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Who (or what) is Minerva?
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Author:  Terrapin [ Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:19 pm ]
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NOTE: In light of recent suggestions and ideas, this post has been revised to reflect new theories. All original information remains, but new components have been added directly after those they add to or replace.

Well, as much as I hate to debunk your obviously well thought out observations, I must admit that during my absence from these forums, and after reading Adam’s Rock, Paper, Shotgun interview, I believe I have finally figured out exactly what Minerva is. Feel free to call me an insane crackpot – I have no sure way of knowing if I’m right at all, and constructive criticism will help us all find the right answer. So without further ado, here we go again.

First, I can safely assume the following to be true:

1: [b]We “knowâ€

Author:  capthavoc123 [ Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:51 pm ]
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Hmm...after reading that theory, the first thing that came to my mind was that perhaps Minerva is either Dr. Collette Green or Dr. Gina Cross from Half-Life: Decay.

Only problem with that is that Drs. Green and Cross were still around for the resonance cascade.

Author:  Bill Masen [ Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:11 am ]
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I don't have a theory really as to who or what Minerva is, but to me it's clear how she feels about the player. Her tone changes as you progress through the map, which has several possible explanations. It could be the trivial answer, Adam's tone shifted as he wrote each episode, not quite matching the tone from the previous one. But I can't remember which parts the tone shifted greatly and I never really knew when the episodes changed.

A non-trivial answer is that she really hates the player, really really hates him. Somewhere it said that the player's continued existence seemed more sport than assumption to Minerva. Maybe it's just because he's Combine. Maybe she had something to do with the creation of the Combine. It seems like there's more than just hatred, too. She not only cruel at the beginning, but also detached. Perhaps she tries to avoid letting even her hatred through because she feels guilty and letting her guard down might be subversive to the whole operation.

Then her tone becomes more human. It could be that she feels less guilty knowing that one of the combine, someone she's helping, is doing a lot of good for humanity. Her sympathy could be from the fact that something she had a hand in creating, something dehumanized, now is behaving human and suffering a fate she decided for him. Whether or not it's proof, my favorite line is when she mentions that every moment he, the player, lives is an insult to the Combine.

Enough with my non-committal theory. I'd bet a solid hay penny Adam doesn't know who Minerva is. Though he knows how she acts, how she feels and what her response would be to any particular situation.

Author:  locworks [ Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:27 am ]
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Bill Masen wrote:
I'd bet a solid hay penny Adam doesn't know who Minerva is. Though he knows how she acts, how she feels and what her response would be to any particular situation.

He knows perfectly well who or what she is. The backstory is most elegant, I must say.

Author:  Terrapin [ Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:19 pm ]
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locworks wrote:
Bill Masen wrote:
I'd bet a solid hay penny Adam doesn't know who Minerva is. Though he knows how she acts, how she feels and what her response would be to any particular situation.

He knows perfectly well who or what she is. The backstory is most elegant, I must say.

Any chance this is some kind of hint?

Minerva was human, a teleport experiment went awry, and as a result, she is now a post-human or entirely non-human entity. So she is both a who and a what. That was the cause. The effect is the Combine being brought to Earth, and Minerva, ultimately at fault for the death of billions of her (formerly) fellow humans, seeks redemption, albeit in a very non-standard way.

Very clean. Very elegant. Error, transformation, redemption.

Am I heading in the right direction? Could you tell me if I was?

Author:  ZeroMachine [ Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:02 am ]
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Terrapin wrote:
Okay, no more point form preludes, I promise. I should note, however, that The Orange Box is excluded from this theory. Nothing in TOB conflicts with my theory, and in fact does a great deal to support it. However, seeing as it is a more recent addition to the HL universe, I doubt Adam took it into account when making the Minerva plot.

I know this was posted a little while ago, but I had to put in my two cents about this comment... although it is resonable to believe that he didn't take TOB into account when writing the story, you never know. After all, Valve did help him complete Metastasis. That makes it possible that they told him what happened beforehand.

And after readng your theory, Terrapin, I have to say... it's my favorite so far.

Author:  Terrapin [ Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:34 am ]
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:D Thanks for the encouragement - it's always nice to hear kind words about one's own thoughts and opinions.

Second, that's a very good thought you had; Adam did visit Valve several months before Metastasis' release, and did indeed express the ending's of both Portal an Ep2 in suitable emoticons. This shows that he did play both games in more or less their final state.

Not to commit excessive hubris here, but I think this lends a bit more substance to my theory. We learn a great deal about how the non-physical realm operates in Ep2, and how it goes well beyond the concept of "Vortessence". Perhaps what happened to Minerva is similar to what was done to Alyx, only on a much, much larger scale.

