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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Having been inspired by all the posts on Westar's thread on the damage to the various ages http://mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=26793 I have been going all Sherlock Holmes on Gahreesen.

Originally I just wanted to see if the theory of the damage to the first building being caused by an attack has enough evidence to support it and present the evidence here. I am of course no Holmes so as my investigation progressed I brought in more people to help me look and come up with explanations of what we saw. The further we looked the bigger the scope of the investigation became and I began having trouble keeping all the information and implications straight in my head. I decided it is time to just post what I have got so far. A lot of it is probably chaff but I hope people will tolerate and help with the sifting. I will most likely use both IC and OCC points of view because I think here we need to consider both what we see before us and how we may have been intended to see it.

Let us begin with the written sources we have on Gahreesen as we so often rely on the written sources in the Myst universe. Primarily we have a notebook, located on one of the conference tables in the main building at Gahreesen, which contains transcriptions of the recordings a DRC investigator named Simpson made as he visited the age. The transcriptions seem piecemeal as Simpson appears to have recorded extensively as he walked around on multiple visits over about 7 months and the notebook is pretty brief (I think it is safe to assume the dates are in American style notation so Simpson visited from Nov. through June). There is a note on the outside from Douglas Sharper asking Simpson not to mention the upper level of the main building in his final report as Sharper didn't want people combing the hidden area of Teledahn for the bahro stone.

I would assume that the notebook is not the final report by Simpson as it does not pull all the facts together neatly and contains his mistaken ideas which he corrects further on. In addition it seems unlikely that Sharper or Simpson would stick his request note on the cover of the final report.

What Simpson's area of expertise is is hard to tell, so is what the DRC wanted from his survey. Engberg Laxman and Kodama all seem to have either visited or been informed of many details of the age before Simpson ever got there. He is not a structural expert as he calls for Engberg to take another look at the building when he sees the damage on the second floor. He is not one of Laxman's helpers for while impressed by the D'ni tech he refers it to Laxman's attention. Early on he mentions Kodama's theory about purpose of the age so perhaps he works with him on restoration. He perhaps is knowledgeable in the D'ni language as he consults various documents and does not mention them being translated for him. In his Journal Sharper mentions Simpson as perhaps having the same role as writer who has also come down to the cavern (I think I missed some mentions of Simpson in Sharper's Journal and will have to go back and look if someone else does not do it first). Was Simpson's relationship to the DRC similar to that of Sharper in that he had a couple of skills of use to the DRC but ended up doing things, such as surveys, outside his areas of expertise?

So we have as our primary written source a notebook consisting of partial transcriptions of recordings, often first impressions, of buildings and technology made by someone of unknown expertise and these transcriptions may have been subject to the editing of Douglas Sharper and who knows who else. Let us keep this in mind as we go along through the buildings.

[additional note: I knew I would get into trouble for failing in my due diligence if I didn't finish my forum searches first! I see Simpson also did the Watcher's Sanctuary notebook which confirms his knowledge of D'ni language and interest in history but his tone makes me wonder about his relations with the DRC]

*(I thought of naming the thread the Case of Sharper's Stones but realized that while apropos on more than one level it would most likely be held inappropriate )

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Last edited by ventris on Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:19 pm 
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I remmeber thinking in the past that Simpson's views seemed similar to Sharper's. Somewhere I remember reading that Sharper let Simpson in on the secrets he didn't want the DRC to know. Was it the journals in the Baron's office?

So I think the accuracy of the Gehreesen journal depends on who Sharper expected to read it as you said. The note on top is curious. Did he know that no one else from the DRC would be visiting this age?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:04 pm 
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Did anyone ever meet this Simpson person In Cavern? I wonder whatever happened to him (IC).

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:14 pm 
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It was when Siren Drake, Shapira and I started getting into the implications of the prison area which also ties into the whole Teledahn connection with Sharper that I decided it was all getting too much for my brain to keep ahold of at once. How did the DRC come to be involved with a character like Sharper? Simpson also seems to hold himself outside of the DRC though he works for them. Was the DRC paying these people? Sharper does not act like an employee though he is obliged to follow their instructions. How were they different than the ResEngs we hear working around the city? Some of the answers may have been on the DRC site which has been appropriated for testing stuff for Obduction.

Once we get into the Teledahn/bahro stones/yeesha cloths area of the puzzle it all becomes even slipperier, like the proverbial hovercraft full of eels. I hope as we work our way through the over puzzle of the age things fall into place better.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:15 pm 
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After some searching I found this on an old d'ni jazz club website.

"Douglas Sharper is not actually a member of the DRC or a Restoration Engineer, he was a civilian let down into the Cavern who found the Teledahn Linking Book. The DRC allowed him to be incharge of the Restoration of that Age, it was this restoration that embittered Douglas against the DRC."

