Talk:Talking Pet (device)

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You're a good story teller, but this is supposed to be an encyclopedic entry; you shouldn't fill up the holes with your own assumptions.

"speculation exists that the Umgah gengineers' work enhanced the creature's psychic range and sensitivity far beyond that of its Dnyarri ancestors". I've never heard anyone speculate that before now. A bit weak to be included imho, but at least you're not presenting it as a fact. "allowing it to implant and maintain post-hypnotic suggestions". What makes you conclude that the Talking pet uses post-hypnotic suggestions?

Basically, we're told that Dnyarri were assigned one to a planet, yet the neo-Dnyarri maintains control over several systems' worth of planets all by itself. But that it doesn't do this by direct control over everything in that area, given that you can fly through the area without being compelled till you reach the homeworld. And when it does compel you to -SEEK DEATH AT THE HANDS OF YOUR ENEMY- you remain compelled all the way out to Ur-Quan space, the definition of a post-hypnotic suggestion if I ever saw one.

It's not the "suggestion" I object to, it's the "hypnotic".

Well, what else do you want to call it? It is "post-hypnotic suggestion", even though the process is not akin to what we call "hypnosis" (neither is the Syreen's "hypnosis" in the game). "Post-hypnotic suggestion" is a term for a particular phenomenon that may not apply to the formal process of hypnosis.
While we don't receive direct evidence that this is a new behavior, it's certainly never mentioned in the discussions of the original Dnyarri, and the fact that the guy we meet is almost always referred to as a "Talking Pet" or "neo-Dnyarri" rather than just "Dnyarri" seems to indicate that the other races know that it's different from the original Dnyarri.
New does not necessarilly mean different. But even if they are different, that does not mean that they are different in this specific way.
Yes... and no. The Chmmr *emphasize* that it's a "neo-Dnyarri"; IIRC when you tell them about the Talking Pet they talk about how the Dnyarri were devils and how this neo-Dnyarri might be more dangerous still. In any case the evidence is strongly in favor of this "neo-Dnyarri" terminology being meaningful rather than being random, taken together with the evidence that there are things being done by the neo-Dnyarri that the original Dnyarri are never described as doing.

"the Dnyarri's powerful instinct of self-preservation gave it enough strength to protect itself even with the Shield active". Again, totally out of thin air. All we know is that it escaped, if we can trust the ending sequence. Not how. It might have help from a crew mate feeling sorry, or it may have just hopped aboard the escape pod while noone was looking.

Actually, I don't think the Dnyarri was meant to have survived the explosion of the Vindicator. I'm referring here to the fact that the Talking Pet won't let you kill it, and if you try to refuse to agree with its plan it actually *forces* you to do so.
Ok, then it's more plausible. Still, all that we *know* is that it managed to psychically convince the captain not to kill it. Why not say that? Why do instinct or self-preservation have to be thrown in?
Because it's a reasonable explanation. Because encyclopedic knowledge should include the speculation built up by the fan community after the game's release rather than pretending the game's script exists in a vacuum -- after all, real encyclopedias report on the current set of theories about some controversial event (like the JFK assassination) as much as they do the bare facts of the event. It's the speculation that's interesting and that gives us something to talk about. The more you treat the game as just a series of strings of words -- as a computer program -- the less interesting it is to talk about. In real life, if something like this happened, most people would instantly have come up with a reasonable explanation very similar to this as to why the Dnyarri's command to spare its life worked and the command to turn off the Shield didn't.

"Zelnick's own sense of self-preservation and deep loathing of the idea of psychic compulsion kept the neo-Dnyarri from gaining enough control over him". Where did that come from?

Enh, it seems the most sensible explanation for how the neo-Dnyarri's powers can be so powerful the one minute (keeping you from killing it, forcing you to bring it on the ship) and so weak the next (unable to get you to turn off a simple switch). But yeah, that's unnecessary.

"all the while in the back of his mind seeking a way to betray and destroy it before it could escape and conquer the galaxy". First of all, the captain never agreed to anything. Second, you do not know whether finding a way to betray and destroy it was in the back of his mind all the time. It may have been an afterthought. Or he may have decided on it early on and never gave it another thought until it was time.

Yes, he did agree, at least implicitly (even though his agreement was coerced); at the very least he *hears* the Dnyarri's plan and decides to go along with it. You can't win unless you actually contact the Dnyarri and tell it to activate its psychic powers at the Sa-Matra; you can't just ignore it. I'd be very, very surprised if finding a way to get rid of the Dnyarri was an "afterthought"; he'd have to be very stupid, given everything he's learned about the Dnyarri, not to have plan after plan for killing the bastard as soon as he met the thing. I actually think the "he decided at some early point and never thought about it again" theory is most likely, but that is one possible interpretation of "in the back of his mind"; I've changed it nonetheless.

