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Someplace Else
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Author:  sortie [ Tue Sep 30, 2008 3:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Someplace Else

Yesterday I looked at the homepage of Someplace Else. I noticed how Adam thanked the members of the Natural Selection forums for commenting his screenshots and couldn't help wondering if these posts were still around. I visited the forums and did a lot of poking until I found Adam's account. Following that I searched for all his posts and began reading them chronologically finding rare pieces of information, I'm not even sure if I have found all the information yet, but let's save that for another time.

It seems as Adam joined the Natural Selection forums on Feb 07, lurking for a few days and finally on Feb 09 2001 posted the following short story followed by screenshots of Verc_18 (Someplace Else), today only the text is available:

"Seargeant Morley? Sit right down."

General Goldstein's office was cramped, underlit and noisy, much like the rest of the UCC Rosencreutz. I cleared a stack of books and computer parts off a small chair.

"You're probably wondering why you're here, right?"

I looked at him, unsure as to how to answer. Ignoring my gaze, he lifted some papers off a rollscreen and flicked it on.

"In the late twentieth century, an unusual technological construct, presumably of alien origin, was discovered on Earth. It was, how shall we put it, lost within a couple of years, but not before a fairly intensive survey was made. Some of the details remain."

His fingers pressed the rollscreen, and pictures scrolled into view. Turning the rollscreen around so I could see it better, he looked at me, his finely lined face illuminated by the blue-green vistas displayed.

A huge, infinite sky, holding ancient weathered metal constructions embedded into some kind of organic-looking material, almost like rock. Bird-like creatures, unlike any animal I had seen before, real or imagined, flitted between long, indecipherable spikes.

"Sir? While I've never been to Earth, I'm pretty sure these weren't taken there."

The General's face assumed a pained expression. He opened his mouth, then closed it again, as if he had changed his mind.

"Morley, when this was discovered, we already knew humans weren't alone in this universe, albeit in a somewhat surprising way. This just complicated matters. It was long suspected that the original builders of this construct would have left other traces of their existence, and now with the Ariadne Arm problems, we feel we need a little help.

"So, why am I here?"

"I thought that would have been obvious by now."

This of course left a lot of questions unanswered, but was obviously related to the Someplace Else mod set in Xen. I googled UCC Rosencreutz and found the following related story by Adam, as a back story for an (lost and unreleased?) ns_sugerlump, which I'd like to know why it's called, all screenshots are gone, but it should have something to do with a dropship and aliens. The story I found was remarkably interesting

Sergeant George Morley - UCC Rosencreutz (temporary assignment by TSA)

So, why are you here?

Initially, to serve as protection for the crew on the UCC Rosencreutz, and due to recent events, we're about to perform an extraction mission on the surface of Sefirot.


Fourth, and largest, moon of the sole planet in this system, a gas giant.

This system? The planet?

I am not at liberty to say.

In other words, you don't know. So, what is the mission?

Recently, contact was lost with the research base on Sefirot. It was soon possible to resume transmissions, but unforeseen issues arose.

'Soon possible'? That's a nice way of describing two weeks of chaos on-board the UCC Rosencreutz, attempting to reboot the base's mainframe. And 'issues'?

The location of the base's operatives has not yet been determined.

And the cargo module? Nice job of quarantining this place, by the way.

A standard cargo module had been directed towards the UCC Rosencreutz by an out-system TSA supply ship. Near arrival of the module, it was discovered that the supply ship was subject to a class 4 infestation. Due to a miscalculated trajectory, the module crash-landed near the Sefirot base.

Thirty-six hours later, all transmissions with the base ceased. That was quick.

When contact with the base returned, an infestation had taken hold, presumably due to alien material on the cargo module. The infestation was still in the early stages of development, possibly a class 1. The crew quarters of the base were still unbreached, and no damage was evident.

Which doesn't exactly explain where the crew went, does it.

It is assumed the crew have taken refuge in another part of the base.

Another part of the base, which happens not to be connected to the surveillance network? Yes, that sounds likely. Tell me, what was the purpose of this research base? Why the secrecy? Why come to this cold, useless, forgotten moon?

I... I don't know.

Yeah, you don't. The infestation's just an aside, isn't it. Something down there made forty-three people disappear, without a trace. Only clue was the mainframe. It hadn't crashed, had it?

We believe it suffered memory corruption, which caused it to enter an infinite loop.

