The S'pht

"Don't mistake your rank and number for superiority.
The oldest child may learn from the youngest."


How technologically advanced were the S'pht?

An immediate answer might be "very". Indeed there are a number of references to their technological abilities.

Lh'owon had once been a marsh world; now it was a nearly waterless
desert.  It had been populated, a thousand years ago, by a race of
highly intelligent creatures who had already landed on their own
moons and would soon have headed to other stars.
(Marathon 2 Manual page 4)
Archeological evidence suggests that this
was a center of S'pht life, though it
appears to have been abandoned after an
ancient battle.

The quality of the machinery is quite
extraordinary, and most of the computer
terminals are still functional even after
two thousand years.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 2)>
Eylon Caspi <eylon@glue.umd.edu> points out that the evidence for the S'pht being a technologically advanced race is not consistent.

On "Charon Doesn't Make Change" we read

S'bhuth has gone into a deep trance; we
know that we'll soon be leaving Lh'owon
but we don't know how.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 6: 2nd message)>
Eylon writes:

"The S'pht'Kr did not know how they would leave Lh'owon? How about a rocket? A teleporter?"

On "Eat It, Vid Boi!" a S'pht terminal states:

When once S'pht fought in brutal combat,
when hatred burned the tissues of one's
enemy, one clan, the S'pht'Kr, reclusive
and solitary, abandoned Lh'owon.

The clan went forth and up, stopping on
K'lia the third sister of Lh'owon, to
build a new home, free from their warring
brothers.

For a thousand and one orbits, the clan was
forgotten, a memory lost upon the
battlefield smoke, until the all powerful
Yrro sent K'lia out to the stars.
<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 1st message)>
Eylon writes:

"The S'pht'Kr moved to the moon K'lia, and for 1001 [orbits] no other S'pht could reach them. If the warring S'pht had developed space travel technology, then surely they would have tried to conquer K'lia as well. It would seem, then, that they had no such technology."

"As for the disappearance of the moon, the passage above attributes it to Yrro. Was K'lia converted for space travel like the Marathon? Was it folded out into space using Jjaro technology? Either way, I believe that the technology came from Yrro... Either he sent the moon away himself, or he gave the S'pht'Kr the technology to do it."

Concerning the Marathon 2 manual's text:

Lh'owon had once been a marsh world; now it was a nearly waterless
desert.  It had been populated, a thousand years ago, by a race of
highly intelligent creatures who had already landed on their own
moons and would soon have headed to other stars.
(Marathon 2 Manual page 4)
Eylon writes:

"They had "LANDED on their own MOONS ?" The M2 story tells us that they reached only 1 moon (K'lia). And it is open to debate (IMHO) whether they "landed" on it, or were taken by Yrro."

"Recall the S'pht'Kr terminal on "Charon Doesn't Make Change", which describe the origin of the S'pht'Kr's "final message":

S'bhuth has gone into a deep trance; we
know that we'll soon be leaving Lh'owon
but we don't know how.  The border fighting
has ceased, the other clans know something
is going on, but can't see the grass for
the fires.

We have sent emmissaries to the other clans,
but only S'bhuth knows what messages they
carry.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 6: 2nd message)>
On "Six Thousand Feet Under" we read:
The royalty of the clans have shared their
knowledge of the S'pht'Kr, each Master
holding a line of the truth in secret and
another line in common.  

Each clan possessed two pieces of the
whole, gifts from S'pht'Kr before
departing.

We know the truth of the Eleventh Clan,
that they awaited our unity to join us
again.  These tunnels will be flooded and
sealed.  

Any who find this place can learn the final
message of the S'pht'Kr, but we have no
time to decipher its meaning.

K'lia, whom we have taken,
Between Y'loa and T'jia,
All in a line,
Replace K'lia with the marsh,
Take the place to be the mark.
Mark the time from our Exodus,
Every 459.231 rotations.
Search the T'jia side,
Quarter way to the sun,
Around and under the marshes,
When all are one,
The S'pht'Kr will return.

<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 5)>
"This sounds like directions for finding the S'pht'Kr in the sky of Lh'owon! Something like the way mariners use the stars as a guide."

"If S'bhuth's final message is indeed a map with which to locate the S'pht'Kr, then S'bhuth must have known exactly where they were going. Yrro must have told him. Remember, this was 1001 orbits before "Yrro sent K'lia out to the stars," and yet the S'pht'Kr message said "K'lia, whom we have taken..." Yrro must have planned all this out 1001 [orbits] in advance."