"even through the Taalo Shield's influence". It seems to me that the Taalo shield affected the physic susceptibility of people, not the psychic powers of the Dnyarri itself. And besides, the Shield may have been turned off for a while while the Dnyarri did its thing (possibly set on a timer that would automatically reenable it).

No, that's inconsistent with the way the Shield is described as working on Ensigns Hodgkins and Witherspoon; it interferes with the psychics' own brains and somehow negates the "psychon interaction" that they have with the external world. That's why it gives the psychics headaches and mental disruption (and the neo-Dnyarri tells you that the Shield "gives me a headache".) Otherwise while the Dnyarri was inside the Shield's power it'd be able to "reach out" to something beyond the Shield's range and control that, since we know the Dnyarri's range is prodigious.
Good points.
And we're definitely given no evidence that the Shield was deactivated for a timed interval, or that a device to do this was eer installed on the Shield.
Absence of evidence is not equal to evidence of absence. As long as there is a reasonable possibility for an alternative, no explanation should be presented as fact.
But you see there really isn't a "reasonable probability". There's a *possibility*, just as there's a possibility that Zelnick is a closet transsexual or that the Thraddash are distant cousins of the Syreen, but the difference is that there's no real evidence supporting the idea that the Shield was off, the Shield turning off explains no important questions, and it raises all sorts of other problems.
Indeed, were the Shield inactive and the Dnyarri at full power, it could directly *command* the Ur-Quan rather than just confusing and distracting them. More importantly, it could directly command the whole crew to jettison the Shield out the airlock, something that would *definitely* be at the top of its priority list. Anyway, the Dnyarri never tells you that you need to set the Shield to blink off for a certain period of time for the plan to work; instead it just tells you that it will only be physically capable of maintaining its distraction for a set period of time, and it seems pretty clear that it's the one telling *you* that this is a limitation of *its* abilities (while the Shield is on) rather than a limitation set by the *your* own decision for how long it's safe to set the "off" timer.
Confusing and distracting an an entire fleet of dedicated Ur-Quan seems like a rather big task. I do not want to assume that the Dnyarri could do that with the shield on.
Are you serious? A single Dnyarri could completely control a planetful of Ur-Quan by itself back in the day. Ur-Quan are particularly vulnerable to their psychic manipulation, remember. The fact that it can only confuse them for a moment rather than command them to kill themselves points to this Dnyarri being severely weakened, especially considering the range of its abilities when you find it in the Umgah sphere.
I find it rather strange that one Dnyarri could command an entire fleet of dedicated Ur-Quan, but not a single human very close by on the same ship, while the shield is on.
But I don't want to go into this any further. The point isn't whether the shield was on or off. The point is that it could have been off, and hence it shouldn't be presented as a fact that it was on.
The Dnyarri actually could control you a *lot* while the Shield was on. It was able to force you to bring it aboard the ship and give it a place in the cargo hold instead of shooting it. It was able to force the psychological examiners to excise references to certain "disturbing incidents" from their report (disturbing incidents that probably also involved the use of its psychic powers.) It was able to force you to constantly bring it blankets, fine food and drink, and the music it prefers in its living area. It was able to force you to stop interrogating it about its psychic powers and go leave it alone.
Combine this with the fact that we know the Ur-Quan have self-destruct systems on their ships, and that you can actually *ask* the Dnyarri to please make an Ur-Quan self-destruct before the Sa-Matra battle, and the Dnyarri will tell you it doesn't have the strength. When it does save up all its strength to attack the fleet, all it can do is "confuse" them, not actually *command* them to leave (the phrasing here is very clear). The fleet scatters, with the ships closest to the Sa-Matra able to stay in place. The Dnyarri's powers are clearly severely limited here; if the Dnyarri had been at full strength, there's no reason it wouldn't've commanded all the Ur-Quan to annihilate themselves immediately.
Perhaps arguing this matter is making it seem more uncertain than it actually is; given what we know about the Dnyarri's abilities it *is* a fact that its powers are severely blunted at the Battle of the Sa-Matra, and I don't see how it's useful to leave that point ambiguous because the game does not spell it out for you. I feel like at this point you seem to be fighting against "speculation" for the purpose of fighting against speculation -- this is very definitely something that the game text makes quite clear.
(Would you really do that? The Dnyarri keeps pushing you to turn the Shield off; how hard would it be for it to get you to accidentally set the timer a bit too long, long enough to get you to throw the Shield into a furnace?)
Whether I would do that is irrelevant. But if it's the only chance to save humanity, I wouldn't find it strange that the Captain would take a chance here. Especially considering that the Dnyarri wants revenge against the Ur-Quan.
Given that we have clear evidence that the Dnyarri's powers do work just fine, if on an incredibly weakened level, while the Shield is on, there's no need to multiply entities here. The Dnyarri needs to gather up all its strength to do something as simple as move the Ur-Quan a few km to the side, because that's all it *can* do with the Shield on. The Shield always stays on; the game makes it pretty darn clear that ever messing with the Shield is the stupidest damn thing the Captain could ever do, and hence you constantly see the Shield in your cargo bay with its reassuring "on" glow.
You see the "on" glow even before you know what it is. And there is no reason to assume that instructing an Ur-Quan to move aside is any more difficult than instructing it to do something extremely complicated.
As for multiplying entities, I don't quite understand what you're refering to. And this better not be a reference to Occam's razor, because as far as I can see it is completely inapplicable here.
How so? It seems pretty obvious that the Shield *is* on. We're told of its being activated and *never* told of its being deactivated. There is, from my point of view, no good argument that the Shield should have ever been deactivated; the reasonable assumption, given the evidence, is that the Shield was on the whole time, and it's only necessary to think of a way to turn off the Shield if you accept certain things that I don't think you need to accept. Perhaps the idea of a timer on the Shield is cool and would make a good fanfic, but it's an incredibly unlikely thing to posit.

