4 million (Metro area) Currency: Rand. Cape Town is one of the most populous and biggest cities in South Africa. As some of you might know, gambling has a long history in South Africa although it was banned for a ... Even if you’re not a serious gambler, the best casino cities in the world are still worth visiting for the vibe and experience alone. There is no denying in that best casino cities are like different worlds, with never-ending nightlife and big-name shows. They can be a great travel destination whether or not you are looking to spend money in the casinos. There is always so much to do and ... Then, you need to make a bucket list to visit some of the biggest casino cities around the world to experience the thrill and excitement. But, people not interested in gambling can also make a trip to these locations as they have an electrifying feeling and generate excitement. The vibe oozing out of these cities is unrivaled. These cities offer you a memorable time with shows, performances ...
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