The Other Android Duplicate

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TheBigV
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The Other Android Duplicate

Post by TheBigV »

So, proYorp has been unable to log on for the last several months, but has had a theory that they wanted to post before Keen's anniversary, so I have been asked to post this on proYorp's behalf.

The following text was written by proYorp:


------------------------------------------

An extensive analysis and theory. Estimated reading time: 5 - 10 minutes.

* * *
Mortimer, at the end of Episode 5, wrote: Dear Billy

You fell for my android duplicate ploy in the Mangling Machine and now you've fallen for it again.
"You've fallen for it again."
Have you ever thought much about that line?

Mortimer is saying a lot in this first sentence of the note he left in the QED control room. Not only was the so-called Grand Intellect that you faced off against in Episode 3 a fake, but there is another android duplicate as well.
"You've fallen for it again."

Not only that, it's implying that this was someone Keen had previously dealt with, as both references to this "android duplicate ploy" are in the past tense. ("You've fallen for it again.")

Now here's the million-dollar question.
Who was it?


The suspects would be all the characters Keen has met up to this point of the story in "Goodbye, Galaxy."
  • The members of the High Counsel.
  • Princess Lindsey.
  • A council page.
  • His parents.
Aside from the various creatures you meet in-game, that's it.
Which of these is the most likely to have secretly been a robot?

The first one that seems somewhat reasonable is the Council Page. He consistently calls Keen the wrong name, which annoys him, and this is something we see Mortimer do-- but hang on. In "Keen Dreams," multiple characters also call him "Captain Keen," so this behavior is not only relative to Mortimer. From a narrative standpoint, it seems more like a running gag.

Perhaps more probable are the Keepers of the Oracle. They have a much more prominent role in the story, plus it is just a little odd how they pretend to have a magical ritual to activate the Oracle when it's really just done by flipping a switch. But which one of them could it be? All of them? And what exactly would that have accomplished for Mortimer, if they really were fakes?

I believe that there is actually another character more likely than any of these. But to explore that idea, we'll have to go deeper than the story itself, into the very production of "Goodbye, Galaxy!"


Originally, "Goodbye, Galaxy!" (episodes 4 & 5) and "Aliens Are My Babysitter!" (episode 6) were planned to be a single cohesive trilogy, and were split apart for business reasons. What is now Episode 6 was actually developed before Episode 5. Who knows what effect this split had on the story between the episodes?

I have a guess. If Episode 6 originally took place before Episode 5, that means the "Mortimer Letter" (as it's called on KeenWiki) could, in theory, reference the events of Episode 6. Meaning we could add any characters appearing in Episode 6 to the list of suspects.

You've already guessed where this is going haven't you? I'm talking about Molly McMire.


Let's do some detective work on Molly, shall we?

First of all, how does Molly know all about Mortimer's plans? She knows "he told the Bloogs to take her hostage," and that "in exchange, he told them where to find the Stupendous Sandwich of Chungella IV." She's not a genius like Mortimer; she's probably never been to space before. How does she know the names of all these extraterrestrial people and places? Seems like just a little too many details to learn while tied up on the way to a space prison.

Secondly, let's think about the logistics of actually creating an android double. It would have to be accurate enough to pass as the real person, at least according to Mortimer's standards. The one in the Mangling Machine clearly was.
Out of all the characters in the Keeniverse that Mort could try to make a duplicate of, probably the most accurate imitation he could make, besides himself, would be his own sister. We don't know anything about their relationship, but they are siblings and it is extremely likely that they are around each other enough that Mort could pick up a lot of Molly's mannerisms, which he could then imitate.

But why?


Now that Keen knows Mortimer is alive, well, and up to no good, he needs a lead on where to look for him. And maybe he already has one.

Molly gave Keen three brand-new pieces of information: Mortimer is alive and scheming, he told the Bloogs to kidnap her, and he told them where to find the Stupendous Sandwich of Chungella IV.
Now I have a hunch that this is what Keen is thinking. "Chungella IV, eh? If Mortimer knew where to find this Stupendous Sandwich, he must have some connection there!"
Which might be just exactly what Mortimer wants him to think.

Chungella IV is the only planet in the Keen series that is mentioned but not shown. I would bet my bottom dollar that this is where the first episode of "The Universe is Toast!" would take place.

Now this is getting pretty deep into assumption territory, but bear with me a bit. Imagine the possibilities here. Out of all the possible ways this could go, there is a considerable chance that Chungella IV could be a trap (quite similarly to the plot of "The Keys of Krodacia"), or even just "a big distraction." And if-- if this was the case, that would definitely be a reason that Mortimer would've wanted to use Molly as a clone, to trick Keen into playing right into his trap.


Let's review.
  1. Molly has suspiciously high knowledge of Mortimer's doings and extraterrestrial information.
  2. Mortimer could easily create an imitation of Molly, which most likely would be more accurate than one of any of the other characters.
  3. And, if the Molly that we talk to was indeed an android duplicate, we can deduce a potential reason why Mortimer would want to use such a clone.
Compare that to all of the other characters who, if they were androids, it would leave more questions than answers, with no clear motive as to why Mortimer would want to use them specifically.

All this in mind, Molly seems vastly more likely to be the other android duplicate than any of the other characters.


Of course, in this timeline, it doesn't quite make sense that the Mortimer Letter would refer to Molly, since Keen 6 currently takes place after the mission to the Omegamatic. However, if it was the idea all along to have Molly be a fake, then it seems reasonable to guess that this aspect of the story may not have been changed....

* * *

Epilogue: Alternate Galaxy

Going back to the idea that "Goodbye, Galaxy!" and "Aliens Ate My Babysitter!" were originally a single trilogy and in a different order, let's take a stab at trying to piece together how the story was supposed to go.

