Oni2 talk:Truth Number Zero/Course Of Events

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A few comments from 'Scen

Assassins & Mukade

It's one of those fourth wall-breaking moments when the mission objective text tells us that Mukade is "Muro's master ninja". The question to be asked is whether those objectives are omniscient word-of-god blurbs, or based on Konoko's understanding at the time… After all, Muro says nothing leading into the Regional State mission, so we don't know if he is aware of, or cares about, Konoko's attempt to learn more about herself. Why would he want to keep her dad's records from her, anyway? --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

I really hate the manual for the same "omniscient" reason (and also because of how most of it is seemingly quoted from "rebellion" archives, but forms the basis of Konoko's mission briefing, and at some point it's almost like Konoko is running for the rebellion and not the TCTF...). It's not as bad as the comic, of course, but it's still pretty bad. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
I like the writing of the manual, except for how it starts off in the voice of the Rebellion and never clearly shifts to the voice of the TCTF, as you pointed out. "Why am I reading so much propaganda from the Rebellion when they're the bad guys? Pretty weird of you to start my training course with this stuff. Gotta say, it's starting to seem pretty convincing…." --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Konoko has her hunches. She has only fought Muro's men so far (and Griffin's, but that's new). So she sees Mukade upon entering the RSB building and, although she's never seen a Ninja before, she can't help thinking "Muro!" (and not, say, "BGi!"). If there was any doubt about the faction, the color-coded Ninja and the Strikers on the rooftops convince Konoko that Mukade is one of Muro's generals (or "thugs" as she puts it). --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Looking at this from Mukade's and Muro's perspective, indeed there isn't much of a reason why Muro would want to look at Hasegawa's files, or to keep them away from Konoko. Whatever Muro wanted to know about Mai's recent history at the TCTF, it was either in Shinatama's head or in the Damocles system back at the TCTF HQ. Then again, he only sent Barabas to retrieve Shinatama, and apparently it was just to mess with Mai by hurting her "sister soul", and to see how much fun it would be to torture a pain-capable android. If Muro instructed someone (Kojiro?) to hack into Damocles and download an overview of Mai's progress, it all happened off-screen. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
To be clear, Muro has a sole, practical reason for wanting Shinatama: "An android? Interesting. They must be using it to monitor her progress. I want it. Tell Barabas to retrieve it for me." He doesn't say anything about wanting to torture her, and it would be a fairly insane use of his manpower and precious enforcer to raid TCTF HQ just to get an SLD to play Doctor [Mengele] with, especially when he has SLDs in his very own force. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Well, he does end up playing Doctor Mengele, doesn't he? Barabas's team apparently brought Shinatama directly to the ACC, where there isn't much of an interface to connect her to... apart from those high-voltage cables -- so much for "practical". It sure would look like this (the torture) is what Muro had in mind for Shinatama all along, being a monster and maniac and all. Konoko's diary-hunch ("What could Shinatama know that is so valuable to them?") doesn't get much of a confirmation, and is actually misinformed - Konoko simply doesn't know that she and Muro are related, and how much he already knows about her. --geyser (talk) 13:12, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Back to Muro's "sole reason", you may be overinterpreting a tiny bit. When he says "They must be using it to monitor her progress.", he is merely rationalizing the practical reason for the TCTF to have an SLD neurolinked to Konoko. These sentences still make sense if Muro is thinking out loud and doesn't imply any logical links between the progress-monitoring clause and "An android? Interesting. [...] I want it. Tell Barabas to retrieve it for me." Torturing an official SLD, much more pain-capable than the Tankers, is quite rewarding already. As a bonus, it's not just any pain-capable SLD, but Mai's sister soul, so he's not just hurting Shinatama -- he's messing with Mai. Last but not least, by ripping Shinatama out of Damocles, Muro might have passed the chance to have a good look at Mai's Chrysalis data, but in doing so he has also severed the bond between Konoko and the TCTF (and Griffin who was "like a father" to her until then). This drives Konoko into insubordination and rogue status, and of course she isn't getting tactical updates from Shinatama any more. So I would say that, regardless of logical links, Muro's actions were rather effective in disrupting TCTF's monitoring of Konoko, and Konoko's loyalty to the TCTF -- even if his only "direct" use for Shinatama is to torture her. He's an agent of chaos all right. So much for "sole". --geyser (talk) 13:12, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
As for the decision to send Barabas into the TCTF HQ to retrieve Shinatama -- the "precious enforcer" failed Muro earlier that evening, when he was beaten by rookie Mai and put Muro's Vago operation at risk ("just make sure I'm not interrupted", he said -- perhaps looking through tons of computer data that need his full attention, or making some delicate manipulations with lab equipment?). So it makes sense if Muro sends Barabas on a daring mission next, something to redeem his "preciousness" (or die trying). --geyser (talk) 13:12, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
I am not completely ignoring the part where "monitoring her progress" may be referring to Chrysalis integration and not to mission status. But that data cannot be easily extracted from Shinatama except through Damocles (and the big data is probably archived at the TCTF HQ, too, rather than in Shinatama's head). Therefore, anyone wishing to find out more about Konoko's symbiosis -- as a possible complement to torturing her sister soul with high voltage and severing her bond with Griffin and the TCTF -- would have to peek into the raided TCTF HQ's data terminals, just like Mai did. We can imply that "Kojiro" (the coordinator of Barabas's raid) took care of that, or we can show that Mukade is in the house as well, and associate him with data theft early in the plot. --geyser (talk) 13:12, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Who's overthinking this again? Lol. Muro says he wants to know what progress Konoko is making, and asks for the android. That was pretty clear-cut until you started doing all this mind-reading. If you're going to point out that there's no interface for Shinatama to be hooked up to in ACC, then you might as well point out that there's no chair or obvious means of binding Shinatama in place. Let's not read into a scene that was obviously slapped together at the last minute of Oni's development. Muro could have learned plenty from Shinatama, at any time prior to this, in another location, or by simply hooking up a computer to her, or via the very torture being depicted. By the way, "I have seen everything you have seen" doesn't sound like someone who needs Damocles to keep track of information about Konoko. --Iritscen (talk) 14:45, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
OK, I'll make this simple for you. "An android? [...] I want it." is just about Muro becoming aware of Mai's "sister soul" SLD and wanting it. Ultimately he wanted Shinatama for something very direct and physical, as we are both shown and told. Muro also recognizes that Shinatama is a bridge between Konoko and the TCTF, so he's only happy to burn that bridge, screwing up Damocles and sending Mai into free orbit where she's more fun. Gathering symbiosis data (if any) would be a nice bonus, but it really isn't clear how useful an unplugged Shinatama is in that respect -- which is hardly a problem as long as Muro gets to do his pain monologue (priceless!). --geyser (talk) 15:35, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
I think you're giving Muro too much credit if you think he masterminded the situation and caused Konoko to go rogue. Who would have known that Shinatama and Konoko were emotionally bonded? This is not a situation with precedent. Muro would likely have no idea of a sisterly bond between them. He wanted the android for information (obtained off-screen), as he clearly stated, and then he turned sadistic out of boredom (and so we in the audience could see what kind of person he is). The end. --Iritscen (talk) 17:45, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Or, as a bona-fide agent of chaos, he finds satisfaction both in the torture and in having severed the link between Konoko and the TCTF, and that's as much as he needs. The insubordination and rogue-going are not something Muro can "predict", but he is fully aware that taking Shinatama away will piss the good guys off, at the very least, and mess them up if he's lucky. That's basic Heath-Ledger-Joker-ian anarchism right there: "I’m like a dog chasing cars, I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught one, you know, I just do… things." Shinatama was taken to the ACC because that's where Muro was at the time, and was tortured with high voltage because that, too, was conveniently available there and then. The end. As for the data theft, if any, there was plenty of opportunity for it at the TCTF HQ while it was overrun by Strikers (without any need for any improbable data-hacking at some undocumented place in some tightly-packed schedule - "Here she is, sir, we brought her as you wanted! Uh, interface? I wouldn't know anythin' 'bout that. There was this big chair that Barabas yanked her out... but he's dead now. Please don't hurt me."). The end too. --geyser (talk) 18:06, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
"He wanted the android for information (obtained off-screen), as he clearly stated." -- no he didn't, I'm sorry, no. He is saying that Shinatama is (likely!) used to monitor Mai's progress (as a Daodan symbiote?), but in no way is this clause directly stated as Muro's motive for "wanting" Shinatama and for having her kidnapped. It's Muro rationalizing the existence of an SLD that's neurolinked to Mai back at TCTF HQ -- no more, no less. If you "need" that logical link, then say so. But don't act like it's there intrinsically. --geyser (talk) 18:37, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
We're definitely going to have to agree to disagree on this one. --Iritscen (talk) 19:47, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
I realized (better late than never) that the "graveyard shift" of CHAPTER 06 . COUNTERATTACK is past midnight, i.e., Shinatama is kidnapped in the night between Nov 23 and Nov 24. This leaves, for the ACCs, the conflicting timestamps of CHAPTER 07 . A FRIEND IN NEED (early morning of Nov 24) and CHAPTER 08 . AN INNOCENT LIFE (late evening of Nov 24). Clearly one of the two consoles at the ACCs will have to be discarded and corrected, and the choice will depend on the "story flow" implied for the "lost chapter" (time span between CHAPTER 06 . COUNTERATTACK and CHAPTER 07 . A FRIEND IN NEED):
  1. The CHAPTER 08 . AN INNOCENT LIFE timestamps leave Muro/Kojiro/Mukade/Whoever with a whole working day to analyze Shinatama however and wherever they want, instead of flying her directly to the ACC for casual torture. On the other hand, Griffin's "strike team" is apparently in hot pursuit (otherwise they'd have to pick up a lost trail and go to the improbable ACC location based on some unclear intel). With Griffin's men on their tail, any intermediate locations used to analyze Shinatama would be compromised. Going to the ACCs early and spending the whole day there doesn't make sense either.
  2. The CHAPTER 07 . A FRIEND IN NEED timestamps suggest a mugh tighter timeline, roughly as follows: Konoko immediately gears up for the rescue mission, then confronts Griffin in the briefing room; by that time Griffin has rushed back to HQ and "dispatched a strike team to recover the SLD"; the Strikers go directly to the ACC, not minding being tracked, and start descending through the tiers; by the time Konoko has reached the ACC's upper levels, Shinatama is presented to Muro in the generator room. All this happens within the same graveyard shift as in CHAPTER 06 . COUNTERATTACK.
Another thing I realized -- better late than never -- is that we need separated pages for discussions like these, because they're self-contained and very specifically mod-oriented. Not now, of course, 'cause everyone is so busy, but I'll think of a good place and layout for these. --geyser (talk) 21:50, 11 June 2020 (CEST)
As for extracting the data, "I have seen everything you have seen" isn't really the same as "I have all the big data at the tip of my tongue.". Even if Shinatama's RAM still holds the current and most relevant data about Mai's status as a symbiote, extracting it from her verbally will be a pain (pun intended), and interfacing with her electronically might involve custom ports/drivers/protocols that Muro does not necessarily possess, and wouldn't be able to conjure up in just a few hours. So if I were Muro/Mukade/Kojiro, I'd use my time at the TCTF HQ to grab Shinatama and the data. --geyser (talk) 15:35, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
My suggestion (in the TNZ scope and more generally) is to present the RSB/Rooftops episode as Mukade's initiative. Whoever or whatever he is, he's messing with Mai in his own way, and it has nothing to do with Muro. Unlike Konoko, he can apparenly hack the data from any terminal and not just the one in the basement, and yet he puts on a show: killing cops in the lobby (after making sure that more are on the way) just in time for Konoko's arrival; leaving a trail of corpses throughout the building; waiting for Konoko to come online before he starts stripping files right in front of her, then waiting for her to catch up with him again, and again, and again... Chase sequences often have awkwardly convenient timing, but here it's just too much. At the very least, he has a perverted crush on her, and is going out of his way to freak her out. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
My other suggestion (in the scope of TNZ's "wishmap") is to make Konoko's hunch more natural, by giving Mukade a cameo appearance in earlier chapters, like he's stalking her -- not clearly acting on Muro's orders or out of some personal interest. In ACC levels, there are several impossible-to-reach (and impossible-not-to-notice) places that Mukade could be observing Konoko from (and as opposed to BGi troops -- another suggested addition to these levels -- he wouldn't be trying to snipe her). --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
As for TCTF HQ, I'd have Mukade hacking at terminals in deserted sections of the building (either in player-discoverable places off the beaten track, or in some un-missable location, with or without a cutscene -- like in the Damocles room). He'd phase-cloak or teleport when spotted, leaving Mai perplexed, but too worried about Shinatama to give much of a thought to his role and motivation. She and the player would just register that, while Barabas was retrieving Shinatama as per Muro's request, there was this other guy who was snooping around in Damocles (for Mai's data?) -- apparently on the same side as the Strikers, but possibly with an agenda of his own. Among other things, it would be more than enough to justify the RSB hunch. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)

Wilderness Preserves

When listing options, you could also list my own theory, that the Wilderness Preserves are the source of the pollution, not the dumping grounds or result of it, and that the "pollution" is actually the natural by-product of xenobiological activity. Unless that doesn't fit in with the narrative you're building here. --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

