I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the Book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written. -- Atrus

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Three Peas in a Pod

This post contains spoilers for Obduction.  If you do not wish to be spoiled, move along, please.
Also, if you are looking for unbelievably quality images, don’t.  Because you won’t find them here.  My modest laptop dates to spring 2013, so I am running Obduction only on medium quality graphics.

I was in Maray at last, but was quickly irritated when I saw that, like the other swap to Maray, I was confined to a very small space.  In front of me, however, was a Villein blue gel panel.  Below, was that crystalline door that I couldn’t get beyond the first time I arrived at Maray.  Just playing around, I cleared the gel panel and then that door below opened.  There we go!  All I needed to do was return to Hunrath to use the first swap device which would lead me to that now open door.

Once back at the original location in Maray, I skipped down to the now-open door and stepped inside.  I nearly jumped out of my skin when a recording said “Don’t panic.”  Naturally, I panicked.  It was a recording of Caroline Farley giving instructions to visitors to Maray.  In her recording she assured the visitor that the door “puzzle” was meant to keep everyone safe, then she directed the visitor to go over the bridge to a "sign-in area.” 

Also there was a map of Maray indicating where the bridge and sign-in areas were.  I have since made a working diagram of the map.  Some places still have question marks.  As of this point I’ve only come to the “gauntlet” (oh boy).

According to the instructions, which I was hesitant to follow, I stayed on the path and came to the first bridge.  This bridge appeared to be inoperative.  So much for the instructions.  Why is this the case?  Apparently something had changed, perhaps due to this war with the Mofang people. 

Means of progress through this world had been severed.  I did, however, find a path off to the right.  This path also had an offshoot to the left, and when I followed this I came to another seed generator (#3 if we are counting).

I used the swap device and arrived back in Hunrath in the same or near the same area as the very first pod (#1), but somehow I was looking at a brand new seed generator, made of scrap materials.  Where did this come from?  The generator in Maray did not look like this, so how is there a different iteration of the same device?  And how is it suddenly here when it wasn’t here before? 

This device did, in fact, lead to the swap location of the #1 generator.  Near it, appearing on the stone that arched over the stairs below was a different seed generator, #3.  I decided to have a look around the area, trying to figure out what had just happened.  From the Wall I could see where seed device #3 had transported its “scoop” where the archway had been.

So, if my math was right that stone archway would be sitting pretty in Maray when I transported back.  I decided to use the “new” swap pod, which brought me to pod #1.  Then I walked to pod #3 where, yes, the sandstone of Hunrath had built a bridge between pod #3 and the path beyond it.

I’m not sure what may have occurred had I swapped using the pod that replaced the archway.  I’m not sure I have this figured out even as I write this.  I continued on the path until I came to a crossroads. 

The right-most path led underground to membrane entrance #1.  Through this membrane I could see the landscape of Kaptar, though it was an area I hadn’t seen before, and didn’t seem to fit with what I’d seen of Kaptar so far.

The middle path came to a T-junction which was slightly in favor of the right side.  At the end of this was a large building which could be accessed by a bridge,  Alas, this bridge also was out of commission.

The left-most path led to a similar building, almost identical in construction, from which one could see much.  I climbed the ramp leading to the entrance and saw the façade of the other building, standing next to a spherical building and the source of the red Mofang laser.

These buildings had something of a stark beauty, and yet my suspicion of everything kept me from finding too much pleasure in my surroundings.  Inside this building was complex machinery, complete with large cables and hoses.  Outside, looking on the left, I found the tree, probably as out of reach as the one in Kaptar.  At least the one in Hunrath was easy to get to, in a fashion.

At the front of the building I found a joystick that operated the blue Villein laser that would disable the Mofang beam.  I toyed with it for some time before at last nailing it and enjoying the explosion. 

This enjoyment was short-lived when a video recording erupted behind me on the screen.  I was so startled that I wasn’t able to take screenshots in time, and I even missed part of what he had said.  It was a recording of the mayor, but occasionally his English was bad.  It don’t remember it being that way in Hunrath.  I could be wrong.  He spoke about how the Villeins are bad creatures and are storing them (other Hunrath people?) to eat them.  While he spoke, various small images of Villein gel patterns flashed on the bottom of the hologram screen, but I didn’t have time to pay too much attention to them.  Sometimes the image of the mayor would distort and look vaguely creature-like, and there were red flashing lights, perhaps weapon detonations.  He mentioned the Villein live under water.

I couldn’t help but wonder if this was somehow a Mofang disguised as the mayor, but why would the recording be triggered when their own device is disabled?  It gets creepier and creepier.

I decided it was time to go through the membrane.  It was a short journey: in one membrane and out another, but enough to see that there was a small segment of tram rail up above.

Almost immediately I found myself at the membrane wall again, and this one brought me to the interior of the building with the non-functioning bridge.  On both sides of the building were bridges which could be activated by using the Villein panels at the entrances.  I opened one and wondered what code I was supposed to be using?  I entered the number codes from the worksheet in the mayor’s bedroom in Hunrath.  Bit by bit sections of the bridge were activated: blueish crystal-like floor panels.  However, it seemed as though it didn’t matter what pattern I entered in the panel.  Entering any random number would add to the bridge until it was complete.  I did the same on the other side.

Before I crossed the bridge, I walked around to the front of the building where I encountered another message from our good mayor.  His message was urgent, making me quite concerned.  Was he still around?  Or, like the message from Caroline, was it outdated?  I kind of didn’t want to find out.

The spherical building had two pods, both close together (pods 4a and 4b).  Perhaps what happened with pods #1 and #3 would happen here also, only it might make more sense to me this time.  I opened the first, which, based on the orange light, would lead to Hunrath.  Its light filled the circumference of the circle that surrounded it on the floor, indicating its radius of power.  It did not include the other apparatus.  I opened the second apparatus, which also would send me to Hunrath, only its light filled the entire sphere, adding within its “scoop” the other seed device.

