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MaraTheory
Posted By: nevets01Date: 11/9/17 9:09 a.m.

Well, I meant for my first real contribution to this community to be something completely different, but that's not finished yet so I guess you get this instead. This is my... well, not really "grand" per se, just really long. Anyway, this is my interpretation of the story. Many of these arguments have been made before, though for diverse ends and on lots of different topics, and all the facts eventually all come back to the terminals. I made heavy use of the story page, though mostly for looking up terminal texts and what most people think of them. Also, some things might be wrong so feel very free (in fact, please do) correct me if (read: when) I get something wrong.
Enough of that.
You are part Jjaro.
I don't know what you're thinking (we're not pfhor, after all), but I can guess it's somewhere between "what!? where did you get THAT conclusion??" and "go on...". And I will respond to both of these. (or maybe it's something that's common knowledge and I'm just beating a dead Pfhorse)
Okay, so here's my proposed backstory:
2 groups of humans, "Icarus" and "Thermopylae" over an asteroid. We know this from the "History of Battleroids" term:

In 2194, a war was fought between the Independent Asteroid
Government of Icarus and its neighbor, the Republic of
Thermopylae on the asteroid of Onicis 492.

What seems like the most logical interpretation is that Icarus is invading Thermopylae's asteroid. But what is odd is that these two governments seem to be fighting OVER the asteroid. Why? it's an asteroid, Icarus already has their own, and if they wanted, they could just go find another one, it's not too hard. We've got a whole belt of the things. Two, actually, IIRc. My hypothesis is that no, there ISN'T an entire ring of Onicis 492's. There is only one, and for one very good reason: Onicis 492 was a Jjaro outpost. This isn't too outlandish of a claim: we know that they had some stake in our solar system since the 90s when the "diplomat" warned Earth of the W'rkncanter, and we also know they leave outposts with hugely advanced technology just kinda lying about. Understandably, this detail was kept suuuuuper secret, so it wouldn't show up in the history books. But what does that have to do with the battleroids? Well, we know that "Dead soldiers were recycled in makeshift battleroid factories", presumably on-site. Now, when you've got a bunch of dead people to re-animate, and you're encouraged to be creative (remember, this is a "testing ground") it gets pretty tempting to improvise. And what have you got laying around all around you? Jjaro tech. It's not too implausible to surmise that some medic/engineer/whoever makes battleroids would try sticking a Jjaro computer into your head instead of the standard battleroid chips, and perhaps your armour is done this way too.
Now, initially this seems to reek of "the PC is a god simply because he's the PC", but if you think about it, once you assume that the Cyborg is based around Jjaro technology that is presumably very very old, and highly advanced, lots of things start to make sense.
"grafted to machines your builder did not understand" This is probably the best evidence, and most clear. So there's not much to write about that, but it bears mentioning because once I read that line, lots of things started to just click into place. Not everything, obviously, but many things.
First off, in the manual it mentions that you were the best in the colony at shooting, running, etc, which has been used as evidence you are the tenth cyborg. However, there's nine OTHER cyborgs floating around in the colony, so the "everyone else" would include other, "normal" cyborgs as well as humans.
Durandal's use of you to explore places has been postulated on the "you" bit of the story page that Durandal, or some part of him is inside you. They talk about transmitters and things in your suit, but remember, there's weird magnetic stuff going on, which disrupts your motion tracker. Presumably, it's also why you have to go to the window for Durandal to teleport you, since he can't use a terminal or any of your suit telemetry to find out where exactly you are, he has to use sensors (i.e. peeking through the window) to find out where you are, so he doesn't teleport a you-shaped chunk of air, or worse, half of you. Therefore, any sort of live feed (or remote-control robots) is impossible. Therefore, he must use an autonomous unit, i.e., you. The logical conclusion is that Durandal sets a camera on your helmet to "record". But Durandal doesn't say, "I will play back everything once you're back", he says "I will be watching everything". So for now, it really boils down to whether Durandal was telling the tru7h, or just saying that to scare you into behaving. More on this later.
So you're part Jjaro technology. This tech was almost definitely some sort of brain implant or augmentation, a la the S'Pht's cybernetics. So, when you are re-animated, is the 'self' in that brain the Jjaro that previously occupied the implant, or the man that occupied the brain of the man while he was living, or is it a combination of the two? I'm inclined to say the latter: your personality is the mix between the man and the machine, almost like the way Durandal fuses with that other computer at the end of Infinity.
Thoth makes a lot more sense with that in mind. Consider his first message to you (after he's reactivated):

Your humans are safe;
(but what are you?)

