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Harbinger Theory – Shepard inside the Reaper Consensus

Discussion in 'Role Playing Games' started by RebelReya, May 30, 2012.

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  1. RebelReya

    RebelReya Elite Member

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    Just posted this on the Bioware forms, wanted to see what you guys thought.

    We all know things get undeniably weird after Shepard is hit by Harbinger’s beam. Harbinger, who’s primary line of the game series is “I am assuming direct control.” And that’s exactly what he tries to do to Shepard, but in doing so horribly underestimates her/him, and allows our hero to enter the Reaper VI platform and the Reaper consensus, so that Shepard never physically leaves the battle field in London.

    The way this affects our interpretation of the cut-scene after our choice is VERY important. We see the relays and the citadel destroyed in the virtual reaper world, not the physical one where organics live.

    Why would Shepard have to run into Harbinger's beam, but suddenly not be intsa-killed by it?

    There are 2 distinct instances in this game where you are given a single weapon that doesn’t run out of ammo. Do you think they aren’t related?

    In the geth consensus mission Legion specifically talks about Shepard’s mind perceiving ‘their world’ as something familiar. In London, unaware that she/he has entered the virtual world Shepard pictures the entrance to the Reaper core as the beam, the pathway there like some weird collector tunnels. When Shepard passes through the chasm it has electric sparking from the sides that flows through like the core of the geth Dreadnought.

    When Shepard reaches the platform with Anderson, TIM shows up things start to get weirder. There is definitely some kind of indoctrination being attempted here. They are inside Reaper tech, it would be crazy if this did not happen. The oily shadows, the noises. The bit where Shepard is forced to shoot Anderson but then seems to have Anderson’s injury, is similar to the incident where two Ceberus scientists had the exact same memory each thinking it was their own. And Matriarc Benezia mentions how things ‘just sound right’ which is why Shepard doesn’t question the ghost-star-child. But Shepard is strong and they can’t change what Sheppard already knows, the purpose of the crucible and Shepard’s goal, the destruction of the Reapers. Shepard is not indoctrinated. They are trying, and TIM had some scary tech, but in-order to get past him, Shepard has to overcome him, and indoctrination. This is why the lead Reaper VI shows up just afterwards, it’s realized it’s no longer in control. That is exactly what it says “we” had over TIM. “We.” It is a Reaper, and I think It’s Harbinger because it’s not asserting Indoctrination, it’s asserting control.

    And I think that’s why you have three choices. The Emphasis is on Control or Destruction, but there’s also Synthesis which the Reaper to calls the ‘best option.’ And that’s why TIM has the paragon choice and Anderson has the Renegade, because Shepard is inside the Reaper’s Consensus, and can see it’s version of moral programing. When Shepard heads up to the next stage in the Geth consensus it is that same fade to white that happen as Shepard travels up the elevator to the next level. Shepard again pictures it like the beacon, with the wheels of a mako that was present in London as the base of a pillar, and the beacon itself as the main frame. Space itself like the windows in the observatory.

    This is why the kid talks about no organic making ‘this far’ and I’d guess why it considers change. But this is the Reaper VI, maybe even Harbinger itself, so I wouldn’t trust it any more than any other reaper. Anyway, when Shepard reaches the crucible/main frame, they are presented with the Reaper VI’s choices in the Reaper’s moral programing. It prefers synthesis, but it has failed to indoctrinate Shepard and Destruction and Control are possible.

    Now, as far as I know all three endings get the same ‘Shepard is a legend’ message. I can see how this would work for Both Control and Destruction. For Shepard’s morals I think we can assume the opposite of the Reapers morals. Destruction is Paragon, like Anderson, and Control is Renegade. And control would involve Shepard permanently joining the Reaper consensus, and leaving their body behind, which would be typical of Renegade consequences.

    But Synthesis is a problem. It’s obviously what the Reapers still want, and a rather strong argument can be made for it being indoctrination. But actual physical synthesis doesn’t make any sense. But that’s because we aren’t talking about the physical world we’re talking about the digital reality that is real to reapers. So is Synthesis is uploading everyone into the Reaper Consensus?

