The Unformatted KYT Term. Message

"I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh."


The first terminal on Kill Your Television (KYT) displays a second intriguing message which is easily missed. To refresh your memory here is the text of the message.


ugv0-i6tck[24 2h26u njk==tp12t1
ihavebee}rolandbeowulfachil!esgilgameshiha vebeencalleda[undrednamesandwillbecalledat housandmorebeforetheworldgoesdimandcoldiam %heroshehasbeenn~melesssinceourbi=thaconst antadversarycaringfornothingbutmyruinaswor ddrenchedinmybloodfor%vermygreatestand+nly lovesheisthedarkoLetheenemyandloverwithout whoZmyveryexistencewouldbepatheticandvulga rourrelationshipiscom^lexandperhapseternal wemetonceinthegardenatthebeginningofthewor ldandunawareofourtwindestinieswematchedsta resacrossad;yf\untainandirecallhersmiling> tmebeforeshedevouredthelawnandtreeswithatr anslucentblueflameandtoreflagstonesfromthe athandhurledthemintotheskyscreamingmysins ipowderagranitemonumentinasoundlessflashsh oweringthegrasswithmoltendropsofitsgoldinF aysendingsmokingchipsofstoneskippingintoth efogshesplinte!sanancientoakwitha/orcethat takesmybreathandhurlsmetothegroundshelea%! CONNECTION TERMINATED <ID#0401>
gv0-i6tck[24 2h26u njk==tp12t1

While the text is unformatted and slightly garbaged both Michael Hanson <hanson@cs.stanford.edu> and Gabe Rosenkoetter <acrosenk@artsci.wustl.edu> provide similar formatted versions. The following is an edited version of their combined work, including proposed punctuation.


ugv0-i6tck[24 2h26u njk==tp12t1
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. She has been nameless since our birth, a constant adversary caring for nothing but my ruin, a sword drenched in my blood forever, my greatest and only love. She is the dark. O Lethe, enemy and lover, without whom my very existence would be pathetic and vulgar! Our relationship is complex and perhaps eternal. We met once in the garden at the beginning of the world and, unaware of our twin destinies, we matched stares across a dry fountain. And I recall her smiling at me before she devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame and tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into the sky, screaming my sins. I powder a granite monument in a soundless flash, showering the grass with molten drops of its gold inlay, sending smoking chips of stone skipping into the fog. She splinters an ancient oak with a force that takes my breath and hurls me to the ground. She lea% [leaves?] CONNECTION TERMINATED <ID#0401>
gv0-i6tck[24 2h26u njk==tp12t1




Bo Lindbergh <d88-bli@nada.kth.se> writes:

I think the word "Lethe" is spurious. None of the other capital letters in the original text remain themselves when degarbaged, so why should the "L" here be different?

Now consider what happens if we make it an "n" instead:

She is the dark one, the enemy and lover without
whom my very existence would be pathetic and vulgar.
Doesn't this sound better (and more grammatical)?

Bo makes a valid point and offers a simpler interpretation.

However, Michael Hanson <hanson@cs.stanford.edu> pointed out sometime ago that the word Lethe did exist. Michael wrote:

Lethe, like the Styx, is one of the rivers running through Hades, the Greek underworld. It embodies forgetfulness -- anyone immersed in its waters is said to lose all their memories.

Thus the word "Lethe" did seem appropriate in the context of the rest of the text although not grammatically correct.

Using Bo's interpretation here is the formatted text of the KYT 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. She has been nameless since our birth,
a constant adversary caring for nothing but my ruin,
a sword drenched in my blood forever, my greatest and
only love. She is the dark one, the enemy and lover, without
whom my very existence would be pathetic and vulgar!
Our relationship is complex and perhaps eternal.
We met once in the garden at the beginning of the world 
and, unaware of our twin destinies, we matched stares
across a dry fountain.  And I recall her smiling at me before
she devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame
and tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into the
sky, screaming my sins. I powder a granite monument in a
soundless flash, showering the grass with molten drops of
its gold inlay, sending smoking chips of stone 
skipping into the fog. She splinters an ancient oak
with a force that takes my breath and hurls me to the ground.
She lea% [leaves?]




