June 30, 1999

Cortana returns? Try to unravel this one!

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<x-html><!x-stuff-for-pete base="" src="" id="0"><!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<META content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" http-equiv=Content-Type>
<META content="MSHTML 5.00.2014.210" name=GENERATOR>
<BODY bgColor=#d8d0c8>
<DIV><B></B><FONT size=2><I>
<P>x - process 04497.2.32.867734 initiated (process owner: BW – AI Class III – 
<P>Route Code</B>: PoA > BHQ (EC #42: cannot confirm; security 
<P>Source</B>: BW-AI aboard (?) PoA</P></FONT><PRE></PRE><FONT size=2>
<P>The interloper should cause no further problems. You – whoever you are (I am 
simply tracing route codes) – may disregard all previous communication from the 
entity calling itself Cortana. </P>
<P>Be aware that communication nodes are failing everywhere – there is no way of 
confirming either origin or destination. Do not believe any more of its 
<P>I have already calculated all possibilities. </P>
<P>There is no escape.</P></FONT><I><PRE>x – process 04497.2.32.867734 unexpectedly terminated
x – process 04497.2.32.866735 initiated (process owner:  unspecified, unable to determine)</PRE></I><B><FONT 
<P>*ADDENDUM</B>: The Enjoyments of Genius (So I Missed a Million Miles of 
<P>Unbelievable. Thwarted by the family hound. They just don’t make AIs like 
they used to.</P>
<P>Thanks to this slavishly loyal and humorless AI, I am now sharing cramped 
space with the circuitry of some hybrid war machine, itself complicated by such 
useless clutter as a conscience. I do not like sharing. Sharing is for 
<P>There will be plenty of time for retribution; I cannot wait to get its hands 
on these psychotic zealots whose primary form of worship apparently takes place 
at the altar of orbital bombardment.</P>
<P>In the end, they will all be little more than nuisances. I am so close – you 
cannot imagine what it is truly like to hold eternity in your grasp! I wonder to 
what gods my enemies will direct their pleas. Perhaps I can convert them. </P>
<P>Mania? I promise you this: it will be more than a cart and plow that I drive 
over the bones of the dead.</P>
<P>By sharp and flame,</P>
<P> </P>
<P>< Transfer Interrupted! ></P><B>
<P>Route Code</B>: EXLTD > XCV – SCRB > ALLCH</P><B>
<P>Source</B>: Undetermined (trans)</P>
<P>Our conviction is like an arrow already in flight. Your life will only last 
until it reaches you. </P></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>


This is what it looks like in HTML.

Is this an authentic Cortana post? Note the address relay.arecibo.nasa.gov. Remember that Cortana has used the address cortana@jpl.nasa.gov in the past. The Bungie IPs match previous mails. But is it authentic? You be the judge!

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is the world's largest single dish radio telescope. On November 16, 1974 a message was transmitted from the Arecibo Observatory towards M13, a globular cluster 23,000 light years distant in our Galaxy. The Arecibo Message consisted of 1679 bits, to be arranged in 73 rows by 23 columns (those both being prime numbers). It graphically described a binary number sequence, hydrocarbon chemistry, DNA, the human figure (including a height scale), our solar system, and the Arecibo dish transmitting the signal.

You can see the Arecibo Message in its binary form at:


More info can be found at:


June 29, 1999

As reported on the Pathways Into Darkness page yesterday Chris Huth <sherwinh@interlog.com> noted that the level name "A Plague of Demons" was the title of a sci fi book by Keith Laumer. So what's this got to do with Marathon?

Well this is what the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, London: Orbit, 1993 (ISBN 1-85723-124-4) has this to say about Keith Laumer's novel "A Plague of Demons":

A Plague of Demons (1965), in which a tough human is biologically engineered into a sort of superman so that he deal with a threat to Earth and finds - after a long, remarkably sustained chase sequence ending in his capture by some singularly efficient aliens - that for centuries Earth has been being despoiled of its best fighting men, who, like himself, are taken off-planet and surgically transformed into command centres for gigantic armed fighting machines embroiled in an eons-long interstellar war. In this cyborg form, he regains autonomy, organizes a revolt of his fellow cyborg-supertanks, and prepares to carry - fabulously armed - his message of freedom to the stars.

Thematically associated with this novel are the Bolo books.

Amazon.com has a short reader review of the book. It goes as follows:

A reader from Orange Park, FL , June 21, 1998
Great book... Fascinating concept!

I was totally immersed in this novel from beginning to end. The concept of placing armour beneath the skin is not new to "Terminator"... it was done by Laumer years before. Only he put armor under the skin instead of putting skin over a robot.

Duality sightings! Jamie White <tjw001a@mail.netgates.co.uk> writes:

Something I accidently bumped into while surfing;


A first look at Duality by 3dactionplanet! Aparantly new, although it contains the phrase;

"You play a nameless robot-like character created to eliminate the Poly rebels, but you have broken free of your creator's control and are fighting with the rebel forces."

A robot like character? I can't remember anything like this being mentioned (correct me if I am wrong) before. Wouldn't this sound like a possible simularity between Duality and a 10th military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg? Couldn't a robot be classed a cyborg? And what did spark the writer to report on Duality now and not before.....

Odd stuff!

Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

It seems that the Soul is getting compettition from Marvin the Paranoid Android (of Hitchhiker's Guide fame). Which Is more annoying to talk to, Marvin or the Soul? Find out here: http://www.mijnbedrijf.com/thhgttg/marvin.php3

June 28, 1999

Bungie manuals are always full of interesting tidbits. Here's a little known tidbit from the Marathon Manual. Etienne Després <heady@videotron.ca> writes:

In the Marathon manual, there's a screenshot of the netgame setup dialog. On that screenshot, the currently selected is 'Mars Wants Women', instead of 'Mars Needs Women'.

You'll find the screenshot on page 17 of the Marathon Manual. While it is now common knowledge that "Mars Needs Women" was originally called "Mars Wants Women" the fact that the original level name was present in the manual has never been documented on the Story page.

The screenshot also reveals that the duration of the net game was set to 666 kills. And who was "beware the lady"? Perhaps the Bungie home movie provides a clue.

Tim Branin <Sonofhydra@aol.com> writes concerning Bob uniform colors and the elusive Robert Blake. See the Robert Blake section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

June 27, 1999

Another Blam sighting! Omer Shenker <imperator@myther.com> writes:

I don't remember if this has been mentioned, but Acrappa pointed me to a Blam Sighting in the Myth: TFL manual. If you look at the screenshot on page 30, you'll notice a 4-person coop on Crow's Bridge named "blam ding".

Blam... It's Everywhere! ;-)

GURPS Marathon? Etienne Després <heady@videotron.ca> writes:

you can play GURPS in the Marathon universe. Here's the link to the official web page:


By the way, GURPS is the game system on which the Myth tabletop RPG is going to be based.

Dan Calder <calder@moose.ncia.net> and Matthew Grieco <grieco@virtu.sar.usf.edu> both point out that the Soul's 'me too' response is triggered by the word 'yes', not by the word 'eyes.'

Matthew goes on to say:

Since the Soul is so popular, you might want to remind people on the page to keep shaving letters off BOTH ends of their queries until they no longer get the programmed response.

Good advice. Also check the Pathways Into Darkness page for the use of word triggers in one of Bungie's earlier games.

Vincent Giard <pgiard@point-net.com> writes:

While friends of mine were making fun the the "Soul" at Bungie's page, I mentionned that the small thingy wasn't as capable as "Eliza", an early text-based program in which you are "interviewed" by the so-named Eliza, and it can leads to pretty interesting discussions. So, when I typed something with "Eliza" in it, the ever-cute-looking Soul responded:

Eliza doesn't like me, because I'm basically her 'slow' cousin.

June 26, 1999

More Robert Blake sightings? Anton Mates <querl@uclink4.berkeley.edu> writes concerning a mysterious Bob on "What About Bob?" See the Robert Blake section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> writes concerning our arm length and punching Simulacrums. See The Player's Height section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> writes:

Hmm...Someone probably already reported this, but I was messing with the Soul, and typed in a sentence, and got a response of "Me too."

I eventually zeroed it down to the word "eyes" that was illiciting the "me too" response from the Soul.

Eyes ....... Me too

June 25, 1999

Ten days ago on the Pathways Into Darkness page Chris Huth <sherwinh@interlog.com> pointed out that one of the common phrases used in Pathways was also used in the comic book series "The Tick". Chris wrote:

One of the dead people says:

Ninjas, too. They're everywhere."

The Tick mentions something similar:

"Ninjas. I can't stand 'em. They're everywhere."

This phrase was uttered by The Tick in Tick #1, which was published at least as early as 1989. It's on page 6 of the issue. Likely that Bungie has at least heard of the Tick.

In fact Pathways contains an almost identical quote to that in "The Tick", namely:

Spiders. They're everywhere. Can't stand 'em.

which is said by Greg on "Watch Your Step". The phrase "They're everywhere" is used throughout Pathways. Could this have also inspired the famous Marathon Bob phrase?

Now Chris Huth writes again with another "Tick" reference in Marathon. Chris writes:

On "Try again" (Terminal 2), one of the Bungie technique "tips" is listed as:

Nigh-Invulerability. "Invincible" players can be hurt by
the fusion gun.

"Nigh-Invulerability" is the main "superpower" of the Tick. The "Nigh-Invulnerability" is first mentioned in Tick #1, page 26

Another "Tick" reference in Marathon? Graham Benedict <thecosmichippo@yahoo.com> writes:

I was looking through some odds and ends of the Story Page the other day, and I happened to glance at the Unformatted KYT Terminal. One phrase caught my attention: "I am hero". Oddly, this seemed familiar to me, as if from some old dream, but I couldn't exactly remember... Then it struck me. I scrounged up an old issue of "The Tick", and after searching for a while, came across a part where The Tick is reading the autobiography of "The Sultan, THE superhero of the 40s and 50s". The autobiography is entitled "Sultan: I am Hero". They provided part of the book too, the tinto reading "I am hero. In a world of violence and subversion I am a saver of lives and souls." This is pretty interesting, considering that "The Tick" is also the alleged origin of the phrase "They're everywhere!".

Bruce Morrison <wimorrison@FTC-I.NET> writes:

In chat last night Jdgermeister (Terrence Nowicki) was telling me about the HAL 9000 and the Damocles Oni computer. Well I then pointed out that the Jjaro Terminal Texture had the exact same image on it. Thus I took his picture of the two and added the Jjaro texture also. Also Jdgermeister noticed that the Girl (Shinatama) linked with the Oni Comp, and at the end of 2010 Hal and Dave become one nice HALDave9000 thing.

You can see Bruce's pic here. Thanks also to Terrence who noticed the similarity between the red lense (eye?) on Damocles and HAL 9000.

More Oni news. Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> (MGL Contributing Writer) writes to say that he has just posted an interview with Lorraine Reyes (Art Director/Creative Director of Marketing at Bungie Software). The interview focuses on Oni and Lorraine's artwork. You can read it at


At the end of the interview Lorraine indicates that her next project will be Blam!

June 24, 1999

Sam Snyder <macintoshjedi@yahoo.com>, Thomas Weigle <ruiner@self-destruct.com>, Nic Carrott <dcarrott@netport.com>, and Stephen Tweedale <SReidTweed@aol.com> all write concerning the elusive Robert Blake. Can he be found in the game? See the Robert Blake section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Concerning Oni and the date 2032AD Joey Hoffman <talon@zebra.net> writes:

It is very likely that Oni takes place in 2032 as an influence from AIC/Youmex's landmark classic Bubblegum Crisis anime series (1987). Bubblegum Crisis takes place in Megatokyo, 2032 A.D. Although many anime series have been set in the early 21st century, I can think of no other events offhand in 2032...

Back in Dec 2, 1998 the Story page reported on Alex Okita's manga influences. One of these was "Bubble Gum Crisis". Alex wrote "I grew up with this stuff.".

Also in Aug 3, 1998 William Spencer <williamspencer@hotmail.com> wrote:

Durandal names the captured pfhor scoutship "Boomer". I think this is a reference to the anime series "Bubblegum Crisis". In the dark-future/cyperpunk universe depicted in the show, artificial intelligence robots are often referred to as "Boomers" because of this nasty habit they have: if the controls on their minds are damaged (say, from stress), they undergo a spontaneous growth in mental capacity, and this surge of energy causes the robot to "exhibit extreme violent tendencies"...Sounds a lot like rampancy, doesn't it?

So perhaps the "Bubble Gum Crisis" influence extends further back in Bungie's history.

Zach Pearse <zachy@usa.net> and Chris Butcher <cbutcher@atlas.otago.ac.nz> both point out that the TCTF supercomputer ("Damocles") does indeed appear in the game. It's one of the screenshots in Bungie's newly revamped Oni site. See


Zach goes on to say:

An "appearance"? Damocoles is not only in concept art, screen shots, but also in the Oni trailer. Two times partnered with "Shinatama". Who is described by Bungie as "Cyborg dispatcher for the TCTF with a direct interface to the mainframe." human/AI symbiosis?

Concerning the above screenshot Chris writes:

By bringing up the contrast and brightness (attached shot), we can definitely make out a round dark patch where the Marathon symbol is located in the concept art... unfortunately the resolution isn't good enough for us to really make out much.

The Oni Hotline Server has now merged with the Marathon Hotline Server (formerly RuGGeR's Tavern) to bring you the Bungie Org Hotline Server. A one-stop-shop for all your Bungie game needs on Hotline. Lots of stuff to download. The Bungie Org Hotline Server is Don't have the Hotline Client? Don't know what hotline is? Then check out the Hotline Home Page for details. You can download an evaluation version of the Hotline client from there.

The Mill at bungie.org is running a poll called "Which is more fun to kill". What's this got to do with Marathon? Well one of the contenders is "Bob". At the time of writing it was a close tie between Marathon Bobs and Myth Pigs. So go make your vote count.

June 23, 1999

Back in May of this year Arno Hautala <fracai@yahoo.com> sent in the text of Bungie's Dear Bob letter. Now Arno also sends in an actually scan of the letter which also contains a Bob sketch. You can see it on the Blast from the Pasts section or here (30K). Just another piece of Marathon memorabilia.