"Luckily, Zelnick's cleverness and willpower allowed him to confuse his own conscious intentions about the plans for this battle even to himself. Shrouding himself in a cloud of fear, anxiety, and other emotions, he was able to "accidentally forget" to enact any plans to bring the neo-Dnyarri with him on the escape pod before the Vindicator exploded, a fact which the neo-Dnayarri, sneering at Zelnick's scatterbrained anxiety, only realized just before its death.". Again total speculation.

  • Something* needs to explain the rather weird ending sequence in which the Dnyarri dies. The Dnyarri seems to suddenly realize that you're going to leave it on board the ship at the *very last minute*; up to that point you're all buddy-buddy, and then, while idly chattering, it suddenly blurts out, "Oh, and... I'm not coming with you. Because you've locked me in here! HELP, YOU IDIOT!" It's definitely not an "Oh, I've been had, I should've seen this coming" vibe; it's a "What the hell?" vibe. At the very least it's clear that the Captain somehow concealed his plan to leave the Dnyarri behind from the Dnyarri till the last minute, and given the Dnyarri's psychic powers, and the way the Dnyarri discovers it's being left behind as an "accident", I think it's pretty clear that the designers intended this to be some kind of Freudian slip planned unconsciously by the Captain. Though I agree that end scene could've been a lot better written to be more satisfying and make it more clear exactly what had happened; the game's writers weren't always good of making what they intended to be unambiguously clear unambiguously clear to all the players: witness the controversy over whether Orz are "evil".
I'm sure there is some explanation to explain the ending sequence. It could be your explanation, but it could be another. And because of the latter, the text shouldn't present the former as a fact.
Then come up with an alternative explanation and present it as a possible alternative explanation. Don't just say "It's a fact that this happened, and even though there's a good interpretation of it we're going to act like it makes no sense because interpreting is taboo." You know the game never actually says that Talana and Zelnick had sex, either; should we just present the "fact" that the lights went out and Talana and Zelnick were in physical proximity, and leave the rest up to individual interpretation?
And, though irrelevant to the subject, it seems to me that whether the Orz were good or evil was meant to be ambiguous: "we wanted the Orz to be much scarier and if you ever took them into Quasi-space with you bad things would happen. We really wanted them to creep you out so that you were never sure whether or not it was a good idea to be allied with them."
Okay. Nonetheless, the interpretation that the Orz are cute good guys exists, and it's not an intended interpretation by Paul and Fred. The interpretation that the Captain really did want to bring the Dnyarri with him all along and really *did* forget, or that the Captain's ability to resist taking the Dnyarri on the escape pod was just some random glitch in the Dnyarri's protection because the Dnyarri's powers wax and wane on a monthly cycle, or any number of other interpretations are possible, but they are not good. There is a very clear interpretation that the game very clearly points to; it doesn't point to it as clearly as it could because the writing is not that good, but it *is* clearly meant to point to something along the lines of what I've presented.
In all seriousness, writing the Orz would be hellish if we say that nothing the game doesn't say in plain English doesn't belong in an encyclopedia. Would an entry on the Orz really be informative if all it said was that they "talk weird"? Would the reams of more-or-less agreed-upon interpretations of Orzese and the degree to which they clarify and add interest to the whole Orz-Arilou-Androsynth storyline be taboo for an encyclopedia?

