Men in black in Marathon?
Posted By: Bob-B-QDate: 2/6/06 6:40 a.m.

I've been thinking about this for a while now and since I can't remember ever seeing anyone else discuss it, I figure I might as well toss it into the intellectual arena. Apologies to anyone who has already found this without my noticing.

The first terminal on Moo's Where Are Monsters In Dreams contains this snippet:

He was vomiting and I knew that he was alive because he kept saying something like 'durability' between convulsions. What happened next was really bizarre. Both ends of the street flood with black-suited men, just like in a movie.

These men look tough and pissed off, the eyes behind their sunglasses are probably cold as my hands are getting. I feel like my heart has stopped, I'm so damn scared. As they start to inundate the street in black, they move with one will.

I figure that I'm dead anyway, so I reach down for the blade. The blade is being covered by his vomit, but the hilt is clean. I can hear the men getting excited, but I can't stop. My fingers slide around the leather hilt which is oddly cold...

If you take the successful path, you end up going to Acme Station by way of a terminal that contains a screenshot of Hats Off to 819 and a bunch of rambling about corpses in Hangar 96. However, if you take the failed path to Aie Mak Sicur, you get this snippet:

The train arrives right on time, and just ahead of a mass of dark suited men who have been following me for what seems like years now. Between the sanitation and the suits, I must be going colorblind, but the train is here now, and those men, no, they won't catch me...

The men in black return on Whatever You Please:

'The ends justify the means.' 'Where the is no justification, there is no end. There is only means.' I thought that they were looking mean, but they were only talking.

The noise in the train crescendoes as the train comes into a station, this station is lined with black suited men, and behind them I can see the pantomime of good and evil continue with the sanitation workers trying to mop the black suits off the sunglassed and toupeed men who are not resisting at all.

Indeed, they have nothing to worry about. They can just cling to the constellations of gum, there is nothing the sanitation workers can do about that.

The suits are going to get me this time, but I'm lucky. I have my keys in my pocket now, and I'm opening the other subway door...

The terminal leading to Naw Man He's Close adds this:

The door opens up, and the bicycle falls over. One of these suited guys is standing in the doorway, impassive and immobile. I'm not scared until I see that the hallway behind him is filled with his clones. I turn over the handle of the knife, and give it a bit of a nasty grin...

The terminal to Carrol Street Station returns us to the subject of Hangar 96, but the MiBs are back in business on Eat The Path:

The back of the head in front of me reminds me of the guy from the street, the one who made me miss the earlier show of this movie. Only now, he's wearing a pair of sunglasses, and he's got his toupee back on.

I look behind me, and so it seems that the guy in front of me is the vanguard of sunglassed movie goers who all seem very interested in whispering and looking around. They remind me of a field of black tulips flickering back and forth in a howling wind. Their whispering picks up intensity, blurring out both their own speach and the voices in the film, until all at once my girlfriend mentions her ongoing rant-word 'durability'. "What is it with you and durability," the theater goes quite with the last sylable of the word.

Well, I'm a little bit nervious again; it's time to leave. I'm sure that the movie isn't over. Everyone in the room starts to mimic my behavior, all the suits reach for their stuff at the same time that I do. Only my girlfriend seems unperturbed.

I wonder how far this will go, so I reach under my seat, find a piece of gum, and drop it under my toungue. Mind you that this gum was under the seat for countless generations of movie fans. Sure enough, all these suits have done the same thing and are chewing on their own hardened bits of gum arabic. I almost start to laugh when they all simulataneously hurl up their masticulons covering them almost immediately with their black vinyl shoes which as impossible as it would seem, flatten the ageless gum into smears which will never be removed from this already gum-smeared floor.

It doesn't seem so funny, now, because I notice that the pattern that the gum makes on the floor is in the shape of the summer constellations, and that each suit sits on a pulsar pounding out its vibrant message across the lightyears and across the theater to my head: "Durability." I wish my girlfriend would know when to keep her mouth shut.

Wrapping it up is this, which seems to be reflection of something long passed:

The bloody boy and his one-fisted compadre had already been removed for corrective discipline by one of the controllers, our life-long friends wearing sunglasses. Here at school, they only seemed interested in bleeding noses, broken arms, measles, and sharp thrown objects. Otherwise, they remained impassive statues with feet grown into the anaesceptic environment in which they stood, needing as little attention as a plain white column in an all white room.