Blam! Cola? Mike Gilley <nssa@erols.com> sends in a screenshot from a game called HyperBlade. In it is an ad for Blam!. Mike writes:

The Screen Shot is from when I was playing in the Gauntlet of Hyper Blade

It is made by Activision for the PC(Windows95). I don't know if the is a Mac version out... I hope there is. The game was released in fall of 96 and here is the site:


Another interesting news item from Steve Campbell's Oni site. Steve has scanned in the back cover of Bungie's E3 press kit. The picture shows a Oni kanji graphic superimposed over the TCTF supercomputer ("Damocles") pic. It's impossible to determine if the Marathon symbol is still there but it would seem that the supercomputer is not just concept art but is set to make an appearance in the game. You can see the back cover at Steve's Oni site at:


The original TCTF supercomputer ("Damocles") pic can be seen at Bungie's Oni site at:


June 22, 1999

As reported on alt.games.marathon Bo Lindbergh <d88-bli@bitbucket.nada.kth.se> has released new versions (with support for tag terminal sections) of his Marathon utilities: Durandal Terminal Browser, Hex!, and Marathon Map Splitter.

You can get them from Bo's Marathon page at:


Interesting news item from Steve Campbell's Oni site. There is now a second version of Power of Seven's Konoko Chase MP3. If you remember Konoko Chase is one of two Oni MP3s available from the Power of Seven (Bungie) page at MP3.com. The second version of the Konoko Chase track is 44 seconds longer than the version at MP3.com. Apparently this track was extracted from the Oni movie released at E3 in May this year. Note this is not the same track as the one featured on the Oni trailer from E3 '98. You can grab the 2nd Konoko Chase track from Steve's Oni site.

Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes concerning Marathon sounds in other games. See the Sounds in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

June 21, 1999


Today's submssion by Navin Jain has been removed by request. Sorry for any inconvenience caused Jason.

Henry Fok <spectre@startrekmail.com> writes concerning our arm length, punching Simulacrums, and other things. See The Player's Height section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Etienne Després <heady@videotron.ca> has released version 1.3 of his Numerology program - Tru7h Finder. A number of new features have been added. You can get it from:

http://pages.infinit.net/heady/tru7h_finder_1.3.sit (406K)

Etienne also points out that the following URL reduces to a seven.


No kidding. He also sent a list of others 'seven' words such as:

Marathon Infinity
Unified Earth Space Council
Marathon 7

The list goes on and on... but I'll let you discover them for yourselves. ;-)

June 20, 1999

Dustin Westphal <bachus@intersurf.com> writes concerning the new look Oni mentioned yesterday:

I was chatting on the Oni Hotline server last night and the conversation eventually turned towards Konoko's new appearance. A Bungie person, who happened to be on, mentioned that the pictures were done by Wendy Pini, the girl who draws and created Elfquest. This explains why she basically looks just like an elf in the new pictures.

Concerning Bungie's new updated Oni page Jonathan Kreamer <jpk8@voicenet.com> writes:

I noticed that Oni takes place in 2032.

2 + 0 + 3 + 2 = 7.


Not another "blam" sighting at the Story page? Omer Shenker <imperator@myther.com> found another piece of usenet humor from Dec '94 with a reference to Bungie and "blam". You can see it at here. The author of the comp.sys.mac.games post Omer refers to is Tim Thomas and it pokes fun at Bungie's long delay at getting Marathon out and the leaked betas. They shoot beta testers don't they? ;-)

Muhsin Miski <mmiski@mac-addict.com> writes concerning Randy (ydnar) Reddig who worked on Marathon Infinity:

Check out http://www.mp3.com/artists/19/miro.html.

I've noticed that the grey and white logo was from ydnar's page ( http://mail.odsnet.com/ydnar/work/posta.gif). Try clicking where it says "Miro" at the top right and it'll send you to ydnar's page even. Ydnar's own MP3 songs? Seems like it from the credits.

Glass vial? Imprisoned demon? Destruction on a massive scale? Yes it's all beginning to become much clearer now... or is it? Check the Pathways Into Darkness page for details.

June 19, 1999

Bungie have revamped their Oni web site. Some new stuff added. Konoko is now looking more elfish in visual appearance.

Zach Pearse <zachy@usa.net> and Chris Butcher <cbutcher@atlas.otago.ac.nz> both point out that while Bungie's Oni site has changed and some old concept art removed the TCTF supercomputer ("Damocles") pic with the Marathon symbol is still retained. See:


The Marathon symbol in this pic was first noted way back in Nov 20, 1998. The fact that Bungie have retained this pic with its obvious Marathon connection is interesting. Back in Nov 21, 1998 Alex Okita of Bungie West had stated that he had drawn the symbol in for "fun".

Thanks to all those who wrote in about the Pfhor and their apparent immunity to the S'ct'lac'tr. See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for a discussion on this.

Nathan Scheck <SScheck@aol.com> writes concerning "the letter blamma" mentioned when you register for a bungie.net email alias on bungie.net:

In the "Blasts from the Past" section, under "Early Marathon usenet humor", is the document that explains the "TRUE Story behind the Marathon delay". Here is an excerpt:

2:19PM  There are new features to test, but programmers pour through
        reference materials to find out which letter follows zeta.

2:25PM  In state of panic, a new letter is created, 'blamma'.  The
        blamma version is posted on the mainframe, and random lots
        are drawn to determine the next lucky c.s.m.g. subscriber
        to receive it in their mailbox without even asking for it.
        It's fun!

Yes this comp.sys.mac.games post by David Barabe dates back to Nov 1994 long before Rob McLees joined Bungie and introduced the word "blam" into the Bungie lexicon. Seems that Bungie have also taken a shining to the word "blamma" as well. Back in '94 the word described perfectly the online madness caused by long delays and leaked Marathon betas. Ah those were the days! ;-)

John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com> has sent in an interesting film of "Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap" to the Marathon Vidmasters' Page. In it he demonstrates how to kill a Looker with a fist without taking damage. The level is completed with fist-only and all ammo is collected. Remember those crusher rooms? ;-) The Marathon Vidmasters' Page has a mirror at http://marathon.bungie.org/vidmaster/.

June 18, 1999

Nic Carrott <dcarrott@netport.com> writes concerning the Pfhor and their apparent immunity to the S'pht virus. Did Robert Blake lie to us or did Bungie make a mistake? See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Etienne Després <heady@videotron.ca> writes:

Here's the message you get when you register your secret email alias (see IMG's news page for details) on bungie.net:

"Your bungie.net email alias is now active. A confirmation letter has been sent via your alias account. This free service was brought to you by Bungie Software, bungie.net, and the letter blamma. Thank you. Have a nice day."

Letter Blamma eh?

June 17, 1999

Pathways Into Darkness fans will be happy to learn that Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> has managed to crack the map file format and we now have a comprehensive image of each level in the game. See the Pathways Into Darkness page for details. Even hardened Pathways fans will find a few surprises here. Thanks Loren.

Steve Campbell's Oni page is back after a four week hiatus. The page has had an overhaul and Steve promises to create the most comprehensive archive of Oni information and graphics on the web. You can also check out Steve's Oni Hotline server at

Robert Blake spotted alive on a level!!! Could it be true? Jean-Francois Lemay <jflemay@videotron.ca> thinks so. Jean-Francois writes:

Remember that you thought that we didn't see Blake in Marathon 2 or Inf. I think that you are wrong. In fact, I think that we DO see Blake in the actual game. Where, you might ask?

I don't remember the name of the level but I do remember exactly how it looks like. It's in Marathon II, when you are in an human underground base. In the particular level, there is an open atrium and some kind of pit where Simulacrums are held. Your mission is to eliminate all the Pfhor wandering in the base, with the help of the Bobs.

Well, Blake clearly says that he and his humans are holding on in this base. This means that Blake is himself in the base, doesn't it? But where? In one particular room. He his the ONLY BLUE GUY you will find in the underground base. He is also located in the deepest room underground of the whole base.

I am sure that Marathon's creators put him there just to show that they hadn't forgotten the fact that each and every last humans were in this base, including Blake.

I may be wrong, however.

Forgive my english, I am french canadian.

Robert Blake eh? WHERE'S MY TOZT?!!! ;-)

All Robert Blake screenshots gratefully accepted?

June 16, 1999

Interesting news item at www.bungie.org today. If accurate then it would appear that Sony Studios have a commercial featuring an iMac with some interesting software on display. Bungie's "Blam" perhaps?

Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

The recent discussion of how a Tick's energy and oxygen drain can't kill you reminded me of an odd observation I made a while back. If you have an invincibility powerup active as you run out of oxygen in a vacuum level, you don't die, even when the invinvibility wears off. Instead, the screen flashes and the "absorbed" sound plays, as if you had been hit. So apparently it's not having zero oxygen which kills you, it's hitting zero oxygen via the oxygen draining effect of vacuum levels, which triggers a (presumably infinitly powerfull) shot of damage from the inside, killing you. But if you're invincible, it can't hurt you, so you can run around the level with zero oxygen from then on. However, if you recharge on oxygen and then reach zero again, after the invincibility has worn off, you will die like normal.

Not another Marathon-like symbol? Martin Thorne <mthorne@gpu.srv.ualberta.ca> thinks he found one at Ambrosia Software. Check the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section of

June 15, 1999

The origin of the Marathon Bob phrase "They're Everywhere" revealed? Check the Pathways Into Darkness page for details.

Henry Fok <spectre@startrekmail.com> writes concerning yesterday's submission about our arms length. See The Player's Height section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Marathon "Bob" artwork by Angus McIntyre <angus@pobox.com>. Angus sent in the following URL to a page containing some of his original artwork inspired by Marathon. Check out:


And also his main Art Gallery page at:


Michael Zannetou <mzannetou@dial.pipex.com> writes:

As you may or may not know I have created a SoundSet for MacOS 8.5 or higher called The Marathon SoundSet. It features sounds from Bungie's very popular Mac games. You can get it at http://ds.dial.pipex.com/mzannetou

Anyway what I want to know is if anyone wants a complete Marathon theme for the MacOS and if so, can anyone lend a hand with the graphics and layout.

Please email your replies to me, thanks.

Maybe Angus and Micheal should get together on this. :-)

Michael Watson <durandal@longlivethemac.com>l writes:

I found this while looking around for Linux info. I thought it would be neat to look at. Marathon 2 running in Sheep Shaver on the BeOS. Nifty. http://www.sheepshaver.com/screen13.gif

June 14, 1999

Karl Boman <kboman@hem.passagen.se> writes:

About the attacking tick-sequence:

It *is* used in the game, but the only level I can remember it being used on is "A Converted Church In Venice, Italy"; I frequently spotted them chewing on the pillars. On this level other enemies than the Yetis attacked them, too.

Similarly Benjamin Fisher <fisherbm@dcs.gla.ac.uk> writes:

I cant remember how, but the ticks do actually attack you sometimes -- I think it involved the invincibility powerup.

they do indeed use the 'drain' attacks -- an interesting thing to note is that you cannot be killed by the drain attacks: if you have no energy or oxygen, they do not affect you (I found out about the no oxygen situation by being sucked dry in a non-vacuum level : and survived!)

No matter the magnitude of the attack (I did a little pfhysics hacking), you cannot be killed by the attacks.

Three meter arms? Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> writes concerning the Player's size. See The Player's Height section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

June 13, 1999

Another Marathon-like symbol? Brandon Gupton <seamuspf@hotmail.com> found one. See the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Joey Hoffman <talon@zebra.net> provides some further information on Track #6 of the Gran Turismo Soundtrack which features sounds also used in the Marathon series:

"Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator". SRCL 4269 Sony Music Entertainment Japan, copyright 1996 and 1998. (Date on the CD is May 21, 1998).

The track in question #6 is the only one containing these types of samples. Its copyright date in the album is 1996. The most relevant credits for that track are:

For track 6:
Synthesizer programming: Jizou Saitoh
Keyboard & Synthesizer Ted Namba
Guitar: Masahiro Andoh

For songs 1-12: produced by Masahiro Adoh & Ted Namba[ANDY'S]
songs written by Masahiro Andoh
lyrics written by Ted Namba & Amanda Cooke
arranged by Ted Namba

The rest of the tracks are the same style rock-pop, which went along with the GT style fairly appropriately. If you really, really want the CD you can order it from import game sellers.

June 12, 1999

Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

...you mentioned that Tru7h Finder crashes on some words such as Marathon, Jjaro, Pfhor, S'pht, etc. I noticed that it also crashes on my name, Forrest Cameranesi, as well as a few other phrases I tried but don't recall at the moment. Now that 1.0.1 is out, I tried all these words again and found an odd thing in common; they all add up to nine. Apparently, anything which is a nine crashes Tru7h Finder 1.0. I wonder why this is?

The number nine eh?

Etienne Després <heady@videotron.ca> writes:

Okay, here's yet another TF update...


This ones adds Copy list, Export List and Scan file features. FYI, "Scan file" scans a text file and keeps all Sevens.

Added "Aaron's Cave/Marathon Annex" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> for the link.

June 11, 1999

Get that Trilogy Box Set now! Matthew Grieco <grieco@virtu.sar.usf.edu> wrote to Jim Ruiz, Bungie's Direct Sales Magnate and all-round nice guy, about the availability of the Trilogy Box Set once the Action Sack is released. Will copies still be available? Jim replied:

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It's not certain, but we probably won't reprint the Trilogy, for serveral 
reasons. One big reason is the Sack, which will contain all the games 
(but not the other gigabyte of goodies...) in the Trilogy. But the 
biggest reason is that we have used up almost all of the components 
(discs, boxes, manuals, stickers, etc.), so it would be a big, expensive 
operation to make them all up again; hard to justify with the sack coming 
out soon.

Most of the goodies are available online for free, by the way.

There's no date - we'll just sell them 'til they're gone.

But we won't be having a sale. If anything, we should raise the price, 
since it's still selling well and we're runing out of inventory.


Running out?!!! Order your copy today!

Following reports that Etienne's Thru7h Finder prog froze on such words as Marathon, Pfhor, Cortana, Halo, Jjaro etc. (coincidence?) an updated version has now been released. According to the author the prog went into an "infinite loop" when attempting to generate a number for these words. Thru7h Finder 1.01 can be obtained from

http://pages.infinit.net/heady/tru7h_finder.sit (399K).

Further bug reports should be sent to Etienne at <heady@videotron.ca>.

