Barabas

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Barabas was an elite Striker, and quite likely a Syndicate experiment in Daodan Chrysalis symbiosis, who worked under Muro. His first encounter with Konoko occurred when he guarded the entrance to Vago Biotech while Muro and his men raided equipment from it. He managed to hold back numerous TCTF officers and vehicles with the use of a prototype weapon stolen from the lab, the Wave Motion Cannon. Konoko was the only officer fast and strong enough to get past his defense and cause him to retreat.

The two met again when Barabas led the assault on TCTF HQ and abducted Shinatama, then remained on the roof in order to 'settle the score' with Konoko. This confrontation led to his death or capture.

Facts

Name spelling

The name is spelled "Barabas" in the official texts of Oni, but "hidden" resources (scripts, binaries) call him "Barabbas", "Barabus", or, affectionately, "Baba" :)

Diary entry

By the time of Oni, Barabas' name has apparently begun to make waves at TCTF. This is what Konoko writes in her Diary on the eve of their first encounter:

Barabas! I can't believe it! I know his record...he's very strong. I know I'm not supposed to enjoy combat but this guy will be the first real challenge I've had.


Console

The TCTF knew Barabas was strong, but were not aware that he apparently had superhuman powers resulting from the Chrysalis, as we see in this console:

GENERAL ACCESS - Clearance Alpha A1>

TCTFsp09\fea\kP13 Known Syndicate Operatives>

BARABAS:
The Syndicate enforcer known as Barabas first appeared two years ago. Previous to that time it is theorized that he was active as a Syndicate Striker or Elite class field agent.

Field reports of his activities include numerous accounts of his incredible physical strength and high durability as well as descriptions of some kind of regenerative effect.

These accounts remain unconfirmed and are most likely hysterical exaggeration and rumor.

Then again, the above console is at the lowest level of clearance. Even if Griffin knows about Barabas's strength being owed to Daodan symbiosis, that information (as well as the notion of Daodan symbiosis itself) will only be mentioned in higher-level confidential documents.

Mission objective

The objective text in Chapter 3 is more credulous about his abilities:
It's the Syndicate enforcer Barabas! You must defeat him to gain access to the Research Facility. TCTF reports indicate that Barabas is inhumanly strong and tough. Watch him carefully. Eyewitnesses report he can regenerate damage to his body!

Speech

"I'm ready for anything. You made sure of that."

Search the Quotes/Speech page for "Barabas" to read the rest of his (limited) dialogue.

Probable secondary symbiote

A few facts, taken together, indicate that Barabas was an experiment in creating a new Daodan symbiote like Muro and Mai.

1. The first is that there is no technological explanation given for his regeneration, nor for his Earthquaker. Like Barabas, Mukade also has two special powers, and was stated directly by Hardy LeBel to be a symbiote (as quoted on the Mukade page). Mutant Muro also has two special powers.

2. The quote above under "Speech" informs us that Muro himself made sure that Barabas is ready for anything. The "you" in "You made sure of that" could mean that Barabas' Chrysalis was given to him by Muro, or at least that Muro gave him that suit to help stabilize his imperfect Chrysalis. Then again, maybe Barabas was simply referring to the fact that Muro gave him some fancy armor. But in light of the other evidence, Barabas was probably referring to his being implanted with a Chrysalis. The next two pieces of information, gleaned from the last level, are crucial in confirming this.

3. A console in the Mountain Compound lists one of the steps in the STURMANDERUNG plan as:

11) Symbiote candidate selection and implantation

Since the steps after this one have been completed, we can assume that Muro has created a symbiote or two by now.

4. When Konoko encounters one Syndicate scientist in Compound, he says, "You...you're the other prime symbiote!" The use of the word "prime" is very interesting here, telling us that they have made, or at least worked on the creation of, secondary symbiotes. In what way these symbiotes are "secondary" is not explained, but it may imply that the Syndicate cannot yet create stable symbiotes like Muro and Mai. This may be because the Syndicate is not yet able to grow new Chrysalises based on host DNA like Hasegawa did for his children (which implies something interesting about Hasegawa's current status with regards to the Syndicate). Note too that Muro was stealing "experimental gene surgery equipment" from Vago when Konoko showed up.

5. Barabas' appearance (pale skin with blue veins and horns) matches Mutant Muro's appearance, indicating that Barabas is a partial Imago. It is unlikely he is fully Imago owing to the fact that Muro's transformation gave him a shield protecting against all attacks.

Added value

The original Barabbas

Jesus was crucified on or around the holy Jewish day of Passover. Supposedly, it was traditional on that day for one of the prisoners about to be executed to be released by the Roman authorities, and it was up to the crowd to decide who should be released. Pontius Pilate let the crowd choose between Jesus (not guilty of anything in particular) and Barabbas (a rebel or criminal). The high priests who "framed" Jesus manipulated the crowd, which then unanimously demanded Barabbas' release and Jesus' crucifixion.

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Barabbas (from BibleGateway.com)
A prisoner released by Pilate (Matthew 27:16-26; Mark 15:7-15; Luke 23:18-25; John 18:40;)

A further reference to that episode is found in Acts 3:14 :

You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.

And that's about it for the biblical reference. There was a Barabbas movie starring Anthony Quinn.

