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Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicur
Posted By: Mark LevinDate: 12/5/01 9:59 a.m.

The Marine knows the answer now: It's an ancient Jjaro station somewhere in the Lh'owon system, which was used by Yrro to trap the W'rkncacnter in the sun, just as the S'pht legend told us. All he has to do is go there adn activate it.

I'm still assuming that the end of Infinity takes place in the same universe as Marathons 1 and 2 (this is the "shaky" part because I have assumed the conclusion and will now pick and choose game elements and invent things to back it up by any means necessary. Then again, it may be the only way to make any sense of the ending as it is so vague and, dare I say it, controversial. I also believe that maintaining a single "official" universe is important for the continuity of 3rd-party scenarios, but alternatively an argument could be made that allowing them all to take place in multiple universes would make things a lot easier. But I digress...). However, the Wr'kncacnter has already been released, as we saw in the Infinity introduction. The only way the Marine can make things right is to go farther back in time and cut off the Wr'k before the trih xeem is fired. His last Jjaro-powered leap is one of time, space, and universe all at once, transporting himself from YTYBT in universe 4 back to the Jjaro station in universe 1 and at some time between the end of M2 and the beginning of MI. But the Marine returning is not the Marine he once was: He knows what he is doing there, he is in complete control of his actions, and he has gained the ability to talk directly to other Jjaro-influenced minds, most importantly S'bhuth. I believe it is him who is giving us the instructions we receive on Aye Mak Sicur, since the Durandal of this universe would have no knowledge of the station. This also means that by the end of the game, Ne Cede Malis never happened, but IMO that is an acceptable loss compared to the entirety of Infinity or Marathon 2, as some have suggested.

Aye Mak Sicur was, for its time, the ultimate Marathon level. It has a pedigree nearly as long as Mars Needs Women: Starting out as the net level The Pfhactory, it was expanded to Pfhactory N'Utopia and then converted to a single-player level when ydnar joined Double Aught; additionally the three alternate endings were spun off (ydnar, if you're still out there, feel free to correct this :) ). It uses the entire map space and every single polygon then engine supports, it has a vast array of different types of areas, and it all hooks together like a real structure. It is a believable space station. It can be completed quickly if you know where to go, but it also has a lot of exploring available. If you found every secret level, the place will be strangely familiar, as if from an old dream, but now it's real and it's all there.

One medium-sized flaw in the level stems from the secret on YTYBT: If you never figured out what the chips the monsters dropped were for, you may have carried one with you to Aye Mak Sicur, thus rendering one of the missions unnecessary.

You start out in a small room that leads you into the slime tubes underneath the level, passing some combat and eventually reaching a terminal and a rocket launcher. The terminal tells us that the trih xeem has already been fired, but it's not too late. We have to rescue a Yrro chip from the Pfhor and insert it into a location in the northeast of the station. (Incidentally, I believe that the chips we find in the game are not all of the same type, they just happen to look the same because of the limitations of the MI engine.) Head out through the teleporter to a ledge we will be returning to later, after we have opened the station some more.

Welcome to the real station, which may look familiar. Get out of the way quickly, or you'll be caught in the crossfire between S'pht'kr and Hunters. The nearby switch is a neat trick, lowering a passageway and then opening the door to it. No way up to that door except the teleporter we already took, but we can't go back there now.

Head back to the main arena to fight a Juggernaut and a squad of Hunters for the first chip. There are many ways to reach the area; if you come up from below through the basement elevator you will trigger a pair of S'pht'kr who will be useful allies on low difficulties and useful distractions on high ones. Once everyone is dead, grab the chip and a 2x health charger, then head to the northeast section of the ring to install it.

Inserting the chip will activate a nearby terminal that tells you of the second chip location. It will also open a number of doors throughout the level, most importantly the doors that let you get back to the teleporter that puts you outside the moving passageway. Wait for it to open, then get in. Don't try to use the corridor as cover, it will close and you'll hve to wait for a while to open it again. Once you defeat the Hunters, grab the second chip out of the air. Insert the second chip, and you have finally won.

There's a lot more to do on this level, now that you've opened the entire place. There's a huge trench with a bit of slime at one end, where a Juggernaut battles S'pht'kr. There's the mystery of the third Juggernaut, discovered accidentally by The Jug Slugger, when the Juggie visible outside the loading bay near the insertion points somehow gets through the glass. There's a lot of ammo drops and batches of Hunters, most of these are the same as the secret levels. There's a terminal near the second chip that contains the second half (more like the second 3/4) of the code found on Ne Cede Malis. When combined and processed properly, this will generate the secret level "Hats Off to Eight Nineteen", which contains a bit of the story from Double Aught's ill-fated project Duality and quite possibly sets the world record for most hidden secret in a game :P There's a secret room containing a ton of ammo and the Double Aught credit terminal, which is also the entrance to the Vidmaster Challenge. And there's a terminal which contains a strange message, in white text, about balance, and nothingness, and Pthia. This message may be as old as the station, written by Yrro himself before he freed the S'pht and left in despair.