Apologies, this isn't the Grand Unified Theory page ^_^; I think the rest of my commentary is still relevant, though it's just my two cents, so no need to reply. --Iritscen (talk) 14:17, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
I don't have a "frozen" narrative at this time (and, for what it's worth, I'd love to keep things "comfortably ambiguous" as I go on). Some of the points you've just read are less than a week old. Like the idea that, while the WCG was imposing standardized tech, old tech was being collected and more or less recklessly dumped. Or the part where "one of the main sources of WCG's power was power itself" -- both through the ubiquitous Energy Cell and through the ACC facilities which started as power plants (both development-wise and in-universe). --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
I haven't re-read your theory in detail (I'm not even sure you unveiled it in full detail, for that matter), but I did mention "aliens dumping their trash at us", without specifying the nature and purpose of the "trash" (xenoforming, forward time travel, etc). "Alien trash" is also what the Roadside Picnic reference/link is about: in that book by the Strugatsky brothers (read it! now!), there are multiple Contaminated Zones around the globe, full of artifacts and hazards of alien origin. Some artifacts are obvious pieces of tech that can be put to scientific/technological use (Energy Cells, perpetual-motion devices, etc), others are hazards that can only be "useful" to the military (pools of goo, deadly "spiderwebs" or "jelly", etc), and some of the atrocities are so violent and unpredictable that your best bet as a "stalker" (harvester) is to avoid them altogether. A mental image of this pollution is that it's like trash left by aliens on their way through the galaxy (motor oil, cigarette butts, food leftovers, etc) -- not clearly a means to an invasion, but ominous enough just the same ("evil plot" or not, what difference does it make if it kills or alienates us all?). --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
But why use Earth as a dumping ground, when you have the vastness of space? That's just plain mean-spirited. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
I'm not sure if your question pertains to the Strugatskys' Zones or Oni's. Why leave breadcrumbs around a picnic table, of all places -- is that what you're asking? The Strugatskys' aliens happened to pass Earth, and the artifacts are byproducts of their activity -- whether careless or intended, we do not know. There might be more in the vastness of space (as is revealed in other books by the Strugatskys), but on our particular "roadside" we have those particular piles of trash -- no more, no less. Also, the aliens aren't "mean" in the homo sapiens sense, at least we have no way to tell whether they are or aren't mean: the aliens are long gone, and all we have is their artifacts and their strange effects on us. --geyser (talk) 16:03, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
In the case of Oni, the aliens aren't even space-roaming ones, they're visiting us through phase portals. Like in your SoW take, they're tethered to us through "Gaia" and such, and don't need to be a space-faring race at all. So, throwing trash our way comes quite naturally. I'm not saying that's what actually happens, just pointing out that they'd be "phase aliens" if anything, not "space aliens". --geyser (talk) 16:03, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
And if I'm completely missing it, and you are if fact saying that it's mean of the WCG to dump toxic waste into the Zones instead of sending it to the Moon or something -- getting tons of payload into high orbit has got to be costly, at least by conventional means. Of course as soon as Phase Tech allows teleportation, the first thing the WCG would try is make waste disappear -- but how well would that work, and what would it look like if it backfired? Possible explanation for the appearance of the Zones in the first place: instead of traveling to the Phase and staying there, the first "few" loads of NBC waste boomeranged back at the Earth and got scattered around the globe, and it took a while for the scientists to notice it. Possibly the toxicity/virulence of the waste was enhanced while traveling through the Phase, and perhaps some of it was Daodan-tainted in the process as well. Real-time brainstorming over. --geyser (talk) 16:03, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Sorry, it wasn't my intention to trigger all that guesswork and speculation. I was simply asking why the Strugatsky aliens would dump garbage on Earth when it would be so much easier to jettison it into space or aim it into a star. --Iritscen (talk) 17:45, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
That's OK, I kinda liked that last idea about Zones popping up randomly as a result of waste-phasing experiments gone wrong. As for the Strugatskys, I thought I answered: to us, it's a hazardous dump; they, they just leaked some motor oil here, emptied a car ashtray there, some food leftovers, etc. The idea is that, possibly, they just weren't registering the fact that they were polluting at all (not like we can get into their heads to see what they were thinking, especially now that they're gone). --geyser (talk) 20:24, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Another recent point of mine -- that not all of the Contaminated Zones need to be identically (or homogeneously) polluted -- is also similar to Roadside Picnic (unintentionally so). It just occurred to me that there are many ways to pollute a restricted area, especially in a sci-fi-ready world such as Oni's. Even if the origin of the pollution is the same (Phase-related or not), it can always go in slightly different directions in two different Zones -- just look at the variety of ecological disasters in the modern world. Unless, of course, it's deliberate xenoforming of some kind -- in that case, indeed, there's a chance that all the Zones will look/behave more or less the same. Or if the pre-WCG countries have been secretly producing and dumping the same kind of waste for years prior to the Uprising -- that would work too.--geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
One important difference between the TNZ perspective (so far) and SoW's is that in SoW the BioCrisis predates the Uprising, i.e., the Contaminated Zones (whatever they are) became a major concern before the Uprising (prompting it, even?), rather than a couple of years after. Indeed it's a bit tight to have the Uprising happen in 2012 (with the general public oblivious to the "air gone bad") and then in 2014 there are already ACCs everywhere, and the world outside them is poisonous (but the pollution is still "made easy to ignore" somehow? WTF). --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
It wasn't my intention to "speculate" that the BioCrisis began before the WCG takeover; rather, it's always how I've read Oni's story. Leaving aside my own retcon that the pollution is alien in origin, we know that Hardy intended it to simply be genuine, homemade industrial pollution. So I assumed that it had been building up since, well, the start of the Industrial Age. Looked at it that way, the only question of timing is when it finally became too serious to ignore. Clearly that was well before Oni takes place, as time was needed to build the ACCs and establish the Preserves by the time Hasegawa and Jamie had their ill-fated expedition. If one simply picks a year like 2000 as the starting point for ACC construction, they could be well in place by 2014. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Saying things like "it's how I've always read Oni's story" is a good lead-up to a "let's agree to disagree" later on. ^_^ I'd say something about Oni having a life of its own after Hardy set it free, but that'd be too liberal of me, perhaps. My problem with industrial pollution is that it doesn't just build up in the middle of nowhere -- there needs to be a coal mine there, or an oil field, or some human activity that messes with nature in some way or other, and it also really helps if there's a large (and poorly managed) city nearby. Unless it's an actual landfill (or worse) that's intentionally built in the middle of nowhere so that no one will notice or care (there's plenty of that stuff in Russia). In Oni, there may be regular, man-made, accounted-for pollution in cities or "monotowns" (near mines, oil fields, etc), which may have been bad enough to prompt the construction of ACCs, but there's also the much more improbable pollution that apparently "spawned" in the Preserves and has been staying out of public view pretty much all the way into 2032. In fact, those middle-of-nowhere pollution sources -- whatever they are -- seem to be so far off the beaten track that they aren't easily identified as such unless/until you go in for a deep exploration. --geyser (talk) 00:25, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
In SoW you say (correct me if I'm wrong) that the Preserves were stained/permeated (impregnated?) by time-aliens in a deliberate attempt to xenoform the Earth so that they could roam it again. Somehow the bastards were cunning/lucky enough to start the contamination in uninhabited areas, far enough from all the cities, so that the "soft invasion" would go unnoticed until it covered areas that were too large to neutralize completely. In the end the WCG had no choice but to build fences around the invaded areas, and the only way for humanity to "fight back" was to crank up the ACCs and pray that no one would have the brilliant idea of blowing them all up at once. --geyser (talk) 00:25, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
My speculation, or rather my latest take on this, is that there may have been ordinary landfills and such in some of the Zones early on, but most of the pollution appeared (unnoticed at first?) after some Phase experiments (in the early years where Phase tech was poorly regulated and rather hazardous). Either secret labs (testing grounds) deep in the "jungle", or teleportations gone wrong, as described previously. That's close enough to SoW, actually, since (correct me if I'm wrong) the xenoforming invasion would have needed a transdimensional portal of some sort to have appeared in each of the Preserves at some point. My "guess" about how the teleported samples (waste bins, neo-Laikas or otherwise) may have been "alienated" during the teleport, resulting in "unearthly" contamination wherever the "boomerang" hit -- that's also close to SoW, wouldn't you say? --geyser (talk) 00:25, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
Yes, that's a pretty accurate summation. I left my premise a bit open-ended. One possibility is that the area beyond the phase veil is another planet or universe (the idea that Hardy no doubt had in mind). But plot twists can come from additional revelations later on, such as "They're actually from right here on Earth, in the distant past." The final twist I suggested was that it turns out, last-minute as the full-on invasion is happening, that they're actually not even from the past… they're right here, under the oceans. The time stuff was either a feint or a (rare) errant assumption by Mai. The aliens are from the distant past but have been in suspended animation the entire time, and are using the portals to seed the land with their alien life. --Iritscen (talk) 01:13, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
The alien life, by the way, doesn't really need to be seeded carefully or secretly; being Daodan-powered, any xeno-dandelion seed that lands in a field could start the whole species growing. All that's needed is for humans not to notice for a while and it's too late. The WCG knows about the incursion, terming it a BioCrisis, blaming it on pollution, and using it as an excuse to establish world hegemony, but they can't watch everywhere at once. The areas that "go to seed" before WCG can catch them are cordoned off as Wilderness Preserves. (Note that the name makes a lot more sense if the Preserves aren't just a big wasteland with discarded industrial pollution in them, which would be obvious from satellite imagery. It really is a wilderness; the WCG just isn't saying whose Wilderness it is….) --Iritscen (talk) 01:13, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
For more on how the Wilderness has to spread in order to prepare the way for Earth's original masters to live on it again, see the second bullet point here and then this part of my Neo-Biology page. --Iritscen (talk) 01:13, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
I'm a big disliker of time-traveling in sci-fi (mainly because of how we're all sitting on a rock that's careening through space, so traveling forward in time even a split second would leave you in that rock's wake, gasping for air). If your "time travel" is actually akin to hibernation, then of course it works better. However, in that case, I'd say the Daodan doesn't need to be time-traveling either. The "Oldies" (or whatever you'd call them) would just pack daodandelion seeds into time capsules that say "Do not open until X-Mas 1999", and voilà. Phase veil? What for? --geyser (talk) 02:58, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
I agree with the problematic aspects of time travel. Even if the spatial dislocation could be solved, there's that pesky matter of the causality paradoxes. That's why I prefer to have the twist be that there's no time travel involved. In this scenario, the Daodan is also in the present and is being transported from the bottom of the ocean to land by phase tech. Scientists may think they're retrieving stuff from another universe but they're really just connecting to the remnants of a civilization that buried itself in the ocean as its world collapsed. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Forward time travel (as in your case) doesn't have causality issues, and a number of sci-fi writers have gone that way (one-way time-travel only -- ever forward). Then again, we are already traveling "ever forward", albeit slowly, so fast-forward time-travel is really akin to "immaterial hibernation": jump into the Phase, freeze there, and then spring back. Alternatively, if there is a time-freezing "phase flavor", there may also be a time-accelerating one (jump into the Phase, hyperevolve there, and spring back -- as long as you survive the jumps, that can be convenient). --geyser (talk) 13:05, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
To be clear, my idea of the phase veil is that it's a dislocation, not a place. It either transports through time or space or dimensions (in the colloquial "from another dimension" sense of the word). So in the case where it's a time dislocation, it won't be one-way time-travel because anything that comes through the phase veil is being removed from the past. Hence you have a two-way cause-effect where (from the point of view of the past) the future is changing the present, meaning that the usual causality paradox is introduced. Creating a concept of a "Phase" that is a place, like the Phantom Zone of Superman comics, would indeed clear up that problem, or at least give the appearance of avoiding paradoxes, which is the more important thing. But as I said, my most recent idea was to reveal at the end that it's really just a space dislocation taking place after all — a sort of "the calls are coming from inside the house" twist that, done right, will be much creepier than the alternative takes on the Phase/phase veil. --Iritscen (talk) 16:11, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
I am not a specialist, but I'd say there are no causality paradoxes for one-way (forward) time travel as long as the initiative remains in the past (i.e., you can't "peek" into the future destination and then change your mind and go back). Under those conditions, you can choose to launch things into the future without any contradictions. Sending things to the past or pulling things from there is a no-no (because of how it would affect your present). Pulling things from the future is not as clear-cut, because such a pull is affecting the future's past, making the result of the pull indeterminate (and could lead to some paradoxes in combination with "forward launches"). In the situation that you describe as a problem, i.e., a single "forward launch", things are removed from the past not as a "retroactive consequence" of how they're popping from the phase in the future, but as a direct consequence of them being pushed in (on the side where the initiative is). Causality-wise, the "past push" and the "future pop" are the same event (one doesn't happen without the other; it either succeeds or fails on both sides "simultaneously"), and the disappearance of the "past thing" does not introduce any ambiguity -- at any future date, up to the moment when it pops back into existence, the past thing is just registered as having disappeared at the moment of the "push" and that's it. For a series of "forward launches", as long as each launch is initiated on the past side and can't be canceled on the future side, the world that you "pop" in is fully determined by the series of past events, including all the "forward launches" (pushes) and "landings" (pops). So your distant-past "Diluvians" can send entities forward in time, or even follow-up with one-way commands to those entities. (Future civilizations, however, can't push things into our present (their past), and can't "pull" from our time either.) Finally, the Diluvians can attempt to "pull" stuff from our time into theirs (Wilderness samples, I dunno), but with every such pull they're messing up the whole meantime history, even if a little, so they're doing destructive measurement, not unlike in quantum physics. If they stick to forward launches only, then everything is stable and predictable and nice (except that they have no way of knowing that the launch worked, other than by living through to the "target" time). Which is precisely what happens in your case, so you're good. Hope this helped. --geyser (talk) 23:32, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
On the specifics of what time travel I was proposing, I'm guilty of some vagueness on who would be doing the pushing/pulling. Even if the extraction of objects from the "other side" is a time dislocation and not a spatial one, I haven't decided if the aliens are sending their world to us or if we simply opened a Pandora's Box, and then the aliens noticed and started capitalizing on it. It became a moot point for me once I decided that the aliens would be here all along. At that point I figured that our phase experiments either awakened them or that their deep-sea alarm clock woke them up based on some criteria being met, and then they began using phase tech to remake the Earth in their image so they could reoccupy it. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
As I explained above, pulling from the past can't work (pushing to the future is about the only "foolproof" flavor of time travel), but if your aliens are actually contemporaries in stasis, then as you say it may all be a swirl of "today's Phase", with entities teleporting back and forth between alien bases/arks (deep underwater) and emerged territories (be it labs or WPs). The alarm clock thing does a good job answering the "why now?" question, i.e., what's so special about 2000 AD that makes it optimal for the aliens to invade, and why didn't they start, say, in 2000 B.C.? The answer then is, there's nothing special about our day and age, and nothing "optimal" for an invasion at all (maybe the aliens will be disappointed when they poke their heads and see that the world is not at all as they expected?) -- we just started messing with the Phase and this was a (wrong?) signal to the aliens that the time was right. --geyser (talk) 18:24, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
(My ramblings above might make it look like I'm a big fan of time travel. I already said that in general I'm against it in the usual sense of "same place, different time", because the "same place" is moving, dammit. However, if the Phase is Earth-centered in a "Gaia" kind of way, then it can act like a "guide" for time travel, and that would make the idea more comfortable to me). --geyser (talk) 00:09, 11 June 2020 (CEST)
Point of convergence here -- for me, too, the Phase is something like a "limbo" region of spacetime, and we may never get to see the world(s) that lie "beyond" it (if any). (I'm not keen on having it called "veil", though, except as part of in-universe characterization. It's personal preference of course, but using a recurrent word from actual canon feels tidier somehow.) --geyser (talk) 00:09, 11 June 2020 (CEST)
Though to be clear, if you're trying to stick to canon, there is pretty clearly no place we could call "Phase". Rather there is a technology which shifts the "phase" of objects between this world and another. So there's no in-between place, though insofar as objects can be partly shifted (cf. phase cloak) they would exist in both places at once. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Saying "pretty clearly" is pushing it a bit. The existence of "another world" isn't directly stated in Oni, only in Hardy's description of a "Screamer World", but there's the WPge mention of how the Screamers "seem to exist out of Earth phase". Regardless, we seem to be agreeing on the "fact" that the Phase is like a "fringe" (or hub), rather than an alternative Earth. You call it a "veil", I call it the Phase, but we're still referring to this ever-changing "in-between-ness" that's immediately adjacent to our world, but which no one (at least in Oni canon) has been able to traverse. Whether there are 3D worlds beyond the "veil", and how many if any, we do not know. --geyser (talk) 18:24, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
No, we're actually using the terminology quite differently. Perhaps this is responsible for a lot of confusion. I think we both assumed the other was operating off the same definitions. To me, the term "phase" simply describes the state of an object — what "dimension" is it in? Phase tech is technology that manipulates the phase of objects. The "phase veil" that Hardy spoke of is simply the boundary between this world and another. Neither term is referring to a place. I'm quite confident about that reading of Oni's premise. There is no term given in the game for the actual "other side" that Screaming Cells are drawn from. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
Strange thing to disagree on, but I think you're reading me wrong (my bad?). At this point in time, I am clearly rationalizing the Phase as a "boundary" or "fringe" immediately adjacent to our world, as opposed to an "actual" world on the "other side". I am not too keen on calling it a "veil" because the word doesn't occur in canon, but that's the only difference I can identify. In slightly different terms, my Phase (your veil) is a "hub world" (or non-world) not unlike Star Wars' "hyperspace" (you can warp/travel through it, but you can't live there permanently). That said, I still think it's fair to say that Screamers come "from the Phase", and to assimilate the Phase (to some extent) with the world(s) that lie beyond it -- because, as seen from our world, there isn't much of a difference between the other world(s) and the "veil" that leads to them (because all we ever see is the latter). We most definitely agree on the interpretation of lowercased "phase" as a measure of "Earth-closeness" or "here-and-now-ness". Regular Earth objects are "in phase" with "our" Earth, and paranormal phenomena/entities are more or less "out of phase" or "phase-shifted". --geyser (talk) 14:34, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
Okay, well I could agree with that concept, but I think it's pretty confusing to use the same word as Oni (except with a capital letter) with a different definition. And again, the "phase veil" is the wall between our world and another, not a space. Neither I nor Hardy have ever suggested a name for the other side(s). --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
Slight déjà vu notwithstanding, let me stress again that we do agree about the "wall"/veil thing -- there is the frontier/boundary that is in our immediate reach, and the world(s) that may lie beyond it. Hardy makes a distinction between the "veil" and the Screamers' homeworld (unnamed), so perhaps that means that we should make that distinction, too (if we're keen on honoring Hardy's post-canon revelations, that is). My only amendment to this view -- already stated above -- is that the parallel worlds (if any) are not something that we can perceive or access directly, therefore from our point of view they effectively make one with the "veil" (unless/until we manage to probe the "other side" somehow). Hence our freedom to attribute a loose collective term (Phase) both to the frontier and to whatever may lie beyond (because Oni's scientists simply don't know better, and cannot distinguish the "veil" from the "worlds beyond" in the same way as us writers do). In that view, the capitalized Phase can be seen as designating the whole range of uncharted phase-space -- "veil" and "world(s) beyond" combined -- which to me seems like a valid metonymy. If it works for you, consider it a popular-mechanics kind of shorthand for the "real thing" (the technical term could be something like "Earth-phase-congruant spacetime manifold"). --geyser (talk) 16:09, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
Okay, I get it now that you've explained that the Phase and the veil are the same in your mind, since the other side is not being explored or glimpsed clearly. I still think it's a mistake to lump them together in a single term, because from my standpoint I want to know exactly what is on the other side. If the only people using the term "Phase" (according to your definition) are some scientists within the story, that would make sense because it reflects their lack of knowledge, but if we also use the term, it discourages us from deciding what's really on the other side — an alternate-universe Earth? a past Earth? another type of universe altogether? But perhaps this is a case where you value ambiguity and I eschew it. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
I am investing more brains into this than I used to, so this is no longer a case of "procrastinated ambiguity" on my part. Rather, I am still brainstorming, whereas you seem to have a rather complete wishlist already. That said, you're also not 100% clear as for "what is on the other side" (even assuming you could "know for sure" somehow). First you hint at alien ingerence from beyond the veil (as if from an alternate universe or Earth), then it turns out that it's echoes from a distant past, and finally they're not echoes at all, just remote control from the seabed. Even if you see this as a carefully constructed series of revelations where you as a writer know exactly what's going on (i.e. that it's all here-and-now-ish, at least the Diluvian survivors) -- you are not saying how the Diluvians contracted Daodan powers in the first place, and where from (if it's from the Phase, then doesn't that mean that there is an alternate Earth/universe out there? and if so, just what have you disambiguated, really?). Also, what about Screamers? Are they also from a past Earth? It's OK not to know, and you don't have to lay it all out in advance. --geyser (talk) 11:52, 4 July 2020 (CEST)
Indeed, I don't really have the answers to the questions you brought up about what's on the other side of the phase veil. All the more reason not to lump two different concepts together under one word, which inhibits further thought on the subject. I'll continue to use my own terminology for this reason. Anyway, my rough idea on the subject was that the Diluvians invented the Daodan, which was why I was using the term "Daomen" for them in my writing. But it's not that I have everything worked out and decided already. I've had to spend this much time, writing this many words, just to convey to you what I had already written elsewhere. As with Hardy's words on the forum, there's a strange reluctance on your part to read what others have written unless it's placed directly in front of you, at which point you seem open to responding to the material. Should I paste his posts onto this page as well? --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
The "Phase" moniker could be used by scientists and laymen alike, not unlike "Space". (When people say "Space", they can mean Earth orbit, outer space, distant galaxies and nebulae, stars and exoplanets, etc.) People naturally make the distinction between where they are and where they aren't. "Zero-phase Earth" is where people live and do science, and "out-of-phaseness" can be perceived more or less collectively and indiscriminately (disambiguating when needed, just as for Space). As briefly mentioned in a footnote on that other page, it's completely OK to treat "near" and "far" out-of-phaseness as a continuum, at least a priori. There can be any number of "alien Earths" out there, or there could be just one or two of those, or there could be none (i.e. there is just the "veil" -- impenetrable, getting thicker and more chaotic as you push in -- that allows you to boomerang back to Earth at a different place or time, but doesn't have a threshold depth past which you'd cross over to a new world). As another consideration, Phase properties don't need to be constant in time. Oni's world apparently saw a "phase emergence" in the late XX century that either was spontaneous or had something to do with the Diluvians. So maybe in the XIX century, even with the best probing technology, scientists wouldn't have detected much of a "veil", let alone "other worlds" -- and, conversely, with fully awake Diluvians (or an otherwise much larger Phase presence) there could be stable portals into "alien Earths", starting with the Screamer homeworld mentioned by Hardy. All these possibilities can unfold over time, because the Phase is subject to change. And it can seriously spice up the post-Oni world even if there isn't much of a fight with Diluvians per se. --geyser (talk) 11:52, 4 July 2020 (CEST)
P.S. About the Phase/veil -- "you can warp/travel through it, but you can't live there permanently" -- except maybe if you're immaterial? In the case of Screaming Cells and Daodan entities, there are no clear rules that would prevent them from living "in" the veil, so to speak -- as temporary/timeless disturbances of this ever-changing "fringe/hub world". --geyser (talk) 13:42, 20 June 2020 (CEST)
Just so you know (or remember), projected weapons for "my" Oni2 included a "halver" (something that would decrease your presence in this world with every hit, and shifting presence to "another world" (or to immaterial "limbo presence"); while "halved" you would be less visible to others, and you would get visions of the Phase (and/or of the "other" world). Same for teleporting -- while "phased out" your vision of the "real world" is blurred and augmented with "phase visions", not unlike wearing the ring in Jackson's LOTR. I also wanted to have "screaming swords" and "screaming whips" -- life-draining, blood-less "cold weapons", which would operate and look similarly to Spirit claws/tentacles from Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within. --geyser (talk) 18:24, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Sounds interesting. I have some material in my Oni 2 notes as well about life-draining whips. Though it's rather difficult to make them work in a 3D game, but I suppose it's been done here and there. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
The Final Fantasy movie offers a good visual image of how it could work/look (whip/claw going straight through a body -- unless stopped by a special shield -- and ripping out some fancy looking "life force"). Except of course I'd change it to moderate damage instead of an insta-kill. --geyser (talk) 14:34, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
If it were up to me, I wouldn't keep much of those "Waiters" or their human/Daodan proxies, except for the notion that the Phase is tied to "Gaia", i.e., that you can't do phase tech in outer space. It would explain why Oni's sci-fi-powered civilization isn't actively colonizing Mars or the Moon, and it would keep the plot "Earth-centered" in a Ring Around the Sun kind of way. --geyser (talk) 13:06, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
To me, it would be much more surprising if the world of Oni was doing anything advanced in space. Where do you think we'll be in 12 years? Even colonizing the moon? Doubtful (sadly). Oni's world doesn't feel a lot more advanced than ours except for their phase tech, and there's nothing in the canonical depiction of that technology which would aid in settling another world. I would expect Oni's world to be less advanced in matters of space than ours, seeing as they have some very time-consuming and expensive issues to deal with here on Earth. --Iritscen (talk) 16:11, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Colonizing the Moon or Mars would make sense in Oni's world, precisely because of the overwhelming issues (if the biosphere is lost, then there isn't anywhere else to go but space -- Ergo-Proxy-style, perhaps, or to Mars if the population is sufficiently depleted), but indeed we don't see much of a drive towards space conquest from the WCG: "dystopia sweet dystopia". I'd rather not rationalize that aspect right now, especially if there's an agreement (we just know that, somehow, there are satellites in orbit, and not much beyond that). As for our world, Musk&Co have been doing fine lately, and I am fairly confident we'll see at least a big Moon base in our lifetime. --geyser (talk) 01:50, 11 June 2020 (CEST)
The only problem then is, I'm no longer sure that it's still Oni that we're talking about and not some Mass Effect DLC (with timeless Leviathans at the bottom of oceans, or Reapers chilling in the darkness of space until it's "time to collect"). I know you're convinced that the dying Jamie (as dreamed up by Konoko) kinda looks like Barabas, but drawing a parallel between Jamie's complete cellular breakdown and Mai's or Muro's integrity-preserving symbiosis is a bit of a stretch even by my standards. You seem to imply that the "flowering shrub" is Daodan-enhanced (like Konoko? or in some other way that Oni says nothing about?), and Jamie, not having the same DNA signature as the shrub, is destroyed upon contact with its Chrysalis instead of being "reinforced or replaced". So how does this feed back into Oni? If Konoko spits in Griffin's face, does he rot alive in minutes? is that how it works? --geyser (talk) 02:58, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
Lot to respond to here, but I'll try to make it quick:
  • Any direction we go with Oni is likely to feel somewhat alien compared to the original. Any additions to the canon may feel like a departure; that would have been true of even Hardy's planned sequel. I think the key thing is to find a way to balance the introduction of biopunk with the original cyberpunk inspiration. This may be something done on the game design level rather than the story level.
  • Not sure why you're comparing the effect a Daodan-infected plant had on Jamie with the way that the Chrysalis works. We both agree that Hasegawa invented the Chrysalis to tame the Daodan, don't we? The plant killed Jamie because it had some defense chemical in it, probably what would be considered a mild acidity to deter insects in a Daodan-infused super-wilderness. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
