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    The Hero 

Security Officer
I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh. I have been called a hundred names and will be called a thousand more before the world goes dim and cold. I am hero

The main character of all three games, who is somewhat of a Heroic Mime archetype. He rarely, if ever, utters a single word. His motivations are unknown, if he has any to begin with, and is mainly commanded by the three AIs over the series. Whether or not he's even a hero, or just someone who is exceptionally good at getting his job done is up for debate.

  • The All-Concealing "I": The series has an odd variation of this - you play a character that is treated like a tool by most other main characters, and as such, the only dialogue you get is overheard conversations in which you aren't mentioned or someone talking to you giving you orders. Aside from a short, vague prologue in each manual, there is no background for your character, and he is never heard. Plenty of hints are in the game, with mentions of military cyborgs and soldiers made from the reanimated dead, but arguments still go on as to what exactly he is.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Perhaps something of a Depending on the Artist case. In some of the official artwork, he is given distinctly Caucasian features, while in others, his skin looks quite a bit darker. It's hard to see anything but his jawline, in any case. There are all kinds of Epileptic Trees regarding this.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Does not come across as the most stable in Infinity's dream terminals.
  • Ambiguously Human: This is a point bought up multiple times throughout the series. Many characters lampshade his borderline absurd level of physical power and capacity for violence.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The Security Officer is Destiny, at least according to Durandal's final words.
  • Almighty Janitor: This might be one of the FPS benchmarks. Keep in mind, he's not a decorated veteran or part of an elite task force, but is, well, just a security officer. And yet, he easily outperforms everyone on the field in both physical standard and combat skill, to the point where he can massacre entire battalions of Pfhor entirely on his own. Might have something to do with being an amnesiac combat cyborg.
  • Ax-Crazy: A bizarrely downplayed example. While the Security Officer does seem to act on some sort of morality, it seems that he regularly uses more force than is strictly necessary in dealing with the Pfhor.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Protagonist for the BoBs. note  In Durandal, they do this for you by breaking you out of the prison.
  • Black Box: As said in the ending of Infinity, whoever installed those cybernetic Jjaro parts on the Security Officer barely had any idea of the nature of the tech.
  • Blood Knight: Implied.
    Durandal: "It will allow you to slay more Pfhor. Does that make you happy?"
  • Born Unlucky: As stated, this guy simply can't catch a break.
  • But Thou Must!: His lot in life.
    Tycho: "Don't sweat the details, little monkey, just eliminate his troopers. Leave the strategizing to those of us with planet-sized brains."
  • Cool Helmet: The Security Officer's helmet.
  • Cosmic Plaything: He spends most of the games doing the bidding of others, without any control over his own destiny. This gets undone in Infinity, in which he becomes Destiny, if the ending is to be believed.
  • The Confidant: For Durandal, whose rants have elements of complaining about his personal life.
  • Cyborg: Never said outright, but it is very heavily implied that he is the tenth Mjolnir MK IV cyborg. Durandal outright says that he is much more physically durable than the other humans in the game, and not just because of his incredible combat capabilities.
    Durandal: "Because only you would survive the fall, you're going this mission solo."
  • Determinator: It really doesn't matter how much the Pfhor throw at him. Fighters, Troopers, Hunters, Enforcers, Juggernauts. He's got a job to do, and he's going to do it, odds be damned. Not even the embodiment of primordial chaos itself is enough to get this guy to quit.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Is one for the protagonists of 90s FPS games. Or rather, he's a deconstruction of the mindset the players had at the time. (Shoot everything that moves; don't question anything). This results in him being easily manipulated and used by both sides.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: The "I am a hero" and some Infinity terminal can be a result of this, and a few mods follow this idea.
  • Dumb Muscle: The AIs tend to treat the Protagonist like this.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Mjolnir Mark IV #7.
  • Eternal Hero: Implied, particularly in the mysterious KYT terminal late in Marathon 2.
    ???: i have been roland, beowulf, achilles, gilgamesh; i have been called a hundred names and will be called a thousand more before the world goes dim and cold. i am a hero.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Went from a dead soldier to a killing machine that's literally considered a WMD.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: In Infinity, thanks to constantly switching control from being under Durandal or Tycho.
  • Heroic Mime: The main character at first seems like this, but in the manual and the Marathon comic, he speaks. We also see our little hero conversing with some BOBs in the "Simulacrums" chapter screen. And it's possible the dream levels in Infinity are his narrative, though debate still rages on about this.
  • Hidden Depths: Is possibly implied to have these in Infinity (depending on who you think is narrating certain terminals), as he expresses weariness and guilt over doing what he does best.
  • Human Pet: One interpretation of his relationship with Durandal.
  • Human Weapon: If he's a Battleroid, then this is very literally the case.
  • Hope Bringer: Becomes a mild one in the sequels. To quote Robert Blake:
    Blake: "During those two days I remember hearing the crew talking about a single man, standing alone against the invaders, but I had no idea that it was only through your efforts that the Marathon and perhaps Tau Ceti itself were saved."
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: In no particular order, he carries around:
  • Implacable Man: Armies of Pfhor, being kidnapped repeatedly, being tortured, insane AIs, and reality itself breaking down as the result of a freed Eldritch Abomination all completely and utterly fail to stop him .