"the New Alliance forces remain watchful". Based on?

Nothing but a fanciful interpretation of the end-credits quote with the Talking Pet. I don't think the end-credits quotes are really meant to be canon (certainly the ones with the actors "playing" the Thraddash and Kohr-Ah are just jokes) but they are cute speculations on what might happen after the end of SC2, and are worth including as an alternative to including SC3 information as SC2's future.
encyclopedia texts shouldn't interpret. They should report what is known.
Encyclopedia texts *should* interpret, as their purpose is to take known facts and synthesize them into a readable, digestible paragraph form. If we want to know the bare facts of what's in the game and what isn't we can read the source code, or the conversation transcripts. The fun and interesting part of doing this kind of thing is taking the raw data and making sense of it as a narrative, so the reader can have a picture of "what really happened" in her mind. This is what real encyclopedias spend most of their text doing.
In any case, we have to make a choice between treating SC2 purely as a game or treating SC2 as a window into an imaginary universe. You can change this to "There's a joke credit sequence at the end of the game that says X" if you want, but that's a lot more boring and, frankly, if we're going to be like that it takes most of the point of doing this kind of project away. (Why not just *play* the game if you want to know what SC2 is like as a game? The fun part is suspending disbelief and pretending what the game's "real world" is like, post-game.)

Also, the player can choose the captain's name. It doesn't have to be Zelnick.

Yes, but we have to call him *something*; that's the reason he has a default name in the first place, isn't it?
There's also a reason that the player has a choice at all...
Yes. So when you play the game you can identify with the character better. However, the game universe we're meant to imagine is one where these things are set, not one in which these things are magically mutable by some godlike player-entity from another universe. In the Chrono Trigger universe the good guy is Crono, not "a mysterious man whose name is unknown except that it's five letters long".
Like the starship name Vindicator, or the name the New Alliance of Free Stars rather than Empire of Zelnick, or Culture 20 versus the Fat Obstreperous Jerks? It seems fairly clear that there are some possibilities within the game that the designers took a bit more seriously than others.
Anyway, I find the practice of just calling him "The Captain", as they did in Interbellum, incredibly annoying. He is an actual man with an actual name, whatever it is.
I personally don't find calling him "The Captain" annoying, but then I didn't read Interbellum. But an encyclopedia article isn't a novella. Using "The Captain" seems like the most accurate that you can get. It can be as much an identifier as a family name.
Um, no, it isn't. Why on Earth would you call him "The Captain" rather than "Captain Zelnick" in real life, if he had a name and you knew it? Especially since he's not just "The Captain"; there are many other captains among the New Alliance and the Hierarchy all through the game, all of whom are equally deserving of the rank and title. You can call him the "Captain of the Vindicator", or, if you want, the "Captain of the New Alliance of Free Stars' flagship", or "the Captain of the force that opposed the Ur-Quan in the Second War's flagship"; only the last one really accounts for all the player's choices. See how clunky and un-encyclopedia-like that becomes?
"The Captain" is a proper noun and by its capitalness implies something like "the most important captain", or "the captain that we always talk about when we say The Captain". Just like "God" vs "god" or "President" (of the United States) vs. "president" (of a company). Or "Next time on Star Trek: The Captain discovers a new..." But for professionalism and clarity, I support using the "default" or "most obvious" names: Captain Zelnick, Flagship Vindicator, New Alliance of Free Stars, etc. If the Ultranomic is supposed to be written as some sort of encyclopedia from after the Second War, they would probably call him "Captain Zelnick". --Jacius
Then the crew of the Vindicator would call Zelnick "The Captain". It's really weird for tons and tons of people who *don't* serve on the Vindicator to call him "The Captain", though, particularly since "Captain" is a rather localized title that individual sailors are *obligated* to reserve for their own captains. I suppose it's possible that he's such a *famous* captain after the Second War that "the Captain" just becomes his moniker, but that's *not supported by any evidence in the game* -- everyone calls *you* "Captain" because that's your title to be used to your face (as it would be for *any* captain of *any* ship), but that doesn't mean that future civilizations all call Zelnick "The Captain". That's silly, and it's a usage that only crops up in fandom, not in the game.
People inside the game know his name, we don't. That is why we should call him "The Captain", even though his name may be known by everyone in the Star Control universe. Consider "The grave of the unknown soldier", you could say, "let's put 'here lies John Doe' on it", because that's the default name. Or take a painting by an unknown painter. Instead of saying "the painter used very bright colours", we could say "John Doe used very bright colours". The only reason we capitalize "The Captain" is because it isn't just any captain. -- SvdB 09:57, 17 Oct 2004 (CEST)