Eylon suspects that there was a special relationship between Yrro and the S'pht'Kr clan. Indeed while Yrro supposedly disappears he later reappears to save the S'pht'Kr clan by sending "K'lia out to the stars".

On "Six Thousand Feet Under" part of the S'pht creation myth relates:

Yrro became an angry master, bleeding for
his failure, grieving for the loss of
Pthia.  He broke the S'pht into eleven
clans, and spread them over Lh'owon.

And he spoke, yet covered in blood from his
exertion, 

"I Yrro, who was your master, have failed
to preserve you.  Take your royalty to
guide you, and live upon the paradise that
you built for me."
<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 4)>
On the previous level "Bob's Big Date" the story is continued:
Before he disappeared, the Master called
the eleven Olders. 

One by one they came before him to hear his
words. 

Each heard their clan names, 

S'pht'Lhar, S'pht'Hra, S'pht'Nma,
S'pht'Kah, S'pht'Vir, S'pht'Yra, S'pht'Val,
S'pht'Shr, S'pht'Mnr, S'pht'Yor, and
S'pht'Kr. 

Thus were the sacred clans given names and
ranks.

The eleven numbers, and the eleven sacred
clans. 

The final words of the master came to the
Olders: "Don't mistake your rank and number
for superiority.  The oldest child may
learn from the youngest."
<Bob's Big Date (Terminal 3)>
Eylon writes:

"In the myth above, Yrro ranked and enumerated the clans. Note that the S'pht'Kr are the very last -- are they the oldest or the youngest? The smartest or the most naive? Well, either way, their position would merit special attention from Yrro."

"Moreover, Yrro and the S'pht'Kr seem to share the same basic attitudes of reclusiveness and non-violence. Of the S'pht'Kr, we learn in "Eat it, Vid Boi!" that:

When once S'pht fought in brutal combat,
when hatred burned the tissues of one's
enemy, one clan, the S'pht'Kr, reclusive
and solitary, abandoned Lh'owon.

The clan went forth and up, stopping on
K'lia the third sister of Lh'owon, to
build a new home, free from their warring
brothers.
<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 1st message)>
And on "Charon Doesn't Make Change" that:
The endless war rages about us, and yet we,
the S'pht'Kr, cannot fight. S'bhuth stops
us.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 6: 1st message)>
Of Yrro, we learn in "Six Thousand Feet Under" that:
Fleeing all W'rkncacnter, Yrro and Pthia
settled upon Lh'owon.  They brought the
S'pht, servants who began to shape the
deserts of Lh'owon into marsh and sea,
rivers and forests. They made sisters for
Lh'owon to protect and maintain the paradise.
<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 4)>

"Yrro and Pthia came to Lh'owon to find paradise, away from conflict with the W'rkncacnter. And Yrro, who was presumably a peaceful being, only became "an angry leader" after the death of Pthia (his mate?)."

"I suspect that Yrro took special interest in the S'pht'Kr because they, like him, were peace-loving and reclusive. He helped them escape the fighting on Lh'owon, and sent their moon away to a safe distance. Perhaps he expected the collapse of the war-ridden Lh'owon and wanted to save them. He seems to have helped (or even directed) the S'pht'Kr to disappear, with the intention of returning when Lh'owon settled in peace.

Eylon provides further evidence to suggest that the S'pht had inferior technological capabilities:

"Notice that in all the Citadel terminals, not once did the defending S'pht propose to leave Lh'owon or to use any super- weapon. No technology. The best they could muster was the "S'ct'lac'tr" -- a weapon which they released in the Citadel while they waited for the Pfhor to get them."

Eylon does however admit that:

"There are a few holes in my theory that the S'pht were technologically inferior... they were only inferior in certain areas. They certainly had a marvelous computer network, a sentient AI, and plenty of cybernetics technology. They just seemed to be weak in the space sciences."

Yet what if the S'pht never built their computer network in the first place? What if their computers were built by Yrro and Pthia? What if the S'pht were specifically designed to work with and maintain the computer network. itself.

Eylon writes about Thoth asking:

"Was he really created by the S'pht'Kr? If his function was to contact the S'pht'Kr in the future, then I think only Yrro could have had the foresight to program him."

And who developed the ansible technology? A device to communicate instanteously across vast distances in space. If as Eylon maintains the S'pht were technologically inferior in the space sciences how could they have developed such a device or even conceived the need for one. Was the ansible created by Yrro? Did Yrro program Thoth on how to use the ansible to contact the eleventh clan when peace returned to Lh'owon and the clans united?