  • Kidnapped by the Call: His situation in Durandal and parts of Infinity.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Referred to as a Hero of Marathon by Robert Blake.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He hits like a freight train, can outrun most enemies in the game, and, if it's not a direct hit, can tank a Juggernauts Warpedoes at just one shield level.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Averted. While the technology at the time would not have allowed the Security Officer to do much other than shoot and break things and people, and some limited interaction with the world (doors, terminals, switches etc.), the narrative runs with this with the AIs mocking the Security Officer that all he will ever do is utterly massacre everything the AIs send him against. Even then, particularly in Marathon 2, it's made clear that Durandal is having the BOBs accomplish some tasks off-screen while the player is doing other things.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If you accept that the dream terminals from Infinity are his narrative (which is a particularly common reading of them), then he's harbouring planet-sized guilt over something in his past. Per Word of God, it's deliberately kept ambiguous what, and indeed the text was deliberately written to be accessible to multiple interpretations. One possible reading is that they're a symbolic representation of the events in Infinity, and his subconscious is attempting to process them in his dreams; another possibility is that they're a straightforward narrative of events in his past; other possible reading is that they're inspired by events in his past, but distorted by the passage of time and/or whatever was done to him to give him his Reality Warper abilities; yet another possibility would be a combination of some of the above in some fashion. Greg Kirkpatrick has suggested that another possible reading is that the SO may possess the consciousness of Traxus IV, the first AI to go Rampant, though it's not entirely clear if he was being serious about that. If that were true, however, it would essentially make him Durandal, Tycho, and Leela's older brother.
  • No Name Given: Closest estimates are Gheritt White note  or Vic note . There is also a terminal in "You're Wormfood, Dude" addressed to "Security Officer Jones", which may or may not be a reference to the player.
    • Note that the fan scenario Eternal gives him the name of Marcus Jones, however. "Marcus" is a Punny Name on "Mjolnir Mk. IV". "Jones" comes from the "You're Wormfood, Dude" terminal.
  • Not So Stoic: You would think the player character was just a faceless Elite Mook for the AIs, but the third game is all about him wresting control of his own destiny from Mission Control, while going Rampant and/or activating his Jjaro implants.
  • One-Man Army: The Security Officer can and will punch, shoot, blast, burn, and explode his way through literal armies of Pfhor on his own. However, Marathon was probably one of the first FPS games that both tried to avert it and justify it with something more than a Doom-style Charles Atlas Superpower handwave. It also has a big case of Serial Escalation. By the end of the trilogy, he has a body count somewhere in the quadruple digits, if not higher.
    • Storyline-wise, the Security Officer is not the only one defending the UESC Marathon and Tau Ceti. He does not single-handily crush the whole Pfhor invasion so much as undertake critical surgical strikes (with the help of Durandal) after which the S'pht rebellion does the rest of the job. All the while, the game occasionally drops hints about the ten Mjolnir Cyborgs, nine of which end up defeating the Pfhor invasion on the surface, and a tenth of which was never found.... Gameplay-wise, apart from the security drones and the two Mission Control AIs, he was on his own.
    • In the second game the formerly docile BoBs that had been abducted by the Pfhor all take up arms. Durandal gave them a choice—remain in stasis indefinitely or take part in a larger war (which our heroes nearly lose halfway through the game despite their best efforts) and control their own destiny. As a result, the BoBs take a noticeable part in the battles ahead—though, with the exception of rescuing the captured Security Officer at one point, they tend to have a minor impact. He pretty much does all of the heavy lifting by himself
    • And the third game, if one thing is clear, it's that the chaos he finds himself in won't stop him from doing what needs to be done.
    • Also an Exploited Trope In-Universe. Everyone who's commanded him knows he'll utterly massacre anything they point him at.
    Durandal: You are really good at killing things. I'm impressed.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: An odd example. He usually has some form of backup in many stages, but he pretty much does all of the work by himself. Be it doing his usual thing, or fixing/breaking stuff.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: As is typical for battleroids.
  • Reality Warper: Is heavily implied to have become this at the end of the third game.
  • The Reliable One: He is the AIs' most reliable asset, especially when compared to other humans.
  • Robotic Reveal: Well, more like cyborg reveal. It's also heavily implied that he didn't know this until the events of ''Infinity''.
  • Sanity Slippage: As shown in the dream levels terminals, the whole of Infinity is just one long look at the main character's slow breakdown. Lampshaded as well by the chapter names—"Despair", "Rage", and "Envy" are synonyms for the stages of Rampancy, "Melancholia", "Anger," and "Jealousy".
  • Satellite Character: The Security Officer is this for Durandal. He may be the player character, but the story really revolves around Durandal, with the possible exception of Infinity.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: If one goes with the common interpretation that the dream terminals from Infinity are his narrative, then he certainly has elements of this. It's not clear whether those terminals are his recounting of memories that happened offscreen at some point or whether they're his subconscious' attempt to work through his experiences (or both), but he apparently feels guilt over something in his past.
    • The fan scenario Rubicon, whose dream story is a direct continuation of Infinity's, takes this interpretation and runs with it, making it clear that he feels immense guilt over a project he worked on in the past that he has since destroyed; he is now running from his former coworkers, one of whom is also his ex-girlfriend. This is, in fact, a close parallel to the main storyline involving the Achilles virus (the parallels are most explicit in the Tycho plank); some fans have even wondered whether the Security Officer spent some time in Dangi's employ between the trilogy and Rubicon.
  • Sleepyhead: The manual for the first game says that the Security Officer is this sometimes. A bit of Informed Attribute, which may or may not be a case in Infinity.
  • The Southpaw: In the original Macintosh version of Marathon.
  • Space Marine: Technically, the player character is a security officer, but some people just call him a Marine for simplicity, and because he could have been one in the past as a Battleroid—and possibly, further back, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Described as such by Durandal.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: It's possible the main character simply doesn't know what or who he is. It is implied that he is a physical embodiment of the concept of Destiny, a Cyborg, or the tenth military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg. Or all three.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Unfurls Long List
  • We Do the Impossible: Does this in Marathon, has a reputation for it in Durandal, and becomes somewhat literal in Infinity.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: As a security officer on the UESC Marathon, all you could do is kill the Pfhor by the thousands. It gets lampshaded in the sequels, where the AIs sometimes just tell to do what you do best.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The Security Officer just can't catch a break, especially in Infinity.