Speculation vs. Facts[edit]

This article is written like a story, rather than an encyclopedia article (presumably Ultranomicon is an encyclopedia, and not just "a collection of writings"). It is the job of an encyclopedia to report the facts so that the reader can interpret them himself. This includes describing the major interpretations of the facts that other people have done, but does not include guesses, predictions, or speculation. If you want to report that some people believe that Captain Zelnick intended to kill the neo-Dnyarri, that is a fact. Reporting that Captain Zelnick actually did intend to kill him is speculation. The reason that you can have an article about the Orz, despite knowing almost nothing about them, is because there are popular ideas about them, which you can report as popular ideas, but not facts.

This article is disagreeable to many people because besides reporting speculation as fact, it reports speculation that is not clearly supported, or even clearly suggested, by evidence. Speculating that, for example, Zelnick and Talana had sex is reasonable: the creators of the game go to some lengths to make it seem that way (the dialogue especially is somewhat, err, kinky). Speculating that Zelnick and Tanaka had sex is somewhat harder to support...

--Jacius 04:20, 16 Oct 2004 (CEST)

The major problem is that the interaction with the neo-Dnyarri, particularly the final interaction where the neo-Dnyarri sputters some nonsense about being left aboard the ship, is pretty poorly written and makes it unclear what the heck is going on with the Captain and the Talking Pet when it *should* be clear -- that scene's obviously trying to say something in a non-mysterious way, it's just very stiltedly written.
If anybody really thinks that Zelnick *didn't* mean to kill the Talking Pet and really did leave him on board the ship by accident, feel free to change the article. The same applies to anyone who really thinks that there's nothing odd about Zelnick's conversation with the neo-Dnyarri before the battle ("I'm scared, Dnyarri. What if it doesn't work?") and nothing weird about the way the neo-Dnyarri reacts ("And... just in case you're wondering, I'm not coming aboard the escape pod... I'm staying right here... beeecause YOU'VE LOCKED ME IN! HELP! HELP!"). That something happened to confuse both Zelnick and the Talking Pet during the battle, and that the Talking Pet's thoughts were somehow confused and prevented it from getting onto the escape pod, is not just "speculation" -- it is the explanation clearly supported by the events in the game, even if it is not spelled out.

New species?[edit]

Is there any reason to claim that the neo-Dnyarri is a new species? Not knowing anything about the lifespan of a Dnyarri, this individual itself may have been one of the Dnyarri that enslaved the Ur-Quan. But at the least, is there any reason to assume that this Dnyarri is so genetically different from the original ones to constitute a different species? — SvdB 22:23, 11 December 2006 (CET)

I would say that there is really only two possible arguments for the neo-Dnyarri being a new species: the term neo-Dnyarri itself, and the idea that its powers are more powerful than the original Dnyarri. Personally I don't think there's enough information to base such an assessment on either. I've only found the term neo-Dnyarri used by the Kzer-Za, and we don't know enough about the original Dnyarri to know how the powers compare. The neo-Dnyarri also describes himself as a Dnyarri and as the "last hope for [his] species," which implies that while he may be different, he's still the same species. I've been scanning the dialogs but can't seem to find any other commentary that would indicate anything further. I'll see if I can adjust the article appropriately.
As to the lifespan question - I think there is more reason to assume that he is not one of the original enslaving Dnyarri. The Arilou, albeit expressing speculation, imply that the it was the Talking Pet ancestors that had the powers. The Talking Pet himself refers to accessing his ancestors' genetic memories, one in particular in reference to the Sa-Matra. The Pet is usually very particular in saying that he is accessing genetic memories, not actual memories, when he remembers the good ol' days of the Dnyarri Slave Empire. He also says, "Instead of just killing us, the Ur-Quan modified our genetic code sequence so that our children were born non-sentient, dumb animals" which may imply that they've continued to breed Talking Pets as old ones die. I'd say that it's more likely that he wasn't one of the Dnyarri that enslaved the Ur-Quan, but was born non-sentient in the intervening 20K years. --Fyzixfighter 22:04, 12 December 2006 (CET)
Update re lifespan: Just found a comment by the neo-Dnyarri about the enslaving of the Ur-Quan:
Besides, it wasn't me who did that, it was my ancient ancestors.
Of course, he could be lying. --Fyzixfighter 22:24, 12 December 2006 (CET)

Ok, that seems to be clear. — SvdB 18:42, 13 December 2006 (CET)