*dusts off blog*
Okay, I absolutely have to write something about Axiom Verge. The vagueness and secretiveness of this game’s story has been eating at me pretty hard.
If you want a good summary of the story, go check out this NeoGAF thread. I want to address some of the things that he didn’t.
Check it after the jump.
What do axioms have to do with it?
One thing that he did not address, and I think it is very key, is the document entitled “AXIOM 1”.
Let me reproduce it here:
(a) All algorithms are universal and valid, regardless of whether they are executed.
(b) Cognition is a sub-algorithm whose behavior is to perceive properties of the parent algorithm describing it.
(c) Any algorithm giving rise to cognitive entities will be perceived as reality by the entities described.
All right, so let’s talk about what an “axiom” is. The most general definition is that an axiom is a fundamental truth. However, in mathematics, it has a very specific definition: an axiom is one of the “rules of the game”, so to speak. The important bit is they are not intrinsic or simply known: they must be explicitly defined before one can start proving theorems about the mathematical system that they establish.
It is notable that Athetos-Trace established these axioms before he entered the Breach the “final” time. For, you see, if you make the rules of the game, you know precisely how to break the rules of the game.
That makes the name of the Axiom Disruptor very literal, as it is a device precisely for breaking the rules. Conjecturing, Athetos-Trace likely developed the disruptor during his final incursion on Sudra, but had to abandon it as a result of his need to imprison himself as a result of the pathogen. Alternatively, a component of the disruptor might have been the device that prevented the pathogen from affecting him to begin with.
But how exactly do you break these rules?
It is very clear that Axiom 1 is a precise definition of the “simulation model” of the universe. This model implies that any given universe is a highly advanced computer simulation run by some grand computing device, but nobody present within that universe (an “algorithm”) is aware that this is the case. That is, each universe is basically The Matrix. Put bluntly, the Axiom Disruptor is a device that can attack the code of this simulation, whether this code be for the overall model or the algorithms living within it, and modify or scramble the code.
The Breach Attractor served a similar function, except in this case it could push aside the barriers separating universes. One could think of it like a program that has the ability to breach the memory boundaries of two processes running on the same computer.
What the heck is a “PatternMind”?
Elsenova made it quite clear that Trace’s abilities to resurrect himself using the rebirth chambers as well as his ability to defeat Athetos was his unique quality as a “PatternMind”. Athetos was also a PatternMind.
The question is: Can we figure out what a PatternMind is from story clues?
I think this actually isn’t very hard to figure out. It is likely that the name “PatternMind” is derived from a lack of understanding by Elsenova.
The simple matter is that a “PatternMind” is one who can understand the patterns in the universe; i.e., much like Athetos’ epithet “Master of Patterns.”
It’s a scientist or mathematician.
…Okay, let’s go a little further than that.
In this very special case, Trace is a PatternMind because of Axiom 1. Trace understood the patterns behind the universe, and hence was able to control it. Additionally, Athetos understood that a “mind” in itself is a singleton–it exists simultaneously across all universes, regardless of whether the bearers of this mind are aware of it. Effectively, this could be considering the mind the same way as a pan-universal immortal soul. This is why Trace is able to retain his sense of self and memory after he dies and be reconstituted in the rebirth chambers: he can hold himself together because of this secret knowledge.
I think there is also a deeper meaning to “pattern.” I conjecture that a “pattern” is a misunderstanding by the Rusalki of Athetos’ designation of people as “algorithms.” It is the reason why humans can traverse through the Breach with some difficulty, but it is absolutely worse or fatal for Rusalki.
Here’s the deal: the Rusalka Katrahaska was destroyed by the other Rusalki using a device called the “GateBreaker.” As a result, “nanogates” were taken from her, and then later used to assist Trace.
They broke her gates. Logic gates. Rusalki are non-singleton hardware beings, whose intelligence is ultimately rigid because there is no transmittable software component to their minds. It’s why each of them has a specific role. Humans, in the world of Axiom Verge, may be described entirely using the patterns imprinted within their brains, or as part of the pan-universal “mind”. Hence, they might not require bodies to traverse the Breach: just send the mind-pattern back and forth.
Then again, there is the Breach elevator, so, yeah. Conjecture!
Is there any meaning to those names of places and people on Sudra?
Actually, yes. They are mostly Sumerian or Akkadian words. If we take this at face value, this lends some credence to the theory that Sudra is a far-flung future Earth that somehow didn’t adopt English as the language of scholarship. Or one where Sumerian wasn’t consigned to the dead language bin.
For fun, here is a rough translation of the Sudran area names. Note that these can very well be wrong in some places, since it seems Sumerian has a lot of homonyms, and there are transliteration inconsistencies amongst some online dictionaries.
ERIBU – Enter (this is Akkadian)
ABSU – Water (more properly “abzu”)
ZI – Life
KUR – Mountain
E-KUR-MAH – Great Mountain Temple
EDIN – Plain
INDI – Path or way
UKKIN-NA – Assembly (probably an attempt at translating “large machinery”)
MAR-URU – Parasite Dwelling
There’s not much to conclude, as aside from the place names, this has been a big ball of speculation. However, given the in-game evidence, there’s probably something here.