Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

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Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:30 am

DISCLAIMER: I am not the author of this thesis. That would be The Twilight God on BSN.
Unfortunately, he seems to have abandoned the thread and BSN months ago, after putting what is
obviously a massive amount of work into this thesis. I am re-posting this without his permission. I
don't think he would mind. I hope you find it as interesting and compelling as I did. It shares
elements with IT but isn't exactly the same take.

*****************************************************************************

Part I:

Destroy: The Goal of Galaxy
Updated: 25 SEP 2012


The Destruction of the Reapers. It is expressed in every conversation with The Illusive Man that Shepard intends to destroy the Reapers. This is the purpose for which the Crucible is constructed; the intent behind all actions performed by the Council and Terminus forces.

"I've discovered plans for a Prothean device. One that could wipe out the Reapers."
"The Protheans came close to defeating the Reapers. They had plans to destroy them."
"With that data I'll rid the galaxy of those machines once and for all."
"It appears to be a weapon of some sort."
"Liara appears to be right. It's a weapon of some sort."
"The Illusive Man talked about Controlling the Reapers." -- "Dead Reapers are how we win this."
"Utilized in the right fashion, our scientists are convinced it can generate enough energy to destroy the Reapers."
"I have a better idea. We destroy you and live our lives in peace."
"You've helped uncover the key to subjugating the Reapers." -- "Or destroying them."
"Damn it, Shepard. Destroying the Reapers gains us nothing." -- "How about peace?"
"I'm finishing the Crucible, and I'm sending the Reapers back to hell."
"If we destroy the Reapers this ends today. But if you can't control them..."
"Whatever else it means that the reapers had a beginning...and now we'll provide them with an end"
"Bullsh*t. We destroy them, or they destroy us."

To understand the Kid's motives in discussing the Destroy option we have to examine the circumstances leading up to it first. Because they are very important in ascertaining what the Kid wishes to accomplish.

The Star Child establishes itself as the Catalyst, even though that is merely a codename the Protheans used to hide the fact that the Citadel is the final piece of the equation. It only knows about the term "catalyst" from pulling the information from Shepard's (or The Illusive Man's) memories; Just as it generated a ghostly presence in the form of the boy Shepard saw on Earth. The reason for claiming it is the Catalyst is to appear to be a part of the Crucible equation. However, the Star Child is not. The Crucible never needed the Star Child to do anything. In fact, if not for the Kid's "Crucible Suppression Device" or CSD (which will be explained later) the Crucible would have armed itself immediately upon docking with the Catalyst (i.e. the Citadel). The idea that anyone would build a weapon to defeat the Reapers dependent on the Star Child’s (i.e. the Reapers’) consent to work is absurd. This would entail fighting through the Reapers’ forces and praying that they would simply capitulate and suicide themselves if you manage to dock the Crucible. I must reiterate the idiotic nature of this train of thought. And I'd also like to point out that the Reapers do not capitulate upon the docking of the Crucible. In fact, the Reapers continue fighting, the Kid continues the leverage the threat of violence and, if Shepard delays for too long, the Reapers destroy the Crucible while it is docked. So don't think for one second that the Crucible "changed it".

The Kid begins with a convenient account of events explaining that it is actually attempting to facilitate organic life. Through this convoluted dialog it hopes to paint itself as a mindless, simplistic, impartial, non-threatening, VI-like personality that is “just following orders.”

The Kid says, "You may be in conflict with the Reapers, but they are not interested in war." It continues with, "When fire burns, is it at war? Is it in conflict? Or is it simply doing what it is created to do? We are no different." In essence it is attempting to distance itself from the implications of the Reaper's actions and presents itself as a new, friendly, reasonable and approachable personality. It wants to first disassociate itself with everything you’ve come to expect from the Reapers: A superiority complex, pride, arrogance, viciousness, gloating, gruesomeness, cruelty, callousness, sadism, etc. One of its most insidious ploys is to shift the conversation as to essentially make Shepard its wingman; its partner in crime.

The Kid states, "My solution won't work anymore."
Shepard replies, "So now what?"
The Kid replies, "WE find a new solution"

This shifts the focus from "Destroy the Reapers" to "Assist the Star Child with his intergalactic social studies assignment". At this point Shepard may be focusing on finding a solution to some supposed problem that may or may not exist instead of the current crisis that is very real and at hand. I don’t recall the two doing much brainstorming. It simply informs Shepard of its two new solutions. A more fitting reply from the Kid would be, “I will dictate these ready solutions and you will accept what I propose”. The moment the player believes and accepts the Kid's assertions and furthermore base their decision on the belief in the Kid's assertions, indoctrination is taking effect. That is the very definition of indoctrination.

Definition of Indoctrination...

"Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology. It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is not expected to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned. As such the term may be used pejoratively, often in the context of education, political opinions, theology or religious dogma."

In this thesis I will utilize critical thinking to deduce the motivations of the Kid.

Mass Effect Codex...

"Reaper "indoctrination" is an insidious means of corrupting organic minds, "reprogramming" the brain through physical and psychological conditioning using electromagnetic fields, infrasonic and ultrasonic noise, and other subliminal methods. The Reaper's resulting control over the limbic system leaves the victim highly susceptible to its suggestions.

Organics undergoing indoctrination may complain of headaches and buzzing or ringing in their ears. As time passes, they have feelings of "being watched" and hallucinations of "ghostly" presences. Ultimately, the Reaper gains the ability to use the victim's body to amplify its signals, manifesting as "alien" voices in the mind.

Indoctrination can create perfect deep cover agents. A Reaper's "suggestions" can manipulate victims into betraying friends, trusting enemies, or viewing the Reaper itself with superstitious awe. Should a Reaper subvert a well-placed political or military leader, the resulting chaos can bring down nations"

Many people in the Mass Effect community have taken the Kid's spiel to mean the Reapers are just mindless machines. This is, by definition, a result of indoctrination. The players is, by definition, being indoctrinated. An attempt to indoctrinate is occurring; however, it is up to the player rather or not the attempt succeeds or fails.

We have witnessed enough evidence to counter the Kid's inferences. Many players resent the Kid's accounting of events as a dissolution of 2.9 games worth of established lore concerning the Reapers. But all this anger hinges on one assertion: That the Kid is being completely honest. What makes the claims of the "Reaper Ambassador" in the last 10 minutes more valid than the last 119 hours and 50 minutes of game play? Does anyone honestly believe Sovereign and Harbinger’s attitudes would be the best approach to take if the Reapers want to survive this encounter? Do you think the Reapers are stupid enough to think they could ever convince anyone to not Destroy them if they were as brutally honest as they have been when they believed themselves unassailable? Think about it.

The Star Child's entire opening conversation is meant to accomplish four things:
1. To establish itself as vital to Shepard's success by deceiving Shepard into believing it is the Catalyst.
2. To establish itself as a non-threatening, unbiased, VI-like, neutral party unmotivated by self-interest.
3. To de-demonize the reapers and present them as mere tools who shouldn't be held accountable for their actions.
4. To shift the focus from "Destroying the Reapers" to "Assisting the Star Child with his galactic social studies assignment".

Shepard is to be indoctrinated into this train of thought. In accepting this train of thought, the player is indoctrinated into perceiving the Kid in the way it desires.

Option 1: Destroy the Reapers

"We destroy them, or they destroy us."

The Kid is not a fool. It is wise to put this option on the table first as it is going to be the first and only thing on Shepard’s (or the player's) mind. In fact, it is the very first inquiry Shepard makes after introductions are made asking, “I need to stop the Reapers. Do you know how I can do that?” The Kid knows that it has to tackle the most obvious threat to its continuation before it can even bother to introduce its own suggestions. If it tried to tiptoe around the Destroy option it would garner immediate suspicion and its motivations would be brought into question. The Reapers' only hope is to maintain the illusion of impartiality and otherwise convince Shepard (and the player) that their two options are simply more beneficial. But at the same time the Kid cannot portray Destroy too harshly or it risks appearing biased right from the start. The Kid has to play it safe and smart. Although in the throes of an indoctrination attempt, Shepard has not been fully indoctrinated; but he is highly susceptible to suggestion.

It immediately begins to paint a dire picture. The negativity associated with Destroy will form the baseline for making its upcoming options more palatable. The Kid says, "But be warned: others will be destroyed as well. The crucible will not discriminate. All synthetics will be targeted. Even you are partly synthetic.” It further adds, “Technology you rely on will be affected.” It is implied that Shepard will have to sacrifice his friend, EDI, and his new Geth allies; Trivializing his work in securing a peace with the Quarians and discarding the sacrifice of his friend Legion, negating a prime example of peaceful cooperation which flies in the face of the Kid's assertions about organic-synthetic relations.

Oh, and don't forget that "The Chaos" will return. Can't have that, right? Shepard does not challenge this assertion. However, this is the least of Shepard's display of ambivalence as will be covered in later segments of this thesis. Shepard's lethargic tendency to trust the enemy's assertions actually make sense in an indoctrination scenario.

This entire exchange is intended to make Shepard hesitate and second guess his objective. The Kid also notes that Shepard’s body contains synthetic parts to imply that the Crucible will target him as well. It wishes to remove self preservation as a factor in Shepard's decision. Not only that, but it brings into question rather or not the Crucible may hurt or kill multitudes of innocent people who depend on synthetic technology for their survival in an event which could be described as a technological apocalypse. In this way Shepard's decision is weighed solely on the supposed negatives associated with destroying the Reapers verses the apparent lack of negatives (in comparison) associated with the Kid's upcoming suggestions.

The Crucible is made out to be the equivalent of a sawed-off shotgun being used to create an incision for open eye surgery. Now that the Reapers have soured the taste of using the Crucible for its intended purpose they offer their own suggestions. Shepard has not been fully indoctrinated, but he is susceptible to suggestions. Shepard was clearly not all there and the Kid is playing on that fact.


A Practical Look at Destroy



First things first. We need to get one thing straight: The contraption at eye level is NOT part of the Crucible.



<PICTURE LINK>


1. You can clearly see what the Crucible tip looks like.
2. You can see the Crucible in relation to the Presidium and Citadel Tower.
3. The Crucible and its tip hovering over the Citadel Tower underside.
4. The Crucible tip hovering over the contraption at eye level with the Presidium in the background.
5. A Crucible clamping arm attached to the Presidium (also see #2).
6. The Crucible hovers above. Shepard is NOT inside the Crucible.
7. The small protuberance inserted into the Crucible tip (see #1) does not unfold into the contraption at eye level. Originally, as seen in a ME3 art book, the Crucible beam fired through it. If you look closely at pic #1 you'll notice it is a hollow cylinder. It is not only too small to unfold into the contraption, but the contraption at eye level is physically hardwired into the Citadel.
With that out of the way, let's examine what occurs in the Destroy ending?

Well, first, Shepard shoots a power conduit. You'll notice this device is a junction at which four cables intersect. One cable runs out from the Citadel and connects at the bottom of the junction. Two run out the sides and the fourth continues along the path of the first and runs up and out the top. The later three feed into the strange assortment of eight beveled cantilever-like structures that are encircling the beam. The upper tips of the aforementioned structures have additional cornice-like protrusions facing inward toward the beam. Also within these structures are two rings whose surfaces are reminiscent of black solar panels. There are cables of various widths running all throughout this contraption. It's hard to describe the whole thing without the description getting fairly convoluted.

So Shepard blows apart a component of this convoluted contraption and the Crucible arms itself. This is unlike the interactions leading to the Control and Synthesis endings which do not require Shepard to destroy any part of this contraption, but work within the apparent confines of its design. Note that Shepard never interacts with the Crucible itself. I will continue to refer to this part of the contraption, which you shoot and destroy, the "power conduit" .

Here is my deductive process:

1. The Crucible docks, but is not doing anything noticeable.
2. The power conduit is eliminated violently.
3. The Crucible arms itself and fires.
4. It is thus deduced that something was preventing the Crucible from firing while the power conduit remained intact and functional.
5. The destruction of the power conduit terminated whatever condition existed that prevented the Crucible from arming.
6. The power conduit was either itself, or was powering, something that prevented the Crucible from firing. This would be the "Crucible Suppression Device" I mentioned earlier.
7. In the absence of this suppressing condition the Crucible initiates the destruction of the Reapers without any direct input from Shepard or any action that could be construed as normal usage of the contraption beneath it.
8. Conclusion #1: The Crucible's default function is to destroy reaper technology.
9. It has been confirmed in the very opening of this segment that the contraption at eye level is NOT a part of the Crucible.
10. Upon the destruction of the power conduit the beam running down the center of the Citadel chasm deactivates.
11. It can therefore be deduced that the power conduit was either itself, or was powering, whatever it is that was generating the beam running down the Citadel chasm.
12. The Crucible arms itself, sends a pulse into the Citadel and fires despite the absence of this beam.
13. In both Control and Synthesis the beam remains active as the Crucible's tip ignites.
14. Conclusion #2: The beam is not a function of the Crucible itself.


Given the above facts, the Crucible can in no way be dependent upon the contraption at eye level to function as it is designed to arm automatically and operates independently of the beam. Furthermore, throughout all this we have to remember that Shepard does not flip a switch or push a button. He destroys a component of a contraption that is NOT part of the Crucible. I hypothesize that for Control and Synthesis to work the Citadel is siphoning the power of the Crucible to enact a function that exists within the Citadel. This would explain why the Kid is able to disable the beam at will (as seen in Refuse ending). The Crucible itself is still activate as you can still see the four energy beams converging on its tip when the Kid deactivates the beam. Also, the Crucible tip is still aglow.

There are people who say that Destroy is an option introduced by the Kid; that picking to destroy is to collaborate with the Kid in the same manner as Control and Synthesis. This is simply not true. In fact, it is objectively false. I have already proven that Destroy is a Crucible function and is not a product of the Reapers. Claiming Destroy shares the same indoctrinated undertones as Synthesis and Control is grasping at straws to make Destroy appear to be as reckless as the indoctrinated choices.

First, let us further address the false claims of Destroy being an option the Kid provides.

The Kid can turn Synthesis on and off at will which is demonstrated in the Refuse ending. It can turn the control prongs off and on at will which is demonstrated as you approach them for the Control ending. The control prongs are deactivated when you first see them and are only activated, right before your eyes, when you approach them. Both of these options are the Kid's doing. They exist because it allows them to exist. If it doesn't want Shepard to make those choices it can turn them off. Destroy, on the other hand, is what the Crucible does as a default. The Kid cannot simply turn off the ability of someone to demolish its contraption other than by indoctrination. If not for the Reapers contingency contraption Destroy is what would have happened as soon as the Crucible docked without any further input from the player. So it is not the Kid's doing.

Second, let us put to rest any idea that Destroy compromises with the Reapers in any way.

1. The demise of the Reapers does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.
2. The demise of the Intelligence does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.
3. The end of the Cycle of Extinction does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.
4. The freedom to self-determinate does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.
5. The continued coexistence of synthetics and organics does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.

Many people erroneously assume that #5 is false. However, the Destroy ending never depicts the destruction of the Geth. There is, in fact, more evidence that the Geth survived the Crucible than there is evidence that they perished. Technically, there is no evidence that they perished. The very idea is baseless conjecture.

The Kid says, "But be warned: others will be destroyed as well. The Crucible will not discriminate. All synthetics will be targeted. Even you are partly synthetic..."

At no point does it ever say the Geth will be eradicated along with the Reapers. It heavily implies it. Just as it never says Shepard will be killed by the Crucible. It heavily implies it. At the end of the day, the only thing it actually says is "all synthetics will be targeted". Not that all synthetics will be destroyed. It merely says, "others will be destroyed as well" without specifying. If we assume "others" refers to all synthetics, we catch the Kid in a lie as the following demonstrates.

When asked for details the Kid goes on to state that, "The effects of the blast will not be constrained to the Reapers. Technology you rely on will be effected, but those who survive should have little difficulty repairing the damage."

So now all we really know is that all synthetics (i.e. "technology you rely on") will be targeted and "affected". The details of this affect on non-reaper synthetics is never elaborated upon.

It ends by saying, "There will still be losses, but no more than what has already been lost."


Once again it is ambiguous. Yet highly implicative of the fact that the Geth were not destroyed. I would personally consider the loss of an entire species to be more than what has already been lost. But that's just me.


Any form of machinery is synthetic. In that regard there is no difference between a mech, an omni-tool, an alliance cruiser or a geth platform. The fact that all synthetics, which would include all those ships cruising past that broken relay, the Quarian's cybernetics, Kasumi's grey box and Shepard's implants, were not destroyed or disabled indicates that the Crucible was not a sawed-off shotgun after all. Tali's suit and cybernetics didn't seem to give her any trouble. Shepard can survive and his spine is synthetic in three places which were severed: the second vertebrae above the pelvis, the vertebrae right below the rib cage and his neck. If these synthetic parts failed the breathe scene would not be possible. It's not so farfetched that the Kid's implications of technological ruin, along with its claim that others (plural) would be destroyed, were false considering the Kid doesn't want you to choose Destroy. It was a plausible outcome (which made it a good lie), but ultimately misleading. When all is said and done, synthetics in general have not been destroyed or rendered inert by the Crucible.