    I mean yes, the cut sense of EDI and Joker is great, but it also undermines everything that made joker and EDI special. It seems like the beginning of a new Reaper cycle. No-one is themselves any longer, and in a few million years biological life with spring anew and create synthetic life and what are the syntheses life forms to do then? I mean the Reaper’s aren’t gone. Is that how Reaper’s started? Are the Reapers a singularity nightmare?

    It also begs the question what the VI and the reaper's consider artificial intelligence. The reapers had the Geth worshiping them, at a time when they called humanity primitive. Could it be that the reapers don't consider the Geth fully Artificial Intelligence? Do they know about Legion's sacrifice and what it did for the geth? Legion defines the VR as the ‘real’ world to his people. I read that Jessica Merizan had said it was “only Reaper tech.” that got destroyed. If the reapers are the only AI in the Consensus, and the consensus is their real world then would destroying them would destroy ‘all AI.’ according to them?

    But then there are the cut scenes of what happens on Earth. It struck me how they filmed the fight on the ground, they didn’t animate it. It is distinguished from the rest of the end, appearing physical, not digital, and I think this is important. I think the filmed scenes are what takes place in the physical world, and almost all of the rest, takes place in the digital virtual world.

    The relay’s don’t explode, they are shut down, maybe damaged, but not destroyed. The citadel is shut-down, not blown apart. These things explode in the digital world as their code in destroyed. But they are left intact, in the physical world.

    Now that’s not to say it’ll be easy to fix them, but I think that might be where the story line from Liara’s father comes in, and also why it might be important to save the Quarians and their live-ships so they can provide dextrose food stuffs and prevent the deaths of the Turians who came to earth until the relays are functional again.

    That still leaves the senseless Normandy scene. Now the Normandy has a Reaper IFF, and it’s mentioned in the Cerberus base that EDI is enhanced with Reaper tech, but neither the Normandy nor EDI are a part of the Reaper Consensus and I think the same is true for the geth, though that might depend on whether you rewrote or destroyed heretics, and you might even need the quarian’s to reactivate them. Even in the digital presentation the Normandy isn’t destroyed like the relays, they are shut down, they crash, they don’t spontaneously combust. I think that those parts of the Normandy and EDI that relate to Reaper tech are probably shut down. I also think they can be fixed, because this scene is split. Half of it takes place in space and relates to the Normany’s tech, but the physical Normandy itself is safe on the ground on earth, isn't it?

    So for the second half of this scene we are suddenly back in a forest. I think that’s important. It’s a very different forest from the depressing dark scary one where the little boy haunted Shepard’s dreams. This a bright, wild but rocky place where things are going to be alright. It’s Shepard’s 4th dream, complete with the fade to white, before she wakes up back in her body in London.

    What do you guys think?
    :
  2. Metal Rain

    Metal Rain Elite Member

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    very intresting, i think some of these issues need to be addressed in the EC, i think and hope it can be answered.
  3. Noelemahc

    Noelemahc Le Unfun Terrible

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    Intriguing interpretation. Very System Shock 2.

    Makes a lot more sense than IT, explains away the man-made markings on the interior of the Citadel, the incorporeal Keepers... But not the Anderson/TIM scene - I mean the dialogue - unless it's entirely a hallucination of Shepard's or happens in the real world simultaneously.

    Also ties in neatly to the breathing scene. Hmm. Shall ponder this. Thanks for the ideas.
  4. Metal Rain

    Metal Rain Elite Member

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    Maybe every time we hear a Reaper growl, is when it switches from Real, to surreal, or Indoctrination, or dream, or whatever your interpretation of whats going on is happening, kinda like.... I hate to say it but Inception.... if you know anything about the movie, you know that every time it will switch from one reality to the next, you hear the same music, but in a different tempo, and or different atmosphere if you can follow what i mean.
  5. Noelemahc

    Noelemahc Le Unfun Terrible

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    Kinda like the Silent Hill Air Raid Siren (which signifies the switch between the Nightmare World, Nightmare-but-cleaner World, Ice World and Reality and whatever other layers they may have added in the games I didn't play)? Nice idea, but in that case, 90% of ME3 would be unreality =)
  6. RIG

    RIG Elite Member

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    First. *Slow Clap* Awesome interpretation.