Let's say the order was 4, 6, 5. This is the purported order of production, according to 3D Realms.
Perhaps the events of Episode 4 transpire roughly the same, but before Keen has a chance to confront the Shikadi, somehow he finds out that Molly has been kidnapped. He is forced to rescue her.
Afterwards, she tells him about Mortimer's plan. I believe that in this version of the story, the plan that Molly tells Keen about is not to destroy the Universe (as it is now), but the Galaxy. This likely causes Keen to realize that the Shikadi plot is headed by Mortimer.
After the Omegamatic is disabled, you find the note left by Mortimer, in its current form, and Keen really does read it on the long journey home, which leads right into "The Universe is Toast!"

Or say the order was 6, 4, 5. There is some evidence in the Keen 6 manual that its story was written first (Keen working on his "new" ComputerWrist).
You would rescue Molly before hearing anything about Shikadi, and in fact it would be Molly who initially alerts Keen to a plot to destroy the Galaxy.

Unfortunately, each of these variants would raise many questions of their own. If "Aliens Ate My Babysitter" took place in the middle of "Goodbye, Galaxy," why would Keen drop everything just to rescue Molly? If the Galaxy gets blown up, so does she....
If "Aliens Ate My Babysitter" were to take place first, would Molly still mention Chungella IV? If so, why wouldn't Keen try to check that place out first of all? Perhaps she mentions Korath III instead, but then why would Keen still go to the Oracle for information? (Even still, this version probably has the smallest amount of logical problems that I can think of.)

Plus there's still the issue with the current timeline: why does the Mortimer Letter state that Keen has fallen for another android duplicate, when the encounter most likely to be with such has yet to happen?

It's hard to say exactly how much the split of the episodes impacted, dare I say corrupted, the story.

* * *

Well, don't let me do all the talking! What do you think? Have any points or counterpoints? Evidence for or against any of this? I'd be very interested to see a theory discussion.

What amazes me is that everyone knows about Mortimer's android dummy in the Mangling Machine, yet I don't think I've ever seen a single mention about the implication of a second one....


Sources:
A Look Back at Commander Keen -- 3D Realms
"Keen Dreams" help story text
"Secret of the Oracle" help story text; end story text
"The Armageddon Machine" end story text; secret ending
"Aliens Ate My Babysitter!" manual/scrolling story; end story text

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DarkAle
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Re: The Other Android Duplicate

Post by DarkAle »

A suspect could be Oracle Janitor. He does nothing but annoy Keen in the Pyramid of the Forbidden
Commander Keen in... Robot Attack!
Episode 13 viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
Episode 14 in development viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6837

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Re: The Other Android Duplicate

Post by TheBigV »

I also had my own thought about proYorp's theory.
I think that if Keen 6 was originally going to be the first episode of Goodbye Galaxy, it would be an interesting parallel to Keen Vorticons because in both that version of Keen 6, and in Keen 1, Keen wouldn't be aware there's a plot to destroy the Earth/galaxy until the end of the episode. Both trilogies would start out as a smaller mission.

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Re: The Other Android Duplicate

Post by Nisaba »

Off topic:
So, what's the matter with proYorp? if you can give me some details, we may be able to find a quick solution to this log-in issue.
"We have come to conquer you all and bring you lots of candy!" | about me | my current project: play Keen mods on a GameBoy |

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TheBigV
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Re: The Other Android Duplicate

Post by TheBigV »

It's computer and internet problems. There's also real-life issues causing complications. Having me post on proYorp's behalf was the only solution we could figure out right now.

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Re: The Other Android Duplicate

Post by Commander Spleen »

The way I interpreted that line was that Keen had fallen for another diversion, not necessarily an android double: "You fell for [a diversion] in the Mangling Machine, and now you've fallen for [another diversion]."

(Although both schemes were set up to succeed if Keen didn't stop them, so actually he didn't fall for anything--in each case he stopped part of Mort's plan but it just turned out there was an even bigger plan underway in secret.)

(Also a minor thing that bothered me about that scene was that Keen would be able to read that note in seconds and didn't need to take it home decypher it.)

I'm not following the next logical leap that suggests there was another character involved. Even if Mortimer was referring to another android duplicate managing the QED, why would there be someone else involved in that? An android is its own character, not someone else wearing a mechanical suit.

As for the episode chronology, I have no useful insights into that. I doubt iD even knew how that was all meant to fit together when Keen 6 was changed to a standalone episode.

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Re: The Other Android Duplicate

Post by Nisaba »

@ProYorp thanks a bunch for sharing your thoughts and questions.
your in depth search for plot holes, inconsistencies, timeline questions and your list of suspects really helped me to narrow down certain aspects of my FitF story line. your critical point of view made me rethink details and leading question of my plot. Letters, Paige, the Keepers of the Oracle, all of them will play a prominent role in FitF but in a yet unimaginable way. I guess I'll be able to address one or two of your question marks, only to add a couple new ones to the list.

that all said, hand on heart. the beauty of the Keen series is, that it is full of inconsistencies and at the same time feels so true to a childish imagination. I mean, as a kid you are willing to except so many things. you hold on to clueless misconceptions or at least find phantasmagorical answers to generously overlook loop holes. Just remember that the whole plot takes place in an eight-year-old imagination, a child genius who defends the Universe and maintains the order of galactic laws in his spare time. Like a dream, some things loose their magic if you evaluate too hard its inner logical consistency.
but please don't get me wrong here. I do love your assumptions and your detailed detective work. all of this made me rethink and inspect my preconceptions, which by the way is so much fun.
"We have come to conquer you all and bring you lots of candy!" | about me | my current project: play Keen mods on a GameBoy |

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