Infinite loop? You managed to get a partial memory dump. That wasn't a ####### infinite loop - that was some insanely complex program. Self-modifying code, endlessly re-writing itself. The entire network was filled with the stuff. The only thing left unchanged was the firmware, the only reason you got the damn thing rebooted. And the explanation?
I... I... I'm not at liberty to say.

Some explanation, eh? So, in an hour's time, you'll be on the surface, confronting ####-knows-what with the additional fun of a class 2 infestation, with no idea as to what has happened. Have you got anything to say?
I... I'm afraid.

And I'm sure more information is available, I'll search for some later today, perhaps.

But what does this mean? What have we learnt? Which parts of the story have changed since, which is parts of Parallax and which Natural Selection? I'd love to get your interpretations on this as well, but here's mine.

In the beginning of Someplace Else, Minerva mentions a soldier that almost figured out what had happened.

***INCOMING MESSAGE*** 04/01/2002-13:52:56 ...

You know, I once met someone who almost realised what was going on.
A soldier, believe it or not. Way before your time.

Surprisingly, he seemed to understand. While the actual physics were
beyond him (plus that awkward word 'classified' made book learning
unlikely), his childlike curiosity quite endeared him to me.

It's a shame nobody learned from that incident.


Judging from the fragments regarding George Morley, it seems like something awful has happened Someplace Else. Something unknown has happened in an off-world research base. The whole crew has disappeared. An intelligent computer terminal had reset itself, all data gone, nothing but firmware left. Aliens had infected the base. A soldier with no idea what has happened, but with some ideas.

Could Minerva be referring to him in the above message from Someplace Else? Possibly, while the George Morley side-story hints a futuristic setting, the date and time of the story might have changed since.

***INCOMING MESSAGE*** 04/01/2002-14:07:49 ...

Aren't you trying to get home? Such enthusiasm towards this world
reminds me of someone. Remember that soldier, the bloodthirsty poet?

His predicament had to be recorded somewhere, even someplace
away from prying eyes. Such an incident, the second of its kind,
had to be remembered.

Second? You're the product of the third. Don't forget that.


Here's some more information on the incident. Judging from the Minerva Achieves, something critical happened in 1974. It has been common knowledge for quite a while that Parallax was a mod that told what, and it was recently discovered by Ace from these forums that these archives has been around since 2001. With that said it is proven that the MINERVA story was made years ago and Adam hasn't changed parts of it, especially not the 1974 part.

Third Incident? Judging from the date, April 01 2002 13:13:01, and since Half-Life 1 takes place in-between 2000 and 2009 (according to the manual), this is probably the BMRF Incident that Minerva refers to.

Second Incident? If George Morley is that soldier, according to the Someplace Else-Complex's original Earth Origin and that it has been 'lost' since, it may involve a process that teleported the whole complex to Xen. Remember, the complex has a teleporter in the main chamber, who knows it limitations, esspecially if an incident happens. This could very well be what happened in 1974.The achieves state that BMRF are experimenting with new 'Transportation Technologies', that we all know is Teleportation.

First Incident? This might be what happened in 1974, or prior. Little is known about this Incident though.

Based on all the above, this is my current theory:

  • George Morley is a soldier of the American TSA that has been sent to the Someplace Else-Complex.
  • Minerva has had contact with him, he almost realizing what is going on, him being the Soldier Minerva mentions every once in a while.
  • The event that caused the Someplace Else-Complex to be teleported to Xen was either the First or the Second of the incidents Minerva refers to.
  • Something has happened on the Complex leaving it no longer under human control, a terminal with code automatically reprogramming itself, an intelligent machine, has lost all data and only the firmware is left.
  • The third incident is the BMRF Incident that caused the Combine Takeover in Half-Life.
  • Minerva played a large role in mankind's discovery of teleportation.
  • The complex has a surveillance network, this way Minerva can track the player.

In addition these conclusions lead the me to believe in the following theory, which I'm yet to prove, or disprove.

  • The Main Frame in the complex is intelligent, and has always been, or for quite a while.
  • The American government found the complex on Earth. It was studied very closely and much was learnt from it.
  • The artificial intelligence in the complex is Minerva, Joyeuse, or whatever she refers to herself as.
  • She helped(?) mankind develop teleportation, and knew it would end wrong, but nobody listened to her. (Known)
  • An incident happened that caused the complex to teleport to Xen, with Minerva in it.
  • At some point the soldier gets there, just after the second incident.
  • Minerva was the main frame, but now that only the firmware is gone, she is too.
  • Minerva is still monitoring the complex when the player gets there in 2002, because of the third incident.
  • She makes the player enable a teleporter to Earth. This is her way out as well.

