Hindmost Creche Speculation
Posted By: PhiltronDate: 10/12/12 5:22 p.m.

So, what is the Hindmost Creche? I haven't been able to find much discussion about it on the MSP. To me though, this is one of the most intriguing mysteries in Marathon. What lies at the heart of the Pfhor empire, civilization, and species?

The only time the Hindmost Creche is ever mentioned is in one paragraph on "One Thousand Thousand Slimy Things" as Admiral Tfear gives us a brief glimpse of something no human has ever had described before:

"Very impressive [referring to your slaughter of humans]. The primary function of intelligence is the subordination of our instinctive desires, the mark of a strong species. Which is why your kind will serve well the needs of the Hindmost Creche. The Hindmost is of an intelligence so vast, it encompasses the span of the Pfhor, and to those privilege [sic] to serve Her, appears insane. That is the final function of the Commanding Rank, the thought that we keep forever in our minds, that we deny our selfish, willful needs, so that the Empire will survive."

Hindmost means furthest to the rear, final, or ultimate. This could mean that hindmost could be used to refer to something that is "the worst", "the best", "the oldest", etc., depending on your point of view.

Someone on the MSP made the connection between Marathon and Larry Niven's Ringworld series regarding the Hindmost Creche. The alien puppeteers have a leader called the Hindmost, referring to the fact that he is "behind" all the other puppeteers who protect him (a social structure that is used to protect military leaders in human cultures as well).

Creche can mean several things: a nursery; a hospital for foundlings (abandoned children); a group of young animals; a crib or manger. In zoology it refers to when one parent takes care of multiple offspring that aren't its own. In wikipedia it says, "The Crèche... refers to care of another's offspring, for instance in a colony." Wikipedia also refers to a creche as "an organization of adults who take care of children in place of their parents"

Breaking down the quote:
"The primary function of intelligence is the subordination of our instinctive desires, the mark of a strong species. Which is why your kind will serve well the needs of the Hindmost Creche."

The needs of the Hindmost Creche require the subordination of instinctive desires; it requires an obedience that won't falter even in the face of instinctive reactions.

A creche is a location but this doesn't mean "the Hindmost Creche" is a location in the context in which Tfear uses it. For example, when we say, "The White House announced today..." we're not saying that the actual physical house was speaking but rather we are using "White House" as a metonymy for the people who are associated with that location. So too, "Hindmost Creche" could be used as a metonym to refer to an individual(s) associated with a particular location.
Its name might mean "the creche furthest to the rear" which implies that there are other creches, but not necessarily.

"The Hindmost is of an intelligence so vast, it encompasses the span of the Pfhor..."

What is most likely being said here is that the Hindmost's intelligence encompasses the Pfhor, which has an ambiguous meaning. It could mean anything from, the Hindmost's intelligence and knowledge encompasses the history of the Pfhor species (implying that the Hindmost has been around longer than the Pfhor), to meaning that the Hindmost is more intelligent than all the Pfhor put together. Either way, the Hindmost Creche is extemely intelligent and presumably knowledgeable.

"...and to those privilege [sic] to serve Her, appears insane."

The Hindmost Creche may be female, or the "Her" could refer to something other than the Hindmost, or the "Her" is used simply to feminize the Hindmost Creche the way a chair or table can be masculine or feminine.

The Hindmost appears insane and probably is insane (like a few other characters we know in the Marathon series).

The Great Mother:
There is one other quote by Tfear that might be another reference to the Hindmost. In the failed timeline "Aie Mak Sicur":

"But the trackless whisper chattering through the hollow space in these cursed walls buzzes and threatens madness. The abomination cracked the shells of my crew and sucked the husks, tossing them unseen and shattering the spindle like a dried creche.

The shields are gone, not down, but gone, and so are the engineers. It's coming back, I'm sure: and my last mercy is immolation.

Great Mother crouched behind the Throne, I make this wrong right."

The Hindmost Creche and the Great Mother may be the same thing, or it may not. Considering that the "Her" in "privilege to serve Her" is capitalized and thus a proper noun it could refer to something other than the subject of the sentence. So, what that statement could actually be saying is, "To those privileged to serve the Greath Mother, the Hindmost Creche appears insane." Probably not though.

Most likely they are the same thing. "Hindmost" seems parallel to "behind the throne" and "Mother" is connected to the idea of a creche.

Of course I'm sure you noticed the mention of a "dried creche" in that quote, as well, which hints at the possible nature of a creche.