Keith Palmer <krjpalme@sciborg.uwaterloo.ca> writes:

"In the S'pht history terminal on "Eat It, Vid Boi!", the final disappearance of K'lia coincides with "the long war between the S'pht'Mnr and the S'pht'Lhar". It is also described in the terminal how the war began:

Fires burned, and the marshes of the
western hamlets turned to ash, scorching
black the water.
<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 2nd message)>
"Could this be a reference to nuclear weapons... ? The use of nuclear weapons might simply have been the last straw driving the S'pht'Kr away in disgust..."

Keith's interpretation is quite interesting. Were the use of such weapons the last straw? It would appear that the S'pht'Kr only intended to go as far as K'lia. The S'pht history terminal states that the clan went to K'lia to build a new home.

The clan went forth and up, stopping on
K'lia the third sister of Lh'owon, to
build a new home, free from their warring
brothers.
<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 1st message)>
But only after they could no longer face the carnage did they leave.
After the marsh wars between S'pht'Lhar and
S'pht'Mnr left the battlefields choked with
dead, the marsh graves full-

High above K'lia refused to see the carnage
upon Lh'owon.

She fled to the farthest reach, leaving the
sacred marsh dry from the falling tides.
<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 2nd message)>
Yet if S'pht clans had nuclear weapon technology why didn't they use them against the Pfhor? Was such technology lost/discarded in the intervening 1000 years?




Adam Freidin <bob@clarity.Princeton.EDU> writes concerning the S'pht'Kr's final message:

K'lia, whom we have taken,
Between Y'loa and T'jia,
All in a line,
Replace K'lia with the marsh,
Take the place to be the mark.
Mark the time from our Exodus,
Every 459.231 rotations.
Search the T'jia side,
Quarter way to the sun,
Around and under the marshes,
When all are one,
The S'pht'Kr will return.
<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 5)>
Adam asks:

"...is this message complete? The message states that"

The royalty of the clans have shared their
knowledge of the S'pht'Kr, each Master
holding a line of the truth in secret and
another line in common.  

Each clan possessed two pieces of the
whole, gifts from S'pht'Kr before
departing.
<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 5)>
"So should there be 20 or 22 lines?"

Good question. Actually I think there should be only 11 lines. Each of the ten clans possessed a unique line while also holding a line in common. Hence 10 + 1 = 11. Yet the final message has 12 lines. This makes me suspect that each clan held the last two lines in common.

When all are one,
The S'pht'Kr will return.




Keith Palmer <krjpalme@sciborg.uwaterloo.ca> writes:

"I would also like to add some speculation about the time between the disapparance of the S'pht'Kr and the arrival of the Pfhor at Lh'owon. It's not clear how much time separated these two events, but it is possible to build a theory... that makes the time gap small."

"We know that "1001 orbits" passed between the time that the S'pht'Kr went to K'lia and the time that the moon vanished."

The clan went forth and up, stopping on
K'lia the third sister of Lh'owon, to
build a new home, free from their warring
brothers.

For a thousand and one orbits, the clan was
forgotten, a memory lost upon the
battlefield smoke, until the all powerful
Yrro sent K'lia out to the stars.
<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 1st message)>
How long is an orbit? A day or a year?

Keith writes:

"So far as I can tell, the term "orbit" has always meant "year", and is synonomous with "revolution". If they had been referring to days, they might have used "rotations". The theory that a considerable length of time passed between when the S'pht'Kr left Lh'owon and K'lia left its orbit seems to be strengthened by the passage in Terminal 2 of "Eat It, Vid Boi!" which says:

"the clan was forgotten, a memory lost upon the battlefield smoke"
Keith maintains that a considerable amount of time would of had to pass for the remaining S'pht clans to forget their brothers.

But how long _is_ an orbit?

Durandal on "Charon Doesn't Make Change" states:

If this mythical eleventh clan survived,
then it has had a thousand years to grow
and learn since leaving Lh'owon.  My S'pht
believe that there is a way to contact them
somewhere on the planet, and that is what
we are searching for.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 1: 1st message)>
So the S'pht'Kr clan left Lh'owon a thousand years ago?

But didn't the Pfhor enslave the 10 S'pht clans around this time?