My conclusion is that Minerva used to be an alien mainframe set in the Someplace Else complex, an artificial intelligence that has become god-like since, therefore the name.

Nothing is proven. Discuss.

Author:  sortie [ Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Someplace Else

By accident I found the following quote on the developer wiki:
Okay, this is kinda spoilerish, but ... is "the soldier who almost figured it out" Adrian Shephard? —Yar Kramer 22:30, 3 Dec 2006 (PST)

It was referring to an expansion for Opposing Force I'd been working on, but which never got finished - there are various discoveries to be made (http://www.hylobatidae.org/minerva/blog ... ent_id_863) in Someplace Else, hidden away somewhere or other... —Cargo Cult (info, talk) 04:08, 5 Dec 2006 (PST)

The expansion pack for OpFor is Parallax, and thus Adam stated that the soldier actually is the player in parallax. Who'd have knewn that we played as Seargeant George Morley in Parallax-Test4.zip. ;-)

In addition Adam links to a person who published the details of the secrets found in Someplace Else.

//My random storyline babling follows in newest news post

I was compeled to look through various bits of someplace else again. and there were quite a few interesting things I found.

there is a game_text that gives you the URL i2.webhop.org/ labled incident 2. Which redirects here

from a different hidden message:

"Aren't you trying to get home? Such enthusiasm towards this world
reminds me of someone. Remember that soldier, the bloodthirsty poet?

His predicament had to be recorded somewhere, even someplace
away from prying eyes. Such an incident, the second of its kind,
had to be remembered.

Second? You're the product of the third. Don't forget that."

this site is the site of the minerva tale -> this site is incident two
+ Xen has no real time and space restrictions

Does this mean, that if Someplace else/paralex was incident 3, and even though it took place in 2002, that this minerva tale is incident 2?

and does it then mean that our perceus is the bloodthirsty poet, and that the final chapter of minerva is set on Xen?

//run seek answers

While some of the speculation is incorrect as proven in my above post, it is revealed that i2 means Incident Two and that refers to Parallax, and the webhop link redirects to this very place. I think we're getting somewhere. Now to poke through the source files for Someplace Else again!

Author:  Cargo Cult [ Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Someplace Else

Heh. I'd completely forgotten that brief attempt at a multiplayer offshoot of Parallax - it would have been aligned with the Natural Selection backstory, thus would've been set in the pretty distant future. And had no effect whatsoever on past events.

Think of it as a minor, intellectual excursion - an alternate future without the Combine, as it were. (Nobody outside of Valve would have even heard of this 'Combine' thing at the time I wrote that stuff, anyhow.) Therefore, Someplace Else doesn't refer to ns_sugarlump, and nor does anything else. Although ns_sugarlump would have referred to the whole Parallax backstory thingy, which also got 'borrowed' for MINERVA...

(Oh, and Incident Two was going to be a mini-map-pack for Opposing Force, but that too grew out of control. Set in the mid-nineties, and was what Someplace Else was babbling about!)

Author:  sortie [ Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Someplace Else

That greatly clears up some questions. Still, details are revealed about Someplace Else in the fragments, the problem is just figuring out which parts of the story are part of the MINERVA storyfamily and which parts of the story are just part of Natural Selection.

Incident Two was set in nid-nineties, and Parallax in 1974. That clears up some stuff, a shame none of the mods made it to the final stage.

Oh, and if ns_sugerlump still is on some harddrive of yours, or screenshots, I'd really like to have a look.

Author:  Yar Kramer [ Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Someplace Else

Oh yeah, I forgot about that little question I asked. ;) Also: A straight answer from Adam? Gasp! (Well, okay, I know he's fairly reliable about "you're actually not looking at the right material', but ...)

Also: it really says something about this discussion that, out of sixteen bullet points in Sortie's post, precisely one was known for certain, based on self-evidently unambiguous text by Adam. ... come to think of it, I'm tempted to say that's actually pretty good for this discussion ...

Author:  sortie [ Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Someplace Else

In addition I had the fun of searching for forgotten information all over the Internet, and actually finding something that even Adam forgot, and then making silly theories out of it. It was, however, fun to see how deep this MINERVA story-family goes, seems like the backstory was all planned out in 2001, and the Island idea for Metastasis is even older.

So much material, forgotten. We really need to expand Ace's list with all these fragments we've found, a central portal to all MINERVA-Related information ever found.

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