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 Post subject: The portal and Minerva
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:37 pm 
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A thing that has been doing circles in my head recently...My apologies if this has come up earlier, I am unaware of it.

We all remember disabling the plasma buffers. As we enterned the room Minerva sent this message (beginning cut out):
Quote:
You may have the lives of billions resting upon your shoulders - but
still you soldier on, killing and maiming and destroying...

It's why I chose you. Please continue.


Since Minerva wants us to solely shut down the teleporter, the threat to those lives is connected to it. Now, the question that has been bothering me is...whose lives is the teleporter threatening?
Is there some superweapon yet to be retrieved from the other side that could kill the mankind? Or is the planet beyond yet to be "colonized" by the Combine and thus we are saving the people on the other side?

Ideas?


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 Post subject: Re: The portal and Minerva
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:41 am 
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I don't remember this specifically coming up before, there was some related discussion over yonder once upon a time.

I guess I just assumed it meant everybody on Earth. "Billions" seems to be in the right sort of range, and I assume that the combine were planning to wipe humans out, or at least genetically (or whatever) engineer them. And, I'd guess Minerva is planning to try to save humanity. She also mentioned that with the portal now they (the combine) can find her, and she's worried (or something to that effect). So, the existence of the portal puts her in danger, and thus also her ability to save humanity, and thus, ahem, the need to destroy the portal (via those plasma buffers) is necessary to save billions of lives?

I don't see any indication that the billions could be on the other side of the portal, though I guess it's possible. It just seems to introduce a lot more complication without any real reason. But, I think there's a lot more plot that we're not aware of yet. We have after all only played 1 of a planned 3 chapters I believe. That portal, the world beyond it, how it relates to Minerva and humanity, and I'm sure lots of other stuff is still a pretty big mystery. So, who knows!


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 Post subject: Re: The portal and Minerva
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:34 pm 
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I'm fairly certain that it does mean the end of humanity. Minerva says that the portal "conceals abandoned, eschatological secrets far beyond even [her] reckoning". So we know it has to do with the end of the world.

We know that the portal was not built by humanity as we know it, nor by the Combine, due to it's location (if they built it, why were they having so much trouble getting it working?). We also see several times the world the portal links to - a desert planet, looking barely able to support life. It's a desolated wasteland, but from the looks of the ruins we see through the portal, this was not always the case. Something other than the Combine wiped out whatever civilization lived there. Given the level of technology they must have possessed, having presumably built the portal, and that the Combine were not involved, I'm guessing they died more or less by their own hand, but I'm speculating now.

So I doubt we're saving anyone on the other side of the portal, but rather saving humanity from sharing their fate.


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 Post subject: Re: The portal and Minerva
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:47 pm 
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How do we know the portal isn't of combine origin? For starters there's not much evidence of them having trouble opening it, and even if they are, it's working smoother than the portals at Black Mesa, which were human designed. The tech is a work in progress, there'll always be teething problems.
The Combine seem to have a pretty good grasp of their technology, but all it takes is one man with a crowbar (and an HEV suit) to balls it all right up, so it's obviously not that robust.

As for the Other Side, all we can see is the brief area on the other side of the portal (you can noclip straight down for a better, but probably non-canon view). There's what looks like ruins, lots of sand and a few antlions, that's all we can see.

(they may not be intended to be ant lions, it might just be the easiest way for Adam to have something moving on the other side of the portal, without creating brand new models.)

Minerva seemed to be more worried by what the combine might be up to, rather than any specific sins, such as destroying who/whatever is on the Other Side. My best guess is some kind of advanced technology or information that the combine could get up to mischief with. (just a guess though.)


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 Post subject: Re: The portal and Minerva
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:29 am 
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To be honest, we know so little about the portal that at this point, we really can't do anything but speculate. We have but a couple images and some incredibly vague details from Minerva, and that's all. So I think it best to put as many theories as possible out there, so that as we get more information (eg when OoT comes out) we can just cross out the ones that don't work. But anyway, my rationalization for saying that the Combine didn't build the portal are thus:

1) Minerva notes that the radiation etc. given off by the portal is noticeably different from Combine technology. Minerva knows the Combine on an almost intimate level, so I think she'd know what to expect from a Combine portal.

2) Why would they put the portal on Earth, a place they have yet to fully conquer? They could just as easily have built it in Xen, or anywhere else where their dominion is absolute.

3) Minerva says that the shaft's built-in facilities are insufficient to operate the portal. That seems like an uncharacteristically large blunder for the Combine. My guess is they weren't planning on finding it, and discovered it while building the Headcrab factory.

4) Why build the portal underground, and not in a Citadel? We know they can do it, and Minerva even comments on this fact, so it likely was not placed there by choice.

5) Read this. It pretty much sums things up.


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 Post subject: Re: The portal and Minerva
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:35 pm 
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side note/digression
I'm not sure if Adam has ready any Charlie Stross (if not you should Adam), but some of his novels feature something called the Eschaton, which is basically an AI that underwent a singularity and effectively became a god, writting it's self into the quantum level of our universe.
Not really relevant but this is the sort of thing I thought of when I read:
Quote:
"conceals abandoned, eschatological secrets far beyond even [her] reckoning"

see this


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 Post subject: Re: The portal and Minerva
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:46 am 
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Interesting read, but "eschatological" is simply a term for a specific kind of apocalypse. So as cool as that would be, I doubt there's any connection.

Besides, Minerva's power really isn't that great, and she certainly isn't the ultra-messiah she'd like us to think she is. We all saw how fast she broke down once she saw the portal. She's incredibly smart, and very capable - perhaps even gifted - with technologies both human and alien (Combine, Xenian, etc). She also possesses knowledge several orders of magnitude beyond that of any human, on a vast array of subject matter. As I see it, she's basically a vaguely human computer geek with a massive superiority complex (complete with egotism and exaggerated grandeur), a troubled past, and a vendetta against all things Combine; and let's not forget the ever mysterious pastiche of contempt and adoaration for humanity. But I emphasize, seeing the portal brought all that down in minutes.

The key question we have to ask is: What could be so disturbing about the prospect of a single world falling into the wrong hands that even Minerva was abased? Naturally, we might think we've already answered that - whatever is there could give the Combine apocalyptic power. But they've had that for years now (I for one never understood why they didn't just release a poison into the air via their portal network, take tissue samples from the corpses, and clone whatever soldiers they wanted, but that's just me). Whatever had Minerva spooked had to be something really, really evil, but nothing comes to mind. Any ideas?


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