Eylon Caspi <eylon@glue.umd.edu> writes:

Should we expect to find the Roland=Strauss symbolism in terminals other than the one in "Fire!Fire!..."? In particular, does Strauss have any connection to the unformatted "Kill Your Television" terminal - "I have been Roland, Beowulf..."? My first impression is no. I think that this is Durandal referring to himself. The difference is that in M2, Durandal has matured to the point of being his own master. Now he _is_ Roland, not merely the sword. Strauss is but a fading memory (or is it a repressed trauma? ;-), so the Roland symbolism has changed accordingly.



A great deal of speculation has been generated about who wrote the first terminal on "Kill Your Television". Was it Durandal, Thoth, or the You? Sometime ago I wrote on the Durandal (part 2) section:

Now this is very interesting. The first part of the unformatted terminal text on "Kill Your Television" states the following:


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. 
<Kill Your Television (Terminal 1: 2nd message)>
Two questions spring to mind about this terminal. Firstly who wrote it and secondly who does it refer to?

The fact that Durandal is described as Roland's sword and not Roland himself suggests that it does not come from Durandal. Indeed as Angus points out above it would appear that the sword 'Durandal' had a former existence as the weapon of Achilles. Are we seeing a pattern here? Is the Marathon's AI 'Durandal' not similar to a weapon, albeit a futuristic weapon? Is it possible that somebody (or something) is using Durandal as a weapon in the same way as Durandal uses us? But who is pulling Durandal's strings?

The Jjaro perhaps?

Samaras Alexander <asamaras@winnie.fit.edu> points out who are the heroes in Marathon? Surely not Durandal but rather us. Samaras goes onto to say:

...the header (ugv0-i6tck[24 2h26u njk==tp12t1) hardly seems like something Durandal would begin a message with. Now, you may be asking, "If this is us, where is the message coming from?" Probably the same place that the messages in Marathon Infinity came from(you know...the Hangar 96 terms, the terms in Eat the Path, etc.)...

Lastly Samaras makes a valid point when he writes:

If this is us, and we are Roland, then Durandal is our sword, our tool to accomplish our own ends. Who is using who here?

In a recent interview with Greg Kirkpatrick he stunned the audience by starting to ask the questions:

toolboi: so if Durendal was a weapon for Roland to use, Durandal was a weapon for ? to use?
Needless to say the hapless interviewer didn't get it right the first time.




Forrest Cameranesi <Pfhorrest@aol.com> writes:

Sounds like a battle between Good and Evil to me. I think that You are probably Good, Hero, Destiny, "fitting into an infinite pattern". Therefore, you are Roland, Beowolf, Achillies, Gilamesh. "You have been dead a thousand times".

(BTW, that "we met once in a garden at the beginning of the world" sounds a lot like Adam and Eve to me. Remember, Eve was the one who ate the apple first. So she might be the one designated as "evil". On the other hand, maybe not.)

"...my only question is: who is the girl/woman he speaks of?

Forrest goes onto to say:

Maybe this is what the Pfhor got out of your brain during that missing month that you were in The Big House.




John Gendreau <gendreau@bu.edu> writes:

In "Never Burn Money", we are presented with a terminal that doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever:

WARNING: CORE OS (AF44+2DEB) MOD DATE LATER THAN CURRENT
DATE/TIME

ff~~x~f~sx~~ 
%%%here was nothing to be gained from hesitation
now%&^)}:>?~~~~~~~fxf~~~~~~~~~~f~~~~
et in her possession it

would become something of consequence: though it was nothing 
more than a simp~le tho`~~``f`~~~rticular flower, or more
precise~.
~~hen she had it just so the room flickered and tore, bending
into somewhere else: ~~~ffs`~~~~f~~~[system error #25 at
_Jackson]~~~~%*|\]~``se which she caused to be consumed by an
ashless fire.

doors opened before her without cause, their locks rusted and
shatter#~#[>ff
fxf~~~~~

~~efore her slender hands began to dance in front of her
horrified face.  r~~fefore turning into a fine powder which
settled in a pile on ~~~~4*)
where she had been standing.<'scod BFB1 0002'+1Ad2>
14 seven hundred miles away, eyes on fire, tearing at her
hair.  Turning in fury she kicked viciouslyf
aAnger made her careless and she mis~#&fx~~~gBd{}{@fx($~~~~
!#%8\
~fxf~~~~fx
34
<Never Burn Money (Terminal 4)>

All we can really get out of this is that some strange woman is destroying things with her mind... but isn't there another example of such a woman later on in the game? In the unformatted KYT term...