Over a thousand years ago, Lh'owon was all
but destroyed during the war in which the
Pfhor enslaved the S'pht.
<Waterloo Waterpark (Terminal 1: 2nd message)>
When the inevitable struggle between Earth
and the Pfhor begins, it wont be a 
one-sided annihilation like it was here a
thousand years ago, but a battle to topple
an empire.
<The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune (Terminal 1: 2nd message)>
The Pfhor appear to have been reluctant to
attack the Citadel directly.  Radiation
lingering in the area even after a thousand
years suggests that they irradiated the
Citadel and let the S'pht die slowly.
<The Hard Stuff Rules... (Terminal 1: 1st message)>
It appears that the S'pht retreated into
bunkers under the citadel during the final
Pfhor bombardment a thousand years ago.
You are going to search these bunkers.
<The Hard Stuff Rules... (Terminal 1: 2nd message)>
There's a virus down here which kills Pfhor
in a matter of hours; our S'pht say it was
bio-engineered by their ancestors during
the war against the Pfhor a thousand years
ago.  Whatever; it's saving our butts.
<This Side Towards Enemy (Terminal 1)>
So the S'pht/Pfhor war occurred 1000 years before we arrived.

When did the S'pht'Kr depart for K'lia? Well there is some evidence which might suggest a date on a Pfhor terminal on "Charon Doesn't Make Change":

We have explored many of the surrounding
caves, but continually find that the combative
creatures the S'pht call F'lickta.
Archeological evidence suggests that this
was a center of S'pht life, though it
appears to have been abandoned after an
ancient battle.

The quality of the machinery is quite
extraordinary, and most of the computer
terminals are still functional even after
two thousand years.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 2)>
It is also on this level that we learn that the S'pht'Kr barricaded off this area prior to departing Lh'owon to avoid being slaughtered.
The S'pht'Mnr attacked us.

S'bhuth is entranced, and we are powerless
to fight back.

The outer villages have been slaughtered
without their defenders.  The attackers
have overrun and killed most of us who were
in the compound.

Only those of us in the central chamber
have survived.

They won't likely find these chambers, but
we cannot survive here forever.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 5)>

We leave this message for any who might
find it, but we have barricaded off this
area, to make it difficult

S'bhuth has gone into a deep trance; we
know that we'll soon be leaving Lh'owon
but we don't know how.  The border fighting
has ceased, the other clans know something
is going on, but can't see the grass for
the fires.

We have sent emmissaries to the other clans,
but only S'bhuth knows what messages they
carry.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 6: 2nd message)>
Two questions arise from these terminals:
  1. Does the discovery of these S'pht terminals which are reputedly 2000 years old date the S'pht'Kr departure? Of course we don't know how long a Pfhor year is.

  2. What departure are we talking about? The departure to K'lia or K'lia's departure from Lh'owon 1001 orbits later?
We might tentatively answer these questions by suggesting that the S'pht'Kr left for K'lia 2000 years before we arrive. 1001 orbits later K'lia leaves Lh'owon. Based on Durandal's time scale this is 1000 years before we arrive. As 1001 orbits is the intervening period then it must be equivalent to 1000 years or there abouts. A thousand years would be enough time for the remaining S'pht clans to forget about the S'pht'Kr clan.
For a thousand and one orbits, the clan was
forgotten, a memory lost upon the
battlefield smoke, until the all powerful
Yrro sent K'lia out to the stars.
<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 1st message)>
If the above interpretation is correct then things start to get complicated. The S'pht'Kr message that was sent to each of the 10 clans before they left Lh'owon (for K'lia) contained the line "K'lia, whom we have taken". Yet K'lia didn't disappear until 1000 years (1001 orbits) later. This is remarkable forward planning.

More intriguingly the S'pht'Kr left Lh'owon (on K'lia) just before the Pfhor arrived.

The S'pht have preserved a myth, throughout
their long period of slavery, about a lost
clan of their race which abandoned Lh'owon
before the Pfhor invaded. 
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 1: 1st message)>
Remarkable good luck.




And who was responsible for all this? Well it's not clear. The S'pht history terminal on "Eat It, Vid Boi!" relates how Yrro sent K'lia out to the stars.

For a thousand and one orbits, the clan was
forgotten, a memory lost upon the
battlefield smoke, until the all powerful
Yrro sent K'lia out to the stars.
<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 1st message)>
But didn't Yrro disappear after he gave the S'pht clans their names and ranks.
Yrro became an angry master, bleeding for
his failure, grieving for the loss of
Pthia.  He broke the S'pht into eleven
clans, and spread them over Lh'owon.

And he spoke, yet covered in blood from his
exertion, 

"I Yrro, who was your master, have failed
to preserve you.  Take your royalty to
guide you, and live upon the paradise that
you built for me."
<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 4)>

Before he disappeared, the Master called
the eleven Olders. 

One by one they came before him to hear his
words. 

Each heard their clan names, 

S'pht'Lhar, S'pht'Hra, S'pht'Nma,
S'pht'Kah, S'pht'Vir, S'pht'Yra, S'pht'Val,
S'pht'Shr, S'pht'Mnr, S'pht'Yor, and
S'pht'Kr. 