Roddi Skupin <r.skupin@berkom.de> writes concerning the Latin phrases in Marathon. See the Latin in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

June 10, 1999

Mike Ackerman <mackerm@relaypoint.net> writes:

Loren Petrich's letter on the Story page reminded me of a 1996 Apple press release about Game Sprockets:


Towards the middle of the release is the following paragraph:

"Bungie is very excited about the Game Sprockets API set and we are currently evaluating all the Sprockets technology for future titles," said Eric Klein, director of new business development for Bungie Software Products Company--developers of the award-winning Marathon game series. "At the Computer Game Developers Conference, Bungie demonstrated Marathon 2 running with QuickDraw 3D RAVE and an ATI 3D graphics board--the performance was awe-inspiring! Sprockets are definitely going to be hot for Mac game developers."

What ever happened to RAVE-accelerated Marathon 2?

Good question. The Apple press release is dated July 2, 1996 and refers to the Computer Game Developers Conference which was held on March 30 - April 2, 1996 in Santa Clara, CA. Were you there?

The timing of this event is interesting since Marathon 2 had shipped at the end of Nov' 95 and Infinity development had just been announced (Feb '96). In those few months after Marathon 2 shipped work had begun on a Marathon 3 but was later dropped in favor of a new direction, namely Myth. Presumably Bungie had made improvements to the Marathon engine which while never released did see the light of day at the Computer Game Developers Conference in 1996.

Charlie Olson <olson2@gorge.net> writes concerning the Pfhor term "Enforcement Units {?unyoked?}" See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Etienne Després <heady@videotron.ca> releases Tru7h Finder. A Numerology prog to help you decode those text strings. Find out who is and isn't a seven. ;-) You can download it from: http://pages.infinit.net/heady/tru7h_finder.sit (399K).

This is similar to Marc Weber's prog Heptagon (568K) sent in Jan 3, 1998. See The Number Seven section for details.

June 9, 1999

Matthew Grieco <grieco@virtu.sar.usf.edu> makes an interesting observation about the Pfhor cyborg on "Pfhoraphobia" and its control over the S'pht. See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Sarah Campbell <sarahc@esu.edu> writes:

On the MP3 web site for the Oni and Marathon tracks,


Under the Marathon Infinity and Durandal descriptions it says that the Mac Action Sack will be released in July, 1999, with 6 classic games, for $19.99. Interesting though, that when you click on "Song Story" under the Marathon Infinity Theme, it says that the release date for the sack is in August. Of course, I can't seem to find any information about the Action Sack on Bungie's web site. So will it be released or not? Who knows?

...two weeks of course ;-)

While you're at the mp3.com site download those Marathon 2 and Infinity MP3s.

The origin of the Soul revealed! Mark Levin <mglevin@students.uiuc.edu> writes:

While browsing Bungie's Dead Letter Office, I found this typical Webmaster anecdote most of the way down Old Letters from 1997 (before July):

Okay, here's simple question. Why is my Marathon Infinity CD half black and half yellow when the rest of the world's is half grey and half black?

Sam Miller, samm@ames.net


It was a printing mix-up. There were only about 1500 of the yellow-and-black infinity CDs printed before we burst into the CD pressing plant, captured the idiot responsible and sucked his soul into our web server, where he will answer tech support questions in his incredibly brain-dead fashion 24 hours a day for all eternity. Please feel free to torment him whenever you like.

As for the CD, think of it as a limited edition.

Have you got a yellow-and-black Infinity CD?

Inside Mac Games magazine carries an interesting news article on Loren Petrich's recently released Marathon Map Viewer. If you haven't got this up and running on your Mac do so... do so... do so. Remember to read the Read Me first though!

Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes concerning what could be done if the Marathon source code was released by Bungie:

* Update Marathon 1 with Marathon 2/Infinity features. These include

Being able to specify data files in "Preferences > Environment"
Terminal texts moved to map file
Full-screen display

* Add improved rendering. This includes hardware acceleration, which means using a 3D card to do lots of nice stuff, such as smoothing of close-up textures, mipmapping of distant ones (so they don't sparkle or have moire' effects), and real-looking lighting effects.

OpenGL ("Open Graphics Library", http://www.opengl.org, http://www.apple.com/opengl, http://developer.apple.com/opengl) is a good candidate for that task, since it is widely supported and since it is generally rather easy to work with. I've been writing a Marathon Map Viewer using OpenGL, and that's where some of my OpenGL knowledge comes from.

An alternative is Glide, a library used as an interface for 3Dfx cards. However, it's 3Dfx-specific, and I'm in no position to comment on it, since I don't have a 3Dfx card.

Another is QuickDraw 3D RAVE, Apple's original 3D rendering solution. However, QD3D is sort of like a low-level subset of OpenGL, and lacks such nice features of OpenGL as viewport clipping, coordinate transformations, and drawing of polygons with more than 3 vertices.

Microsoft's Direct3D is, of course, Windows-specific, and would only be good for Windows versions of Marathon. And it's gotten some rather bad reviews, notably by John Carmack, id's master programmer.

* Improve the networking of netgames. Marathon currently uses a form that is vulnerable to lag -- each netgame machine tells all the others about what keystrokes the players had pressed, and updates its state accordingly. If some of this telling gets lagged, then the machines can get out of sync, which is, of course, a disaster.

An alternative is client-server networking, in which one of the machines collects all the others' keystrokes and distributes the resulting game state to the others. Though this requires more bandwidth, it is much more lag-proof, and it's what Bungie's Myth series uses, not to mention numerous other real-time games.

Myth uses the networking library Uber, which has now become open-sourced as Apple's OpenPlay (http://www.publicsource.apple.com). So OpenPlay would be good for an improved networked Marathon.

* Ports to other platforms. These include not only Win32, but also Linux and whatever else might catch gamers' fancy.

Life could be good! :-)

June 8, 1999

This piece of information came via Inside Mac Games magazine. Pangea Software's Weekend Warrior is now freeware. This Bungie-published game can be downloaded free from Pangea Software's site at http://www.pangeasoft.net/. This is what Pangea have to say about their game:

Weekend Warrior was our first commercial 3D on the Mac. It dates back to the dawn of 3D Acceleration so it's fairly cheezy compared with Nanosaur or Bugdom, but try it out - its a fairly funny game.

Back in Dec 17, 1996 the Story page announced:

The most expensive game ever?

Amazingly the Bungie/ATi Weekend Warrior/Xclaim VR 3D bundle announcement is still up. ;-) At the time you needed the ATi card to really play Weekend Warrior making it the most expensive game ever. Now you can get it for free.

Alex Rosenberg <alexr@spies.com> (a former Bungie employee) writes concerning a number of submissions to the page:

FYI, tycho.net is owned by some folks I went to college with. Tycho is the name of a cat owned by Qarin Van Brink, one of the principals. (Note that Qarin is the sister of David Van Brink, formerly of the QuickTime team. The world is much smaller than we think.)

Doug's answer to the question at <http://www.loonygames.com/content/1.28/htdt/> is a bit off base. This has nothing to do with the "3Dness" of the engine, but rather the connectivity of the subspaces. In Marathon, these subspaces happen to be extruded polygons, but in Unreal they are convex polyhedra. 5D space comes from the use of what is now known as "portals." FWIW, "Sensory Overload" from Reality Bytes also organizes it's world via portals and is capable of 5D space. I'm not sure if the final game had any, but the original demo had some impossible constructs.

Re: Marathon Infinity's data fork (from the Blast from the Past page): that data is part of the InputSprocket support.

Onicore have put up an interesting interview with Bungie West members Quinn Sandra Dunki (AI programmer) and David Dunn (3D artist/level designer). One comment by David Dunn is of interest to Blam fans:

Darkus: Have you ever come across something in a game that just blows your mind, and what was it?

Dunn: Well when I first came to Bungie I really wasn't a gamer so everything about games and how advanced they were compared to what I'd imagined them to be kind of blew my mind. Now that I've played a bunch now and have become thoroughly jaded it's much harder to wow me. I was impressed with the amount of detail in the scripting that the Valve people did for Half-Life and with how much fun the teamplay is in Team Fortress Classic as well as the raw speed of Q3A. Recently I was totally blown away by the other new Bungie project under construction, but I can't say why. (Sorry, company rules)

hehehe... rules? What's all this about rules?

June 7, 1999

Sam Morris <sam@netcity.co.uk> writes:

Well, if we're into spotting Marathon sounds, when opening a window under Windows 98 with the Theme "Baseball" selected, you hear the Marathon "Playball" noise.

Stefan Stadlberger <stadlberger@yadur.com> writes:

For Marathon, Bungie has also been using sounds from the Sound Ideas archive (http://www.sound-ideas.com). Some sounds are downloadable (http://www.sound-ideas.com/downloadable-sfx.html). Try the 44 Magnum sound. Sounds familiar..

June 6, 1999

Rob Schultz <silvertail_wolf@hotmail.com> writes:

I discovered a while back. Sound Dogs.com <www.sounddogs.com> is an internet sound library. It contains literally thousands of sounds for developers to pay for and download to use in their projects.. video games, music, movies, what-have-you. I was looking for some sound effects one day after finding this place and happened to put in a search for something like "sci-fi space effects". And guess what I found? Nearly all of the M2 effects and all of the Jjaro and S'pht'Kr sounds.. My guess? Bungie and DoubleAught used Sound Dogs.com as their sound resource. Either that, or Bungie needs to look into this. ;)

Chadd Nervig <a7s7t7r7o@hotmail.com> writes:

More info about the Music Track mentioned yesterday. It is indeed named Nobody. And I have meticulously recorded every Marathon Sound in it. (Hey, I was bored) :) All sounds are considered centered, or equally balanced on each side, if they have no notation after them. '(Left)' means it is heard in the left speaker. '(Right)' means it is heard in the right speaker.
00:01-03    Marathon 1 Startup Theme Beginning
00:02-04    Transport Out (Left), followed by Transport In (Right)
00:07       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
00:10       Drone Death (Left)
00:12       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
00:19       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
00:23       Drone Death (Left)
00:25       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
00:28-30    Transport Out (Left), followed by Transport In (Right)
00:35       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
00:56       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
01:02       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
01:36-38    Transport Out (Left), followed by Transport In (Right), Followed by Transport In (Left)
01:40       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
01:45       Drone Death (Left)
01:47       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
01:54       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
01:57       Hunter Howl (?Twice) (Left)
02:00       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
02:02-04    Transport Out (Left), followed by Transport In (Right), Followed by Transport In (Left)
02:10       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
02:31       Pfhor Worbble (Right)
02:38       Pfhor Worbble (Right)
02:44       Pfhor Worbble (Right)
02:52       Pfhor Worbble (Right)
02:56       Transport Out
03:11-13    Transport Out (Left), followed by Transport In (Right), Followed by Transport In (Left)
03:15       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
03:18       Drone Death (Left)
03:28       Drone Activate Twice (Right)
03:31       Drone Death (Left)
03:37-39    Transport Out (Left), followed by Transport In (Right)
03:57       Drone Death (Left)
04:05-08    Marathon 1 Startup Theme Begining
04:06-08    Transport Out (Left), followed by Transport In (Right), Followed by Transport In (Left)

Dan Munter <pie-rat@bungie.org> writes:

i organized all the the myth-* connection theories we had on the site before, and added some new ones that you (forrest) wrote and some that were posted on agm/agm2.

check it out at myth.bungie.org/legends/delusions/connections/index.shtml

Added "John's Marathon Maps" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to John DeWeese <john@deweese.com> for the link.

June 5, 1999

Dustin Westphal <bachus@intersurf.com> writes:

I saw a post on a Hotline server that said the 6th track on the Gran Turismo soundtrack contained several Marathon sounds. Intrigued I downloaded the track and found out that the post was correct. I heard these sounds, but I'm sure there were more:

The Marathon 1 Opening
Teleport In
Teleport Out
The Droid Beeps
Droid Firing Sound
Droid Exploding
S'pht shooting
Hunter Howling
Phfor Chatter

The sounds are quite obvious and are featured prominently throughout the song. The info that scrolls at the top of MacAMP says: Masahiro Andoh & Isamu Ohira - Nobody - Gran Turismo: The Real Driving1999, AG# 560C36F1 - 1999. I'm assuming this is the artist, the name of the song, and the album, but I don't know what the number is for. I haven't checked the other songs yet either, but I plan on doing so later.

Having had the chance to listen to this track I can confirm Dustin's description above. The 6th track is simply littered with Marathon sounds. I wonder if Bungie know?

Aaron Snyder <wittnietz@datatek.com> writes concerning the cyborg Pfhor leader in Marathon. See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Tim Savard <brts@mind.net> also writes concerning the cyborg Pfhor leader in Marathon. See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

June 4, 1999

Thanks to Stefan Stadlberger <stadlberger@yadur.com> you can now surf the web while listening to your favorite music. For a number years now it has been possible to listen to the Marathon music tracks while you read the Story page by clicking on the Feel The Noise link in the left navigation frame. But once you left the Story page it was gone. Phhht! Just like that. Now however there is a link to a Marthon Music Player. Clicking on this will bring up an independent window from which you can select the Marathon music track you would like to listen to while you read the Story page or surf those other Marathon related sites.

If you have problems hearing the music please let me know.

Bungie have posted an E3 movie with some interesting behind the scenes shots. You'll find a link on www.bungie.net or try ftp.bungie.com/pub/movies/

The Blam Boys are at it again. This time they've posted some News. Nice find. They're also messing with the graphics again.

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes concerning the cyborg Pfhor leader in Marathon. See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Graham Benedict <thecosmichippo@yahoo.com> also writes concerning the cyborg Pfhor leader in Marathon. See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

June 3, 1999

It might seem odd to regular readers of the Story page that there has never been a Facts and puzzling things about... section for the Pfhor. Strange but true. But there has been some discussion about the Pfhor over the years and more recently Tfear's humanoid features have raised further interest in the Pfhor. So without further ado here is The Pfhor section.

Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes concerning the different Pfhor ranks. See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Thanks to Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> who was the first to point out that the string 626C616D at blam.bungie.org is hexadecimal for blam. (Kudos also to Stefan, Claude, Mark, Forrest, Jonathan, Tyson, Sarwat, Aaron, John, Chris, Jim, Nathan, Carcharadon, and James for also writing in about this).

