Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Horrors Of Blood Gulch

-Do you ever wonder why we're here?
-It seems to be one of life's great mysteries.

However,today we are here to talk about Blood Gulch.
Those of you,who are familiar with the Halo-games probably know,that it's the ideal location for a game of Capture The Flag;two bases in a boxed canyon in the middle of nowhere.
But we're not here for a multiplayer-match,instead we'll take a closer look at the dark events of The Blood Gulch Chronicles in Red vs Blue.
For those of you wondering if I just decided to let my crayons fight, Red vs. Blue is a Machinima-webseries,that started in 2003.
The events of season 1-5 took place mostly in Blood Gulch,so this story-arc is known as the aforementioned Blood Gulch Chronicles.
Even though this era of the show was mostly centered on humor,some of the events bring up some real nightmare fuel,when you examine them closer and take into account some information aquired in later seasons.
The first one is the whole premise itself: Two opposing armies fight in a galactic civil war. We first learn that all of this is bogus during the Blood Gulch Chronicles,when the Blood Gulch Crew learns,that red command and blue command are the same. Since the events shift our attention towards different matters by introducing new threads for them,we know there's something wrong, but have no idea,what's really going on. When the Recollection-Saga swings by later, we learn via Agent Washington that the Reds and Blues throughout the galaxy are actually a bunch of soldiers considered to be the worst of the worst,unfit for actual military service due to different reasons, so they got put into different scenarios that may or may not be encountered by the elite Freelancers (the scenarios are stated to be possible in-universe, but some of them are highly unlikely -time travel is concidered 'scenario three'-) for training purposes;basically they are all just cannon fodder.
Then we have the matter of the AI known as OMEGA, or O'Malley,as it calls itself.
In the Halo-verse,AI's are based on actual people, created by cloning their brains and then killing them off,until their brain patterns manifest as an AI. While in Halo the process is only allowed to be done with the brains of dead people, we never hear about such restrictions in Red vs Blue.
When Curch gets team-killed by Caboose in the beginning of the show, he soon returns as a ghost,shortly after the Blues radioed command,requesting a new team-member to even out the numbers. Due to no ble soldier being available on a short notice, command 'hires' a Freelancer named Tex. We soon learn that Tex is Church's girlfriend and that Freelancers have an AI,to help them in the field. Tex arrives in Blood Gulch and dishes out some damage toward the Reds,but quickly gets killed by a grenade. She also returns as a ghost,while her AI OMEGA possesses Caboose,making him more violent. Church and Tex now also have the ability to enter people's minds or to possess them,so they get O'Malley out of Caboose's head. The rogue AI jumps into the medic Doc,turning the pacifist into the main-villain for most of the Blood Gulch Chronicles.
The most horrible thing about this is that we on multiple occasions see Doc swap between himself and the O'Malley-persona instantly,so that actually three people are having a conversation,when there is only one other person around. During those moments, we also learn that Doc is still sentient the whole time,like sitting in the backseat of a car,which means the pacifistic medic has to watch his own hands trying to murder his own associates. 
The Reds and Blues on the other hand can't just decide to make their lifes easier by knocking Doc out and putting him into a cell,since O'Malley -as mentioned before,can easily switch his host.
Let me whip out my imaginary brush and paint you a picture: Just imagine you're having a fun night at a bar with a few friends. Suddenly, your old buddy Steve starts laughing like a maniac and declares he's going to kill you all and drink wine from your skull while conquering the world. You lean in to ask if he's allright, when he suddenly grabs the back of your head and smashes your face into the table. Your friend Diane helps you up,while five other people manage to subdue Steve and tie hhim up. Suddenly,Diane begins to laugh....
I don't know about you,but I would be more than horrified...
Of course,OMEGA isn't the only artifical intelligence we meet, there are also F.I.L.S.S., the Blues' smart-tank -who gets renamed Sheila- and Lopez, the Reds' robot soldier,who's voice module is broken and only allows him to speak spanish,Andy the bomb... and Gary,a computer who sends Church back in time in an attempt to fix things. Or at least that's what Church is made to believe. 
 The problem is,whatever Church tries,he actually ends up causing every problem that happened at Blood Gulch, from the death of the Blue Commander,to his own death and many mory things that went wrong,all seems to be his fault.
When another freelancer by the name Wyoming enters the scene, Church finally recognizes,that something's wrong about Gary and figures out his real identity: GAMMA, Wyoming's AI partner.
Gamma cooked up a bunch of simulated scenarios for Church to make him feel like everything that went wrong was his fault -in the Recollection-Saga and Project Freelancer we'll come back that,when we learn why GAMMA did that. But until he learns figures out the connection between Gary and Wyoming, Church is let to believe, everything that happened to him or his friends was the result of his own actions.
Wyoming himself has another role in this whole mess: he teams up with GAMMA and OMEGA to kidnap an alien baby and use it to enslave a whole alien-species.once he is finally defeated he reveals this plan to the Blues and Tex, stating that -opposite to Church's assumption of the plan being foiled- Tex will happily let OMEGA rejoin her and finish the job,now that she knows about it . Much to Church's horror, he's right and Tex begins broadcasting to lead OMEGA back to her,despite her her earlier eagerness to kill the AI once and for all.
Church's plan to confuse OMEGA by having the whole Blood Gulch-Crew broadcasting on an open channel gets foiled by Tex,who knocks out every single one of them,once OMEGA posses them and have each and every single soldier in Bood Gulch -except for Church,who doesn't really feel any difference- declare an urge for power and conquest. It's mostly played for humor,since every character keeps traces od his original personality, but again, if you think about it,it's incredibly frightening.  Church is once more the interesting case, stating he still feels the same, but for the time being,it was just assumed tha t he's such a mean asshole,that OMEGA didn't make a difference -again,we'll return to this,once we learn more during the Recollection-Saga.
Church tasks the Reds to disable Tex' ship,so she can't get away,in case he fails to stop her, but he quickly regrets the decision to put Sarge on the job, when Andy the bomb blows up aboard the leaving shuttle,leaving Church behind in the knowledge that -since didn't specify his order or find someone more competent for the job, he basically gave the order to kill the woman he loves.This mistake seems to break his spirit for the moment,so when Tucker asks him,what they're going to do now, he replies that he doesn't care and leaves,stating that he's going home.
While he's actually just returning to the blue base,this shock to him end the Blood Gulch-Chronicles after five years of humor disguising some pretty horrible themes.

Return next time,when we move on to the Recollection-Saga,when we learn more about Church,AI's and freelancers and realise that Blood Gulch was only the beginning. 

~Kirby Out