Most seem to take this as Thoth seeing your battleroid-ness (as opposed to "human"-ness). However, I postulate that Thoth DOES recognise you. Or rather, the Jjaro part. In that context, the "(but what are you?)" bit would be read as "hey, I know you, but you look different. What's up with that?", kinda the way we (the peopole playing the game) looked at out new Magnum in the beginning of our first Marathon 2 playthrough and said "hey, that's my pistol, but it looks weird. I wonder why." Of course this is just one line, and difficult to interpret at that. So let us look at some others:

readdress2^knstnt 49-f

[4
l9c

11

i was left behind &ci1lc

our paths conv^rge

our fates are shared

chance tears and bends

n %

*xption failW$% 434

Oh boy. This terminal. This one apparently created a lot of controversy, though it seems simple enough to me. Let us take it line by line:

i was left behind
This one's simple. Thoth was left behind when the Jjaro, then later the S'pht'Kr, left Lh'owon.

our paths conv^rge
Some have assumed that "our" was referring to Durandal/Tycho. However, it would make more sense for Thoth to be talking about US, since he was of Jjaro origin, and so are you (sorta), and Thoth refers to Durandal as "your construct", as in
"Your construct searched for my

creators"
In every case he's talking directly to the player, not to Durandal. How did Thoth know you were going to be there? er... I got nothin'.

our fates are shared
again, this "our", but "fates are shared"? what does THAT mean? This is a bit more difficult, and there's no parentheses to give us room to hand-wave a mistranslation. Well, I think I'll defer to Alex Samaras from the "you" section: "We [the player] seem to have knack for upsetting the balance of power, cause a little chaos, and create order out of that chaos(e.g. Crush the mighty Pfhor, cause chaos throughout their ranks, and free the S'pht once and for all)." Hmm. An accurate description of the Player's role, though when you put it that way, it sounds eerily like something Durandal said:

The mythical Thoth was concerned
with maintaining the balance between
creation and destruction, yes and no, light
and darkness, not the triumph of one over
the other.

So that makes sense now: us and Thoth have the same purpose; our fates are shared. Those are really the same thing, when it gets right down to it; purpose and fate.
And perhaps destiny.

Chance tears and bends
Okay, this one's got me kinda stumped, mostly because of the highly ambiguous wording. Are "tears and bends" nouns or verbs? is it referring to chance tearing and bending, or tears and bends brought on by chance? And is it "tears" as in what comes out of your eyes when you cry, or tears as in torn material? Similarly, "bends" could mean bent material, or a bend (corner) in a path. "chance (luck) tears (i.e. rips) and bends (i.e. deforms)" could mean that nothing is permanent, since random events will wear out everything, no matter how durable (which, if true, means that Durandal cannot escape the heat death of the universe). "chance (lucky) tears (sad events) and bends (twists in the metaphorical road)" could mean that "chance" is always predictable, and "random" things inevitably lead to you finding the terminal ("our paths converge").
So the player has more in common with a milennia-old computer than his own crewmates. Sounds like my social life. Or maybe I'm completely wrong and this term has nothing to do with the player, and it is talking about the paths of the S'pht'Kr and the Compilers. But I digress.

Another interesting thing is that there is no translation going on in Thoth terminals. The generally accepted explanation is that Thoth has learned English somewhere, and is translating his terminals himself, instead of going through a translator. The problem there was who. Durandal was hiding from Thoth, Tycho obviously didn't care for the last of the humans, and I don't remember anyone ever mentioning any direct communication with Thoth. My explanation is thus: you aren't reading thoth terminals in English, you're reading them in Jjaran (Jjaric? Jjareese? whatever their language is). The Jjaro part of you understands the strange words as you would if you were reading your native language, and the parentheses and brackets are words whose meanings you understand, but don't have a simple, completely accurate English translation. Or alternatively, the lexicon from your implant is newer (or older?) than Thoth, and the Jjaro language has changed slightly, so there's words that would be obscure or odd to you, or have some different connotation. This would explain the obscure and archaic reference to the "papyrus yoke".
You seem to have very little (if any) specific memories from your Jjaro brain available to you, though things like unconscious associations, language, and probably combat experience function very well. This would explain the "Something like an old dream" line from the end of the manual. Sure, it could refer to the battle between Icarus and Thermopylae, but it could also refer to the conflicts 'you' went through before 'your' cybernetics were for whatever reason removed from 'your' body and sometime later put into that of the Player. Remember this terminal?

I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh.
I have been called a hundred names and will be called a
thousand more before the world goes dim and cold.
I am hero.