And I recall her smiling at me before she devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame and tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into the sky, screaming my sins. I powder a granite monument in a soundless flash, showering the grass with molten drops of its gold inlay, sending smoking chips of stone skipping into the fog. She splinters an ancient oak with a force that takes my breath and hurls me to the ground.

John makes an interesting point. Could there be a connection?

The "Never Burn Money" terminal in question is designated as ;L023.AMS.Random.Term3 which suggests that it is simply a garbage term, thrown in to create atmosphere.

Yet as John clearly points out there are similarities between the two terminals. Both contain a female character with a seemingly violent or chaotic nature.

The "Never Burn Money" terminal also contains elements that can be found in the Gheritt White terminal, a point raised in the Gheritt White section.

It is also interesting to note that the Gheritt White terminal was originally destined for "The Rose" level but for some reason ended up on "Never Burn Money". Was this move deliberate? Is there a connection between Gheritt White and the women in the "Never Burn Money" terminal, and the characters in the KYT terminal?

Note also that "Never Burn Money" is the level which contains the map writing:

JJARRO WERE AT TAU CETI

Writing that can ONLY be seen with a map editor and writing that provides the ONLY connection between Pathways Into Darkness and Marathon.

We might justifiable ask ourselves "why?" Why hide the only connection to the Jjaro and Pathways Into Darkness in such a way that it would never be found until the advent of a 3rd-party map editor?

But then... haven't we seen this theme before?




Chadd Nervig <drmemory@gte.net> points out that in the unformatted line

iam%hero

the % could be a missing letter similar to the % in for%ver. Thus instead of

i am hero

we have

i am a hero

While it doesn't change the meaning it is possibly a more accurate deciphering of the text since it doesn't ignore the % sign.




The 'nameless one' writes:

Try fingering: jon3@harper.uchicago.edu . Make sure you turn on verbose fingering to see the whole message. In unix, use "finger -l" to get the long version.

You'll find something to go along with: http://www.marathon.org/story/kytterm.html.

It should be easy to figure out who "jon3" is. Though I'm sure he would not appreciate people knowing this email address--and I didn't give it to you.


Regular readers of the Story page should have no problems in identifying who Jon3 is but what's this fingering business? Who better to consult about this subject than Nick "Sticky Fingers" Roemer <stompbox@wolfenet.com>. Nick did the fingering and came up with this.

[harper.uchicago.edu]
Login name: jon3      			In real life: igne ferroque
Directory: /nfs/harper/h10/jon3     	Shell: /usr/local/bin/tcsh
Last login Fri Jan  2 15:34 on pts/24 from 209.125.9.21
New mail received Wed Feb 25 09:57:56 1998;
  unread since Mon Jan 26 18:13:59 1998
Project: if this doesn't peg your weirdo-detector, nothing will <grin>
Plan:
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 a hero.

she has been nameless since our birth; a constant adversary, caring for
nothing but my ruin, a sword drenched in my blood; forever my greatest
and only love.  she is the dark one; the enemy and lover without whom
my very existence would be pathetic and vulgar.  her eyes steam and boil
in the night (she is fantastically beautiful yet i cannot stand the sight
of her).  our relationship is complex and perhaps eternal.

we met once in the garden, at the beginning of the world and unaware of
our twin destinies (not the garden of Genesis, but another; forgotten,
untended and now choked with weeds, unvisited except for ourselves).
we matched stares across a dry fountain, and i recall her smiling at me
before she devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame and
tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into the sky screaming my
sins.

our reunions there are epic battles fought without quarter, often in
the dark as the moon is seldom visible and the sun never.  i powder a
granite monument in a soundless flash, showering the grass with molten
drops of its gold inlay, sending smoking chips of stone skipping into
the fog.  she splinters an ancient oak with a force that takes my
breath and hurls me to the ground.  she leaves and i lie in the slow
rain of burning slivers of wood, staring at the low, dark clouds,
craving our next meeting.

Craving for our next meeting eh?

So there you have it the full text of the The Unformatted KYT Term including the unseen ending.

Another mystery solved... or just beginning?




