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What Buried teaches us about Die Maschine


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“All this talk about energy, it’s so vague, ja? Its best not to worry about it. Just think of the big ones, positive and negative, north and south, light and dark, good and….HAHAHAHA…. evil!” ~ Richtofen

 

Buried was our very first introduction to a variety of interesting concepts have been remained relevant in all games. It was here where the word ‘Agartha’ has been mentioned for the first time, as well as a more clear description of what the Aether exactly is – a question that has left us zombie fans perplexed ever since reading the wallwritings in Der Riese, World at War. But several encounters in Buried may even have significance in understanding the essence of the Dark Aether, a realm central in our new story.

 

Allow me to begin with the setting of Buried, or rather the setting of our two German overlords. Richtofen’s consciousness (or whatever it is… After all, his soul has been stolen from his Dimension 2210 counterpart when he was just a child) has entered Samantha’s physical body, cryogenically imprisoned in the Aether Pyramid hidden in a cave in Mare Crisium. Unfortunately for him, the remaining members of Ultimis launched three rockets at the three major deposits of Element 115 – Nevada, Siberia and Angola – causing Richtofen to lose his link with the physical world (enter @Carnage Evoker's theory). He is now a mere spirit trapped within an ethereal realm, with the MPD being nothing more than a transmitter without any receivers left on Earth (aside from a minor concentration of 115 that has entered the blood circulation of some freaky cannibalistic cult members). Richtofen, a simple man, desires just one thing which is total control, and therefore attempts to re-establish his connection to the physical world via Global Polarization Towers.

 

Maxis’ exact fate is a bit more vague, as the good man somehow has learned to merge his soul with electronics. Presumably this is due to the human spirit, the soul, being closely tied to the electromagnetic spectrum, but that remains debatable for another thread. Somehow, he entered the Griffin Station terminal from where he broadcasted his own instructions via the radio ether. He attempts to “enter Agartha” through the very same Global Polarization Towers as Richtofen demands, simply differently constructed and programmed.

 

So that’s where we are in Buried, both German scientists trying to claw on the minds of Victis, trying to make them obey. Their exact intentions are, in Maxis’ words, too comprehensive for their mortal minds. Yet they revealed more about the realms beyond then they may have intended. Both Germans were not located on physical Earth, yet they wanted to be somewhere else. This was the first direct evidence of multiple “Aether’s”. Maxis’ soul was attached to the Griffin Station electronics, but at the same time wandering through the realm of the Afterlife. His will was to ascend from darkness and go to Agartha, a realm clearly associated with more power. Richtofen may not want to leave the Dark Aether, but simply expand his power. He is like Hades sitting on the throne of the Underworld, but with a broken bridge to the real, “living” world.

 

In Die Maschine, the Aetherscope allows us to detect so-called anomalities in the Dark Aether. They seem to be conscious about our presence, with Orlov’s spirit even cooperating with us. Initially, the anomalities appear as blue orbs, almost similar to the Wisp in Buried, which is a “ball of life” in the words of Richtofen. So can the Dark Aether be seen as some kind of realm where deceased souls go to? I am unsure to say it so blandly, as I think that isn’t the full story.

 

I am not the first one to make the connection between the relation of Aether/Dark Aether with that of Heaven/Hell. A light and a dark side of Afterlife, a good and a…HAHAHAHA….evil side! But they are simply two distinct spectrums of the same realm. Richtofen even mentions ‘North and South’ in his quote, which I believe refers to magnetic poles. To visualize my picture of the aethereal realms and their role in afterlife:

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Both realms have extraordinary power. But it is clear that one side would be a more popular holiday destination than the other.

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"I cannot thank you enough for releasing me from this horrible place." - Gersch

“And I already possess the power to leave this netherworld, and re-enter the physical realm once more." – Richtofen

 

Clearly the realm Richtofen and Samantha have inhabited via the Aether Pyramid has a rather horrible and hellish undertone. Richtofen even relates to this in Tag der Toten, when he is sitting around the campfire.

