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Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stuff
Posted By: Marathoner325Date: 4/13/18 12:31 p.m.

I know I’ve been pretty inactive on these boards for most of the current decade, but after playing through these games again recently I noticed some discontinuity between Marathon 1 and 2 that suggests to me that the games take place in two completely different timelines instead of the one continuous timeline that’s been long-accepted. Perhaps this is something that has already been discussed but I couldn’t find any entries on this on the story page or the forums after a quick peruse, so I figured it may be worth offering some speculation.

At the end of the first Marathon, we receive a farewell message from Durandal on Ingue Ferroque that ends with Durandal saying, “I’ll send you a postcard from the galactic core if we’re not too busy.” This suggests that Durandal had no intention of bringing the player along in the original timeline — and, in fact, he originally didn’t bring the Security Officer at all. This is stated explicitly by Leela in the final terminal, when she states, “The Pfhor ship vanished nearly twenty minutes ago […] I am positive that Durandal is in control, and fear what he might do with such a powerful ship.” A possible explanation for this is that Durandal simply teleported the Security Officer aboard the P'fhor ship shortly after he left; now perhaps I’m missing something in the lore, but I don’t recall any mention of teleporters being able to cross light-years of distance; and even if they could, it still doesn’t make sense why Durandal would leave the system only to grab the Security Officer minutes later while (presumably) speeding away from the Marathon at the speed of light. Then after teleporting out, we’re presented with an image of the security officer assisting a wounded BOB, suggesting that he stayed behind to aid the colonists. Last of all, in the final screen of the game, there is no mention whatsoever of the Security Officer during Durandal’s arrival at Lh’owon.

When we begin Marathon 2, however, we’re suddenly on an alien planet some number of light-years away, with no explanation as to how we ended up back in Durandal’s possession in the first place. Now, a likely real-life answer to this may be that Bungie essentially retconned the events of the first game so that it flows properly into Marathon 2. However, giving the way this series deals with the notion of multiple timelines and a sort of multiverse, I think it’s a valid interpretation to argue that each Marathon game fits into its own unique universe, with no “true” primary timeline that the games are built around. In fact, the segments in Marathon Infinity where you’re in Tycho’s control mesh better with the first game’s continuity than Marathon 2 in many respects.

This all ties into the deterministic worldview the Marathon games put forth; each timeline we experience presents a preset path that said timeline must follow, and the only potential for deviation is through traversing to an alternate timeline where the path is, in itself, predestined to conclude differently, regardless of other variables. This carries on in Marathon Infinity where, as it’s well-established, we travel through multiple different realities in search of a successful one where the W’rkncacnter aren’t released from Lh’owon’s sun. Now there’s often some ambiguity over who exactly is responsible for the timeline shifts, but I believe it’s the Jjarro running through every possible timeline until they/it find one where the W’rk is successfully contained. Also, upon closer inspection of the Jjarro entity we communicate with, as well as the S’pht historical entries on Yrro, I think that we may be communicating with the Durandal/Thoth amalgamation that shows up at the end of the game. And not only that, but Yrro himself may actually be Durandal/Thoth as a result of them integrating Jjarro technology into their being and manipulating the multiverse and influencing history itself – but that’s another discussion entirely.

Now, touching on the timeline discrepancies between Marathon 2 and Infinity, one point of contention that comes up is whether Infinity fixes the Marathon 2 timeline or essentially overwrites it, because the W’rkncacnter would supposedly have been released after the end of Marathon 2. This is something that, like many of Marathon’s plot-points, is open to interpretation, but I believe in the Marathon 2 timeline the W’rk isn’t released at all, due to there being no mention of it whatsoever in the post-game; the final screen strongly suggests that the timeline remained stable with no interference from the W’rk or other events in Infinity. Perhaps Marathon 2 was a timeline where the W’rk wasn’t present at all; or maybe after the end of Infinity, the Jjarro, having finally found a viable solution to the problem of an alien god residing in Lh’owon’s sun, were able to pre-emptively contain the W’rkncacnter in the Marathon 2 timeline. Either way, I personally don’t see much reason to believe that the Marathon 2 universe devolved into chaos the way other timelines in the Maraverse did, unless of course there’s something I’m missing.

Now that was a rather lengthy and somewhat rambling post for a nearly 25-year-old video game series – thoughts?

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Replies:

Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stuffMarathoner325 4/13/18 12:31 p.m.
     Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufForrest of B.org 4/13/18 2:33 p.m.
     Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufVikingBoyBilly 4/13/18 5:00 p.m.
           Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufMartin 4/14/18 10:21 p.m.
     Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufGeneral-RADIX 4/13/18 7:32 p.m.
           Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufShining Raven 4/13/18 9:59 p.m.
                 Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufGeneral-RADIX 4/13/18 11:13 p.m.
                       Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufShining Raven 4/14/18 1:53 p.m.
                 Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufukimalefu 4/14/18 6:32 a.m.
                 Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufMarathoner325 4/14/18 10:43 a.m.
                       Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufShining Raven 4/14/18 2:05 p.m.
                             Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufGeneral-RADIX 4/15/18 12:04 a.m.
           Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufMarathoner325 4/14/18 10:59 a.m.
                 Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufShining Raven 4/14/18 2:09 p.m.
     Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufNevets01 4/20/18 9:09 a.m.
           Re: Marathon 2 is its own timeline, and other stufDurandal_1707 4/20/18 4:11 p.m.

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