I have no idea why they allowed him to be in change of the Teledahn restoration. He must have had some pretty good credentials.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:08 am 
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Now having established that we might want to think carefully about what Simpson's notebook tells us and doesn't tell us I am ready to follow in his footsteps and take advantage of his research and the knowledge we have access to that he did not. I am sure there are people who have pulled all the written tidbits together already and I hope they will let us know as this goes along.

I again give due warning that I have been Sherlock Holmesing here, so you must imagine me on my hands and knees mumbling over tiny details. Forgive my attention to trivia, I am hoping not to be a Watson accused of missing everything of importance and so may include a lot things of no importance.

Though raring to get to the areas of major damage, which of course are the areas I first examined, I am instead going to start at the beginning of the age at the link in point (you know, like Holmes would have). It is one of the first link in locations an explorer goes to in the game and I would imagine close attention was paid to what a person experiences on linking in. On the very solid looking but carefully shaped wall is a plant frond and a column with a big chunk broken out of it. Dappled shadows move across the wall. We hear bird and animal sounds. If one is in 3rd person the sounds of machinery are very noticeable which a better thinker than I might put together with the moving shadows as a hint as to the building's motion. I assume the natural elements are to let us know that at some point we will be finding a way outside and give an impression of spaciousness. Higher up the wall one sees a good sized window opening and up above metal and stone elements of some sort of frame structure.

Since this is a crime scene investigation the damaged column gets first attention. No rubble on the ground so at some point someone has cleaned up here. It is probably safe to assume the DRC did the tidying. From the link in spot the metal trim appears to perhaps be bent inward at the top of the missing area implying that the damage was caused by an impact of some kind. From the left of the column this impression continues. However if you step to the right of the column the MC Escher nature of the perspective comes out and the trim now appears bent outward, which does not exclude some kind of impact but does not imply one. (While we are looking at the trim I will mention that there is an inscription on it which is illegible in game. I am still searching for the text which I know I ran across sometime ago. I understand it was in D'nenglish ).

How to interpret the artwork is one of the trickier aspects of this type of investigation. We have heard how things were rushed at different points in the development of the game. We know there are limits on how things are depicted. BUT we also know this is a Cyan Myst game, a company and title famed for their attention to the artwork. How many puzzles have we found depended on noticing some small thing in the art? (little object blocking the lever I am talking about you) So when I see something in Gahreesen that had to be purposefully put there I am not going to just pass it by as bad coloring, or even as simply atmosphere enhancing detail. Even if I cannot see that it is indicative of something bigger maybe someone else can make that connection.

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Last edited by ventris on Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:28 pm 
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I was looking at the first set of entrance doors and noticed there are charred marks or fine rubble on the floor between the doors. I checked and this also occurs at other doors on this floor. There is no damage to the door frame above. It looks like scuff marks from the door opening. Either they were opened so many times that they scrapped the floor and weren't repaired or the doors were forced open...either by invaders or the DRC.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:37 am 
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Yes. On the first level all the doorways to and between the rooms, save one, have a mottled green and black texture across the threshold. This does not appear to me to be scraping as the texture is not linear like scrapes and extends out past the doors. I had dismissed it originally as representing moss or leaves but it only appears on the threshold areas where things would neither grow nor be collected if they blew into the structure. Only one of the hall doorways on the first level has it and there the the mottling is almost entirely black. On the second level all the hall doorways have the same texture. The doors to the second floor rooms, which do not open, show no sign of the spatters which are present on the floor near the other doors. I can see no odd markings on the doors themselves. The only non doorway location I have found it, and this is what raises my suspicions, is in the area of the most damage. Speaking OOC, some artist had to go in and place the texturing there and they did not simply use the same door art everywhere. So as we look around we have to think about what all these doorways have in common with each other and with the damaged area.

At this point a short monograph on the different synthetic stones that the D'ni created through some kind of molecular manipulation might be in order. But I just can't get myself to read that construction section of the Book of Ti'ana again. The description of the creation and use of nara while tunneling is in one of the first chapters. The other relevant information on nara and its predecessors, such as deretheni, and their use in extrusion construction can be found in the books of kings Hinash, Needrah, Rakeri, Emen, and Me'emen (whose book is not found in the game at present). The properties of these stones are further discussed in the Book of D'ni where their use in maintainer suits is mentioned and in Myst Revelation where Atrus uses nara to build impregnable enclosures. To sum the information up, the synthetic stones are both super strong and very versatile and extrusion construction was rapid and could be done with hand held devices.The point of this monograph would be that it is very possible that parts of the Gahreesen buildings, such as the doors, are made or coated with one of the super stones.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:34 am 
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Onward and Inward!

The waiting room is as Simpson described it, aside from the doors being stuck in the open position. Simpson says that the two doors "never open at the same time" so I assume they were working when he was here. That would mean that these doors, at least, were latched by open by the DRC to allow us to get our KIs unescorted. I have not checked to see if only one door at a time can be held open in the areas with two functioning doors.

