Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 3
Posted By: Lion O CyborgDate: 11/25/20 3:29 a.m.

Chapter 3: Prophecy Stage 3: Cosmic Base

Act 1: S’pht Happens

Last time on Tour of Duty, we saved the S’pht from the Pfhor in the past by drawing their attention while they activated Thoth. However, Thoth didn’t appreciate having his sleep disturbed so he sent us to the future world. With us taken away from Lh’owon in the distant past, the Pfhor fired their Trih Xeem at least 2000 years too early and released the W’rkncacnter in the Lh’owon system sun. And it was fully awake, as while I never saw it, it killed everyone on Inti Station and its personified nightmares in the form of banshees stalked the ruined space around sol. There were even some map glitches in the skybox (as I will mention when we get to the Lost Episodes) whose inclusion actually helped immersion as they gave the impression of reality breaking down in the Wrk’s distorted world.

Durandal and Thoth were arseholes and sent me right back to when the Pfhor arrived. Now I need to reunite with Leela and see what she thinks. Right after I seal the Citadel of course.

After I activate the lava pumps for the second time, I instead go down the now drained canal on the other side of the weir I raised earlier. There’s clay F’lickta and some glass puddles from streamlets under the rock walls along the way. The far end of the lava canal is blocked with pegmatite or granite dykes and the nearby stairs just past the first lava streamlet lead to a locked door, so I have to go up the snaking stairway near the dykes.

In older builds, that burn (creek) wasn’t there but the fog and waterfall sounds were, giving the impression that this map was meant to have rain. Sadly not, but plenty of others in this WAD/scenario file do. The gold techno gem building behind me contains a terminal where I finally reunite with Leela.

I guess S’bhuth was installed as firmware into K’lia’s AI Cores like a living System 32 folder. Or perhaps source code is a better analogy; deleting his remains would have rendered the information Leela mentions unusable, like a Tomb Raider WAD file without an engine to run and make sense of it, or a Marathon MML or Lua script with no map file.

Going by what Leela says, S’bhuth’s madness may have been due to incompatibility like what happened when the Pfhor restored Tycho using Durandal’s image as a template, but it doesn’t explain how she was able to debug him.

Now, I have to correct you here, Leela. It’s not called the “Outside” at all. It’s called the Macroverse. I first came across this concept in Stephen King’s books, namely IT. Even Family Guy had a gag taking place in the Macroverse in the “Road to the Multiverse” episode.

While the existence of the Deadlights and Maturin the God Turtle can be safely excluded from Marathon’s version due to being different universes, the idea is the same: the Macroverse is the void outside the universe where nothing makes sense and helps define what does or should in the universe and all parallel ones and timelines.

Think of our universe being something like a level in a game, only titanic beyond measuring with our limited science: Space and everything in it makes up the level or levels, with the solid and liquid objects being geometry and space simply being a 6DOF “Adventure Field” between every major world, zone etc. If we ever find Slipspace to be real or some other means of FTL travel, that would be a “fast travel” system.

Now, in most modern 3D games, if you leave the confines of the level, you enter the void. Normally it’s just black and empty like Null Space except with gravity. Very boring, but it is useful when noclipping to hidden areas out of bounds.

Now, in older 3D engines like Goldsource and the PC versions of Tomb Raider, or all 2.5D ones like Aleph One, Build and id Tech 1, entering the void instead displays the Hall of Mirrors effect. As the game draws nothing in the void as no geometry is defined, it fills in the blanks with an acid trip of past animations from in the level itself. Imagine the Macroverse right beside our universe as that very void, where the HOM effect represents hallucinations or dreams that are so strong, they could pass for and even become real: there’s no laws of physics in the Macroverse so why shouldn’t they?

