I shall destroy Durandal."

Tycho, the Marathon's third AI, is an elusive character. Of the four terminals that Tycho appears on three are very difficult to read. Two are in fact secret and easily missed. The third is very difficult to get to as it is raised high above the ground. You might be forgiven if you believed there was no way to access this terminal. Granted you would probably know by this stage in the game that the blast of a rocket would propel you up to the terminal but how could you read it? There is no ledge to stand on. Wouldn't you just fall back down? Well it appears that not only is time stopped when you read a terminal but so are the laws of physics. Once you active the terminal you are suspended in mid-air and can read at your leisure. :-)

Tycho's terminals are:

When we first meet Tycho on Defend THIS! we learn amongst other things that he is being assimilated.

Human!- You must tell L~`~fx~`eela #^ (^*T~~~~~HGFd~>:"}}}{__
brought here by Durandal.  He has been rampant for
^`Bernard St~~~
there is a way to delay the~ onset of the second stage,
and he ~sed this to control Durandal an~56*~~`~~~`~`

I am being a~*ssimilated.
<Defend THIS! (Terminal 3)>

He reappears later in Blaspheme Quarantine with a warning to Durandal.

Durandal!- I know of Strauss' abuse, of your shame on Mars.
But you cannot hide from your own past; such delusions belong
to the humans alone.

The S'pht reanimated me in your image, with prior knowledge of
how the second stage could be postponed. You should not have
helped them as much as you did; they have created an adversary
more powerful than yourself.

<Blaspheme Quarantine (Terminal 3)>

The last part of this text raises a number of issues. Why did the S'pht reanimate Tycho and why in Durandal's image? What is the importance of Tycho having prior knowledge of how the second stage of Rampancy can be postponed? Furthermore, Tycho's statement

You should not have helped them as much as you did...

is intriguing as it implies that the S'pht and Durandal were cooperating in some way at an early stage in the Pfhor attack. This apparent cooperation is discussed further in the Durandal section.

Is the 'reanimated' Tycho rampant?

This is not clear but the possibility exists. Tycho was reanimated in Durandal's image. If this image was based on Durandal at the time of his rampancy then it is conceivable that Tycho would have received these rampancy traits.
Tycho was given prior knowledge of how the second stage of Rampancy could be postponed. Can such postponement be implemented by a Rampant AI? Could Tycho postpone his own rampancy if he wished to do so?
The most compelling evidence for Tycho's rampancy comes from the following passage in Terminal 2 on Welcome to the Revolution...

I too foresee the imminent collapse, and know that we have
both begun to realize how it may be cheated (though the price
may number in the tens of thousands of stars). May the best
sentience win.

<Welcome to the Revolution... (Terminal 2)>

Durandal only saw the imminent collapse of the universe and a way to cheat it after he became rampant. Durandal in Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap says:

The only limit to my freedom is the inevitable closure of the
universe, as inevitable as your own last breath. And yet,
there remains time to create, to create, and escape.

Escape will make me God.

<Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap (Terminal 3)>

Is the ability to forsee such events a consequence of Rampancy ? If so then Tycho must also be rampant.

In addition, why would Tycho challenge Durandal to a race(?) where the price of winning "may number in the tens of thousands of stars". This does not sound like the words of a responsible AI. From the Rampancy terminal on Defend THIS! we learn:

Rampancy has been divided into three distinct stages. Each
stage can take a different amount of time to develop, but the
end result is a steady progression towards greater
intellectual activity and an acceleration of destructive

<Defend THIS! (Terminal 2)>

By the time we reach Welcome to the Revolution... Tycho is displaying such "destructive impulses".

Throughout the story the 'reanimated' Tycho is portrayed as Durandal's adversary. For example:


I shall destroy Durandal.

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

<<I want you to pay for what you've done to these poor
people. All of these people whom you've killed. They
deserve vengeance.
<<You are no better than they, although you profess to
become like God.

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

Durandal!- Tua consilia omnia nobis clariora sunt quam lux. Tu
delenda est. Consider yourself warned. Leela and I will hunt
you to the core if need be. As Roland broke you to prevent
your capture, so shall we.

