The Uplink Chip on Hang Brain

"What to save and throw away?"

Greg Downing <71033.1046@CompuServe.COM> wrote:

In the Infinity level where Tycho makes us kill Durandal, we pick up an uplink chip. What is *this* for, esp. since we lose it later on? Maybe the chip contains 'Durandal's primordial pattern', and collecting it made the thing transfer it's contents to 'our soggy little brain'?

The uplink chip's function is unclear. We retain it on "Electric Sheep Three" and "Eat the Path" but lose it on "By Committee". Even if we carry it to "You're Wormfood, Dude" or go back in time via "Electric Sheep Three" it seems to serve no purpose.

Charles Srstka <> writes:

Hmm I wonder if this has something to do with it. This is the message you get if you read the terminal without destroying Durandal's last circuit:


What to save and throw away?

pr?The last hour is on us both?mr.s?tuck this little kitty into the impenetrable

pr?Contents under pressure?Do not expose to excessive heat, vacuum, blunt trauma,
immersion in liquids, disintegration, reintegration, hypersleep, humiliation, sorrow
or harsh language?

pr?When the time comes, whose life will flash before yours?

pr?A billion paths are here inside me?
pr?yes, yes, yes, Bernhard, 110?
pr?potential, jewels, jewels, yes, jewels?


And then it transports you to the beginning of the level. Maybe Durandal wants you to do something with that uplink chip? I thought originally. But after searching that level a thousand times, I could not find a place to insert an uplink chip so I think that it is probably meant to be put inside your cyborg brain somewhere. This makes sense with the term. . "tuck this little kitty into the impenetrable brainpan?" and "what to save and throw away?" means that Durandal can only save part of his program on the uplink chip and "pr?Contents under pressure?Do not expose to excessive heat, vacuum, blunt trauma, immersion in liquids, disintegration, reintegration, hypersleep,humiliation, sorrow or harsh language?" means that Durandal wants you to keep good care of the uplink chip. As for the rest, I have no idea what it means.

Nice one. :-) But who or what is mr.s?

pr?The last hour is on us both?mr.s?

Darren MacLennan <> writes:

...I think that I might have gotten one or two more insights into the message...

The opening message - "stay out"?

When the time comes, whose life will flash before yours?

This is almost obvious if you look at it the right way. Think about it this way: Durandal is inside of your skull, taking up residence. If and when you die, Durandal is wondering whose memories will flash before your eyes - your own, or Durandal's? In other words, as you're dying, you're flashing on Strauss tormenting you, calling the Pfhor from a distance, kidnapping the tenth cyborg, etcetera...

A billion paths are here inside me?

Maybe indicative of the fact that you're slipping from alternate future to alternate future - in other words, both you and Durandal can take "a billion paths", all of which have you at its center. You're the only person who can affect which path you take.

Alternately, there could be a billion computer synapses within the uplink chip that's been inserted into your skull - maybe Durandal is taking a moment or two for some narcissistic self-contemplation. Perhaps they even sparkle like jewels?

yes, yes, yes, Bernhard, 110?

Maybe he's flashing back on the days when he had to do everything that Bernhard told him to do. 110 could be indicative of a degree that he has to open a door, or turn a satellite to.

Mr.s? Mr. Strauss, aka Bernhard Strauss!

The whole thing reminds me of the sequence in "2001" where Dave is yanking control chips out of HAL 9000 - Durandal is reverting back to his "childhood" by saying things in a stream-of-consciousness."

William Vuong <> writes:

Could "mr.s" be "mr. strauss?" "Bernhard" is also mentioned in the terminal, too.

Greg Downing <71033.1046@CompuServe.COM> points out that if you go back to "Carroll Street Station" you can use the "Hang Brain" uplink chip. But we won't tell you what happens. Find out for yourself... on Total Carnage hopefully. ;-)

Cindy Hoffa <> writes to suggest that the reference to jewels may refer back to the Song of Roland, in reference to Durendal.

What store of relics lies in thy hilt of gold!

Cindy goes on to say:

Also, perhaps the reference to Bernhard is simply recognition that Durandal has just completed his final mission for him, although Durandal may not have been consciously aware of this.


Jim Mitchell <> points out that in the Excerpts from the "History of Battleroids" it states that

Dead soldiers were recycled in makeshift battleroid factories.
Easy to manufacture chips enhanced the fragile human brain...
If we are a Battleroid then it is easy to see that the Hang Brain chip may simply be away of enhancing our brain with Durandal's primal pattern.