    Second, wouldn't you think that the Reaper Consensus is very similar to indoctrination? As you are losing yourself more and more into the Reaper Consensus, your free will starts to fade and your mind gradually starts to decay.

    Maybe they are one in the same?

    Really think you are onto something here. I'm going to have to process this a little more.
  7. Dagr

    Dagr Elite Member

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    Well I hope it doesn't turn out to be a dream about attempt to Indoctrinate Shepard while s/he is in Reaper consensus.
    This way Shepard may wake up in Normandy SR 1's med-bay and have a nice talk with dr. Chakwas about Protean beacons. (This theory disregards breath scene)

    And about HT... like IT it's based on the gamers hope that "something at some point is not real". Most people will glue those together saying there is no deference. Yet HT has 1 thing IT doesn't have.

    Back in ME1 Sovereign took control over Saren-husk to fight Shepard. But after Shepard kills Saren, Sovereign is destabilized or something, which allows Alliance fleet to destroy it.

    Now to the point. I never truly believed that after breaking from indoctrination attempt Harby will just look at Shepard while s/he goes to the beam. But if Shepard was in the consensus that might give that "destabilization moment".

    In other words:
    - If someone tries to hypnotize you and fails, he will just be surprised for a moment
    - If you're in someone's mind and you do comics standard "Get out of MY HEAD!!!" it usually has some stun effect on the culprit.

    And another thing on Synthesis that I just mentioned. Those 2 soldiers behind the rubble in green ending don't do "hurray" thing after Reapers fly away. Does that mean Synthesis is not a "good ending"? (Based on all given cinematics of course)
  8. RIG

    RIG Elite Member

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    If this were the case I think my own consensus would short circuit and explode with such force, a small country would be in danger.

    So cliche. Don't scare me like that!
  9. Noelemahc

    Noelemahc Le Unfun Terrible

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    That's a painfully popular theory among Russian fans, btw. "What the heck did I drink?"
    We've effectively stereotyped ourselves.
  10. Celia

    Celia Supreme Member

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    This is definitely a compelling theory. Afterall, Legion was hooked up to the Reaper Consensus, if I'm not mistaken.
  11. Gilsa

    Gilsa Elite Member

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    I like your interpretation of the ending. I had forgotten about the two Cerberus scientists sharing the same memory, thinking it was their own. Good catch.
  12. Metal Rain

    Metal Rain Elite Member

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    Remember when you do Legions mission? you can destroy 99% of the reaper code in there, some of it will even start to grow back depending on how long you take, but even if you destroy it all, there is one part that you can shoot and shoot, but it will not go away.
    Maybe its nothing, or maybe that has a deeper meaning? That Reapers always have some sort of control regardless.
    RebelReya likes this.
  13. Sailor Ilos

    Sailor Ilos Elite Member

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    This is a pretty popular version of IT, that it's not a "dream", per se, but rather, Shepard is in the Reaper Consensus while his/her physical body remains on Earth, much like with the Geth Consensus mission.

    That was how I perceived the ending when I played it. To me, that was the entire point of the Geth Consensus mission, because it gives precedence.
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  14. Thunderbuck

    Thunderbuck Supreme Member

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    Similar to the IT but I prefer indoctrination rather than "melding or co-existing" with a tin can.
  15. RebelReya

    RebelReya Elite Member

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    Thanks, I'm really glad you guys like it! The general idea seems to be something a lot of people have considered, but I think it has some very important differences that IT can't explain. Look at Chris Priestly's generalization of IT. That's not what HT is talking about. I read about IT, I've seen the videos and read the arguments, and I think it's missing a few things. So I googled 'Reaper Consensus' and nothing came up, so I decided to branch out. What's wrong with another theory besides IT?

    HT also says a lot of things about the post-choice ending that IT doesn't. Control, Synthesis and Destruction are real options. The biggest complaint was that our choice didn't matter, but with HT theirs a a way to make sense of it. We see it in the digital VR where Shep has been, not in the world of our organic characters. That's why all the stars don't go Nova, and our friends on the citadel just might still be alive.