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Tank Dempsey (Ultimis): So Richtofen, what exactly is the deal with Sam? Weren’t you mortal enemies?

Edward Richtofen (Ultimis): Oh ja, very mortal, very mortal indeed! But a lot has changed. Maybe since we both got a little taste of the M.P.D., it’s helped see a little more, er, eye to eye.

 

So there is a Heaven and a Hell, two realms that are both part of the Aether, corrupting everything on it’s path. But when does a soul go to the Dark Aether and when to the (Light) Aether? Buried had an interesting answer on this. During the Easter Egg Quest, we encounter a Lantarn that can be used to collect energy left by departed souls. On Maxis’ side, an individual who is focussed on reaching Agartha, we have to collect the energy from the undead. On Richtofen’s side, an individual who wants to re-establish his power through the Dark Aether, we have to collect the energy from the Witch. This makes me feel like most souls go to Heaven / “Light” Aether. Zombification may be some kind of purgatory, where the soul cannot escape the physical body and desperately wants to break free (the One, Shi no Numa). Only by killing them, their souls will depart.

 

"Ah, yes! Do you see? The energy of their broken souls has been released! Their energy fields remain in flux. Matter must be transformed before it can be contained.” ~ Maxis, Die Rise

 

The soul of the Witch, however, has undergone a horrible metamorphosis the moment Jeb Brown put her corpse in the Pack-a-Punch, a direct gateway to Hell, and condemned her body for all eternity. Where have we seen that before? Oh yeah, Richtofen’s Endgame, where the clever man condemns Samantha’s soul by abandoning her physical body and leaving it in her cryogenic Dark Aether cell. Same as the body of Jeb Brown’s mother.

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“But what about Samantha? Your actions condemn my daughter's very soul to eternal damnation!” ~ Maxis, Buried

This is the reason why Richtofen demands you to collect her energy, as it belongs to the dark side of the aethereal spectrum.

So how about the spirits we see of Dr. Vogel, of Orlov? Normally, I think they are in good hands, simply not “released” yet since they are still trapped in their zombified bodies. But now with the destruction of the Aether, does that mean only Hell remains? I’d like to hear your thoughts about that.

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“All this talk about energy, it’s so vague, ja? Its best not to worry about it. Just think of the big ones, positive and negative, north and south, light and dark, good and….HAHAHAHA…. evil!” ~ Richto

If we really see the Aether as some kind of bipolar magnet, perhaps the souls that inhabit the physical bodies in the physical world are atrackted to one side (either dark or light) if it gets corrupt

Thanks to @Carnage Evoker and @RadZakpak for the inspiration!   The very first time we were introduced to the Dark Aether in a cipher found in Gorod Krovi, it stated that it was a realm bene

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"Ah, yes! Do you see? The energy of their broken souls has been released! Their energy fields remain in flux. Matter must be transformed before it can be contained.” ~ Maxis, Die Rise

^ that's a great quote that I have missed, thanks for pointing it out. And don't get me started on Samantha's eternal damnation lol. 

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2 hours ago, anonymous said:

So there is a Heaven and a Hell, two realms that are both part of the Aether, corrupting everything on it’s path. But when does a soul go to the Dark Aether and when to the (Light) Aether? Buried had an interesting answer on this. During the Easter Egg Quest, we encounter a Lantern that can be used to collect energy left by departed souls. On Maxis’ side, an individual who is focused on reaching Agartha, we have to collect the energy from the undead. On Richtofen’s side, an individual who wants to re-establish his power through the Dark Aether, we have to collect the energy from the Witch. This makes me feel like most souls go to Heaven / “Light” Aether. Zombification may be some kind of purgatory, where the soul cannot escape the physical body and desperately wants to break free (the One, Shi no Numa). Only by killing them, their souls will depart.