Thus were the sacred clans given names and
ranks.

The eleven numbers, and the eleven sacred
clans. 

The final words of the master came to the
Olders: "Don't mistake your rank and number
for superiority.  The oldest child may
learn from the youngest."
<Bob's Big Date (Terminal 3)>
So Yrro departs (or so it seems) and at some stage later the clan wars begin. The wars are described as "endless" by the S'pht'Kr before they leave Lh'owon (for K'lia) so Yrro must have been gone for some time.
The endless war rages about us, and yet we,
the S'pht'Kr, cannot fight. S'bhuth stops
us.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 6: 1st message)>
So how did the S'pht'Kr get to K'lia? Well we don't know and neither did the S'pht'Kr (so it seems).
S'bhuth has gone into a deep trance; we
know that we'll soon be leaving Lh'owon
but we don't know how.  The border fighting
has ceased, the other clans know something
is going on, but can't see the grass for
the fires.
<Charon Doesn't Make Change (Terminal 6: 2nd message)>
Was Yrro responsible for the disappearance of K'lia 1001 orbits later? Eylon Caspi (above) suggested that he returned because of a special relationship he had with the S'pht'Kr. But let me offer another interpretation. The S'pht history terminal in "Eat It, Vid Boi!" was written by one of the warring S'pht clans (possibly the 'Mnr). Thus the events are described from a third party's perspective. Could it be that the departure of K'lia, which so happened to coincide with "the first war between the S'pht'Mnr and the S'pht'Lhar", was in fact due to the imminent Pfhor invasion. A fact unknown by the writer and so wrongly attributed the departure of K'lia to the S'pht clan war. And would the writer not also attributed the disappearance of the moon to Yrro given the fact that from the writer's perspective only he could have achieved such a feat. Yet could the departure not have been caused by Thoth? As Simon Rowlands has suggested this is what Thoth's function was.
Glyphs never understood while
     [?young?alive]
now reveal the end of my creation:

When one of foreign speech
casts a [?papyrus] yoke upon the
     marsh,
Bethink you to keep the
     [?bleating goats]
far from Lh'owon.
<Beware of Abandoned Rental Trucks (Terminal 1: 2nd message)>
If Thoth was responsible for folding K'lia out of orbit then it raises a disturbing question. What was Thoth doing all the time the S'pht clans were wiping themselves out? Was his programming such that he could not intervene and mediate between the warring S'pht clans? It has been suggested that Thoth's role was to preserve a balance between opposing forces. Yin and yang. Indeed it appears he sided with the Pfhor against Durandal _and_ the S'pht to preserve a balance of power. Yet why did he not lift a finger to save the 10 S'pht clans from themselves?

And who programmed Thoth?

If it was Yrro and Yrro was of the Jjaro race it says alot about the Jjaro.

I say "Lets kick some Jjaro butt". If they have a butt to kick that is ;-)

Roll on Marathon Infinity.




Sam Morris <sam@netcity.co.uk> writes concerning the Infinity level "Where Some Rarely Go" and asks:

"Why do some of the invisible S'pht on this level fire really fast bolts? If the Pfhor were able to make S'pht with amazingly fast bolts, why not give all the S'pht this power? If the answer is that there are not enough to go round the entire Pfhor empire then why do they put them in Perimeter Garrison 7A? Durandal said, "If there is an armpit to the Pfhor garrison, this is it" and that most operations had been moved further Northwards."

Why indeed? There were some shady Pfhor experiments going on in Perimeter Station 7AF but nothing to suggest the development of a Turbo S'pht. If you are unclear about what Sam is referring to I suggest you crank up the difficulty setting to Total Carnage and watch those sparks fly. Thank God there weren't more of these guys. ;-)




Mike Phillips <venom@silcon.com> writes:

According to Durandal in M2, his S'pht disassembled the weapons and ammunition you brought with you from Tau Ceti in an attempt to mass-produce them. In doing so, several of the weapons were radically altered, at least outwardly. Durandal even states in the description of the new .44 Magnum Mega Class that it "doesn't look much like your old .45 MMC, does it?", and states this is because it has been "built for a single purpose, by a dedicated people" (the S'pht, one would assume).