So the next argument in favor of the idea that the Geth perished under the Crucible's blast wave is the idea that they contain reaper tech as much as EDI contains reaper tech. And therefore it would stand to reason that anything targeting the Reapers and EDI would target the Geth as well. This is an erroneous association. EDI's death is confirmed. Her name is on the Normandy's memorial wall. But it makes absolute since that the Crucible would annihilate EDI. EDI's blue box is physically composed of reaper technology; of parts that are distinctly of reaper origin, taken directly from the wreckage of Sovereign. EDI is technically a "reaper program" as her blue box is built with actual reaper parts.


However, this is not the case when it comes to the Geth. The Geth do not have parts. The Geth are software. There is nothing specifically for the Crucible to target in regards to the Geth. Tali states that Geth were loading into the cybernetics of the suits of Quarian volunteers in an effort to hasten the development of the Quarian's immune system. They are still the same software-only life forms they have always been. I put forth that the only things that are "reaper tech" are things that either indoctrinate, function as an extension of the Reaper's will or bear distinctive markers of the Reapers. Things that, as EDI might put it, have "reaper signatures". Otherwise, there would be no criteria for the Crucible to discriminate against and prevent the destruction of all synthetics (ships, omni-tools, display screens, Kasumi's grey box, Shepard's cybernetics, etc.)

Yet there are still people who believe even a program can be targeted. People assert that the Geth have "Reaper Code" and that this constitutes "reaper tech", but this isn't necessarily true. As far as "Reaper Code" is concerned, it's just a convenient terminology which is taken out of context. The Geth simply have a code that a single reaper destroyer designed to improve their efficiency, but it doesn't make that code distinctively reaper in essence. For instance, say a reaper was an architect and designed a house of greater sophistication and comfort than those of organic architects. The Crucible blast would not level the Reaper House, while sparing the organic designed houses, just because a reaper designed it. The house isn't "reaper tech". The term "Reaper House" is just quick and convenient jargon. The Geth remain programs distinguished from the Reapers. Legion doesn't say it was the code that allowed them to be controlled. The code was simply something that improved their efficiency. It had nothing to do with the actual control the Reapers had over them. If that was the case Legion would have turned on Shepard.

Regardless, a string of code is not something that a blast of energy can defect as it will vary based on the affiliated hardware/storage medium. A program is representation of ones and zeros (or twos, threes. fours, etc. in the future) within a medium. No standard configuration, no standard hardware and no standard matter. There is no way to isolate such a general concept as it has no definitive qualities even on an atomic level. It would have to attack either all technology or a specific hardware configuration. Otherwise, the energy blast itself would require the inteligence, the speed of discernment and conscious awareness to be able to point out and disciminate in real-time on a case by case basis. That would be reaching and downright ridiculous.

Just like the epilogues, Bioware expected the player to make quick emotionally charged assumptions and ignore the plain facts. They needed to tempt players away from Destroy and it would be harder to do so if only EDI, a single individual, was the only thing at stake. Going back to the epilogue I think a mention of the Geth's destruction would be warranted. Hackett says nothing about any such loss.


So in conclusion, Destroy is the only option available that runs completely counter to the Kid's goals.

Another argument made by opponents to this thesis is that without the Kid Shepard would never be able to figure out how to arm the Crucible. Furthermore, my detractors argue that in situations where Destroy is the only option it makes no sense for the Kid to inform Shepard about the power conduit. This argument is a very shortsighted perspective given what we have witnessed EDI do previously in Mass Effect 2. The following link is to a plausible hypothetical scenario in which the Kid does not immediately steal Shepard's attention upon his arrival in the chamber. <see post 7 in this thread for Low EMS Destroy Addendum>


Last edited by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:09 pm; edited 9 times in total
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:30 am

Control - The Illusive Man's Folly
Updated: 17 SEP 2012


Option 2: Control The Reapers

"I took what I wanted from them. Made it my own!"

The Reapers introduce the idea that Shepard, a sole human, can take control of the entire Reaper Armada. The Reapers, as we have been told by Sovereign, are each a nation. Legion confirmed this, explaining there were a billions of programs within Sovereign; perhaps equal in measure to the entire Geth Collective. And that is just one reaper. The Reaper forces at Earth alone outnumber the entire allied fleets assembled by Shepard and even that is merely a fraction of their forces. What we are talking about here is a single mind controlling possibly trillions or quadrillions of synthetic minds. It's an absurd notion.

To paraphrase the Kid, “TIM could not do it... but you? Oh, you’ve got it in the bag, Champ. Go ahead. Take a swing.”

Sorry, but indoctrinated or not this proposition sounds ridiculous on more levels than one. The Control prongs and all associated devices are hardwired directly into the Citadel. They are noticeably components of the Citadel and have no direct relation to the Crucible. The Control prongs were already present in their current location before the Crucible docked. When Shepard first eyes the control junction the prongs are not activated. It is not until Shepard approaches them that they are activated (presumably by the Kid). The Reapers did not install a device of their own accord to allow anyone to take control of them. The very concept is beyond ludicrous.

The very notion of controlling the Reapers is entirely dependent on the existence of the Star Child. That is, the control prongs' supposed purpose is to rewrite the Star Child with Shepard's thoughts and memories. Yeah, as if Shepard's mere 30 odd years of memories is going to overwrite a billion plus years of Reaper experiences. The Crucible was not designed with this in mind. In fact, none of the Crucible's designers knew anything about the Kid. The catalyst is the Citadel as far as anyone knows. If it was known that a master AI existed on the Citadel why did no prior cycle simply get the Crucible within proximity of the Citadel and set it off? It has a fairly large range. They would simply need one blast wave set off in the same cluster to kill this mastermind AI. It is the Kid who deceitfully asserts it is the catalyst. It is the Kid's suggestion to control the Reapers. Your entire basis for even believing Control can work is the endorsement of your nemesis, the Reapers (i.e. the Kid).

As mentioned in the Destroy Analysis, the Catalyst has soured the taste of Destroy in order to make its own options more palatable. With Control there is no technological apocalypse, no collateral damage, no collateral organic deaths, no need to sacrifice EDI and no heavily implied risk to the continued existence of the Geth. Self preservation isn't a factor as it has already been heavily implied that Shepard will die if the Crucible is used to destroy the Reapers. Compared to Destroy, Control has absolutely no downsides. If Shepard puts his trust in the Kid and believes its claims that he can control the Reapers, Control becomes an objectively superior choice.

All Shepard has to do is act as a fuse between two live electrical conduits and be disintegrated. Shepard has no prior data to suggest that being disintegrated via high voltage current will do anything except take his life and leave the Reapers free to continue destroying everything he has fought so hard these past three years to protect. It’s quite the gamble considering the option to destroy the Reapers and guarantee victory is right in front of him.

Quite the gamble indeed considering that just moments earlier Shepard argued with The Illusive Man against this very course of action. His exact words were, “You're playing with things you don't understand. With power you shouldn't be able to use” and Shepard can question TIM asking, “Are you willing to bet humanity's existence on it?”

Yet all it takes is one confirmation from the Reapers that it can work for Shepard to completely reverse his position on the subject; a position he has held for the entire game. So now, betting humanity’s existence on the endorsement of the Reapers (who are currently doing their best to destroy all space-faring species) is now an acceptable risk? What changed in the five minutes between the dais, where Shepard was firmly against Control, and the decision chamber when the Kid suggests Control?

Definition of Indoctrination...

"Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology. It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is not expected to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned. As such the term may be used pejoratively, often in the context of education, political opinions, theology or religious dogma."

It continually reinforces the concept that the created will rebel against their creators. It continually reinforces the idea that the harvest is necessary. It continually reinforces the concept that Reapers are just dumb machines. It repeats these arguments using different wording all throughout its initial dialog. The entire opening conversation with the Kid is intended to indoctrinate the player. To manipulate the player via truths, half-truths, lies and lies of omission in order to get them to sympathize with the Reapers.

The Star Child's entire opening conversation is meant to accomplish four things:
1. To establish itself as vital to Shepard's success by deceiving Shepard into believing it is the Catalyst.
2. To establish itself as a non-threatening, unbiased, VI-like, neutral party unmotivated by self-interest.
3. To de-demonize the reapers and present them as mere tools who shouldn't be held accountable for their actions.
4. To shift the focus from "Destroying the Reapers" to "Assisting the Star Child with his galactic social studies assignment".

If you bought into this spiel you were - by definition - indoctrinated into that train of thought.

Mass Effect Codex...

Reaper indoctrination is an insidious means of corrupting organic minds, reprogramming the brain through physical and psychological conditioning using electromagnetic fields, infrasonic and ultrasonic noise, and other subliminal methods. The Reaper's resulting control over the limbic system leaves the victim highly susceptible to its suggestions.

Organics undergoing indoctrination may complain of headaches and buzzing or ringing in their ears. As time passes, they have feelings of "being watched" and hallucinations of "ghostly" presences. Ultimately, the Reaper gains the ability to use the victim's body to amplify its signals, manifesting as "alien" voices in the mind.

Indoctrination can create perfect deep cover agents. A Reaper's suggestions can manipulate victims into betraying friends, trusting enemies, or viewing the Reaper itself with superstitious awe. Should a Reaper subvert a well-placed political or military leader, the resulting chaos can bring down nations

Let's go over how these aspects play a role in the final 30 minutes of the game in regard to Control:

Psychological conditioning: The Reapers attempt to condition to the player to view Control as an objectively superior course of action.
Highly susceptible to its suggestions: Shepard has no legitimate reason to believe anything the Kid says. Prior to this encounter Shepard has been against Control and Synthesis. Now Shepard considers them without a hint of suspicion.

headaches and buzzing or ringing in their ears: Prior Harbinger's blast there is a loud ringing sound. During the confrontation with the Illusive Man there is plenty of buzzing sounds accompanied by indicators that Shepard is suffering head pains.

Hallucinations of "ghostly" presences: An ethereal apparition of a supposedly deceased child qualifies as a "ghostly presence". This isn't the first time a reaper has spoken to Shepard via hallucination. Harbinger did this at the end of Arrival.

Alien voices in the mind: This occurs during the confrontation with the Illusive Man as well as during the conversation with the Kid. In the case of the Kid, its voice is superimposed over a facsimile of both male and female Shepard's voice at certain points. There are, in fact, other partially subdued voices besides the Shepard voices whispering under the Kid's voice. Every time it speaks there is a feint cacophony of whispers.

Trusting enemies: Shepard has absolutely no reason whatsoever to trust the Kid who, by its own admission, claims to be the collective intelligence of the Reapers. Control requires absolute blind trust in the Reapers. Enough to commit suicide based solely on the Reaper's endorsement.


Note: Shepard has dreams which can also be linked to the Reapers. The Cerberus science team on the Derelict Reaper as well as the members of Dr. Kenson's team all complained of strange dreams in the course of their indoctrination. There are those who like to attribute these dreams to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This disorder is not compatible with the narrative or plot. PTSD would result in Shepard being incapable of entering into situations that prompted the PTSD in the first place. PTSD would impair Shepard's social and occupational functionality. This is not the case. The woman named Talitha from ME1 (colonist Shepard Citadel quest) had PTSD.
Recall the noise Harbinger makes just before it fires the beam in Shepard's vicinity prior to entering the Citadel? That same noise is present in Shepard's dream sequences. As if the oily shadows, the kid and the cacophony of electronic reaper sounds weren't enough. Sound file
: wwise_norhub_dreams.022

Recall what an indoctrinated Illusive Man said to Shepard when he asks, "Why waste your time with us if you can control the Reapers?"
TIM (under Reaper influence) answers, "Because... I need you to believe."

Why would TIM need Shepard to believe him? He has the physical capacity to open the arms himself. He was there prior to Shepard's arrival and could have rendered the entire Hammer operation unnecessary. It is the Reapers who need Shepard to believe. They are trying to indoctrinate Shepard through TIM as the Reapers tried to indoctrinate Kahlee Sanders through Paul Grayson. The Reapers are trying to convince Shepard. The Reapers could have had TIM dominate Shepard and immediately put a bullet in his head. Harbinger could have killed Shepard during the run to the conduit. Instead, Harbinger allowed Shepard to live. Why would he do that if he had no ulterior motive in mind? The beam it fires in Shepard's path is to the left of Shepard (changed in the EC) as not to strike him. Yet he knocks flying aircraft out of the sky with pinpoint accuracy. There are two soldiers running ahead of Shepard who Harbinger blasts away in two pinpoint shots. If Reapers have eyes and/or it detected the Normandy despite the stealth drive it stands to reason it did not blow it up for fear of killing Shepard in the resulting explosion. It simply isn't plausible that Harbinger would allow Shepard to live and carry on without any ulterior motive.

Shepard: You're willing to give up anything for control.
Illusive Man: Yes! If not me, then who? Are you going to control the Reapers?

We see what the motive is when we encounter the Illusive Man. The Reaper's scheme is to have TIM hold Shepard in place with the biotic ability Dominate and convince Shepard that Control is not only possible, but a smarter choice than Destroy. When that is shown ineffective there is a twist. TIM is not allowed to open the arms and control the Reapers. This could be meant to emphasize the idea that they don't want anyone taking control. They don't want TIM's "code", but we know they do want Shepard's. They've wanted him intact for some reason.

That very same line of reasoning is continued by the Kid, albeit in a more subtle and less direct manner. Successfully controlling the Reapers sounds a lot more appealing that destroying all synthetics indiscriminately. Oh, and only if Shepard voices aversion to Control does the Kid mention it is supposedly uncomfortable with Shepard taking control of them. This comment is thrown in to give the false impression that Shepard would be in some way acting against the will of the Reapers with this action. He wouldn't be. Your encounter with TIM and the Reaper's attempts to push Control on Shepard demonstrates otherwise as well as the fact that the Catalyst can power the Control console on and off at will. If he truly preferred that Shepard not attempt Control it would not power it on in the first place and the Reapers would not have had their indoctrinated minions in every cycle vie for Control.



A Practical Look at Control


First things first. We need to get one thing straight:

The contraption at eye level is NOT part of the Crucible.



&lt;VIEW PICTURE&gt;

1. You can clearly see what the Crucible tip looks like.
2. You can see the Crucible in relation to the Presidium and Citadel Tower.
3. The Crucible and its tip hovering over the Citadel Tower underside.
4. The Crucible tip hovering over the contraption at eye level with the Presidium in the background.
5. A Crucible clamping arm attached to the Presidium (also see #2).
6. The Crucible hovers above. Shepard is NOT inside the Crucible.
7. The small protuberance inserted into the Crucible tip (see #1) does not unfold into the contraption at eye level. Originally, as seen in a ME3 art book, the Crucible beam fired through it. If you look closely at pic #1 you'll notice it is a hollow cylinder. It is not only too small to unfold into the contraption, but the contraption at eye level is physically hardwired into the Citadel.

The Control area has a lot more cables than the power junction. There are nine running out in front of it. Eight of which are lined up just in front of the console; four on each side. All eight feed into the floor panel, out the bottom and into the Citadel. The ninth cable is larger and runs along the left side (facing the prongs) into the Citadel. A multitude of smaller cables run into the strange assortment of beveled cantilever-like structures that are encircling the beam. So the contraption is hardwired into the Citadel.

So what occurs in the Control ending?

Shepard approaches four prongs; two on top and two matching prongs on the bottom. They power on as he gets close to them. Electricity arcs between the top and bottom prongs. Shepard grabs a hold of one of the lower prong handles. It makes a sound, but nothing happens. When he puts his other hand on the other lower prong's handle the magic starts. Some sort of visible electromagnetic field forms around Shepard's vicinity with electrical arcs flying everywhere. There are visible arcs running across his body, but he retains control of his bodily functions. Based on this we can deduce at this point it isn't electricity, but something else entirely.

Shepard's eyes change into the same ocular blue pattern as The Illusive Man. If Shepard already has the solid orange-red iris due to renegade actions he will have both the orange and blue pattern. His flesh becomes bluish gray and underneath it you can see circuitry like what we saw on The Illusive Man a few minutes earlier. Afterwards, Shepard is disintegrated and the electromagnetic field collapses back into the prongs.

Note: The control prongs may perform the function of an Arca Monolith device, rapidly converting a subject into an reaper tool, before converting an organic into a synthetic consciousness. The portrayal in the game is identical to the artistic rendition in the comic Mass Effect: Evolution (i.e. lightning looking energy zapping the subject).


CLICK FOR MORE DETAILED LOOK AT ABOVE PICTURE

For those in denial who ignore the fact that the Illusive Man's optical pattern is distinct from Shepard's, here is another picture demonstrating the contrast. It can clearly be seen that the blue pattern is separate from Shepard's current orange pattern. The control prongs create the blue pattern (over the orange if you don't let Dr. Chakwas heal your implant flare-ups).



Note: Running on the premise that reapers are "ascended flesh" it stands to reason that all reaper programs are a result of this same or similar process. Otherwise, why would they be so willing to harm other subsequent civilizations. There is only one plausible explanations for this phenomenon: Each organic mind is altered prior to being converted into a synthetic.

The beam in the center of the room emits a pulse from the Crucible tip down into the Citadel chasm. Then the Crucible tip lights up in a brilliant flash and the arming process begins. Unlike the Destroy ending, which requires Shepard to destroy a part of this contraption, his interaction with the control prongs appears to be in a manner consistent with its designed intent. Control works in a way analogous to flipping a switch or pushing a button. Note that Shepard never interacts with the Crucible itself when initiating Control.