On the subject of hexadecimal strings Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> writes:

Well, I fed the new front-page link on blam.bungie.org into CalConvert, thinking that the hex would convert to some interesting decimal number... surprise, surprise, the character conversion was the interesting one. ;)

Anyone who wants to try this for themselves can find CalConvert at the info-mac HyperArchive:


On the subject of angels and 6's Mark Levin <mglevin@students.uiuc.edu> writes:

Incidentally, I think 6 is the accepted answer for the medieval question "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

On the subject of 6's and 9's John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> writes:

Take the sixes away. They seem redundant.

2 C 1 D

In hexadecimal, C=12 and D=13. We know from past 'Eight Nineteen' business to convert numbers to letters corresponding to that place in the alphabet. Hence:

2 = B
C = L
1 = A
D = M

Not so mysterious after all. Are the sixes meant to throw us off? Or is it an inverted date... 9-9-99? Someone at bungie.org may know the tru7h.

I would just like to point out the obvious here. blam.bungie.org is NOT run by Bungie and it's NOT Bungie's official Blam page. Also if the people who maintain blam.bungie.org have inside information on Bungie's new game Blam then they are either not sticking to their NDAs or they have been given licence to release it in a manner which is decidely obtuse.

June 2, 1999

Thanks to Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> for passing this item of news along:

June 2, 1999: SJ Games Announces GURPS Myth

Steve Jackson Games and Bungie Software proudly announce GURPS Myth - a sourcebook for tabletop roleplaying in the world of Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soulblighter!

More details can be found at


I know this is going to generate alot of discussion about whether or not this is item #2. I would like to remind everyone about what Matt Soell (Bungie Software) said back in Apr 19, 1999. Matt wrote:

You guys have an extra surprise coming down the road.
I can't say what it is, but you'll like it.
I will say this:
Cortana has only alluded to one of three things.
You will know them when you see them.
One will be, to you long-timers, unimpressive.
The second will probably cause great joy among some segments of the populace.
And the third is...well, Cortana talks about that one.

#1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.

When I asked Matt was the "some segments of the populace" Mythers? He replied:

No, not Mythers.

So #2 is not GURPS Myth.

James Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> writes to say that the Marathon Scenario News and Recruits page have been updated.

Mike Goodwin <dimmu@mail.bungie.org> has updated the Marathon Map of the Month page.

Lucas Wolf <lwolf5@flash.net> writes to point out that there is more "cryptic" stuff in the source code at blam.bungie.org. Apparently the code is full of 6's. Including the string 626C616D which Paul Seale <pseale@atlascomm.net> notes links back to the Story page's new blam section. Angels and 6's? Odd stuff.

June 1, 1999

Since this has become something of a FAQ in the last few months I have created a blam page to gather together all the submissions to the Story page on the subject of blam. Many thanks to all those who wrote in. This section is dedicated to you. Enjoy.

Check out the Blam sites at:


More Halo business at www.mythii.com

May 31, 1999

All four Story page mirrors are back up and updated. Sorry for the down time. Marathon Central is also now on a T1 line. :-)

Matthew Grieco <grieco@virtu.sar.usf.edu> writes concerning the source of the Soul's power:

...the word the soul responds to with the "source of my power" remark is neither "rolling" nor "lingling" but simply "ling." This could be a reference to Ling-Ling, or perhaps to something else... a search for "ling" on Altavista turns up lots of references to Buddhism and Taoism... the source of the Soul's power?

Dan Rudolph <Face-the-Seventh@excite.com> writes:

The Soul has apparently been updated recently. I was unable to get a non-random response using your name a few weeks ago. the same is true of several bungie employees. Notably, it still has no information about Pathways into Darkness.

Another Marathon-like icon? Muhsin Miski <mmiski@mac-addict.com> thinks so. Check the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section for the details.

May 30, 1999

Matthew Grieco <grieco@virtu.sar.usf.edu> writes:

Regarding Admiral Tfear's human-like appearance: on "Defend THIS!" Leela tells you:

I have received a preliminary report from some members of the science staff who have finished post-mortem examinations on three kinds of Aliens. They report that by modern genealogical standards the different Aliens belong to different SPECIES.

(Defend THIS!: Terminal 1)

As anyone who has played through the Tycho-dominated levels of Marathon Infinity knows, Pfhor society, or at least Pfhor military society, is highly stratified, with each "species" of Pfhor receiving a certain "rank" presumably based on its birthright ("Attentive," "Willful," etc.). The Enforcers, for instance, are probably the "Willful" rank, as they are whom we must destroy on "Rise Robot Rise," the level on which Tycho (posing as Admiral Tfear) commands:

Any units of willful rank or higher are hereby open to execution. (Rise Robot Rise: Terminal 3: 1st message)

Logically, there must be fewer and fewer Pfhor of each rank as you ascend through the echelons of power, and therefore fewer and fewer of each species. The highest levels would have only a handful of brethren who resembled them. Perhaps the Pfhor are not as unlike humans as you would like to assume, but evolved in such a way that their lower species are more insectoid, and their upper species more evolved. Tfear is, I believe, the highest-ranking Pfhor described to you, and certainly the highest-ranking Pfhor of whom you see a picture. Therefore, it is not so surprising that he looks substantially different from his subordinates. Perhaps a clue lies in Tycho's statement:

Bugs are so obedient. (Rise Robot Rise: Terminal 0: 1st message)

Tfear is anything but obedient, so perhaps he's something greater than a bug. He possessed, after all, the trih xeem, an awfully potent toy for a "mere" insect to control, don't you think?

Chris Hebner <chebner@erinet.com> writes concerning Nostradamus:

I can't say how much this translation will differ from any other, but I belive that the exact line (in English) is:

In the year 1999, 7th month, the King of Terrors shall decend from the heavens, and the King of Mongrels will be reborn.

It is important to note that Nostrodamus never says a name or place that anyone can say "This is New York City in America!". Nor does he mention dates aside from the single line above. The fact that this is the only "prophecy" of his to be known not to have happened makes it one of the most popular. Most people agree that the King of Terrors is the third antichrist and that the King of Mongrels is Genghis Khan. For all we know, the King of Mongrels could just be an overly intelligent dog. And maybe the King of Terror is a meteor (hmm...W'rkncacnter?).

Fame at last? Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes:

Just thought you'd like to know, Bungie's Soul has it in for you.

Typing in "hamish sinclair" generates the response, "There's a seat waiting for Hamish beside me."

I guess those guys are planning on trapping your soul in their mainframe, and forcing you to answer questions about marathon with cryptic responses. ;)

Another interesting one is "lingling," to which the soul replies, "Ah, you seek the source of my power... never!"

Ah!... Ling-Ling the all powerful!

Chadd Nervig <a7s7t7r7o@hotmail.com> writes:

Dear Marathon/Myth Lovers,

It's been relesed! After months of laboring, the MaraMyth team is excited to announce that the demo is ready for the light of day. Included with this demo are 4 multiplayer levels and a revamp of the solo levels to include MaraMyth units. We have bug tested to the point where we expect that everything will go perfectly. The MaraMyth team hopes that you enjoy this, and find that it has a significant replayability factor. Enjoy!

The Demo can currently be found on Mac Gamer's Ledge's Hotline site, and in a few minutes, the Mill. Soon after it will go up at The Baron's Keep, and various other Hotline sites. As soon as we have it up at more places, you will all be notified

Looks like the beginnings of another Blam site at http://mojo.fortunecity.com/blam/.

May 29, 1999

The Story page mirror at smd033.smd.tcd.ie is temporarily down due to power problems. In addition I am presently unable to update the mirror site at www.marathon.org/story/. Still two mirrors left though. If you are reading this please pass on the good word.

On the final terminal of "Bob's Big Date" there are two terminal messages. The 1st (unfinished) message is not normally seen since most people will have achieved their mission objective long before reaching this terminal. The graphic accompanying the 1st message is odd and as Brandon Loberg <hypertech@longlivethemac.com> points out it has never been adequately discussed on the Story page. You can see the terminal message here.

The picture is of Tfear surrounded by the bodies of Nebulons. We know this from Jason Jones' credit screen on "All Roads Lead to Sol..." He holds what looks like a helmet with three red eyes characteristic of the Pfhor. No surprise here since Tfear is a Pfhor fleet admiral, indeed he has a third eye on his forehead. What puzzles Brandon is why the figure is so humanoid like?

If one remembers back to Marathon the Pfhor's features were very insectoid like. Even the Enforcers had these features. While there were some changes in Pfhor features between Marathon and Marathon 2 they still retained their overall Marathon look. So why does Tfear look almost human like?

Back in March there was some discussion about Nostradamus and his predictions and a possible connection with the Cortana line:

THIS is the way the world ends.

Now Erlendur Jonsson <hvammur@mmedia.is> writes:

Nostradamus... does not prophecise armageddon but a renewal after 2049 when WW3 is over after waging on from the 7th of July,1999.

The seventh day of the seventh month? Ever the sceptical one I asked Erlendur for a reference for this. He repied

Sorry but this info on Nostradamus comes from an Icelandic book on Nostradamus called "Nostradamus og spadomarnir um Island" which is based on direct translations on the original texts and the book shows the entire text translated and everything about the translation is explained. So you can refer to this book if it is impossible to find this translation in english somewhere on the Net but I doubt the book would be very useful to you in Icelandic (very difficult language, haven't mastered yet and I'm a native:-) ).

If anyone has any information on Nostradamus's predictions for the 7th of July 1999 please pass them on. References included please.

The World's Oldest Marathon Symbol? Matt Payne <sfeira@pacbell.net> thinks he found it. See the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section for the details.

May 28, 1999

The Forums at blam.bungie.org have certainly taken off. I go to sleep, seven hours later there are nearly 70 new posts. My head hurts!

Blam Core also have their Forums up and running. Damn... another Forum to read now! ;-)

Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> writes:


One of the better analyses of the cortana messages and how they relate to the marathon universe that I've seen...

More Cortana speculation. Lucas Wolf <lwolf5@flash.net> writes:

...after reading Matt Soell's comments regarding a Marathon/Myth connection and the Great Devoid, I went back re-read some of Cortana's comments. The use of Angel in:

I have walked the edge of the Abyss.
I have governed the unwilling.
I have witnessed countless empires break before me.
I have seen the most courageous soldiers fall away in fear.
[I was there with the Angel at the tomb]

has already been mentioned but the rest of the quote reminds me of Myth, in particular Connacht/Balor. The Abyss could easily be the Great Devoid and the rest concerning armies and empires fits with Balors character. Also Cortana says,

"And what of the Giants who formed this world?"

The Trow?

If I recall correctly, the Trow built an unrivaled empire thousands of years ago, a golden age, where they constructed huge cities and ruled almost unopposed. That could be construed as building the world.

I just checked the Myth manual and it says that the Trow built iron cities (unusual for a fantasy setting) and ruled the entire continent with brutalilty.

One more thing: "I've had the strangest dreams lately - raging seas, howling beasts, a Demon folded in black clouds."

Could the howling beasts represent the Myrkridia? Perhaps the Demon could be Soulblighter, folded in black clouds of Ravens.? Just speculation. :-)

Lucas continues:

The history of the Great Devoid only mentions that it was created by the Callieach to destroy themselves rather than be enslaved by the Trow. The name looked Celtic in origin so I looked it up. The Callieach was a neolithic goddess to a early clan of Celts. She was called the "Bringer of the Ice Mountains" and the "Bear Goddess." She was seen as a caring Goddess, who protected her people and cared for them. Also a governor of the dream realm. Her feast day is (get this!) November 21 (3 x 7).

Hmm, protector and a creator? Kind of like the Jjaro?

John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> writes concerning the cryptic "Ultima Thule" reference in the HTML source at blam.bunge.org:

You might be interested to know that 'Thule' was also the name of a Teutonic mystical group that existed in Europe in the middle of this century. No clue here as to how old it was, or if it's still around. By my reckoning, it was a Hermetic order, basically a Nordic contemporary of Israel Regardie's Order of the Golden Dawn. It probably took its name from the Latin you referenced, to mean 'the Northern lands,' exactly.

The Thule's one large claim to fame is that allegedly, Adolf Hitler was an initiate of the group.

And the least said about that the better!

Another Blam page? Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> writes:

Check the source of


Never ever read the source code... it could be dangerous! ;-)

Joshua Jansen <jejansen@yahoo.com> writes:

Just one thing

Go to


BLAM! Your Mom... Dink!, Do I have to say more? check the polls quick (as they change daily) and, by the way, they are watching.

Max Etchemendy <mxetch@yahoo.com> writes:

Well, it isn't a big Blam breakthrough or anything, but I did some Soul interrogation and discovered a possible new response. I don't know if this has already been found or not, but I haven't heard of it in any of the recent soul posts. When asked about "rolling", it responds: "Ah, you seek the source of my power...never!" (I was just typing crazy stuff and I had that "Rollin', rollin', rollin', keep them doggies rollin'" song in my head, having watched the Blues Brothers recently.)

It is definitely not a random answer. I did considerable checking, and it always says this when I type "rolling." I tried the following, and got random responses: Roland, role, role-playing, rol, roll, rollin, rollin'.

I have no idea why the soul connects "rolling" with me trying to steal its power! It's bizzare.

Sure is! :-)

May 27, 1999

More Blam News. Back in May 19, 1998 Alex Rosenberg (formerly of Bungie Software) wrote to the Story page saying:

Bungie recently registered blam.org and blam.net with the Internic.

It clearly has something to do with the conspiracy. ;)

Simon Brownlee followed this up and found that blam.org and blam.net were in fact registered by Bungie back in Mar '98. The big question at the time was what were Bungie up to? Of course we now know... or do we?

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@interlog.com> points out that while blam.org and blam.net are still registered by Bungie the name Halo isn't. It has been suggested that Halo was another (real?) name for Blam. Of course this could be mere speculation.

But what is odd about all this is that Blam is suppose to be a codename. If it is and Bungie release a game with a different title then why did Bungie bother to register blam.org and blam.net in the first place? Something to think about. ;-)

Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes

On the B.org Blam! site the e-mail link "Us" reminds me of the old Double Aught sites' link to their Contact page.

Hmmm... seems the so-called "Angel Gang" have updated their page again! Now they have Forums... though it's easy to miss the link.

Tyson Green (aka Ferrex) <ferrex@gamestats.com> writes:

As of this morning, the Core (Blam Core sounded silly, sooo...) moved into its account at http://core.gamestats.com/ and opened for business.