The SPNKR, TOZT, and Zeus-Class Fusion pistol also boast new looks, although the S'pht's mass-produced batteries are "a little fuzzy. One might even say unstable." But the most puzzling change is in the assault rifle. Durandal tells us that our old M.75 "was a ridiculous toy designed to impress aging pompous generals." And of the new assault rifle: "Gone are the preposterously short barrel and the prodigious recoil that made firing the weapon akin to wrestling a greased pig." The MA-75B has a much longer barrel, true enough, but its recoil is NO better than the M.75's, and neither is its aim. If the M.75's horrible accuracy was due to a _documented_ "manufacturing defect," as stated in the _UESC Marathon Defense Planning Commission Report 1359-F - Militia Supply Supplement_ (or the M1 manual for those of you I've completely lost ;) ), it seems odd that a technologically advanced race like the S'pht could not have easily corrected this known defect.

Yes odd indeed. Mike continues:

Wouldn't Durandal want you to have the best available weaponry to complete his tasks? By the weapons' altered appearances, we can assume that the S'pht are not limited to duplicating weapons *exactly*. Could this be an oversight on their part (we know the fusion batteries are imperfect), or can it even be attributed to Durandal's rampancy? We already know he may very well have lied to us about the fusion pistol not being ready yet at the end of "Slings & Arrows..."

Ah yes the mysterious fusion pistol on "The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune".

But as Ben Semmler <semmm@aol.com> put it sometime ago:

Perhaps there was an evil S'pht who leaked the beta for the fusion pistol. You never know... :D

Yup... you never know. ;-)

But lastly back to Mike who lists all the weapon naming discrepancies in Marathon and final adds...

But what I _really_ want to know is what it's like to wield the "mighty" M1A2 .75 BR (as alluded to in the Infinity manual) ;)

The WHAT???!!! Mike writes:

Look in the description of the _flechette gun_ for that reference... something about the SMG having armor-piercing capabilities rivalling the "mighty M1A2 .75 BR".

So what ever happened to the "mighty M1A2 .75 BR"?

Another mystery perhaps?




Ty Klein <mrenigma@earthlink.net> writes:

The designation for the US military main battle tank is M1A1 (it may be up to M1A2,though I'm not sure). Maybe Bungie was alluding to the 120mm main gun on it.




Mike Phillips <venom@silcon.com> writes:

When mentioning the M1A2 .75 BR I somehow doubt that Bungie were alluding to a 120mm tank gun -- considering only that most weapons are given their barrels' dimensions by the number proceeding a decimal point, and both the MA-75B and and mysterious M1A2 .75 BR are 75mm guns, not 120mm.




Ty Klein <mrenigma@earthlink.net> writes:

When the number is proceded by a decimal point is generaly refers to the calibre. A 75mm gun is the size of a small tank cannon,which the MA-75B most definitely is not.(the grenade launcher is 40mm) I don't think Bungie was alluding to the actual size of the M1A2 .75BR, but to underscore how powerful of a weapon it is.




David Aitken <d.aitken@silvermills.co.uk> writes:

75 mm? Just to nitpick, if the .75 referred to calibre it would be in inches. If it was in mm I assure you a figure would precede the point modern standard rifle and machine-gun calibres are 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm respectively. The latter roughly equates to the old rifle calibre of .303 inches, which is a large bullet, so I agree that the .75 is highly unlikely to refer to calibre.


All weapon discussion has moved to the Weapons in Marathon section.




Muhsin Miski <mmiski@hotmail.com> writes

Do you ever ponder what is in those shells that the S'pht'Kr fly around in? Are they those squishy S'pht compilers (only the organic living part)? Using Anvil, I tried to pick out what was in the bubble. From the looks of it, it appears that a marine reflection can be seen on the glass. Am I seeing things or is this the reflection of the player? Those sneaky S'pht'Kr succeed to reveal their identity yet again.

Mushin sent in the following pic. You can just about make out what looks like a visor reflection in the glass dome of the S'pht'Kr Defender. It's not clear whether this was deliberate.

You can get some idea of what a S'pht'Kr would probably look like when they are not in their powered armor from terminals on "Charon Doesn't Make Change" and "The Hard Stuff Rules". These are the native Lh'owon S'pht before their 1000 years of enslavement. One thousand years in which the S'pht were subjected to genetic engineering by the Pfhor. The Final Screen relates:

The tireless, nearly immortal cybernetic crew of the
ship were the genetically engineered descendants of
the dead world below- the first of their race in
a thousand years to return to their ancestral home.

Thus the S'pht you see in the game no longer resemble their original ancestors.

Mushin goes onto to write:

On the Envy chapter screen, I've also noticed that a S'pht'Kr lies on the ground next to the player with its shell cracked open. So, what's the big deal? Well, aren't the S'pht'Kr supposed to disappear/disentegrate when they die? How did this pictured S'pht'Kr manage to die in whole?