The more I think about how the whole entry and exit process must have worked, the more awkward it seems. When the Maintainers started letting people use the books in the Hoods to hand out KIs they must have had a steady stream of people coming through. Was there an appointment system?* If so, why have the books in the Hoods? They would have better access control if the books were centralized. So someone links in into the well. Perhaps there is someone stationed there to meet them? If they do not have a KI yet someone has to open the door for them. I imagine the guards up at the window could look over anyone who linked in and send a KI message to a guard waiting in this room.

Then the person enters this room for processing. If Simpson is right and the bug room contained ink sniffing bugs (at least one person I spoke to suggested killer bugs for security) then a guard does something with the bugs. Holds them up like tribbles detecting Klingons? Releases a swarm through the window (there are plenty of cages)? The reactions of people with bugs either crawling over them, flying around them or being waved about their body is interesting to contemplate. What was wrong with good old fashioned frisking anyway? Couldn't the Maintainers have required everyone to show up in their skivvies or something? I suppose linking books could be made very tiny and easily hidden about a person's body even with minimal clothing. (Oh my, now the bug search becomes even more amusing or disturbing to contemplate!) Then the bugs have to be rounded up and sent back through the window to their cages while all detected contraband is passed through the other window and placed in the lockers on the other side.

Simpson's ideas of the route followed after this seem to me to be nonsensical. Why would they carefully divest people of disallowed items, pass the items through a grilled window to be placed in lockers in a secure room only to immediately parade the people through that room to show off some maintainer gear? Then after the people have their KI suddenly it is OK for them to have their disallowed items inside the building, so the guards open wide the locker room door and hand them back to them? I can't tell from Simpson's description if the nexus book was in the KI dispenser room or if he was just theorizing that people would link out from the KI room. Even if it was there we don't know if the DRC had placed it there previous to his visit having moved it from some other location. Perhaps it was in the waiting room so that people could link out after retrieving their belongings.







*This leads me into contemplating the Hood book room access. The book rooms have lockable doors so who was in charge of opening and closing the room? Was there an appointments secretary with a little desk in each Hood book room regulating the use of the books? "I'm sorry Mr. S'mith but this Thursday afternoon the eder is fully scheduled with the Mommy and Me Toddler Sunshine Hour, then the Eder Bird Watchers have it for two hours then the C'arstairs have it for their son's 150th birthday picnic"

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Last edited by ventris on Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:10 pm 
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I have wondered about all those linking books in the hoods too. Considering that linking books were rare outside of the elite it is hard to imagine they would allow so many in the hoods. Is it possible that before D'ni fell that these books were stored and centralized at one location and the DRC put them in the hoods when they found the stash? Perhaps the Eder books were put there by Yeesha.

Another question is whether the linking books in the Museum and Library were placed there by the D'ni or the DRC.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:12 pm 
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I think Cate Alexander herself placed the books in the Museum. Remember, the Pod Ages were part of the Gametap years. Negilahn came first, then over time, the other books.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:05 pm 
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All of the books were either placed where they are by the DRC (after being thoroughly tested for safety) or given to you by Yeesha.

I was there when Cate placed the Dereno book in the museum and she was not very nice to the explorers. :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:04 pm 
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Was it stated at the time of the pod books being released whether the books had been found in the museum? Since our access to both the museum and library is limited we don't know why the DRC thus designated them.

I imagine our hoods must be in the high rent districts of the cavern, not the 1% elite, but well to do. There would be less mess and dilapidation for the DRC to clean up and it would certainly keep us explorers happier to be in comfortable digs. So it would be more likely for the neighborhood association or whatever to have a shared bookroom like the shared light garden etc. I seem to remember reading about the neighborhood eders but will have to go dig around. Here is a picture of very early explorers in a book room with no books on the pedestals http://s514.photobucket.com/user/Enigmanaut/media/Choru/41716.jpg.html?sort=3&o=59 which was linked to from this post http://mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=22044&hilit=inscription+ages

The book rooms are obviously not the same as the great public linking book libraries which are mentioned more than once in the notebooks on the kings and in the novels as those seem to have been similar to the library on Ae'gura. Simpson says that he has been told that the DRC found the Gahreesen linking books in the hoods, though we don't know if they found them in the bookrooms. It seems to me that both those books and the Great Zero books must not have been meant to be permanently out in the hoods because once everyone has their KI set up they would only have been needed occasionally. Perhaps somewhere in the hoods are linking book storage areas from which certain books were selected to be placed out in the book rooms. We hear of ages specially designed for various ceremonial occasions so perhaps nicer areas each had their own shared linking books to those. Considering the very open nature of the bookrooms in the hoods they obviously were not too concerned with after hours misuse so either the books were not left out all the time, hood security was considered adequate or the bookrooms were like churches used to be and no one would even think of messing with the stuff inside.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:17 pm 
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I've always wondered what was planned for those empty book pedestals in Kirel.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:26 am 
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Oh was that a picture of Kirel? I should have looked more closely. I was caught up in looking at the differences in the other pictures of the buildings.

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