|Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons|
|Posted By: Martin||Date: 12/11/14 2:24 a.m.|
Last time on Tour of Duty, we explored. We were in a facility of importance to the story – of importance to Thoth, and the method of accessing the place closest to him, where we find ourselves on this brief level. The Pfhor were deeply suspicious of the “alien artifact” that pretty much just looked like a teleporter to us, and they lost troops to it – to here, somehow, while we ran around reading messages from all sorts of sources and trying to piece together the puzzle we were presented with. Just another day in the life of the SO.
We arrive to loud sounds of swiftly-running water, but the origin is not clear. We’re deep underground now – twice we’ve been told of “deep below”, and this is it, not to be confused with the dark below, that’s Destiny. Nor with the teleport from Warning: Earthquake Zone to Don’t Get Poisoned, a similar huge drop in altitude (for want of a better word right now). This place here is remarkably light for where it is. We’re in a large ovalish room, with complicated sets of stairs at the north and south ends, laid out such that they look like something out of Egyptian sculpture or hieroglyphics, and clearly not by accident: what better place to find Thoth?
There is a bunch of ambient life around the place – a rare showing for the mothrid, which we do indeed seem to be able to pass through; grendels; and a few potato anuses in the water pools, of which there are six. Actually from where we start, but are unlikely to return to, we can see little channels flowing down to them, and the walled in structure in the centre must be a much larger 7th pool, with a waterfall, supplying these pools, and yet as with the oddity on Grendel, there doesn’t appear to be anywhere for them to flow on to, so why is this place not flooding?
There are also a few enemies, lava and sewer F’lckta, surely not enough to have troubled whatever the Pfhor sent down here? Perhaps they didn’t actually arrive -here- courtesy of Thoth’s knowledge of our usefulness as compared to theirs, maybe he was in control of the teleporter somehow? Or maybe this is just all that was left. There is no sign of dead Pfhor anyway.
There is a pattern buffer here, and one terminal, in which Thoth says boldly and x2, “foresight”. Knowing what we know about this level, I feel this is somehow related to the soggy uplink chip – do not expose to immersion in liquids? But who had the foresight to leave it there, and when? What rules apply down here? Perhaps there are issues regarding time and the lines thereof … could we have been here before?
On first playthrough, we would all have progressed through the level only to find there was something missing, and would have eventually chanced upon the dunked uplink chip in desperation; I can’t remember how that felt, but nowadays, we make a beeline for that middle-left pool to pick it up!
After that, there are four raised platforms leading out of this area, two the left and two to the right, and each leading to an AI core room as we came to know such in M2, but with new textures, and no water. So this is a core site just like the ones we saw in the likes of This Side Towards Enemy and My Own Private Thermopylae. But all we did in those instances was turn the things on; there was never any mention of uplink chips or any such thing, but then again we didn’t have a copy of Durandal (somehow) stored in our own brain in those days!
We have to use the stairs to the north and south to make the jumps to the platforms, and the switches within the core rooms only become active in a specific order – we have to go bottom-right, top-right, bottom-left, top-left. In each there is also a 1x recharger, although it doesn’t seem likely we will be taking much damage! Still one has to appreciate the symmetry. As usual, the lights come up when we flip the switch in each core room. What is not so usual is the surprise awaiting in the top-left one.
The room looks slightly different on the map from the outset, with filled polygons where there were none in the other three rooms – so much for that symmetry I mentioned. When we hit the switch, it also starts lifts rising and falling in those additional spaces, and we have on our hands a jumping puzzle. A rather tame one, but still, best that we found that uplink chip first. We just have to jump across from one area to the next, taking the lifts up to get the height we need, and gradually making our way to the back of the room, where there is also now a new opening to the north.
Up this last lift, we can immediately see an uplink slot in the distance, with what looks like lighting strips to guide us to it, but curiously we are looking at a gap we can’t fit through. Appealing design, but odd. It’s so narrow, we’ll have to go around it! And so we do, revealing a water channel off to the side, and what is actually a narrow ledge leading off towards the uplink slot. There is nothing standing between us and it; there are a few F’lckta in the pools, but they don’t seem interested in us … and we certainly aren’t interested in them, or in falling into the water, which is much less forgiving than on Grendel.
And so -we- create a link with Thoth. Whether this is by way of downloading the image of Durandal from our brain onto this new uplink chip, and then uploading it to Thoth’s storage for activation, or it is something more direct … there are obviously many things we do not understand. Durandal was always interested in the story of the Eleventh Clan, and several times we saw his motivations leading towards activating this ancient S’pht AI to help him out, but Durandal himself could never survive long enough to meet Thoth; now, by what little hold we have on Durandal’s soul, we allow the two of them to become greater than the sum of their parts.
What does it all mean? Well, in a very immediate sense, those lighting strips start flickering, and not just on the ledge, but around the walls and all. In the slightly less short term, we realise not much else is going to happen, decide we’ve done what we came to do, and head back to the terminal, which has indeed changed.
The login screen and the terminal pic are familiar, as if from an old dream, or even two. This is what we have created. It still writes like Thoth, but it does it in green! The idea of them being whole -again- is a most interesting one, suggesting that these two were merged before, once upon a time? Or is it that Thoth acts as a host generally speaking, and has been merged with another construct at some time? Much like Legion, in Red Dwarf series VI, required the presence of other individuals, and then took a form as the sum of their parts, “and even more”. In that case, this all ended when the -human- visitors died, but it is harder to see why it might end when we’re dealing with AIs in a future setting. Either way, “the ancient ones return” suggests that we have set in motion the coming of the S’pht’Kr in this timeline, and we go to meet them.
|Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Martin||12/11/14 2:24 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||VikingBoyBilly||12/11/14 9:40 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Hokuto||12/13/14 2:44 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Durandal_1707||12/23/14 6:32 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Roland||12/23/14 11:08 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Durandal_1707||12/26/14 12:53 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Roland||12/26/14 1:58 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||VikingBoyBilly||12/24/14 4:09 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Godot||12/24/14 4:12 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||VikingBoyBilly||12/24/14 5:50 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Godot||12/24/14 7:51 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Martin||12/24/14 8:39 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Roland||12/24/14 12:42 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Martin||12/24/14 12:50 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||VikingBoyBilly||12/24/14 5:12 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Roland||12/24/14 8:00 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Martin||12/24/14 8:37 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Roland||12/24/14 10:00 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Durandal_1707||12/26/14 12:48 a.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Roland||12/26/14 1:58 p.m.|
|Re: Tour of Duty: Strange Aeons||Dispatcher||12/30/14 6:44 a.m.|
Problems? Suggestions? Comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Marathon's Story Forum is maintained with WebBBS 5.12.