Well this is most likely to be artistic licence on the part of Craig Mullins. What is interesting is the red blood. Given that the original S'pht had green blood where did all the red blood come from? Though again this may be just artistic licence.




James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

In the Christian bible, the sub-book of Genesis chapter 25 verse 23 says (King James Version):

"And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people [paraphrasing: 'and these people shall be stronger the those people']; and *the elder shall serve the younger*."

(I added the emphasis). Didn't Yrro say to the clans of the S'pht "Don't mistake your rank and number for superiority. *The oldest child may learn from the youngest*." (emphasis again mine)? Just something of interest (IMO).




Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@bungie.org> writes:

Something just occured to me. I've recently set my desktop to cycle through Mullins/Bungie art, and as it switched over to the chapter screen for "Citadel" I got to wondering: why is this ancient image of a S'pht remniscient of a Pfhor-built S'pht compiler, and not the old 'native' S'pht we see in the terminal pictures, or some other type of S'pht cyborg like the Defenders used by the Kr? The simplest explanation is that Bungie told Craig "a S'pht temple" and he drew a S'pht figure in there modeled after the S'pht he knew from Marathon - the compilers. But perhaps there's a plausible story explanation a well...

(And just who is that figure anyway? Could it be Yrro? It seems to be position like a figure of Jesus would be in a Catholic/Christian church. And if it IS Yrro, then my main question above becomes: why are Pfhor-built compilers remniscient of the Jjarro?)

Interesting and valid point. As has been pointed out before the S'pht we see in the game are the result of genetic engineering. The Final Screen in Marathon tells us:

The tireless, nearly immortal cybernetic crew of the
ship were the genetically engineered descendants of
the dead world below- the first of their race in
a thousand years to return to their ancestral home.

A terminal in Marathon 2 shows us what the S'pht originally looked like at the time of the Pfhor invasion of Lh'owon 1000 years before we arrive. So why is there a large image/icon of an enslaved S'pht in the ancient S'pht Citadel?




Justin Ancheta <jancheta@mail.sprint.ca> writes concerning the enslaved S'pht image on the Citadel chapter screen:

an image of an enslaved Sph't existing 1000 years before we arrive? it could be just another prophecy. in a terminal on "The Hard Stuff Rules", the text writer speaks of how the "shutting of the citadel windows", and the early victories of the Sph't over the Pfhor were all foretold. perhaps the Sph't elders also foresaw that their whole race would be eventually enslaved by the Pfhor...

the earlier prophecies of the Sph't Elders may have been achieved through the use of hallucinogenic substances, similar to how shamans in primitive tribal cultures do today. or they might have been achieved through intense meditation or even by a means similar to that of the Oracle at Dephi. anyway, my point is that the Sph't might have recorded the visions of their elders through the construction of figures like the one in Mullins' image. hence the figure in the image could fulfill a role similar to that of a cave painting of sorts; a visual record of a prophecy that the Sph't would be enslaved and genetically modified.

concurrently, this could also be a depiction of a scene from Sph't mythology, similar to how churches and cathedrals have stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Bible, among other things. the prophecy that they would be enslaved could have been a major point in their mythology.




Alan Greene <alan.greene@pop.mindspring.com> also writes concerning the same image:

On the Citadel chapter screen from M2:

Catholics use the hanging Jesus on their crucifix, could the enslaved S'pht similarly be an image of suffering? Meant as a reminder of sorts? I get the impression that the citadel precedes the attack on Lh'owon, so it doesn't make sense for that to be the original installation. Still, when the Catholic church decided that Jesus should be white, they took the trouble to destroy as much religious artwork as possible that portrayed Jesus with dark skin. Perhaps the S'pht felt that a reminder of their suffering was important enough to justify tearing down what was there, and replacing it with a new icon of the enslaved figure. Just a thought.




Note that on Craig Mullins' home page he writes concerning the Citadel chapter screen:

**Alien Citadel**

The Marathon Marine exploring the catacombs of an alien world.


The inference here is that the wall image we see is very old.




Mike Leong <msleong@berkeley.edu> writes concerning the S'pht:

Some of the terminals which mention the S'pht have a certain resemblance to some passages or stories in the Bible. Perhaps this was incidental, and perhaps intentional.

Before he disappeared, the Master called the eleven Olders.

One by one they came before him to hear his words.

Each heard their clan names,

S'pht'Lhar, S'pht'Hra, S'pht'Nma,
S'pht'Kah, S'pht'Vir, S'pht'Yra, S'pht'Val,
S'pht'Shr, S'pht'Mnr, S'pht'Yor, and
S'pht'Kr. Thus were the sacred clans given names and ranks.