Author:  vahagn [ Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:28 am ]
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First of all, hello to all the players of this fantastic mod, which could as well be called an official "episode" by its own right!

Now, to the speculation

While I must agree with most of Terrapin's theory, there is something that doesn't fit to me...
I mean, if the whole theory is correct, why should Minerva feel guilty for what the combine have done? I'm quite sure that her "investigation" is also an act of "redemption", trying to repair something terrible she seems to have done to her former fellows humans.

If I'm not wrong, it's hinted that Minerva has in some way "worked" with the combine, than obviously turned against them. So, why shouldn't we think that instead of Xen she was teleported in a place were the combine, and not the Vorts found her? (this place cannot be Xen, indeed, since the HL storyline shows that the combine have NOT access to Xen, which is a shelter for the Vorts and a relè for the humans).

This place could be, of course, the world beyond the portal, where Minerva could have become what she is now, maybe trying to save herself from the terrible teleport failure.
At first I thought the world beyond the portal was actually the Vorts' homeworld, because of the presence of antlions, but it is not possible: the Vorts escaped to Xen because they were being enslaved by the Combine, so we must assume that the Combine had access to their planet, but Minerva is clearly surprised to see combine troops crossing the portal.

The combine could have saved her, just to exploit her knowledge, they learned about earth and the interesting teleport technology there, then just discarded her: that's where she "repents" (though I doubt she would admit this to herself!), and tries to repair what she has done. What makes me think that Minerva had a strong tie with the combine, other than what has been said above in this thread, is this quote from the mod homepage:

Your ancients were superstitious, deluded zealots, prone to inflation of already impossible, beautiful claims. My adopted forefathers are different, their scattered, discarded playthings more conducive to a meaningful imposition of my thoughts upon our captors.

I intend this as "the human race (to which I belonged) is silly, and easy to trick: in fact Breen believed all the bul*sh*t of the Universal Union. The combine, on the other hand, are different, because it's easier for me to "reprogram" their discarded toy (the player), imposing in his mind my own (grievous) thought about "our benefactors".

Well, that's enough for now, hope the post was not too long and not too misspelled, and of course not too crap...
Thank you for reading

Author:  Terrapin [ Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:21 pm ]
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You make a very good point; while it very well could have been the Vortigaunts that made Minerva what she is now, seeing as the Vorts have not been seen whatsoever throughout Metastasis, the Combine seem more likely.

To paraphrase what we have so far: Minerva gets teleported to some Combine held territory, and is, either by choice or by force, made into a post-human entity existing mostly or entirely within the non-physical realm. The Combine trace her origins back to our universe, and specifically, Earth. Minerva escapes back to Earth (Someplace Else), and tries to warn us, but goes unheard - Gordon Freeman does his thing, and the (second?) resonance cascade occurs. Now with motive and opportunity, the Combine invade. Remember: when the first RC occurred (the one that teleported human Minerva), the Combine had no knowledge of our location and invade-ability due to our careless use of science. When they do learn of us from post-human Minerva, the RC is over, and they can no longer invade - this is why they are fully prepared to invade as soon as the Black Mesa Incident occurs: they had been waiting on this opportunity for years. Now, wracked with very human guilt, Minerva flees to Earth, determined to correct her mistakes.

Gah, it fells like we're so insanely close to figuring this out. Keep the ideas coming!

Author:  Yar Kramer [ Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:28 am ]
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First, follow Adam's advice and try not to overthink it. Once it's outright revealed, you're going to be so simple and obvious you'll be kicking yourself for not getting it, and at the same time, much more awesome.

I recall, right at the end of Depth Charge, wondering "where" I'd end up once the detonation went off -- would I end up in Xen? Minerva's Otherworld? Someplace else (sorry) entirely? Nope! You're in exactly the same place, except with the shit beaten out of you and the entire installation around you. A much more compelling situation all around.

I'll try to think along those lines, though I haven't come up with anything really substantial besides: "She's a human. She all but says she is. Duh."

Author:  Terrapin [ Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:28 pm ]
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Okay, good point. Let's forget all this quasi-physical meta-existence vortessence stuff - it's a bit convoluted, and just doesn't seem to mesh with the way Adam thinks. But my theory isn't dead yet, I don't think.

Here are two of Minerva's quotes:
I can't see you finding a more ... intellectual solution to that
armoured door below, at any rate.

But what would I know, all alone in this forsaken machine?

Found yourself staring into an abyss, with the suspicion that it's
naught but a mirror?

Don't worry, the feeling will soon pass - along with any other vestiges
of your humanity. These sickly, assimilated corpses were once human
just like yourself, remember.

I know exactly how it feels.