"We both agree that Hasegawa invented the Chrysalis to tame the Daodan, don't we?" -- Erm, no, where did you get that idea? ^_^ In my impression, Hasegawa & Kerr (and all the other Daodan scientists) are rather humble about the Chrysalis, and are quick to recognize that it is barely "tameable" itself (you can sedate it, you can put it in cryo, but other than that it's "bound to run free"). To me, Hasegawa merely discovered (perhaps accidentally) the right experimental conditions under which a Daodan can come in from the Phase, "exalt" a human cell, and "keep exalting it" by staying phase-tethered. --geyser (talk) 13:05, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
You seem to be implying that the bush from the Zone is "wild"/untamed in the sense that it has defense mechanisms that are in-sync with its immediate surroundings, but out of proportion with ordinary Earth fauna/flora. In that view, you present the Chrysalis as a "tamed" counterpart of Zone fauna because Konoko doesn't have acid blood and doesn't spread deadly viruses with every footstep. However, apart from being poisonous, a Zone bush looks pretty much "tame" (ordinary-looking, not giant or deformed, no horns or alien glow, nothing paranormal happening nearby). So I am really not sure that Konoko's symbiosis is in any way limited/restrained as compared to that poisonous bush. If anything, they look to me like two completely different kinds of symbiosis, with two completely different origins/explanations, and to imply that one is a "tamed" form of the other is quite a departure indeed. --geyser (talk) 13:05, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Strange that suddenly you are using the "dream photos" as a visual reference for what the bush looked like :-) Usually you're the first to point out that we didn't see what actually happened in the Preserve (and surely you're not going to say that you're trusting the newspaper account instead :->). I see no reason, though, why all the plants and bugs in the Preserve have to be crazy-looking mutants in order to be Daodan-powered. Keep in mind that Hardy also believed that life there was incredibly mutated (Cf. the giant man-eating fish), so why doesn't the game depict the Wilderness as full of crazy killer plants 30 feet high? You're running to an over-dramatized extreme depiction of the Wilderness that is neither necessary nor practical from a game design perspective. There's no reason to assume that the Daodan Chrysalis in a human behaves like the life that has been evolving under Daodan power for generations. --Iritscen (talk) 16:11, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Sorry, I wasn't being clear. When I said the bush "looks" tame, I wasn't referring to the blurry dream-a-roid, but to my comparative perception of the two kinds of symbiosis: Konoko is as much of a "troublemaker unleashed", if not more, than the Jamie-killing bush, so I don't see one as a tamed version of the other, rather they look like two very different concepts. To be more precise, on one side we have a clear-cut and canon-ready concept -- the Daodan-powered Chrysalis -- and on the other we have a whole zoo of nondescript poisonous entities, widely varied but somehow all "Daodan-powered" as well. I haven't read the forum chat with Hardy yet, so I don't know what monsters he would have added to canon but didn't. All I know is, in the scope of Vanilla 2001 canon, we have no mention of Wilderness Preserves being roamed by ohmu, having crystal caves at the bottom and expanding through spores carried by insects -- and that's fine because we don't need another Nausicaä. --geyser (talk) 18:25, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
You're still making a baseless comparison between a bush (no agency, nor mobility) and a human being. What really makes Konoko a troublemaker? Her Chrysalis or her personality? We seem to have very different views of that subject. On a sidenote, I'm shocked that you haven't read Hardy's posts yet. Why the apathy? --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
I haven't found the time to re-read ASFO2, either, or SoW, or RS/CB. We all have our realities (children, working hours, RL projects, conflicting hobbies), so things happen when they happen, not sooner. I am not apathetic to Hardy's work (can't really say until I read it, though), but you of all people should understand how attention span works. Re:bush, it seems to me like you're reacting to the wrong thing. Oni's scientists see the Chrysalis as ominous ("what the presence of such a creature might portend for humanity we cannot know", etc), regardless of her impetuous personality (although it matters too, rash decisions and all). Your Wilderness is ominous too (per Oni canon, Hasegawa saw is as an "impending collapse of the Earth's biosphere"; you're giving it a different twist but it's still a doomsday scenario). But they're very different ominousnesses, and it's presenting them as two sides of the same medal that seems forced to me. The variety of Wilderness lifeforms, their poisonousness (as opposed to a Chrysalis's resilience), and how the Daodan scientists only talk about the Chrysalis -- that's what sets the two concepts apart (in my impression). The Daodans that were used to enhance Konoko and Muro, and the ones that are supposedly enhancing every living being in the Zones -- they look like very different Daodans to me, so much that I would just as soon label them differently: Daodan as the thing powering a Chrysalis as per Oni canon, and "Shmaodan" or whatever as the alien invasion proxy virus thing that supposedly killed Jamie. I'm only speaking my mind, of course -- this is just how I feel about your theory here and now. --geyser (talk) 18:24, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
The Daodan enhancing my Wilderness *is* a very different thing from the ones in Muro and Konoko. In the first case you have the natural Daodan and in the second you have the Daodan Chrysalis. There's no reason to expect that they would behave the same. And again, comparing life that does not have agency, like plants, with life that does is a big mistake. The Chrysalis is frightening because it's inside a human; it would be much less intimidating inside of a fern. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
I'm glad that we agree on how Oni's Daodan symbiosis is very different from your "natural" one. Hopefully the time will come when you'll recognize that Oni canon exposes the Chrysalis as an only form of Daodan symbiosis. When Griffin's scientists muse on Konoko's unchecked transformation and "what the presence of such a creature might portend for humanity", you'd think they'd give a thought to the vast tracts of land that have already been lost to the alien invasion, and where the Daodan has already assimilated whole realms (vegetal and animal). Yet they act like it's only Konoko that's turning into an alien (and Muro&Co, but they don't know about them for sure). I don't think you can dismiss that kind of "WP denial" just by saying that ferns aren't all that scary: they're scary enough to issue a ban on WP flyovers, it seems -- so, if the WPs are known to be Daodan-infused alien enclaves, that's not the kind of detail that canon would omit/deny. --geyser (talk) 14:34, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
What am I getting at? Your theory of WPs being entirely daodanized and fenced in by the WCG -- with a conspiracy so effective that you had to (re)invent it from scratch -- that's quite a excursion already. But at some point you will have to justify how the daodanized nature of the WPs is completely ignored by Daodan science teams (WPs are merely said to have provided a motivation for Hasegawa's research, through Jamie's gruesome death and putative "impending collapse of the Earth's biosphere"). My way to resolve this is to distinguish Oni's canon Daodan from the non-canon "Shmaodan" that may be infecting the WPs -- the latter may be potent/ominous in the long run, but at the time of Oni's events it's seemingly contained and irrelevant to Chrysalis research. --geyser (talk) 14:34, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
A couple more things: I don't understand how the variety of life in the Wilderness has anything to say about the presence or absence of a Daodan in that life. Also, I'm not sold on the idea that everything in the Wilderness is poisonous. That seems illogical under both the "industrial pollution" theory and my "Daodan Wilderness" theory. Hasegawa only makes the statement that "the world outside the Atmospheric Processors is poisonous", which is clearly a generalization or they wouldn't have survived out there at all. All we really know is that the bush that scratched Jamie is inimical to human life, and air emanating from the Wilderness apparently is linked to the BioCrisis. In my opinion, my explanation actually works better with Oni's notion of a BioCrisis than the "straight" reading that it's all just a lot of industrial waste making everything toxic. (Also, Hasegawa says he's going to do something about "the nightmare that killed her", which would be an odd way to describe a toxic waste dump.) --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
The variety of "natural" Daodan symbiosis occurring throughout the WPs (per your theory) is completely missing from Daodan science as it is exposed in Oni -- that's all I'm saying. As for pollution, we all agree that Hasegawa's "we are all doomed" is a bit of an exaggeration (at the time of Oni's events, both Kerr and the rest of the Daodan team seem to think that Hasegawa's response was somewhat disproportionate). The WPs are poisonous enough for Jamie to die a gruesome death from her first scratch, and poisonous enough for a ban on WP flyovers. No more, no less. --geyser (talk) 14:34, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
I take the opposite view of Hasegawa: that he was a prophet ahead of his time. Like Jor-El, he foresaw the destruction of the world, but wasn't listened to. --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
It would be rather anthropocentric to interpret a threat to humankind as "the destruction of the world". Hasegawa's comparatively humble endeavor was to let the world move on while allowing humans to survive the change. Whether he was a prophet, and what of, is debatable. Impending doom is not something I find very compelling (boring, rather), but that's just my opinion. --geyser (talk) 16:09, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
There's nothing wrong with a little anthropocentrism from the characters in the story. We routinely use the expression "end of the world" in English to mean the end of human civilization, or even just the end of human life as we know it. And Hasegawa wasn't trying to let nature be nature, or anything so ecologically motivated. He was trying to save humans the only way he could think of, which was to change us, not the world. Finally, impending doom for mankind is indeed a bit clichéd, but I think the bigger problem with it as a source of drama is that the outcome is predictable. When one raises the stakes of one's story to "Will the main character live or die?" or "Will the world end?", anyone who takes themself out of the story for a moment will know how it's going to end. So it's worth considering alternate stakes, such as my suggestion that the symbiotes are linked in a life-or-death way to the Wilderness, so if the Wilderness is defeated, Konoko dies, but if it's allowed to remain, it will inevitably overtake the world. The matter of defeating the Diluvians (now you've got me saying it) may have a more predictable outcome, but it's not the only point on which the story turns, so there is more to keep the audience in suspense. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
I didn't say (Vanilla) Hasegawa was ecologically motivated! Poor choice of words, probably. I said he'd "let the world move on", but really meaning he couldn't help it going to hell (or could he? as you know, the whole point of TNZ is that he thought he could, insofar as the Syndicate could be infiltrated and used as an "alienated" tool, for ACC retro-fitting and who knows what else.). So he (the Vanilla, non-TNZ Hasegawa) is humbly powerless in that respect, rather than deliberately letting nature be nature -- which means we're on the same page again, congratulations. Maybe we shouldn't be looking for disagreement in every sentence, instead finding favorable interpretations? ^_^ (maybe say things like: "assuming that by this-and-that you mean such-and-such, it looks like we agree; let me know if you meant something else") --geyser (talk) 11:52, 4 July 2020 (CEST)
As for your "suggestion that the symbiotes are linked in a life-or-death way to the Wilderness" -- apart from the Wilderness fixation I'm all for it, even though it's a bit of a trope. I've already said that the Wilderness (with its "alien" pathogens and relentless spreading) may not be the only trouble caused by the Diluvians: if the Phase becomes more and more active as the Diluvians awake from their stasis (e.g., to relocate), then there will be more and more phase glitches worldwide, portals to other worlds, Screamer invasions... in short, fun times to live in. But, conversely, when/if the Diluvians are killed (or go back to sleep), it is entirely possible that the Phase will collapse, i.e., entities will no longer be able to travel through the "veil" as easily or at all, and those that rely on the "veil" (like Konoko's Chrysalis?) will be disrupted. Whether this should kill Konoko is debatable -- mostly it depends on how dramatic (or trope-y) you want the story to be, and I suppose there will be ample opportunity to argue about this later. --geyser (talk) 11:52, 4 July 2020 (CEST)
The problem from a dramatic perspective, of course, is that if the Chrysalis merely conveys extra-human power to the symbiote, whether that power comes from the Wilderness, through the phase veil, etc., then the natural assumption is that cutting off that power source merely results in de-powered symbiotes. There's nothing dramatic about that, as Konoko might even be happy to become normal. However, it's true that my life-or-death angle isn't the most original idea. I'm not terribly attached to it. There are other potential sources of drama, most obviously, the cliffhanger from Oni: without the Chrysalis, we are all doomed; with it, we might turn into monsters. The notion I've suggested of being able to beat back the Wilderness, defeat the Daomen, etc. does not need to be a possibility if we don't want it to be. If the Wilderness' advance is unstoppable, or the build-up of toxins is, at least within the next decades, then people are going to die without Chrysalises. We could simply take this original cliffhanger as the crux of the sequel's drama. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
I wouldn't advise trivializing Oni canon and implying that the "straight" reading is that a WP is "just" a toxic waste dump, or that the origin of the waste is 100% industrial. We Do Not Know. Some elements of canon hint at a military origin for the waste (ghastly bioweapons that were either developed, tested or dumped in "easy to ignore" areas), or at unethical "rogue science" during the years preceding the WCG's firm technology control. A "phase twist" is also possible, like teleportation/annihilation experiments gone wrong, or phase-induced mutation of Earth organisms (not as elegant as the Chrysalis, but enough to make an impression on Hasegawa). You said "good points" to all of this down below -- when I said that Contaminated Zones weren't reduced to industrial dumps in Oni canon, and that there were lots of ways to detail them without resorting to alien ingerence. --geyser (talk) 14:34, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
On a sidenote, I don't see a strong correlation with Nausicaa's and my work, so perhaps this Miyazaki manga is just an obsession of yours. I could easily reduce your ideas to references to existing works as well, but haven't done so. "There is nothing new under the sun." All we can do is try to present old ideas in a new light. Presuming that you can create anything truly novel is vanity. And putting words in my mouth to make my ideas seem more Nausicaa-like is especially rude, so please stop. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
The edit history of the Nausicaa page(s) seems to indicate that you've been fascinated with the Wilderness/Sea-Of-Corruption parallel as much as myself, if not more, and the insects splashing into airplanes and/or seeding new territories just rang so many bells for me (sorry). Anyway, you are bringing up an important point -- not only are we bound to "contaminate" the story with cultural influences or tropes, but the very core of our work is referential/parasitic since we are "enhancing" an existing work by Hardy&Co, as if it was in need of an enhancement. I don't feel guilt over this, but I do feel a certain responsibility. If it was a new story we were telling, then we would be entitled to any kind of creative licence -- including, and not limited to, the "nothing new under the sun" attitude, i.e., more-or-less indiscriminate "melting-pot"-ness. For a derivative work, I feel like I need to be super-careful and super-discriminate about the alienation. Using Kerr's lexicon: whatever the final form or our work, it should be an expression of Oni's true nature. And, to take the analogy even further, I would hate it if, by the end of my work as a storyteller, Oni grew horns and became all livid and veiny-like. "Glorious, isn't it?" -- do not want. That's all. --geyser (talk) 18:24, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Agreed that we don't want to port a lot of stuff in from other places. I'm generally against taking inspiration from anything, consciously, in anything I create. If I ended up taking any influence from Nausicaa, it was only because extrapolating logically from the sparse facts in Oni's plot led me there. But in the end Oni should be an action game in a cyberpunk universe, so of course we don't want to turn Mai into Nausicaa and the Wilderness into the Sea of Corruption. Considering the twist in Nausicaa that the forest is actually a good thing, my take on the Wilderness is very much in the opposite direction: it will irrevocably destroy Earth's current biosphere if it isn't stopped. No twist in the end about it actually being a good thing, and no way to co-exist; it's destroy or be destroyed, and the Daodan symbiotes are unfortunately on the wrong side (biologically speaking). --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
Heh, so much for the lack of Enemy Tropes. For what it's worth, the real twist in Miyazaki's work is how Nausicaa ends up denying the "good thing", or rather says "Nay!" to the plan that the Old Masters laid out. Following her decision to destroy the Crypt, regeneration/terraforming will run free, for better or worse, without any arrogant micro-management. --geyser (talk) 14:34, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
Not sure what you mean with the role of "game design" (2D/3D themes/assets? or gameplay choices?), but I'm trying very hard to keep additions and "departures" to a minimum. Biopunk, as far as I can tell, is already in Oni (it doesn't matter that it started as a GITS clone -- by 2001 it already had an identity of its own, with the original SLD and Daodan/Chrysalis concepts at its core). And the balance with cyberpunk is achieved quite naturally, because you still have those huge machines for growing/monitoring all the biotech, the man-machine interface, sub-dermal chips and cables, cyborg parts, etc. As for the rest, I tend to list alternative takes intermixed with my preferences, so you may not always realize how little I'm actually adding. For one thing, I haven't had any need for Forerunners or Protheans so far. --geyser (talk) 13:05, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
"Not sure what you mean with the role of "game design" (2D/3D themes/assets? or gameplay choices?)" — the former. The atmosphere of the game will be cyberpunk precisely to the degree that the levels are set in cyberpunk surroundings. If the focus, on the other hand, was on exploring the Wilderness, it would be a very different game indeed. I'm not suggesting we do that, if you look at my settings concepts on the SoW Settings page. --Iritscen (talk) 16:11, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Ah, so for you "bio-punk" would be a Nausicaä kind of adventure, where we'd wander deep into the Sea of Corruption (poisonous forest) and unravel its mysteries. For me bio-punk is just cyberpunk but with SLD brains instead of positronic ones (grown in a life-like fashion, instead of engineered), and the protagonist being eaten alive by her own hyperevolved cancer clone. Even if there are computers all around, and the setting is a jungle of chainlink and concrete, that's still bio-punk to me --geyser (talk) 18:31, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
To me, a biopunk world that looks like a cyberpunk one but with organic cyborgs instead of mechanical cyborgs is not very interesting. What's the difference between a cyberpunk story where someone's nanites are restructuring their body and the premise of Oni's Daodan Chrysalis? It's just window dressing; swapping out one SF terminology for another. If there isn't lots of life in a biopunk story, rather than a lot of concrete and glass, I fail to see the point of invoking a new genre. But I do want to reiterate that I am not arguing for an all-Wilderness sequel, but rather one that still feels significantly cyberpunk. Some levels would be Wilderness-based, but more would be set in typical areas of human habitation. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Point taken. We are also on the same page about Oni2 being city-based with occasional excursions "into the green" (that's exactly what I had in mind with the "cave" setting during my "Serious" era). With the "bio-punk" label I wasn't really trying to pinpoint a genre, it just seemed to me that the hyperevolutionary alienation, coming from the Chrysalis but based on the "true nature" of the host itself, was somewhat more troubling than a bunch of nanites -- but I recognize that for a general audience it's a very subtle, barely noticeable difference from GITS, and probably works more on the philosophical/metaphysical level anyway. --geyser (talk) 18:24, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Indeed, I liked your idea of starting in a cave. I thought I had made reference to that in my Oni 2 material, but can't find it now. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
"For one thing, I haven't had any need for Forerunners or Protheans so far". No, just intelligent non-corporeal aliens that guide the development of the Daodan telepathically from across the phase veil ^_^ --Iritscen (talk) 16:11, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Nice try. In my view, the Daodan (aura) is the immaterial sentient(?) entity that's leaking in from the Phase and coordinating the growth of the Chrysalis, one per symbiote -- i.e., just what we have in Vanilla Oni, no new names or entities needed. Calling them "phase gods", giving them other names, praying to them, or implying that they're proxies left by ancient civilizations -- that will be up to specific characters and their perverted interpretations, but fundamentally it's something that's already in Oni. I thought that was clear. --geyser (talk) 18:25, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
It sounds like we're saying the same thing except that you're being deliberately vague about motivations and characteristics of the aliens. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
As long as I'm not calling them "aliens", there is absolutely no need to characterize them according to a human's expectations. "Motivations" are a human's thing. Like other phase entities, the Daodan just is (and its sentience remains a hypothesis!). On another note, Lem and the Strugatskys typically don't expose the motivations of their "aliens" at all, even when they're clearly depicting a different "race" -- because they see it as vain to rationalize/verbalize alien minds. So yes, I am deliberately "shying away" from detailing the Daodan's "point of view", but that's just where I'm coming from, sci-fi-wise. --geyser (talk) 18:24, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Mostly agree about the Wilderness Preserves being mostly overgrown -- not like a large dump can't be covered in greenery, mind you, or covered-up by limiting access to satellite imagery (Oni's space programs are not the same as NASA's and ESA's, so we don't know what satellites they had in orbit before the Uprising, and who was running them). At any rate, Hasegawa's tale is really telling us that "the world outside the ACCs is poisonous" so, at least in the one Zone that he and Jamie set foot into, the virus (or whatever) had apparently "gone to seed" in most of the Zone's lifeforms (that's if it wasn't in fact airborne, merely using Jamie's open wound as a way in). This is not telling us that the virus (or whatever) didn't spread from a man-made container discarded somewhere deep in the forest, or from a secret underground lab, or from an enigmatic phase portal (or xenoforming time capsule). Like I said earlier, Zones (Preserves) don't all have to look the same or kill their local Jamies in the same fashion. It's only your own Wilderness fixation that's giving you that idea. (For what it's worth, would Jamie's Zone cause "biological contamination" on a plane passing overhead, that would be immediately noticed and reported by pilots? I wouldn't be so sure.) --geyser (talk) 02:58, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
"would Jamie's Zone cause 'biological contamination' on a plane passing overhead?" In my conception, the Wilderness is emitting all kinds of stuff all the time, and there's not just flora down there, but fauna too. So there's any number of things that could cause biological contamination, including bugs that attached themselves to the fuselage, or splattered on it. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
I'm probably becoming a nuisance by now, but this is very, very strongly reminiscent of Miyazaki's Nausicaä. I'll embrace it if I have to, but right now I feel compelled to steer away and look for a different approach to the Zones, less "wilderness preserve"y and more "contaminated zone"y, if you will. After all, "wilderness preserves" is just what the WCG calls them. --geyser (talk) 01:50, 11 June 2020 (CEST)
Last but not least, "alien invasions" (doesn't matter if they're space aliens or time aliens or phase aliens) is one of the big caveats of sci-fi for me, if not one of the big no-nos. No matter how unfathomable and unfamiliar you're trying to picture them, they always come across as sock puppets and man-made "golems" (poor copies of ourselves) from the moment they appear on screen. If they turn out to be "bad guys", then the tropes get even worse. I probably could name more than a few exceptions to that rule (good sci-fi with believable aliens, and even with a convincing enough "invasion" going on), but the point is, I'm picky as hell when it comes to those things. The Screamer Queen mentioned by Hardy(?) I would probably tolerate because she'd be all immaterial and hungry, and probably would just equate to (super)natural disaster. --geyser (talk) 02:58, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
I somewhat agree about the dangers of depicting aliens. For how I planned to deal with that, see this section, starting with the paragraph beginning "Whatever form". Short answer: barely show them, and use human agents as their proxy. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Oh? (Muro's daughter, I see...) From my experience, "human proxies" of unfathomable aliens/invaders are even harder to swallow than the unfathomable aliens/invaders themselves -- as soon as the invaders (or their proxy) open their mouths and patiently explain their motives in English (or tell us how it's all "inevitable"), I feel cheated. But never say never, and I can't say for sure that I won't ever be guilty of something like that myself... Steering away from invasion tropes have served me well so far. --geyser (talk) 01:50, 11 June 2020 (CEST)
We're really in agreement here. I don't like invaders who patiently explain their motives either. There's plenty of room for both unstated motives (perhaps voiced by Konoko instead, as she deduces them, or guesses at them) and also for Muro's daughter to not even know what the real plan is. She might think she's just playing a (somewhat sadistic) game. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
That said, I plead guilty myself -- I imagined an alien race a while back and had been thinking of ways of incorporating them into the Oni universe... as invaders. The Daodan, in that "story", would have been helping Mankind to prepare -- by hyperevolving -- so that they'd survive the encounter with the "actual" enemy all the way in Oni 3. From what I recall those "other aliens" were going to be powerful-but-stupid, kinda like furry zerglings. Good times... --geyser (talk) 02:58, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
Having the WCG instituted in 2012 also feels a bit weird, with Jamie dying in 2014 and Chrysalises already grown in 2016 -- it just doesn't leave much time for the TCTF's regulations to have kicked in, or for the Network to have already evolved into "The Syndicate" by the time Hasegawa and Kerr start working there. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
The only awkwardly-tight timing is the development of the Daodan Chrysalis, which itself is not hard to explain if one assumes that (a) Hasegawa and Kerr had relevant prior experience, (b) the technology of the time was close enough to what they needed that they didn't have to advance all of science by a human lifespan in 3 years, and (c) they found the Daodan, rather than creating it. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Agree. c) Finding the Daodan (or being found by it) gave them a miraculous boost, but still left them with a probable several months of research both before the discovery (exploring/experimenting) and afterwards (designing various monitoring protocols, mostly); b) if the Daodan is mostly another Phase Thingie, and the Chrysalis is cancer, then yeah, the science of Oni-2014 probably had all the basics covered; a) yeah, although it may be fun/useful to imagine what they'd been working on prior to Jamie's death. --geyser (talk) 01:17, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
One solution I see is just to move the Uprising to the early 2000s, and the emergence of pre-WCG entities (Phase, Network, initial pollution) to the 1990s or even 1980s. That leaves the problem of the Freedom Riots occurring in 2012: if we identify them as the same "world riots" as the ones that happened immediately after the Uprising, then we'd need to edit the PSP's WPge to say "2002"; if they're different riots (10 years into WCG or something like that), then there's nothing to change. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Another solution -- that would keep both the Uprising and Freedom Riots in 2012 -- is, indeed, to say that: a) pollution (in the Zones) had existed long before the Uprising; b) one of the reasons for instituting the WCG (and building the ACCs right away) was a steady drop in air quality (but the Zones being the main source of the pollution would have remained a well-kept secret at the time -- and all the way to 2032, actually); c) the Network somehow turned into The Syndicate very quickly. Maybe I'll grow more comfortable with such a tight timeline after I/we sketch a few events from the early WCG years (ACC construction schedules, WCG's regulations and innovations, TCTF operations, radical Network/Syndicate countermeasures...) -- if it starts to look crowded, then maybe we should give it more time. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
It doesn't look tight to me at all with the timing I suggested above. BioCrisis looms in 2000, ACCs go into production, nations go even further into debt than they were already, and WCG takes over in 2012, leading to Freedom Riots (I'm sure these were intended by Hardy to be in response to the WCG's power grab). There's no need to assume the Network quickly turned into the Syndicate after 2012. Just because Kerr refers to it as such in 2032 doesn't mean they were called that at the time that he and Hasegawa went to them. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Good point about Kerr calling it "Syndicate" just because that's what the WCG's been calling it for the past 20 years. I don't much like the idea of ACCs going into production before the WCG grab, because they're like the face of WCG to me: massive, standardized, and part of a global system. Perhaps I'd rather say that, by 2012, the emanations from the Wilderness had become a major concern in the cities (but the actual location of the source was subject to debate/censorship). One of the "selling points" of the Uprising was that the new leaders would actually "do something" about the air going bad (by building the ACCs in a matter of months -- putting an end to the riots when the air quality in the cities did start to improve). The long-term problem (which the activists tried to draw attention to, but failed) was that the WCG weren't actually doing anything about the source of the pollution (in the Preserves), thus only delaying a complete environmental breakdown. In this view, the BioCrisis predated the Uprising, but the ACCs were built after it, systematically but hastily (to present the WCG's institution as timely and vital, and to silence the riots). I still like the idea of the ACCs doubling as power plants, so perhaps the ACCs were simply built on top of existing power plants (the WCG only added the towering air-cleaning tiers, and/or enhanced the generators, but left some of the architecture untouched -- that would explain why ACC levels look a bit Frankensteinian at places). --geyser (talk) 01:17, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
The ACCs might have been part of the means to power for the WCG. In this theory, the construction of the ACCs was part of what bankrupted the nations, paving the way for debt forgiveness through assimilation. Who's to say that the whole framing of the BioCrisis and promotion of the ACCs wasn't partly a deliberate plot by the WCG to rise to power? Of course they would have been called something else before they became the (not-quite-entire-)world government, but the proto-WCG could still have been the ones to design the ACCs, explaining their uniformity (of course, it's our assumption that they're uniform). This makes the timing of events much more comfortable than imagining the enormous ACCs being built in hundreds of locations between 2012 and 2014. --Iritscen (talk) 02:03, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
Too much focus on debt, I'd say, and also not sure why there would have been extra debt if all the countries were in the same ACC-building boat. With a proto-WCG emerging early on, the Uprising wouldn't have been as much of a surprise for everyone (including the Network, which wouldn't have struggled so much). In the view that the BioCrisis was in lack of a global solution at the time of the Uprising, the express construction of ACCs (on top of pre-existing power plants), and an unexpected efficiency of the new world order in combating the BioCrisis could have been an impressive feat of the WCG's early months, counterbalancing their oppressive reforms in other domains. Also, the ACCs needn't have been built huge from the beginning. Tiers may have been added in the next 20 years to keep up with the progressing BioCrisis. Point taken about the ACCs not necessarily being uniform -- I'm saying the same thing about Contaminated Zones, so it's only fair. --geyser (talk) 03:23, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
"…the ACCs needn't have been built huge from the beginning. Tiers may have been added…" -- Good point. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)

