Dates in the Marathon story are confusing. Here is an example. When was the Marathon launched? The log of Bernard Strauss provides us with a time fix.

November 15, 2209. <2209.>

Thank heaven, the ceremony is over. The UESC president came aboard Marathon and gave a speech.

<Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones... (Terminal 2)>

This is the eve of the Marathon's launch. The date format <2209.> can be interpretated as <>. This allows us to determined that the Engineering Document on doors in Bigger Guns Nearby:

Marathon Internal Engineering Documents
Section 1-c appendix H

Subject: Doors
By:  Estasia Orestes, Dominick I. Plackar, and Ursa Simbalzi
<Bigger Guns Nearby (Terminal 2)>
was written on March 23, 2402. 193 years after the Marathon's launch. That's odd.

But what of the date in the first terminal?:

At 0830 hours, alien forces boarded the Marathon.  The current
situation is dire.  All personnel are required to arm
themselves and fight for their lives. 
<Posted 2794.>
<Arrival (Terminal 1)>
Was the Marathon attacked in the year 2794? The exact month and day cannot be determined but the message was apparently posted at 0839 hours, 9 minutes after the Marathon was boarded. The year 2794 corresponds with the manual text:
Aaahhh, life in the glorious 28th century. Walking into a jump pad will instantly transport you to a new location.
(Manual page 14)
Yet there are a number of references to the fact that the Marathon's trip from Mars to Tau Ceti took over 300 years. For example, in the manual we have the following text just prior to the Marathon being attacked
...three hundred and twenty-two years earlier... on the eve of the launching of the Marathon.
(Manual page 2)
As the colony had been established for seven years this means that the Marathon's voyage took 315 years. The duration of the Marathon's journey is also estimated by Leela to be around 300 years:
UHL^U_3kg he Pfhor are sla``vers. Their trading empire``````~ rose to prominence soon afterwe!!~eft Earth over three hundred years ago.

<Try again (Terminal 1)>

Though understandably Leela is confused.... we left Mars! But she does get it right at the end:
I am disturbed by how easily the cyborgs were secretly assimilated into our midst, and believe that this event predates the Marathon's launch from Mars three hundred years ago.

<Ingue Ferroque (Terminal 3)>

If the Marathon's voyage took 315 years then it would have left Mars in the year 2479 and not the year 2209 as Bernard Strauss'log indicates.
Therefore Marathon's Internal Engineering Document on doors dated 2402 was written before the Marathon left. But as the Marathon took 64 years to build the document was written some 13 years before building began. Confused? Well it gets worse! In the last terminal Leela remarks:
Although the results were unquestionably for the best, their presence on the Marathon could only have been to further wicked ends. I'm certain the real answer lies somewhere in the tumultuous, back-stabbing politics of Sol during the early twenty-fourth century.

<Ingue Ferroque (Terminal 3)>

This time period corresponds with the Third Martian War documented to have occurred between 2345-48 Earth A.D. Two decades earlier we have the failed MIDA coup on Mars dated as 2321. In the terminal describing this coup we read that MIDA:
...never attempted to take over the Marathon, which was nearing completion...

<The Rose (Terminal 2)>

Now we have the Marathon identified at a date of 2321 Earth A.D. and the events on Mars would tie in with Durandal's remark in Blaspheme Quarantine:
If you're looking for a hidden stash of ammunition that was left here by the Martian insurgents three hundred and fifteen years ago...

<Blaspheme Quarantine (Terminal 2: 2nd message)>

Of course when Durandal communicates this to us it is actually 322 years since the Marathon left Mars so the Martian insurgents hid their ammunition seven years after the Marathon was launched... hhmmmnn?
The outcome of this rather long tirade is that we have three launch dates for the Marathon: 2209, circa 2321 Earth A.D., or 2479.
What is not clear from text is whether or not the dates 2209 and 2479 are also based on an Earth A.D. time reference. If they are then we have a problem. Much of this confusion might be explained by the following text which appears in the fourth terminal on Never Burn Money

<Never Burn Money (Terminal 4)>

Has someone been messing with the Marathon's Computer Net internal clock? A rampant computer perhaps? Or more intriguingly did Bernard Strauss delay the onset of Durandal's Rampancy by reseting the internal clock thus postponing Durandal's eventual entry into the second stage?
Or did Bungie just get their dates mixed up?