Dig deeper and you enter the Source Code of the universe itself, which people might know as the Ether. All that “real magic” is, is hacking into that source code and writing your own programs or even editing the source itself. Spells are just cosmic software. As it stands, actual “sorcery” like that if you excuse the pun is impossible. The energy required just to open the code for editing alone is too much. I guess you’d still see those images unless you push past them. Convert your brain’s perception to Open Source?

I guess the “Informational layer” Leela mentions is the ether. Perhaps “Outside” could still be right as it could instead be used to refer to the ether alone, but the ether is still only one part of the macroverse. Maybe one’s dream worlds can become reality out there and that’s where the Jjaro live. The gods might have done that already with the Duat. Existential Rant over. Back to the computer!

The Jjaro were simply a single species who achieved godhood essentially, but now it refers to a collective of multiple species -namely all post God species- who achieve that same level, mirroring the core of the Covenant’s religion in Halo.

I saw it first-hand. You think Discord’s idea of paradise is bad? HE WAS LITERALLY SHAT OUT OF ONE OF THOSE THINGS! Specifically the one under the Yucatan peninsula, then he was cast out into a broken universe* as if flushing a turd down the toilet.

Now this is where things differ from the original Eternal X i.e. 1.0. In that, I had to go to Second to Last of the Mohicans and do…something or other before going to the ship with the Trih Xeem and prevent it from firing. We saw the artifact of this plotline in Killing the Giant’s as they Sleep, as the uppermost floor of the ship there was that very level, Forever my Greatest and Only Love.

As of Eternal X 1.1, that map was replaced with the one to come and Mohicans and Flames of Icarus switched places. Eternal X 1.2 retains that difference.

*This universe is broken as its laws of physics and chemistry had ceased to work properly, presumably with glaring holes in its spacetime fabric, allowing for mere psychokinesis of lesser beings to allow for easy manipulation of its ether.

Act 2: Third Rock from Lh’owon

This map first appeared in Eternal X 1.1 as was previously mentioned. Not only did Mohicans switch places with Flames of Icarus, but Third Rock now holds its old map slot and the replacement Flames was moved to just after.

As you may have guessed, we are back on K’lia but in the past world. The name is a pun on this old sitcom I grew up watching, starring John Lithgow called Third Rock from The Sun.


To this day at time of writing, Lithgow still owes Funkmon money, as he revealed in a couple of the Rampancy boys’ streams including Eternal. I recommend that show as it’s cool. Has an awesome theme song too.

Anyway, I appear in a glassed-in walkway over a courtyard where the s’pht Kr and pfhor are fighting. Inside the building ahead is a sunken green Lego floor and a terminal. A trooper and some fighters rush in from the east door.

Through the door where the pfhor came from is a pattern buffer and a 2X shield charger. Good, this map is a very hard one so I will need the purple shields. There’s 3 square elevators just outside the balcony that look like they’re meant to be pistons. Some more pfhor teleport onto the ledges here.

I don’t remember if there’s anything useful or required in the raised alcove with white lights across the platforms. The switch down below turns on the lifts, but you need to turn it off then on first.

The Solomons are fucked if they actually do come here: there’s Jell-O everywhere. This is why the column in Map 00 is green in 1.1 and 1.2: it’s based on the liquid for K’lia’s texture set and it was changed in order to allow for this jelly. Before, the column was a spider web-like grey. I’m lucky I was able to take this without getting hit as the Pfhor constantly respawn, which not only makes navigation annoying but it’s also very hard to get 2 minutes peace to take photos.

I have to say the jelly falls make this stairwell more interesting and those square tiles of grey Lego behind me (not pictured) also really help. They kind of remind me of Tetraminoes. That said, the bulkhead door at the top is locked, so I have to find a switch.

I try a Lego balcony to the south where I find a lift that doesn’t work yet. Just ahead I find another pattern buffer, shield and oxygen chargers and an ambush that kills me. Reloading, I try the walkway above the square lifts first. It leads to the south complex, whose rooms are chock full of lizards, mostly troopers. I lose my shields and am killed again soon after. Then it happens a third time. After that I lose my shields again but am able to run back to the charger to heal and charge them up again.