I used pod 4a and it, together with its surrounding circle, brought me to the scrapyard in Hunrath.  I thought for a moment perhaps this would be another occasion where I'd have to use my BMW since this pod area was surrounded by train tracks, but that proved not to be the case.

What we must take away from this is that not all pod devices are present in each world.  Sometimes they have been replaced with a sphere as we saw in that little house in the town of Hunrath.  So far, not all the pod devices appear in Hunrath.  We may assume, therefore, that not all the pod devices exist in the other worlds as well.  Only by swapping can a pod device appear in another place, and in that case the pod devices may not always look the same.  Swapping back and forth causes changes within the worlds, the transfer of scoops of landscape.  The minutiae of this process is still not clear to me, and doubtless I’ve gotten something wrong in this paragraph, but it’s making more and more sense to me as time passes.

I used pod device 4b and it brought the entire sphere including both pod devices to Hunrath.

Then, I had an interesting idea.  What if I were to swap back to Maray using device 4a, leaving the sphere and most of its contents in Hunrath and taking only the contents of 4a with me?  I did this and was rather pleased with myself.  Pod 4a was “returned” to Maray, along with a collection of things from the scrapyard, but the inner wall (I didn’t know the building had one) was missing.  As such, it had left the opposite side of the wall open and I was able to move onward beyond this building.

There was a view to more landscape: another sphere building, a larger building off to the left, a deactivated bridge leading in that direction.  I still had a long way to go, but at least the map I’d seen at the beginning was starting to become clearer.  Outside the pod 4 sphere was an elevator which I rode down to continue on to the next sphere building. 

During my exploration of this new area, I figured out how the sphere buildings functioned.  They were basically covered baskets which held the “scoop” of each respective landscape.  This is why there appeared to be multiple layers within a building.  Aha!

Hunrath rock basket

The next building became a great deal more complicated.  Not only were there three seed mechanisms (#5a/b/c) but also the room rotated.  On either side of the room there were doorways that looked out onto deactivated bridges, but there were no Villein panels to create them.  One bridge led to the platform where the Mofang laser had been; the other bridge led to the next sphere basket building.  Pod 5a was partially enclosed by Hunrath landscape.  The central pod, #5b, controlled the entire sphere, and #5c controlled only a small circumference, like those found in the previous sphere basket building.

My understanding of the complexities of using multiple seed devices in a small space was still only rudimentary, so I’m not quite sure I’ve understood everything correctly or if I did things in the wrong order, etc.  It could be that there are several ways to solve the puzzle of pod group 5.  In any event, this is what I did to get everything where it needed to be.

Pod 5a brought all three pods inside a cavern in Hunrath to a place I’d never been before—inside the mining tunnels.  On either side of the pod group were two chasms, but I should be able to build bridges over these deep spaces.  On one side at the far wall was a blue chair…I just knew something important was on it.

Pod 5b brought all three pods to the same place without any noticeable (to me) change in landscape except for the sphere.

Pod 5c brought all three pods, but without the sphere brought by pod 5b or the Hunrath rocks brought by pod 5a.  What was present, though, was the Villein blue gel panel I could use to extend the bridges! 

I returned to Maray via pod 5a, which also in turn brought the control panel into the sphere building.  Then I randomly entered numbers until the bridge leading to the next sphere building was created, and rotated the sphere to build the bridge to the Mofang laser platform.  I returned to Hunrath and happily found my bridges extending over the chasms.  I went immediately to the blue chair.  The very last bridge panel appears to have a glitch because the floor disappears, but I can still walk across it.

Is this a glitch?

On the blue chair was a note, discussing the “Gauntlet” area.  They really know how to make these places sound intimidating.  Bleeder.  Gauntlet.  What are these places?  It would seem my task (just as was the case with this Oleg person) would be to work with the locks in this Gauntlet area.  There were diagrams at the bottom of the paper…do these refer to the four worlds?  Two other things of note were 1. the fact that the Mofang couldn't see the color light blue very well, and 2. “we have begun to have suspicions.”  Are these new suspicions of the Villein?  Or is this an old note referring only to the Mofang attack?  Probably.  It’s just that I cannot help but be suspicious of the Villein, after having encountered the two creepy messages from (supposedly) the mayor.  I think I’ve developed trust issues in my personal life because of these darn games!

And if you didn’t realize that was a joke, then we can’t be friends.

Just kidding.

Not really.


On the other side, the newly fashioned bridge led first to a dead end, and then, off on the right, to a locked metal door.  Isn’t that always the case?  At least I knew this one for certain did not lead to a tree.  I’m bitter about the tree situation in Kaptar.  I’m still not sure if I’m the problem or I just haven’t gotten there yet.

I returned to Maray to reach the third (and final) sphere basket, inside of which was only one seed generator (#6, since we are definitely counting now).  I swapped again to Hunrath, but this pod took me and its sphere to the very dead end I’d just encountered.

And so I began my landscape layering project, swapping back and forth.  The way I did it was I would swap to Hunrath via pod 6, and then return to Maray via pod 5b.  I’m not sure if this is the official way to do, but it’s the way I did it and it worked pretty well.  Going back and forth added layers to both locations until I’d managed to clear enough away to access a door at the back of the basket building.

I moved beyond this area to what I now believe is the formidable Gauntlet.  I’ve already had a peek at this, but after an hour or so of trying to figure it out and using seed devices 500 times, I decided this would be a project for another day.  I’ve gone far enough for the moment.  Let this little brain of mine recharge!

The journey in Maray continues in the next post…


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