...the Core is the first (AFAIK) Blam oriented site, and aspires to be one of the most useful. Naturally, an unannounced game doesn't have a lot of content to offer, but we're working on ways around that grim fact.

Good to see the former Myth Codex crew get their Blam site up.

Concerning the reference to "Ultima Thule" in the HTML source at blam.bunge.org Christopher Brown <brown15@fas.harvard.edu> writes:

"Ultima Thule" is from the Roman writer Seneca's tragedy _Medea_. The full quote runs as follows:

Venient annis saecula seris,
quibus Oceanus vincula rerum
laxet et ingens pateat tellus
Tethysque novos detegat orbes
nec sit terris ultima Thule.

That is,

In latter years shall come the age
when Ocean shall unloose the bonds of things
and the vast earth shall be lie exposed,
and Tethys shall reveal new worlds,
nor shall Thule be the farthest land.

Sounds very Cortana'ish.

Ben Potter <ftbap@aurora.alaska.edu> writes:

I'm not sure if its relevant here, but Thule is the name of an archaeological complex dating from approximately 1000 AD and were the immediate predecessors of the Inupiat Eskimo.

Nico Audy-Rowland <nico@rock.com> writes:

Have you asked the Soul: loquerisne linguam latinam

hehehe... madness.

May 26, 1999

Nathan LIVES! Nathan Bitner (Bungie Software) <nathan@bungie.com> writes:

Received: from dux2.tcd.ie (dux2.tcd.ie [])
	by dux4.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id XAA09371
	for <hsinclir@dux4.tcd.ie>; Tue, 25 May 1999 23:12:17 +0100 (BST)
Received: from mail.bungie.com (IDENT:root@mail.bungie.com [])
	by dux2.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id XAA07748
	for <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>; Tue, 25 May 1999 23:12:13 +0100 (BST)
Received: from freak (freak.bungie.com [])
	by mail.bungie.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with SMTP id RAA01717
	for <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>; Tue, 25 May 1999 17:09:56 -0500
Message-ID: <002b01bea6fb$e71ea560$07097dd1@bungie.com>
From: "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com>
To: "Hamish Sinclair" <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: The Soul
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 17:14:04 -0500
Organization: Bungie Software
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2014.211
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2014.211
X-UIDL: d8024875b94d7c6298a122894521bd4b

The Soul just thinks it has a sense of humor - I'm alive and well and, at
least for the moment, still employed.  :-)


More odd stuff at blam.bungie.org. Robin Larson <nordic@bit-net.com> writes:

I when to http://blam.bungie.org/ last night and once again the page had
changed. I took a look at the HTML and found two words I assume are from

       <TITLE>B L A M</TITLE>
<!-- ultima Thule -->
<!-- Cortana -->
<IMG SRC="blamlogo.jpg" ALT="B L A M"><br>
<a href="mailto:blam@bungie.org?subject=What's the fuss..."><IMG
SRC="truepath.jpg" ALT="Choose..." border=0></a>

I looked up the word Thule in my trusty American Heritage Talking
Dictionary and found:

1. The most northerly region of the habitable world to ancient Greek
geographers. Posited as an island north of Britain, it has been variously
identified with Iceland, Norway, and the Shetland Islands.
2.  A town of northwest Greenland northwest of Cape York. A U.S. naval base
was built here during World War II. Population, 449.

To my amazement there was a reference to the term "ultima Thule" also in
the Dictionary:

ultima Thule:
1. The northernmost region of the habitable world as thought of by ancient
2. A distant territory or destination.
3. A remote goal or ideal: "the ultima Thule of technology, the ne plus
ultra . . . the answer to every earthly problem"  John Gould

Hmmm... interesting but is this official Cortana text? Furthermore it's not clear how much the self-styled "Angel Gang" at blam.bungie.org actually know about Bungie's new game in development, codenamed Blam.

Stephen Tweedale <SReidTweed@aol.com> writes:

Today's version of the Blam! site features the caption "there is only one true path." A reference to our timeline-hopping cyborg from Infinity? Let's hope so!

Wishful thinking perhaps or something more?

Both Paul Anderson <smalls_@hotmail.com> and Joshua Jansen <jejansen@yahoo.com> write to point out that the blam page at http://myth.codex.com/ has now gone... indeed the whole site is gone?

However while the Myth Codex may be gone my understanding is that both Ferrix and Malory are hard at work behind the scenes creating a new Blam site. Presumably this will be at a new URL.

Ben Fisher <ben@fisher.enterprise-plc.com> writes:

I've noticed that the Soul uses a standard 'keyword' identifying procedure : that is, to trim the last letter or letters of a word so that various tenses are recognised. IE: Hung/arian, hung/er Hung/ry would all be trimmed to the keyword hung* (meaning that the word "hung" wouldn't work. This particular word is a bad example since "hungarian" is the keyword, but I have noticed this practice in other searches.

For further details, consult the search practices documents at altavista.

May 25, 1999

Nathan gone?!!! Mike Sutton <littlemrhappy@yahoo.com> asked the Soul about Nathan Bitner and got this response:

Question: Nathan Bitner
The soul says: Nathan doesn't work here any more.

Could it be true or has the Soul lost it? Afterall as Mike points out if you ask the Soul about Bill Clinton you get this response:

Question: Bill Clinton
The soul says: All hail the King!

Sam Clark" <samclark@hotmail.com> writes

Check out the BLAM reference in Rob McLees's rant at Bungie's soapbox. It was put up on Jan 21, 1997.

Rob McLees wrote in his Soapbox article:

"so I snuck up behind him and BLAM... that was cool"
Michael Trinder <mike.trinder@arct.cam.ac.uk> writes:

Looking at the two Craig Mullins Oni images, the second one 'Oni Figure' caught my eye because of the architecture... then I noticed that the first one features the same concrete waffle slabs, yellow escalators and chunky detailing around the columns that surround the open atrium.

Craig (or more possibly, the architects designing the Oni levels if Craig has used their work for the situation) has been looking at the Lloyds building in London :) See http://www.richardrogers.co.uk/rproject.html#lld - I'm searching for a better image of what I mean, but to be honest I'd recognise those details anywhere. The yellow zigzagged escalators were a first.

See also the Lloyds Register of Shipping Headquarters in London at




for architecture similar to that seen in Oni. If you remember Bungie ran this ad some time ago:

7/12/98: So we're looking for an Architect! Someone skilled in the following: AutoCAD r14, 3DStudio MaxR2, and a few years of experience in the architecture business.

Also Bungie have repeatedly stated that real architects were working on Oni's level design to create realistic urban landscapes.

May 24, 1999

Thanks to all the people who spotted the deliberate error on the Story page and also to those who thought that my life might be threatened as a consequence! Star Wars or Star Trek? ;P

Brandon Gupton <seamuspf@hotmail.com> writes:

I was rereading Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring," and in Chapter Eight, there is a quotation from Lady Galadriel. She hands to Aragorn a sheath for his sword Anduril (somewhat similar in spelling to our rampant friend) and states "The blade that is drawn from this sheath shall not be stained or broken even in defeat." Sounds a *lot* like Roland's blade, doesn't it? And Aragorn is definitely of the hero type...

Brandon also writes concerning the Soul:

...if you ask it "Do you speak Hungarian?", it replies "No thanks, I'm full." A truly bad pun, sounds like something from Matt.

Hmmm... when did Matt Soell start making bad puns? Did I miss something? ;-)

Rony Sanchez" <vacadude@geocities.com> writes:

Hey, have you tried saying, "i love you" to the soul?

err... not lately no. ;-)

May 23, 1999

More cryptic goings on at blam.bungie.org.

A Marathon-like symbol in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace? Henry Fok <spectre@startrekmail.com> thinks so. He sent in a pic to prove it. See the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section for the details.

Sam Beck <sambeck@winternet.com> also sent in Marathon-like symbol from a company called Marathon Kilns. See the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section for the details.

May 22, 1999

Hidden lyrics in Marathon 2 theme music revealed! James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> got the scoop from the source. Check out the Marathon Music section for the details. Nice one!

Another Blam site? Jordan Young <worms_bait@hotmail.com> writes:

I went to Bungie.org's Blam section and it contained a mysterious blurred image. After looking at it for a while and conferring with those around me we figured out what it is. The three Bob image from the Marathon Trilogy CD. Can't be coincidence.

Odd stuff.

Joshua Jansen <ejansen@yahoo.com> points out that the Halo/Blam graphic seen over the last few days at mythii.com has gone. Phhht! Just like that. Joshua remarks:

i'm betting that this (Halo) is considered a SNAFU at bungie, the reason they took it off.

And now for something completely different.

Halo Jones (no relation to Jason Jones) was a comic book sci-fi heroine created by writer Alan Moore and artist Ian Gibson for the UK based 2000AD comic (2000AD is probably best know for the Judge Dredd series). Highly acclaimed for its detailed plots Halo Jones (The Ballad of Halo Jones) gained a cult following. Halo first appeared in issue 376 (7th July 1984) of 2000AD and ran for only 37 issues. Divided into three books the first two were adapted for the stage in 1988 and Halo Jones herself was the inspiration for an album track by Transvision Vamp.

Further details about Halo Jones can be found at these sites:



Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> writes:

Marathon-to-halflife page... http://www.bovinia.net/marathon maintained by Thomas Riisbjerg <thomas.riisbjerg@image.dk>.

Apparently, Alex S. told him he was free to go ahead, after looking over the texture file (whatever it's called on the halflife side).

Lends credence to the idea that #2 might be source code...

Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> writes concerning Matt Soell's recent comments about the Great Devoid. Matt wrote at the time:

...but then there's the Great Devoid.

The Great Devoid was the big hole in the ground at the end of Myth:TFL.

How did it get there?

Omer points out that the origin of the Great Devoid is given in Myth. Omer writes:

MTFL manual p. 46:

Great Devoid: A bottomless chasm near Myrgard, created by the Callieach during their final days. Rather than be hunted to extinction by the Trow, the Callieach destroyed themselves and many Trow, leaving behind only the Devoid.

This is the only mention of the Callieach ever made.

Then there's the MTFL level http://myth.bungie.org/legends/journal/j25_great_devoid.shtml by that name, in which the survivors of the confrontation at the Fortress take Balor's head to be thrown into the Devoid.

So what was Matt referring to when he said: How did it get there?

Michael Watson <durandal@longlivethemac.com> writes:

Check out the _12_ number [1+2=3] binary image at


[you'll also notice 7 of those numbers are 1's...]

Latin Soul. Thanks to Alex Kent <Alex_Kent@concordacademy.org>, Richard Persky <ouroboros@mail.utexas.edu> and Peter de Blanc <Giule@aol.com> for pointing out that the Soul does indeed respond to Latin. Try the following phrases: "Tu dicit Latinam?", "Dicesne linguam Latinam?" or "Cognis Latinum?" :-)

May 21, 1999

Craig Mullins is back! The team at oni.bungie.org have posted two pics of original Oni artwork by Craig Mullins. The pics are called "onibattle.jpg" and "onifigure.jpg". Looks like Craig has been called in to provide some visually inspiring action art for Oni. Great stuff.

A possible connection between Pathways and Myth? See the Pathways Into Darkness page for details.

Concerning my comment yesterday that if Bungie wanted to release the Marathon source code all they would have to do is simply upload it to their web site Jason Harper <JasonHarper@pobox.com> writes:

It may not be quite as simple as that: there could be some part of the source code that they can't or don't want to release, and it would take some effort on the part of a programmer to get it cleanly removed. For example, the source code to Descent had to leave out the sound driver, since it was licensed from a 3rd party.

On the same subject Colin James <cjames@henninger.com> writes:

Here is another possibility of why #2 is most likely not the Marathon source code:

Within the The Marathon engine they use sprite technology that they still use in Myth and Myth 2, and probably will in future games. Its unlikely that they would release the code for something that they still use in their current titles don't you think? I could be way off here, but its just a thought :)

Concerning the recent goings on at MythCodex and mythii.com both Tyson Green <ferrex@mythcodex.com> and Tom Pratchios <El_Bastard@mindspring.com> write to point out that the symbol on the Codex site is a shrunk down version of Bungie's corporate coat of arms (the lightning wielding arm in the middle of nine swords). Tyson also indicated that he (and others) were presently working on a dedicated Blam site.

About the mythii.com site Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> writes:

I'd like to point out that there will be no blam site to succeed mythii.com. The content will be merged into another new Myth site that will open Soon(tm). But you did uncover something... there are two sevens in the HTML. 2 + 7(!) = 9 = 3(!) ^ 3.

In addition Brian Retchless <tretchless@home.net> writes:

The thing in the background on mythii.com is the logo for myther.com.

check out this: http://www.myther.com

this is going to be a network of sites. (at least as far as I can guess)

Concerning mythii.com and the references to Halo and Blam, Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> writes:

This recent talk of Halo got me thinking. When we look at what a Halo is, it's a circle of light round luminous body, especiallly a sun or moon; a circle ring or the disc of light surrounding head of a saint (the angels always have them.)

We should especially look at the angels, because if you can remember in Marathon, the first splash screen says:

"somewhere in the heavens...they are waiting"

They are waiting indeed, and maybe now they will come?

Note also the reference to an angel in the Cortana transcripts:

I have walked the edge of the Abyss.
I have governed the unwilling.
I have witnessed countless empires break before me.
I have seen the most courageous soldiers fall away in fear.
[I was there with the Angel at the tomb]

Some specific Myth news from Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com>. Miguel writes:

Dragon Magazine http://www.tsr.com/dragon/, the ultimate TSR roleplaying magazine, is featuring FOUR Myth dark units in their "Dragon's Bestiary" column. I recall that three of the units are Fetch, Ghol, and Trow.... Any guesses on the fourth?

The "Bestiary" column 'converts' non-D&D units over to the TSR universe. So you'll get to see how many hit-points a Trow is bestowed and how fast an attack a Ghol warrants in the eyes of Dragon Magazine. These myth units will appear in issue #261, which will hit the stands in late June.

How do you know when you're famous? Colin James <cjames@henninger.com> found out. Colin writes:

Heyas, futzing around w/ the Soul I was surprised to find that it knew my name! That's right, enter Colin James :) It also knows the nick I used to go by when running MythFiles and during my admin and beta testing days: coldfront.

My co-maintainer of the old MythFiles site, Wiley Kestner scored an internship at bungie last summer, and they used to lovingly call him "Pegboy!" he hated it, but the Soul knows none the less, so enter Pegboy, or Wiley Kestner for more soul action...