I'll get right to the point: somehow, likely in the oft-mentioned Original Black Mesa Incident, Minerva was critically injured. Then, via the Combine, or some other power, she was placed on a form of advanced life support - an advanced machine, which gave her a sort of technologically induced immortality, in addition to her other abilities.

So, yes, she was human, but now is something else. Like the headcrab zombies, and even like the bastard Perseus we play as, she is still essentially human, but has been merged with other, very non-human, forms of existence, trapped inside some alien life support system.

I hate to sound egotistical, but I think I'm on to something here. :D

NOTE: I have revised my original theory at the top of this page to reflect new ideas and suggestions - I would suggest you re-read it, just to make sure we're all on the same page.

Author:  Berrie [ Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:10 pm ]
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Both the Lux aeterna as the portal segment in the mod seem to suggest here adoptive parents are someone other than the combine.
What's intruiging is that they don't seem to be around any longer, for quite some time even. So how are they her adoptive parents.

I also think we are giving her too much credit when we atribute the events of the combine invasion too her.

Author:  Terrapin [ Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:28 pm ]
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Berrie wrote:
Both the Lux aeterna as the portal segment in the mod seem to suggest here adoptive parents are someone other than the combine.
What's intruiging is that they don't seem to be around any longer, for quite some time even. So how are they her adoptive parents.

I also think we are giving her too much credit when we atribute the events of the combine invasion too her.

Firstly, welcome to the Minerva Forums. On behalf of all the other acolytes, we hope you enjoy your stay.

As to your theories, you may very well be right in that her "adoptive forefathers" are not the Combine. However, besides the obviously still extant Xenian species, we have no one else to work with. One obvious possibility is some kind of advanced human colony, i.e. time travel, although much more elegant and less cliched that that that makes it sound, but then, Minerva does directly compare her forefathers to humanity, implying she became what she is (according to my theories, a post-human merged with technology) through some distinctly non-human force. But then, sufficiently advanced humans may well not see themselves as human at all, a belief which may have been passed on to Minerva, whether by choice or involuntary indoctrination. But I repeat myself.

With regards to the Combine, the Combine invasion can not be attributed to any one person, as a simple review of current Half-Life mythos will make very clear. But the first rule of Minerva is never to underestimate Minerva's power, followed closely by the second rule - never underestimate Minerva's power. :D . Minerva claims to have had a hand in inventing teleport technology, and that her warnings went unheard - if you read my theory, you'll understand that, as far as I can tell, the OBMI seems to have resulted in Minerva, directly or indirectly, changing from human to something very distinctly inhuman.

So no, we can't lay all the blame on poor Minerva, but as we well know, at the center of all of this, lies one former human being, in her own words a "manufactured war criminal", who is only trying to set things right. And so far, I'd say she's doing a hell of a job.

Author:  vahagn [ Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:30 pm ]
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Both the Lux aeterna as the portal segment in the mod seem to suggest here adoptive parents are someone other than the combine.

Yes, it's a good point. What made me think of the combine as the "adoptive forefathers" was just that line from the main page of MINERVA (where, according to Adam, there's still much to be discovered...), but I also was thinking to myself that the theory of the combine "forefathers" was not completely satisfying.
Anyway, I don't think we should expect some "third party alien race": introducing a new alien-cosmic-time-travel-psycho-supernatural power, just to explain MINERVA's existence would be poor solution. It's not funny making a plot like that, and I think Adam takes a lot of fun in making his plots! A good plot, mainly for a mod, is made by linking characters and events in an alternative but coherent way, making all happen according to a pre-existent universe and storyline (that of half-life).
In half-life we have:
Gordon Freeman

Excluding the humans from the possible "forefathers", as well as the Antlions and Gordon Freeman (I think), there's not many other possibilities...
However, neither the Combine nor the Vorts can be connected with the world beyond the portal. The Combine had nothing to do with it prior to what was seen in Metastasi (the portal), and the Vorts because their old world was successfully invaded by the combine, so it can't be the one beyond the portal either. And the hour here is definitely too late to start quelling about the Gman...

...this "forefathers" stuff is hard! :?

I also think we are giving her too much credit when we atribute the events of the combine invasion too her.

Well, maybe it's not her fault, but she seems to feel a bit guilty for it. It could be my impression, but I think that regardless of her effective role in provoking the invasion, she feels responsable.

Author:  Kenny [ Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:12 pm ]
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If she is on alien life support as stated in a previous theory, I have two very odd turns of events in mind-

1- The entire game is Minerva's dying fantasy, a la "Eternal Sonata" (which is the version I wouldn't like at all, frankly)

2- Minerva may at some point in the series direct the player to her location and beg him to kill her? This might draw some issues out such as the Terry Shiavo thing a year or so ago.

But yes, I doubt either of these are even near the mark.

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