The Scratch

It does feel like something is missing from Hasegawa's given explanation of why he shot Jamie. If you're in love with someone (or even if not), and they're in pain, intensely suffering, your instinct is to get them to the hospital. You don't say, "Gee, that looks painful. Not sure if you're going to recover or not. But I don't have any bandages or painkillers, so, uh, you know… (pulling out pistol)". Nobody thinks that way. --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

Mukade was in a hurry, so he botched that part up. Either that, or Konoko can't remember it right while dreaming. For a more serious take, see below. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)

I noted a while back (somewhere) that Jamie's infection, as depicted in the Polaroids (Memoroids?) looks an awful lot like the veins running up Barabas' head. I also speculated that the plant that infected Jamie either *was* the Daodan organism or had the Daodan processes inside of it. After all, what do you think Hasegawa studied later to find out what killed her?* If that's the case, perhaps something worse was happening to Jamie than simply being in intense pain… something that had to be stopped, for her own sake. --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)
*I see that you think that Hasegawa had to abscond with Jamie's body from a morgue later. It's much simpler and more obvious to suggest that he took a sample from her body before he parted with it, or that he took a sample from the Wilderness Preserve as I suggested above. He may have been grief-stricken, but he was still a scientist. --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

Yes, Barabas is livid and veiny (and so is Mutant Muro, but perhaps only because Mai is hallucinating, and Barabas is the closest thing to Imago that she's ever seen). As for the polaroids, at the very least there's no reason for Konoko to imagine that they looked anything like Barabas's "unstable symbiosis" (not that she knows anything about there being a "symbiosis" at that point). So, unless there are some actual polaroids thrown in (close-up pictures that Hasegawa took? crime scene shots?), the pictures we see are just Konoko's imagination playing along with Hasegawa's dramatic narrative -- no more, no less. Implying some subliminal knowledge from perusing the CD... I'd rather not. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
That said, sure, maybe Hasegawa's not telling us everything -- or maybe sparing us some details, rather. Indeed it is possible that Jamie was headed for a fate worse than death, turning into something unspeakable -- like a screaming chunk of meat. Bones melted, eyes gone, skin coming off, but some of the brain/spine still functioning... Some of Jamie's lovely features still (barely) recognizable, and the last remains of her strength as a person being channelled into a drawn-out mix of wheezes and bubbles... Sorry, was that your lunch? --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Well that's a morbid take on it. But we could just as easily assume she was transforming into an out-of-control Imago-type. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Complete cellular breakdown, they wrote (said?). Dying in my arms, he said (wrote?). Not much evidence for Imago (and, from human to Imago in minutes? really?) -- apart from those Barabas-like colors -- and you're colorblind. --geyser (talk) 10:30, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
True. I can't really say that I found my sudden-Imago theory to be very plausible. Imago shouldn't really be possible without the Chrysalis. Just thought I'd try the idea out loud. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
As for taking a sample from Jamie's body -- the Hasegawas were traveling lightly, mostly planning on taking pictures, by the looks of it. If they had brought small bio-hazard-proof containers just in-case, then indeed he might have taken a probe right there and then (that's not mentioned in the "Murder or Mercy" article, but it doesn't mean it didn't happen). Without a proper container, he'd have to carry the "thing" wrapped up in clothes -- not very scientific. And best not think about showing it to Kerr later on... --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Since we're talking about the polaroids (oh wait, are we?), what about Hasegawa hugging Jamie's infected body like he's desperately trying to contract "it" from her, whatever "it" is? If the scene really happened, it's very unscientific indeed -- or maybe by then Hasegawa had realized that he was somehow immune to the stuff? Could it be that Hasegawa was already a symbiote by then? (muahahaha) Ahem. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
As for taking samples from the Wilderness early on (from Jamie's body and from The Nightmare That Killed Her a.k.a. The Flowering Shrub), and not having to scout for samples later... That works if the Wilderness is all "one and the same" (as you seem to imply in SoW), but from the TNZ perspective (and the apriori perspective of Hasegawa in any case), you can't be sure about the uniform nature of the Wilderness unless you take more than one sample in more that one corner of more than one Zone. They had barely walked in when the scratch happened, so at the very least Hasegawa would have gone back for a bio-hazard suit and pushed towards the center of that same Zone. At least that's the kind of approach that would have made sense to me. --geyser (talk) 19:03, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Hasegawa wouldn't know if the Wilderness as a whole was saturated with the Daodan, but he wouldn't need to, nor does it need to be the case in TNZ. The logical thing to do, even while freshly in grief over Jamie, would have been to collect some of the plant that scratched her to take it back to the lab. As long as that plant contained the Daodan, it doesn't matter if anything else did. Or maybe he simply went back into the Preserve later, as you suggested. My main point was that the whole scenario can be a lot simpler than you were making it, unless you just preferred the drama of said scenario. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Hm, which drama/complexity of which scenario could you mean here? Excursions deeper into that same Zone (with a hazard suit) or into other Zones make perfect sense, but they're also completely optional. If Hasegawa is thorough as a scientist, he'll go through with it, but if he's lucky or lazy, he'll be satisfied with a few samples from the "crime scene". Clearly I am keen on the idea of Mukade being, if not an acolyte of Hasegawa, at least one of those "thugs" who earned an undisputed right to implantation early on -- and somehow he was tolerated by Muro later on, too, despite being an obvious rival. Early contribution to the Daodan project, such as infiltration and data/sample retrieval, could justify Mukade's apparent "emeritus" status. Of course, Mukade may just have been Muro's mentor, who "killed" Hasegawa and became the badass father that Muro always wanted -- but I feel like I'm not done with the Mukade~=Hasegawa theory at this point, so naturally I am exploring the bond that they may have developed when the project started, i.e., before Muro+Hasegawa and Mai+Kerr were separated. --geyser (talk) 11:46, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
For what it's worth, I am not entirely sure that it's the "flowering shrub" that caused the infection, and not, say, something in the air or dew or such (which would fit in better with the airborne "biological contamination" mentioned in CHAPTER 04 . TIGER BY THE TAIL). Of course, if it's in the air, then it's not clear why it's not going for Jamie's and Hasegawa's eyes right away. Or, for that matter, if it's so pervasive, then why was it safe for Hasegawa to have Jamie dying "in [his] arms", almost French-kissing? It's all very sketchy. It could be resolved to some extent if we say that the Hasegawas were wearing some reasonable protection, and it's just Konoko's "dreamaroids" that picture them hiking into a supposedly afflicted area unprotected. --geyser (talk) 11:46, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
In my conception of the Wilderness, each species has its own defenses. The flowering shrub really doesn't mix well with human physiology. Other flora/fauna may be fairly non-reactive with humans. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Sorry (again), but to me that kind of variety definitely sounds uncomfortably reminiscent of Nausicaä, and together with the apparent stability of "untamed" Daodan symbiosis (wildlife looking like regular wildlife) it's too much of a miracle. In CHAPTER 12 . SINS OF THE FATHER, at least, we would have seen at least some mention of the "raw Daodan" (Chrysalis-less), how stable and undetectable it is, how contagious it is (or not? one moment you say that a dandelion seed is enough to corrupt a whole area, and then you end up saying that it doesn't propagate between species?), and how it's actually at the heart of the "impending collapse of the Earth's biosphere" as perceived by Hasegawa -- we'd have seen at least some of that, unless Kerr himself was completely in the black about that whole part, and moreover Griffin's whole team of sci-goons was locked away from the truth somehow. If we turn to Oni material, then Daodan science (both on the TCTF side and the little we see of the Syndicate side at the Mountain Compound) seems to revolve around symbiosis and the Chrysalis. Mukade's creepy "torn apart to make way for what we will become" is Chrysalis-consistent and that's it. Muro, too, focuses on the Chrysalis as a source of power and opposes it only to "choking on dead air and foul water", seemingly considering the deadly pollution as generic and mostly man-made. The Directorate frowns down on Griffin's Damocles, seeing no justification for radical measures. So, at the end of the day, my question is: if there is, in Oni's world, a secret Daodan-powered biosphere competing with "ours", and if that secret never surfaces in canon Oni, then whose secret is it, really? --geyser (talk) 00:29, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
You're right that Oni's canon has some implicit conflicts with my proposal. So does yours, unless you think Kerr just forgot to mention to Konoko that the Daodan aura seems to be intelligent. No matter what, a sequel with any commitment to specificity whatsoever is probably going to have to gently retcon the first game. I'm not concerned about small gaps between the canons of games made over 20 years apart. And remastering the original after Oni 2 will be a good opportunity to fix that ^_^ --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Aiming for an Oni2 in 2021 -- I wish I had your confidence ^_^ Re:Kerr, he doesn't have a thoroughly scientific attitude with respect to the Chrysalis (his tone while reassuring Konoko is an almost religious one), but he's enough of a scientist to recognize that the Daodan, if sentient, is an elusive little bugger. Unfathomable, impenetrable, and all that. For the other Daodan scientists the thing is vaguely ominous, for Kerr it's vaguely a "god's spark" kind of thing -- but that's it, that's as much as they can say without over-interpreting the data. There's always room for overstatement, of course, but in Oni's case we are in this rare situation where there's lots of room for understatement, too, and that's something that I have been building on a lot (thinking of it, I may be seeing understatement as a part of Oni's "true nature"). --geyser (talk) 19:18, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
You misunderstood: I said "over 20 years apart", so 2022 or later :-) I am already fully booked for 2020 and 2021 anyway ^_^ --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
To be clear on my proposal, because I seem to be doing a bad job explaining it, a daodandelion seed would not be "corrupting" anything per se; it would simply be taking root and growing. The life that moves in from beyond the phase veil is exceptionally good at adapting to our world, and so the "other world" is gradually replacing our species invasively with its own. As these species grow, of course their natural byproducts are somewhat foreign and sometimes toxic to our existing life. Once the lowest trophic level, plant life, is established, that paves the way for insect and animal life that lives off these plants. That in turn paves the way for the meat-eating life, the predators of the other world. Eventually the trophic level will rise to the point that the Daomen can move back in to their old world. I don't claim that this is an iron-tight scenario, but it's the premise I've been working from. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
OK, so (correct me if I'm wrong) the Daomen/Diluvians would need to seed the WPs with daodandelions and other plants first, then wait a while, then inject bottom-of-the-chain animals, then higher lifeforms... In each case the new lifeform would be Daodan-symbiotic, and while not mutually contagious or contagious for ordinary Earth flora/fauna, the enhanced lifeforms would adapt to each other by forming a new ecosystem tier (xeno-ecology on top of the native biosphere), with its own system of defenses (some forms would end up poisonous, like Jamie's bush, others would be much less lethal). --geyser (talk) 19:18, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Now you've got it. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
Now that I'm more or less clear on the contamination process, I am going to ask a mercilessly stupid question. If the Diluvians are all about water (not just hibernating on the ocean floor, but apparently pouring water at us as part of the invasion), then what do they care about the above-the-surface biosphere, and how come they're colonizing it with a full-blown garden-of-Eden (plants, insects, herbivores, carnivores), when it would look like they should be xenoforming the oceans (aquasphere) instead? Even if they need toxic air on the surface, it would make more sense if they pumped it in in large quantities through volcanoes and geysers and such (Yellowstone and Kamchatka as WPs? hmmm...). If I were them, I'd also be responsible for the greenhouse effect, because, melted icecaps, Waterworld sweet Waterworld. --geyser (talk) 19:18, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Here you've caught me in a contradiction. At one point I planned to make the Daomen aquatic creatures. This would be compatible with the notion I had of making them as large as possible, bigger than dinosaurs even, which I thought would be nice and unsettling. Then I realized, as you point out, that the above-ground world shouldn't matter much to them. So I am also considering making them land-dwelling. One could argue that an oceanic environment still depends on the air outside the oceans being of a certain composition. Also, they could be amphibious! --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
Land-dwelling/amphibious Leviathans/Diluvians/Whoever can't be much larger than dinosaurs, unless they have adamantium grafts or are held up by blimps/antigravity/etc. Ocean-dwelling looks fine to me, and -- if I may -- you can actually make the ocean into the main tool of their strength. Each individual could be kaiju-sized -- large as f##k, but not so large as to dwarf a skyscraper --, but the aquasphere would connect all the individuals together and make them into a planet-sized hivemind, capable of mind control (like Lem's Solaris) or large-scale "waterbending" (tsunami and the like). So, something like whale-sized midichlorians. ^_^ --geyser (talk) 16:45, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
I only wanted the aliens to be as large as organisms could get through evolution (though certainly Daodan-boosted evolution might have something to say in this). Although I did want them to be kaiju-sized, I only imagined that there were one or two left. I didn't mention that anywhere, I suppose, so that's my bad. The idea is to provide a concrete enemy in the story, but also one that can be vanquished. An army of these things, in full command of the Daodan, would be unstoppable. --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
Communication with an alien mind is hard to get right, but a kaiju fight sequence is also not something that I'd recommend planning for an Oni sequel. However, perhaps there is no need for such creatures to surface or come ashore? If they are pelagic or abyssal, but possess a hivemind that (when awake) turns the aquasphere into a "thinking ocean", then supposedly they can cause tsunamis and wipe out most of the large cities -- yet they won't be able to do to much about deserts or mountain areas (at least at first). So the direct threat from the Diluvians' awakening seems manageable to me -- you just move further inland, find ways to counter the xenoforming processes (or adapt to them), and ultimately abandon Earth as a last resort. Remote "xenoimpregnation" and "indoctrination" by the Diluvians may be a problem, but probably such interference can be "screened" or "jammed" somehow, too (once you know it exists). The way I see it, the largest threat in this story may be a mere side effect of the Diluvians awakening -- namely, as their collective Daodan aura comes back to full power, it increases the Earth's "exposure"/openness to the Phase. Portals now open not just in labs or WPs, but all over the world: ball lightnings, Screamers and Mukade-knows-what-else... It doesn't matter if the Diluvians themselves are relatively placid -- once they're awake, there will be more "phase hazards" on the surface than ever before, warlords will be empowered with new weapons and entities, and civilization as we know it will take quite a blow (even if not in a doomsday kind of way). --geyser (talk) 23:47, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
To be clear, I never planned to have an actual battle against a kaiju in Oni 2. It is totally doable, as plenty of video games have tackled the idea of fighting massive-scale bosses, but I don't think it's in keeping with Oni's spirit. The idea was to have just the hand of the alien enemy reaching through a phase portal, with the understanding that if the portal isn't closed soon, he'll be all the way through. The final battle would be against human-scale foes who serve the Diluvians, and it would probably be a timed battle. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
Here you go again with an "alien enemy" going for a very literal "land grab". Simply put, I'm against it: it's human motives in alien attire, and human-sized minions don't really help. Also, to me it sounds more like "Dunby 4" than "Oni 2", see the final battles of HL:Opposing Force or Borderlands[geyser 1] -- and that's just off the top of a non-gamer's head. I'll try and present you with a final challenge concept that's more original and compelling (to me, of course). Off the top of my head, taking the fight inside of a giant alien is something I'm sure to bring up, so here goes: Fiona and Sasha inside the Traveler--geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
I don't know what to tell you. Every idea can be phrased as, "It's like X meets Y." That's the basis of the "elevator pitch". If it wouldn't seem spiteful, to make my point I'd do the same on this page for each of your ideas suggested so far. It seems counter-productive to dwell on the fact that something has been done before. I'll repeat myself: There is nothing new under the sun. The only thing that matters is whether a trope has been used to the point of cliché. The idea of aliens trying to take over the planet is indeed an old notion, going at least as far back as H.G. Wells. It's also not a new idea to interact with aliens who have no specific conscious purpose. I think what matters more than precedent is simply considering where the most dramatic potential, fun gameplay, or aesthetic enjoyment can be found, and going with that option. I certainly am not recommending a final boss fight where you have to shoot the portion of the alien that has entered our world, so there's no need to link to examples of such encounters from other games. That Borderlands battle, for instance, is boring as hell, so it's a good argument for human-scale enemies. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
I'm not in favor of the idea that the aliens control the ocean and can cause tsunamis. As you pointed out, a tsunami could be avoided by staying inland. So it's either world-ending (no way to fight back against a massive wave), or it's out of sight and of little importance to the characters you're controlling. It also changes the nature of the story's big threat from xenoforming to a more conventional end-of-world scenario. I like the rest of your suggestion, about the increase in phase activity or anomalies, though this could also be explained by the simple fact that humans invented phase tech and are finding an increasing number of ways to use it, perhaps unaware of the dangers that come with it. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
As you have noted yourself the threat of increasingly awake/aware Diluvians is a hybrid one. Tsunamis (if any) are only part of the picture, and can be seen merely as a plot device for destroying familiar cityscapes and driving subsequent action into new locations. The influence of an increasingly active hivemind on the Wilderness is a much farther-reaching threat (explosive growth? you got it!), as well as the possible emergence of human proxies (another of your suggestions). As for the more general surge of phase anomalies -- whether a heightened Phase activity is spontaneous, man-made, or caused by Diluvian cycles, I am glad that you acknowledge the additional plot-driving potential of such a development (complementary to the Wilderness threat). --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Pushing that idea further, the "phase veil" can be seen as a side effect of the Diluvian hivemind, and the improbable emergence of Phase tech in human scope (around 2000 AD) may be directly linked to the Diluvians awaking from stasis. In that view, the "other worlds" (if any) and "transdimensional" phenomena are not created by the Diluvians, but their planet-sized hivemind is what makes it all apparent and "tangible" to us. Thus, if we were to kill all the Diluvians, phase phenomena all over the world would shut down and portals to other worlds (if any) would be closed permanently. In that case it wouldn't be as clear-cut as "destroy or be destroyed": the WCG placed its bets on Phase tech (and scrapped most of the old tech), so they wouldn't be too keen on going back to the Stone age. --geyser (talk) 16:45, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
The malevolence of the Diluvians (i.e., how and why they would pollute the above-the-surface world) isn't entirely clear to me, but here are a few thoughts. If you are linking the "invasion" to the P-Tr extinctions, then it would look like the Diluvians would just need a world with much less acidity in the oceans, and much less CO2 in the air, and that's about it -- i.e., essentially, they'd try to reverse the massive emergence of oxygen-breathing lifeforms. Supposedly they could achieve this by seeding the surface with a super ecosystem (super-plants that would eat up CO2 very quicky -- and thus leave regular photosynthetic plants to die --, while producing not plain O2 but various organic compounds, some of them hazardous). --geyser (talk) 16:45, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
As a complement to that theory (and a deviation from yours), perhaps the Wilderness is not a planned xenoforming leading up to an "invasion", but rather a more or less regular process through which the Diluvians regulate the ocean's acidity? In other words, they do not intend to destroy the above-the-surface world so that they can "roam it once again", rather they are just "lending a hand" so that we can keep the CO2 levels in check. Perhaps they're quite content with their meditative semi-stasis on the ocean floor, and wouldn't have gone to the trouble of "waking up" and infecting the WPs if it hadn't been for the XX century surge in greenhouse gases? And perhaps they're not keen on killing us either, it's just that we're like bugs to them, and all they care about is the CO2. --geyser (talk) 16:45, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
I haven't really thought of the surviving alien(s) as malevolent, just more interested in its/their own survival than humans'. If we survive the transition to a new biosphere, they're probably fine with that, since they don't fear us — at least, at first. The Daodan Chrysalis is a wildcard that they weren't expecting. They see us a bit like a bad guy would see a crab with a knife; not very concerned, but wary. To the degree that we might provide some resistance, they are increasingly inclined to squash us. They might also have something to do with the difficulty that humanity seems to be having in making Daodan symbiotes. Where did the knowledge go after Hasegawa and Kerr pulled it off? --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
Two things to reply to here. A) Regarding a direct confrontation with the alien(s), I still think that's about as good an idea as having said alien(s) communicate in English. If they really are territorial/protective about Daodan symbiosis (perceiving human symbiotes either as a direct threat to their existence or as an anomaly that needs correcting), then I'd expect them to keep operating on a "Gaia" level, squashing symbiotes with tsunamis, or phase-jamming them somehow (forcing their Daodans into latency -- another possible explanation for Mai's stasis/amnesia between Oni and "my" Oni2). B) As for the "difficulty that humanity seems to be having in making Daodan symbiotes" -- and how it may already be a Diluvian counter to Mai's and Muro's inception -- I don't think there is much to support this theory (other than the "it's up to us" argument). We see in Oni that human symbiosis is delicate to monitor and to stabilize -- especially, it would seem, on a grown adult (Mai and Muro, who were implanted at a young age, turn out OK; Barabas, not so much, and Mukade comes across as a bit of a freak too). Even if we can't exclude that Hasegawa is the only one who knew how to "pull it off" and took the secret to his grave (or wherever he is now), my personal impression is that the knowledge wasn't lost, it's just used very sparingly. For Griffin's Damocles, it's the ethical aspects that hold the scientists back (and the massive logistics of Mai's monitoring, too). For Muro, a symbiote's unconditional loyalty seems to be a key requirement, at least until the STURMANDERUNG initiative is complete, therefore the only symbiotes (or symbiote candidates) at the time of Oni's events are Muro's personal pets (or otherwise worthy people). --geyser (talk) 23:47, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
To reiterate, I never said anything about the aliens speaking English or communicating directly with humans at all. But it's helpful for storytelling and game design purposes if there are human servants of the aliens who can explain what their mission is. Any concern you might have about explaining things too clearly is simply a matter of style — the choices that are made in how the dialogue is written and staged — and way premature at this point. I see no reason to explain everything 100%, but it's also unsatisfactory in the extreme to have aliens that are simply acting without any explanation or spokesman. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
I didn't say your aliens would communicate in English, I just meant that fighting a kaiju, sci-fi-wise, is about as good an idea as speaking to one (that's probably a statement on our own communication skills, eh). As for explaining alien motives clearly or at all, indeed much of it is a matter of personal preference and style, and could be debated/polished later, but I feel like using this opportunity to debate/decide just how much there would be to explain. If you allow for the possibility that a Diluvian is really an early Earth organism exalted through Daodan symbiosis, then that supposed hyper-evolution took it straight to a cosmic level of awareness -- bypassing any notion of emotion, language, religion, science, culture, etc. The way I see it, those things don't just have an inhuman mindset, they don't even have any animal instincts besides survival -- and it's those raw survival reflexes (paired with godlike power) that lead to WP xenoforming, Phase resurgence, etc. Thus maybe we can have them placid (mostly), and leave the invasions to someone else (like Screamers, or "giants from beyond the veil"?)? Also, for what it's worth, HERE is what I regard as a decent rendition of communication with a primitive yet sentient lifeform. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
I see no reason to elevate the Diluvians to a cosmic level of awareness. They can be smarter than your average pre-Permian without being all-knowing or tremendously wise. It's not very interesting to write omniscient or perfectly enlightened characters, not to mention probably impossible to do them justice. But to address your last point, the invasions can indeed be coming from another place and species. I think at that point the question comes up whether the Diluvians serve a purpose or whether they're a needless faction. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
In my view, the Diluvians may work best as a powerful catalyst for potential threats, rather than a threat per se. Also, if an enlightened Hallucigenia achieves a "cosmic level of awareness", it doesn't necessarily make it all-wise and all-knowing in our basic human sense. The enlightenment of such creatures (or of their collective hivemind) is not easily perceived at the human level, so it's OK to depict them on an "elemental" level instead: their increasing awareness stirs up the Phase like there's no tomorrow, and that's as much as we can ask of them as writers. They can mess with people's minds Solaris-style, too --geyser (talk) 17:29, 28 July 2020 (CEST)