Keep in mind that men in black are a hallmark of UFO pop culture; NSA, CIA, or FBI agents who cover things up and keep tabs on people, doing their jobs with almost mechanical precision and hiding all emotion behind sunglasses and masklike expressions.

Based on all that, I came to two ideas:

It now seems widely accepted that there is some connection between Marathon's Mjolnir and Pathways into Darkness' Sgt. Eddings. In that light, I think the MiBs in Moo could be interpreted as part of a disjointed recollection of Sgt. Edding's experiences after he nuked the sleeping god and went home. The government would almost certainly want to keep tabs on him, particularly after he hid or disposed of the remaining artifacts that had been retrieved from inside the pyramid. There would also be the risk of him telling people the truth about what he had seen and learned down there.

And now the fun part, or: "Missster Anderson... Suprised to see me?"

Reading those terminals closely, the parallels between the men in black and Matrix Reloaded's Agent Smith are immediately obvious. Note the identical appearance and behavior of all the MiBs (the Moo protagonist even refers to them as "clones"), the rigid focus on specific subjects or objectives, the habit of appearing out of thin air at any place and any time, and the whole "they're everywhere" bit. All very much like the Matrix's own rampant AI, no?

And the parallels between Marathon's deja vu and familiar dreams and the Matrix's "dream that you were so sure was real" is something to think about as well.

If I recall correctly, Marathon Infinity predates Matrix Reloaded by about seven years. It is well known that the Brothers Wachowski drew inspiration for the Matrix films from a wide variety of sources, ranging from anime to kung fu flicks to cyberpunk writings. Also, they don't seem to have any aversion to computer games.

It seems to me perfectly possible that the idea of Agent Smith cloning himself and spreading rampantly throughout the virtual dream world of the Matrix might have been inspired by the works of Bungie and Double Aught... Now we just need to find a way to confirm it.


On a marginally related note, the opening terminal on Carrol Street Station contains the string "haga.kure". Bonus points to anyone who has read Hagakure and understands its relevance to the Marathon storyline!

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Pre-2004 Posts


Men in black in Marathon?Bob-B-Q 2/6/06 6:40 a.m.
     Re: Men in black in Marathon?thermoplyae 2/6/06 8:27 a.m.
           Re: Men in black in Marathon?Andrew Nagy 2/6/06 8:29 a.m.
                 lol, no, the dreams *NM*thermoplyae 2/6/06 9:35 a.m.
     Re: Men in black in Marathon?Ender 2/6/06 2:46 p.m.
           How true... *NM*Bob-B-Q 2/6/06 8:24 p.m.
     There was another thread on this..."Can-ned Food" 2/7/06 3:11 p.m.
           Re: There was another thread on this...Bob-B-Q 2/7/06 5:13 p.m.
                 Re: There was another thread on this...Forrest of B.org 2/9/06 2:01 p.m.
                       Re: There was another thread on this...kyjel 2/9/06 2:45 p.m.
                             Re: There was another thread on this...Blake37 2/9/06 3:17 p.m.
                                   HAMISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *NM*ukimalefu 2/9/06 5:34 p.m.
                                   Re: There was another thread on this...thermoplyae 2/9/06 7:33 p.m.
                                         Re: There was another thread on this...Blake37 2/10/06 1:12 a.m.
                                   Put the complaints in my hat, so say IBlayne 2/14/06 3:10 p.m.
                                         Re: Put the complaints in my hat, so say IBlake37 2/14/06 3:17 p.m.
                                               Re: Put the complaints in my hat, so say Ikyjel 2/14/06 4:31 p.m.
                                         Re: Put the complaints in my hat, so say IRyokoTK 2/14/06 5:02 p.m.
           Re: There was another thread on this...Andrew Nagy 2/8/06 1:11 p.m.
                 Aww...Bob-B-Q 2/8/06 5:58 p.m.
     Re: Men in black in Marathon?eX brutaLis 2/7/06 3:44 p.m.
           Re: Men in black in Marathon?Grimes 2/8/06 3:56 p.m.
                 Re: Men in black in Marathon?eX brutaLis 2/11/06 4:32 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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