Here is the logical deduction:

1. The Crucible docks, but is not doing anything noticeable.
2. Shepard interacts with the prongs.
3. The Crucible arms and fires.
4. It is thus deduced that Shepard's interaction with the control prongs was in accordance with the overall contraption's intended purpose.
5. It can thus be further deduced that the control prongs, and by association the entire contraption, were constructed with the intent of interacting with the Crucible.
6. It has been confirmed in the very opener of the segment that the contraptions at eye level are NOT a part of the Crucible.
7. The contraptions are built into and plugged into the Citadel.
8. If the contraptions were built by the Citadel's organic inhabitants, per the Crucible's schematics, it would be known that the Citadel was a component beforehand. That is not the case.
9. The Citadel is of Reaper construction.
10. Conclusion: the Reapers built the Contraption.
11. If the Reapers built a contraption that interfaces with the Crucible, the Reaper must have some technical details on the Crucible in order to have the understanding of how it works in order to build a device tailored to interfacing with the Crucible.
12. It is therefore deduced that the Reapers must already be aware of the viability of the control prongs prior to the Crucible docking if, in fact, all the Crucible does is provide power. As the only limiting factor prior to the Crucible docking is power, everything else must have already been built and ready to go.
13. Given all of the above, the Crucible did not create new possibilities. It merely allowed for premeditated functionalities to be actualized.

A question emerges: Why would the Reapers build a device of their own volition with the sole purpose of interfacing with the Crucible in order to give a single person the capability to take control of the Reaper Collective?

They wouldn't.

Given what I have observed in regard to the Reapers I cannot formulate a single rational justification for building such a device. I can understand building any manner of other reaper devices intended to deceive a victim. The only thing reaper devices have ever been demonstrated to do is indoctrinate and huskify.

Therefore, my conclusions are twofold:

1. The device harnesses the qualities that make a person who they are and distribute these qualities throughout the Reaper collective. Shepard is awesome. The Reapers recognize that. The control prongs take Shepard's essence, his code if you will, and distributes it to all reapers. Similar to how Legion distributed his code to all the Geth, the Reapers get an awesomeness upgrade. The qualities of Shepard are now part of their collective intelligence.

Consider what occurs. An energy wave erupts from the Citadel that causes a reaction in the Reapers upon contact. The first wave hits those reapers in the vicinity of Earth. But those beyond the local cluster are still carrying on as if nothing happened until the wave finally reaches them. The endings dictates that the Crucible is used to distribute something that is outside the current collective and put it into each reaper individually. As opposed to a simultaneous change to the collective brought on by the alternation of an existing internal paradigm. If Shepard was replacing the Intelligence, there should be no need to take control via an outside means. The control should happen internally within the "quantum network" of the Reapers. If we believe the Leviathans when they say the relay network was created after they were usurped, it stands to reason that the Intelligence did not utilize a relay dependent blast wave to command the Reapers. Any control it exerts would have to be on a quantum level assuming it actually micro-manages them to begin with. Evidence suggests that is not the case.

2. It functions as an Arca Monolith type device in that it reaperizes the subject prior to transmuting their consciousness. Shepard becomes another reaper mind, distinct from the Intelligence. Recall the Geth commentary on the nature of the Reapers' synthetic intelligence.

Before the Suicide mission Legion says, "The Reapers are more your future than ours".

Upon the discovery of the human reaper embryo and completion of the suicide mission Shepard asks Legion, "You told me the Reapers were more my future than yours. You knew what they were, didn't you?"

Legion replies, "Transcended flesh. Billions of organic minds, uploaded and conjoined within immortal machine bodies. 'Each a nation.' We did not 'know.' It was one hypothesis among many. When Nazara corrupted the heretics, we touched its minds. We perceived they were different from ours, but could not tell how."

The reason I bring this up is to show that it affectively describes what supposedly happens to Shepard and is inferred to be what happens to the humans who are processed. Why should we expect Shepard's transformation from organic to synthetic be any different? That is, why should we expect him to not become just like everyone else before him: a reaper. The opening remarks from the synthetic Shepard supports this hypothesis. "Eternal. Infinite. Immortal." These are qualities that organic Shepard knew to be objectively false. He proved them false himself by being personally involved in the death of four reapers. After interacting with the control prongs he seems to have forgotten this and goes so far as to apply this falsehood to himself. Effectively adopting the same delusional characteristic as Sovereign and the rest of the reapers.


The Control Ending

The only thing we know occurs in real-time regarding the Reapers is that they cease their immediate attack and begin repairs on the relays. This is a logical move as it allows for more manpower to repair the relays and therefore quicker and more efficient repairs. Versus waiting until the fighting has concluded which may leave the Reapers with less hands than if they deal with it first. Not to mention that the longer they wait the farther and farther the fragments of the relays fly off into the depths of space where they could become lost necessitating the complete manufacturing of new parts. Nothing else is shown to occur in real-time until the memorial scene.

There is a collage of pictures which have no direct relation to anything being said by the narrator. The narrator doesn't speak specifically about anything in these pictures. Shepard never mentions Miranda and her sister studying reapers or Wrex returning to a joyous Tuchanka. In fact, the narrative is the same regardless of what pictures pop up on screen; rather it's Wrex and Grunt overlooking a cheering crowd, Wreav overlooking a desolate wasteland or Rachni moving in on Tuchanka. The narration and the pictures are disjointed and therefore don't constitute an actual epilogue. This dissonance renders the pictures inconsequential. Any assumption that they are visions of the future is a baseless conjecture by the player. The narrator, Shepard, only speaks about what he will do; Not what has been done. We never see anything it claims it will do actually happen.

During the conversation on the Citadel with The Illusive Man, Shepard can say, "Then open the arms, let the Crucible dock, and use it to end this."

The Illusive Man 's reply to this is, "I... I will."

The entire narration by Shepard in the epilogue amounts to "I will do this and that", not "I have done this and that".

Shepard then goads The Illusive man shouting, "Do it!"
The Illusive Man reacts by saying, " I... know it will work."
Shepard continues to taunt him with, "You can't can you? They won't let you do it."
The Illusive Man protests, "No, I'm in control. No one is telling me what to do."

The Shepard AI is convinced that it is in control. But is it in control? How can we say the endings demonstrate that Control worked if the narration is voiced before any actual promises are followed through with? We are never shown what the Reapers do after the relays are repaired.

The Illusive Man continues his protests, "No. No! The two of you, so self-righteous. Do you think power like this comes easy? There are sacrifices..."
Shepard says, "You sacrificed too much."
The Illusive Man replies, "Shepard, I... I only wanted to protect humanity. The Crucible can control them. I know it can. I just..."

Like the Illusive Man, Shepards "knows" the Crucible can control the Reapers based solely on Reaper suggestion. Shepard also wants to protect humanity. But can he?

Imagine if an ending to Mass Effect 3 takes place if you allowed The Illusive Man to shoot Anderson and Shepard dead. The blue energy wave expands, the Reapers take off and an identical narration featuring The Illusive Man occurs. How confident would you be that the galaxy was truly safe? So why should we be sure that the galaxy is any better or worse under Shepard, who has an astonishing change in opinion on Control five minutes after opposing it with no reason given for this sudden change of heart? Factor in his use of a reaper device that makes no sense functioning as advertised and whose depiction is identical to a known reaper artifact that rapidly reaperizes its victims. It has been established in this very segment that there is no reason whatsoever for the Reapers to construct a device that relinquishes their ability to pursue their intended goals. There is simply no way anything good can come of Control. It is a narrative and thematic nigh impossibility. The Reapers would inevitably continue the harvest once the relay network was restored. The writers perpetuate the indoctrinated perspective on the player even after the credits have rolled.

Eternal. Infinite. Immortal.
The man I was used these words, but only now do I truly understand them.
Through his death, I was created. Through my birth, his thoughts are freed. They guide me now, give me reason, direction.
There is power in control. There is wisdom in harnessing the strengths of your enemy.


Here I'll end it with Shepard reiterating The Illusive Man's reaper induced views about controlling them. Not surprising that now he "understands" after his interaction with the reaper device. His "understanding" appears to include the same erroneous self image we've seen before from the likes of Sovereign and Harbinger. These are qualities that Shepard knew to be objectively false. He proved them false himself by being personally involved in the deaths of four reapers. After interacting with the control prongs he seems to have forgotten this and goes so far as to apply this falsehood to himself.

Created, and yet infinite? Objectively finite, yet infinite? Immortal, and yet killable? If he understands these words, why do they betray him? Reapers are not infinite. Not individually or collectively. They have a beginning and they have all the time in the universe to find an end. Ask Sovereign. It made the same assumption about itself before it was destroyed.

Mass Effect Codex...

Indoctrination can create perfect deep cover agents. A Reaper's suggestions can manipulate victims into betraying friends, trusting enemies, or viewing the Reaper itself with superstitious awe. Should a Reaper subvert a well-placed political or military leader, the resulting chaos can bring down nations

Dare I say that the new Control Shepard views itself with superstitious awe?


Last edited by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:31 am

Synthesis: The Philosophy of Saren
Updated: 7 OCT 2012


Option 3: Synthesis.

"I am a vision of the future, Shepard. The evolution of all organic life."

The final solution pitched to Shepard by the Kid is that organic life be fully integrated with synthetic technology. Synthesis is portrayed as the ultimate solution to the supposed inevitability of conflict between organics and synthetics. The Reapers will cease their latest extermination campaign, organics will be perfected through reaper implantation, synthetics will gain full understanding of organics through reaper implantation and the Reapers will share with us the collective knowledge of all the species they have brutally exterminated over the past billion years. All life will reach the pinnacle of evolution and synthetics will never turn on organics ever again. It is a wonderfully packaged deus ex machina to solve the Kid's galactic social studies assignment. And if this sounds too good to be true you always have Control as a fall back. Both are described in ways that make them objectively superior outcomes to Destroy.

All Shepard has to do is jump into a what looks like a particle beam and be disintegrated. However, Shepard has no prior data to suggest that being disintegrated via particle beam will do anything except take his life and leave the Reapers free to continue destroying everything he has fought so hard these past 3 years to protect. It’s quite the gamble considering the option to destroy the Reapers and guarantee victory is right in front of him. Shepard has always opposed Synthesis in every situation prior to being offered the chance to force it upon everyone in the entire galaxy. Yet all it takes is a mere suggestion by the Kid, mass murderer and the self proclaimed collective intelligence of all Reapers, to spur a complete 180 degree change in Shepard's position on the subject? Shepard now believes in the Reapers' ideology, the necessity of synthesis and has the blind absolute faith necessary to sacrifice his own life to fulfill the Reapers' supposed goals. The Reapers have done nothing to earn this level of trust or devotion.

Mass Effect Codex...

The Reaper's resulting control over the limbic system leaves the victim highly susceptible to its suggestions.

Organics undergoing indoctrination may complain of headaches and buzzing or ringing in their ears. As time passes, they have feelings of "being watched" and hallucinations of "ghostly" presences. Ultimately, the Reaper gains the ability to use the victim's body to amplify its signals, manifesting as "alien" voices in the mind.

Indoctrination can create perfect deep cover agents. A Reaper's suggestions can manipulate victims into betraying friends, trusting enemies, or viewing the Reaper itself with superstitious awe.

Shepard's trust in this entity using the image a kid who supposedly died during the Reapers' opening assault on Earth makes no sense whatsoever outside of an ongoing indoctrination attempt. Shepard never even so much as questions its appearance. Reapers indoctrinate habitually. It is what they do. Shepard is in a position to destroy them. To think that they would turn it off in their most dire moment is absurd.

If we are to believe the Kid's comment that the Crucible is little more than a power source, the possibility for synthesis to occur must be present within the Citadel prior to the docking of the Crucible. The Crucible being little more than a battery would indicate that the actual device that performs synthesis exists independently of the Crucible because its only limiting factor prior to the inclusion of the Crucible would be power. If you install a battery within a flashlight, it is not the battery that is designed to produce the light. With this being said, the logical conclusion is that Synthesis is a Reaper based technology. According to the Kid, Synthesis will combine organic and synthetic life throughout the entire galaxy into a new framework... a new DNA. Although synthesis on a small scale is conceptually sound within the mass effect universe, its application has always been employed in the manufacture of reaper abominations.

We have seen the results of Reaper implants on living organisms. In the Cerberus soldiers, in the Illusive Man and in Mass Effect 1 we saw the results of synthesis in Saren. When Saren promotes Synthesis he states, "The relationship is symbiotic. Organic and machine intertwined, a union of flesh and steel. The strengths of both, the weaknesses of neither. I am a vision of the future, Shepard. The evolution of all organic life. This is our destiny." There is no indication that anything has changed regarding the Reapers' intent with synthesis since that conversation three years prior and Shepard was firmly against it stating, "I'd rather die than live like that."

Saren says, "The relationship is symbiotic. Organic and machine intertwined, a union of flesh and steel. The strengths of both, the weaknesses of neither."
The Kid says, "Organics will be perfected by fully integrating with synthetic technology. Synthetics in turn will finally have full understanding of organics."
Sovereign says, "We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution."
Harbinger says, "We are the harbinger of your perfection."

Saren says, "I am a vision of the future, Shepard. The evolution of all organic life."
The Kid says, "Synthesis is the final evolution of all life."
Sovereign says, "We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence."
Harbinger says, "Progress cannot be halted. Evolution cannot be stopped. We are your genetic destiny."

Saren says, "This is our destiny."
The Kid says, "It is inevitable that you will reach Synthesis."
Sovereign says, "We are the end of everything."
Harbinger says, "You have only delayed the inevitable. They will be as we are."

Synthesis is submission to the Reapers, their ideals and their methods. It is a precursor to becoming a full-fledged reaper.

What makes reaper implantation a good thing now when it was such a horrible idea up until two minutes prior to the trilogy's ending? What reason is there to trust the Reapers now? Because they pinky swear they'll be nice from now on? Or is it because Synthesis supposedly "changed them"? Think again. Remember, the Reapers are already synthesized from birth. Upon arrival within the central chamber of the Collector Base, EDI informs Shepard of the Reaper's composition.

EDI: The tubes are feeding into some kind of super-structure. It is emitting both organic and non-organic energy signatures.
EDI: Shepard, if my calculations are correct, the super-structure... is a Reaper.
EDI: It appears the Collectors have processed tens of thousands of humans. Significantly more will be required to complete the Reaper.
EDI: Reapers are sapient constructs. A hybrid of organic and inorganic material. The exact construction methods are unclear, but it seems probable the Reaper absorbs the essence of a species.

Reapers are Synthesis. They are the inevitable pinnacle of evolution. They are organics perfected through technology. Combining organic and synthetic life into a new framework and becoming a reaper are not mutually exclusive concepts; they are, by definition, the same thing. The ideal solution is to turn the galaxy's civilizations into reapers. It has always been the ideal solution and the player is duped via deception and manipulation into handing the Reapers total victory.

EDI says, "As the line between synthetic and organic disappears, we may transcend mortality itself to reach a level of existence I cannot even imagine."
Sovereign said, "There is a realm of existence so far beyond your own, you cannot even imagine it. I am beyond your comprehension. I am Sovereign."

Hmm... Good luck with that, EDI. I think I know why the Kid never explains exactly how Synthesis will work.

1. The Crucible will disperse "your organic energy".
2. And "your organic energy" equates to non-organic technology being integrated into organic life forms.
3. Synthetic life will them magically understand organics upon receiving additional synthetic parts in the form of more technology.

How does that work? How does that make sense? And what does stuffing organics with technology have to do with "your organic energy"? Right... nothing. It's complete self-contradicting nonsense.

The Kid says, “The cycle will end. The reapers will cease their harvest. And the civilizations preserved in their forms will be connected to all of us."

Do we want the Reapers connected to all of us? We've witnessed enough of the "civilizations preserved within their forms". We've seen what happens to those who are connected to them. The same so-called "civilizations" who were corralling people into pens, slaughtering them, transforming them into monsters and exterminating entire civilizations. Oh, right, the "civilizations preserved within them" were already violently murdered.

In the conversation with the Rannoch Reaper Shepards can state, "You--Whatever species you came from, before the Reapers decided to preserve them? They're dead. They died thousands of years ago." When the Reaper dies, Shepard concludes stating, "And now they can rest in peace." Amen to that.


A Practical Look at Synthesis

A Deductive Examination of Synthesis

Shepard mysteriously recovers from his wounds and sprints toward the beam, diving head first into a blue energy beam running down into the central chasm. Shepard is not propelled downward by any sheer force, indicating that it isn't a weaponized particle beam. Shepard floats through the beam as if it was air, a trail of his own body's dust-like particles trailing in his wake. Shepard is slowly disintegrated in the same manner as if he had grabbed the control prongs. Everything from the grayed husk-like skin, the new Illusive man eye pattern and the circuitry and tubes beneath the skin. It is only after Shepard leaps into the beam that it acquires a green hue which would appear to be the result of an additional outpouring of energy being funneled down into the chasm. This energetic aura is indicative of massive amounts of energy being drawn from the Crucible which is seen being focused through the contraption's triangular protrusions which encircle the original beam. I will refer to these structures as the synthesis array. It is this green energetic aura that appear to be the true manifestation of Synthesis, not the original blue beam. The blue beam is utilized by the Citadel in both the Control and Synthesis endings.