You bring up good points about why it might have been a choice not to pump out large numbers of symbiotes from either the Syndicate or the TCTF, but it doesn't feel like the reason that the story is implying. Why is Muro stealing experimental gene surgery equipment? Why are only "secondary" symbiotes being created, unlike Muro and Mai? The impression one gets is that knowledge has indeed been lost (taken) by the absent Hasegawa. Kerr, of course, only absconded with Mai and the Chrysalis based off her DNA, and it's possible that he too is unable to replicate Hasegawa's research. Still, isn't it rather odd that neither Kerr nor the Syndicate have enough data, years later, to replicate Hasegawa's work? You may say that Muro is capable of doing so, but simply sees the creation of full-fledged symbiotes as too dangerous… but that's not what his STURMANDERUNG plan suggested: "11) Symbiote candidate selection and implantation". Muro was working on a way to elevate others to his level, otherwise who would even be left to work under him? So whatever happened before Oni starts that caused the loss of knowledge and ability regarding the Daodan, there's a major lacuna in the story here that has to be filled in Oni 2. Outside interference makes as much sense as a theory as anything else does. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
First off, the STURMANDERUNG consoles are very, very badly written, from the funkily-indexed "plan for world domination" to the infamous "increase percentage", and finally Konoko's "monkey hacking". Now is as good a time as any to say that I'd probably rewrite it, and it will help if we can agree on the implications that we'd like to convey when and if that happens (because self-centered overstatement is a sin ^_^ ). Some of the most obvious things I'd fix: steps (4), (8) and (12) are missing, and (10) is the same as (6) -- carried over, possibly, and leading towards (14) -- whereas ACC sabotage starts as early as (1) and (2) and then ACCs are never mentioned until (13). More generally, the timeline of mountain-compound construction, ACC sabotage and satellite uplinking needs to be clarified -- at least to the point where those consoles don't look like something Hardy threw together at the last minute. And of course I'd try and expand ssob and uwlb into something relatable. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Okay, the Sturdmanderung consoles are indeed rather problematic, so I won't try to argue anything from them. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
Second -- face it, man: your "it doesn't feel like the reason that the story is implying" and "the impression one gets is that..." are entirely subjective. You are suggesting a "loss of knowledge and ability regarding the Daodan" as fact, I will argue to the contrary. And, if it is true that Diluvian interference "makes as much sense as a theory as anything else does", then by all means do hear out what I make of Oni's material -- spoiler: in my view, there isn't much of a lacuna to fill --, and just what the "anything else" might be. Simple things first, let me reiterate that even if Kerr brought some project notes along (like, on a portable drive) -- and thus was easily cornered by Griffin when it was time to implant and monitor Mai's Chrysalis --, the WCG's regulations wouldn't have allowed Griffin to banalize symbiosis and to experiment on other people.[geyser 2] Griffin is probably frustrated about this, but his hands are tied by the Directorate, and this frustration escalates to the science team.[1] That's why Kerr et al can't do much besides observing Konoko's "wild" transformation, trying their best to keep it sedated, and recommending cryo as the only sensible approach. Some of those scientists would be happy to have more test subjects, but they're prisoners in this, so they don't get to call any shots. And they can't try anything too daring on Konoko, either, or they may ruin Griffin's only trump card against Muro. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Sorry to be the bearer of accurate canon, but "secondary symbiotes" are never mentioned in Oni. All we know is that Konoko is one of two[geyser 3] "prime symbiotes", as implied by THIS sci-goon and by the Science Prison consoles, where Konoko is labeled 1B(h) -- likely because 1A(h) (Muro's Chrysalis) was created first. We do not know what any of the other symbiotes are called -- "secondary" ("accessory"), "subsequent" ("post-prime"), "lesser" ("subprime"), "composite" ("reductible")... -- and we don't know a priori that "secondary" symbiotes are in any way inferior to "prime" ones. Maybe their only handicap with respect to a prime/emeritus symbiote such as Muro is that their Chrysalises were grown/implanted much later in time (and into grown adults) -- and therefore Muro, who has been working on his symbiosis for years, is confident that none of the later-implanted symbiotes will end up as a clear rival to him. In some aspects, later symbiotes may be more advanced if anything, as compared to prime/emeritus ones -- more stable, easier to implant and monitor (not needing to be implanted at a young age, and not requiring a dedicated scientific team to look after them 24/7). Developing a protocol that allows mass production and implantation of Chrysalises, without it becoming a QA/support nightmare -- that's more than enough justification for the many years of "post-prime" research that went into "Daodan core technology" (i.e., again, ssob and uwlb -- whatever they are). --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
I maintain that it makes no sense that we see so few symbiotes in Oni if the technology exists at both TCTF and Syndicate to make more. Apparently we read certain parts of the story very differently, and there's no resolving that, no matter how many words we throw at it. The fact remains that the only two prime symbiotes are the ones that were implanted with the Chrysalises grown under Hasegawa's supervision. You can speculate all you want about additional symbiotes, and of course that's an avenue that one could choose to explore in a sequel if one decided to insert new facts into the original story, but it's very clear that Hardy had two prime symbiotes in mind, Muro and Mai, and that something had happened, after the development of these two Chryalises, to explain why more could not be made. Don't bother posting any more "rebuttals" to this, as I won't be convinced by them. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
Speaking of "Daodan core technology", here's another real-time brainstorming idea[geyser 4] that just might shed some light on what's going on. Remember how Barabas looks fairly close to Imago-as-we-know-it (livid and veiny, horns, funny eyes) and has superpowers, yet doesn't seem to go into overpower, and overall seems inferior to Mai (a tradeoff, it would seem, for remaining sane, articulate, and mostly human, despite a near-complete transformation)? The same can be said of Mukade, if we don't imply some outstanding "emeritus" status for him, and pretend that he's just "another Barabas": with his own set of superpowers, more formidable as a foe than Barabas -- but also, it would seem, less stable on the mental level (with animal pulsions, mad talk, etc), and still no match for Mai (assuming he didn't lose on purpose) and no sign of Daodan overpower. Now, could it be that the "Daodan core technology" is a follow-up to prime Daodan symbiosis, which takes care of the issues identified by Kerr's colleagues, and allows the implantation of a Chrysalis to an adult, with little risk of instability and virtually no need for advanced monitoring? In this view, the word "core" does not have the basic meaning of "let's develop some generic technology for the core/essence of that process/entity that we know as Daodan". Instead we're looking at a qualitatively new protocol for Daodan symbiosis -- one that involves a new device or concept called "core" (or "Daodan core") --, and it's this novel "core approach" to symbiosis that (7 - ssob) and (9 - uwlb) are about: they are experiments with adult hosts, whose transformation is constrained/restricted/directed in some way or other, as opposed to prime symbiotes for whom it is "bound to run free". One could assume, for simplicity, that uwlb (9) is Mukade (the more powerful of the two, but also a more deeply alienated freak) and ssob (7) is Barabas (a more stable version, even if somewhat weak-ass as compared to a "prime"). Together they pave the way for mass production -- not of Muro's peers (of course not), but of Barabases -- "stabilized"/"tamed"/"constrained" symbiotes, strong enough to survive in a toxic world, but not so strong as to challenge Muro's authority -- an ideal balance of muscle and loyalty. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Summing up, I don't see much in Oni canon to support the view that "11) Symbiote candidate selection and implantation" is about Muro trying to surround himself with "prime"-quality peer symbiotes (and failing for whatever reason, making do with "secondary" ones instead). Rather, whoever "sells his soul to [Muro] for a Chrysalis" (as Mai puts it) will get to be a "ssob" -- reassuringly stable mentally if not physically, even if somewhat limited with respect to Muro himself. From Muro's point of view, that's ideal, and -- judging by Barabas's devotion to Muro -- Muro's minions would have been quite content with "subprime" faculties. Closer allies may get to be "uwlb"s -- powerful in their own way, but still no match for Muro (supposedly). That of course leaves open the question of Hasegawa's whereabouts, whether he left and (if he did) how much damage he did by leaving. With the Diluvians added to the equation, an extra question would be whether they were "aware" of Muro's STURMANDERUNG and were trying to counteract it (at least the Daodan research part). My position regarding the latter is a bit like Laplace's when asked why God was never mentioned in his Mécanique celeste: "I had no need of that hypothesis."[geyser 5] --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
P.S. I don't have backronyms ready for ssob and uwlb (and if we rewrite that part, then we can always pick our own acronyms), but I really think they're an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding TITAN (whatever it is) and the STURMANDERUNG project as planned out by Muro. Spontaneous ideas that came to mind are "Stabilized Symbiosis / Organic Body" (Barabas) and "Unstable Within Liminal Bounds" (Mukade). I also haven't addressed the part where Muro is stealing experimental gene surgery equipment; I might finish rationalizing that soon. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Feel free to expand on these ideas, but I'm afraid this is a road I can't travel with you. I'm at my limit, as far as the time I'm willing to spend arguing about the premise for a sequel that neither of us is working on. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
Your overall conjecture about their purpose in shifting the climate makes sense to me. If ocean acidification was a big problem for them in the P-Tr days (which I imagined was accidentally caused by them at the time), they would definitely have something to say about it now. --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
Re: xenoforming, I definitely think that life (self-replicating machinery) is the best way to do this, rather than something as laborious as digging channels through the earth up into volcanoes, and pumping air produced by massive machinery. In real life, terraforming another planet via plant life would take many generations, but the Daodan's influence is my excuse for vastly speeding up the process. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
Actually, I wasn't thinking tunnels and pumps, more like teleporting stuff directly into the volcanoes, or messing with submerged rifts and other tectonically active regions. But if the goal is to "eat up" the excess CO2 (without bothering much about byproducts), then seeding the Earth with "super-plants" makes sense (see my elaboration above). I am still not sure that we should be bringing the Daodan into this, though. To me it still seems more comfortable if WP-based terraforming (if any) is one thing (a super-effective rival to photosynthesis, with poisonous byproducts, possibly "engineered" by Diluvians or "maxi-chlorians" or whatever), and the Daodan -- like the Screamers -- is another phase entity, one of many, discovered by accident and unrelated to the terraforming/invasion/whatever. --geyser (talk) 16:45, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
Then again, upon rationalizing the "CO2-regulating" motivation of the Diluvians, and how the supposed super-plants would merely be optimized for eating up CO2 as fast as they can (with no regard for side effects), rather than for some elaborate xenoforming -- that's actually close enough to the Daodan concept of enhancement and hyperevolution, and perhaps even more straightforward than your initial xenoforming theory: the alienated plants just do what plants do, only better. And if it's only plants that are targeted (with CO2 control in mind), then WP containment is not as tricky as it would have been with insects and birds, and the "enhanced"/alienated (daodanized?) nature of the WPs may have eluded WCG scientists this far (with the possible exception of Hasegawa himself). In that view, the Daodan as discovered by Hasegawa is "just" an emanation from the Phase and, being immaterial, it is not readily identifiable as the "same" kind of aura that permeates WP plants. This would give some credibility to the "WP denial" displayed by Kerr and the other Chrysalis scientists. Finally, it may be revealed (later, post-Oni) that WP plants have the same "phase hooks" in each cell as in a Chrysalis, and that they're powered by the same kind of "aura", although not in the exact same way as for humans. The way I see it, the Diluvians are themselves Daodan-enhanced to a point where they can be seen (at least collectively, as a hivemind) as Earth-resident "phase gods", i.e., they are not a proxy/avatar of a Daodan presence that leaks in from the Phase, instead they are akin to Daodan entities themselves, and they are the origin (rather than a catalyst) of the "smart cancer" that alienates WP plants. For Konoko and Muro, it would seem that the "integration" is coordinated not by the Diluvian hivemind, but by "original" Daodan influence emanating from the phase, i.e., new instances of "phase gods" that pair up with human hosts. --geyser (talk) 13:34, 20 June 2020 (CEST)
In other words, in Permian times (or even before that?), some "extremely favorable conditions of germination" allowed a Daodan entity to come through and "exalt" the most evolved lifeform at the time, which hyperevolved into the Diluvians, and became so large (both individually and collectively) as to host the Daodan presence in its entirety, i.e., the Daodan(s) that "exalted" the Diluvians migrated through the "veil" and now reside in our world, permeating the bodies of the Diluvians and (to a lesser extent) the ocean water that binds them together. More Daodan entities remained in the Phase and were locked out after the "extremely favorable conditions" vanished and the Diluvians went into meditative stasis. The stirring/awakening of the Diluvians in the second half of the XX century (following a CO2 surge) caused the Phase to re-emerge. First it allowed the Diluvians to use their own Phase presence to exalt plants in the WPs, merely as a means to regulate CO2 levels (which, through Jamie's death, provided Hasegawa with enough motivation and insight for Daodan research), and eventually allowed "original" Daodan entities (from the Phase) to exalt Hasegawa's test subjects, up to human hosts. In the simplest terms, the Diluvians are the Earth's dormant Chrysalis (planet-sized), and the WPs are the metastases that it spawned upon awakening. Would that work? --geyser (talk) 13:34, 20 June 2020 (CEST)
Some interesting ideas here. I am also open to the aliens using something other than the Daodan as the basis for the "bio-invasion". I suggested at one point in my Oni 2 notes that the plants of the Wilderness might instead represent competing entities with the Daodan, ones which can also be implanted in human symbiotes. Mai will then have to fight them. This could include a symbiote human based off the plant that killed her mother… --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
Competing entities make sense to me, although perhaps not to the point of humans implanted with WP-Chrysalises. In my view, Chrysalis symbiosis already offers enough variety if you consider that each host is apparently paired with its own "aura" entity (as opposed to xeno-plants which may all be permeated by the same "Gaia" hivemind radiating from the Diluvians). Oni's core Chrysalis concept also allows for such uncanny experiments as implanting two Chrysalises ("exalted" tumors) to the same person, causing the two auras to compete for the host's body. --geyser (talk) 23:47, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
To be clear, only you have suggested that the aura is anything other than cool glowy energy :-) That's all it is in my mind. More importantly, I can't imagine what sort of madman would implant two Chrysalises of any type in one person's body and expect anything useful to come out of it. What's wrong with simply having competing types of human symbiotes that are merged with different entities? --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
Paraphrasing what you said about the Wilderness earlier: it really is "cool glowy energy" - but whose? :-) And yes, of course, there's nothing wrong with a lineup of "prime" and "subprime" symbiotes (even if I'd keep them to a minimum, to avoid banalizing the concept). Really I'm just brainstorming here, and I felt that the "dual symbiosis" idea was worth writing down. After all, if I can think like a madman on occasion, then I can always tone down and characterize "normal" people, but who's to say mad ideas won't serve for characterization as well? --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Here's another real-time idea: even if the "cool glowy energy" is merely an emanation of a symbiote's Chrysalis (and not an inflow of energy and information from the Phase), knocking out that aura would probably deal damage to the host/Chrysalis, or at least cut the overpower short. This, and the trivial interpretation of the aura as an EM field, means that a reasonable weapon/deterrent against symbiotes could be a good old EMP. At least it's worth trying -- with any luck it will leave Konoko over-power-less and vulnerable to melee and ballistic weapons (energy weapons would probably be knocked out by the EMP as well). --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Sorry, but I strongly dislike the idea that a weapon known for its effectiveness against circuitry would be effective against a symbiote. We might as well be dealing with the original cyborg Konoko from the pre-Hardy days, in that case. To me, the superiority of organic technology (as represented in sci-fi, since it doesn't really exist yet) is that it's beyond gears, beyond circuits, and even beyond nanites. It's the epitome, the culmination, of all technology, and nothing can contain it except other biotech. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
"As long as that plant contained the Daodan, it doesn't matter if anything else did." As I said above, the similarities between Jamie's cellular breakdown and Daodan symbiosis are actually minor, and even Hasegawa's notion of a "poisonous world" doesn't quite describe the Wilderness as you see it (in my opinion), as well as Muro's "dead air and foul water". But, even if the bush was Daodan-enhanced, Hasegawa would want to know if it was just that one bush that was "poisonous", or that particular bush species, or, as he actually puts it, the whole "world outside the Atmospheric Processors". --geyser (talk) 11:46, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
One thing that you're not making clear in your Wilderness theory is how it spread a lot at first, engulfing large areas, and then seemingly stopped. If Daodan symbiosis propagates upon contact, and each affected cell becomes a new source, then wouldn't the WCG need to build new rings of fences every week? Also, it it's so good at spreading-upon-contact, then wouldn't it have hit Hasegawa too? Airplanes flying over a Zone notice contamination in the air -- spores? pollen? -- and Hasegawa is down there breathing that stuff... And, for that matter, if it causes noticable contamination on aircraft then why hasn't airborne propagation caused generalized Daodanization yet? --geyser (talk) 11:46, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
My version of the Wilderness is indeed not stopping. The WCG has fenced it in (using whatever technology we want to imagine), but it's still spreading. Once in a while it touches down in a new remote location and grows too far before it can be killed off. Think of a forest fire: you can contain it, but it can also jump your attempts at containment. In this case, the Wilderness is spreading both underground and through the air. This is explained in scientific terms in a couple different places I'm too lazy to link to. To be clear, the Daodan doesn't jump from species to species (my Jamie hypothesis above was not a part of my "Daodan theory", it was just a lark). It remains lodged in each species' DNA (or what-have-you), but each species is exceptionally good at doing what life does: multiplying itself. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
I have several persistent problems with SoW, and the supposed "containment" of the Wilderness is one of them.
  • From your description it would look like the Wilderness is so good at spreading (if left to itself) that the WCG would need a whole "Wilderness Preserve Task Force" to keep it in check: super-fences running on kitten farts (somehow missing from Hasegawa's tale), tight control of airborne spreading, and more generally a whole army of SCP-like scientists and/or Men-In-Black going around looking for new "spores", stomping out nascent contamination and hushing up any knowledge thereof.
  • Somehow the Wilderness issue (and its supposed connection to the Daodan) is so well hushed-up that even Kerr sounds a bit condescending towards Hasegawa's alarmism, as well as the rest of the Daodan team at the Science Prison: "Professor Hasegawa's theory was that the Daodan Chrysalis would replace damaged or weakened biological systems in the host body as required, enabling humans to survive what he saw was an impending collapse of the Earth's biosphere." -- and then they go on to analyze the regenerative properties of the Chrysalis, which were suitable from Hasegawa's "doomsday" perspective but appear as overkill to less emotional scientists almost 20 years later.
So, I don't know, to me it looks like Zones are just home to carelessly-disposed-of biological WMDs. The bush thing essentially caused Jamie to rot alive, whereas the manual gives us exploding eyes and melting bones ("horror stories" backing up the Uprising, which weren't necessarily 100% made-up) -- from my point of view, this fits together rather well.
I am not too keen on modern-day social commentary in sci-fi, but it fits in well with certain Russian realities, too: waste burial sites (including NBC) that are made "easy to ignore" for a while, and then resurface and result in serious health hazards; this is especially a problem because of how large Russia is, which makes it harder for activists to mobilize around a hazardous dump in the middle of nowhere -- although lately it's been happening in and around Moscow as well).
The Phase can give a sci-fi twist to WMD/NBC dumps -- experimental teleportation gone bad, or secret labs inside the Zones, rather than dumps --, but that's as far as I would go (at least that's how I feel right now). Dumps/leaks (Phase-enhanced or not) can be contained if the WCG really care about solving the issue, but if they don't then the Zones can just be fenced off, with airborne emanations contributing to the BioCrisis, but only steadily rather than exponentially, allowing the WCG to counter with ACC upgrades -- a perfect "pet threat". --geyser (talk) 23:25, 11 June 2020 (CEST)
You raise good points. I have not given much thought yet to how my Xeno-Wilderness is being contained. I figured that placing the typical SF "energy shields" around the perimeter would be good enough to convey a sense of containment. The WCG itself is unaware as of the start of Oni 2 just how much life is escaping containment above and below that fence, but this would be revealed in the course of the story. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
My problem with the super-fence is that it sounds like a non-trivial installation, about as crucial/capital/vital as the ACCs, and yet it is completely missing from Hasegawa's tale (judging by the accents in his narrative in combination with the dream-a-roids). That, and how Daodan science is depicted as revolving around the Chrysalis, with the Wilderness cited only as the source of Hasegawa's "doomsday mindset". --geyser (talk) 19:18, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
The fence's energy field needn't be anything stronger than a bug zapper. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
Erm, if it has the range of a bug zapper, then nothing's keeping bugs or birds from flying over the fence (or wind-carried spores/seeds, even), allowing the Wilderness to cross the fence just as if it wasn't there. Either the containment needs to be "germ-tight" somehow, of the Wilderness isn't as volatile as you've been suggesting. I think I'd prefer the latter. --geyser (talk) 16:45, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
The idea was that the invasion has to happen in stages, and alien plants and fungi are the first trophic level to invade Earth. The WCG doesn't see any animals in those zones (that starts to happen in Oni 2), and is only a little aware of bugs. The bugs aren't spreading on their own; only where the alien flora goes in front of them. As far as how easily the plants can spread, that's up to us. Even being Daodan-powered doesn't mean they can do anything, at any speed. --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
To me it looks like plant seeds/spores (with or without bugs) would have virtually unlimited volatility, and definitely more than you can shake an electric fence at. Unless Daodan-enhanced life is somehow worse at spreading around than ordinary Earth life, that is. It is "up to us" of course, but I rather wouldn't have such loopholes lying around. For what it's worth, I'd be comfortable if one of the "alien" properties of this xeno-flora is that it only reproduces vegetatively (at least up to and at the time of Oni's events), and is busy gaining in volume and density while staying relatively close to the "source" that spawned them (whatever it is). --geyser (talk) 23:47, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
I think you're either overestimating how fast plants can spread, or underestimating the scale of the planet. If a few seeds can disperse like dandelion seeds and float over the fence from time to time, there's no reason why this immediately results in any sort of a crisis. Over the long term, sure, and that's what my Oni 2 is about. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
I think it's you who's underestimating how fast your own super-duper alien plants of doom can spread... In the initial concept, "a single seed is enough to corrupt a whole area", but then airborne seeds/spores/pollen are allowed to cross fences (how often would that happen? how about daily?) and somehow it doesn't defeat the purpose of said fences? What the blam? I'm not complaining, especially since I know the issue is easily fixed by assuming vegetative reproduction, but it's strange to see a potent bio-threat that stays confined mainly because the writer doesn't need it yet. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
I don't think I'll repeat myself any more on this subject. I thought I was clear enough when I stated that these plants can grow at any speed that we find convenient for our purposes, and it will be plausible. How fast does a plant spread in real life? Now, how fast does a super-plant spread, when it's up against an alien ecosystem? Probably the same speed. So why can't the WCG just move their fences out a few yards every year? Problem solved. End of discussion. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
I was reviewing the manual, and realized that we both forgot a very important sentence: "The poor bastards who can't afford to live in the cities get as close to the atmosphere processors as they can and eke out a miserable (and dangerous) existence working on the reclamation teams who beat back the corrosive stain of the wilderness." So there is in fact a "Wilderness Preserve Task Force", as you put it. --Iritscen (talk) 17:55, 27 July 2020 (CEST)
Thanks, that's a tad more constructive than the previous iteration (I mean, really? "move their fences out a few yards every year", when the flight path of an airborne seed clearly isn't limited to "a few yards" in any particular direction?). I am still not a big fan of the manual, though, and there would be quite a contrast between the dignified TCTF and the "poor bastards [...] who beat back the corrosive stain of the wilderness". Even if the "reclamation teams" are an official initiative of the WCG, it all seems a bit half-hearted and desperate (although it may look good in propaganda: "See? We're aware of your stupid eco-issues, and we actually have a task force that picks at it 24/7!"), and it doesn't quite match the idea of a top-secret WCG initiative that I had in my mind (not sure about you). But, if we must, then this can be an interesting take on the WCG's penal system: is there capital punishment? or does the WCG favor "death by exile" instead? and/or are the outcasts forced (more or less formally) into slave-like labor in the "reclamation teams" (as the manual entry would suggest)? P.S. The outer "and" conjunction in the manual quote looks like it could/should have been an "or", otherwise it would mean that the day-to-day reclamation struggle is happening right at the doors of every big city -- and that would be kinda hard to overlook, even if you leave out the "alien" nature of the contamination as per SoW. I would insist on the "or" here ("get as close to the atmosphere processors as they can or eke out a miserable existence working on the reclamation teams"), i.e., separate the slums at the outskirts of ACC-protected areas from the "bio-trenches" (if any) that surround the most virulent and aggressive Wilderness Preserves. It remains to be debated why/how the Hasegawas were able to waltz right into a Contaminated Zone virtually unprotected, oblivious of any reclamation protocol that there may have been (unless maybe there wasn't any at the time, and Jamie's death was one of the first swallows? in any case, the rationalization of the Bio-Crisis would need some more work). --geyser (talk) 20:42, 27 July 2020 (CEST)