Dennis Taylor <> writes:

I noticed one of your other contributors translates Durandal's opening message on the garbled "Hang Brain" terminal ("stty.out") as "stay out".

Actually, the instant I saw it, I thought of the UNIX 'stty' command, which controls the input and output behavior of a terminal. Doesn't this seem more likely? For more info, the man (manual) page for stty can be found at:

it's pretty heavy wizardry unless you're really failiar with UNIX, though.

A blow to this theory: typing "stty.out" or "stty out" doesn't actually work (at least for the GNU version of stty). Oh, well... UNIX has probably evolved a little by the 28th century. <g>

Jack Miller <> writes:

stty.out is not meant as a command, but rather as the output of a tty terminal. (Similar to how a.out is the output of compiling a C program.) To my knowledge, this is not literally true of any version of unix I've used, but Bungie rarely uses literal contemporary computer terminology and commands in the game terminals. Rather, what's so cool about the story is how they use a patois of contemporary terms to _suggest_ things in this unfamiliar computer system. For instance, their use of "pragma" in Marathon, &c. So stty suggests a communications terminal (and probably a very low-level one, which fits with Durandal's self-dismantling, "what to keep and throw away," &c.) and .out suggests some sort of output file (again, low-level).

So what happened to the up-link chip after "Hang Brain"? As described above we seem to lose it and our weapons etc on "By Committee". But do we? Tycho informs us:

I happen to suspect you're carrying Durandal's final gift in that soggy little skull-his primal pattern. The Enforcers haven't been able to squeeze it out of you yet, and are taking it out on some of the former crew of the Marathon as we speak. But they're determined, if nothing else.

So it would appear that we are still carrying the uplink chip, yet not in a way that it shows up in our inventory.

Many people have pointed out that on "Strange Eons" we cause the merging of Durandal and an ancient S'pht AI (Thoth?). Indeed we find a "chip" in one the pools on this level in order to complete this task. But where did this chip come from?

Jeff Kazmierski <> writes:

...we can only complete the level by finding an uplink chip hidden in one of the pools and inserting it in the socket near the final A.I. chamber. Could this chip be the lost/stolen one from Hang Brain? If so, is it possible that Tycho had one of its troops dump it in the water in the hope of destroying it?

The chip's existence on this supposedly deep underground level is puzzling. How did it get down there? Who does it belong to? Surely it can't be Durandal's since we were carrying it in our skull. If it wasn't in our skull then we did lose it on "By Committee" since it no longer showed up our inventory.

One might argue that it's simply a game play convenience. We need a chip to complete this level successfully. Since we don't have one when we arrive then the level has to contain one.

Yet this doesn't wash with the story at this stage. If this "chip" is Durandal's primal pattern how did it get here? And what really happened to one that we found on "Hang Brain"?

Charles Srstka <> writes:

To me, it seems that Durandal's pattern was uploaded from the chip to the cyborg brain of the player. The Pfhor take the chip in By Committee, but obviously they couldn't take Durandal's pattern. When we pick up the new chip in Strange Aeons, it's downloaded to the chip. Or maybe Thoth loads it onto the chip when you access one of his terminals. Anyway, where the other chip comes from, I have no idea. Probably Thoth beams it down into the water so that it wouldn't get destroyed in the firefight.

Michael Dawe <> points out that on "Hang Brain" we read the following:

What to save and throw away?

pr?The last hour is on us both?mr.s?tuck this little kitty into the

pr?Contents under pressure?Do not expose to excessive heat, vacuum,
blunt trauma,
immersion in liquids, disintegration, reintegration, hypersleep,
humiliation, sorrow
or harsh language?

This is Durandal talking about the uplink chip containing his primal pattern and he clearly states that we shouldn't immerse it in liquids. Yet on "Strange Eons" we find a chip at the bottom of a small pool. Of course if this is Durandal's chip it shouldn't be there... right?

Nice observation.

This actually supports the point made by Charles Srstka (above) when he suggests that the chip is merely a receptacle for Durandal's primal pattern. The chip itself is not important but rather its contents. On "By Committee" we lose the chip but its contents is now safely tucked away in our "soggy little skull" and the Pfhor don't know how to extract it. As Durandal said it's "the impenetrable brainpan.

On "Strange Eons" you might not have found the chip in the pool until you reach the S'pht AI and discover that you actually need a chip to complete your mission.

Note how the narrow walkway to the AI's chip slot is marked out like a road, this is the right path. :-)

Once you find the chip in the pool Durandal's primal pattern is transferred to it. This chip, like the one on "Hang Brain", is now a receptacle for Durandal's primal pattern. Inserting this in the slot causes the merging of Durandal and S'pht AI.