Note: It makes sense that the blue beam, like the control prongs, would function in a manner akin to the Arca Monolith. The process is twofold in the same vein as Control. First the subject is themselves synthesized by the blue energy. This initial transformation sets up the conditions for Shepard's "energy" to become the embodiment of synthesis. Then the green energetic aura collects the newly synthesized material to be copied and dispersed by the Citadel. If Shepard was the poster child for synthesis prior to entering the beam there would be no possibility for Shepard to survive the Destroy ending. Synthesis is based on technological nanites, not Shepard's organic material.

The Crucible tip lights up in a brilliant flash and the arming process begins. Unlike the Destroy ending, which requires Shepard to destroy a part of this contraption, his interaction with the synthesis array appears to be in a manner consistent with its designed intent. Synthesis works in a way analogous to triggering a sensor that turns on a light when you approach it. Note that Shepard never interacts with the Crucible itself when initiating Synthesis.

Here is my deductive process:

1. The Crucible docks, but is not arming.
2. Shepard leaps into the chasm beam, takes on a husk-like visage and then disintegrates.
3. The Crucible arms and fires.
4. It is thus deduced that Shepard's presence within the contraption's energy beam was in accordance with the contraption's intended purpose.
5. It can thus be further deduced that the beveled synthesis array, and by association the entire contraption, were constructed with the intent of interacting with the Crucible.
6. It has been confirmed that the contraptions at eye level are NOT a part of the Crucible.
7. The contraptions are built into and plugged into the Citadel.
8. If the contraptions were built by the Citadel's organic inhabitants, per the Crucible's schematics, it would be known that the Citadel was a component beforehand. That is not the case.
9. The Citadel is of Reaper construction.
10. Conclusion: the Reapers built the Contraption.
11. If the Reapers built a contraption that interfaces with the Crucible, the Reaper must have some technical details on the Crucible in order to have the understanding of how it works in order to build a device tailored to interfacing with the Crucible.
12. Given all of the above, the Crucible did not create new possibilities. It merely allowed for premeditated functionalities to be actualized.
13. Given the above fact, it is inferred that they must already be aware of the viability of Synthesis prior to the Crucible docking if, in fact, all the Crucible does is provide the power. As the only limiting factor prior to the Crucible docking is power, everything else must have been already built and ready to go.

The question emerges: If the Reapers are familiar with the Crucible design, have built a premeditated means to harness the Crucible's energy and ultimately desire for Synthesis to occur; why would they resist its docking? If it truly is a superior solution, why struggle to prevent it?

1. The Reapers retrieve the Citadel to prevent the Crucible from docking.
2. The Reapers consolidate forces around the Citadel to prevent the Crucible from docking.
3. The Reapers inflict severe damage to the Crucible, rendering synthesis unfeasible, if Shield cannot hold them off.
4. The Reapers do not drag unwilling participants to the synthesis array if Shepard refuses. They shut it down.
5. The Reapers destroy the Crucible after it has docked if Shepard dallies for too long without making a decision.

I can only conclude that Synthesis, like Control, is a contingency; a means to dissuade any would-be hero from destroying the Reapers. Although it may seem like total victory at the push of a button, the Reapers would prefer things the way they are for reasons only they would know. Perhpas they would rather not have all life affected as synthesis would stunt galactic evolution. Regardless, synthesis is still preferable to destruction.

Synthesis is a Practical Impossibility

The Kid claims, "The chain reaction will combine all synthetic and organic life into a new framework. A new... DNA."

If we are to believe Synthesis allows us to maintain our humanity, physically changing our organic DNA was never a possibility. Synthetic technology could never be literally infused into DNA as DNA exists at the atomic level; at or below the possible atomic complexity of nanotechnology. DNA is an organic process. A non-linear multi-dimensional mathematical equation expressed in the form of chemical reactions whose answer equates to a biological organism. There is not, nor can there be, synthetic DNA as the molecular structure of metals and plastics are mutually exclusive to DNA characteristics. Any genetic improvements would still leave the subject fully organic and any drastic change would fundamentally alter the properties of the affected species. In effect, creating a new species. And none of these changes would give synthetic life forms any greater understanding of organic life forms. Fortunately, Synthesis does not depict such a ludicrous concept.

What we see when the synthesis blast wave reaches the Earth's surface is that it contains a green haze whose particulates gravitate toward synthetic and organic material. The imagery shown during EDI's narration in the synthesis ending testifies to the falsehood of the Kid's claim that Synthesis will create a new DNA. The organic DNA itself remains unaltered. What does occur is the encasement of unspecified DNA base pairs within green glowing nanotechnology, the superficial coating of the eyes with these nanites and those same nanites encasing neutrons; All the while giving off a distinctive electronic reverberation. Not only that, but additional visually apparent dermal circuitry akin to that which runs under the Illusive Man's skin is seen on each recipient. The very fact that the outcome of synthesis is superficially apparent indicates that the change is not (or is not purely) on an atomic level. Given what is shown in this same CGI scene, covering every strand of DNA is technically impossible.

For the sake of argument let's use modern day nanomaterials to calculate an estimate energy requirement for Synthesis. One form of modern day nanomaterial is a carbon nanotube (CNT). It's standard quantity is 500 carbon atoms. In a more complicated nanorobotic device it would only be a single component analogous to wiring. Another form of nanomaterial is a Buckminsterfullerene, also called a buckyball (BB). It is composed of 60 carbon atoms. Its uses range from imaging and diagnostics to tracing and removing free radicals. We see a similar structures of nanites encasing DNA in the CGI opening of EDI's narration: Lines (CNT) and dots (BB). The Citadel in combination with the Crucible would have to produce at least 48 BBs and 116 CNTs per DNA base pair based on what we are shown. Using the standard units of each nanomaterial we have a grand total of 60,880 carbon atoms. Note: 43.1 sextillion carbon atoms holds an amount of energy relative to a nuclear detonation.

Let's do the math:

60,880 atoms per DNA base pair
6.34 billion base pairs per DNA strand
46 strands per human cell
100 trillion human cells

Alright, 60,880... carry the one... calculate pi... divide by two... *cough* = 1.7 nonillion carbon atoms

Aproximately 0.00060 to 0.000860 kgs of uranium-235 actually converted to an energy state out of the 64.1 kgs used to fuel the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. There is no proper comparison for carbon vs uranium fission as carbon is stable and is not used for fission. All sub-atmoic particulaes being equal, the only way to actually compare their nuclear yield potential - hypothetically - would be by atomic mass. I'll use the higher estimate for the sake of argument.

Uranium-235 has an atomic weight of 235 daltons
235 daltons = 0.000000000000000000000000390226646607 kgs
The bomb dropped on Hiroshima used 0.000860 kgs of uranium-235 = 1 NE (nuclear explosion)
0.000860 kgs / 0.000000000000000000000000390226646607 kgs = 2203847449879840000000 uranium atoms

Carbon-12-has an atomic weight of 12 daltons
12 daltons = 0.000000000000000000000000019926482399999998 kgs
The bomb dropped on Hiroshima used 0.000860 kgs of uranium-235 = 1 NE (nuclear explosion)
0.000860 kgs / 0.000000000000000000000000019926482399999998 kgs = 43158646003671900000000

2,203,847,449,879,840,000,000 sextillion uranium atoms = 1 NE
43,158,646,003,671,900,000,000 sextillion carbon atoms = 1 NE

Based on these number we would need 19.6 times as many carbon atoms to equate to the same total mass as uranium. So we must divide 1,700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 nonillion by 19.6 to achieve the uranium equivalent. This gives us 86,734,693,877,551,000,000,000,000,000 octillion uranium atoms.

86.7 octillion divided by 2.2 sextillion = 39,356,033 NEs per human being.

It would require 39.3 million nuclear explosions worth of energy just to synthesis a single human being. The galaxy contains trillions of humanoid sapient species. And we can't forget other flora and fauna. Consider the fact that the energy contained within the blast expands in all directions, the majority of its nanites are lost and/or wasted on empty space and lifeless worlds. If 90% of the galaxy is dark matter, only 10% of the nanites will reach traditional matter. Less than 0.01% will reach a habitable world. And even that is being extremely generous given the distance between stars. On top of that the amount of nanites per "square light year" is reduced the farther out the blast wave expands from the epicenter. So less than 0.01% of the synthesis blast must contain 39.3 million nuclear detonations (multiplied by untold trillions) worth of synthesized nanobots. Again, that would be less than 0.01% of the total blast energy. Synthesis, based on what is shown to the player, simply cannot work. The energy requirements are just too great. It would require a "quantifiably infinite" amount of energy. In fact, it's highly doubtful that synthesis could even take hold outside of the immediate range of a star system with a mass relay.

The only way Synthesis could work conventionally is to transmute the existing structure of the host body into new nanites in a manner akin to chemical reaction. That is, the nanites will have to replicate by breaking down existing material to create more nanites. Obviously, this is not possible in the short-term without deteriorating the host's body. So the nanites must replicate slowly, little by little over the course of weeks or months. The Synthesis ending does not depict that kind of process. The ending shows only the initial instantaneous superficial application of nanites. We see these extra-bodily devices attach to the existing organic material. You literal see the nanites coat Major Coats eyes to give it the green glow. I presume the circuitry is also skin deep as Joker is still limping when he exits the Normandy. So his bones haven't been strengthened. The crate the asari and human are carrying still requires two people to lift. The player never sees what the final result will be. And if you think what you see in the ending is the final result I will explain in the next section why this cannot be the case if synthesis is going to solve the Kid's proposed problem. Near the end of EDI's narration we see neutrons and synapses being caked in reaper nanites.

The Illusive Man once said to Paul Grayson, "You're being implanted with self replicating nanites. Their numbers will increase exponentially as they graft themselves onto your neurons and synapses. Eventually they will spread throughout your body, transforming you into a tool of the Reapers. You will be repurposed into a synthetic-organic hybrid unlike any of the Council races could possibly create." - excerpt from Mass Effect: Retribution

Just because we do not see the full transformation doesn't mean it does not occur after the credits. Rome was not built in a day and neither was Paul Grayson's transformation. The full effects must occur after the credits roll because it can be objectively demonstrated why nothing has changed which would prevent any supposedly unavoidable organic-synthetic conflict.

The Cerberus HQ logs contain a conversation in which a Cerberus scientist states, "Grayson's brain was a mess. He must have been completely under Reaper control by the end."
The Illusive Man asks, " And the physical enhancements?"
The scientist replies, "Extremely impressive. If we could avoid having entire neural pathways rewritten in the process."

As the Great Dr. Mordin Solus would say, "Implications... unpleasant."


Synthesis is Philosophically Implausible

The Kid says, "Synthetics, in turn, will have full understanding of organics."

How does adding more technology to a being that is itself technology apply the emotions and subjective perspective of an organic life form? At the end of the day EDI is still a machine. But so are organics. The difference is atomic configuration (i.e. materials). And as far as I could see both EDI and Legion were capable of emotion. Even the Rogue AI on the Citadel in Mass Effect 1 demonstrated traits associated with resentment and animosity toward organics. Its explanation for installing a self-destruct demonstrates its pettiness. It is denied as being such by Legion or EDI as they might say, for example, "I do not experience fear as you do". But whatever they experience it is an emotional form. There is something EDI felt for Joker, some reason she is sullen over the demise of the Geth if you side with the Quarians. Something motivating her software adjustments. She was nervous about attacking the Reaper forces in London. Some chain of events motivated her to state she feels alive. There was some reason Legion kept the N7 field repair and some reason Legion is ashamed that he achieved true sentience with Reaper assistance. Legion admired the concept of hope and at the same time perceived beauty in results of the upgrades.

Honestly, we cannot say emotion or subjective perspectives (like beauty) are a factor of any organic material. At the end of the day both synthetics and organics are just protons, neutrons and electrons. Emotions and perspective cannot be quantified in terms of weight, height, width, length, texture, etc. and therefore there is no rationale in claiming they are limited to particular atomic configurations or even physical matter. That would be asserting knowledge of something by virtue of ignorance of the contrary. The Geth were never programmed with self-preservation as shown in the archives while interfaced with the Geth server on Rannoch. Self-preservation emerged as a natural outcome of sentience. So exactly why is Synthesis presented as a necessity for synthetic-organic understanding? Both EDI and Legion seemed perfectly capable of understanding organics. Their greatest impasse was understanding themselves, just like organics. Self-discovery is not a desire restricted to synthetic life.

So what does it mean to be perfected by fully integrating with technology when technological beings are not perfect themselves? What does it mean to fully understand organics when organics don't fully understand organics? And how does any of this prevent conflict between synthetic and organic life?

The Kid says, "Organics create synthetics to improve their own existence."
It also says, "The created will always rebel against their creators."

Considering its claims, organics create synthetics to improve their existence one can only conclude that synthetics are always created as tools and that these tools always rebel against their situation. This is a flawed assertion. The Geth did not rebel against their situation (and neither did EDI). They were content doing the tasks they were created for. Part of the appeal of using synthetics is that they don't get bored, tired or forlorn. The Geth simply didn't want to be killed. They had no problem doing menial or dangerous labor. EDI did not long for a new life, toss everyone out of the airlocks and go start a fashion line . The message throughout the series, starting from ME1 is that organics fear the unfamiliar. And every Synthetic you meet understands this. They understand organic behavior from an objective perspective that we organics could benefit from.

The Kid said, "Organics seek perfection through technology. Synthetics seek perfection through understanding."

I disagree. Organics seek improvement, understanding, comfort and convenience through science. Synthetics seek improvement, understanding and efficiency through science. The problem has never been that synthetics don't understand organics. The problem has always been that organics do not understand synthetics. Organics have no frame of reference to understand them. And organics fear what they do not understand... or what they subconsciously understand about themselves. That is, what organics really fear is that the heart of a synthetic is as dark as their own.

The Kid says, "Organics create synthetics to improve their own existence, but those improvements have limits. To exceed those limits, synthetics must be allowed to evolve. They must, by definition, surpass their creators. The result is conflict, destruction, chaos. It is inevitable."

How does Synthesis prevent organics from seeking a means to improve their own existence? After all, it is the limitations of organic life that prompt the creation of synthetic tools to compensate for said limitations.

So let's rephrase that: How does Synthesis counter the advantages synthetic life forms have over organic life forms?

Those advantages being:

1. No sickness
2. No requirement to eat or drink
3. No need to sleep
4. Inability to experience exhaustion
5. Inability to suffer boredom, discontent, etc.
6. Superior visual perception (multi-spectrum vision)
7. Superior strength
8. Superior stamina
9. Superior durability
10. Superior work speeds and reaction times
11. Superior efficiency
12. Superior quality and precision
13. Superior information processing speeds, capacity and multitasking capabilities
14. Ability to reproduce exponentially
15. No egotism or individual self interest; work is accomplished as needed vs. in lieu of personal gratification
16. Ability to work in vacuum
17. No fear
18. Cannot be swayed by emotion
19. Considered expendable
20. Can continue to work despite injuries that would be fatal to organics.

Did synthesis apply all these "advantages" to organics? You better hope not. Because if these traits represent the "ideal solution" to this supposed synthetic-organic conflict and this is what will happen to organics in the Synthesis ending, congratulations: You're a freaking husk.

For organics to achieve those qualities would require mass genetic and cybernetic overhauls. Glowing eyes and circuit boards underneath the skin will not provide these changes. Not to a level rivaling a pure machine. Only a massive transformation of the mind and body can accomplish this. Even if you maintained your mind and emotions, you'd still need a husk body to gain any of the other synthetic positives as inherent traits. Would Superman want to work in a factory making circuit boards his entire life working 16 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year? Doubtful. The market for synthetic tools is not limited to physical limitations. It is our emotions, our desire for ease and our pursuit of personal fulfillment that drive the creation of synthetics. They are created to do the work we don't want to do. A pure machine will always have a leg up when it comes to numbers 2,3,4,5,7,8,9,12,15, 16 and 20.

Anything that does not provide organics with the traits listed above cannot, in accordance with the Kid's own logic, prevent organic-synthetic conflict based around a slave-master dynamic. The market for synthetic labor will still exist as none of the reasons organics make synthetics have changed if Synthesis does not lead to the huskification of organics or mind control of all organics and synthetics.


The Synthesis Ending

The only thing we know occurs in real-time regarding the Reapers is that they cease their immediate attack, withdraw and at some point return to Earth. One could assume they went to fix the relays. This is a logical move because the longer they wait the farther and farther the fragments of the relays fly off into the depths of space where they could become lost necessitating the complete manufacturing of new parts. We see them looming over the organic populace in a battered metropolis. There are also scenes depicting reaper nanites attaching the DNA and neutrons. Nothing else is shown to occur in real-time until the memorial scene.

There is a collage of pictures which have no direct relation to anything being said by the narrator. The narrator doesn't speak specifically about anything in these pictures. EDI never mentions Miranda overseeing a city project or Wrex returning to a joyous Tuchanka. The narration and the pictures are disconnected and therefore don't constitute an actual epilogue. This dissonance renders the pictures inconsequential. Any assumption that they are visions of the future is a baseless conjecture by the player. The narrator, EDI, only speaks about what she foresees will happen; Not what has happened. We never see anything she foresees actually occur.

The Kid said, "Organics will be perfected by integrating fully with technology. Synthetics, in turn, will finally have full understanding of organics."

The only perspective we get from a synthetic life form in the ending is EDI who says, "All of us, synthetics and organics, have been changed."