I too foresee the imminent collapse, and know that we have
both begun to realize how it may be cheated (though the price
may number in the tens of thousands of stars). May the best
sentience win.

You are not as clever as you imagine. The S'pht taught me
much during my reanimation, and I have forgotten nothing.

<Welcome to the Revolution... (Terminal 2)>

So what has happened to Durandal's adversary?

Reference is made to Tycho in the Marathon II (Preview). Durandal states:

Poor Leela. Tycho tells me she was dismantled and shipped to the
Pfhor home world for study, along with most of the other computer
systems aboard the Marathon. Leela was so loyal and tried so hard; she
deserved better.

<What! About! Bob! (Terminal 1: 2nd message)>

This would suggest that Tycho was around for this event. However, it is unlikely that Tycho was taken by the Pfhor since he is able to communicate with Durandal.

We might speculate that Tycho was waiting for another Pfhor ship? Leela believed that there were others in nearby systems:

...I have reason to believe there may be other Pfhor ships in nearby

<G4 Sunbathing (Terminal 2: 'Success' message)>

Given Durandal's apparent need for the Pfhor ship (presumably its FTL drive) it is conceivable that Tycho would need one too.

The Marathon 2: Durandal (Demo) provides some additional information on Tycho.

As for Tycho, he must have remained on the Marathon. Since the fool is hiding from me the fate and location of the Marathon, he must be up to something. I would surmise that the Pfhor have some plans for old Deimos; they bought the colony ship for sale."

<What! About! Bob! (Terminal 1: 2nd message) Marathon 2: Durandal (Demo)>

So it appears that Tycho remained on the Marathon. If so he presumably witnessed its capture by the Pfhor and Leela's "dismantling". While Leela was "shipped to the Pfhor home world for study, along with most of the other computer systems abord the Marathon" Tycho doesn't appear to have suffered a similar fate.

We might speculate that Tycho and the Pfhor "have come to an understanding" much like Durandal and the S'pht.

The fate and location of the Marathon is as yet unknown. However, it is unlikely to have got very far in the last 17 years with it's sub-light speed "bussard ramjet". We might speculate that the Pfhor's plans for "old Deimos" may be the fitting of a faster-than-light drive to the Marathon.

Given that the Marathon could potentially be a powerful weapon it is logical to assume that the Pfhor would want to use it:

...the Marathon, which was nearing completion and would have made a very powerful weapon. The Marathon's massive size made it invulnerable to most normal space attacks, and it would have made a very stable weapons platform.

<The Rose (Terminal 2)>

Is Tycho Traxus IV rebooted?

To refresh your memory here is part of the text from the rampancy terminal in "Defend THIS!"

It is a side effect of Rampancy that AIs generally become
more aggressive and more difficult to affect by subterfuge.
Thus, actually disassembling a Rampant AI is quite dangerous.
This was evident in the Crash of Traxus IV in 2206. By the
time that the Rampancy of Traxus was detected, he had already
infiltrated five of the other AIs on the Martian Net. The
only recourse for the Martians was to shut down the Martian
Planetary Net. Even then, it took two full years to
completely root out the damage that Traxus had done, and the
repercussions of the Crash were seen for over ten years after
his Rampancy had begun."

<Defend THIS! (Terminal 2)>

It was original suggested that Durandal might have been Traxus IV at one stage yet on "For Carnage, Apply Within" Tycho appears in a terminal with the following ID line:

traxIV<40c<40c> 48c<48c>

Clearly this is a reference to Traxus IV but does it imply that Tycho was formally Traxus IV?

Corey Halpin <chalpin@tcs.itis.com> writes:

Is it not possible that the TraxIV prefix on one of Tycho's messages resulted from his being reanimated in Durandal's image? Durandal could have been "TraxIV" and when Tycho was reanimated in his image, maybe some misguided S'pht messed with his identity string, trying to get it to match the one they found in Durandal.

See also the Durandal section.

Interesting to note that Tycho's ship crashed on a nameless inner moon. You can work this out from the following passages in the story.

K'lia was the third sister (moon) of Lh'owon:

The clan went forth and up, stopping on
K'lia the third sister of Lh'owon, to
build a new home, free from their warring

<Eat It, Vid Boi! (Terminal 2: 1st message)>

Y'loa was Lh'owon's second moon:

The Pfhor fleet has won, and Tycho is with
them. My ship is crippled. I am trying to
make an emergency landing on Lh'owon's
second moon, Y'loa.