End of story?... that's what I thought, too. That last quote from Acts is richer than it may seem. According to e.g. Wikipedia the guy was really called Jesus bar-Abbas (Aramaic Bar-abbâ, "son of the father").

Jesus Christ was referring to God as "Abba" when preaching (in Aramaic). So basically the Jewish crowd had to choose between two guys who bore exactly the same name "Jesus, son of the Father"... however, one of them was a preacher and was called Christ, and the other one was possibly an insurrectionist (i.e. someone who physically opposed the Roman Empire) and was not called Christ. Jesus the rioter was released, and Jesus the preacher was crucified, by public request.

Barabbas as Jesus' alter ego

It seems as if Jesus and Barabbas were actually two sides of the same person. The spiritual leader, who preaches new (mostly non-aggressive) beliefs and wants the Jewish people to achieve a kind of moral freedom, is opposed to the insurrectionist, i.e. one who'd actually get involved in the physical liberation of the Jewish people. That physical "son of God" is what Jesus could have been in the eyes of the Jews; some of them desired to make him king and to follow him in a rebellion against the Roman Empire. Jesus' refusal to do so aroused misunderstanding and frustation even among some of his closest followers, and made it easy for the High Priests to manipulate the crowd into rejecting their Messiah (since they weren't exactly happy with him in the first place).

So the episode with Barabbas can just be a parable for the public's rejection of Jesus' pacifism. The story makes it look like the crowd actually made the Romans free one man (a rioter) and crucify another one (a preacher), but it can be seen as if there was a hypothetical, rioting "Jesus son of God" they would have freed and followed, and the actual, preaching "Jesus son of God" they had had enough of and chose to crucify...

This episode about "state mercy" on the day of Passover sounds more like a choice offered by the crowd to Jesus :

  • "Lead us and we'll follow you... but we want action, not words... so stop the BS and get to business... or die."

or

  • "We don't want you to mess with our minds. We don't want any of your so-called spiritual strength. Just make us physically strong and able to withstand our aggressors. Or die."

By crucifying Jesus, the Jewish people made clear (somewhat radically) that they preferred physical power over spiritual alienation. I think that's what the episode is about.

(I wasn't really speculating up there : Jesus and Barabbas being "the same person" has been widely suggested. It's discussed in some detail in the Wikipedia article, and I only took it a little bit further.)

(And I'm not saying the Jews were right to crucify Jesus or anything like that, OK? I'm only figuring how they felt about him at the moment.)

Barabas as power without alienation

Oni's Barabas could illustrate exactly the same thing as that in the "Jesus Barabbas" interpretation detailed above: the will (say, for Syndicate researchers) to isolate the direct benefit of the Daodan (resilience, physical strength) from the psychological alienation that a full bodily upgrade would normally generate.

Power, full control, and nothing else. No new beliefs, no paradigm shift, no alienation, just power.

A failure

To a degree, that separation succeeded (Barabas is more human than Mutant Muro), but, as we know, this brute, controlled force didn't manage very well in the long run.

  • "I'm ready for anything. You made sure of that."
  • "There's always someone stronger. Have you forgotten?"

Indeed. Mai beats Barabas, twice. Why is that? Well, a "controlled" Daodan is certainly confined within some kind of boundaries. A naturally evolving Daodan is unbound.

Let's assume for a moment that Barabas' Daodan is somehow prevented from invading all of his organism (regular injections of medicine, invasive surgery, physical isolation of a fully human brain from a Daodan-enhanced body, synthetic organs that the Daodan biomass can't replace...). What then?

Insufficient optimization

Barabas is physically weaker than Mutant Muro because his bones and muscles (and brain!) don't form one hyper-evolved whole. He lacks Mai's and Muro's agility and reflexes, because the (say, electronic) interface between the human brain and the hyper-evolved biomass can't keep up with the stream of information it has to convey. Heck, maybe the human brain's reflexes are not as sharp as those of a brain that has undergone integration... maybe they're unadapted to the way the biomass has evolved, or at least far from optimal.

Incomplete integrity

All this because the Daodan process did not go to completion; the human brain that's "in control" does not form a whole with the hyperevolved body. A Daodan's cells are totipotent, and a Daodan's brain is supposed to merge with the rest of the organism, to extend into it much deeper than a human nervous system does. One aspect of the Daodan process is the fast regeneration and inter-replaceability of any kind of tissue (the Daodan biomass is actually one such "metatissue" that can serve as any organ on demand). In parallel, there's a delocalization of intelligence and reflexes. So a complete merging seems necessary for a truly effective and efficient symbiosis.

Paradigm of controlled technology

Just as in the biblical case up there, the desire of pure physical power without an associated spiritual alienation, although symbolic of the nature of man and society, is not necessarily a viable alternative. There's a whole dimension of Daodan symbiosis which this approach leaves out. So Barabas is another delusion, another failure. It highlights the limitations of the paradigm of "controlled technology". You discover something which consequences go way beyond your perspective and scope and influence, so you try your best to regulate/limit that technology, achieving some form of control and preventing too radical a change in global policy, way of life, whatever.

Well, that's very tricky. Power does alienate. And great power alienates greatly. Especially when the source of power, the breakthrough that generates it, has to do with the human being itself. Alienation of both man and society is at its most literal then.

Cyborgization, the Daodan organism... that's fiction. But what consequences should we expect in our world from a major breakthrough in health care or genetic engineering? The question is wide open....