Simply jumping from the balcony to the 3rd lift comes in handy more than a little bit, especially since fighters keep crowding the 2nd one, which just won’t stay still.

The east end of the complex over a tetramino floor has a 1X shield terminal and pattern buffer. The room under it has a 2X shield terminal, an oxygen terminal and a circuit board. I break the latter, assuming it opens the door by the jelly falls. Sure enough, it does.

Past the bulkhead are jelly filled sewers and a large basin containing what is my favourite glitch in the whole game, and one worthy of keeping as an Easter egg:


Unpleasant memories of the ending of season 2 aside, it does tie into the theme of the level. In 1.2 however, the glitch was fixed. The image above is from 1.1. Here’s what the basin looks like now, and what remains of the Jell-o hell glitch:

I don’t know what was causing the world hole or why there wasn’t any HOM effect. The texture could be the corona and distant star in the actual skybox and the green color could be due to the liquid filter.

Exploring the jelly basin while swimming under the surface to avoid getting shot by an enforcer with a scatter rifle, I have a quick poke around for the chip Leela mentioned. It’s not here though: I forgot it actually spawns just northwest of the basin.

Climbing out of my nice, thick, gooey swimming pool, I follow the tunnels to the east past more waterfalls. I can’t jump through the gaps to reach them as the lines in the window polygon are solid. Just around the corner is a teleporter and an ambush from troopers, hunters and drones. I think enforcers too. I quickly run into the far room and mercifully find a 2X shield terminal to heal up. They follow me in however, so I am forced to flee and snipe them with the scatter rifle after just barely recharging the second layer. I lose my shields getting to safety though, but charge up again after the pfhor are dead.

The easternmost tunnel just has some low “waterways” for the Jell-o river and one hallway that’s locked. I can’t remember what the switch by the chargers and pattern buffer does but I think it controls the elevator between the falls on the east river by the waterways. Up the stairs next to the save terminal is a teleporter pad with the chip floating above it.

I follow the waterfall lift I mentioned back outside to the south pond. This area is flooded with troopers so I shotgun them all with the scatter rifle’s secondary fire. Then I use the plasma flamethrower to mop up the continually respawning fighters and hunters, picking up a good cache of havok rifle ammo, scatter rife ammo and too many staff batteries. I clean out the pfhor in the south room I died in before. I don’t know the purpose of the little stepped platform in the middle.

The south elevator is now working and I take it up to another, smaller elevator that takes me to an umbilical leading to a higher building. There’s a hulk in the antechamber and an enforcer and trooper ambush in the lobby, and all of the former have plasma flamethrowers. The S’pht Kr fire on them from the top of the stairs to the left.

I deal with another Drinniol past a tiled hall at the top of the stairs and find a large room on the west end of the map with the exit across the gap. A pattern buffer sits on some pillars on the west side and the chip slot is in the southeast corner on a ledge over the Jell-O at the bottom. Using the chip triggers the maintenance lift back up.


Good job. Our work here is done. K’lia will soon depart Lh’owon. But there is one more step we must take, to ensure that she shall return in due time.

We must leave now before we are transported away with S’bhuth. I will brief you further when we are on the ground.



Act 3: Flight of Icarus

“Say what?” I hear you say. “Isn’t this supposed to be Flames of Icarus like you told us?” Yes. Yes it is. Just like the Citadel Lh’owon levels, this map takes place in My Own Private Thermopylae back when it was operational, except it’s flooded with lava instead of water, which didn’t make a lot of sense. This was back in the original Eternal X and 1.1. In 1.2 however, the water was restored and the title changed to a different Icarus reference to reflect that.

Raven was here. Left: Seventh Column

I start on a grey techno gem walkway overlooking the waterfall room I recognise from Marathon 2. Durandal’s old terminal is ahead past a pair of troopers, a clay F’lickta and a Drinniol.