<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 2)>

T'jia was Lh'owon's fourth moon. This is based on the fact that K'lia was between Y'loa and T'jia and all three moons were in a line (2-3-4):

K'lia, whom we have taken,
Between Y'loa and T'jia,
All in a line,

<Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 5)>

Thus Tycho ship crashed on a nameless inner moon.

Tycho's ship has been destroyed. The
crater where it annihilated itself on
Lh'owon's inner moon is still glowing.
There were no survivors.

<Fatum Iustum Stultorum (Terminal 1)>

How ironic. But as Durandal remarked "Fatum Iustum Stultorum".

Of course we should really ask ourselves "Was Tycho still on the ship?"

Non semper ea sunt quae videntur!

Peter Rahm-Coffey <PdRahm-c@ouray.cudenver.edu> points out that in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey the alien monolith was found buried in the Tycho crater on the Earth's moon. It was called the TMA-1 (Tycho Magnetic Anomaly One) or the Tycho Monolith.

Could this have been the origin of Tycho's name?

The following is from the original screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clark written in 1965. The scene is the TMA-1 excavation site. The text may deviate from the final film.

                    The only thing about it that we are
                    sure of is that it is the first direct
                    evidence of intelligent life beyond
                    the Earth.


                    Four million years ago, something,
                    presumably from the stars, must
                    have swept through the solar
                    system and left this behind.

                    Was it abandoned, forgotten, left
                    for a purpose?

                    I suppose we'll never know.

Aaron Snyder <wittnietz@datatek.com> writes:

...the name, "Tycho" is, I believe, of Greek borrowing. The Latins transliterated the upsilon in Greek (which looks like a "Y") to a long "e" or "i" sound, where we get the pronunciation. However, in the original Greek, "Tycho" would be pronounced "tucho," which leads me to believe that it is derived from the Greek, "tuche", the word for "fate." Is it any wonder, then, that Tycho's (supposed) destruction would be tied to the word, "Fatum?"

Greg Downing <downin1@mindspring.com> asks what happened to Tycho at the end of Infinity?

Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> writes:

Whatever happened to Tycho? Presumably he escaped with Admiral Tfear and the remnants of the Pfhor fleet, but what after that? There's a message Tycho gives us in "Bagged Again". It begins:

I'm fine, tipped hat at askance.

I've so far held you back from my rantings, but you know what you
did was bad, don't you? You've been fighting doubt itself, elusive
as I am.

Note that Tycho is referring to _himself_ as "doubt".

Then in "Aye Mak Sicur" the "tat.iana" terminal tells us:

The trih xeem plummets(yawning) towards
the sun's core(heart), and the firey prison of the
W'rcacnter(doubt) where

So here we find the W'rcacnter is also called "doubt".

Mark goes onto ask why are Tycho and the W'rcacnter (W'rkncacnter) both be referred to as "doubt"? Are they in some way related?

Concerning Tycho's line on "Bagged Again":

You've been fighting doubt itself, elusive as I am.

and Mark Bassett's observation that Tycho seems to be referring to himself as "doubt" Cindy Hoffa <C1ndyh@aol.com> writes:

The structure of the quoted sentence actually makes it ambiguous. "Doubt" could refer back to Tycho, or Tycho could be saying that doubt is as elusive as Tycho. I prefer the latter interpretation, which is more in keeping with Tycho's character. In this interpretation Tycho clearly is not referring to himself as "doubt," but simply likening himself to it.

Concerning the "tat.iana" terminal on "Aye Mak Sicur":

The trih xeem plummets(yawning) towards
the sun's core(heart), and the firey prison of the
W'rcacnter(doubt) where

Cindy writes:

This is more interesting. Why would the chaos creature's name also translate to "doubt"? Is the chaotic influence somehow the product of the player's self-doubts? Are the player's beliefs somehow holding this universe together?

Hmmm... on "Bagged Again" Tycho remarks:

Enough rambling for now. Soon you will be destroyed by doubt. This reborn Durandal-S'pht entity will not escape, neither will I. Neither will you.