The W'rkncacnter has been trapped in the sun, the sun has begun transforming into a black hole, and Lh'owon will be destroyed. (How did Durandal and S'bhuth know how to do this? The Marine must have told them about it, taking control of the situation.) But hey, you saved the universe! Durandal probably finds no trace of the W'rk because we successfully contained it; it is trapped inside an event horizon that no sensor can penetrate. This message comes from Durandal after all, since he refers to S'bhuth as a separate entity. Durandal then releases us from his service, a fitting reward after all we've done for him. Durandal, the great manipulator, has finally met his equal. In Marathon 1 we met him (aside from any interaction we had with him before the game begins) when he kidnaps us and forces us to do his bidding or die. In Marathon 2 the relationship enters a more cooperative stage, as Durandal and the Marine depend on each other to survive and resist the Pfhor. And in Infinity, the Marine finally becomes Durandal's equal and surpasses him, thanks to his Jjaro implants. Durandal can return to what's left of Boomer, or commandeer a new ship (didn't he take the Khfiva at the end of Marathon 2?), and visit the rogue star he's looking forward to, then return to Earth in ten thousand years as the Marathon 2 ending screen predicts. As to where the Marine will go? There's a ton of Pfhor and S'pht ships in the area, surely no one would mind lending him one (or notice it was missing, for that matter). He is now completely in control of his destiny and has the power necessary to take control of anyone else's, and what's more he may be the only one who knows what really happened at Lh'owon that day after he rewrote a few hours of history and re-trapped the W'rkncacnter.

There's one last question: Why does Durandal use "we"? I don't think he is referring to himself as a merged mind (in the Marathon 2 universe his merger never happened, that was in a different universe and the merged entity was only relevant to the plot for as long as it took to tell the Marine about the Jjaro station). He must instead be referring to himself as a member of some group. Which group? The Jjaro. The ascension of an individual to a new cosmic level is a fairly common idea in science fiction, from Clarke's Childhood's End and 2001 through Brin's Uplift series and Bank's concept of Subliming, and I believe that the Jjaro are something similar: A collection of entities who rose to the top of their races and were chosen to be brough higher, almost to godhood. The seed-like imagery of the final screen could suggest this, although it could refer to the Marine as much as Durandal.

Fast-forward to the final screen... Someone, most likely Durandal, is looking back on his legacy. He may be the only sentient being left in the universe, as it is only moments from its destruction. Durandal has for some reason decided not to try to escape the universe. Perhaps, in a rather Oriental twist, he has decided that the end of the universe is inevitable and necessary. But the one thing he remembers is this one man, who did the impossible, things that even the Jjaro may not have been capable of (the Jjaro seem to rely too much on manipulation, and on allowing someone else to do things they seem unable to; the Marine is perfectly capable of executing his plans himself). In the very last moment of the universe, he figures it out, and he knows everything there is to know.

And thus the universe ends.


A lot of people have been discussing what's going to happen to Volunteers now... Unfortunately I don't think anything really can happen. We've simply run out of Marathon (heh). No 3rd party scenario has been followed as closely as the original, and there's still only a finite supply of scenarios, and that's not even considering the question of which ones are "worthy" of analysis. Perhaps there really should be a Scenarios' Story page devoted to them, but I don't think I'll be doing any more guided tours.

Thanks to everyone who helped kept this going, especially Grasshopper who had the idea so long ago, everyone who's contributed to the threads (too many for me to search for and name, but you know who you are), the Vidmasters who bring us new ways to play the game, the scholars who analyze the terminals, Hamish for keeping the Story Page going all these years, and of course Bungie and Double Aught for making games that deserve the attention and praise we heap upon them.

Never stop firing,
Mark

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Replies:

Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurMark Levin 12/5/01 9:59 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurBen Potter 12/5/01 10:10 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurTycho7en 12/5/01 10:27 a.m.
           Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurBen Potter 12/5/01 10:41 a.m.
           Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurTycho7en 12/5/01 1:13 p.m.
                 Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicur/A1 LimitationsSteve Levinson 12/5/01 1:42 p.m.
                       Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicur/A1 LimitationsTynskel 12/6/01 12:28 a.m.
                             Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicur/A1 LimitationsSteve Levinson 12/6/01 4:42 a.m.
                       Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicur/A1 LimitationsDan Aris 12/6/01 2:54 a.m.
                             Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicur/A1 LimitationsSteve Levinson 12/6/01 4:57 a.m.
                                   Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicur/A1 LimitationsDan Aris 12/6/01 5:28 a.m.
                                         Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicur/A1 LimitationsSteve Levinson 12/6/01 9:43 a.m.
                 Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurAndrew Nagy 12/5/01 5:58 p.m.
                 Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurCharlesS 12/5/01 7:11 p.m.
                       Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurAndrew Nagy 12/6/01 2:08 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak Sicurarchon 12/5/01 11:04 a.m.
     Thanks Mark!Hamish Sinclair 12/5/01 11:26 a.m.
           Re:Thanks Mark!martin antell 12/6/01 2:34 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurAlfred Mordeir 12/5/01 12:20 p.m.
           Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurForrest of B.org 12/8/01 11:27 a.m.
                 Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurMark Levin 12/8/01 12:06 p.m.
                       Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurShnu 12/8/01 3:27 p.m.
                             Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurSiliconDream =PN= 12/8/01 7:08 p.m.
                                   Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurShnu 12/8/01 7:18 p.m.
                 Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurSiliconDream =PN= 12/8/01 1:24 p.m.
                       Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurCharlesS 12/8/01 5:12 p.m.
                 :) *NM*ydnar 12/17/01 11:00 a.m.
                       What's that a picture of?Still Thinking 12/17/01 11:10 a.m.
                             Re: What's that a picture of?Hamish Sinclair 12/17/01 11:57 a.m.
                                   Why wasn't it released?Ilium Rise 12/17/01 4:48 p.m.
                                   Re: What's that a picture of?Trahojen 12/17/01 10:19 p.m.
                                         Re: What's that a picture of?Hamish Sinclair 12/18/01 12:19 a.m.
                                               Is he around? *NM*Trahojen 12/18/01 3:50 a.m.
                                                     Always *NM*Hamish Sinclair 12/18/01 5:11 a.m.
                                               Re: What's that a picture of?Mazilurik 12/18/01 8:29 a.m.
                                                     Re: What's that a picture of?Jason Harper 12/18/01 8:57 a.m.
                                                           Re: What's that a picture of?Mazilurik 12/18/01 10:21 a.m.
                                                           speaking of shaderlab...gr 12/20/01 9:55 p.m.
                                                                 Re: any help for the Duality .mp3s?Lophan 12/24/01 7:55 a.m.
                                                                       Re: any help for the Duality .mp3s?Hamish Sinclair 12/24/01 8:46 a.m.
                                                                             Re: any help for the Duality .mp3s?Tru7h 12/25/01 4:07 a.m.
                                                                                   I did.Djof 12/25/01 6:23 a.m.
                                                                                         Re: I did.Tru7h 12/26/01 2:46 a.m.
                             Re: What's that a picture of?Jason Harper 12/17/01 1:17 p.m.
                                   Re: What's that a picture of?mnemesis 12/17/01 1:52 p.m.
                                   Re: What's that a picture of?Claude Errera 12/17/01 4:58 p.m.
                             Re: What's that a picture of?gr 12/20/01 9:52 p.m.
                       Is That Vulcan? *NM*REB 12/17/01 11:42 a.m.
                             Analogue *NM*Hamish Sinclair 12/17/01 11:58 a.m.
                       I wanna have this editors!!! *NM*Tilo Probst 12/18/01 4:08 a.m.
     What a Game. Thx Mark. *NM*Sidoh 12/5/01 12:20 p.m.
     Re: Yrro = ALL the Jjarozudo 12/5/01 12:27 p.m.
           Re: Yrro = ALL the JjaroShnu 12/6/01 10:59 a.m.
                 Re: Yrro = ALL the JjaroForrest of B.org 12/8/01 11:06 a.m.
                       Re: Yrro = ALL the JjaroSiliconDream =PN= 12/8/01 12:41 p.m.
                             Re: Yrro = ALL the JjaroShnu 12/8/01 3:01 p.m.
     Three Cheers for Mark!Darksbane 12/5/01 2:36 p.m.
     Three Cheers for Mark! ntDarksbane 12/5/01 2:36 p.m.
     Thank you Mark and everyone else...Grasshopper 12/6/01 10:09 a.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurArsonperbuilding 12/6/01 2:21 p.m.
     Bravo, Mark!ferrex 12/6/01 6:47 p.m.
     Hats off to Fifteen Twelve! (vlt)Lord SmackyBob 12/6/01 10:00 p.m.
           Hats off to Fifteen Twelve! (pt)Callie21V 12/11/01 2:53 p.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurMjolnir IV 12/7/01 11:30 p.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurDavid Curry 12/8/01 2:46 p.m.
           Woo, No life! NM *NM*Red Hot Ryan 12/10/01 6:30 p.m.
     Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurSteve Rogers 12/16/01 3:06 a.m.
           Re: Volunteers: Aye Mak SicurHamish Sinclair 12/16/01 3:37 a.m.



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