I think I need to walk you through what I'm trying to say about the spread of the zones referred to as Wilderness Preserves, according to my take on the story. Let me ask you, if a "daodandelion" seed floats 300 yards outside the Preserve, settles somewhere and takes root, what happens? The answer is nothing. Very slowly, the dandelion may spread further with each generation, but it's still just a few tiny plants. There's no crisis there. If the WCG moves its fences out each year, it's only to capture the lion's share of the new zone. They're not going to capture everything within that new zone, and that's kind of the point: that it's not totally under control. I never stated, implied, or thought that these Daodan-powered plants are growing overnight, or growing ten feet tall. So there was nothing wrong with my suggestion. If you still think you see a problem with it, then please be more specific, or ask questions rather than trying to mind-read my notion of the Wilderness. --Iritscen (talk) 22:09, 27 July 2020 (CEST)
I don't have to mind-read anything. You already said in no uncertain terms that it's all "up to us". In your view, the Wilderness can be as scary as you need it to be -- eventually --, but not one minute too soon. I, in turn, have made it clear that such "flexibility" is not much to my liking, because (to me) entities need to have a life of their own, without doing a writer's bidding all the time. If I were to ask a question, it would be about your initial statement from the "Wilderness Preserves" section, the one that starts with "any xeno-dandelion seed that lands in a field could start the whole species growing": would you like to recall or amend anything in that whole paragraph? any reason why the fences wouldn't need to be shifted by a few miles every year, rather than yards? (also, what about super-windy days?) --geyser (talk) 17:09, 28 July 2020 (CEST)
It's some kind of cruelty to make me keep repeating myself. I'm not dismissing the issue of airborne seeds because it's inconvenient for my story concept. There's simply no reason to think that a daodandelion spreading itself is a huge issue. The BioCrisis is caused (in my story) by the advancement of a foreign ecosystem, not a single plant. To the degree that the ecosystem — an interlocking mass of life — is visibly observed to have spread from one month/year to the next, the border around the Wilderness must either be moved back or the tendrils of Wilderness reaching outside the fence must be torched by reclamation teams. This large-scale effort has little to do with a few small plants outside of the zone which are not necessarily harmful or spreading super-fast. And again, if the Wilderness was totally containable then there would be little to drive the plot, so of course the fact that these plants will inevitably spread themselves is desirable from our storytelling standpoint. --Iritscen (talk) 19:20, 28 July 2020 (CEST)
Point taken (finally?). I still think that the WCG would be very wrong to disregard the airborne metastases as "not necessarily harmful or spreading super-fast" (because, as you have put it yourself, "All that's needed is for humans not to notice for a while and it's too late.", "The areas that 'go to seed' before WCG can catch them are cordoned off", etc). But if Oni's story is telling us anything, it that the WCG isn't infallible, so perhaps that kind of arrogance is quite in-character for them. Also, if the WPTF is only fighting against "direct invasion" (as opposed to "metastases", I would definitely call them "containment teams" rather than "reclamation teams" -- unless they're actually able to reclaim some ground from the Zones once in a while. --geyser (talk) 04:26, 29 July 2020 (CEST)
"Reclamation" sounds better for PR purposes ^_^ "We're not just containing the problem for a while, we're actually reclaiming inhabitable land. Trust us!™" --Iritscen (talk) 18:31, 29 July 2020 (CEST)
P.S.: You say you don't like the idea of arbitrarily determining how fast these plants would spread, but that's exactly what you yourself are doing, and then claiming that this arbitrary rate is too high. Why are you doing this? Oni's world is a fictional one, and not subject to known science since we are invoking phase tech, alien life, and the Daodan. Therefore everything is up in the air, and anything that we decide only has to be self-consistent and plausible for the audience. It's much more plausible to say that the daodandelions are doing little harm than to posit that somehow the xeno-life only spreads via a root system, which I assume is what you mean by "vegetatively". --Iritscen (talk) 19:20, 28 July 2020 (CEST)
Indeed invoking wp:Vegetative_reproduction probably isn't any less arbitrary than not invoking it and relying on "slow enough" airborne contamination instead. I'm not sure why I am making such a fuss, probably you've just been dismissive earlier on and I overreacted. Currently I am quite comfortable with the notion that, at the time of Oni's events, the WCG simply don't see the "biological contamination" growing out of control in any foreseeable future, and therefore aren't trying too hard to contain it. If I am reading you right, the visceral danger would come from the Wilderness spreading "up" (up the trophic levels) rather than outwards -- and that, indeed, would only happen in the fenced-off Zones where the xeno-ecosystem is oldest and most dense. --geyser (talk) 04:26, 29 July 2020 (CEST)
Right, my suggestion is that they really think it's under control, in terms of the observable Wilderness. Perhaps some atmospheric toxin levels are rising and they don't know why, but overall it seems like the Preserves are contained. They may even be doing a good enough job razing the bits of Wilderness which get outside the Preserves that they don't need to move the fences out year to year (paving a wide band of asphalt around the zones would probably help a lot with this). But then they make two discoveries during Oni 2: (1) foreign life is advancing up the trophic chain within the dark heart of the Preserves, and (2) the alien life is also moving upward literally. As xeno-insects have entered the Wilderness, they've begun climbing to the flyway that's been referred to as the "billion-bug highway" (see last bullet point HERE for links). So now life is spreading way above any ability of the WCG to contain it, and new hotspots of Wilderness are springing up around the globe. --Iritscen (talk) 18:31, 29 July 2020 (CEST)
The wide band of asphalt has me wondering if you can super-contain and super-conceal at the same time. The harder the WCG tries to contain the supposed growth of the Preserves (asphalt fields, trenches, etc), the harder it will be to deny or overlook the alien nature of those areas, and how they have a tendency to spread. (I still have a bit of a problem with TCTF/Damocles scientists being dismissive of Hasegawa's alarmism, acting like there is actually no ecological breakdown at hand at all!) So yeah, the WCG's propaganda is a force to be reckoned with, but could they really surround the WPs with reclamation/containment activity, and still keep calling them "Wilderness Preserves" (and have everyone, Griffin and his Daodan scientists included, playing along)? --geyser (talk) 03:32, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
"The wide band of asphalt has me wondering if you can super-contain and super-conceal at the same time." What, you mean the very ample parking that the WCG has thoughtfully placed around the Preserves? Strange that they built such a big parking lot when it's so hard to get a permit to go on a safari in those Preserves, but hey, that's government efficiency for you. --Iritscen (talk) 17:22, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
Serious answer: It all depends on how far the Preserves are from the Cities, how many people are asking questions, and how total the WCG's control is over information leaks. Yes, the "poor wretches" working on the reclamation team ("reclamation wretches"?) know the truth, but who listens to them? --Iritscen (talk) 17:22, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
Nice try, but (see above) I wouldn't expect Griffin and his Daodan scientists to play along. If the wretches know the truth, then TCTF command will, too, Griffin included. If there is permanent containment activity around the WPs, then you can no longer pretend that "You'd have to talk to someone much higher up to see what they know about the Wilderness." -- so maybe it's better if it doesn't take that much to contain the Wilderness at the time of Oni's events. --geyser (talk) 22:48, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
I think you're consistently and massively over-estimating the scope of TCTF. As their name indicates, they're concerned with stopping tech-related crimes (a corollary to Aramaki's Section 9). Whatever's happening in the Wilderness Preserves is of no concern to them. Griffin may take some personal interest in this subject, due to the Chrysalis that's in his possession, but he's basically just a precinct chief over some local cops. There's no reason to think that he has any special information on the BioCrisis. --Iritscen (talk) 18:16, 31 July 2020 (CEST)
You said it yourself. "Just a precint chief over some local cops" may have aptly described Griffin and his division a couple of decades back, but at the time of Oni's events he has put himself in charge of a Daodan-enhanced "creature". Unless he isn't really trying all that hard to get an edge on Muro, I see no reason for him not to know everything there is to know. --geyser (talk) 01:08, 1 August 2020 (CEST)
That being said, one possibility we could go with is that the Wilderness was indeed not spreading quickly as of the time of Oni. Perhaps it only begins growing rapidly as of Oni 2, which turns out to be caused by the creation of new Daodan hosts (following on my notion that all Daodan-boosted life is tied together in a worldwide web of phase-transferred energy and information). --Iritscen (talk) 18:16, 31 July 2020 (CEST)
Yes, that's a more believable premise - that Griffin is good-willing, but there is nothing dramatic to know about the WPs, or it's so subtle that it can be covered up by a higher-level task force (perhaps WCG may have hired some kind of proto-BGI for that kind of work, too, not just for assassinations and such). The manual's reclamation teams (if any) would then be relegated to the immediate vicinity of the ACC-protected cities, as discussed earlier (and as implied by the manual's text). As for the "worldwide web of phase-transferred energy and information" -- I am making note of it for later; FWIW I'd rather blame increased Phase/Daodan presence on Diluvian stirring/awakening rather than on a banalization of human-Daodan symbiosis, but we shall see. --geyser (talk) 01:08, 1 August 2020 (CEST)
Let me re-state my position re: the "actual" Wilderness threat as you envision it "during Oni 2": with daodanimals pointing their noses, and insect swarms finally joining the airborne seeding fun, Nausicaa-style (sorry, but the analogy with the modus propagandi of the Sea of Corruption is too exact to overlook). I understand that your story ultimately presents it all as the threat faced by the protagonist and by humanity in general, but in my impression, such a development would work best if it's one of several major concerns. Phase hazards, META issues (civilization alienated from within/above, rather than "evicted" by alienated flora/fauna) and belligerent human factions -- those are just a few things that could shift the focus from WPs back to urban areas time and again. My feeling is that it would ensure some variety and keep the plot from being dominated by a Wilderness fetish that's too "green" and (yes, sorry) Nausicaa-like. --geyser (talk) 03:32, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
Too many threats. Unless you plan to join some of them with a common root that the good guys can attack. Otherwise you've just produced a Crapsack World that no one can do anything about and that players don't want to live in. But to be clear, I never suggested making the whole game about fighting the Wilderness. Then it would be called Reclamation Wretches, and that's a totally different game ("Press X to customize your flamethrower…"). For my ideas on other aspects of the story besides dealing with the Wilderness, see the Factions page. --Iritscen (talk) 17:22, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
It doesn't work like this. A single overpowered threat can easily give you crapsack syndrome -- and, conversely, multiple well-balanced threats can make for a thrilling experience where you never know what awaits you around the corner: humans with guns, a swarm of hungry Screamers, a hulking META-mech, a couple of these merry fellows, or Mukade knows what else. Of course the player needs to have enough skills to survive every such encounter, and it helps if the story lets him bring closure to at least some of the threats. And I do acknowledge that your Oni 2 wouldn't have been entirely Wilderness-centered (we've been through this before). --geyser (talk) 22:48, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
I suppose you're right that a Crapsack World can have a single cause. "1984" comes to mind, with its OP government surveillance. My objection to multiple factions is that there should be a root cause behind whatever bad we're adding to the world. Otherwise the story feels disjointed and the problems insurmountable (how many different evils do we have to fight?!), having a burdensome effect on the player's psyche. In SoW, all the factions and problems that exist in Oni's world but not ours relate to the Daodan and phase technology, which themselves are also linked. --Iritscen (talk) 18:16, 31 July 2020 (CEST)
I could argue that you can't hinge all the factions and their motivations on a single "root cause", or it will look artificial as hell, like you're writing a large novel off a premise that would be more suitable for a short story. Even so, I don't think we disagree. "Everything is connected." Even if some guy/girl lost their family in the Cataclysm and vows revenge against Konoko (and turns evil bcause of that), that would qualify as Daodan/Phase/Diluvian-based too, I guess. Then again, I am sure there are plenty of games that present the player with "many different evils" without that being a problem. --geyser (talk) 01:08, 1 August 2020 (CEST)
Secondly, you're reading the manual's sentence too literally. The poor people who can't live within an ACC's main area of effect live in something like a shantytown outside city limits. The job that some of them have is going to work every day fighting against the spread of the BioCrisis. That doesn't mean the Wilderness is right outside the cities. It just means that they have a rough job and that they live on the edge of the habitable zone. I'm sure that "and" was really meant there. What the sentence doesn't tell us how far they commute to work each day. --Iritscen (talk) 22:09, 27 July 2020 (CEST)
Off-road commuting for hundreds of miles has to be the worst job ever, indeed. Your point is clear, and I don't think there is any radical disagreement here (if anything, I said there's some welcome food for thought). However, like for the airborne spreading, it all boils down to quantitative considerations VS qualitative ones. I am a scientist at heart and by trade, so yeah, I tend to: a) read that kind of stuff literally; b) favor basic logic and math over figures of speech. On the face of it, the manual says that there are people living at the edge of atmospheric-processed areas, with "dead air and foul water" right next door: settle any further out, and the toxic air/water will start causing gruesome diseases and birth defects (that's just what the "edge of the habitable zone" is, by definition). Seen that way, it makes total sense for the "reclamation teams" to be hard at work right outside the shantytowns, "beating back" the limits of their own habitat (as well as helping to preserve the air quality in an ACC's "main area of effect"). That said, if the actual source of the contamination is identified as being located far outside the city limits, rather than adjacent to the slums, then indeed it makes sense to have "commuters" who wander towards the Wilderness Preserves and stamp out whatever is causing the toxicity to spread (although I am not sure the term "reclamation teams" would be fitting for this kind of task -- they'd be more like "excisors", "surgeons", "foresters" or, yes, "stalkers"). My key point, if I may reiterate it, is that, if this latter "stalking" occupation is even more precarious than that of the reclamation teams (the ones that merely decontaminate the areas around the slums that they live in), then -- as I already said -- this supposed WPTF comes across as much more humble than the dignified TCTF (despite a supposedly comparable importance of the two initiatives), and it may not fit in too well with the idea that there's this big high-level conspiracy surrounding the Wilderness. It can work, but it will require some new statements: about the WCG's penal system, about the not-so-free circulation of people or information between the inner cities and the slums, etc. If, on the other hand, the Wilderness expands only marginally (vegetative reproduction?), and there is no need for daily monitoring by a "WPTF" (precarious or otherwise), then the sentence from the manual is just about "reclamation teams" that are decontaminating areas right outside the slums, and that's it. It can work either way, and I don't feel like I'm closing any doors at this point. --geyser (talk) 17:09, 28 July 2020 (CEST)
There is room for this alternative suggestion, I'll admit. It could be that, rather than the world being mostly Earthlike and only alien/hostile in patches designated as Preserves, the world could be mostly hostile outside of the cities, with only a few manmade oases that are inhabitable. In that case, yes, the poor would be the front-line soldiers, with the accompanying risk, in the battle against the encroaching Wilderness. This does not feel compatible, however, with the picture that Oni paints when it talks about Preserves that people are kept out of. Most significantly, Oni's cities are not domed. The standard sci-fi trope of walled-in cities is not present here, as shown by the sky(boxes) above Konoko and the fact that the poor are able to get some benefit by being near the ACCs while outside the cities. If the Wilderness was all around the unwalled cities, it would not only be obvious to the citizens (as you pointed out), but running the ACCs without a dome would be as stupid as running your AC without walls on your house. Gonna take a while to cool the whole world down…. --Iritscen (talk) 19:20, 28 July 2020 (CEST)
See, that's why I hate the manual. It reminds us how stupid Oni can be ^_^ Seriously, though, there doesn't need to be a contradiction here. Is it clean oases in a toxic desert or vice-versa? The correct answer is: neither. There are areas of lethal toxicity (WPs), areas of inhabitable cleanliness (ACCs), and everywhere else there is a map with various degrees of toxicity (places where you wouldn't settle and raise children, but where you wouldn't instantly die the way Jamie did, either). Also, that "toxicity map" has probably been evolving over the decades (in 2014 the WCG only needed to keep people out of WPs, but by 2032 the trend may have shifted to keeping people in the cities instead). So in the end it's "up to us" how much of the manual we'd end up referencing, and to what part of Oni's history (and geography) we'd attribute it. As for an ACC's efficiency without a dome -- well, that's the elephant in the room, isn't it? I like to think that the ACCs really made a difference in the months/years that followed the Great Uprising (and that's how the WCG folks were able to sell their authority to the masses -- as effective crisis managers). But at the time of Oni's events the ACCs mostly looks like monuments to the WCG's proud past, barely able to keep up with the amplitude of the BioCrisis (and an easy target for Muro, too). --geyser (talk) 04:26, 29 July 2020 (CEST)
True, it needn't be a black-and-white matter of habitable vs. totally uninhabitable areas. And as far as the ACCs not being able to keep up as well with the pollutants anymore… remember to wear your Hapémask! --Iritscen (talk) 18:35, 29 July 2020 (CEST)
Heh. Looking back at the debate (not just on this page, but through the years), it's funny how I've been oscillating between "ACCs are doing a decent job" and "ACCs are just for show, people are f##ked". Currently I'm reconciling this is in a "time-dependent" fashion just like for the toxicity levels above. Back in 2014, the freshly built ACCs were doing fine and Hasegawa had no real reason to set his sights on something as radical as the Chrysalis (except of course in the TNZ perspective), but in 2032 the rising toxin levels (whether of Diluvian/WP origin or caused by Muro's sabotage of the ACCs) are close to alarming all right. I believe there is a way to rationalize all this in some compact form, making the most of Oni's data, and without too many "deus ex machina" or "alien ex Gaia" tricks. --geyser (talk) 03:32, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
Hasegawa was a visionary, that's why he foresaw the need for a radical solution to the BioCrisis. He may have also been a little crazed after the loss of Jamie, and per Hardy. As far as "rationaliz[ing] all this in some compact form", that's exactly what I did HERE. Not that there isn't room for tweaking it, or that you have to adopt my theory, but just sayin'… somebody already tied everything together. --Iritscen (talk) 17:22, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
Unfortunately "Backstory" comes across as SoW's backstory rather than Oni's: it opens with the sound hypothesis of alternate history, but then latches onto the "too fast" pacing of Hasegawa's project and veers towards xenoforming. In my approach (wait for it) I at least give Oni a chance to "explain itself" without calling aliens to the rescue right away. --geyser (talk) 22:48, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
I think you seem to have forgotten your own theory that the Daodan aura is intelligent :-p We're all trying to explain certain "x" factors in the story as best we can. Considering the existence of Screaming Cells and super-intelligent "cancer", I don't think it's going much further to invoke alien intelligence. --Iritscen (talk) 18:16, 31 July 2020 (CEST)
The difference is that it's Oni's scientists who are wishing they could "communicate with the Chrysalis directly", not me. And at the core I am not reading anything human-relatable into that intelligence (such as invasion plans). I am quite satisfied with the empirical characterization of that thing (as "smart cancer"), and leave disambiguation for later. --geyser (talk) 01:08, 1 August 2020 (CEST)
It may seem naive of the WCG to think they can contain the Wilderness, but they might know full well that it's a losing battle. They also are taking steps to contain the growing Wilderness, but clearly they're losing since the toxins in the air are increasing, according to Oni. Also, to whatever degree they're wrong about how well they have it contained, that's our way of adding some drama to the story. Finding out that the trophic level of the Wilderness is advancing to herbivores, insectivores, and then carnivores will be an alarming development. --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
The increasing air toxicity is one of the most ambiguous parts of Oni canon. Not only does it involve the infamous "36.18% increase" of Dioxin levels, but it seemingly presents the toxin rise as a consequence of Muro's retrofitting of the ACCs. At no point are the WPs stated as a prominent source of airborne toxins in Oni's world: all we have is "biological contamination" encountered during flyovers, and the uncanny "virus" from Jamie's bush. Of course it doesn't mean that toxins don't emanate from the Contaminated Zones at all, but it doesn't establish the WPs as the planet's "toxic lungs", either. If anything, I'd blame a WCG-era toxin rise (pre-Muro) on imperfect waste processing procedures at the ACCs. --geyser (talk) 23:47, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
I always thought the increasing toxicity was the result of the BioCrisis, whatever that may be. It's an ongoing problem, building over time. THIS console makes it clear that the toxins have been building for a while, and the BioCrisis Subcommittee is refitting their ACCs to try to keep up. They don't seem puzzled by this, nor have they noticed that the toxins are coming from their own tampered-with ACCs, which would be a rather large thing to overlook. The increase in toxins (though poorly calculated in that console) is thus of "natural" origin. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
The STURMANDERUNG console that I quoted above contains a "baseline report" on Dioxin levels in the scope of Muro's STURMANDERUNG project, so when they say it went from 97 ppm to 100 ppm and then to 152 ppm, they're presenting it as a consequence of the ACC sabotage. If you've "always believed" that this Dioxin increase has "natural" causes (i.e., outside WCG turf, e.g., inside the WPs), and that ACC operators wouldn't have been able to overlook it if it's their own facilities that contributed to the increase -- that's fine. It only means that we will have to rewrite that STURMANDERUNG console, which is also fine because I hate it (as well as all the other STURMANDERUNG consoles; see above). --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Then again, we are shown/told that: 1) Musashi/BGI is manufacturing atmospheric processing equipment[2]; 2) Muro has agents that have infiltrated ACCs worldwide[3], and then sabotaged the ACCs' "core filtration systems"[4]. This means that there would be people at each ACC (whitecoats and/or engineers) who would be able to temporarily conceal the sabotage (ever-so-subtle "toxification" of the filtration system), one facility at a time, in the event of suspicion and inspection -- not unlike Volkswagen's defeat devices. That's just one quick way to rationalize it, but I think it's fairly close to the mark: early "infiltration" means that Muro has undercover agents at the ACCs, which is how he's been able to mess with ACCs for so long without anyone noticing.[geyser 6] --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
I still find it hard to reconcile the WCG's awareness of the Wilderness threat ("losing battle" and all) with the seeming unawareness of Griffin's Daodan team. It's OK to have a surge in xeno-life post-Oni (triggered by Konoko's Cataclysm, perhaps?), but at the time of Oni's events I'd expect the xeno-flora to be mostly dormant, complementary to the other sources of pollution that may exist in the Zones (man-made, phase-enhanced, etc) and to the toxin rise, but not readily identifiable either as an invasive threat or as a form of Daodan symbiosis. --geyser (talk) 23:47, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
To be clear, Griffin's team is interested in Konoko, how she functions, and how to contain her. They're a police force, basically. You'd have to talk to someone much higher up to see what they know about the Wilderness. Your suggestion is certainly a decent one, that the true nature of the wildlife in the Preserves is not known. After all, if people commonly knew where the Daodan came from, Hasegawa's work would be more easily replicable. But perhaps he never shared that with anyone, or perhaps just his brother-in-law, who kept the secret. There's honestly little reason for the alien nature of the Wilderness to come up in Oni, as big of a deal as it may be. Yes, you'd think BWest would have made sure to mention it in a console somewhere as a natural part of their world-building, but no matter what we can't deny that there's some kind of big gap in Oni's story. This is just my proposal for filling it. It's entirely possible that hardly anyone in Oni's world realized that the alien life was alien until after the game ended. After all, if it's really life from Earth's past, then it's not *that* alien to begin with. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
Thanks for clarifying, but I think you may be seeing big gaps that aren't there, because -- as a writer -- you need a gap that you can fill with something big and proprietary (perhaps not unlike my TNZ, in all fairness). I'll take "no" as an answer (because I fully understand that this is getting out of proportion), but can you elaborate on "no matter what, we can't deny that there's some kind of big gap in Oni's story"? If you can clearly summarize what you mean by "some kind of big gap", then I'll be happy to try and "can-deny" it, just to help you relativize. We already know that I granted you the Diluvians (broadly), so I think we'll be fine ^_^ --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
On the contrary, I had no desire to insert anything into the story that wasn't necessary. My ideas, as presented in my SoW material, were designed to fill the gaps in the story with a minimum of insertions. This allowed me to centralize all the changes between Oni's world and ours on a single point of divergence in history around, say, 1999. And in fact, if the Diluvians are not going to serve the purpose that I originally suggested, I see little purpose in inserting them at all.
As far as the gaps I'm referring to, you know them as well as I do. If you insist, though….
