The 10th military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg


"Mjolnir Recon number 54..."


To quote a popular phrase "They're Everywhere!". The Marathon Story is awash with cyborgs. We have cyborg S'pht, a cyborg Pfhor controlling the S'pht, cyborg simulacrums of the Marathon crew and nine military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs on the colony. But is there a 10th military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg?

The evidence would suggest that there is.
The log of Bernard Strauss (Marathon's first science director) reveals that the Marathon left Mars carrying

"...all of the destructive knowledge of mankind. Ten cyborgs." <Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones... (Terminal 2)>
Leela reports that
"...nine military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs were covertly living among the colonists, and acting together they were able to single-handedly turn back the latter stages of the Pfhor assault. " <Ingue Ferroque (Terminal 3)>
More recently, Durandal in the Marathon II (Preview) remarks:
"Were you ever curious about the tenth cyborg which was supposed to be on the Marathon? Why could Leela find only nine? Was it ever activated? Was it destroyed during the defense of the colony? You are right to be curious."<What! About! Bob! (Terminal 1: 2nd message)>
If the 10th cyborg exists is there any reference to it in the story?

One terminal may hold the clue to the existence of the 10th cyborg. The exit terminal on Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! (Terminal 2) contains the following text.

Public Access Terminal 92-g<92.45.28.48> 

<Warning: Transmission may not be complete>

Your last mission was a success, but I have terrible news.
#@Pragma Nautical Redefined^# efenders reported seeing the
aliens 1§moving a large cylindrical object.
#101111011110111100001# is is a '7'.  Mjolnir Recon number 54
must stop them from exploding igniting/ blowing up/ *A94F12/
it/ the S'pht full spPace cOmputEró Or PlannEd exterm. 
@14.Sword-Roland.transfer

<Data Transmission Unsuccessful>
<Rerouting>

@@2-Fren. ie transfer.  Partial cOmputEr^&ø relay.  Tycho.
&**Security error.
Ty93.2 !dead.

<Leela Data Transfer Unsuccessful>
<Leela Program Pragma Ten>
Communication interruption cause: unknown
<Pre-Recorded Error Message Follows>

My original programming didn't prepare me for these kinds of
attackers.  All of my functions will fail within a few minutes
of this transmission.  I have one final chance to trick the
oncoming viruses, but it is unclear whether this attempt will
be successful.

I have given instructions to Durandal as to the best defense
of the Marathon, but he is completely unstable and I fear that
he is in the Jealous stage of Rampancy.

Good Luck...

<End Pre-Recorded Message>
<Teleporter Automatic Sequence start>

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The first part of this terminal text would have made little sense when it was originally read. Certainly the word "Mjolnir" would have meant nothing. But by the end of game we learn that nine military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs were down on the colony turning back the Pfhor assualt. Is the reference to "Mjolnir Recon number 54" in fact a reference to the 10th military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg? Does "Recon" stand for reconnaissance? Does "number 54" simply denote the fact that military cyborgs are numbered?

In addition to these questions is the question - who is communicating this message to us? The first line is typical of Leela "Your last mission was a success, but I have terrible news". The reference to your last mission is presumably the clearing of the Engineering Section of Pfhor to prevent them from denoting a bomb (Shake Before Using...). If you had successfully completed the earlier level <Bob-B-Q> you would have received the following message from Leela

Public Access Terminal<78.39.3.91>

***INCOMING MESSAGE FROM LEELA***

You have done well.

The surviving #4Fc#O32C <B.O.B.> reported seeing the Pfhor
transferring some kind of large device towards Reactor Area 3.
From the description it must be a bomb.

If a large bomb is allowed to detonate in the Engineering
Section, the Marathon would be ^&2``~<Colloquialism Search
Error #F9C>


We must head off the Pfhor threat to the Engineering section.
I am going to send you into the primary re~Tick
Count=>first_thought #49.
You must clear the area of all aliens before they destroy the
Primary Reactors.

~[p[]]*kc3sla/.U

***MESSAGE INTERRUPTED***

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The first terminal in the next level (Shake Before Using...) is an Engineering Terminal so we are presumably in the right place. On reaching the exit terminal on Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! we then learn that our last mission was a success.
Ah... but there is terrible news!:
#@Pragma Nautical Redefined^# efenders reported seeing the
aliens 1§moving a large cylindrical object.
#101111011110111100001# is is a '7'.  Mjolnir Recon number 54
must stop them from exploding igniting/ blowing up/ *A94F12/
it/ the S'pht full spPace cOmputEró Or PlannEd exterm. 
@14.Sword-Roland.transfer

<Data Transmission Unsuccessful>
<Rerouting>

@@2-Fren. ie transfer.  Partial cOmputEr^&ø relay.  Tycho.
&**Security error.
Ty93.2 !dead.

<Leela Data Transfer Unsuccessful>
<Leela Program Pragma Ten>
Communication interruption cause: unknown
<Pre-Recorded Error Message Follows>

Is this still Leela? The reference to "Sword-Roland.transfer" would sugggest that Durandal is in some way involved in the communication and Tycho is also mentioned.
The words "#@Pragma Nautical Redefined^#" make no sense other than the fact that the word "Pragma" is used later "<Leela Program Pragma Ten>" and also appears in a Marathon II (Preview) terminal. The opening screen in the first terminal on BaseDestruction has the following text "<Pragma Junction ^7921 Engaged>". Has this any significance?
The binary string "#101111011110111100001#" appears to make no sense and the number seven appears again?
One possibility is that Leela's message has been interrupted and that we are now reading a communication between computer systems or within the same computer system.

One thing is clear we never find out if "Mjolnir Recon number 54" prevented the detonation of this second bomb. No reference is made to a bomb after this point. Is it possible that this terminal should have appeared earlier in the game somewhere before the last terminal in Bob-R-Q? On reading the 'success' message (not an easy feat!) at this exit terminal we would have read for a second time the existence of a bomb and that we must prevent its denotation. We would then recall reading that "Mjolnir Recon number 54 must stop them from exploding igniting/ blowing up..."!


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Hamish Sinclair
Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie Last updated Sept 19, 1995