    But theirs not reason to have three choices in IT, there is almost no point to the ending in IT because it's all in Shepard's head, and that doesn't explain what happens in the battle, and it undermines the importance of your choices. I know their are a variety of IT opinions, but most of the videos either claim the whole thing is in Shepard's head, or everything after the confrontation with Anderson and TIM is. But that doesn't explain how we ended up with a single gun that's not ours with unlimited ammo, or how our choices mean anything other then destruction.

    **Added from BSN talks **
    And if it's somewhat based in reality, and somewhat a hallucination, then how do you explain the breath scene? Especially after the intro the ME2. How does Shep Survive an explosion larger then the first Normandy, this time without a helmet, fall back to earth and not die?
    ***

    The TIM & Anderson scene is one I still have the most questions about. I can understand TIM being their after the scene where he has reaper tech added, and after the kid says "we controlled him" but Anderson is less clear. He was their with Shepard for the charge, and has been leading the resistance since the beginning of the game. So I can see why Harbinger might be interested in him. But their another idea, and this goes back to what I mentioned about reapers being a singularity nightmare. The reapers are describes as 'each a nation' possessing multiple programs. They describe synthesis as the best goal, but as it's presented in Shepard's dream it would require epic levels of space magic. But if we're talking synthesis in the digital world then we're talking about uploading organics, not killing them. Is it possible that that's why Anderson is their? Reapers aren't death machines but massive singularity engines run amok? That would explain why the kid calls it saving organics. Because their not dead, they've been uploaded.

    But I think the TIM Anderson scene is one of my biggest problems with IT. If you were indoctrinated you wouldn't get the choice to destroy. If you don't interrupt TIM, if you don't choose to fight, you loose the game. You become indoctrinated. Why would the next level test the same thing? I like that Synthesis and Control and viable options along with Destroy.

    Do the N7 dudes move after the blast in the green ending? Because if not, that would sound like they've been uploaded, which would fit rather perfectly. I'll have to play through again and check out the different endings.
  16. Metal Rain

    Metal Rain Elite Member

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    This theory reminds me of a show or movie i once watched, at the moment i cant put my finger on it.
  17. RebelReya

    RebelReya Elite Member

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    Yeah, I know I've seen it somewhere before, and I'm pretty sure it was a movie, but I don't remember much else about it. But it was probably base on a story by Philip K. Dick.

    The N7 dudes do move after the burst of green energy, but your right it is weird that their not celebrating that the Reapers are leaving, but they do in both the Red and the Blue endings. It's also interesting that Star-child says the cycle is complete, but never that their won't be another one.
  18. RebelReya

    RebelReya Elite Member

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    I mean if you guys really think this belongs in an IT thread instead, I'll look into it. But I asked the IT guys on BSN and they seemed to agree that while they have a lot in common, this didn't belong in their IT thread. Is there somebody here I should ask?
  19. jmquintela

    jmquintela Elite Member

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    What if the whole synthesis thing is kinda like instrumentality in Neon Genesis Evangelion and the objective of the reapers all along? They may need organic material to build a new reaper but they also need organic minds or souls to inhabit the consensus inside each individual reaper. More then being their way to uplift a species and preserve and protect it from chaos it's their predatory/parasitic nature, the first part is just repear bs.
    So, the whole crucible part at the end is just like Ikari Shinji fighting instrumentality.

    Is this your point then RebelRaya? Don't know if you've seen Evangelion and if this makes any sense.
    To me this explains synthesis i.e. shep gives in to the consensus, destroy would be shepard breaking free from the consensus then? What about control?
  20. RebelReya

    RebelReya Elite Member

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    It wasn't my original intention, but that's the direction the synthesis part of it has gone. I have seen some of Evangelion, but not all of it, but yeah, I think I see your point. I think that makes as much sense as the rest of this argument, it's all a little crazy.

    Control is difficult, I'd like to see it as the Renegade Choice. It would allow for Sheps Death to be a renegade consequence, that would be kinda fitting. It's still not what the VI wanted, but it also doesn't end the VI. So It could just be a trick? But then the N7 dudes on the ground cheer for both Control and Destroy. So I don't know.

    What do you think? Is their any Control parallel in Evangelion?
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