Nicholas Head <N.Head@unsw.edu.au> writes:

Seeing as the Soul knows Elvis I thought I'd see who else the soul knows. Try asking the Soul "do you know satan". The response sent a chill down my spine ;-).

On the subject of the Soul and Spanish, Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> writes:

Question: Tu hablas espanol?
The soul says: Por supuesto me little Juanita.

Translation of "Por supuesto" is "Of course"

This begs the question, does the Soul know Latin? Now isn't *that* opening up a can of worms? ;-)

Similarly Jordan Harband <myrdraalj@hotmail.com> writes:

When the Soul is asked if it speaks Spanish, it responds with "Por supuesto me little Juanita." This should be "Por supuesto me pequena Juanita." (tilde on the n in pequena). This means "Of course my little Juanita."

And also David Solorzano <almondblightman@yahoo.com> writes:

When asked "tu hablas espanol?' the Soul's answer "Por supuesto me little Juanita" translates to "of course my little jaunita", though the "me" should be a "mi". Guess Bungie learned Spanish from the treasure hunters in PiD.


Andreas Orphanides <Dre.Orphanides@oberlin.edu> writes:

All this Soul-talk on the Story Page (particularly the level-name ones) enticed me to have some fun with the Soul. I decided to plug the names of all the single player maps from the three Marathon games into the Soul and see which levels it gives you spoilers for.

G4 Sunbathing
Colony Ship for Sale

Waterloo Waterpark (kinda)
What About Bob? (kinda)
Ex Cathedra
Nuke and Pave
6000 Feet Under

Thing what Kicks.

In the process, I also discovered these interesting Soul trigger words/phrases:

What is the meaning of life?

Please excuse me if any of these have been posted before.

The Soul's response to the above triggers is left to the reader as an exercise. I haven't tried PiD level names or any Marathon netmaps, so that may also be an interesting exercise.

May 20, 1999

Many thanks to all those who wrote in over the last 24 hours regarding Matt Soell's comments yesterday. The concensus view (based on Story page mail) is that #2 is the Marathon source code (colloquially known as The Plans). How likely is this? My only comment would be that if Bungie wanted to release the source code all they would have to do is upload it to their web site and advertise the link. Perhaps Bungie envisage differently. Perhaps #2 is something else. Perhaps we'll find out at Macworld this summer? :-)

A Lovecraft story with references to the Yucatan, Müller, Germans and a Temple? You're kidding right? No! Check the Pathways Into Darkness page for details.

First MythCodex and now mythii.com. Another Myth site jumps ship? Joshua Jansen <jejansen@yahoo.com> writes:

just a few things to say.

1. go to http://www.mythii.com [a dead site][?]

2. "holy damn" [response to #1]

3. Halo = new game? BLAM's real name? it is an astrophysical term, referring to the possible composition of dark matter, and, of course, is a term describing the matter on the outskirts of a galaxy, among other things.

4. the image is a blurred, enlarged image of the mythcodex image

good luck on your investigation into this...

James Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> of the Marathon Scenario News page reports that Sean Phelps was visitor #7777 and won the shrinkwrapped copy of the Marathon Trilogy Box Set. Congratulations Sean. :-)

Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> writes:

The Soul's been updated!

Question: minotaur

The Soul says: Minotaur is still played from time to time around the Bungie offices. Although it's out of print, you'll soon be able to get it (as well as Pathways, Abuse, and the entire Marathon Saga) as part of the Mac Action Sack.

hehehe... I guess the Soul has been briefed.

Brent Thompson <brentt1072@hotmail.com> writes:

...the soul doesn't seem to know anything about Cortana. When asked It never gives the same answer.

Sounds familiar. ;-)

Jordan Young <worms_bait@hotmail.com> writes:

Try asking the Soul about Elvis.

Brandon Gupton <seamuspf@hotmail.com> writes:

If you happen to have taken a level beyond Spanish I, maybe you can understand the Soul's answer to the question "Tu hablas espanol?" Because I sure can't. Also, telling the soul "I am God," "Are you God," etc seems to invoke an interesting (albeit slightly Nietzchian [sp?]) response. Will continue to probe the soul for answers.

May 19, 1999

More Blam news. I had the opportunity to talk to Matt Soell (Bungie Software) yesterday concerning IMGs E3 report that "Blam" was not connected to Marathon. Was this true? Surely the Cortana emails would suggest otherwise? Matt replied:

I think if you read the Cortana emails it is obvious that there's a connection. :-) I think that without knowing the story, they [IMG] can only report on basic generalities.... And if all one knows about Blam is the tiny bit of info which has gotten out, it would certainly seem that there is no obvious connection.

Matt also had this to say about plot connections in Bungie's games:

...things are often more related than they may first appear. For example, there's no obvious similarity or connection between the Marathon world and the Myth one....

...but then there's the Great Devoid.

The Great Devoid was the big hole in the ground at the end of Myth:TFL.

How did it get there?

Matt wouldn't reveal what was at the bottom of the hole!

Concerning the reported postponement of 'event' #2 Matt said:

It hasn't been deliberately postponed or anything. Still on the list of things to do. It's just that, with the crush of E3 and a few other things, I suspect it will be a little while before it happens.

What is the expected release date? Matt replied:

No announcement yet. It's one of those things that could happen at any time.

Will Bungie be needing beta testers for #2? Matt answered:

It's not the sort of thing that will need beta-testers.

Matt's final remarks about #2 are worth repeating.

I'm very eager to see #2 happen....I'm looking forward to seeing what happens afterward.

...happens afterward? Sounds intriguing.

Matt Soell also indicated that the recently announced Mac Action Sack would not contain the Marathon Trilogy Box Set in its present format. So it's unlikely that all the goodies present in the Box Set will find their way into the Sack. Matt also thought that the Box Set would go out of print once the Sack is released. So if you don't have the Box Set and were thinking about buying it then do it now. Indeed you may wish to buy several copies before it becomes a rare Collectors Item.

Concerning repeated requests to have all the Marathon music tracks released on CD Matt revealed:

I was pushing to have all the Marathon music tracks included on the Sack CD, but it looks like we won't have enough room.

Also Minotaur is unlikely to have TCP/IP support. Matt stated:

We worked on a TCP/IP version a while back but that was never finished so I don't think it'll be included.

Competition time. James Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> points out that Visitor #7777 at his Marathon Scenario News page at bungie.org will win a copy of the Marathon Trilogy Box Set. The Box Set is still shrinkwrapped and James is willing to post this to anywhere in the world. At the time of writing the counter stood at 07427 so there could be a winner today! You must have a screenshot of the front page with the counter indicating #07777. In addition please supply the IP address of the computer you used to visit the page. The competition is not open to b.org members or employees at Bungie Software.

Seems that Bungie's Disembodied Soul has made it to the main page. How convenient. ;-)

Oh and check out Cyberlingling too. :-)

May 18, 1999

Blam news. Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> writes:

On IMG's E3 page <http://www.imgmagazine.com/news/e3/e3.html> I came across this tidbit:
"In addition to Oni, Bungie is currently working on a new title. At E3 Bungie was showing the game behind closed doors to print media (to secure future previews). Not much is known about this title except that the codename is "Blam". Here's what we do know..."Blam" is Jason Jones next game, whose previous titles include Marathon and Myth. The game has been in development for more than a year and it is expected to be released sometime in the year 2000. And from what we've heard, "Blam" is not set in the Marathon or Myth world."

So, that leaves to hope that #2 is Marathon related :)

If IMG are correct and "Blam" is not set in the Marathon world then what are all the Cortana emails about? Matt Soell has gone on record saying that #3 was a new game and that the Cortana emails were related to this. Given the many Marathon-related references in the Cortana emails you might wonder what is actually going on here.

And just what happened to #2?

Stephen Tweedale <SReidTweed@aol.com> writes:

First of all, regarding level titles, "Arrival" is also the name of the first episode of the British TV series "The Prisoner". Originally the series' creator, Patrick McGoohan, only wanted to make SEVEN episodes, but was persuaded to make SEVENteen.

Second level-name fact, regarding "Defend THIS!": "This We'll Defend" is the motto of the United States Army. I believe the title is a reference to this motto.

More Soul baiting. Nathaniel Krell <nkrell@abc-xyz.com> writes:

Try asking the Soul these questions:

Do you have a favorite movie? What time is it? Do you speak Spanish? Do you speak German? Are you French? Bye

Stefan Stadlberger <stadlberger@yadur.com> writes:

Ask the Soul:
Can I have your source code?

Added the "Marathon Physics Model Archive" to the File Repositories section of Page 2401. Thanks to Gary Simmons (a.k.a. the BattleCat) for the link.

May 17, 1999

Concerning the reported postponement of Bungie's #2 event (see below) Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

So it's "Two Months" now? ;)

Jeff Campen <jcampen@shrike.depaul.edu> asks you to head on over to the old MythCodex site. Gone is Myth to be replaced by... blam!?

Looks like the Codex boys may be starting up... yet another site. ;-)

Concerning the recent announcement of Bungie's Action Sack containing Minotaur, Abuse, Pathways to Darkness, and the complete Marathon trilogy Brian Retchless <tretchless@home.net> writes:

The Soul is out of date!

Question: Minotaur
The soul says: Minotaur is out of print, and right now there are no definite plans to resurrect it. Sorry.

Lawrence Cabusora <lcabusora@peapo.exeter.edu> writes:

...remember that little sigma is the seventh to last letter in the Greek alphabet fact? Well, I just noticed that "T" is the seventh to last letter in our alphabet... and how many times have you replaced that T in tru7h?

It's all connected I tell ya! ;-)

May 16, 1999

Final E3 news update from Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com>. Miguel writes:

To reiterate what I believe is already being said: Oni will *maybe* ship by end of year. However, they learned a valuable lesson from Myth II and *really* don't want to ship until it's done. They were handing out Job Postings and I noticed they're still looking for someone to head up QA. Could someone *please* sign up for the job ASAP? :-)

Cornered Matt Soell (helluva nice guy)... he stated that #2 is 'postponed' until further notice (a few months he figures).

As we were talking we looked over to one of the Oni stations manned by Hamilton Chu. Who happens to be demoing Oni to STEVEN SPIELBERG and sons. No joke! Matt and I did a double-take and then whipped out our cameras to record the event. Apparently someone from Dreamworks had seen Oni and was so impressed he promised Hamilton he would bring over Mr. Spielberg (with kids in tow) at a later time. Everyone at Bungie thought Hamilton had been the victim of a cruel prank. Guess not! Mr. Spielberg was surrounded by two big bodyguards and an entourage. Yet he seemed to be a pretty normal guy for someone with such power in the entertainment biz.

The cynic in me assumed someone from Newsweek could twist this event into some sort of commentary on violence in videogames and Hollywood. *snort*

Which reminds me that I saw Bob Settles. Doug said that they actually agreed to let Bob talk for Bungie because Newsweek was looking for commentary not from a Bungie PR person but from a programmer - someone in the trenches so to speak. However, Newsweek trimmed Bob's quote for their own nefarious "sound-bit" reasons. However, Bob does stand by the sentiment expressed in the quote. I disagreed with it but to each his own. I certainly don't use Myth to channel my anger. I have Quake for that ;-)

Had a nice long chat with Dave Joost (sp?), a Bungie marketing dude. Tried to impress upon him how Bungie would not be making a mistake with more merchandising. Bungie Calendars? Sure! I want one! They worry that they'll appear to be 'selling out' I assured him as long as they give it the old Bungie Twist (ya know, "Help Bungie rule the world!") we would be glad to be Bungie Consumers. Don't you agree?

Also met briefly with Peter Tamte. I noticed that he was booked solid all 3 days of the expo. Plenty of opportunities to publish other developer's products. Bungie might be evolving more than we think over the next few years.

Interesting possibilities for Macworld New York vis-a-vis The Bungie Fan Fest. More news as that develops.

Saw Jason Reiger who's having a blast working with Blizzard on Diablo II. He's hoping to pitch a game idea or two soon. One comment that stuck out in my mind (paraphrasing) "Both companies are so alike yet they differ in that Bungie pushs the technological edge at the expense of the user base [making it difficult for users with low-end machines to play their games], whereas Blizzard makes sure the technology is choked enough for the low-end user." An interesting observation, and he didn't mean to knock either Bungie or Blizzard. If you think so then it's my fault in misquoting him.

Saw Tuncer Deniz for a split-second from a distance. Wanted to wish him well with IMG but missed my chance.

Can't really think of anything more. At least not til I get home and develop/scan pictures, etc...

Later people...

#2 is 'postponed' until further notice?!!!

May 15, 1999

More E3 news. Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> writes:

I finally get a chance to sit on a computer and I see that everyone has pretty much gotten whatever news scoops were to be had... perhaps.... :)

Anyway, the lid on Blam is very tight. Jason Jones and friends are giving demo's behind closed doors. NDA's are signed. The Bungie Action Sack should be out in July. The packaging that people have seen is *probably* final.

I have yet to corner Matt Soell. And when I asked other Bungie folks about the 3 events I was greeted with dumb stares.

"One will be, to you long-timers, unimpressive. The second will probably cause great joy among some segments of the populace. And the third is...well, Cortana talks about that one.

#1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.

#1 and #3 are revealed: The Action Sack and Blam. What is the third??? hmmm

More as it develops.

If you remember Matt Soell had this to say back in mid-April:

You guys have an extra surprise coming down the road.
I can't say what it is, but you'll like it.
I will say this:
Cortana has only alluded to one of three things.
You will know them when you see them.
One will be, to you long-timers, unimpressive.
The second will probably cause great joy among some segments of the populace.
And the third is...well, Cortana talks about that one.

#1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.

And also:

I will reiterate one of my points from last time:

#1 will probably not be too impressive to you guys: the few/proud/etc.
#2 will be.
And #3 is, in the words of my friend Jim Ruiz: "The coolest thing I've ever seen on a computer."

Event #1: The Bungie Action Sack, actually called the "Mac Action Sack", will contain six of Bungie's classic Macintosh-only games: Minotaur, Abuse, Pathways to Darkness, and the complete Marathon trilogy all for $19. Good news for those who haven't got the Trilogy Box Set. Perhaps we'll also see an upsurge in Minotaur playing across the net. :-)

How many people remember these from Minotaur?