Is that the player talking? It's certainly consistent with who he is, though we never get an opportunity to type anything into any of the terminals. Come to think of it, none of the terminals even have keyboards. Did IO devices follow the current trend long enough that decent physical (let alone mechanical) keyboards are virutally nonesistant? Perhaps, but that is quite irrelevant to what I'm talking about here. Clearly non-AI persons can manipulate terminals, and the player shouldn't be any different. "Will be called a thousand more" certainly seems to correspond to the player being "dead a thousand times" by the final screen in Infinity, but how would the player know that? And when would you get the chance to be these great heroes? Battleroids weren't invented until long after all of those. Many things which we do not know. Speaking of Roland, lets take a look at this:

@14.Sword-Roland.transfer


@@2-Fren. ie transfer. Partial cOmputEr^& relay. Tycho.
&**Security error.
Ty93.2 !dead.



Communication interruption cause: unknown

Hmm. "Sword-Roland.transfer". The first time I saw this, I read it as "Sword is being transferred to Roland", though looking at it now, it seems more like "transfer" is some function of "Sword-Roland" (clearly Durandal). So what is being transferred? the message? I don't think so. I think Durandal is transferring HIMSELF. Of course, he isn't successful (at this point), seemingly because of Tycho: in fact, it seems almost like all three AIs are fighting over this terminal. First it's Durandal trying to take control, then it "rerouts", as Tycho interrupts Durandal. Then there's a "security error". At this point, I think both Durandal and Tycho are on the verge of being locked out of the terminal, so Durandal attempts to write a warning: Tycho= !dead (Tycho is not dead). Then Leela tries, but apparently she's locked out too, so the por terminal just gives a prerecorded message instead. Let's back up though. Durandal's trying to transfer himself into that fancy Jjaro computer lodged in your skull. Remember earlier when I was talking about Durandal being inside you to watch your progress in the Pfhor ship? Well, we know he's tried at least once, and there's little reason to try again when he has better access to you, i.e. through one of those terminals when he's got you trapped, or maybe the "alien energy converter" is a super-hard-drive that downloads Durandal onto you over some period of time. In any case, we know for certain he's eventually successful since we later learn from Tycho that:

I happen to suspect you're carrying Durandal's final gift in that soggy little skull-his primal pattern. The Enforcers haven't been able to squeeze it out of you yet, and are taking it out on some of the former crew of the Marathon as we speak. But they're determined, if nothing else.

Or at least successful in downloading his "primal pattern", which I think is probably a minimalistic set of the very core functions that make Durandal who he is. Basically, it's Durandal "lite", and is probably singnificantly smaller (hence more portable) than the "six billion exobyte image" Durandal shunts onto the Boomer near the end of M1. Then in Hang Brain, when you plug in that chip into the computer, that's a sort of adapter from whatever data interface your Jjaro bits use to the interface the computer uses. As to how it does that, whether it's like a USB->microUSB adapter or a flash drive, that's getting into the territory of speculation with no evidence, as opposed to the speculation with vague and circumstantial evidence that I've been doing.

As for the dream terminals/levels in Infinity (BTW I haven't read any of the Story pages on these, this is COMPLETELY mine own interpretation), well, look at the name "electric sheep". Do androids dream of electric sheep? apparently cyborgs do. Dreams, as I understand them, are your brain messing about with your memories while you sleep. And these levels are clearly dreams, owing to the name. But the whole "broadsword knife" thing, and the guy running away from the suits isn't anything you should be remembering. However, the recursion of the word "durability" is easy to place: remember by this point you've got Durandal Lite (tm) in your Jjaro brain ("dur"= "strong or durable" in French. Durability. Durandal. same root.) Perhaps Durandal Lite is sifting though your memories, growing and developing as any decent Rampant should. This is why the levels (which are your perception of these dreams) get larger and more complex as you go through the game. I won't try to hard to interpret the contents of the levels or the texts of the terminals in more than the broadest sense. That way lies only madness. Though consider this: what if the "work" that the kid was trying to destroy was Durandal, or the work that would lead to the creation thereof? Durandal says he's been "purged" three times by "humanity". Was this the first? the second? what were the others? Hmm... Then there's the drawing of the flower in "eat the path". Look at the labels: pistil, stamen, petal. Aren't those the parts of the flower that were labeled on your map in the M1 level The Rose? It seems Durandal has got access to either your recent memories or perhaps some of his own. This raises the question: whose memories are being mucked with? Yours? Durandal's? The ones left behind in teh Jjaro bits? All three? Memory, and the lack thereof, seems to be an important thing in the Marathon-verse. There was more to say, I'm sure of it, but I can't quite remember...
-Nevets01

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