Bungie's New Timeline

"This is the time line that I am going to give to him."

Please note that before you read any further- this section will make no sense to you unless you first read the dates section which highlights the confusing chronology of events in Marathon I. You should then read Bungie's response to this. Ah yes blame it on a women!..... but I'll let them tell the story in their own inimitable fashion. Read their first e-mail message, then the Lost Network Packets, and finally their second e-mail message.

So what does it all mean?
Well first of all we have a reliable(?) date and time for the attack on the Marathon, that is <Date 2794.>. At 0830 hours the Aliens board the Marathon and Leela makes her Emergency Systems Broadcast at 0839 hours. After floating in space for twenty-two minutes you board the Marathon placing the time at or around 0842 hours (and you've just missed breakfast).

At <Date 2794.> Volker Von Müller writes that

Our defenses are collapsing. I had no idea just how soft all of our security personnel have become. They just can't fight anymore. Maybe it was the stasis, or maybe they just never fought a hard fight.
At <Date 2794.> the MADDs came on line. These are presumably the Marathon's Automated Defense Drones. You activated the defense drones on Defend THIS!. Leela tells you
I have detected Defense Drones activating all over the ship.
Reports from security forces are jubilant.  Now, the Pfhor
will encounter stiff resistance, and they will have to pay in
blood for every move.
<Defend THIS! (Terminal 5: 'Success' message)>
So it takes you just under 15 hours to activate these....mmmmmhhhh.
Are Bungie trying to imply something? ;-)

So Leela is to blame for messing up the dates.

When the Marathon was attacked, Leela began to scramble and rewrite all of the historical information for mankind. Of course, she was damaged, and her efforts were cut off by the compilers and by Durandal. The result is that some but not all of the Marathon's data was muddled. Leela's effort at confusion failed to trick the Pfhor, but it has confused Durandal, and that is funny.
This would explain the many historical terminals and the reason why they appear garbaged. For example the famous Chicken.Term
....n 15 ~~~~~~Be~rn border of the Roman Empire to the Danube
River.  During a skirmish with barbarians in Raetiain the
mountains near the borof modern France and Switzerland), 117
men under Gaius Licinius MarcW#&I~?f/f/xxfxfff`~~~
233nce of weird and frightening monsters under his control,
many successful raidsecty the fall of the Roman Empire and
remained unmolested until the ninth un~~~
written ls into the lex vita.  Clovis moved the settlement
farther south i the mountains, nearer the spring, to escape
the notice of Charlemagne and later the Holy Roman Empire.
Clovis remain````
427q3w8459806ladimir in 1902 and Frederi~just recently. Both,
however, carried out reforms before their deaths which slowly
integrated their people secretly into world society, which are
now scattered all over the globe- to meet only once every
seven years in southeast France~FFFffxfffffF?F?FF?Ff must
be chosen.
<Smells Like Napalm, Tastes Like Chicken! (Terminal 2)>
The new time line that Von Müller provides contains some new dates as well as retaining a few of the original dates.
2194- War between Icarus and Thermopylae.
2395- Purchase of Deimos from Free holders by UESG
2402- Doors Manual written up
2405- Marathon project begins pre-construction phase
2408- Deimos Conversion begins
2442- Misriah Massacre at food Riot
2465- Martians place munitions on Marathon
2466- Failed Martian Coup, MIDA controls government for short period.
2472- Launch of Marathon
2773- Marathon arrives at Tau Ceti
2787- Colony established
2794- Marathon attacked
The date of the war between Icarus and Thermopylae remains the same as does the Marathon's doors manual, the establishment of the colony, and the attack on the Marathon. All the other dates are new.
Von Müller claims I can't verify some of the dates but I've done my best. Well there is one date that we can try and verify. Martians place munitions on the Marathon in 2465, 329 years before the attack on the Marathon. Yet Durandal tells us in Blaspheme Quarantine:
If you're looking for a hidden stash of ammunition
that was left here by the Martian insurgents three
hundred and fifteen years ago...
<Blaspheme Quarantine (Terminal 2: 2nd message)>
So Durandal's out by 14 years. If he had been using Leela's altered dates he would be out by over a hundred years. And of course he couldn't have been using his own records because as Leela says
I have noticed that Durandal's records from this early
pre-launch period are missing, but that their deletion
occurred externally, and before Durandal became Rampant.
<Ingue Ferroque (Terminal 3)>
So what happened to the missing 14 years? Is the date for when the Martians placed munitions on the Marathon wrong.... again? Is there any significance between these missing 14 years and the 14 years between the arrival of the Marathon at Tau Ceti and establishment of the colony? Or indeed the seven years between the colony being established and the attack on the Marathon?

Dennis Keeler's <dskeeler@umich.edu> interpretation of how the space fighter materializes at the beginning of the story provides evidence to suggest that you may have boarded the Marathon later than 0842 hours. Read The Pfhor Ship section of Facts and puzzling things about for the backgound to this. In Dennis's interpretation the attack on the Marathon occurs before the space fighter materializes. Thus we have no time fix for when the space fighter materializes. Needless to say that it would have been sometime after 0820 hours but how much we don't know. Maybe minutes maybe hours. It does however indicate that you might have activated the MADDs in a shorter time than stated above. Hey maybe you aren't that bad afterall ;-)

While Bungie provided a new timeline for events in Marathon one of the corrected dates still did not appear to be consistent with events in the story. Namely when did the Martian insurgents place ammunition on the Marathon. Durandal told us in Blaspheme Quarantine that it was 315 years ago (i.e., in 2479)

If you're looking for a hidden stash of ammunition that was left here by the Martian insurgents three hundred and fifteen years ago...

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

Yet the new timeline stated it was in 2465. The difference is fourteen years or looking at it in another way the Martian insurgents placed their ammunition on the Marathon seven years after it was launched. Puzzling indeed.

Pete Spomer <spomer@apple.com> provides a possible explanation for this apparent inconsistency. Pete writes:

The Marathon has been moving (presumably) at a significant fraction of the speed of light for a long time, so time would pass somewhat more slowly on board. This might change the timeline somewhat. For example, when Durandal refers to a stash of ammo left on the ship 315 years ago, does he mean 315 years in ship's time, or 315 years in 'outside' time? This might explain interesting things such as the insurgents seeming to stash the ammo 7 years after the ship launched: It becomes possible that the ship launched 322 years ago in 'outside' years, but that the ammo was stashed 315 years ago in 'ship' years *before* the ship launched!

Josh Garrett <xyn@6u.com> points out that the time between you arriving on the Marathon <Date2794.> and activating the MADDs <Date 2794.> is more than 15 hours (see above) it's 17 hours. The time difference between 0842 hours and 0041 hours the next day is in fact 16 hours and 59 minutes.

As mentioned above this seems an ordinate length of time to get from "Arrival" to the end of "Defend THIS!" Then again maybe it isn't. ;-)

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Title graphic courtesy of Matthew Smith
Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair
Last updated Oct 28, 1998