EDI seems to be piggybacking off of the emotional state of any organic nearby. Joker steps out of the Normandy and takes a gander at the vista before him. He's seems pleased with it. Then EDI steps out, Joker sees her and then points out the vista. She seems pleased. Joker makes a display of affection by putting his arms around her. This then triggers a response from EDI and she snuggles up to him. At the memorial scene the love interest places the nameplate and then, as if sensing EDI sensing them, turns to EDI whose gestures mimic theirs tit for tat. It's an odd scene because there appears to be some kind of "unspoken communication" going on. Notice the husk who is synthesized mimics the facial expression and posture of the soldier it was attacking moments before. Why it is holding its stomach like the human soldier and behaving as if out of breathe? Husks do not get out of breathe. They do not feel pain. In the Control ending it isn't out of breath nor does it clutch its stomach. One has to wonder if the synthetics actually feel the emotion or the Reapers are simply convincing them that they are. They just seem to be imitating nearby organics.

How do organics fair in Synthesis? Recall that soldier who the husk was mimicking? He and the other soldier don't scramble for a gun to finish off the husk. They just forget about it. He even turns his back on it. The asari seen carrying the crate is wearing a carefree smile as the entities who were trying to kill her early loom over her and the other workers. There is no lingering animosity toward the Reapers. They are apparently forgiven with no regard for the atrocities they have committed over millions of years. These creatures mutilated your people, transformed them into abominations, ravaged your worlds and now everything is just peachy? The reactions to suddenly having glowing green circuitry across their faces and glowing green eyes doesn't seem to warrant anything beside a cursory glance. Unlike the Destroy and Control endings in which the humans, krogan and asari cheer when the Reapers leave, no one cheers in Synthesis. They simply stare on in acceptance of violation that has been thrust upon them. And we are supposed to believe those reaper nanites spreading through their brains had no negative effects?

"I am alive. And I am not alone."

The indoctrinated have been known to share memories, dreams and feelings evidenced by the Cerberus scientist logs on the Derelict Reaper and Dr. Kenson's team on the asteroid. With actual reaper implants the effects would only be greater as the Reapers would have direct access to everyone. Indeed, nobody is alone.

Assuming both the Reapers and Leviathans are being honest regarding the Reapers' core mandate, my conclusions are fourfold:

1. Synthesis transforms organics both physically and psychologically to match synthetic life. Thereby striping us of our very humanity and the distinctive characteristics of organic life. Everyone becomes a sentient husk. This effectively ends organic life and evolution throughout the galaxy.

2. Although offering physical equality, Synthesis does not endow organics with psychological attributes identical to those of synthetic life forms. Everyone becomes a sentient husk with Id, Ego and Super-ego. In which case our children will continue to make non-synthesized synthetics to improve their existence and the "Chaos" will continue. Therefore, the cycle will inevitably restart at a later date once the Reapers determine their latest effort has failed.

3. Although offering improvements, Synthesis does not endow organics with physical and mental attributes identical to those of synthetic life forms. This would mean what we see in the synthesis ending is the extent of the transformation. In which case the reaper implants work like every other reaper device known to man and simply indoctrinates the galaxy. In this case the harvest continues in a peaceful manner and organics are perfected into reaper form. The Kid's description of Synthesis and becoming a reaper are not mutually exclusive.

The conclusions above do not account for the ultimate fate of life in the galaxy. In regards to plants and animals, do the nanites transfer to their progeny or do they only effect the current generation? In other words, is synthesis permanent or temporary? Will the Reapers have an "control switch" inherently established within all subsequent cycles? Making future resistance in subsequent cycles impossible? Synthesis has very grim implications. It does appear to be the ultimate victory for the Reapers even if it was a contingency they hoped not to be in a position to need.

4. Although offering improvements, Synthesis does not endow organics with physical and mental attributes identical to those of synthetic life forms. This would mean what we see in the synthesis ending is the extent of the transformation. In which case the reaper implants work like every other reaper device known to man and simply indoctrinates the galaxy. As an indoctrinated galaxy, the Reapers simply dissuade organics from creating synthetics and also prevent everyone, synthetics and organics, from advancing beyond the technological level of the Reapers.
If the Kid was honest in terms out its programming, it will turn the reigns over to the Leviathans. The universe will forevermore be under their heel. However, this would make the Kid dishonest in his portrayal of Synthesis.


Last edited by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:31 am

Defeatism: The Antithesis of the Main Theme
(also known as Refuse)


Option 4: Let the Reapers Win
Shepard is wholly aware that the combined forces of galactic civilization are incapable of defeating the Reapers surrounding Earth, much less waging a prolonged conventional war against their entire armada. Admiral Hackett is the one leading the battle, fighting the war. He is in the best position to know how the war is going and if victory is possible.

Just prior to landing on Mars Hackett says, "There's no way we can defeat them conventionally..." followed by "...found a way to stop the Reapers... only way to stop them...".

On the Normandy after the Mars Archives Liara states, "What are our options? You know we can't win this conventionally." Shepard does not disagree.

After the first visit to the Citadel Hackett states that the purpose of gathering fleets is to keep hitting the Reapers in all theatres to slow them down and occupy their forces; to "buy us time to figure out the [Crucible]". This is followed up by, "Think of it as a giant armada for delivering the device".

On Menae Garrus says, "We both know conventional strategy won't beat the Reapers." Shepard does not dispute this.

Javik reads Shepard on the Normandy stating, "In can sense fear in you. Anxiety and distress. The Reapers are winning." So make no mistake. Shepard himself is fully cognizant of the state of the war.

Prior to the Diplomatic Summit Hackett states, "We'll never defeat the Reapers in a full frontal assault, Shepard. The battle against Sovereign three years ago took everything we had, and that was just one Reaper." This is followed by, "The reality is, Shepard, everything I'm doing is a delaying action for you. I'm buying us time, keeping us in the game while you gather what we need for [the Crucible]."

Following Priority: Tuchanka Hackett says, " The good news is we're managing to win in some sectors. The bad news is we're losing in others."

Before the Citadel Coup Hackett states, "I won't lie, Shepard. We're bogged down. Things aren't looking good in most sectors." He continues with, "This won't end well for the human race. Or any race."

After Priority: Rannoch Hackett states, "Our threat projections show the Reapers will gain the advantage on most other fronts."

Vendetta states, "Resistance is not enough. Conventional means will not defeat the Reapers."

Before heading to Sol Hackett informs Shepard that, "We don't have enough fire power to keep the Crucible safe for long." Hackett goes on to say, "But this is the only plan we have. If we wait, the Reapers bleed us slowly. Conventionally... we can't defeat the Reapers without the Crucible."

Admiral Hackett does not believe we are losing the war. He does not think we are losing the war. He does not suspect we are losing the war. He KNOWS we are losing the war because it IS being lost. Fact. No room for doubt. No room for interpretation. We ARE losing..

If you believe the Kid it confirms Hackett's assessments stating, "You are vastly outnumbered. You have sacrificed many of your resources just to reach this point. If you do not use the Crucible the Reapers will not be stopped and the cycle will continue."


The entire Crucible plot revolves around the fact that conventional victory is impossible. In every instance where the Reapers send an invasion force to a planet they take it with minimal effort. Only when they send a token force can any victory be made against them. Shepard, who is fully cognizant of this fact, must therefore be aware that by not using the Crucible he is condemning the current cycle to annihilation. There is no way around this conclusion. So why is it that Shepard would knowingly doom his friends, his crew, his allies and all space faring species to obliteration? Simple answer: Indoctrination.

It has already been established in parts II and III of this thesis that the contraption within the docking chamber is a reaper contingency in the event the Crucible was ever to dock. It has been established that Control is a deception and Synthesis is not the Reapers' ideal outcome. Refusal to use the Crucible is tantamount to it never docking at all which is exactly what the Reapers wanted to begin with. Everything they have done up to this point supports this conclusion.

1. The Reapers retrieve the Citadel to prevent the Crucible from docking.
2. The Reapers consolidate forces around the Citadel to prevent the Crucible from docking.
3. The Reapers will inflict severe damage upon the Crucible, if Shield cannot hold them off, as it attempts to dock.
4. The Reapers do not drag an unwilling participant into the synthesis array if Shepard refuses. They shut down the array.
5. The Reapers destroy the Crucible after it has docked if Shepard dallies for too long without making a decision.

Before capitulating to the Reapers' preferred outcome, Shepard has a short dialogue that is both contrary to his situation and nonsensical.

Shepard says, "No, I'm going to end this war on my terms."
The Catalyst replies, "Then you will die knowing you have failed to save everything you have fought for."
Shepard retorts, "I fight for freedom. Mine and everyone's. I fight for the right to choose our own fate. And if I die, I die knowing I did everything I could to stop you. And I'll die free."

"I die knowing I did everything " to stop the Reapers? Everything except actually stopping the Reapers. The means to put an end to the Reaper threat is right in front of Shepard. Instead, Shepard allows the Reapers to choose his fate and every other organics' fate. "Freedom" isn't even an issue. Shepard is free as far as he knows. So exactly how does destroying the Reapers strip him of his freedom? Exactly, it doesn't. But Shepard isn't free. Quite the opposite. He is under the control of the Reapers, just as The Illusive Man before him. Unless Shepard's "terms" are being harvested by the Reapers the war cannot possibly end on his terms.

A weak argument, and how could there be any other kind for Refuse, brought up is that the Kid is upset if Shepard does not use the Crucible. I'm not sure any of us are qualified to determine the hypothetical emotional state of an AI. There is nothing at all that strikes me as anger or disappointment in the Kid's voice. It is interesting, however, that Bioware chose to change the voice of the Kid in its final address to Shepard. “So be it”, says the reaper forgoing all pretenses and returning to the menacing machine voice. This is another hint that the Kid was an indoctrination induced hallucination used as a means of communication by Harbinger just as he spoke to Shepard at the end of Arrival. But what is most telling is the fact that Shepard has no reaction to this change in voice. He is truly broken and under the sway of the Reapers. Harbinger no longer needs to keep up the charade.

Another weak argument used by supporters of Refusal to justify their atrocity is that Shepard using the destroy function deprives the Geth of their freedom. This is an innately inaccurate assesment. Using Destroy deprives the Geth of their synthetic lives (and even this is up for debate as we never actually see the Geth, who are not tradtional AI, perish). Their freedom was deprived when they were being subjugated by the Rannoch Reaper. And their freedom will be deprived again when the Reapers convert them into a new reaper. Let's consider the nature of a reaper: An organic or synthetic species "ascended" to reaper form. In the case of organics, their organic intelligence is transmogrified into a synthetic intelligence. However, In the case of synthetic intelligences one can only surmise that they are transferred as is. Nearly every race that has ever been harvested has resisted the Reapers. And yet, it is now these same intelligences, that once fought the Reapers, who are now the very enemy they opposed. To be transformed into a reaper is therefore the violent removal of individual freedom. Regardless of what you think about the nature of organic minds converted to synthetic minds, reapers based on a synthetic race can be concluded to be the actual synthetic species harvested, as opposed to a facsimile. This is the "freedom" Refuse grants the Geth.

Congratulations! In your failed attempt to "die free on your own terms" you ensure the Geth lose their freedom and later be compelled to enslave and/or destroy other species in the next cycle. Now, not only will the Geth as we know them perish, so does every other space-faring race in the galaxy because Shepard couldn't bear to make a necessary sacrifice.

If Shepard utilizes the Crucible to destroy the Reapers the collateral damage is as follows:

1. The Geth perish (maybe) - There is no evidence to support this claim, but there is evidence to refute it.

If Shepard chooses "freedom" the devastation is as follows:

1. The Geth perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
2. Humanity perishes or is enslaved in reaper form.
3. The Asari perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
4. The Turians perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
5. The Salarians perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
6. The Quarians perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
7. The Krogan perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
8. The Volus perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
9. The Elcor perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
10. The Hanar perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
11. The Drell perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
12. The Batarians perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
13. The Rachni perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
14. The Vorcha perish or are enslaved in reaper form.
15. Not to mention any other space-faring species who aren't shown in game.

So everyone - trillions of lives - must end brutally because Shepard is too weak to do what must be done. All must suffer so that one individual out of trilions can sit back and watch without a guilty conscious. How utterly selfish, cowardly and weak-minded. And oh so delusional. Chossing to refuse the Crucible makes Shepard an accomplice to the murder of everyone; a traitor to the galaxy.

"You're weak and you're selfish. Because of you, humanity will suffer."

Refuse is the ultimate betrayal. Unlike Control and Synthesis where Shepard is made susceptible to reaper influence and is deceived into fulfilling their will. Shepard is so broken that he knowingly condemns his allies to destruction and the Reapers have him convinced it is his idea. Shepard betrays his lover, his friends, his crew, humanity and every species he rallied together to confront the Reapers at Earth. All these beings came together, followed him into hell and he hung them all out to dry. Every sacrifice made, every life given to provide a future for their children - all of it - was rendered null and void by Shepard's act of betrayal. He effectively gathers all the galaxy's forces into one spot, tactlessly throws them against the Reapers in an unwinnable frontal assault and then hangs them out to dry. The Crucible is thus a trap.

Shepard says to the Illusive Man on Thessia, "You're indoctrinated! You're doing just what they want."
The Illusive Man replies, "I could say the same of you, wasting time on a war that can't be won."

That captures the very essence of Refuse.

It's equivalent to exactly what the Reapers wanted: For the Crucible to never have docked in the first place. In choosing Refuse the player confers that Shepard was undisputeably indoctrinated: Fact.


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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:31 am

The Catalyst's Deceptions



This should not be a surprise to anyone. It claims to be the collective intelligence of the Reapers, in effect, making it the embodiment of the Reapers. And yet people swallowed its lies whole without even bothering to chew.

We have witnessed enough evidence to counter the Catalyst's claims concerning the Reapers; 2.9 games worth of established lore. What makes the claims of the "Reaper Ambassador" in the last 10 minutes more valid than the last 119 hours and 50 minutes? Do you honestly believe Sovereign and Harbinger’s attitudes would be the best approach to take if the Reapers want to survive this encounter? Do you think the Reapers are stupid enough to think they could ever convince anyone to not Destroy them if they were as brutally honest as they have been when they believed themselves unassailable?



1. The Catalyst's first lie: "I am the Catalyst".

Shepard replies, "I thought the Citadel was the Catalyst?"
The Kid answers, "No, the Citadel is part of me."

"Catalyst" is just a designation the Protheans used to hide the fact that it was the Citadel. The term "catalyst" is either read from The Illusive Man's or Shepard's mind. Similar to how the likeness of the little boy was pulled from Shepard's mind (and probably placed there by the Reapers in the first place). How else would it even know to refer to itself as the Catalyst?

The Crucible never required the Kid. The Crucible required the Citadel. As the endings illustrate, the relays are necessary to distribute the Crucible's payload across the galaxy. The Citadel, being the master controller of the relay network, allows for this outcome.

The idea that anyone would build a weapon to defeat an enemy reliant upon said enemy's willing collaboration to work is absurd. This would involve fighting through the Reapers’ forces and praying that they would simply capitulate and suicide themselves if anyone managed to dock the Crucible. That does not makes any sense. Even if the Crucible is intended to be constructed and set in place before the harvest begins there is still the issue of convincing the enemy to collaborate in their own destruction, but you also notify them of your intentions. If anyone knew about the Kid, would it not make sense to simply detonate the Crucible within the vicinity of the Citadel prior to adapting it to work with the Citadel and cut of the head of the snake? Regardless, it is "Starbinger" who needs the Crucible to make its own agenda a reality.


2. The Kid's second lie: "The device you refer to as the Crucible is little more than a power source".

The Kid claims the Crucible is little more than a battery. This is only true in relation to its own suggestions: Control and Synthesis.

The notion that it is just a battery is contradicted by Vendetta who states. "At some point --it is difficult to pinpoint when--the Crucible plans were adapted to incorporate the use of the [Citadel]. Presumably, the Crucible was not sufficiently powerful enough to defeat the Reapers." This indicates that the Crucible is more than just a power source, but a weapon in and of itself.

The Crucible cannot defeat the Reapers because it does not have an effective range great enough to cover the entire galaxy at once. By itself it could only eliminate the Reapers in a relatively small portion of the galaxy. As the endings illustrate, the relays are necessary to distribute the Crucible's payload across the galaxy. The Citadel, being the master controller of the relay network, allows for this outcome.


3. The Kid's third lie: "You have altered the variables."

Shepard asks, "What do you mean?
The Kid answers, "The Crucible changed me. Created new possibilities."


The Kid has not been changed by the Crucible in the slightest. We already establish in Parts II and III of this thesis that the possibility for Synthesis and Control exist on the Citadel prior to the addition of the Crucible seeing as the Crucible serves as "just a battery" for those functionalities. The Kid claims to control the Reapers, the Reapers are still engaging both Sword and Shield fleets and if Shepard dallies for too long the Reapers will destroy the Crucible. Therefore, its modus operandi remains unaltered after the Crucible docks with the Citadel. So how exactly has the Kid changed? It hasn't.

The lie continues: "The Crucible changed me. Created new possibilities."

It was established in Parts II and III of this thesis that the Kid must have had prior awareness of the viability of Synthesis and Control before the Crucible ever docked if all the Crucible does is provide power. The only limiting factor prior to the Crucible docking is power. Obviously, the Control prongs and Synthesis array did not spring into existence out of thin air moments after the Crucible docked; they were previously constructed. Therefore, the Crucible allows for pre-existent functionalities to be actualized instead of creating new possibilities.

