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Mahnmut Storyline

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 10 months ago

The Mahnmut storyline follows the exploits of four Moravecs, which are predominately robotic in nature, hybridized with organic components. They travel from Io to Mars to investigate strange happenings there.


Page numbers refer to the SFBC edition of Ilium.


  • Near Conamara Chaos (p17) - Mahnmut's analysis of Shakespeare's sonnet 116 is disrupted as his submarine (The Dark Lady) is persued through an Europan ocean by a Kraken. Mahnmut is partially organic. Sonnet 116 is about ideal love, and interestingly foreshadows the forthcoming tale by the "mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken." After some crafty manuevers, he returns to analyzing the sonnet, while the sub continues on its recall to Chaos Central. As he docks he notices the unusual presence of spacecraft at the base.


  • Conamara Chaos Central (p45) - Mahnmut meets with four other Galilean Moravecs: the Europan prime integrator Asteague Che, the Ganymedan Koros III, the Callistan Ri Po, the Ionian Orphu. They speak in pressurized atmosphere for additional security. They briefly discuss Earth, but it's mostly a nonstory - no activity by humans, post-humans, or machinery has been detected. Mars, however, shows signs of impossibly rapid terraforming. The latest images of Mars shows millions of stone heads lining the coastline of the northern ocean, being constructed by beings which are literally Little Green Men. Asteague Che announces that this team of four has been picked to investigate Mars, on a possibly one-way trip. The plan is for Mahnmut and Koros III to investigate via submersible, while Ri Po and Orphu investigate from orbit. The team, plus The Dark Lady will be flung at Mars via "the scissors", in a craft named... "the ship", which uses scoop technology named after G. L. Matloff and A. J. Fennelly (see A Superconducting Ion Scoop and its Application to Interstellar Flight, JBIS, 27, 663-673, 1974). Using the energy generated by the natural plasma torus and flux tube that surrounds Io, the ship is projected towards Mars.


  • Above the Asteroid Belt (p100) - Deceleration gadgets are deployed on the ship and Mahnmut and Orphu settle into a discussion of Proust and Shakespeare, reading Proust's "Swann Song". The excerpt sets up two important themes in Ilium/Olympos - time and memory. While looking at the asteroid Gaspra, they discuss rockvecs and their hostile nature, and the disastrous expedition led by Koros III to the rockvecs. Later Koros III tells the crew that the ship has weapons, that a huge amount of quantum activity around Mars is tearing space-time, and that it represents a threat to the existance of the solar system. Orphu asks about a relationship to the Voynix; apparently, the last time quantum activity of this magnitude was seen was when the Voynix appeared. As they approach Mars, they are met by a chariot containing a man and woman. The couple destroy half the ship, the explosion permanently blinding Orphu.


  • Low Mars Orbit (p135) - Mahnmut opens the payload bay of The Dark Lady, locates Orphu outside the ship, and installs the large Moravec in the payload bay. He downloads the Koros control software, and the two of them guide the ship towards Mars.


  • Mars (p158) - Mahnmut and Orphu regain control of The Dark Lady and land in the Tethys Sea, under a few meters of bottom silt. While waiting for the gods to discontinue their search on the surface, Mahnmut and Orphu discuss various Shakespearean shipwrecks (mentioning The Tempest), then the conversion turns to Proust and the concept of "consciousness escaping the limits of consciousness". After waiting for sixty-one hours, Mahnmut attempts to take the sub to the surface.


  • The Tethys Sea on Mars (p207) - As Mahnmut guides The Dark Lady towards shore, he and Orphu discuss the characters of Falstaff and Hotspur from Shakespeare's Henry IV. Orphu admits to identifying with Falstaff, but nonetheless finds him despicable, and that their current situation requires more of a Hotspur character than a Falstaff one. Orphu learns that Mahnmut has no education in the Iliad, and does not know who Odysseus is. The people on the shore setting up the sculptures notice The Dark Lady coming into shore.


  • The Coast of Chryse Planitia (p229) - the chapter opens with Mahnmut having an especially vivid dream in which he has a conversion with Shakespeare while walking along the banks of the Thames near London Bridge. When pressed about who the identity of the Young Man of his sonnets, Shakespeare curiously refers to Mahnmut as "Tiny Caliban". After describing how Orphu drowned in the hold of The Dark Lady, Mahnmut awakes on the beach surrounded by the little green men (Zeks/LGM) who are the sculptors. Mahnmut attempts to swim out towards The Dark Lady, but is blocked by a hoard of little green men. One of them then pulls Mahnmut's organic fingers into his chest, willing Mahnmut to grip the little man's heart.


  • Between Eos Chasma and Coprates Chasma in East-Central Valles Marineris (p282) - Three weeks later, while sailing on a ship made by the LGM, Mahnmut takes inventory of the three items taken from the hold of The Dark Lady. The first is a small ovoid (referred to as The Device), which is a single macromolecule nanomachine, containing an enormous amount of quantum energy. and is activated (to unknown purposes) with the specific application of 32 volts to a precise location. The second is some type of communication device with an exotic power source - a Chevkovian felschenmass. The third seems to be an inflatable balloon capable of lifting Mahnmut and all of the devices to the top of Olympus Mons, prompting Orphu to mention Around the World in Eighty Days. Mahnmut falls into a depression, and Orphu suggests that he work with the LGMs and the sail boat, which lifts his spirits over the coming weeks. Mahnmut observes a god flying overhead in his chariot, and performs a detailed analysis of the craft. Orphu insists that it is time for Mahnmut to communicate with the LGMs again, and reveals his theory as to how they communicate with each other - nanopackets of encoded information communicated by touch - although direct communication with Mahnmut causes the communicating LGM to die.