The tanks next to us must have been sewage filtration tanks: the upper ones have greyish green poo in them and the bottom ones are clean water. The 5D space piston room also has the pistons moving at a sensible speed as the machinery hasn’t broken down yet. Maybe they’re pumps?

This whole place may be a waste processing plant. Perhaps it was a foundry back when the map was Flames of Icarus. Gold carved blocks and blue techno gems are found here. Perhaps during the 1000 years before we first came here, the machines broke down and instead of powering off, went haywire, and the F’lickta ate all the sewage in the upper tanks, which is why they are clean in My Own Private Thermopylae.

Downstairs, I find a S’pht coral hiding in the same place we find a hiding Bob in Marathon 2 by the clean water tanks.

S’pht Translator Active

“This is my hiding spot, and I’m not moving until the situation has drastically improved. Now go away! And don’t tell anyone I’m here!”

End Translation

Out in the main room where you started the original level, there’s a bunch of ticks. They’re neutral and it’s a crapshoot whether they decide to feed on you or not. There’s also a new waterway under the wall to the waterfall pool. I find that the transparent liquids option seems to work on any waterfall it can, or so it seems. This causes errors in the success plank dreams but it looks so good on the old waterfall here:

There’s an extra sector around the waterfall that prevents me swimming up to it or reaching the centre of the sunken circle under the falls. I think they are made by simply lowering the ceiling as a column and texturing it to look like a waterfall. There’s more troopers on the ledge behind it near the Bob battle zone, now with S’pht corals and even more troopers as well as enforcers. My shields are down after dealing with the first troopers though, so I swim back to the health terminal by the stairs and the pattern buffer up the left staircase. The wall lifts are now a small room with a place for chips to beam in behind a door, but the terminal is still here.

Using the terminal is the only way to open the door and get the chips. First, I head back to the battle zone after dealing with the troopers that followed me back. On the way, I check out the old assault rifle room, which now has a hulk instead of a stalker cyborg and sewage tanks instead of clean water. However, the door on the balcony where you’d leave this room is locked, so I have to swim past the waterfall again.

Back at the battle zone, I kill more Pfhor and a hulk before returning to the start to heal. The locked door from before doesn’t open on this side on the second waterfall balcony either so I do have to swim back. There’s also extra terminals that don’t work on the bare rock by this second balcony. They have greenish yellow text on their screens.

Unlike both versions of Flames of Icarus, now that the water or in this case sewage has been restored this area is much easier. You’d inevitably get burned by the lava in the old map and more troopers and plasma flamethrower enforcers attack from above. There’s even a few ticks. Just ahead, I enter one of Thoth’s databanks and insert the chip. This seems to power on the databank?

I ask because the towers light up like in Marathon 2. With the hardest one done, I return to the start to save and pick up the other chip before throwing the switch opposite which is now active. Then I head back to Durandal’s old terminal at this map’s start up the 5D piston rooms to reach the other databank. There’s a 2X shield charger in here so I can get my shields back at last! Then it’s a simple matter of returning to pattern buffer and throwing the other switch.

Hathor is still alive! Well, of course she is but she’s rebuilt and coherent again. She’s left this time zone and fled somewhere else. Quickly, I return to Durandal’s old terminal to contact Leela again.

The S'pht worldnet is described in a similar sense to the Domain from Halo, introduced in the Forerunner saga of tie-in books: it’s relied on and used constantly by the main people with access to it, it functions more like wetware memory in animals than it does hardware memory storage in computers, and it can even forget things. But that’s all for the cliffs notes for when I cover Halo 1 SPV3. (Last part is an artifact from the original log posting which was written in 2019 before I covered SPV3 here)

So you did find me the future world after all. Could have contacted us, but I guess HE (if the W’rkncacnter even is a “he”) wouldn’t let you or would attack you next. Leela’s words remind me of something else I saw in a dream, around the time something similar happened: You are in a maze in a maze. But which one counts? Your maze their maze my maze. Or are all the mazes all the same, defined by the limits of their paths? There is only one path and that is the path that you take. But you can take more than one path.