James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

I was watching the Original Star Trek episode "Requiem for Methuselah", and toward the end, I heard something that seemed related to Marathon.

James went on to describe the episode. Here are some details.

Stardate: 5843.7

Rigellian fever, an extremely deadly plague, strikes the Enterprise crew. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a supposedly uninhabited planet, Holberg 917-G, in search of the only known antidote, ryetalyn.

On arriving they are then attacked by a droid called M4, which is subsequently called off by its owner, Mr. Flint. Mr. Flint demands that the landing party leave the planet immediately, and threatens to kill them if they do not. Kirk then calls his bluff by ordering Scotty to lock phasers on their position so that an attack on the landing party will result in the death of all of them. When McCoy tells Flint that the crew of the Enterprise is suffering from a disease which has effects similar to bubonic plague, Flint recalls the progress of that disease in Constantinople in the summer of 1334. He then permits the crew two hours on his planet, and offers M4's services to collect the ritallen. While his M4 droid gathers the ritallen, Flint brings the men to his home.

Spock discovers, to his puzzlement, old masterpieces on modern supplies. A da Vinci painting done with modern oils on new canvas and a unknown Brahms waltz, written on new paper. Spock finds another piece of the puzzle when he surreptitiously performs a tricorder scan and discovers that Flint is 6000 years old.

Near the end of the episode Spock confronts Flint with the evidence he has been gathering. Flint slowly admits, "I am Brahms."

"And da Vinci?", Spock questions. Flint nods.

"How many others names shall we call you?" asks Spock.

Flint replies, "Solomon, Alexander, Lazarus, Methuselah, Merlin ......."

Flint admits to having been born in Mesopotamia as the soldier Acarin in the year 3834 BC. After falling in battle, he learned that he was immortal. In his lifetime, he was also Abramson, Alexander, Brahms, Da Vinci, Lazarus, Merlin, Methuselah, Reginald Pollock (from the 20th century), Shakespeare, Solomon, the painter Sten (from Marcus II), and many more people.

As James Gurnee points out this is similar to the line:

I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh.
I have been called a hundred names...


Requiem for Methuselah is episode 76 in the 3rd series of Star Trek (The Original Series). It was aired on Febrary 14, 1969




William Spencer <williamspencer@hotmail.com> writes concerning the opening lines of the first terminal on "Kill Your Television":

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 a hero.

William writes:

Michael Moorcock used the idea of "the universal soldier" a lot in his stories; one idea was that many of his main characters were in fact the same character, just reincarnating all over the place.

William refers to the Eternal Champion series - a collection of stories set in Michael Moorcock's "multiverse". The following is taken from Michael Moorcock's The Eternal Champion (Omnibus Intro):

The "multiverse" is a multitude of alternative universes intersecting sometimes with our own and to which, of course, our own belongs - an infinite number of slightly different versions of reality in which one is likely to come across a slighlty different version of oneself."

Many of Moorcock's heroes are aspects of the Eternal Champion, a mystical figure resembling, though predating, Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces". In times ranging from the sword-wielding, sorcery-ridden past to the post-nuclear future of the Tragic Millennium, Order and Chaos are elemental forces locked in perpetual battle. And at the center of that maelstrom is the Eternal Champion, fighting sometimes for Order, sometimes for Chaos, but always embattled and always crucial to the outcome of the nonetheless endless struggle.

Here are two quotes from books in the Eternal Champion Series:

The Tale of the Eternal Champion. "Doomed to live forever in a thousand incarnations. A key player in the Game of Time, he yearns for his lost love and the tranquillity of fabled Tanelorn."

and

A Nomad of the Time Streams (Eternal Champion Series, Vol. 4). "Captain Oswald Bastable is forced to question his most cherished ideals as he becomes a nomad of the time streams, eternally traveling the wayward currents and nameless branches of a chaotic multiverse."


Any of this sound familiar?




Mike Leong <Shuffledna@aol.com> writes concerning some interesting connections between the KYT term and Dante's Divine Comedy:

This is very reminiscent of some scenes towards the end of Dante's Purgatorio.