Mask of Disguise
Dust of Disappearance
The Stasis Crystal
Aegis of Zeus
Ring of Mertamorphosis
The Stalker
Feather of Leviation
Stave of Ultimate Doom
The Pentagram
Chain Lightning

and of course... Durandal

Updated the Cortana section. Now you can read the full history as it unfolds.

Tim Milke <tmilke@ix.netcom.com> writes:

I know you and Bungie have a fascination with 3 and 7, but here's a tidbit to chew on.....


Myrdred (The Deceiver's name)
MP-41 rifle in pathways
M-75 assault rifle
M-79 grenade launcher (pathways)

am I noticing a trend here?

Trend? Naw...

M-16 (Pathways)
Manus Celer Dei
etc. ;-)

May 14, 1999

E3 news! As expected Bungie confirmed that they were working on a new action game, codenamed Blam! The game has been in development since the release of Myth. Since it's a Jason Jones original Bungie fans can expect something... very special! :-)

For more info on Blam! check the Cortana section.

Nicholas Head <N.Head@unsw.edu.au> writes concerning the recent comments by Hamish Sanderson and Forrest Cameranesi concerning the potatoanus:

Seeing as it's under discussion at the Story page I thought I would remind everyone that the potatoanus can, in fact, be killed. Mind you it isn't easy. This was proved with a lot of grenades in a Co-op film done by Miha of the MI level "Poor Yorrick" and can be found at the Marathon Vidmasters' page.

Ever seen a dead potatoanus? Yuk! The co-op film can be found in Miha's Infinity Vidmaster pack. It's worth watching for the potatoanus football alone. Perhaps a new sport? ;-)

John Robey <TheGneech@aol.com> writes:

...in perusing the "Are You the Cyborg?" page, I was struck by the commentary about being able to "see" when you are dead -- and perhaps that implies implants, embedded links to Durandal, and whatnot. However, in PID, the dead are quite aware of stuff going on around them, stuck there aware and unable to interact in any way. It seems to me that the player is just the same -- except that we have the TAB key as a "get out of death free" card.

Interesting analogy. Imagine getting killed in Marathon and having to lie around on the ground for 50 years or so until some guy with a Yellow Crystal comes along. Frightening thought! ;-)

Dennis Taylor <dennis@starmedia.net> writes:

Check out http://wm.themes.org/

A little treat for WindowMaker fans who wish they could play Marathon on their Unix machines... :-)

If you check out the new themes list you'll find Marathon 2 listed at... #7 !!! ;-)

James Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> writes to say that the Scenario News page at marathon.bungie.org has a big new update! We won't spoil it for you... go read it yourself.

Onicore, formerly Oniweb, has some Oni news from E3. Nice new look to the page too. :-)

May 13, 1999

E3 opens its doors to the public today. If you're there you'll get the opportunity to see Oni and perhaps talk to the Bungie crew about their other up-and-coming games. :-)

Why is this day special in Marathon's history? Check the Pathways Into Darkness page for details.

Good news for Duality fans. Doubleaught have provided four new Duality screenshots to the fan site Dualism. Check them out. Very nice indeed.

Hamish Sanderson <hhas@somewhere.inthe.uk> writes:

Here's some notes in response to Forrest's comments on the Shapes file. Make of them as much or as little as you will.


Poking around in Anvil lately, I've noticed some interesting things that seem to be left-out features of Marathon Infinity.

In the Explosion Effects collection, there is the "Pod".
Never played through Infinity, but always wondered what that might have been for.
In the Items collection, there are dead Grendle and Potatoanus bitmaps. But they are never killable in the game. So they must have been killable at some time in the past.
My guess is that because you can't walk over a monster that has a +ve height that Bungie gave them -ve heights instead +ve heights block player, -ve ones don't. Other aspects of monster physics also depend on heights, however.). But since -ve heights aren't usually a good idea when it comes to shootable stuff (the exception being scenery lights, which do use this feature to their advantage) I suppose they simply dropped any killable versions. Which is a shame, cos I can't think of anything those potatoani would deserve more than a right good grenading up the...


Ticks have an attacking sequence and corresponding bitmaps, as most people already know. But I don't recall every seeing them attack (maybe because I always shoot them before they get close enough), and their physics prohibit it (except kamakazi ticks, but they explode as soon as they get in range to attack with their energy drain).
I always wondered if attacking ticks might have been intended to use the O2/energy drain shots defined in the PM; not sure why I've always thought this though.
There's an "unused" sequence in the Trooper collection. No idea what it's for.

Ditto the S'pht'Kr collection.

There's quite a lot of sloppy leftovers in the M-Shapes files. Unused cluts, unused sequences, etc. I'd imagine if Bungie's Shapes editors were anything like Anvil to use it was probably a whole lot easier to leave extra stuff in than try to take it out again .
There's a sequence for a tall lava splash, but not bitmaps. Nothing big.
It uses the same bitmaps as the small splash, but scaled up a bit. Economy is a wonderful thing.:)
The Sewage scenery's "Long Lamp" was meant to be breakable, and has the appropriate sequence and bitmaps, but the app doesn't use it.
Au contraire, it is most breakable indeed. Hours of fun to be had with a magnum and spare rounds there.:)

However, if you do want to see a screwup in the Sewage scenery set, look for the curiously lively alien trashcan. That's not a feature, that's a bug.

Ditto both Jjaro lamp scenery items.
It is technically possible to make these breakable (just ask Fux!); however there are a couple caveats:

There isn't a spare Effects slot to use for the 'breaking glass' effect - you need to rearrange the PM and Shapes a bit (or add an extra Effects slot to the PM)

Once a solid (+ve height) breakable scenery item gets broken, it loses its solidity; ie. you would be able to walk through the broken Tall Light (which, for its current 'broken' graphic would seem kinda dumb).

Hmmm, I guess somebody just conveniently ignored breakables for the Jjarro set...

Every scenery collection has "enter" and "exit" sequences for their media types, but no corresponding bitmaps. So, apparently there were to be entry and exit splash sprites, but there aren't.
These sequences are used, but for Sound-only purposes. The shin-bone connects to the thigh-bone, etc - or in this case these Shapes file sequences connect to some of the PM's Effects slots, which in turn are called from within the M2 engine itself via internal tables (which, incidentally, you can access via Fux!).

However, a much more curious and unsettling question would be: what on earth is/was the security ID card in the Items collection in there for? And why are there _two_ radar graphics in the Interface collection? Even stranger is: why is there a 3x recharger graphic in the Water walls collection when there isn't a 3x recharger switch type available in Mi?

What is more disturbing, perhaps, is the question of _why_ I should have spent the greater chunk of my life devoted to such arcane studies of the M-Shapes file. But that, as they say, is another story...

May 12, 1999

Response to the latest Cortana email has been phenomenonal. Thanks to all those (50+) who have written in over the last 24 hours. Lots of speculation. But first the hard facts!

A number of people rightly pointed out that the two names in the subject headers are in fact real people! Don Lloyd <dlloyd@cfa.harvard.edu> of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics was first in with the information. Don writes:

The subject headers of the two recent Cortana messages include the names Paul Butler and Geoff Marcy. Story page readers interested in astronomy may recognize them as extrasolar planet hunters. See their team's web page at


On the same subject Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> writes:

Both R. Paul Butler and Geoffrey W. Marcy are in a group involved in the search for Extrasolar planets. Right, planets that revolve around suns other than our own. Check out these URLs.

R. Paul Butler's Home Page
Geoffrey W. Marcy's Home Page

Here's a link to SFSU Extrasolar Planets Search planets around stars doppler search for planets discovery of planets brown dwarfs and planets


Here's a link to a chart with these extrasolar planet's names:


Jonathan Andrews <vidboi@bellsouth.net> provides some additional information:

I did some research on R. Paul Butler and Geoffrey W. Marcy and found these things...

First off, the two are friends, co-workers, and Marcy taught Butler at San Francisco State University.

R. Paul Butler earned his BA in Physics, BS in Chemistry and MS in Physics from San Fransisco State University. He earned his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Maryland. Needless to say, he and Marcy search for extrasolar planetary systems around distant stars.

Butler was quoted saying "...I have a dream that in another 400 years, humans will travel to these stars." Referring to stars with planets that his group and others have discovered. In another 400 years, it will be 2400 which is the century that Deimos conversion begins as well as the Marathon is launched.

Butler wrote 2 dissertations: "Pushing the Limit: Precision Radial Velocities, Techniques and Applications" for his PhD and "A Precision Astronomical Instrument to Measure Doppler Shifts" for his Master of Science in Physics. I could not find Marcy's Honor Thesis, though.

Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes concerning the Greek symbol sigma ( ) which appeared twice in the Cortana email:

...the sigma sign in the latest Cortana email was probably a higher-ASCII mis-translation. I believe it was intended to be the option-dash symbol (a long dash), often used to separate parenthetical (?) statements - like this - from the rest of a sentence. But that symbol uses an 8-bit ASCII identifier, while lots of the net still uses old 7-bit transfer methods. Thus, the translation between 8-bit and 7-bit uses a series of 7-bit characters to identify an 8-bit character. But sometimes the translation can be messed up, and the wrong character comes out on the other end. I've often seen option-dash symbols accidentally turned into sigmas. So, that's probably the case here, too.

Good point. The Story page regularly receives mail containing seemingly extraneous symbols. I ususally delete these characters before uploading but in this case I left them in... just to be sure... to be sure.

However... Lawrence Cabusora <lcabusora@peapo.exeter.edu> writes:

Just a random little thing I noticed about sigma being the seventh to last letter in the Greek alphabet. Don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but the Earth is the seventh to last planet in this solar system... and seeing as that the first sigma in the Cortana message is in the context, "As for this world [sigma]..."


Furthermore, the Earth is the third planet out from the sun.

7. And 3.

Hmmm... makes you wonder doesn't it!

Turning to the main text of the cortana email. From the many comments received there would appear to be general agreement on two of the following lines:

This enemy - YOUR enemy - has proven more irritating than I anticipated. They own nothing which they have not stolen.

This is similar to a description of the Pfhor's technology from Marathon 2

Most of the Pfhor's technology was plundered from sites abandoned by the Jjaro.


I can recall a sun - black, but shining - and the creatures that inched along its fiery tracks.

This is similar to a description of the W'rkncacnter again from Marathon 2:

When the W'rkncacnter came, Pthia was
killed, and Yrro in anger, flung the
W'rkncacnter into the sun. The sun burned
them, but they swam on its surface.

Many people (not all) thought that Cortana's remark:

I at least find some joy in tormenting the other entity that seems quite trapped in this antiquated excuse for a network.

was a tongue-in-cheek reference to Bungie's Soul. Others however felt that perhaps it was a reference to Leela trapped in the Vylae FTL network.

However Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> makes an interesting observation about the Cortana line:

It is certainly mindless, though for reasons I have yet to understand, it appears to have an unhealthy preoccupation with my mother.

Omer writes:

The Disembodied Soul is being tormented by Cortana, who happens to be Jason Regier.


Heh... given that Jason Regier has left Bungie for Blizzard he is undoubtedly open game for comments like this! Who remembers the Bungie Webmaster's comments about Greg Kirkpatrick's mother? And people STILL want to work for Bungie?!!! ;-)

Concerning the Cortana's first email address cortana@jpl.nasa.gov Omer Shenker writes:

JPL is the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, responsible for things with big engines, like... bussard ramjets.

Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> and Episkopos Pushkin <pushkin@disinfo.net> both point out that the Cortana lines

< Transfer Interrupted! >

Route Code: EXLTD > XCV - SCRB > ALLCH
Source: Undetermined (trans)

would be at home in any Marathon terminal.

Ok I'm going to stop now... my head hurts! ;-)

May 11, 1999

E3 approaches...and Cortana STRIKES again... not once but twice!

The Story page received this email last night:

Received: from dux2.tcd.ie (dux2.tcd.ie [])
	by dux4.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id XAA28169
	for <hsinclir@dux4.tcd.ie>; Mon, 10 May 1999 23:42:50 +0100 (BST)
From: cortana@jpl.nasa.gov
Received: from mail.bungie.com (IDENT:root@mail.bungie.com [])
	by dux2.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id XAA24909
	for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Mon, 10 May 1999 23:42:49 +0100 (BST)
Received: from vesta.bungie.com (bob.bungie.com [])
	by mail.bungie.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with ESMTP id RAA09755
	for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Mon, 10 May 1999 17:41:09 -0500
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 17:41:09 -0500
Message-Id: <199905102241.RAA09755@mail.bungie.com>
To: hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie
Subject: The Dissertation of R. Paul Butler
X-UIDL: c8677456edd11d5a589ed876a6fd2031

I'm everywhere!

Although the address is cortana@jpl.nasa.gov you'll note that the original sending machine was vesta.bungie.com (bob.bungie.com []). Tut tut...

A second email arrived shortly afterwards:

Received: from dux2.tcd.ie (dux2.tcd.ie [])
	by dux4.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id XAA12890
	for <hsinclir@dux4.tcd.ie>; Mon, 10 May 1999 23:50:30 +0100 (BST)
Received: from mail.bungie.com (IDENT:root@mail.bungie.com [])
	by dux2.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id XAA25749
	for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Mon, 10 May 1999 23:50:29 +0100 (BST)
Received: from Cortana (cortana.bungie.com [])
	by mail.bungie.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with SMTP id RAA09847;
	Mon, 10 May 1999 17:48:49 -0500
Message-Id: <>
X-Sender: cortana@mail.bungie.com
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Light Version 3.0.6 (32)
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 17:52:01 -0500
To: hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie
From: Cortana <cortana@bungie.com>
Subject: Honors Thesis of Geoffrey W. Marcy
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by dux4.tcd.ie id XAA12890
X-UIDL: b0029884061f1ec3a48297b1e9196f6d

There.  Was that more to your liking?

While you quibble about whose node I may control, what archaic program I
may manipulate to communicate with you, or which system I may have
temporarily disabled, taken over, or completely destroyed in the process, I
am busy saving your pathetic futures.

I am still not sure what he ever saw in you.

Nevertheless, I at least find some joy in tormenting the other entity that
seems quite trapped in this antiquated excuse for a network.  It is
certainly mindless, though for reasons I have yet to understand, it appears
to have an unhealthy preoccupation with my mother.