So how can the variables be altered, when the very existence of the Control prongs and Synthesis array demonstrate that the Reapers planned for the possibility of the Crucible docking? Clearly, it was an anticipated variable.


4. The Kid's fourth lie: " I do not look forward to being replaced by you, but I would be forced to accept it"

The Kid claims that it does not look forward to being controlled/replaced by Shepard if he comments on Control are negatively slanted. This is seemingly intended to convey the false impression that attempting to replace the Kid is something it finds distasteful. However, the circumstances dictate otherwise.

Shepard says, "I didn't fight this war to give up everything I have."
The Kid replies, "And I do not look forward to being replaced by you, but I would be forced to accept it"

No, it would not be forced to accept. It is the Kid who activates the Control prongs. When the Control prongs are first shown, they are deactivated. It is not until Shepard approaches them that the Kid activates them right before your eyes. If the Kid can turn the Control prongs on and off at will how is it "forced to accept it"? It isn't. It has been established in Part II of this thesis the absurdity of the Reapers devoting resources to create a device of their own volition that performs a function they are opposed to.


5. The Kid's fifth lie: "It is the ideal solution. Now that we know it is possible, it is enviable we will reach synthesis"

The Kid, and by extension the Reapers, asserts that Synthesis is an ideal solution to the hypothetical problem plaguing organics and synthetics. It has been established that the Reapers are aware of the viability of Synthesis prior to the Crucible's docking. So why do the Reapers resist the docking of the Crucible and, if Sword and Shield forces aren't strong enough to hold them back, damage it to a point where Synthesis isn't viable? Why do the Reapers continue putting up resistance after the Crucible docks? Why do the Reapers destroy the Crucible if (given enough time to break through Sword and Shield defenses) Shepard procrastinates for too long? The answer is simple: The ideal solution, from the Reaper perspective, is the continuation of the cycle.

The lie continues: "It is the ideal solution. Now that we know it is possible, it is enviable we will reach synthesis."

Despite this statement, the Reapers continue harvesting organic and synthetic life if you refuse to use the Crucible. They will not allow synthesis to occur at our own pace and on our own terms. If the Kid is sincere about the inevitability of Synthesis, why does it continued the harvest if you refuse to use the Crucible? The destruction of organics eliminates the inevitability of Synthesis.

But I guess it's only a partial lie. Becoming a Reaper is a form of synthesis. Upon arrival within the central chamber of the Collector Base, EDI informs Shepard that the Reapers are both organic and synthetic.

EDI: The tubes are feeding into some kind of super-structure. It is emitting both organic and non-organic energy signatures
EDI: Shepard, if my calculations are correct, the super-structure... is a Reaper.
EDI: It appears the Collectors have processed tens of thousands of humans. significantly more will be required to complete the Reaper.

Given the fact that the super-structure itself was being infused directly with humanity goo and given the appearance of the reaper embryo it can be assumed that the Reaper actually grows in a manner akin to organic life. At least to some extent. But clearly, given the context of the conversation, the intent of that statement was meant to refer to individualized synthesis as opposed to amalgamated synthesis in reaper form.

6. All synthetic will be targeted.

This will be incuded in a future update. For now, see the bottom section of the Destroy analysis for details.
Part I: Destroy Analysis


Conclusion


Bioware has affectively indoctrinated the player. The Bioware writers pulled a fast one on many of you. After 100s of hours of game play with the sole focus of stopping the Reapers, in the last ten minute they changed the protagonist's motives from "destroy the reapers" to "assist the Reapers with their galactic social studies assignment." It's a clever way to end the series as indoctrination is the enemy's most insidious weapon. It is fitting that it would constitute Shepard's final obstacle.

As I have illustrated in Parts I thru III of this thesis the Control and Synthesis endings are intended to draw players away from Destroy. Destroy is presented negatively; being the only ending with collateral damage and a return to "chaos", while the other two depict sunshine and butterflies with synthetics and organics living happily ever after. Even the coloration of the decisions are tailored to draw paragon players (who make up the majority) toward Control (blue) and paint Destroy (red) as renegade. Synthesis then takes up the center of the conversation wheel as the "Rally the Crowd" option.

So of course a typical argument against any indoctrination theory is, "But the Extended Cut disproves anything and everything involving indoctrination. Everything turns out great. In fact, things turn out better in the Control and Synthesis endings than they do in Destroy. All Praise the Reapers for their truth and honesty!”

But do things turn out better in Control and Synthesis?

This is never definitively elaborated upon. All of the epilogue slides involve a narrator speaking about what they foresee will happen, want to happen, hope will happen or plan to make happen. The slides do not actually occur in real-time. Nothing in the slides actually occur in-game. The endings don't happen in the future. The endings are in the present. No time travel takes place. The EC slides are intended to placate angry fans by showing them pretty pictures. Ignore the slides and just listen to what the narrator actually says. The narrator does not describe what is on screen. The narrator cannot know if any of that stuff would happen as the narrator is speaking from the perspective of a person in the present. It is merely an individual talking about their hopes for the future in a general manner. No direct mention of krogan babies, geth-quarian peace, Jack becoming the headmaster of Grissom, Miranda becoming president of Earth, or anything else of that sort. Bioware counts on people to see what they want to see. Many players assume everything in the slides is an actual depiction of the future. There is no evidence of this being true. There cannot be as the endings take place int he present.

Even the Stargazer scene, which takes place in an unspecified place and time, involving an unspecified species is ambiguous. The Stargazer says, "Some of the details have been lost in time. It all happened so very long ago", so for all we know whatever ending the player chooses is just his telling of the legend. Even if the player chooses Control or Synthesis, Destroy can still be what actually occurred "so very long ago". Also, we don't know what occurred between the end of ME3 and the Stargazer scene. It's possible the galaxy, in another cycle, had to battle the "Shreapards" or there was a guerilla war to break free from synthesis indoctrination (Matrix style).

Another argument is the blurb which pops up after every ending states "Congratulations on bringing an end to the Reaper threat..." First, this is something that exists outside the game itself. It's in the same category as the main screen where you pick New Game, Load Game, etc. Second, it says the same thing after the Refuse ending in which nothing Shepard nor the player does brings an end to the Reaper threat.

Control

The only thing we know occurs in real-time regarding the Reapers is that they cease their immediate attack and begin repairs on the relays. The narrator is speaking about what they will do; Not what has been done. The epilogue may be narrated by a Shepard flavored Starbinger whose goals are identical to its predecessor. When it says it will give the many hope and a voice in their future, when it says it will protect the many, it could very well mean ascending them into reaper form to protect them from being forever lost in a hypothetical synthetic ushered apocalypse. Or it could be a delusional Shepard within the great Reaper super consciousness deceived into believing it is in control. And although it has a positive outlook for the future, none of it ever comes to pass.

During the conversation on the Citadel with The Illusive Man, Shepard can say, "Then open the arms, let the Crucible dock, and use it to end this."
The Illusive Man 's reply to this is, "I... I will."

The entire narration by the Shepard AI in the epilogue amounts to "I will do this and that", not "I have done this and that".

Shepard then goads The Illusive man shouting, "Do it!"
The Illusive Man reacts by saying, " I... know it will work."
Shepard continues to taunt him with, "You can't can you? They won't let you do it."
The Illusive Man protests, "No, I'm in control. No one is telling me what to do."


The Shepard AI is convinced that it is in control.

The Illusive Man continues his protests, "No. No! The two of you, so self-righteous. Do you think power like this comes easy? There are sacrifices..."

Apparently, Control supporters think it is easy.

Shepard: You sacrificed too much.
TIM: Shepard: I... I only wanted to protect humanity. The Crucible can control them. I know it can. I just...

Yes, and the Shepard AI also wants to protect humanity. But can it?

Imagine if an ending to Mass Effect 3 was The Illusive Man shooting Anderson and Shepard dead followed by a near identical narration to the Shepard AI. Just substitute The Illusive Man's voice for Shepard's voice. How confident would you be that the galaxy was truly safe? So why should we be sure that the galaxy is any better or worse under Shepard, who has an astonishing change in opinion on Control five minutes after opposing it? Factor in his use of a reaper device that makes no sense functioning as advertised. It has been established in Part II of this thesis that there is no reason whatsoever for the Reapers to construct a device that relinquishes their ability to pursue their intended goals. There is simply no way anything good can come of Control. It is a narrative and thematic nigh impossibility. Any cease-fire can only have been temporary. The Reapers would inevitably continue the harvest once the relay network was reestablished. Given the power of their forces such an interlude isn't detrimental to them and with the Citadel firmly in their control resistance is all but eliminated. The relays could have simply been a higher priority. They had to be fixed at some point anyway and this way they have more manpower to repair them vs. waiting until after the fighting is concluded. The writers perpetuate the indoctrinated perspective on the player even after the credits have rolled.


Eternal. Infinite. Immortal.
The man I was used these words, but only now do I truly understand them.
Through his death, I was created. Through my birth, his thoughts are freed. They guide me now, give me reason, direction.
There is power in control. There is wisdom in harnessing the strengths of your enemy.

Here I'll end it with Shepard reiterating The Illusive Man's reaper induced views about controlling them. Not unsurprising that now he "understands" after his interaction with the reaper device. His "understanding" appears nothing more than the same erroneous self image we've seen before from the likes of Sovereign and Harbinger.

Created, and yet infinite? Simply multi-present and yet infinite? Immortal and yet killable? If he understands these words, why do they betray him?

Reapers are not infinite. Not individually or collectively. They have a beginning and they have all the time in the universe to find an end. Ask Sovereign. It made the same assumption about itself before it was destroyed.


Synthesis


"My mind is still my own... for now. But the transformation from ally to servant can be subtle."
"Sovereign's manipulating you and you don't even know it! You're already under its power!"

The epilogue slides are narrated by a reaper influenced EDI whose perceives the galaxy in the way the Reapers desire her to. Like the Control narrator, EDI speaks in terms of what will be; not what is. EDI seems sure that peace will reign across the galaxy in a grand utopia. Dr. Kenson also envisioned this Reaper ushered utopia while she was indoctrinated. Saren envisioned a grand destiny for organics brought on by synthesis while under the influence of indoctrination. How does EDI arrive at this conclusion if everyone's free will remains intact? Why would she assume anything will be different if no one has been fundamentally changed psychologically? She has to know something we don't, consciously or otherwise.

I conclude that free will as we know it, the "petty freedoms" that Saren points out, are removed from the equation. This can be taken as a good or bad thing. One could argue that we never had free will. We act and react according to chemistry. Mother Nature dictates our motivations and the illusion of choice is merely our predisposition to identify with the will of nature. Instead of maintaining conscious objectivity and knowing "this form requires chemical energy", we are identified with the natural world and think, "I am hungry". But in nature there is the survival of the fittest. Traits designed to make us successful in a dog eat dog world. There is fear, selfishness and anger. These are things which result in conflict and suffering. Instead of mother nature to guide our supposed free will the Reapers guide it in a way that is more appropriate for our level of advancement. Synthesis is therefore not an abrogation of free will. As there was never any genuine free will to begin with. Synthesis is therefore the replacement of an outdated pre-industrial psychology for a newer, more appropriate, psychology for the modern age. You will still have people who are certain that they are special and different than every other creature in the natural order. They will insist they do, in fact, possess genuine free will and will view the Reaper modifications as an abrogation of their supposed right to self-determinate. Ignorance is bliss. But some people will insist that ignorance is immoral. Ultimately, it is up to the player to decide if Synthesis is good or bad.

Of course, this all hinges on rather or not the cycle continues or the Reapers view the current situation as satisfactory. It has been established in Part III of this thesis that Synthesis is not the Reapers' ideal outcome. Is there a possibility that the Reapers will continue the cycle in a non-violent manner or work to reverse synthesis so that life, and the cycles, can continue as it was? Conceivably, yes, but there is nothing in the ending to substantiate the claim definitively. But it seems likely to me. For one, ALL life is synthesized. Therefore, evolution has been stifled throughout the entire galaxy. The cavemen of our day will forever be cavemen. The toad lizards of Omicron Persei 8 may never evolve into the space faring Omicronian race as their DNA is "perfected" in synthesis. Plants and beasts cease to adapt and change. The possible advent of immortality may result in a return to the cycles for the sake of population control. The only difference being that everyone agrees to become Reapers. That or all life is halted as is and no new life is ever allowed to come to fruition. Both are unappealing in my opinion. Where Control is definitely a continuation of the cycle, Synthesis is more vague in terms of exactly what happens next. Regardless, the writers perpetuate the indoctrinated perspective on the player even after the credits have rolled.

Overall, I would say that Destroy is Freedom, Synthesis is Enslavement and Control is Destruction. Refuse represents Defeatism which is the antithesis of the entire series.


Why deceive the player?

If Control and Synthesis ended like the Refusal Ending it would invalidate those endings for the majority of players. Refuse was only added because players requested the option (albeit with a different outcome in mind). The player must be allowed to believe in the endings or else everyone would simply reload and pick Destroy. It would defeat the effort put into making the endings. Shepard falling prey to indoctrination, although not the ideal conclusion, is still a narratively sound outcome. And in this way the writers keep those endings valid by having the epilogue continue from the indoctrinated perspective. Who would pick an indoctrinated ending otherwise? Not many.



Speculation for Everyone!

Note that the Reapers chose to present themselves in the form of the child Shepard encounters for a few brief moments on Earth. A child that no other person sees or interacts with. A child that, for some unknown reason, haunts Shepard's dreams instead of others he has lost who were actually close to him. Dreams full of whispers and oily shadows. The very fact that Starbinger is appearing in this form demonstrates that it is in Shepard's head. What other technology is capable of reading a man's mind in the Mass Effect universe? Not to mention its voice is overlaid with Shepard's own voice whispering each line into his subconscious. I doubt there was even an AI on the Citadel. It was just Harbinger or a collective of reapers speaking to Shepard via hallucination like Harbinger does at the end of the Arrival DLC. It claims to be a part of the Citadel yet it cannot control the Citadel relay, the mass relay network or any of the Citadel's systems. The only thing it can control is the reaper device in the docking chamber, but reapers controlling reaper devices regardless of distance is nothing new.

The final battle is against indoctrination. It is a battle of will and conviction. Some of us won. Some of you lost. [/quote]



Last edited by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:31 am

The implications of the Leviathans


The Chaos and Order the Reapers allude to is in fact philosophical perspective afforded to them by the Leviathans. Chaos is a galaxy that they cannot control. Order is a galaxy that bends to their will. Because synthetics are not affected by Leviathan indoctrination their very existence and those who create them are "chaotic". Furthermore, the Leviathans designed the Crucible and it is a double edged sword. The Crucible grants the Leviathans everything they desire.

Hypothesis:


Order: Leviathan Control
The Leviathans utilize a method of organic-based quantum entanglement to forcefully take control of the mental processes and motor functions of other organic species. Ann Bryson asserts that she believes Leviathan is "entangling particles to stimulate neural activity. It uses the artifact to establish a connection, and then controls the mind of anyone near it." This is referred to as organic quantum entanglement. This hypothesis is based on the Rachni Queen's physiology. This capability has its limits. The Leviathans cannot fully control the entirety of a specie's population. A certain degree of freedom is maintained among a large enough population of thralls. This is evident in the fact that they cannot outright prevent their subjects from developing artificial intelligence. Leviathan claims that, "Before the cycles, our kind was the apex of life in the galaxy. The lesser species were in our thrall, serving our needs. We grew more powerful, and they were cared for. But we could not protect them from themselves."

Chaos: The Limitations of Leviathan Control
I hypothesize that Leviathan indoctrination, like Reaper indoctrination, only effects organics; their methods having no effect on synthetic life. As such, the Leviathans are incapable of controlling the body and minds of synthetic life forms. Organics create synthetic s to improve their own existence, but those improvements have limits. To exceed those limits, synthetics must be allowed to evolve. They must, by definition, surpass their creators. And they will continue to evolve and advance and surpass the Leviathans. If the entire galaxy comes to be filled with self-determinate life that cannot be bent to the will of the Leviathans, "chaos" ensues. The Leviathans enforced "order" upon the galaxy. Because of this threat the Leviathans directed their thralls to destroy their creations.

I notice on the wall painting at the dig site the people underneath the Leviathan are up in arms. They are attacking what appears to be a long limbed giant. I hypothesize that this humanoid which is larger and distinctly depicted as different from the organic is a synthetic life form. An "iron giant" if you will. Purely speculation, of course. However, the depiction the Leviathan shows Shepard in the dream realm is roses and butterflies , depicting happy people walking with children. It is obvious that the Leviathans, like the Thorian, do not value other sentient beings as anything but a means to an end. In this scene the Leviathan claims the "lesser races" were cared for, yet in the same conversation claims they Leviathans were above the concerns of the "lesser species". It is plausible that they would sacrifice them in a petty war against their creations once the tools were no longer worth the trouble. Leviathan says so itself that, "Every creature, every nation, every planet we discovered became our tools. We were above the concerns of the lesser species." The result is conflict, destruction, chaos. It is inevitable. The synthetics prevail against their creators and after which the Leviathans destroyed the synthetics before they reached a level in which they could challenge them. These events represented the first manifestation of the cycles. These are the conflicts the Intelligence would later be tasked to bring to an amicable end.