Ooooh very intriguing. Trapped inside their own bodies, so to speak. Adding in bits of conversations on Discord, if the corruption process of the Dark Aether is more gradual than instantaneous, perhaps being in a Purgatory-like state would cause a constant state of corruption and purification by being trapped between the grasps of the Aether and Dark Aether, causing the body deterioration that somehow still supports full automation? Like how (pardon the analogy) Deadpool's healing factor heals his cancer as far as it spreads, keeping it from getting worse but not exactly making it better either. We know purification from the Dark Aether is possible, we do it to the Keeper in DE and Monty "allegedly" does this to Sam and the other children (up to debate, since Sam has Keeper powers in AO/TdT?)

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If we really see the Aether as some kind of bipolar magnet, perhaps the souls that inhabit the physical bodies in the physical world are atrackted to one side (either dark or light) if it gets corrupted by a side. Like, if Jeb's mother got a dosis of "dark" energy, her soul will go more to the dark side. Perhaps that 115 contained more of the 'light' energy, and aetherium more 'dark' energy (although Aether's zombies were, of course, controlled by a being in the Dark Aether).

 

It is also interesting that Christianity described the underworld as multiple 'stages': Purgatory, then Limbo, and then Hell of the Damned. The Church calls all who die in God's grace and friendship (lets say that is the Light Aether) but still imperfectly purified undergo the process of purification which the Church calls purgatory. Limbo is one step further into the direction of darkness, with suffering souls waiting for enterance to Heaven. Interesting enough, their final state is Rezurrection of the Dead...

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purgatory

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbo

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Thanks to @Carnage Evoker and @RadZakpak for the inspiration!

 

The very first time we were introduced to the Dark Aether in a cipher found in Gorod Krovi, it stated that it was a realm beneath creation and that the Apothicons’ ceaseless desire is to re-enter creation. This hinted to the popular belief that the Dark Aether was no physical universe, but rather a void of nothingness. At the same time, it was thought to resemble the Aether in some way, being a similar type of realm.

 

“All this talk about energy, it’s so vague, ja? Its best not to worry about it. Just think of the big ones, positive and negative, north and south, light and dark, good and….HAHAHAHA…. evil!” ~ Richtofen

 

The Aether and the Dark Aether may be two sides of a similar type of dimension, just like how Nilfheim and Muspelheim were both part of Ginnungagap. This may mean that both Aether’s have similar spiritual and physical potential. Now for the Aether, we know the Keepers created Agartha as a physical manifestation. If such thing would be possible for the Aether, why wouldn’t it be possible for the Dark Aether? Physical matter in a realm that originally doesn’t have a visual, 3-dimensional plane.

 

Interesting enough, that this is possible we see in the intro cutscene of Revelations.

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Areas of Earth infested with Element 115 – including the House area – are transported into the Dark Aether and BOOM: The Dark Aether isn’t mere below creation anymore. It has actual physical matter now. Now remember what happened at the end of Tag der Toten.

 

Primis Nikolai: When we are gone so too is everything that spewed forth from the Aether. Element 115, the Apothicons, even Monty himself. All of it will be banished to where it belongs. The Dark Aether.” – Nikolai

 

We don't know how much was banished to the Dark Aether. Perhaps it were only the characters, objects and places that were genuinely connected to the Aether (e.g. Shangri-La, Cornelius Pernell, Excavation Site 64, etc). But there is also a possibility that, since all of the Multiverse was intertwined with Element 115, entire world have been swallowed into the place beneath creation. Just like how the Apothicons consumed the entirety of Dimension 63 after the events of Shadows of Evil. Kinda like how Agartha was for the Aether, the realm we encounter now is for the Dark Aether.

 

And that may explain why our realm beneath creation, this void if you will, suddenly has transformed into a whole ecosystem on its own. There are plants and jellyfish and rocks and things. One more thing... If it is the landfill of the old multiverse, it means they are also there. 

 

Nikolai and the others if they succeed, Element 115, the Keepers, the corruption, everything, it will be banished to the place below creation. The place of darkness. Along with Doctor Monty...” - Samantha

 

And the Apothicons in the old story confirm that entering the Dark Aether doesn't mean you lose your memory, your suffering, your desire for vengeance...

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