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. She has been nameless since our birth,
a constant adversary caring for nothing but my ruin,
a sword drenched in my blood forever, my greatest and
only love. She is the dark. O Lethe, enemy and lover, without

(Lethe is one of two rivers in Purgatory)

whom my very existence would be pathetic and vulgar!
Our relationship is complex and perhaps eternal.
(Dante is saved by Beatrice, her purpose is to draw him to Heaven, their relationship is eternal)
We met once in the garden at the beginning of the world
and, unaware of our twin destinies, we matched stares
across a dry fountain.

(Dante meets a woman in the Garden of Eden at the top of Purgatory, across the river Lethe, which springs out of a fountain, along with its companion river, Eunoe)

And I recall her smiling at me before
she devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame
and tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into the
sky, screaming my sins.

(The woman smiles at him, leading to the next cantos in which Dante is accused and repents of his sins)

I powder a granite monument in a
soundless flash, showering the grass with molten drops of
its gold inlay, sending smoking chips of stone
skipping into the fog. She splinters an ancient oak

(According to the Inferno, there is a theory that the destruction of a statue made of different materials, including stone and gold, led to the downfall of the Golden Age and the creation of Lethe)

with a force that takes my breath and hurls me to the ground.

(This woman also plunges Dante into Lethe, taking his breath away and rendering him helpless for a period of time)

She lea% [leaves?]

Perhaps references to the Purgatory are appropriate at this time in Marathon 2. You've just been through the Inferno (1 month in Phfor captivity), and are being drawn to the Jjaro and the escape of the closing of the universe by Durandal (Marathon Infinity). Dante was drawn to heaven and God by Beatrice. I know the analogy isn't perfect, but there's something to think about.




Charles Craig <fortunato2000@yahoo.com> provides some insightly commentary on the The Unformatted KYT Term. Message:

Just wanted to write in with a little tidbit that applies to the "Facts and Puzzling Things About" section - it generally applies to "The Unformatted KYT Term. Message" (I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh...) and, to a lesser extent, to "You".

As William Spencer pointed out, it's definitely reminiscent of Michael Moorcock's "Eternal Champion" concept, wherein a lone human is reincarnated, over and over, each live fated to become a crucial figure in the battle between Law and Chaos. In the very first story, within the opening chapters, we see this:

"And the names? Was I John Daker or Erekosė? Was I either of these? Many other names - Corum Jhaelen Irsei, Aubec, Sexton Begg, Elric, Rackhir, Iliam, Oona, Simon, Bastable, Cornelius, the Rose, von Bek, Asquiol, Hawkmoon - fled away down the ghostly rivers of my memory."

Even more interesting is that the above is actually the REVISED version of that same text - Moorcock rewrote portions of the story when getting it printed in novel form in 1970. The original novella version, circa 1962, presented a slightly different refrain...

"Shaleen, Artos, Brian, Umpata, Roland, Ilanth, Ulysses, Alric"

Any of those names seem familiar?

In essence, as Moorcock developed the idea of the Eternal Champion, he started to assign many of his other fictional works to that pantheon, making the lead characters of most of his stories (and indeed, a number of minor characters as well) incarnations of the Eternal Champion. However, in the earliest draft, he simply used figures out of actual history. Artos is the Latin of Arthur - the somewhat famous figure out of British legend. Brian is most likely Brian the Blessed, who also figures into Irish and British myth (his head being buried under the Tower of London, protecting England from invasion). Ulysses (or Odysseus) was the main character in the Odyssey, and came up with the idea for the Trojan Horse (he also fought with Achilles). Alric was the leader of the Germanic tribe which eventually sacked Rome. Ilanth MIGHT be Iolanthe (a Fairie, from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta of the same name). I have no idea about Umpata or Shaleen, though as for Roland, I think we all know him by now...

Moorcock is fairly well-known in fantasy/sci-fi circles - consider that TSR looted his works as well as Tolkien's when they created Dungeons and Dragons. I'm sure at least SOMEONE at Bungie could be pushing for the idea that many important characters in the Bungie mythos are bound by a similar destiny, if not one-and-the-same (consider the Pathways/Marathon/Halo main char connection - it COULD be the same char).

Hope my first contribution to the story page interests you - having just gotten into the Marathon world via Halo, I'm deeply impressed by the amount of work you've put into the page. Being deemed worthy of adding to it would be great, but I also understand if it never gets posted (is okay, I have self-esteem, I can cope ~wink~). Either way, just wanted to point that out to you, in case you'd missed it.



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