Miscellaneous tidbits for the period
Sept'95 - Feb'96

Sept 19, 1995
The Marathon's Story page goes live. A large object appears in the Earth's atmosphere but promptly disappears after seven seconds.

Oct 7, 1995
Interested in the REAL facts about Mars and Demios? Then check out Bill Arnett's <billa@znet.com> excellent WWW site The Nine Planets , a Multimedia Tour of the Solar System.
Now here is an interesting piece of information about Demios.

"There is no completely satisfactory theory as to how Deimos and Phobos came to be in orbit around Mars."

And if you check out Bill's information on Phobos , the larger and innermost of Mars's two moons you will read that

"It seems likely that Phobos and Deimos formed elsewhere and subsequently captured by Mars. But how did the capture occur? Was it made possible by a thicker atmosphere long ago?"

and also

"Phobos and Deimos may someday be useful as "space stations" from which to study Mars or as intermediate stops to and from the Martian surface; especially if the presence of ice is confirmed."

Nick Strobel's < strobel@astro.washington.edu> WWW page on the Milky Way Galaxy has some details on the size of our galaxy.

Want to estimate the number of technological civilizations that may exist in the Milky Way Galaxy (Pfhor, S'pht, etc). Then you need the Drake Equation.

Nov 5, 1995
Has anyone else noticed how the picture of the large S'pht in the Marathon 2: Durandal (Demo) vaguely resembles an Inca representation. Coincidence? Maybe!
But now read the National Space Science Data Center's (NSSDC) description of some of the interesting surface features on Mars. See below or use this link to access their site directly.

"This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but for example frequently requested photos of the so-called "pyramids" (located near the "face") are in frames 35A70, 35A71, 35A73, 35A74 (all on disc VO-1010), 70A11, 70A12, and 70A14 (all on VO-1011). A feature known as the "water spout" is in the images 775A10 and 775A11 (both on disc VO-1029). A feature which resembles a permafrost melt is in images 182B03 and 182B05 (both on disc VO-1054). Finally, a feature called "Inca City covered over" is in image 225B69 on disc VO-1055."

An "Inca City covered over"! Intrigued? Want to see the so called "Inca City" on Mars? Then check out the NSSDC's Inca City jpg.

In Durandal's farewell message to us in Marathon 1 he says "I've always wanted to visit Beta Lyra and see if it's as beautiful as everyone insists." Want to know more about Beta Lyra (or Beta Lyrae)? Then check out Dan Bruton's Beta Lyrae web site. It's a bit technical mind you. Thanks to David Twist <dtwist@garlic.com> for this pointer.

Nov 6, 1995
"An Inca city on Mars, indeed!" you might say. But what of the so-called Martian pyramids? Most people associate pyramids with the Egyptians but a number of Mesoamerican cultures built pyramids, the Maya in particular were famous for their temple pyramids. Interesting to note that the Maya lived in Central America, in regional municipalities comparable to the Greek city states. They developed a sophisticated writing system based on individual signs or glyphs, paired in columns that read together from left to right and top to bottom. The Maya considered writing to be a sacred gift from the gods. Knowledge of reading and writing was jealously guarded by a small elite class, who believed that they alone could interact directly with the gods and mediate between the gods and the common people. It is also interesting to note that the phonetic interpretation of Mayan hieroglyphics is heavily reliant on the use of apostrophes. The Maya were accomplished astronomers, and venerated the Milky Way, calling it the World Tree, where all life came from. The one great mystery of the Maya is why such an advanced civilisation (for its time) should have suddenly collapsed. One theory relates:

"Uncontrolled warfare was probably one of the main causes for the Maya's eventual downfall. In the centuries after 250--the start of what is called the Classic period of Maya civilization--the skirmishes that were common among competing city-states escalated into full-fledged, vicious wars that turned the proud cities into ghost towns."

And what has all this got to do with Marathon? Well judge for yourself.

Nov 16, 1995
Suggestions for the meaning of MIDA, the political party turned terrorist group, have been coming in.
M = Martian, Marathon;
I = Independence, Independent, Interplanetary, Insurgents, Icarus;
D = Democratic, Defence, Durandal;
A = Association, Alliance, Army.
A feeling for the right combination however proves elusive.
Is MIDA an acronym? David Twist <dtwist@garlic.com> suggests that it is based on the fact that all acronyms in the Marathon Story are written in capitals (examples being UESC, UEG, CRIST, and FTL).

Nov 17, 1995
David Dericotte <grok@unm.edu> writes concerning the word Mjolnir:

"For some vague reason it sounds distantly like the word I seem to recall for the name of Thor's hammer". David is indeed correct I little bit of research reveals that Thor's hammer was called "Mjollnir" or "Miölnir" which is very similar to the word Mjolnir in Marathon. According to Norse legend Thor, the God of Thunder, would throw Mjollnir at his opponents and it would return (like a boomerang) to his right hand.

Nov 20, 1995
Noah Daniels <ndaniel1@swarthmore.edu> writes to say that the names "Mjolnir" and "Durandal" were also used in one of Bungie's first games, Minotaur: The labyrinths of Crete. Mjolnir (hammer) only appeared in the 4-player game, while Durandal (sword) was available in the 2-player game. Just another interesting fact.

Jan 25, 1996
Richard Williams <rswillia@mailbox.syr.edu> provides an interesting observation about the Pfhor. "In M1, the middle eye was located below the other two... In M2, the middle eye is now above the other two... wonder what the story behind that little detail is?"

Feb 1, 1996
Eric Jorgensen <jorge@execpc.com> provides some interesting information about a song called "Psychotron" from Megadeth's album "Countdown to Extinction" (1992). The lyrics describe a character similar to our own in Marathon and ask whether he is a man, mutant, or a cyborg?

Feb 10, 1996
Planning a trip to Tau Ceti ? So just how far away is it? 92 light years or 11.77 light years?

Feb 13, 1996
Interesting to note that David Alexander Smith's book Rendezvous, the second volume in his Marathon trilogy, was a runner up in the Philip K. Dick Award for Best Original SF Paperback in 1989.

Feb 23, 1996
Craig Durkin <durkin@mindspring.com> provides an interesting tidbit from the first terminal on "The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune". Craig writes "...look at the little code below the Marathon symbol. At the very beginning it says "jon3". Now if I remember correctly, that was the beginning of Jason's real e-mail address at the University of Chicago."

Yes! <jon3@quads.uchicago.edu>

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Hamish Sinclair
Last updated Sept 19, 1998