(1) Where the hell is Hasegawa during Oni? (2) Why aren't there more symbiotes being made? How could Hasegawa's technology have been so far advanced that it hasn't been replicated over a decade later? (3) Who is Mukade? (4) Why did Muro say that Hasegawa envisioned a world where people choked on dead air and foul water, when his father seemed to want the opposite? (5) What is the nature of "phase technology"? (6) What exactly are the Screamers that came through the phase veil? (7) What is BGI? (8) What is in the Wilderness Preserves? (9) What is behind the BioCrisis?
These are the major gaps that come to mind. The absence of Hasegawa and the seeming loss of Daodan knowledge are the two big ones. I'm not saying that you and I haven't proposed answers to these things already, but to pretend there's no big gaps in the story is just silly. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
I've been meaning to address this one elsewhere (thanks for answering, BTW). For most of your perceived gaps, since they're listed as open questions, my replies would probably grow out of proportion rather easily, so it seems wise to take this (important) argument to a dedicated page. A few quick replies, though: 9) Per game data, the BioCrisis at the time of Oni's events is mostly about the steady rise in toxin levels, which (per game data again) is because of how Muro has infiltrated ACCs worldwide, sabotaged the "core filtration systems", and made sure that it all remained undetected for as long as possible (at least until the "Daodan core technology" was ready for mass implantation, at which point less subtle bio-terror could take over); so Oni's answer is "Muro's Sturmanderung is behind the BioCrisis, simple as that"; the pre-Muro and pre-ACC eco-issues are another story, but THIS BioCrisis is almost certainly Muro-made; 7) In the trimmed Oni, BGI/Musashi is a corrupt consortium that is "joined at the hip" with Muro's Sturmanderung project (logistics, infrastructure, ACC sabotage); Muro's gambit in Chapter 2 can be a hint to BGI that their services are no longer needed and/or a threat to keep them from spilling the beans; 2) The prime symbiotes were prototypes; little about them is suitable for mass production: implantation at a young age, 24/7 monitoring, potential instability, out-of-control superpowers.... Muro&Co apparently spent some time developing the "Daodan core technology" that would allow consenting adult hosts to survive in a toxic world, without turning them into uncontrollable freaks (and with minimal load on QA&Support); 4) In a way, that's close enough to Hasegawa's declared goal: people will be killed by the poisonous world, unless they embrace "hyper-evolution"; Muro is just providing some extra motivation by making sure the world does become poisonous; 3) For that matter, who is Barabas? he and Muro seem to be referencing some non-trivial events in their common past ("I'm ready for anything. You made sure of that. - There's always someone stronger. Have you forgotten? - No, I haven't. I'll be careful. - See that you are. You know the consequences of failure."), which in a way is more intriguing than Mukade's aura of mystery; in the light of the "Daodan core technology" as a part of the Sturmanderung plan, Barabas and Mukade are clearly more prototypes -- test beds for all the little "do"s and "don't"s of general-availability Daodan symbiosis; from what we see, Barabas turned out rather well with mass production in mind (strong yet docile and relatively sane); Mukade, not so much (more like a one-of-a-kind overpowered freak). --geyser (talk) 03:32, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
I don't know that a page dedicated to gaps would be that useful, as it would require another sprawling conversation full of inter-related points, but certainly it would be better than having that discussion here (this page would be crashing our browser by now if it was still 2008, and in 2020 it's starting to spin up my laptop's fans as I type). And honestly, I don't know if another major story discussion is the best use of our time. I think just about anything else we could do (wiki maintenance, tool development, etc.) would be a better use of our time. So I can't promise to participate, if such a page does get started. But FWIW, I could go along with several of your answers above. Barabas' backstory actually seems pretty plain vanilla to me. He rose through the ranks of the Strikers until Muro noticed him. He probably challenged Muro, perhaps for leadership of the Syndicate, and Muro kicked his butt (Muro is the "someone stronger"). Muro decided to use him as a guinea pig for implantation, since if it didn't work, Barabas would be out of his hair, but if it did work, he'd be dependent on Muro for maintaining the suit which keeps him stable. This is of course just guesswork on my part. To me, the secondary symbiotes Mukade and Barabas are both clearly less stable and capable than Muro and Mai, the result of Hasegawa pulling his support from the Daodan project and going into hiding some time before. --Iritscen (talk) 17:22, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
In the right proportion, and given enough good will and on-the-same-page-ness, these discussions don't have to confiscate any more of our lives than, say, Discord chat. And it would be project-oriented of course. We'd fill in gaps with specific Oni mods and sequels in mind, so supposedly that would make it all better -- and even failing that, it would feed back into wiki maintenance, by consolidating "Added Value" and factual sections all over the place. --geyser (talk) 22:48, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
The problem for me is that any lengthy chat, on Discord or here, delays the projects I'm working on. The same must be true for you. Those projects have a lot more immediate value to the community than a game which we have no roadmap to actually producing. I'm just trying to be practical here. An hour spent editing this page delays the release of some project by an hour, and hours quickly turn to days since we're just working in our free time here. I simply can't justify doing this again if I'm going to hold to the schedule I've set for myself for 2020. --Iritscen (talk) 18:16, 31 July 2020 (CEST)
Of course you are right about prioritization issues and how tangible achievements (modding and such) should take precedence over "Oni 2" musings. I know exactly how you feel, hours turning to days and all. However, you are wrong in that this is actually not about Oni 2. It is about our common understanding of Oni 1: at the most, its hypothetical consolidation as a big mod (adding a BGI faction, correcting the known goofs, disambiguating some things, hinting at some more fanon here and there); at the least, a consolidated wiki with a solid-looking canon instead of 343 competing interpretations floating around. Oni 2 is a big "when and if", I'll grant you that, but being on the same page about Oni's elements has many tangible applications nonetheless. --geyser (talk) 01:08, 1 August 2020 (CEST)
Allow me to detrivialize Barabas a bit. My impression is that it isn't so much Muro who kicked Barabas's ass (well, maybe he did a little bit at some point, just to remind everyone who's boss), as it's Barabas who had to climb over other candidates' bodies to establish himself as Muro's ultimate pet. Muro made sure that Barabas would be "ready for anything" (well, almost anything) by putting him through hellish challenges, and possibly this included sparring against peers with similar aspirations. One of these challengers very nearly killed Barabas -- or maybe it was Barabas who challenged and killed the previous title holder, and is now expected to remember how "there is always someone stronger", as well as "the consequences of failure". Something like that. --geyser (talk) 22:48, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
I also beg to differ about how both Mukade and Barabas are "clearly" less stable and capable than primes, and how this necessarily hinges on Hasegawa backing out of the project. Mukade may be less stable, and Barabas may be less capable, but they're different animals -- different prototypes exploring different approaches to mass-produced Chrysalises (something Hasegawa and Kerr hadn't even started getting into!). Muro&Co are learning from these prototypes and making decisions about where to go from there. My impression (again) is that Muro would be perfectly OK with Barabas-grade minions, and in that sense there is nothing wrong with "secondary" ending up weaker than "prime". As for Mukade, he's a freak but he ain't weak, and Muro can absolutely not afford (my impression) to surround himself with Mukade-grade secondaries. As for why Muro ended up keeping Mukade around, and even entrusted him with a whole Ninja army... that's another story. --geyser (talk) 22:48, 30 July 2020 (CEST)
Specifically on what you said up there: indeed Griffin's "pet doctors" wouldn't be able to just go and google up Wilderness lifeforms from their Science Prison quarters. On the other hand, prisoners can't blab, so if there's any classified knowledge that can help in analyzing the Daodan, then there's nothing that's keeping the Directorate from sharing that information with Griffin's science team. However, if we adopt BGI as an important faction and the WCG's true response to Muro and STURMANDERUNG, then perhaps there isn't much interest in Daodan development at all -- Kerr&Co are supposed to cautiously experiment with Konoko, and then BGI will just crush Muro and the Strikers, shutting down STURMANDERUNG and leaving Griffin with no reason to keep Konoko alive. If that's what the WCG's game is, then indeed it makes sense if Daodan scientists are left in the black about the alien/Daodan nature of the Wilderness. And of course all of that is moot if no one at the time of Oni's events is actually aware of the subtle Daodan influence on WP plants, let alone of Diluvians being the source of that influence. The best kept secrets are ones that no one knows about. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
As for whether Hasegawa and Kerr knew the truth -- I feel like we haven't even started debating how much those 2001 Bungie-made characters should have known about all that Diluvian business that we made up eons later ^_^ In my view, if you scrap the Diluvians (Laplace- and Occam-style), then there doesn't need to be any link or similarity at all between Hasegawa's Chrysalis research and the virulent pathogens from the Contaminated Zones (whether they're poisonous bushes, pools of goo, WMD payloads, etc) -- well, no link apart from how the Contaminated Zones have an ample store of threats that the Chrysalis is supposed to counter. If that's what the Wilderness is (nothing too special), then Hasegawa merely regards it as a versatile repository of "stress or harm" (and incidentally "the nightmare that killed Jamie", hence his quest for a palliative). If, however, some of the flora in the Zones is phase-enhanced, then it's something that Hasegawa may have identified during his preliminary research -- after which he would have naturally tried to emulate some of those symbiotic properties in his own experiments (like synthetic cell-sized organelles that allow a Daodan entity to "stay online" after a first contact with a human host). Whichever it is, and whether an ancient race of symbiotes has anything to do with it, I think we both agree that the Daodan entities that exalted Konoko and Muro are two distinct phase entities, and also quite distinct from the entity/entities that may be influencing WP flora through phase-induced mutation. Therefore it might make sense that neither Hasegawa nor Kerr&Co have actually drawn much of a connection. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Short answer: I think it's a good idea to paint Griffin, Kerr and (initially) Hasegawa and Jamie as being ignorant of the full picture, whatever that picture includes. I see no reason why they *wouldn't* be ignorant. Hasegawa's later discoveries about the true nature of the BioCrisis, or the real agenda of the WCG, or the existence of the Daomen, etc. would provide ample explanation for his sudden disappearance ("No, it's all wrong! My work might do more harm than good! I've got to learn more…"). --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
I'd actually like to back up to a higher level and address what I think is your largest single question, which is, "Why complicate things when it's clear that Hardy just intended the Preserves to be waste dumps?" I felt it was necessary to diverge from this approach precisely because of the derivative feeling of the "social commentary". Industrial pollution, large corporations, yada yada. Been there, done that dystopia. Likewise, if Oni's world was said to be warming dangerously, I would find some way to subvert that narrative into a more interesting, less "concern of the moment" type of problem. Star Trek IV was entertaining but nowadays nobody has any idea what it's going on about with all that whale stuff. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Well, alien-engineered global warming sure would come in handy if it made Earth more "waterworldy". I may be getting it wrong, but your Daomen/Diluvians would actually be at home in a world with no icecaps and a significantly higher ocean level. It's still be a reference to the modern-day issue of global warming, but with an alien-initiative twist that could possibly act as a redeeming factor (if done right of course). As for Hardy's take on pollution, I think that there's not a lot to diverge from, actually, because canon Oni is no longer hammering it home as "industrial pollution, large corporations, yada yada". Jamie was killed by an unidentified "virus", there are mad scientists doing ghastly stuff (Navarre), bioweapons are hinted at in the manual, and Phase tech can "enhance" man-made pestilence further, power-of-seven-fold if needed. So it's not like WPs are pure eco-activist cliché and can only be redeemed through alien ingerence. At least that's how I feel about it. --geyser (talk) 19:18, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Good points. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)
As you have seen above I am more or less ready to embrace the Diluvians as a possbility (my real-time brainstorming approach is flexible like that), however I still don't regard "alien ingerence" as a necessary plot device. Oni canon has enough potential for man-made (and phase-enhanced) pollution of the Contaminated Zones, and having them engineered by an alien race seems like a "last resort", storytelling-wise. From here on out, I will design TNZ so as to accommodate the xenoforming hypothesis, without favoring it. I will be calling the "maxi-chlorians" Diluvians, will pretend that they're merely stirring in their sleep in reaction to CO2 increase, and WPs are just their way of "scratching an itch". No connection between WP flora and the Daodan will be implied, but I'll try to leave a door open for that kind of interpretation. --geyser (talk) 17:05, 19 June 2020 (CEST)
I appreciate the flexibility. You're correct that the Daodan doesn't *need* alien ingerence (whatever that is), but without it, there's no clear nemesis driving the plot. The antagonist was going to be who, the Old Man, just doing what he thinks is right? I wanted to have a struggle for survival that feels urgent, like a clash of two worlds. --Iritscen (talk) 21:01, 22 June 2020 (CEST)
My point about alien ingerence (and lack of need thereof) is simply that Oni's civilization was fully capable of polluting vast tracts of "ignorable" land in many exotic and blood-chilling ways, without the need for alien agents seeding the Earth with xenoforming life. There's hazardous waste both industrial and military, there's rogue science both prior to and during the WCG era, and there's the "phase twist" that allows a "xeno" threat to emerge from man-made waste, without being backed up by an "enemy" that's planning an "invasion". The same goes for the "clear nemesis driving the plot" -- there doesn't need to be any. Note how, in Oni, Konoko makes an enemy of everyone just by asserting herself, and eventually ends up with as much blood on her hands as her supposed nemesis of a brother. It's this tragic and disproportionate "antihero's quest" that characterizes Oni, complemented by the dystopian context and the "alien"/hyperevolutionary origin of the estrangement. If anything, it honors the "no one left to trust" tagline. --23:47, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
It's hard to be interested in the story of an Oni 2 if there's no concrete enemy or existential threat. You seem to want to avoid any clear source of drama. Yes, it's always possible to tell a story populated largely with shades of gray instead of good/bad guys and clear agendas. Oni was definitely aiming in the former direction. But in the end, there's still one side that's clearly evil compared to the other. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
You're jumping to convenient conclusions from a single statement of mine, ignoring everything that I'm saying above and around. Yes, I do like Miyazaki's philosophy of everyone just doing what they think is right (because that's just how things are in real life, with the possible exception of maniacs), and I acknowledge Oni's dystopian atmosphere and Konoko's "anti-quest". But I am also fully aware (as you should be) that Nausicaä is packed with factions and conflicts, death and desolation, plot twists and fateful decisions, and more than enough drama and urgency. Likewise, Oni takes the player for a decent ride, despite a rather bleak premise, and no alien invasion in sight. On the whole, I am just pointing out that you can have lots of action in a plot without big-ass alien masterminds pulling the strings and threatening to invade. That's really all I said, and it doesn't mean that we will have to go that way -- but we should keep such moderation in mind. I'll be sure to remind you those things over and over, until it no longer goes over your head. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
Also, if there's one thing I don't want to repeat in a sequel, it's the "no one left to trust" angle. That's been done quite thoroughly by the end of the first game. That's why one of my themes for Oni 2 was going to be finding someone that Mai *can* trust, as well as learning how to trust again. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
Hm. I wouldn't give Mai (m)any friends, except if it's an actual sister soul (Hikari), maybe Zerda because she's young and optimistic. The only strong allies would be temporary and/or perverted ones (like Big, or Mai's inner Muro-sensei). But it wouldn't be a grey and hopeless sea of distrust, either, that's for sure. After all, even in Oni, after Kerr is dead and everything has seemingly gone to hell, Mai still seems to have a couple of FRIENDS left at the TCTF (people who knew about her imminent "Phoenix Rising" attack, provided her with goodies, and didn't tell Griffin). So, so much for "no one left". --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
My goal was to write a story that would eventually produce the scene Guido depicted here. That's not to say that all these characters become her friends. And she might experience betrayal again, but the overall idea for Oni 2 was to end with more trust (and trust in trust) than Konoko had by the end of Oni. This is all in my SoW notes. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
The antagonist in "my" Oni 2 would have been the deeply alienated head of the META technocracy (best seen as a "collective Mukade"). Very broadly, META is a Daodan-enhanced government, forcing hyperevolutionary paradigm shifts on post-Oni society and essentially xenoforming civilization itself (rather than the biosphere's lower lifeforms). The natural resistance to this process is embodied by Phoenix folks (in the same way as Konoko's mind and body resist the hyperevolutionary alienation brought about by her Chrysalis). This is the basic concept of host-Chrysalis "symbiosis" (actually a struggle on the verge of insanity and alienation), transposed from the level of an individual to that of civilization as a whole. I've always thought of it as fairly straightforward and having enough plot-driving potential (once the initially underpowered protagonist reveals herself as a Daodan symbiote, she'll become an enemy both for META and for most of her Phoenix buddies). As for the ultimate goal for META's hyperevolution -- there doesn't have to be any, but if tropes must be, then either META is "good" and intends to avert a "clash of two worlds" kind of threat -- like the Diluvians waking up and/or phase portals opening all over the place (with water and/or Screamers and/or furry zerglings pouring through), or a good old comet or asteroid headed our way... Or, META is "evil", performing an increasingly unfathomable alienation of humanity, with little regard for those old-school humans who (like Phoenix - and Konoko?) are not welcoming such a transition. --geyser (talk) 23:47, 29 June 2020 (CEST)
See my comments above on my preference for a more concrete story. There's nothing wrong with an alienated techno-hegemon, but if he's the only villain in the story, it feels a bit world-weary for me. I want a sense of urgency and visceral danger in Oni 2. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
World-weary, yes (oh yes!), but if he sends THESE after you, then you'll still be in more than enough visceral danger, trust me -- and that's only part of what META has in store. Also please don't ignore what I said above about how META could be "good" and merely building up strength to counter greater threats (Diluvians/Screamers/whatever) -- it's all there in my iteration, so don't act like it isn't. And of course the Phoenix faction would be Mai's more or less radical enemy (once it becomes clear that she's "one of THEM"), and multiple other factions would either pre-exist or split off from META and Phoenix, following Mai's/META's actions and/or a parallel evolution of the Diluvian/Phase threat. If that's not potential for a concrete story with urgency and such, then I don't know what is. --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
I'm not doubting that your Oni 2 would have a visceral aspect to the gameplay, but I was questioning how compelling this character would be on a story level. Even talking to the guy in a cutscene could be a drag. But I'm not saying it can't work. And yes, I did favor the idea of having Mai hook up with a cell of the Rebellion, but eventually have a major falling out with them (perhaps when they find out who/what she is). --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
P.S. Here I was, looking into Ediacaran biota and the Cambrian explosion (musing on possible Diluvian candidates), and then it hit me: tectonics! There is actually a major problem with the Diluvians going into a deep stasis following the P-Tr extinction event, and regaining consciousness only 250+ Ma later. As it is, plate tectonics have either subducted or elevated the entirety of the pre-Triassic seabed (Panthalassa), so either way the Diluvians would have gone from dormant to extinct long before they'd have had a chance to "stir up trouble" in 2000 AD. The only way to resolve this is to imply that, in the meantime, the Diluvians haven't just been "stirring in their sleep" to make adjustments to the biosphere; they must also have had a cycle where they'd wake up and relocate -- away from subduction trenches and towards oceanic rifts. During such "sleepwalking" events they'd probably be even more phase-active than while "stirring", triggering episodes of high "phase presence", along with evolutionary explosions. The emergence of phase phenomena prior to Oni's events, and the possible alienation of Wilderness Preserves can be part of such an event -- a mere side effect of Diluvian migration along the ocean floor, rather than a "deliberate" xenoforming, let alone a means to an "invasion". It will still be ominous, of course, but rather because of the wide range of phase hazards (and alienating mutations) that the otherwise placid creatures are causing to appear. --geyser (talk) 18:58, 30 June 2020 (CEST)
Not a bad suggestion about the aliens' occasional stirrings leading to an increase in phase activity. I was aware of the issue with ocean floor subduction (see Oni2:Slaves_of_War/Story and search for "ocean floor"). I considered it a positive, as even if there was an alien civilization down there at the time of the P-Tr boundary, it would be buried by now, thus explaining why we haven't noticed its ruins. In fact, rather than our needing to explain how all the aliens could still be alive, the continual overturning of the ocean floor could actually explain why there are so few of them left, as I desired to be the case in my story. Perhaps only some of their sleep chambers have stayed out of trouble and survived this long. --Iritscen (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2020 (CEST)
My point above is that all of Panthalassa's seabed has been buried in sediment and either subducted and molten, or exposed and eroded. So if they were indeed a civilization of builders -- as opposed to primitive organisms (my suggestion) --, then, on one hand, some of their architecture might have been preserved to some extent along with Silurian/Devonian/Carboniferous/Permian fossils, and that's also where we'd find "sleep chambers" if there were any -- in ruins or fossilized (depending on whether the chambers are organic or not) -- and their occupants. Maybe those chambers that weren't subducted (and ended up in fossil layers) were made of phase-enhanced concrete and steel, and thus a few Diluvians may still be able to break free, say, from Alnif (which hosts fossils of trilobites from the Cambrian all the way to the late Permian). On the other hand, no matter how you look at it, if a once great civilization went so far as to build sleep chambers that would carry them through the ages, so that they could roam the Earth once more -- and then most of them were crushed by tectonics -- that would be a rather silly way to go for those who didn't make it. Would it not? --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
My take on this (which redeems the Diluvians' godlike intellect, if anything) is that perhaps they wouldn't have any "chambers" (there's nothing wrong with lying low on the ocean floor, with a bit of sediment on top), and that they'd have instinctive alarm calls that would periodically wake them up when a subduction or a shallowing is imminent (or when the ocean's acidity becomes critical and such), which would allow them to react and/or relocate. This implies that they'd have cycles of long stasis and brief awareness, which (if we assume "Phase activity" to be a side effect of Diluvian activity) may coincide with some of the more enigmatic evolutionary explosions and extinctions (P-Tr being only one of those). Not having chambers (or architecture), they'd be free to relocate to anywhere on the ocean floor, as long as it's far enough from a subduction zone. As primitive beings hyperevolved from Cambrian/Ediacaran biota, they'd be mostly soft-bodied, but possibly with a carapace made of rock and sediment (not unlike Caddisfly larvae). --geyser (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2020 (CEST)
My notion, though I didn't spell it out, was that their sleep chambers were mobile and took measures to save their occupants. But yes, they could just be hibernating and occasionally waking up and moving. Seems unlikely they would last that long without some kind of artificial preservation, though, considering even the mountains are younger than they would be…. Unlike you, I never envisioned the Diluvians as being godlike in intellect, so I see no reason why they would have to be broadly successful at surviving millions of years in stasis. They may never have thought they'd have to wait that long to awaken. --Iritscen (talk) 00:58, 7 July 2020 (CEST)
To be clearer on my mental image of the Daomen, I was thinking of something highly structured and differentiated that could have existed on land. Placing such a creature in the pre-Permian era would mean it would have to be something like a dinocephalian, the lost forebear of the dinosaurs. The main problems with that idea are the fact that reptiles of this era were more or less 100% quadrupedal, which means no "hands" freed up to do things like make tools, plus most of them had tiny craniums and so were likely unintelligent (some Moschops had huge craniums but were very much gravity-bound to stand on all four of their feet). However, the timing is right (middle-Permian) to explain the sudden disappearance of coal and other suspiciously-simultaneous events like the sudden rise in CO2 and the acidification of the oceans (read this short page for some intriguing detail on the time period where the dinocephalians had their sudden rise and fall in the fossil record). Maybe the "Daomen" were descendants of the earlier troodons which we haven't found fossils for because of the nature of their extinction and the survivors' move to the oceans. There's some very recent evidence for the tyrannosaurs being a lot smarter than we realized, having large brains for their ilk. This would include the T. rex, but also the intriguingly human-sized Timurlengia. Note that these were bipedal reptiles, albeit with frustratingly short forelimbs. --Iritscen (talk) 00:48, 9 July 2020 (CEST)
If we're going to consider the ocean as the habitat and source of the Diluvians, then I think we should be looking seriously at the octopus, which has been around since before the P-Tr boundary. The octopus is the most likely oceanic life to succeed us as Earth's dominant intelligent species, should anything happen to us, which is why I suggested at the end of this section of my Story page that the game should end with the Daodan being passed on (bequeathed, accidentally) to the octopus. I suppose we could invert that and ask, What if some type of (no doubt giant) octopus already preceded us as the dominant species, until something went wrong and they had to retreat into sleep chambers until it blew over? --Iritscen (talk) 00:48, 9 July 2020 (CEST)