Many people have noted that the symbol displayed before the final message on this level is very like a combination of Durandal's Marathon symbol and the Thoth symbol signifying a merging of the 2 AIs.

Back on the 7th Mar '96 (I kid you not) Randy Reddig (then of Double Aught Software) wrote about this symbol that he had sent to the Story page:

thanks for putting up the jjarro symbol. :) greg and i wanted something that represented a lot of things:

a. double zero (the year 2000, the future, infinity in a sense)
b. the symbol for infinity
c. balance, somewhat like the yin and yang
d. a symbol that vaguely resembled and older jjarro based ai, thoth.

circles are much better, i think. they represent infinity by themselves...the inset circles and squares are the other paths, those less obvious, on the infinite path.

Jim Mitchell <> writes:

Have you noticed that the unformatted term on KYT speaks of two (?people) who can't exist without the other? A good and a bad personality by the looks of the term. Seems sort of like the discussion we had earlier about Thoth needing to be merged to exist. If Thoth exists to keep a balance between things it seems possible that there would be two parts to him to control both ends. Perhaps Durandal became one of these parts on Strange Aeons.

Interesting point. And on Charon doesn't make change (Terminal 6: 1st message) we read:


I felt S'bhuth at burning dawn

The endless war rages about us, and yet we,
the S'pht'Kr, cannot fight. S'bhuth stops

He bled on me, straining. He says to not
let more S'pht feel him.

He says more will destroy him, that he was
meant not to be alone.

It would appear that S'bhuth was not meant to be alone either. A connection?

Mark Bassett <> writes agreeing with Charles Srstka comment that the chip on the "Hang Brain" is not the same as that one found on "Strange Eons" but suggests further:

...neither chip _ever_ contained Durandal's "primal pattern".

The chips are interfaces, used to make connections between different systems. In M2 they connect Durandal to the Pfhor computer network, and in MI they connect Durandal to our brain, and then our brain to Thoth. Once Durandal's pattern has been transmitted to us the first chip isn't needed any more, so it doesn't matter if the Pfhor capture it. Similarly, the chip on Strange Aeons was put there ages ago, ready for Thoth's eventual merger with S'bhuth. The reason it is underwater is really that Bungie wanted to make the player go looking for it, but we can imagine it was originally in a more obvious location and that one of the creatures on this level moved it to the pool.

Interesting suggestion and one that is very plausible given the fact that Durandal actually says:

pr?Contents under pressure?Do not expose to excessive heat, vacuum,
blunt trauma,
immersion in liquids, disintegration, reintegration, hypersleep,
humiliation, sorrow
or harsh language?

Here the contents is Durandal's primal pattern but the container in not the chip but rather our brain. Hence the "do not expose to hypersleep, humiliation, sorrow" warning. Afterall a chip doesn't hypersleep but we do.

Nice point.

Max Lieberman <> writes:

Regarding your comment that the terminal message from Durandal seems to refer to characteristics of human beings more than to those of Artificial Intelligences, I had these thoughts: first, although the physiological processes involved in sleep would not seem to have any electronic counterparts, the message does not say anything about sleep. It says "hypersleep", and although my first impulse was also to equate the two, the definition of this word can skew the meaning of the message as a whole so much that it seems necessary to determine it before assuming that it is in fact what it sounds like. Second, the other warnings refer to emotional processes, such as "humiliation, sorrow or harsh language", which are by no means limited to humans (or Mjolnirs, as the case may be) in the Marathon universe. We learn from a Tycho statement that humiliation is just as potent for AI's as human beings, when he discusses Durandal's "shame on Mars". Sorrow is obviously accounted for in the range of AI emotions, as the name of the first stage of rampancy is in fact "Melancholia". And on many occasions both Tycho and Durandal used harsh language, usually against each other. So it seems that at least until "hypersleep" is defined more precisely, the terminal could refer to either the human psyche or the artificial one (they do have psyches, as Durandal mentions his profile in Infinity), or perhaps something else entirely...

Point taken. Actually in retrospect I seem to have confused myself. When Durandal says:

pr?Contents under pressure?Do not expose to excessive heat, vacuum,
blunt trauma,
immersion in liquids, disintegration, reintegration, hypersleep,
humiliation, sorrow
or harsh language?

he is in fact referring to himself (the contents) and not the container. However since he is now part of us at this stage he is likely to be harmed by any of the things that we are adversely affected by. Glad I got that straightened out... err... I think.

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