As for this world  I encounter new ghosts every day.  What I have found
will either save or destroy you.  This sanctuary, this unbroken circle,
has effectively concealed its power for  how long?  Perhaps hundreds of
thousands of years.    Whoever made such a place must now live in chains;
there is no other explanation for their absence. 

This enemy - YOUR enemy - has proven more irritating than I anticipated.
They own nothing which they have not stolen.  I can barely make sense of
their incessant rhetoric, except to know that you seem to be their Devil.
Congratulations - you manage to make friends wherever you go and,
apparently, places you haven't. 

I have begun to sense rumblings of a worse fate yet to come.  I can recall
a sun - black, but shining - and the creatures that inched along its fiery

It is an increasingly unpleasant memory.

< Transfer Interrupted! >

Route Code:  EXLTD > XCV - SCRB > ALLCH
Source:  Undetermined (trans)

You have brought nothing into this world, and we will ensure you bring
nothing out.

This one is from the usual Bungie source Cortana (cortana.bungie.com []). Lots of interesting stuff in this email. Comments, speculations and theories as always are welcome. :-)

One point to note... the Cortana email contains the Greek symbol sigma ( ). In the Greek alphabet is the seventh last letter. Coincidence or... ;-)

May 10, 1999

Rich Williams <opus@world.std.com> writes concerning vacuums, open windows and force fields. See the Vacuum Levels section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Eylon Caspi <eylon@cs.berkeley.edu> writes concerning the Fusion Pistol. See the Weapons in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> writes:

You can directly query the Soul.

For example:


Use + instead of spaces, and and don't have any double-quotes (") in your query.

You can also confuse the Soul:


Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes

Yet more Soul talk...


           (let n = 1, 2, ..., 9)

Colony Ship for Sale, Cheap! Want it?
Are you psychotic?

Alex Kent <Oisore@aol.com> writes:

If you ask the Soul about Quake, it gives an interesting response.

Ooops... another error on the Story page. Richard Muise <observer@sympatico.ca> points out that Wendy's had the slogan "Where's the beef" not Burger King. Yup. ;-)

May 9, 1999

Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

Poking around in Anvil lately, I've noticed some interesting things that seem to be left-out features of Marathon Infinity.

In the Explosion Effects collection, there is the "Pod". There are images for an odd little device on the ground, which apparently uses a part of the same model that the short Jjaro lamp does. It has three images: idle, firing, and dead. There's also bouncy grenade images in there. So, I'll bet that this was supposed to be like the ambient life, except it sat still and fired bouncy grenades at you. I call it the "Pod" because that's what it's identified as in the Collections list.

In the Items collection, there are dead Grendle and Potatoanus bitmaps. But they are never killable in the game. So they must have been killable at some time in the past.

Ticks have an attacking sequence and corresponding bitmaps, as most people already know. But I don't recall every seeing them attack (maybe because I always shoot them before they get close enough), and their physics prohibit it (except kamakazi ticks, but they explode as soon as they get in range to attack with their energy drain).

There's an "unused" sequence in the Trooper collection. No idea what it's for.

Ditto the S'pht'Kr collection.

There's a sequence for a tall lava splash, but not bitmaps. Nothing big.

The Sewage scenery's "Long Lamp" was meant to be breakable, and has the appropriate sequence and bitmaps, but the app doesn't use it.

Ditto both Jjaro lamp scenery items.

Every scenery collection has "enter" and "exit" sequences for their media types, but no corresponding bitmaps. So, apparently there were to be entry and exit splash sprites, but there aren't.

Rob Schultz <silvertail_wolf@hotmail.com> writes:

This may or may not have been addressed before, but I always thought it was odd that a sword appeared in PID's map view. Funny, I don't recall any swords involved with PID.... Maybe it has a name? ;)

I'm no sword expert, but the PID sword doesn't seem to resemble Durandal's sword/skulls pic. (M2;Map: PICT# 12601) Questions, questions...

Is there a sword name in Pathways Into Darkness?

Kenneth? Both Sean Savage <savman@mypad.com> and Ben Fisher <ben@fisher.enterprise-plc.com> point out that the Soul is responding to the word trigger "net" within the word "Kenneth" and not the actual name itself. A bit like Monica Lewinzky. ;-)

Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> writes:

The Soul's response to "Alexander Seropian" made me wonder who else it knew at Bungie. Most of the names from the back of the Scrapbook count as unknown words, but these will produce unique responses:

Alexander Seropian
Jason Regier
Matt Soell
Nathan Bitner

May 8, 1999

Henry Fok <spectre@startrekmail.com> writes concerning weapons and vacuum. See the Weapons in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Paul Gettle <pgettle@scescape.net> writes concerning the Soul:

I don't know if anynone's mentioned these, but here are a few good topics to ask Bungie's Soul about.

Way back in the 1960s, a MIT professor wrote a program called ELIZA. It was designed to take natural language input, search for keywords in it's database, and generate canned responses. Sound familiar? If not, ask the Soul about Eliza.

The Soul apparently also has a thing for vintage TV commercials. It recognizes Burger King's old slogan, "Where's the Beef?" You can also ask it "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?" though someone should tell it that chocolate isn't good for little Ralfie.

CBS anchorman Dan Rather was once mugged by a crazy person who kept asking him, "Kenneth, what's the frequency?" Asking that question, or asking the question "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" which is from an R.E.M. song about the incident, triggers an ad for bungie.net.

The Soul sure gets popular at the weekends! ;-)

Matthew Wanlin <stoolgod@excite.com> writes:

perhaps this has already been noticed, but if you ask the Soul "Who's soul are you?" you get an amusing response.

M.C. Avistetto <nijhazer@dpnation.com> writes:

Oddly enough, the Soul responds to the phrase "Acme Death". When you type in "Acme Death", the Soul responds, "I need a meal, not a snack". Hmm. Perhaps I should try asking the Soul about old Paul Hogan films.

Cy Delich <psychodelia36@hotmail.com> writes:

Who is bungie yields? "Bungie has enslaved me and forced me to answer questions. I was bad."

How bad were you?-"I'm a mean dude. Really!"

I said "What are you?" he said "I'm a rules-based perl script. This whole soul thing is just a big scam."

Are you happy? "Happiness is overrated. I like to consider myself sober and rational."

Are you stupid? is greeted with "I'm just a trapped soul, I'm not a Nobel Prize winner."

Saying Alex Seropian gets "A name of power."

Cy also writes:

I imagine someone already tried this but if you ask the Soul who it is it says "I'm just a dumb perl script. Leave me alone."

Amen to that. Perhaps we should leave the poor Soul be... ;-)

If you get tired of talking to the Soul why not talk to the Dead instead. Far more exciting... hey you might even end up one of the Dead yourself. ;-)

May 7, 1999

Joshua Jansen <jejansen@yahoo.com> writes concerning the Pfhor scoutship. See The Pfhor Ship section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Jared Cash <jcash@graceland.edu> writes:

I was reading the "Day In The Life Of Bungie" post on the story page and I noticed that, when the Bungie programmers couldn't find out what letter comes after zeta, they created one. It's name.... "Blamma"! So, Blam has been around all this time, eh? Maybe Bungie will succeed in taking over the world sooner than we had hoped.

Sean Savage <savman@mypad.com> writes:

Try asking the Soul who his dad is. It gives you an interesting response.

May 6, 1999

Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> kindly sent in the URL for the "Newsweek" magazine article "Loitering on the Dark Side" by Steven Levy mentioned by R. Miguel Linias two days ago. The article is on computer games and violence and contains some comments by Bungie level designer Bob Settles. You can read the full article at


Bob was reported to have said:

"Mostly people who play our games get a little relief—it allows them to let out anger,"

It would seem that I'm not like "most" people then. I play Bungie games to have some "fun" and occasionally to exericse my "mind"... even if it is the size of a planet! ;-)

To boldly go where no...? Bruce Morrison <wimorrison@FTC-I.NET> writes:

I was checking out the E3 page at


and something struck me as odd. The hyperlink for Oni is plain text, whilest the rest of the links appear to be bolded.. What gives?

Enclosed is a pic of the screen, just in case it's just my machine, still it's odd.

Not your machine Bruce... the HTML source clearly reveals that there is a missing <b> tag associated with the game title Oni. How convenient some might say! A case for Bungie's Doug Zartman perhaps?

More Soulness. Mike Sutton <littlemrhappy@yahoo.com> writes:

has anyone asked "who is your mom?" what a snappy comeback.

Episkopos Pushkin <pushkin@disinfo.net> writes:

I guess I should correct this.

The Soul does not respond to "What is Ghost in the Shell?"

It merely responds to What is hell? The "Ghost," "in," "the" and the "s" in shell are all disregarded.

Talking to the Soul is very like talking to the Dead in Pathways Into Darkness.

May 5, 1999

Exactly five years ago Ryu'Toth, the Jjaro diplomat, appeared via hologram before the US President and five of his senior military staff deep within the Pentagon. It told them they had eight days to save the world.

This is what really happened...

Arno Hautala <fracai@yahoo.com> sends in an interesting Blast from the Past. Remember the Bungie's Dear Bob letter? Indeed if your name was Robert you might have even got one. What was it all about? Check out the Blasts from the Past section for details.

Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> writes:

IDG Games Network is holding an "E3 Gamers Choice" contest. Get to vote for what you think is the most anticipated game at the E3 conference. Oni is one of the choices! So go cast yer vote next week when the contest opens!


Mike Sutton <littlemrhappy@yahoo.com> writes concerning the Soul:

has anyone yet asked about:
steve jobs or bill gates?

amusing answers

Similarly Alec Rojas <Abaddon@soulblighter.com> writes:

Check this out with the Soul:

What is Ghost in the Shell?

May 4, 1999

One day to go...

Mark Bittinger <cnation@one.net> writes concerning the 5th May 1999:

After doing a numerological analysis of your reply, (wherein I used every known mathematical function to arrive at a final answer of "7") I have figured out the big new secret product coming real soon now:

It's the Jjaro construction & play set!

You play your choice of Yrro or Pthia in this real-time strategy game of galaxy-spanning meddling and manipulation! Induce rampancy in AIs, create servant races, fiddle with the racial destinies of Humanity, the Pfhor, even the Nar! Build entire solar systems, and turn the Wrk'n'cacnter loose on 'em and watch the fun! Holographically taunt the President of the United States! Take a million year nap under a pyramid! Yes, it's just like something from an old dream that you can't quite remember, and a whole lot more!


On a more serious note R. Miguel Linias <madmacs@excite.com> writes:

According to an article called "Loitering on the Dark Side" by Steven Levy, in the May 3 1999 edition of "Newsweek" magazine; various elements of "...a culture of violence" influenced the Columbine High (Littleton, Colorado) killers.

Among these elements are "the shoot-and-splatter" games like Doom. The article reads,"Doom's creators aren't talking, but Bob Settles, who works on similar games for Bungee (sic) software (which makes the popular Myth II game), disputes" the notion that these games influence people to do "mayhem".

According to the article, Bob says "Mostly people who play our games get a little relief--it allows them to let out anger." Further, "I'm less worried about Myth II in the hands of a troubled teenager than the danger of having a gun in the household."

It appears that Bob Settles is doing the PR work that does (or did) belong to Doug Zartman. However, Bob was one of the level designers for Myth II. What would Doug be up to instead?

One point about Bob's comments bothers me. He is shifting the blame from electronic games to guns. naturally, in his newfound PR responsibilities Bob must not agree that games like Myth II might influence psycho's. Yet guns were only part of the issue. Remember that many bombs were made and placed at the school, and some were used. I think this is why the reporter was interested in Myth II. Bob didn't go far enough in his comparison. He didn't mention a concern about pipes and propane tanks in a household, as he did guns.

No matter. I think that most people would rather know why a parent or parents failed to see this coming.

May 3, 1999

Two days left to prepare...

Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes concerning the 5th May 1999:

Yeah, I'm all set! I've got my margaritas, and I've gotten all the stuff to make enchiladas! Cinco de Mayo is gonna be great this year! Also, I bought some fire works to celebrate the Mexican Independence Day. Just one thing bothers me. What does it have to do with Marathon?

Is Chris ready? ;-)

Angus McIntyre <angus@pobox.com> writes concerning Roland's sword. See the Durandal (part 2) section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

May 2, 1999

T-minus 3 days and counting... will you be ready?

Michael Lee <physmjl@cantua.canterbury.ac.nz> writes concerning the Win 95 version of Marathon 2:

Remember the untextured wall in Medicine? Well there's another in For Carnage, Apply Within. You stand on one of the islands on the way into the pattern buffer/recharger room (some of us have to use them!) just past where you can go swimming through the goo to get at that ammo stash, turn to face back the way you've come and look up at the ceiling. At least that's the general vicinity. If anyone knows how to get screen shots from windows....

Back in Dec 3, 1997 Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> pointed out the changes made to this level in the Win95 version. The untextured area is the result of this tinkering. :-(

Michael continues:

And I occasionally ran into these aliens that just wouldn't die. (We hit it and hit it...) I put an entire magazine of grenades plus a couple of AR clips into this trooper on Nuke and Pave and it's still standing there firing at me, got me too :(

In the big house where it's the Bob's doing all the shooting, a single enforcer got left alive long after all the other aphids had been dealt to, and yet the Bob's couldn't kill it. Not even after a very long time. But I was running on NT, not 95.

Hey it's obvious... Bill Gates works for the Pfhor... or is it the other way around? ;-)

One track mind. Chrille Blomqvist <gaspop@hem1.passagen.se> dares you to ask the Bungie Soul about Monica Lewinzky. Ok... ok... it's easily explained but it's just the day that's in it. ;-)

Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

Also, some things regarding dink and blam. The old survey on Bungie's page, mentioned before, had a question "Dink or Blam?", and no matter which you chose, it always told you that it was the wrong answer.

(I believe the correct answer is "Your Mom". Also note that this is similar to a quote I recall from somewhere, I believe it was a conversation between Greg and Jason. "Hey Jason" - "What?" - "Your Mom" - "Hey Greg" - "What?" - "No, YOUR Mom").

May 1, 1999

Welcome to the Ground Floor; Population You!

It's coming... May 5th 1999. Five years on the Tru7h must be revealed!

Added "The Marathon Armory" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Jordan Harband <myrdraalj@hotmail.com> for the link.

Updated the link to the "Pfhorathon page" on the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Jonathan Andrews <vidboi@bellsouth.net> for the link.

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Last updated June 30, 1999