Steve Wood <> noticed the following discrepancy between Marathon and the Marathon II (Preview). At the very end of Marathon Leela says:

The Pfhor ship vanished about twenty minutes ago, after venting nearly a thousand Pfhor bodies and other refuse. I am positive that Durandal is in control, and fear what he might do with such a powerful ship during the Jealous stage of his Rampancy.

<Ingue Ferroque (Terminal 3)>

But on the first level of Marathon II (Preview) Durandal tells us
Immediately before we left the colony on Tau Ceti, I teleported you directly into one of the stasis chambers on the scoutship and you remained there for our entire journey through the core. One instant you're looking forward to retiring from combat as the hero of the defense of Tau Ceti and the next you're on an alien world seventeen years later and half a million light years away.

<Waterloo Waterpark (Terminal 1: 2nd message)>

This text also appeared in the Demo.

So Leela tells you the Pfhor ship vanished 20 minutes ago with Durandal onboard and Durandal tells you that he teleported you off the Marathon immediately before he left the colony. So who's telling the truth? Or did ......... :-)

Bungie's official (corrected) Marathon time line is as follows:

2194- War between Icarus and Thermopylae.
2395- Purchase of Deimos from Free holders by UESG
2402- Doors Manual written up
2405- Marathon project begins pre-construction phase
2408- Deimos Conversion begins
2442- Misriah Massacre at food Riot
2465- Martians place munitions on Marathon
2466- Failed Martian Coup, MIDA controls government for short period.
2472- Launch of Marathon
2773- Marathon arrives at Tau Ceti
2787- Colony established
2794- Marathon attacked

For full information about the origin of this new time line and other interesting information provided by Bungie check out the Lost Network Packets.

This official time line is now discussed in some detail in Bungie's time line section in Facts and puzzling things about.

Wow! the last time this section was updated was way back on Nov 10, 1995. Anyway Ben Semmler <> writes concerning something that has puzzled people for sometime. Ben writes:

What are those numbers in the upper-left hand corner of terminals supposed to represent? Here they are from the beginnings all three games:

M1 - 1800[?] 08.24.2337
M2 - 0100[?] 05.10.2337
Mi - 0100[?] 05.10.2337

I assumed they were times and dates. The first four digits possibly time, because in M2 and Mi, they increment as you read the term messages. The next series of numbers can be interpreted as MM.DD.YEAR. The days also increment, in twenty-four hour segments, of course. But the weird thing is, why is the M1 month and day number higher than the M2/i day? The only logical explanation is that they are there for mostly aesthical purposes, but they can be used to time yourself at playing Marathon. If I were writing this into the program, I would at _least_ make the M1 date start at 0840 07.24.2794. I was wondering what your feelings were on this?

mmm... what happened in 2337?

Andrew Malcovsky <> writes:

I was just playing through Marathon 2 once more, and noticed a slight discrepancy wwhich involved the gap when the layer was captured in "The Big House" In the next level, Robert Blake states that the Pfhor had held the player captive for "nearly a month" before we were rescued. Yet that lovely little clock in the upper right of the player display (when reading terms) notes no discrepancy of that size, other than that due to game play. A few "hours", perhaps, but certainly not a month!

Again this raises the question Ben Semmler raised above. What is the point of the upper-left hand timing function? Why go to the trouble of putting it in. Simple aesthics? But as Andrew points out this all falls down with big time gaps like being captured after "The Big House" or indeed the 17 year gap between Marathon and Marathon 2. Note the odd differences in times when you start up both games. Shouldn't some cognizance have been given to these potential continuity problems?

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Last updated Nov 2, 1998