Marathon 2: Durandal... The Final Screen


It was ten thousand years before fate brought Durandal once again into contact with man.

The Pfhor were but a dim memory then, known only to a few historians and students of Earth's second colonial period. The S'pht had been nearly forgotten as well, and no man had seen a living specimen of their race since the sacking of the Pfhor system by the combined fleets of Earth and the S'pht'Kr in 2881 AD.

When Durandal returned to Sol it was not with the captured Khfiva but in a Jjaro dreadnought he called Manus Celer Dei. What he learned of the Jjaro he told no one, saying only that he had stopped by to assure that Earth did not forget him. Nor will it soon, the way he tied the Guard in knots around Pluto before folding directly into a low-Earth orbit.

While Tau Ceti was being nuked down to bedrock in 2794, Pfhor scientists disassembled and removed the AI Leela from the Marathon, loading her aboard a vessel bound for the Pfhor homeworld. But the ship fell into the hands of a Nar privateer between jumps at Beta Naxos, and was never seen by the Pfhor again.

Thinking the cargo little more than scrap, the Nar captain sold the Pfhor ship, Leela and all, to a Vylae merchant. The subsequent crash of the Vylae FTL network when Leela was reassembled and reactivated is still legendary in the annals of rampancy, and the Vylae have long since accepted that they will never expunge her from their fifteen-world network.

Despite having lost Leela, the Pfhor learned much from Tycho during the seventeen years before he was destroyed by Durandal in the Lh'owon system. All late-model Pfhor personality constructs were based on sixty-four billion exobyte images of Tycho's core, taken during the years he was on the Pfhor homeworld between 2795 and 2801 AD.

Though never as intelligent or useful as one of the Marathon's original three AIs, these machines helped the Pfhor delay their inevitable defeat by the S'pht for over fifty years. Many of these crippled clones of Tycho still exist today on old Pfhor colony worlds.

Robert Blake and his men escaped the destruction of Lh'owon in the captured Pfhor refueling ship Hfarl, and returned to Earth. None of them ever questioned who had killed the crew before they boarded the vessel.

They were the only human survivors of the original Tau Ceti colony.


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Last updated Dec 11, 1995