Daodan Genesis

"Your father and I were criminals, funded by the Syndicate.
...and still nowhere close to working on the Daodan Chrysalis as we know it."

What do you mean here? Is not Kerr saying that their work on the Daodan Chrysalis was the activity funded by the Syndicate? --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

I mean that, at the moment when he and Kerr were head-hunted into the Syndicate, Hasegawa had only a broad idea of what he was going to focus on -- far from having isolated the Chrysalis and running systematic experiments on it. In the end, of course, it was all part of the research that led to the Daodan, so Kerr isn't lying either. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
He (Kerr) is probably a bit coy when he says "we couldn't get backup from any legitimate source" -- as if they had applied for a grant with the WCG first. With Hasegawa's past as an activist and a murderer, it seems more likely that they went directly to the Syndicate, possibly seizing a head-hunting opportunity to elude trial/prosecution as I described. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
There is a "completely different" possibility that Hasegawa had been working on the Chrysalis for years, and killed Jamie when she found out (because he's all evil and wants everyone to choke on dead air and foul water, muahahaha). Ahem. My point is, the initial research probably didn't have "Daodan" and "Chrysalis" written all over it. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
I'm not following your reason for thinking that they didn't have a firm idea already in mind about creating the Chrysalis by the time they went to the Syndicate. Why apply for work at a criminal organization if they didn't, and why would the Syndicate be interested? The Syndicate funded their work because they wanted the Chrysalis. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Kerr may not have been the brightest bulb in this story, but he's telling us this: "Your father and I were criminals, funded by the Syndicate (we couldn't get backing from any legitimate source). They left us alone for the most part. We didn't think they were interested in our work. (We were wrong; they had been watching us very closely. When they figured out what the Chrysalis was, etc.)". Even if Kerr is wrong and the bad guys were aware of the Chrysalis's potential all along (and were merely waiting for the project to be "ripe for takeover"), on the face of it they were just funding Hasegawa&Kerr's research just as they would have funded any financially promising "rogue science". If Hasegawa was a bright scientist with some achievements as a biologist, then naturally the Network would have been considering him as a potential asset even before Jamie's death, Chrysalis or no Chrysalis. (Like, I dunno, he may have been involved in hypo spray development, for example, and the Network were eager to experiment with hypo-drugs.) They may even have made him an offer in the past, which he refused, because children and idealism. With Jamie gone, and Hasegawa both a murderer and a zone-trespasser, the Network's head-hunters have a much stronger argument for getting Hasegawa on board -- and he agrees, because it conveniently pulls him out of trial, and gives him a lab where he can experiment on anything he wants -- including the supercure that he thinks he owes to Jamie --, without being tied down by TCTF supervision, reports to WCG, etc. His initial "grant" with the Network didn't have to be Chrysalis-related at all (that's why I say it may be useful to imagine what he and Kerr had been working on before Jamie's death) -- they're hiring him merely because he is a capable scientist and because it's an optimal moment to snatch him. At least on the face of it, that's what it looks like. Hasegawa betrays the bad guys' trust by shifting from his initial "work" to the Chrysalis, and they repay him by taking over. --geyser (talk) 13:43, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
P.S. Of course all those details about the initial grant, or head-hunting, or previous research, are entirely optional. At the core of it, I am just saying that Hasegawa's "application" with the Syndicate probably didn't have "supersoldiers, yay!" as a selling point, or even "deadly flowering bush cure, yay!". The initial project description needed to be tedious enough (or vague enough), to give the Syndicate a fair chance to pretend they didn't care what Hasegawa & Kerr were up to, as long as it was illegal (and thus potentially lucrative). If they cared, they at least pretended not to, enough to fool Kerr -- and they wouldn't have been able to turn a blind eye if the project was clearly defined from the beginning. So, like I said elsewhere, even if Hasegawa & Kerr were already close to growing human Chrysalises, their grant still would probably have looked like this: "We are going to experiment with Phase-induced mutation of living cells. We'll let you know when we move from lettuce to mice." -- and if they weren't 100% sure what to look for when they started, their initial grant could just have been for a vaguely illegal variation of their previous research. --geyser (talk) 14:47, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
P.P.S. The catch here is that Hasegawa is special to us, but to the Network/Syndicate he was one of many. They (the Network/Syndicate) were struggling with the TCTF's crackdown and with their disrupted client base. They weren't just trying to grab all the intellectual and technological assets they could get, they were also looking for new product niches, new things (or even thinglets) to black-market-ize. So any decent scientist who has worn out his welcome with the WCG is welcome -- whether he has a promising project or not. --geyser (talk) 15:04, 9 June 2020 (CEST)

The Elusive Pathogen

"Somewhat alarmingly, 'investigators fail to identify the DNA trace of the virus' -- which may mean that there is no trace at all, or that there is a DNA, but one that is unknown to science. English speakers please help: is it the latter?"

This just means that the virus could not be identified by its DNA. Almost as if it was something alien to Earth… --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

Oh, OK, so an undocumented DNA trace rather than no DNA trace at all. To me that's not necessarily alien. Can just be a remnant from pre-WCG biowarfare that mutated out of control and/or was too classified for the CDC to know about. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Right, I shouldn't have put it that way. In fact having DNA would probably rule out extraterrestrial life. But you already know my theory about the Daodan being from Earth, but from another epoch. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)

The Quest For Resilience

Any basis for your speculation that the Chrysalis is related to the Screaming Cells? --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

I am not saying they're related. Screamers were important for Bungie West's Oni2, that's why I don't feel inclined to trivialize them. But the only common points between a Screamer and a Daodan is that they're both peeking/leaking into our world from the Phase, and that they're both immaterial and noisy (à la St. Elmo's fire). A Screamer's sentience (at least as far as we're concerned) seems limited to "Screamer Hungry! Must Eat.", whereas the Daodan (for all intents and purposes) seems smart enough to regulate cancer (the Chrysalis eats you up from the inside, but somehow you are still "whole", physically able and more or less sane at any given moment -- that's nothing short of miraculous). --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
The other similarity I pointed out recently (not here yet, but on that other page) is that the Screamers are seemingly eager to go back to the Phase where they belong, and won't stick around looking for food unless they're "pinned" by the warhead (M3GMw9_warhead). It's this kind of device that I call a "phase hook" -- something that Oni's scientists use either for "fishing" an entity out of the Phase or to keep it from going back. The Daodan, too, would vanish into the Phase (and leave Konoko with an inert Chrysalis) unless it was "hooked" onto her body somehow. Kind of like trailing Daodan glow particles die out after a while, and new ones are generated only inside Konoko's body where the Chrysalis is. In my view, the Chrysalis is the "hook" -- cell-sized transdimensional portals that allow the Daodan to come through and do its work (powering the symbiosis and coordinating it). The more extended the "integration" is, the more densely the portals are distributed in Konoko's body, the larger the energy throughput and informational bandwidth between the "phase god" (Daodan) and its "proxy" (the Chrysalis). Not forcing new terms/concepts onto you, just trying alternative wording, but really saying the same thing as before. Or maybe I'm still brainstorming. I dunno LOL. --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Makes sense, broadly. I've already been playing with the concepts of energy bandwidth and information bandwidth; see the section "Is 'Imago' really Imago?" in my Polylectiloquy and also Oni2:Slaves_of_War/Story#Wilderness. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)

Accidental Discovery

Just because I'll never stop pointing it out, E.C. Segar's 1936 comic strip is the first hard-SF example of a xenoimpregnation, giving a process which explained the merging of an entity from our world (in this case, an African Hooey Hound, specifically, her reproductive cells) with a higher-dimensional life form. --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

That's nice, yes. "Life cells" and "germination" do not necessarily refer to the impregnation of reproductive cells, though, so that's your own contribution (Segar-Scen theory?). --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
I'll have to reply to the rest of this page later, but I just wanted to say that I don't think that's my contribution. Note that the phrase referring to the Hooey Hound is "free life cells", and that they "combined at a favorable time". Sounds like a she-dog in estrus, except phrased in delicate terms for a 1930s audience. I was led to that interpretation by reading about endogenous retroviruses. Frankly it's mind-blowing that someone wrote this over 80 years ago. (P.S.: My contribution is linking the supposedly-fictional "African Hooey Hound" to the Basenji, the world's oldest dog breed, which took a fair bit of research and I don't think anyone has publicly made the connection before. Segar was using a term that is now an anachronism, almost lost in time.) --Iritscen (talk) 21:37, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Researching 1930s comics is a honorable endeavour. I will refrain from criticism henceforth. My last two cents, though, since "hooey" is a joke word, kind of like Watterson's "Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie", how can you be sure that it's the actual Basenji that those fictional characters are talking about, and not, say, the undocumented common ancestor of the Basenji and the Dingo? --geyser (talk) 22:33, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
P.S. A propos mind-blowing stuff written NN years ago, I'd (re)recommend Lem's Summa Technologiae (1964) as a must-read, but AFAIK it still doesn't have an English translation. --geyser (talk) 22:56, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
"Hooey" is a slang term meaning "nonsense", not to be confused with the first name Huey. But in this case the name is onomatopoetic, as the Basenji makes a distinct "hooooo-ey" call. This is quite different from the dingo's "arrooo". Also, note the curled tail on the Basenji and its propensity for standing on its back feet, which inspired Eugene the Jeep's appearance and behavior. Segar would not have been thinking of a now-extinct ancestor species; it's only recent DNA evidence that links them to the dingo. My guess is that dog breeders had not settled on the name Basenji at the time of the strip, when the dogs were just being imported from Africa (they were introduced to the U.S. in the 1930s). --Iritscen (talk) 23:12, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
Hm. OK. (I wasn't suggesting "Huey" as a joke word, rather "gooey" and "kablooie".) Not by the way at all, I tried to think of older examples of "xenoimpregnation" in popular culture (fiction). Couldn't think of non-human females, but the Immaculate Conception came to mind, and Zeus's mortal children, and probably many more in Hindu culture and whatnot. Sure, that kind of stuff is never presented as a kindred "life cell" from a "fourth-dimensional [sic] world", but the estrus part is there, at least. --geyser (talk) 00:50, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Good point, I suppose we'd have to count impregnation by god if we're really trying to go back. (Little bit of trivia for you, the teaching of the Immaculate Conception is actually that Mary was born without sin; no relation to the teaching of the Virgin Birth. I'm willing to bet even a lot of Catholics don't realize this.) --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Indeed I meant the Virgin Birth thing, although I wouldn't say the Immaculate Conception has no relation whatsoever. It's the same Mary, and there were discussions about how maybe the IC wasn't just about the miraculous lack of original sin, but also about the lack of personal sin (by choice) right up to the Virgin Birth, and how maybe Mary was conceived without Anne and Joachim actually doing it (or liking it)... But you're still right, of course, I meant the Virgin Birth. --geyser (talk) 10:36, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
P.S. You may find it interesting that in Russian (as opposed to other languages), the term "Nyeporochnoye zachatiye" -- i.e. "immaculate (lit. sinless) conception" -- is used both for Christ and for Mary, and by default it's used for Christ. There is no separate term for "virgin birth" or "virgin conception". In Latin there's "Virginalis conceptio" (Christ) as opposed to "Immaculata conceptio" (Mary). That sort of explains why my Soviet-Russian mind naturally picked the words "Immaculate Conception" up there. --geyser (talk) 23:05, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
I see, that explains a lot. This seems to be the result of the schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism (see here). The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was not declared dogma by the Pope until 1854. My goodness, this was a far-ranging conversation, wasn't it? We went from Popeye to Popery. --Iritscen (talk) 19:50, 17 June 2020 (CEST)

<end of page>

wind whistling
Is it too much to ask for a category on newly-created pages? --Iritscen (talk) 20:55, 6 June 2020 (CEST)

It's work in progress at this point, for your eyes and 'Dox's. Your SoW stuff doesn't even turn up in search, so there's that. Once I consider that TNZ is showable (at this rate it shouldn't take long... well, maybe a couple of months), I'll not only cat it, I'll link to it from Oni2, from every Added Value section, and maybe from the Main page as well :P --geyser (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2020 (CEST)
It's okay, I fixed it :-p There's really no reason for a page to go uncategorized, ever. --Iritscen (talk) 02:59, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
Tell that to all the Konoko images, and to your BGi writeups that don't show up in search. If slapping a cat on this particular page made you happy here and now, then I'm glad too. ^_^ --geyser (talk) 10:36, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
I honestly have no idea what you are talking about when you say that. My work is as search-indexed as anything else on the wiki. The BGI pages show up in a search for "BGI", are in the BGI category, and are linked to from BGI and AE:BGI. It would indeed be nice if all the images were categorized by the character(s) they depict. I called for that work to be done on Current events, but haven't had the time for it, nor has anyone else shown an inclination to start helping with the wiki while you've been away. Thank you for at least cat.ing the Konoko pics. --Iritscen (talk) 14:45, 8 June 2020 (CEST)
THESE THREE PAGES (and THIS other one) do not show up in Search, and aren't linked from anywhere prominent (except maybe AE:BGI, but it has an quasi-"obsolete" banner at the top). So you can cat them all you like, people casually looking up BGI won't ever know they're there. I'm not complaining, mind you, let alone throwing stones -- I managed to find them in the end, and that's good enough for me. I would have loved it if you had refrained from slapping a cat on "my" page, but I won't hold it against you. Everyone is entitled to as much pigheadedness as he can carry. --geyser (talk) 15:37, 9 June 2020 (CEST)
You're going to have to be more specific. What search terms do *not* turn up those pages? What terms would you expect to work? To be clear, I don't actually care if the BGI pages "show up" anywhere. They're my own private plan and were not intended to be integrated into the wiki. They lived in personal Google Docs for years until I shut down my GDrive account. --Iritscen (talk) 03:23, 10 June 2020 (CEST)
Try searching for a sentence from those pages and you will see (I think it's just that "User:" and "User_talk:" are not search-indexed in general). It's totally OK if you don't care about the public visibility of those pages. It's just that I had the same semi-private attitude about this TNZ page in its current form -- my explanation thereof wasn't good enough to prevent a hasty cat from you, and that's fine too, I guess. --geyser (talk) 00:46, 12 June 2020 (CEST)
Apologies for any miscommunication we seem to have had. My assumption was that anything placed in a main namespace such as Oni2: was fodder for public commentary, and anything under User: was private ramblings, unless otherwise labeled. --Iritscen (talk) 16:27, 12 June 2020 (CEST)


Canon quotes

  1. Quote: Project goals remain unclear: Commander Griffin seems content to stabilize the host/Daodan symbiote for as long as possible. If she is intended as a contingency of some kind the team has recommended cryofreeze as an all around safer alternative to keeping the organism active and evolving, however slowly.
  2. Quote: Some of this stuff looks like atmospheric processing equipment. I can't believe I KNOW that! Maybe that means I'm a nerd?
  3. Quote: 1) Worldwide infiltration of Atmospheric Conversion Centers
  4. Quote: 2) Modification of ACC core filtration systems with smuggled parts


  1. I hope you can appreciate Angel's eerily fitting advice in "Destroy the Destroyer": Don't give up! This creature may be immortal in its own realm, but in this reality it cannot survive without a host, and that makes it vulnerable. When it becomes flesh and blood, it can be hurt, even killed. You just need to know where to aim.
  2. G.C. How do you plead?
    J.J. Not guilty! My experiments are only theoretical, and completely within legal boundaries.
    G.C. We believe you actually... created something.
    J.J. "Created something?" Hah! That would be... irresponsible! and unethical! I would never, ever... <Stitch is revealed> ...make... more than one.
  3. Strictly speaking, when the sci-goon says "You...you're the other prime symbiote!", this may imply -- even if a bit of a stretch -- that Konoko is merely the only prime symbiote outside the sci-goon's ordinary scope, i.e., that there may be multiple familiar prime symbiotes at the Syndicate, but only one that has been grown over at the TCTF, and thus qualifies as an "other" (unfamiliar), or even (arguably) as a "the other". Also, there may have been another prime symbiote at the Syndicate, but if he's dead-ish now (like, I dunno, from a broken neck), then that would leave only Muro as "the" prime symbiote, and Mai as "the (only) other".
  4. Actually, that's only half true: it feels like well-forgotten old stuff rather than 100% new brainstorming. When I elaborated on Barabas HERE, I already brought up the "paradigm of controlled technology" and implied that new symbiotes (at least Barabas) may have been deliberately limited in their abilities, e.g., by installing a barrier/interface that keeps the Chrysalis from infiltrating the brain. However, at that point I hadn't given much thought to the ssob and uwlb codes, and didn't read much into "Daodan core technology", either.
  5. Even if Laplace didn't feel the need to mention God in his treatise about celestial bodies, he did mention a demon. Unlike Maxwell's demon, Laplace's demon is huge, and is really God in disguise.
  6. The not-so-subtle ACC raid in chapters 7 and 8 is something completely different from how Muro had been managing ACCs until then. I don't have an answer yet as for what business Muro had at the ACC -- or at Vago BioTech, for that matter.