Wilderness Preserve

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I'm not sure yet about where this will go : maybe it's best merged with BioCrisis.

The Nausicaä parallel is so rich already, it definitely deserves a page of its own.

I'll be detailing it and splitting it up : consider this as an "Oni/Nausicaä" sandbox for now.

Wilderness Preserve

Fateful trespassing

Quote from the intro of CHAPTER 11 . DREAM DIVER

Hasegawa
[...]
We never should have left the city. But we wanted proof of what was being allowed to happen.
They called it a Wilderness Preserve. It was one of the Contaminated Zones, the dirty secrets that the government made it easy to ignore.
We knew that traveling there would brand us as enemies of the state. We thought we were prepared to deal with the consequences of our choice, but what happened was more horrible than anything we could have ever imagined.
On our way into the Zone, Jamie cut her leg. The wound became infected almost immediately. I'd never seen anything like it. She was dying in my arms and there was nothing I could do to save her. All I could do was ease her pain.
The world outside the Atmospheric Processors is poisonous. If something isn't done we are all doomed.
[...]

Flyover warning

Quoting a console from CHAPTER 04 . TIGER BY THE TAIL

WCG.subref.AirCOn Environmental Update >

Until further notice no Wilderness Preserve fly-overs will be permitted in the sectors specified in TCTF order 127-32-516. Scheduled flight plans that violate restricted airspace will have to be rerouted.

Pilots who have entered these sectors have reported biological contamination. TCTF coordinators have made it very clear that this directive will be enforced using any means necessary to ensure the isolation of the afflicted area.

Contact one of the Rescheduling Coordinators at NavCom Central with any questions.





Added value

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Just as in Miyazaki's Nausicaä, wildlife has become toxic, and spreads outwards from highly contaminated zones, threatening the human population.

Mankind is responsible for the poisoning in the first place, but now faces extinction for the following reason : while nature assimilates the poison and adapts to it, the human being has a history of shielding himself from his living medium.

The human logic is to not adapt physiologically, and alter the environment instead. In other words, Man has long substituted technological evolution to the biological one. That poses a problem when the environment changes are particularly violent : Man's unwilingness to adapt physiologically is paired with an inability to do so, in the event of e.g. a major environmental crisis.

Hasegawa's Daodan can be seen as an extreme (and desperate) way to reunite Man with Nature : indeed, the Daodan fundamentally endows humans with the atrophied faculty to adapt.

There's a bit of a parallel with Nausicaä's promotion of harmony between Mankind and Nature : however, the harmony brought about by the Daodan is somewhat more creepy (see the entry about "smart cancer" and following) than Miyazaki's fairy-tale-like message.

Nausicaä and Konoko have a lot in common :

  • innocent, caring and altruistic by nature
  • endowed with symbiotic "superpowers"
  • excelling in acrobatics and combat
  • sporting a strong sense of initiative
  • headstrong in
    • their quest for the truth
    • support of a sort of symbiosis between Mankind and the toxic environment it generated
  • ...

However, Oni's Daodan has a quite non-trivial biotechnological background, the details of which Konoko is disturbingly happy to overlook (as compared to Nausicaä, who experiments on toxins, and figures out the dual, regenerating role of the contaminated areas).

Konoko's actions (or Hasegawa's, for that matter) are consistent with the radically pessimistic assumption that the contaminated areas are here to stay and will only grow larger. Taken on its own that statement is the same as that of warrior princess Kushana, and most humans in Nausicaä's world.

But when it comes to the alternative to a Man/Nature struggle, it's very different in both tales. For Konoko/Hasegawa, the best thing humans can do is become part of the overall contamination : since the environmental damage is deemed irreversible, that's the only kind of harmony that can be achieved. Miyazaki's Nausicaä is infinitely more optimistic and constructive.

"Mankind as we knew it is doomed. The Chrysalis will change us all. Let's hope it's for the better."... Konoko's (Hasegawa's) message is close to that of Myazaki's story, where Nausicaä is the "spokesman" of the contaminated forest... except Nausicaä never means to be assimilated/alienated by the toxic environment : she points out a way for everything to go back to normal.

So, basically, Oni features a darker version of Nausicaä's dilemma : much more pessimistic about awareness and redemption. Since such a radical posit is necessarily somewhat trivial, there's much room/need for exploration and complexification. Could it be that Hasegawa and his daughter are overdramatizing/overlooking things?

To be continued...




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