Still, with all of that information there is a LOT of room for interpretation.

All this could imply that when Pfhor are born they are taken from their parents and cared by some other caste(?), similar to ants or bees.

Possibly this caregiving is done in a wet and moist environment. Do the Pfhor start off as larvae and bathed in some sort of jelly?

The Hindmost Creche could be the location where the youngest Pfhor are raised and cared for. Either their care givers are the ruling class of the Pfhor, or the decisions of the Pfhor Empire are made by the infants (which could explain why the Hindmost seems insane).

Despite creche usually referring to youth, the "hindmost" could refer to "the final stage of a Pfhor's life". So, the "Hindmost Creche" could actually be where the oldest Pfhor are cared for and that they make the decisions of the Empire.

The idea of serving the Hindmost and caring for the needs of the Empire seem to be linked. The Hindmost Creche may be where the Command Caste cares for the Empire by serving the Great Mother. The Hindmost is where the final and most important place where the Pfhor Empire is maintained.

There are more possibilities I'm sure and I'll let other people tackle those paths. Right now I want to suggest a theory of the Hindmost Creche that has captured my imagination.

If the Hindmost and the Great Mother are the same then the Hindmost is an individual and not a group of Pfhor. Presumably then the Great Mother is the individual that cares for certain Pfhor, in the final nursery or the first nursery.

The key part for me is that the Hindmost Creche is vastly intelligent and also appears insane, and that, to me, draws some really strong connections to rampancy. The concept of rampancy has always stressed that once the Artifical Intelligence reaches a certain size that it enters rampancy, a form of insanity, which has several stages, before emerging to become a meta-stable AI. Seeing both these ideas (large intelligence and insanity) in connection with the Hindmost Creche makes me think that it's an AI that is rampant, except Durandal already discovered that Pfhor AI aren't truly self aware. So what could it be? My idea requires some major leaps of logic, but I like it.

So, one of the definitions of a creche is that it is when a parent takes care of infants of another species. And we've seen an example of a species being led/cared for by an individual of another species in the Marathon story, although we have to go to an interview to find it.

From "The Missing Terminal on Confound Delivery":

'Who was S'bhuth (S'boath)? Chris revealed:

"He was a S'pht 'royalty'--a creature that was a failed jrro."'

So, S'boath, one of the leaders (or the leader) of the S'pht was actually a failed Jjaro. A Jjaro that cared for another species, the S'pht.

I submit that the Hindmost Creche is actually a Rampant Jjaro (or possibly a broken Jjaro) that cares for the Pfhor as a species. The Hindmost could have discovered or could have been discovered by the Pfhor in the infancy of their race and decided to care for them, raise them and guide their growth as a species, and lead them into constructing a large empire, the way a mother might raise a creche of infants not her own.

This idea has interesting connections to other parts of the Pfhor's narrative. Why did they mainly steal and use modified Jjaro technology? Because the Hindmost, a Jjaro, was raising them and teaching them and that's the technology she/it was most familiar with. Why were the Pfhor slavers? Because the Jjaro also had client races, so to the Hindmost that was the most obvious social structure to organize the Pfhor around. It even fits with how the Pfhor had enslaved the Nakh, a race that had been clients of the Jjaro: the Hindmost was trying to raise the Pfhor in the image of what it remembered of the Jjaro Empire and that involved regaining the Jjaro's old client races such as the Nakh and the S'pht.

And why aren't the Pfhor able to use Jjaro technology perfectly, or why don't they know all the secrets of the Jjaro if the Hindmost is a Jjaro? Because it is rampant or broken and isn't as powerful or intelligent as a true Jjaro.

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Pre-2004 Posts


Hindmost Creche SpeculationPhiltron 10/12/12 5:22 p.m.
     Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationEarthtopus 10/12/12 8:32 p.m.
           Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationJabberwok 10/14/12 3:05 p.m.
     Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationForrest of B.org 10/12/12 10:55 p.m.
           Re: Hindmost Creche Speculationchiasaur11 10/13/12 8:30 p.m.
           Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationPerseusSpartacus 10/17/12 4:07 p.m.
                 Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationForrest of B.org 10/18/12 12:04 a.m.
                       Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationPhiltron 10/18/12 5:58 a.m.
     Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationGodot 10/14/12 5:40 a.m.
     Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationJabberwok 10/14/12 3:03 p.m.
     Re: Hindmost Creche SpeculationYossarian 10/18/12 12:10 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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