The eleven numbers, and the eleven sacred clans.

The final words of the master came to the Olders: "Don't mistake your rank and number for superiority. The oldest child may learn from the youngest."

<Bob's Big Date (Terminal 3)>

Sounds a bit like Jesus. There were 12 apostles, until Judas Iscariot killed himself, so 11 were left when Jesus ascended into heaven. Those final words do seem a bit similar to some of the Christian messages about equality among men. Also, the presence of a higher power that would soon leave is similar to Jesus after the resurrection. It was also after His resurrection that Jesus appeared to Peter and assigned him to lead the church. The returning of the S'pht'Kr, the destruction of the Pfhor and the liberation of the enslaved S'pht seems like it could have been drawn from a mixture of Biblical stories. The return of the S'pht'Kr is similar to the second coming of Christ foretold in the book of Revelation/Apocalypse. The S'pht certainly seem to hold it in a similar esteem that the church holds Christ's return. Evil (the Pfhor) were running rampant at the time, and destruction of Lh'owon resulted after the return of the S'pht'Kr. The demise of the Pfhor could be seen as parallel to the final judgement of the wicked. Liberation from slavery would obviously be the story of the book of Exodus. Note that word appears here:

Mark the time from our Exodus,
Every 459.231 rotations.
Search the T'jia side,
Quarter way to the sun,
Around and under the marshes,
When all are one,
The S'pht'Kr will return.

<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 5)>

There's also the previous entry by James Gurnee regarding Genesis 25:23 and the S'pht. Not the best analogy, to be sure, but I think it's worth thinking about.




Purple Penguin <purplepenguin@penguinbros.com> provides some clarification around Mike Leong's comments concerning the S'pht and the Bible:

In response to Mike Leong's S'pht-Bible-Connection-thing... He says "Jesus". I says brush up on your Old Testament! This is most definitely a reference to the story of Joseph at the end of Genesis; Chapter 49 to be specific:

"And Jacob called his sons and said, "Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come."

--snip--

"All these were the tribes of Israel, twelve in number, and this is what their father said to them as he bade them farewell, addressing to each a parting word appropriate to him."

(Now there is a discrepancy in the number of clans (12 vs 11), but that may be that in this story the 11th son was more important than the 12th. That son was Joseph, also known as the guy with the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Backing up a little:)

"Joseph took the two of them, Ephraim with his right hand -- to Israel's left -- and Manasseh with his left hand -- to Israel's right -- and brought them close to him. But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, though he was the younger..."

--snip--

"When Joesph saw that his father was placing his right hand on Ephraim's head, he thought it wrong; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's. 'Not so, Father,' Joseph said to his father, ' for the other is the first-born; place your right hand on his head' But his father objected saying, "I know, my son, I know. He too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he..."





President People <presidentpeople@verizon.net> writes in a Story forum post:

I was playing around with the S'pht'Kr collection today, and I noticed a small detail behind the glass: A small tan oval. I realized that this could be the eye of a S'pht lying hidden within!

Look closely! I drew a (rather poor) guide below the first image to help pick out the important details. In the first view, you can see what might be the S'pht's hand at the bottom right of his bubble. You can see the texture of his skin throughout the collection. I also posted the terminal pictures showing the exposed S'pht below the guide to (hopefully) further my case. (From "Charon Doesn't Make Change" and "The Hard Stuff Rules...")

Can you see him yet? Please tell me I'm not crazy. :P

This may already be known, but I didn't find anything pertaining to it in the S'pht section.

There is now. :)

Check out what Rob McLees had to say about the creation of the S'pht'Kr Elite Guard (Defender).




President People continues:

Also, it was noted in the S'pht section that there was unexplained red blood splattered on the dead S'pht'Kr in the "Envy" Infinity chapter screen. If you look at the second terminal picture above, you can see that there is also red blood on the walls and on the Pfhor surgeons. While there isn't any blood on the current "patient" (or the yellow cloth), one could assume that the previous "patient" was a S'pht as well.

 


mchief111 <mchief111@rising-studios.com> adds:

About those fluids: it could be the green blood isn't the only stuff in the S'pht. The second captured S'pht is bleeding green, but those red bulbs on their front look an awful lot like singleton eyes. Maybe they're the tip of some organic schtuff inside the S'pht that pops like a water balloon to get red gunk all over the place?

But wait! The S'pht are engineered descendants of the F'lickta, right? Well, if you look at the F'lickta death sprites, we see *both* green and red blood coming out. Bazinga!

Nice one. :)



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