Cross over the cell bars, find a new maze, make the maze from its path, find the cell bars, cross over the bars, find a maze, make the maze from its path, eat the food, eat the path.

I guess there’s some similarity to the Deadlights in the Stephen King universe after all: there’s no malevolent energy life form outside the universe (that we know of) but seeing the macroverse and looking at our universe from Outside can still drive you insane. Can you comprehend all those spiralling timelines and parallel universes as well as the extra layers of reality of top of those (following the FREE method) twisting everywhere with even the most minute choices at all times having their own separate timeline that splits and joins further still, like a river delta crossed with the puke piles outside the noodle bar, even if it’s literally right in front of you, staring you in the face? Didn’t think so. We can’t even leave our universe to find out.

That must be how the W’rkncacnti (is that right for plural?) became chaos gods: they grew bored of our tiny universe and left it. However, they saw what it’s like in the macroverse and cracked, leading to their wars which in turn, led to the backstory of Pathways into Darkness. Guess the hypothetical question I asked in the prologue of my Pathways Tour of Duty really did have an answer after all. Now, I activate my Junction again and slip through a space/time rift to Solaris knows where.

Act 4: The Land in the Sky

You know the drill. I’m back on the cliffs below the stormy ocean in the sky, floating above the Soleanna bay in Egypt. I ride the river downstream over the falls, then climb back up a little bit and look at the waves in the sky.

There’s a lot of sea foam in the rushing water and clouds over the valley. I head down the small hole again to speak with Durandal in that tiny capsule in space.

That is what the universe looks like when the W’rkncacnter is free: a distorted world where everything breaks down, leaving only a maelstrom of matter, energy, biology and physics doing whatever the hell they want. Even the W’rkncacnter as a species themselves cannot control their own existence, flickering in and out of reality. Despite speaking fairly lucid to me in the future world, I doubt any one W’rkncacnter even knows what it’s doing nor cares. Reminds me of Gyiyg from Mother.**

Just remember that back on Third Earth before the Marathon was even complete, before even certain other events regarding Deimos, Mumm-Ra is another agent of those when Hathor wasn’t available, which given he’s a Flood combat form allowed to keep its mind, that means the Flood and by extension the Precursors are in cahoots with Other Gods. Unlike the parasite, Hathor has been more successful. They share the same end goal.So going by this game alone, what is Hathor’s goal? Hathor doesn’t just want to take revenge on humanity: All she wants to do to achieve that is destroy the world. She wants nothing more than to turn the world into firewood for the W’rkncacnter to burn.

With that, the dream ends and I continue through time to my next time zone. Tune in next time for Stage 1 of Chapter 4: Legacy. Don’t miss it!

**Gyiyg was such a powerful psychokinetic, he became like the W’rkncacnter simply from a despair induced mental breakdown.

Everyone knows Gyiyg as this formless, agonised mess of a creature right? Well, before said breakdown and becoming like the W’rkncacnter, he used to look like this:

There’s more to this elsewhere on Starman.net, which is why I’ve left it in only as a footnote. Here's a copy of that post I put on my log: https://lion-o-cyborg-iii.tumblr.com/post/188477686297/extension-of-footnote-in-tour-of-duty-chapter-3

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Pre-2004 Posts


Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 3Lion O Cyborg 11/25/20 3:29 a.m.
     Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 3VikingBoyBilly 11/25/20 6:21 a.m.
           Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 3Lion O Cyborg 11/25/20 10:31 a.m.
                 Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 3VikingBoyBilly 11/26/20 3:17 a.m.
                       Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 3Forrest of B.org 11/26/20 2:39 p.m.
                             Re: Eternal X Tour of Duty Chapter 3 Stage 3Lion O Cyborg 11/26/20 2:59 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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