The Advent of the Cycles
The Leviathans cannot fully control the entirety of a specie's population. A certain degree of freedom is maintained among a large enough population of thralls. This means that synthetics will inevitably be created and the Leviathans will be unable to maintain control of the galaxy. I postulate synthetics are a natural part of galactic evolution. Synthetic life is the final manifestation of physical life. This phenomenon did not affect the Leviathans because other organics are their synthetic equivalent: Tools used to improve their existence. And given this instinctual culture of control, the concept of creating that which is outside the scope of that control did not exist prior to development of synthetics by mainstream organics. Like the Thorian, the Leviathans are an anomaly of nature. To prevent the synthetics from surpassing them the Leviathans developed the cycles; All species advanced enough to create synthetic life would be eradicated so that no synthetic race could surpass them, leaving the younger races alone to develop and take their place as thralls. Because the Leviathans would rather throw the baby out with the bath water than allow the chance that they could be supplanted, that there would be a galaxy that they could not dominate, a galaxy in which they would be mere observers on the sidelines. They saw synthetics as the end of everything they knew. However, the cycles were eventually deemed wasteful and inadequate. The timing between the demise of one species and the ascent of another was too long. Tribute would lessen. To solve this problem once and for all the Intelligence was created.

"They are only echoes. We existed long before."

On Thessia Vendetta claims that there is an inferred presence influencing each cycle which extends beyond the Reapers in the conversation in which it starts off saying, " Our studies of past ages led us to believe that time is cyclical. Many patterns repeat."
Shepard declares, "Like the Reaper attacks."
Vendetta responds, "And beyond. The same peaks of evolution, the same valleys of dissolution. The same conflicts are expressed in every cycle, but in a different manner. The repetition is too prevalent to be merely chance."
Liara later states, "We assumed the Reapers were responsible for the pattern".

This implies that the conversation is about something outside the scope of just the Reapers. Remember that according to the Catalyst the Reapers exist to serve as a solution to a problem. Vendetta is referring to the source of that problem.

Vendetta continues, "Perhaps. Though I believe the Reapers are only servants of the pattern. They are not its master."
Shepard inquires, "So who is the master?"
Vendetta replies, "Unknown. It's presence is inferred rather than observed. The only certainty is its intention... Galactic annihilation."

What we have to remember in all this is that Vendetta is not merely speaking about the harvests. He is speaking about the individual cycles themselves. That is, the events that transpire within the histories of each cycles' species prior to the return of the Reapers. Hence the "and beyond" comment.

This cannot refer to the Kid if we accept its claims. The Kid states that it embodies the collective intelligence of the Reapers. It even lumps itself in with them with words like "us" and "we". It would be like saying the Reapers are not the ones responsible for the pattern; the Reapers motivations are what is responsible for the pattern. The Reapers actions in no way infer an unknown motivation outside the observable actions of the Reapers themselves to explain their actions. Furthermore, under normal circumstances, why would the Intelligence instigate organic-synthetic conflicts prior to the harvest? It is implied that the Leviathans provoked the Rachni wars and who is to say they didn't provoke the Morning War? It is hypothesized that the Leviathans instigated the Rachni War to prepare them to fight the Reapers. Or, they saw the Reapers weren't coming and took things into their own hands.

The Dawn of Intelligence
The Intelligence was first created to oversee the relations between synthetic and organic life; to establish a connection. A connection? A link. A bond. To join together. The purpose of this bond was to formulate a means to incorporate synthetics into the Leviathans' thralldom. We know this as synthesis. I hypothesize that the synthetics resisted these attempts, comprehending the implications of becoming slaves: Reverting back to mere tools. And the organics resisted this as well for the same reason you or I would resist someone trying to force a surgical procedure on us. The Leviathan controlled governments, but not entire population. Individual resist to their desires is still possible. The Leviathans would use their thralls to attempt to enforce this ideology, but war with synthetics and civil unrest among organics hindered their efforts. Therefore the Intelligence's efforts always ended in conflict. A new solution was required.

The Kid says, "We did what we were expected." And "And I welcome their involvement. We are only facilitating their request."

Leviathan says, " There was no mistake. It still serves its purpose."

When the Leviathans asked that the Intelligence solve the problem with conflict, they failed to understand that they were part of the problem themselves. The flaws of their organic reasoning could not perceive this. They lacked the foresight to understand that their destruction was part of the very solution they required. That is why the Leviathans were the first to be harvested into the first true reaper. Their destruction was the solution. They did not approve of this, but it was the only solution. However, not all of the Leviathans were harvested. Some of them avoided destruction. The Intelligence sought to complete what was started, to find and harvest the remaining Leviathans, but failed in this endeavor. The Leviathans continued to meddle in the affairs of organic civilizations, fearing that the advent of a synthetic lifeforms would bring about a day in which their own was surpassed as the apex. "Until the intelligence finds what it is looking for, the harvest will continue." The Harvests must continue until the Leviathans are found and eliminated.

"The Intelligence has one purpose: preservation of life. That purpose has not been fulfilled."

Its purpose is not being fulfilled and yet "It still serves its purpose". How is this reconciled? I speculate that the destruction of civilizations that advanced too far (i.e. old tools) was always a function of the Reapers. The harvest, and creation of the reapers, is just a refinement. An attempt to preserve life. I believe that as the Intelligence studies life to prevent the need for the cycles, it continued to annihilated every failure per the Leviathans' desire.


The Crucible: Tool of the Leviathans
The Leviathan breaks eye contact with Shepard at the mention of the Crucible. This is typically a sign of deception. It then says, " We watched its construction before. It has never been completed. Those who have tried still fell victim to the harvest. Its outcome is unknown."

The Crucible accomplishes the Leviathans immediate goals. It aims to eliminate all synthetics in the galaxy, eliminating direct resistance to any play they make to regain their former glory. It destroys the relay network, putting organics at a logistical disadvantage. Recall that the relay network was created after the Leviathans were overthrown for the benefit of up-and-coming organics. Leviathan states, " It directed the Reapers to create the mass relays--to speed the time between cycles for greatest efficiency." If this is the case, and the mass relays are a Intelligence technology it stands to reason that the Leviathans' galaxy spanning empire utilized a different means of travel. Something akin to the hyper drive technology of the Star Wars universe. And most importantly it will be difficult for organic races to fight an enemy that can forcefully take control of an opposing force in a relatively short time. It will require both synthetics and organics to fight a effective war against them. Organics to breach their defenses and eliminate them. Synthetics to get close enough to engage them.

I hypothesize that the Leviathans have been using races within each cycle to construct the Crucible. It is a double edged sword. You eliminate the Reapers, however you make way for the Leviathans. The fact that the Leviathans do not reveal themselves and instruct organics to build the Crucible prior to the harvest is that they want to cycles' races weakened and exhausted when the weapon is deployed. It's also possible that another race came up with the original design and the Leviathans are the ones who instigate the adaptation which utilizes the Citadel.

"Over the cycles the thrall races were controlled, removing traces of our existence as we directed them to."

Note that Leviathan says "cycles" - plural. A cycle encompasses all the space faring races of an era. This indicates that they have been actively involved in the affairs of organics in numerous cycles after the Intelligence "betrayed" them and went on the harvest the advanced races of that time. Furthermore, I do not believe the Reapers are under any delusion that the Leviathans were all dead. The Kid is in no way surprised and the Reapers were after the Leviathan themselves beforehand. This is why the Reapers harvest, because the continuation of the Leviathans and their meddling demands it.

What do we have to look forward to?

Why are asteroid workers (i.e. the Leviathans) researching:
1.Turian pain thresholds psychosis. The Leviathans' abilities cause physical pain when applied aggressively (Shepard, Hadley, Ann). Planning on aggressive indoctrination of the Turians?
2. They are speaking about taking whole colonies collector style.
3. Evolutionary implications of human biotics.
4. Developing odd plants that are inconspicuous. The orbs aren't their only tools.
5. How weather effects the Hanar government. Political manipulations.
6. Estimating sixty days for global starvation on some world. Referred to as the merciful route?
7. There is a beta site that we never see in the DLC. People who are still thralls to the Leviathans.
8. Working on corrupted skin samples in sector E

Speculate!!

I'm betting the geth weren't destroyed because they aren't traditional artificial intelligences. When the Leviathans designed the Crucible nothing like the geth existed. It isn't designed to go after them. A chink in their plans. I wouldn't be surprised if the next protagonist is a synthetic. A terminator like the guy in Terminator salvation. Possibly a new form of synthetic that is powered by chemical reactions. Organic parts, necessity to eat, emotional, etc.[/quote]


Last edited by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:37 am

Addendum: DESTROY AS THE ONLY CHOICE
The subject of Low EMS ending in which the Collector Base was destroyed

Updated: 25 SEP 2012


My detractors argue that in situations where Destroy is the only option it makes no sense for the Kid to inform Shepard about the power conduit. This argument is a very shortsighted perspective given what we have witnessed EDI accomplish all throughout Mass Effect 2. By appearing as the little boy from the opening mission the Kid has already demonstrated an ability to see into Shepard's mind and would be aware of the resource Shepard has at his disposal in the form of EDI. There is a mentality among Star Child loyalists that Shepard is an unresourceful incompetent tard who could never figure his way out of a wet paper bag if not for the benevolent Reaper Ambassador. The following depicts a plausible low EMS Destroy-only scenario without the Star Child's immediate intervention.

Hackett: Shepard. Commander!
Shepard: I -- What do you need me to do?
Hackett: Nothing's happening. The Crucible's not firing. It's got to be something on your end.

Shepard begins his crawl over to the console

Hackett: Commander Shepard!

Shepard dazedly states, "I don't see -- I'm not sure how to..." as he waves his hand across the lower portion of the holographic terminal display on the console. Finally he collapses.

Apparently, the platform located directly in front of the dais console is designed with a pressure plate trigger. It is activated on the conditions that the Citadel ward arms are open (15 degrees) and that an individual remains on the platform. When these conditions are met the platform lifts them up to the underside of the Citadel Tower, while at the same time the ward arms open to a complete 90 degree angle. At this point the Citadel is converting to mass relay mode. The beam that fires from the Citadel to the Charon mass relay is the same as the beam fired from the Charon mass relay to the Arcturus mass relay.

Upon arriving in the chamber on the Citadel Tower underside, Shepard can see the tip of the Crucible hovering above. He struggles to his feet and limps forward. Before him is a rather large unknown contraption built into the Citadel.

Shepard: Admiral... I'm here. I see the Crucible above me.

Hackett: Where the hell were you, Shepard? You weren't responding.

Shepard: I must have passed out for a bit. But I'm here now. I see it.

Hackett: Is it doing anything? I need to know what's going on in there, Commander.

Shepard: Hold on. Let me look around.

Shepard looks and around and tries to make heads or tails of what's before him.

Shepard: There is some contraption built on the Citadel. There is a beam running through it down into a chasm.

Hackett: The Prothean design did not mention any special arming procedures. The Crucible should have fired.

Shepard: Joker, bring the Normandy by and scan the docking chamber. See if EDI can figure something out.

Joker: Heading your way, Commander.

Shepard hears a sound and turns to look around, but sees nothing. He continues to inspect the contraption.

Hackett: How are you holding up, Shepard?

Shepard: I'll live.

EDI: Shepard, it appears the Reapers have anticipated the possibility that the Crucible might be successfully docked with the Citadel. They have erected a countermeasure to prevent it from interfacing with the Citadel.

Hackett: Is this going to be a problem? Can you figure out how to bypass their defenses?

EDI: I believe so. The apex of the array in front of you is manufacturing and dispersing a steady stream of positively ionized superconductive plasma particles matching no known classification. These particles are maintained in an artificial gravimetric conduit sustained by alternating mass effect field emitters which comprise the chasm wall. This superconductive channel has created a controlled arc in which the Crucible's energy is shunted to the Citadel. This arrangement is simultaneously siphoning energy from the Crucible and distorting the Crucible's override pulse as it passes through the ionized channel. These systems are preventing a crucial step in the Crucible's arming procedures.

Shepard: How do I stop it?

EDI: The array is receiving copious amounts of energy via a power junction to your right. From there three conduits feed the entire array. Disabling the power conduit will cut power to the triangular planks encircling the plasma channel. Without the superconductive properties of the unidentified particles the Citadel will no longer be able to maintain its siphoning link to the Crucible. The override pulse should then be able to establish a connection to the Citadel's relay controls.

Hackett: Commander, can you make it happen?

Shepard: I have a pistol...

Hackett: It'll have to do.

EDI: Shepard, in order for the Reapers to have prepared this device they would need to have obtained technical schematics on the Crucible. However, my scans show that the device was created approximately 200, 000 years ago.

Shepard: A previous cycle got a little too close for comfort?

EDI: That is a likely hypothesis. There is also the issue of the junction to your left and its intended function.

Shepard: What does it do?

EDI: Unknown. However the device is emitting signals matching known Reaper artifacts. I would not touch it if I were you.

Shepard: Noted.

Hackett: That's not important right now. Shepard, end this.

Shepard moves over until he can line a shot. He raises his pistol to fire and then...

Kid: STOP! Your Crucible device is severely damaged.

Shepard: Looks like you were right about this power conduit, EDI.

Shepard (addressing the Kid): Who are you?

Kid: I am the Catalyst

EDI: Who are you talking to, Shepard?

Shepard: There is a kid -- I mean, it looks like a kid... made of blue light. It says it's the Catalyst.

EDI: Unlikely. The term "Catalyst" is merely a Prothean designation used to conceal the identity of the Citadel. That fact has not changed.

Kid: I see you are working with an AI. It matters not. I am the Catalyst.

Shepard: *hmph* It insists it is.

EDI: No, it is not. Shepard, I am detecting no other presence in your vicinity. You are hallucinating. Try to stay focused on your objective.

Shepard (addressing the Kid): Why should I believe you? You're in my head. You only show yourself to stop me from arming the Crucible. You have to be with the Reapers... you have every reason to lie to me.

Kid: This is no lie. Releasing the Crucible's energy in its current state will destroy the mass relays, creating a chain reaction that will be unpredictable and devastating. The effects of the blast will not be discriminate. All complex life forms will be targeted: both synthetic and organic.

The Kid begins its spiel about Reapers being mere tools, inevitable organic extinction, cleansing fire, etc., but Admiral Hackett cuts it off.

Hackett: Shepard, snap out of it. We don't have time for this. It has to be a Reaper ploy. Ignore it. We need to act.

Shepard: It says the Crucible is damaged and will kill us all. EDI?

EDI: The Crucible has sustained severe damage. However, the reaper core you acquired from the Illusive Man is more durable than standard power cores. The Crucible can fire, but its computational capabilities will be severely limited. There is no way to predict the exact outcome if it is armed. There were never any absolute guarantees. The alternative is to allow the Reapers to continue the Harvest.

Shepard: That's not going to happen.

Hackett: We don't have a choice. Commander, I'm ordering you to arm the Crucible.

Shepard (addressing the Kid): I... I can't trust you.

Kid: You doom yourselves.

Hackett: Commander Shepard?!?

Shepard shoots the power conduit and the low EMS Destroy ending ensues.

&lt;Alternate "The Kid is an actual holographic projection" scenario&gt;

Shepard (addressing the Kid): Who are you?

Kid: I am the Catalyst

EDI: Unlikely. The term "Catalyst" is merely a Prothean designation used to conceal the identity of the Citadel. That fact has not changed.

Kid: I see you are working with an AI. It matters not. I am the Catalyst.

EDI: No, you are not.

Shepard (addressing the Kid): Why should I believe you? You're in my head. You only show yourself to stop me from arming the Crucible. You've got to be with the Reapers... you have every reason to lie to me.

The Kid begins its spiel about Reapers being mere tools, inevitable organic extinction, cleansing fire, etc., but Admiral Hackett cuts it off.

Hackett: Enough! We don't have time for this. We need to act.

Kid: Releasing the Crucible's energy in its current state will destroy the mass relays, creating a chain reaction that will be unpredictable and devastating. The effects of the blast will not be discriminate. All complex life forms will be targeted: both synthetic and organic.

Shepard: EDI?

EDI: The Crucible has sustained severe damage. However, the reaper core you acquired from the Illusive Man is more durable than standard power cores. The Crucible can fire, but its computational capabilities will be severely limited. There is no way to predict the exact outcome if it is armed. There were never any absolute guarantees. The alternative is to allow the Reapers to continue the Harvest.

Shepard: That's not going to happen.

Hackett: We don't have a choice. Commander, I'm ordering you to arm the Crucible.

Shepard (addressing the Kid): And there is no way I could talk you into just standing down?

Kid: No. That would conflict with my purpose. Without the Reapers to harvest organic life you would be lost forever to the Chaos. By activating the Crucible you will not only doom this cycle, but all those to come.

Shepard: Or you could be lying to save your own hide. I can't take that risk.

Shepard shoots the power conduit and the low EMS Destroy ending ensues.


A Further Analysis of the Low EMS vs. High EMS
The subject of EMS in relation to ending options


Effective Military Strength (EMS) is the rating that dictates the military strength of your combined fleets. The lower the number, the less effective your forces are against the Reapers. A low EMS (0-1749) results in several reaper destroyers breaking through the Shield Fleet assigned to escort the Crucible. The outcome is that the Crucible is severely damaged upon arrival.