  • Candor Chasma (p316) - Mahnmut struggles to help the LGM during a week-long sandstorm, and notices that they are only functional during periods of direct sunlight. As Mahnmut tries to save the ship alone, Orphu reads him lines from The Tempest. After the storm breaks, one of the LGMs wish to communicate with Mahnmut. They give gratitute for his efforts, and let him know that they are called Zeks. They come from an alternate Earth, probably the one paired with the alternate Mars. They say that the sculptures they are installing bear the profile of The Magus, "Lord of the son of Sycorax" and "master even of Setebos". When asked about the chariot people on Olympos, they respond "Mere gods, held in thrall here, by a bitter heart that bides its time and bites", which Orphu states comes from Browning's Caliban Upon Setebos - although only the phrase "a bitter heart that bides its time and bites" comes from the poem. Orphu then deduces that the profile on the sculptures is Prospero.


  • 12,000 Meters Above the Tharsis Plateau (p365) - Mahnmut and Orphu are floating in the balloon; the Zeks helped to build the new gondola that could also hold Orphu. The two begin discussing the relationship between the Zeks, the local gods, and Shakespeare's characters from The Tempest. There then follows a long discussion concerning quantum teleportation. He theorizes that objects that were teleported via entanglement, were entangling with particles from an alternate universe - not a parallel one, but fictional ones that exist in the quantum state of human consciousness. Orphu suggests that this makes the gods on Mars real Greek gods. It is suggested (obliquely) that this allowed other beings into our reality, such as Setebos and the Voynix. A Greek god in a chariot then appears, bursts the balloon, snags the gondola cables in his hand, and drags them off to Olympus Mons.


  • Olympus Mons (p426) - Orphu and Mahnmut are taken before the Gods and presented to Zeus. Mahnmut tries to communicate with the gods in various languages, without success. He begins sending thre Greek syllables over to Orphu who is able to translate Greek back to Mahnmut. After Zeus gives a brief introduction to the gods present, he accuses Mahnmut of being a "toy", and has both of the Moravecs imprisoned in a small room protected by high-grade forcefields. After a few minutes, Hera shows up and apparently blasts them using a silver ovoid device.


  • Olympus Mons (p444) - (The Hockenberry Storyline intersects the Mahnmut storyline at this point. In the previous chapter - not on the Mahnmut storyline - an invisible Hockenberry enters the room and tasers Hera before she can take out the Moravecs. Hockenberry gives the Helmet of Invisibility to Mahnmut so that he can retrieve The Device, and then puts a levitation device on Orphu and QTs them both to Ilium). Mahnmut, now invisible, leaves the room when the gods burst in, and makes his way to the storage room, which turns out to be more like a huge treasury, and activates the communication device. It locks onto something, even though in a solid room, and Mahnmut downloads all data, logs, and the recorded conversations associated with the journey into the transmitter. He then applies the correct voltage and it emits a hugh energy beam eight meters wide, then melts itself into slag. As the gods burst in, Mahmut picks up The Device under cover of the smoke, and leaps out through the hole blasted into the marble. He leaps onto a chariot, displacing a female god, makes his way for the caldera lake, dives off the chariot just before it is destroyed, and swims 2000 meters to the bottom of the lake.


  • Ilium (p483) - (back in the Hockenberry Storyline, Hockenberry QTs back to Olympos near the caldera lake as planned, just as Mahnmut erupts out of the boiling lake, and Hockenberry QTs the both of them away from Olympos). Orphu uplinks his Greek language and Iliad databases to Mahnmut, who describes the events of a new Troy/Greek alliance back to Orphu. Mahnmut tells Orphu that The Device will go off in 54 minutes. At T-minus 41 minutes, Zeus shows up and drops a small nuclear device about 15km south of Ilium.


  • The Plains of Ilium (p516) - After a brief discussion with Hockenberry in the Hockenberry Storyline, Hockenberry QTs back to Olympos, leaving Mahnmut with Orphu, who ties Orphu to a bolder so that he doesn't levitate away. He meets with Achilles, Hector, and Odysseus and after exchanging pleasantries, they begin to walk off when Mahnmut warns them that something will happen in 30 seconds.


  • The Plains of Ilium (p529) - Several large spherical portals of some type appear in the sky and on the ground, directly linking Ilium to Olympos and space above Mars, and black military machines begin to fly out of some of them. Achilles and others cross over one into Olympos, as do thousands of ships piloted by Zeks. Several of the military spaceships land next to Orphu.


  • The Plains of Ilium (p542) - Mahnmut and Orphu are greeted by rockvecs who are looking for Koros III or Ri Po; Mahnmut informs them that they are destroyed. Orphu assumes command and demands a briefing. The head rockvec (who prefers to be called a Belt Moravec, explains the 5 year diplomatic mission of Koros III with the rockvecs. The rockvecs have been biofacturing warrior-vecs for the last 50 years, preparing for a possible Mars mission; they used the quantum tunnels to reach Mars (but overshot to Ilium). Orphu commands the rockvecs to set up a perimeter force field around the city. Mahnmut then leaves with Perimus to join Hector. Along the way they run into Hockenberry.


  • Olympos (p554) - This chapter basically describes (Homer style) the armies amassing against each other - the gods, the 11,000 Lycians, the 4,200 Ascanians, the 80,000 Achaeans, several thousand Zeks, 3,000 Achaean sailors, and 27,000 rockvecs, all ready to do battle. Zeus asks if the humans have any last wishes, and Achilles responds that if the gods surrender now, he will spare the goddesses so that they can be slaves.

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