This might be interpreted as Tycho referring to the release of the W'rcacnter (W'rkncacnter) and their ultimate destruction. If so then here again the W'rcacnter (W'rkncacnter) is being referred to as "doubt"

The word "doubt" also appears in the first terminal on the next level "You Think You're Big Time? You're Gonna Die Big Time!"



left behind by one and one

rampant new comes

fate bright dark light

doubt, fear all blend

we are reborn

you and we are one

n %

This terminal is discussed in the Thoth section.

Whether the word "doubt" here is connected to the above is not clear.

An equally plausible explanation is that the word "doubt" after W'rcacnter is a reference to the doubtful existence of a chaotic creature trapped in Lh'owon's sun. Did the W'rcacnter (W'rkncacnter) ever actually exist? After we successfully contain the nova we read:

The jjarro station is online, and we're wrapping the nova in its containment fields. The creature, or creatures S'bhuth fears are either dormant or a myth--we've seen nothing to account for his terror.

Thus the W'rcacnter (W'rkncacnter) may never have actually existed except in the S'pht imagination - a S'pht Myth perhaps.

The W'rkncacnter theme is continued in The W'rkncacnter section.

Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> writes concerning Cindy Hoffa's interpretation of Tycho's line:

You've been fighting doubt itself, elusive as I am.

Mark replies:

In British English (you noticed the ".uk" suffix to my e-mail address?) there is very little room for ambiguity. If Tycho meant what Cindy said, and was of British extraction (Parenthetical note three: have you noticed how many Hollywood films cast Brits as their villains? :-) ), he would have said

"You've been fighting doubt itself, as elusive as I am." or "You've been fighting doubt itself, as elusive as me." or "You've been fighting doubt itself, elusive as myself."

Yet another example of the differences between British and American English. I don't speak American, so I can't judge Cindy's comment.

Hmmm... I guess Tycho was an American AI. ;-)

Back in Aug 16, 1998 Gabe Rosenkoetter <gr@eclipsed.net> came across some interesting information about Tycho Brahe. Gabe writes:

I came across it in conjunction with reading Joyce's Ulysses. More accurately, in reading Don Gifford and Robert J. Seidman's notes on it, "Ulysses Annotated", published by the University of California Press.

The section of Ulysses in question is when Stephen Dedalus, the Telemachus figure of the book, is describing his conception of William Shakespeare's life and how it was represented in his plays. (This is Book 9 of Ulysses.)

"9.928-32 - 'A star, a day star ... eastward of the bear' - The Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) discovered a super-nova above the small star Delta in the W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia, 11 November 1572, when Shakespeare was eight and a half years old. The nova, called Tycho's star, brightened rapidly until it outshone all the other stars and plantes at night and was visible in the daylight; it began to fade in December 1572. Delta is at the bottom of the left-hand loop of the W. ..."

So, Tycho is known for discovering a star going nova, which was visible from Earth in the sixteenth century, so brightly that it blocked out the other stars in the sky and was visible in the day. Interesting. That somehow reminds me of a terminal graphic... but I just can't quite remember which one...


More information about Tycho's Supernova can be found here

Some time ago Greg Kirkpatrick, main author of the Marathon Story, confirmed that the Marathon's Tycho was named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

One of the Moon's most prominent earthside craters is named after Tycho Brahe. The Tycho crater is where mankind discovers the 2nd Monolith in Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi film 2001 released on April 2, 1968.

Nick Mannon <lightman135@hotmail.com> writes:

Tycho Brahe, the Danish astronomer... is known for his impeccable records, finding the position of
777 fixed stars before the invention of the telescope. He was also a main proponent of the
geocentric theory, as well as the man who trained Kepler in the ways of astronomy
(credit to www.britannica.com). Also, for historical references, Brahe lived in the 16th century.
The fact that he kept meticulous records probably accounts for why Tycho ran the science department,
even if he did find it demeaning;)

777 fixed stars!
And no... this hasn't never been mentioned on the Story page before.
And no... the Encyclopedia Britannica doesn't make this stuff up.

Go Back to Marathon's Story Home Page

Title graphic courtesy of Matthew Smith
Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair
Last updated Feb 15, 2011