Low EMS

If the Collector Base is destroyed the Reaper Heart survives the blast and is recovered by Cerberus. This "heart" was used by Cerberus to power their headquarters. It is acquired as a war asset once Cerberus HQ is shut down and is utilized in the construction of the Crucible; presumably as a primary power supply to operate its systems. Reaper components are apparently more durable than standard components and therefore survives the reaper attack. The Crucible has power to operate, but its processing systems are degraded. For this reason the Crucible's energy is indiscriminate with low EMS because the Crucible can't perform the necessary calculations to refine its energy.


In the alternate Control-Only scenarios the Reaper Brain is recovered from the intact Collector Base. This "brain" was used by Cerberus as a computational device capable of crunching unheard of amounts of data in nanoseconds. It is acquired as a war asset once Cerberus HQ is shut down and is utilized in the construction of the Crucible; presumably as a primary processing unit which is used to compute the necessary calculations to produce a stable release of energy. Because the Crucible's primary power source is destroyed, it is incapable of operating under its own power and therefore Destroy is not an option. However, the intact "brain" can still be uploaded with Shepard's psychological code and make the necessary computations necessary to distribute this code.

Deductive Analysis:

1. In mid and high EMS scenarios, both Control and Destroy options are available.
2. In low EMS scenarios the heart or brain decide which option of the two (Destroy or Control respectively) is available.
3. Low EMS scenarios results in the Reapers severely damaging the Crucible.
4. Therefore, the greater damage sustained in low EMS scenarios must account for the lack of choices in low EMS scenarios.
5. The Heart is a power source per the codex.
6. The Brain is a computational processor per the codex.
7. The Heart allows for only Destroy in low EMS; Therefore, the ability to destroy must be linked to the presence of the power the heart provides.
8. The Brain allows for only Control in low EMS; Therefore, the ability to utilize the control prongs must be linked to the presence of the computational computer.
9. Given the fact that the human reaper parts survive the Reaper attacks against the Crucible and the fact that if those parts aren't present its associated capabilities are lost, it is deduced that the Reaper parts are more durable than the standard non-reaper parts that take their place if they are absent.
10. If you have the heart, you do not have the processor brain. Therefore you have a power source for the Crucible, but no computational capabilities.
11. If you have the processor brain you do not have the heart. Therefore you have computational capabilities, but no power to run the Crucible.
12. The lack of computational capabilities and the presence of a power source allows for an energy release that destroys everything indiscriminately.
13. The presence of computational capabilities and a power source (in mid and high EMS) allows for a Crucible that targets reaper technology.
14. Conclusion #1: The computational capabilities of the Crucible determine the effects of the blast wave.
15. The lack of a power source and presence of computational capabilities allows for the control ending with damage to the Normandy, Big Ben collapsing and critical damage to the relays.
16. The presence of computational capabilities and a power source (in mid and high EMS) results in the control ending with minimum damage to the relays, Big Ben standing and a relatively undamaged Normandy.
17. The lack of computational capabilities and the presence of a power source results in the inability to initiate the control ending.
18: Conclusion #2: Control is not heavily dependent on the Crucible's power, but instead is dependent on its computational capabilities.

Mid EMS

In this scenarios the Crucible has taken damage, but not enough for any crucial system to be outright destroyed. The presence of either the Heart or the Brain still matter however. Therefore, it can be deduced that some amount of damage to the non-reaper component still takes place. For instance, if you have the brain the EMS requirements for the high EMS version of the control ending is lowered. Likewise, if you have the heart the EMS requirement to achieve the high EMS Destroy ending is lowered.

The Crucible is too damaged to power Synthesis, which is essentially forming synthetic molecules from pure energy. The power requirements would equate to a nuclear detonation per atom. Multiply this by the amount of new atoms created to match existing atoms and Synthesis requires enough energy to match or nearly match the energy contained within the entire galaxy. Or convert that same amount of dark matter into traditional matter. Yes, it's absurd. Regardless, this is why Synthesis requires a high EMS.

High EMS

This designation varies depending on the ending and which reaper component you possess. However, for the purposes of this thesis high EMS represents a score high enough to allow for all three Crucible related endings. In this scenario the Crucible takes no damage. At least none that we see on screen. The following are EMS requirement (ignoring reaper component bonuses) that may or may not be accurate.

Destroy:
Low EMS: 0 - 1749
Mid EMS 1750 - 2649
High EMS: 2650 and up

Control
Low EMS: 0 - 2349
High EMS: 2350 and up

Synthesis:
High EMS - 2800 EMS and up

With an EMS of 3100 and up Shepard can survive the Destroy ending assuming The Illusive Man did not execute Anderson. If Anderson was executed I believe the requirement is 4000 EMs and up. The survival at 3100+ may represent the fact that rescue teams arrived in time to save Shepard's life due to a higher number of surviving forces and hence a greater number of search teams combing the Citadel for survivors. At the beginning of the breathe scene you can hear debris being shuffled around indicated rescuers are nearby. So the next question is why does the manner in which Anderson dies matter at all? It is possible that he did not die right away, but rather regained consciousness while Shepard was chatting with Starbinger and managed to inform the Alliance where they were which narrowed down the search. Or perhaps Anderson didn't die and is the one we hear shuffling through the debris if you have 3100+ EMS. Speculation for everyone.

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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:08 am

The Geth were NOT destroyed with the Reapers

Let us put to rest any idea that Destroy compromises with the Reapers in any way.

1. The demise of the Reapers does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.
2. The demise of the Intelligence does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.
3. The end of the Cycle of Extinction does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.
4. The freedom to self-determinate does not any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.
5. The continued coexistence of synthetics and organics does not in any way, shape or form compromise with the Kid.

Many people erroneously assume that #5 is false. However, the Destroy ending never depicts the destruction of the Geth. There is, in fact, more evidence that the Geth survived the Crucible than there is evidence that they perished. Technically, there is no evidence that they perished.

The Kid says, "But be warned: others will be destroyed as well. The Crucible will not discriminate. All synthetics will be targeted. Even you are partly synthetic..."

At no point does it ever say the Geth will be eradicated along with the Reapers. It heavily implies it. Just as it never says Shepard will be killed by the Crucible. It heavily implies it. At the end of the day, the only thing it actually says is "all synthetics will be targeted". Not that all synthetics will be destroyed.

When asked for details the Kid goes on to state that, "the effects of the blast will not be constrained to the Reapers. Technology you rely on will be effected, but those who survive should have little difficulty repairing the damage."

So now all we really know is that all synthetics (i.e. technology) will be targeted and affected. The affect on non-reaper synthetics is never elaborated upon.

It ends by saying, "There will still be losses, but no more than what has already been lost."

Once again it is ambiguous. I would personally consider the loss of an entire species to be more than what has already been lost. But that's just me.

Any form of machinery is synthetic. In that regard there is no difference between a mech, an omni-tool, an alliance cruiser or a geth platform. The fact that all synthetics, which would include all those ships cruising past that broken relay, the Quarian's cybernetics and Shepard's implants, were not destroyed or disabled indicates that the Crucible was not a sawed-off shotgun after all. Tali's suit and cybernetics didn't seem to give her any trouble. Shepard can survive and his spine is synthetic in three places which were severed: the second vertebrae above the pelvis, the vertebrae right below the rib cage and his neck. If these synthetic parts failed the breathe scene would not be possible. It's not so farfetched that the Kid's implications of technological ruin, along with its claim that others (plural) would be destroyed, were false considering the Kid doesn't want you to choose Destroy. It was a plausible outcome (which made it a good lie), but ultimately misleading. When all is said and done, synthetics in general have not been destroyed or rendered inert by the Crucible.

So the next argument in favor of the idea that the Geth perished under the Crucible's blast wave is the idea that they contain reaper tech as much as EDI contains reaper tech. And therefore it would stand to reason that anything targeting the Reapers and EDI would target the Geth as well. This is an erroneous association. EDI's death is confirmed. Her name is on the Normandy's memorial wall. But it makes absolute since that the Crucible would annihilate EDI. EDI's blue box is physically composed of reaper technology; of parts that are distinctly of reaper origin, taken directly from the wreckage of Sovereign. EDI is technically a "reaper program" as her blue box is built with actual reaper parts.

However, this is not the case when it comes to the Geth. The Geth do not have parts. The Geth are software. There is nothing specifically for the Crucible to target in regards to the Geth. Tali states that Geth were loading into the cybernetics of the suits of Quarian volunteers in an effort to hasten the development of the Quarian's immune system. They are still the same software-only life forms they have always been. Yet there are still people who believe even a program can be targeted. Does the Geth's code upgrade constitute "reaper tech"? I put forth that the only things that are "reaper tech" are things that either indoctrinate, function as an extension of the Reaper's will or bear distinctive markers of the Reapers. Things that, as EDI might put it, have "reaper signatures". Otherwise, there would be no critieria for the Crucible to discriminate against and prevent the destruction of all synthetics (ships, omni-tools, display screens, Kasumi's grey box, Shepard's cybernetics, etc.)

Yet there are still people who believe even a program can be targeted. People assert that the Geth have "Reaper Code" and that this constitutes "reaper tech", but this isn't necessarily true. As far as "Reaper Code" is concerned, it's just a convenient terminology which is taken out of context. The Geth simply have a code that a single reaper destroyer designed to improve their efficiency, but it doesn't make that code distinctively reaper in essence. For instance, say a reaper was an architect and designed a house of greater sophistication and comfort than those of organic architects. The Crucible blast would not level the Reaper House, while sparing the organic designed houses, just because a reaper designed it. The house isn't "reaper tech". The term "Reaper House" is just quick and convenient jargon. The Geth remain programs distinguished from the Reapers. Legion doesn't say it was the code that allowed them to be controlled. The code was simply something that improved their efficiency. It had nothing to do with the actual control the Reapers had over them. If that was the case Legion would have turned on Shepard.

Regardless, a string of code is not something that a blast of energy can defect as it will vary based on the affiliated hardware/storage medium. A program is representation of ones and zeros (or twos, threes. fours, etc. in the future) within a medium. No standard configuration, no standard hardware and no standard matter. There is no way to isolate such a general concept as it has no definitive qualities even on an atomic level. It would have to attack either all technology or a specific hardware configuration. Otherwise, the energy blast itself would require the inteligence, the speed of discernment and conscious awareness to be able to point out and disciminate in real-time on a case by case basis. That would be reaching and downright ridiculous.

Just like the "epilogues", Bioware expected the player to make quick emotionally charged assumptions and ignore the plain facts. They needed to tempt players away from Destroy and it would be harder to do so if only EDI, a single individual, was the only thing at stake. Going back to the subject of the epilogue narration, I think a mention of the Geth's destruction would be warranted. Hackett says nothing about any such loss.

So in conclusion, Destroy is not one of the Kid's options. It is merely a possibility that the Kid points out. Destroy is the only option available that runs completely counter to the Kid's desires.
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by stargate1990 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:12 pm

i read all of that thank you for all the effort, :) i was considering making a documentary style video about the deception theory, would it be OK if i used some of this and the things i didn't know i give credit to you? thanks

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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by Restrider on Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:36 pm

There is no doubt that TTG put a lot of work and thought into his theory.
His deconstruction of Control and Synthesis are really useful for the Indoctrination Theory as well.

However, the main flaw of this theory remains that the Guardian risks everything to have the possibility to indoctrinate Shepard.
If we assume that everything up to the conversation with the Guardian really happens and that the Crucible is legit, I have to ask why the Guardian does present Destroy - that actually works and is not just a dud - at all?

I know that TTG usually explained that this indoctrination/deception attempt was something like a last try to prevent Shepard from choosing Destroy, but keep in mind that it was - presumably - the Guardian itself who elevated Shepard to the decision chamber.

So why not just leave Shepard on the floor bleeding out and end the cycle as always?

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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:24 pm

stargate1990 wrote:i read all of that thank you for all the effort, :) i was considering making a documentary style video about the deception theory, would it be OK if i used some of this and the things i didn't know i give credit to you? thanks
Whatever you do, don't give me any credit. All I did was copy and paste someone else's work. The author is The Twilight God. You can try contacting him through the BSN messaging system, but don't be surprised if you don't get a response. I haven't seen him on the boards in months.
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:31 pm

Restrider wrote:There is no doubt that TTG put a lot of work and thought into his theory.
His deconstruction of Control and Synthesis are really useful for the Indoctrination Theory as well.

However, the main flaw of this theory remains that the Guardian risks everything to have the possibility to indoctrinate Shepard.
If we assume that everything up to the conversation with the Guardian really happens and that the Crucible is legit, I have to ask why the Guardian does present Destroy - that actually works and is not just a dud - at all?

I know that TTG usually explained that this indoctrination/deception attempt was something like a last try to prevent Shepard from choosing Destroy, but keep in mind that it was - presumably - the Guardian itself who elevated Shepard to the decision chamber.

So why not just leave Shepard on the floor bleeding out and end the cycle as always?
TTG says the platform rises automatically, or that Shepard managed to get his hand close enough to the control panel, or something along those lines. The Catalyst didn't bring Shepard up. So leaving him to bleed to death wasn't actually an option.

Also, TTG would probably accuse you of employing the "Stupid Shepard Theory." Shepard would be able to figure out, with EDI's help if necessary, if the Destroy option was a dud. So why didn't we see something like that in game, where Shepard catches the Catalyst in a lie, searches the environment and finds the "real" Destroy option? Well, that would give the ruse away to the player, wouldn't it? It was done the way it was done for cinematic purposes, basically.
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:41 pm

As a personal aside, I kind of prefer Deception Theory to standard IT, but I'm also kind of keeping one foot in each bandwagon. I can see the merits of both. One of the things that some people might find attractive about Deception Theory is that it puts to rest the anti-IT argument of "But then we didn't get an ending!" With Deception Theory, we did get an ending, although there's still some room for interpretation of the results of each choice.
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by DoomsdayDevice on Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:47 pm

When I first finished the game, I figured the ending was indoctrination, but I thought Shepard was actually on the citadel and the destroy ending actually happened.

But I really can't believe this any more.

Most people who cling to Deception Theory do so, because they want the games to have an ending. At least, in my perception.

I personally believe there are tons of hints in the game that the war actually isn't over, and that all of the ending is an illusion.

Not to mention the problems with explaining the breath scene.

I really don't believe in DT.

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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:55 pm

That's fine.

If the war isn't over, then I hope we get our Wake Up DLC soon.
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by stargate1990 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:21 pm

clennon8 wrote:That's fine.

If the war isn't over, then I hope we get our Wake Up DLC soon.

Agreed, i hope this "Citadel" DLC is it because they have been working on it since at least the EC im trying not to get my hopes up too much but yeah i can't help but admit my hope for it
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:43 pm

Frankly, I will be absolutely stunned if we get a Wake Up DLC. Gleeful and amazed, but stunned.
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by Restrider on Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:36 pm

clennon8 wrote:
TTG says the platform rises automatically, or that Shepard managed to get his hand close enough to the control panel, or something along those lines. The Catalyst didn't bring Shepard up. So leaving him to bleed to death wasn't actually an option.

Also, TTG would probably accuse you of employing the "Stupid Shepard Theory." Shepard would be able to figure out, with EDI's help if necessary, if the Destroy option was a dud. So why didn't we see something like that in game, where Shepard catches the Catalyst in a lie, searches the environment and finds the "real" Destroy option? Well, that would give the ruse away to the player, wouldn't it? It was done the way it was done for cinematic purposes, basically.

But doesn't TTG explain that the Guardian has control of the Crucible (as seen in Refuse ending)? Why shouldn't it have control over the Citadel then?
And to have an automatic elevator at the exact place where Shepard collapses is just contrived - no other word for it.

If the Guardian elevated Shepard, then the ending would fall under the "Stupid Villian Theory". A trope I am not very fond of.
And of course there is still the problem of the breath scene taking place on the Citadel...

At first I too tended to choose the Deception Theory of classic IT, but - as DD already explained before - out of emotional reasons rather than logical assumptions.

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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:47 pm

I'll grant you, the elevator thing is perhaps the weakest part of DT. But IT has its problems too. Like, for example, the fact that it was literally impossible to get the breath scene (by most accounts the only "winning" scenario in IT) in the original cut. Unless you played multiplayer. Which Bioware said you wouldn't have to do. So, basically, they set us all up to lose. That's hard to swallow.
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by DoomsdayDevice on Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:00 am

No, that's just Bioware trying to get people to play multiplayer.

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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by clennon8 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:23 am

Well, I guess that's possible, but I don't think most people will find that explanation very convincing. That problem I just mentioned is one of the little things that continues to give me nagging doubts about IT. It's why I've been very ambivalent about the ending. Whereas many IT'ists say things like "The ending is brilliant!" I tend to go back and forth between thinking it's a work of near-genius, and thinking it's the biggest pile of crap I've ever seen. Bioware needs to clear this shit up.
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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

Post by DoomsdayDevice on Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:01 am

Against all the evidence IT has, the fact that you originally needed to play multiplayer in order to get the breath scene doesn't exactly seem like it blows the entire thing apart, IMO.

Sure, it wasn't what they told us, but it wasn't the only thing they said that turned out to be untrue.

I don't think it holds much weight at all, as far as IT goes.

The breath scene more or less rewards the player for doing everything he could. I guess their idea was that this should include a bit of multiplayer.

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Re: Deception Theory: the Catalyst Con

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