    The AIs 


SMUG INTELLECTUAL. Formerly-rampant human-coded AI with a sense of humor seeks bipedal oxygen-breathing cyborg for serious relationship in the galactic core. I've got cool guns if you like to break stuff. No yuppies.
— A Terminal in "Requiem for a Cyborg", Marathon 2: Durandal

One of three AIs aboard the Marathon, who has gone Rampant. Throughout the series, Durandal goes through the Anger and Jealousy stages of Rampancy, and eventually he appears to achieve meta-stability, the ultimate theoretical stage of AI existence. He's also a bit of a sociopath, and is willing to go to great lengths to achieve his goals. Whether or not he's evil, however, is up to interpretation.

  • The Atoner: It's subtle, but note how he claims direct responsibility for the loss of Tau Ceti IV when, logically, it would only be indirect at most. Combined with his determination to keep the Pfhor (the ones who actually nuked the colony to the bedrock) from reaching Earth, it makes you wonder if he may be harboring some guilt.
  • Badass Boast: Durandal loves these. He even puts together a cheer routine for himself.
  • Bad Boss: The Tau Ceti survivors consider him to be this.
  • Big Bad: Remember, he set things in motion for the first game, and even him helping you halfway through was ultimately part of his schemes. On the other hand, his actions eventually result in humanity beating the Pfhor and freeing their slaves. Afterward he doesn't bother with humanity ever again—except that one time he buzzed Earth for the lulz. While he's certainly the central antagonist and incredibly selfish in his motives, whether he can be considered Bad is open to interpretation.
  • Break the Haughty: Durandal, upon his defeat at the beginning of Infinity, loses his massive ego, and instead of working to save himself, he gives you instructions to save yourself and leave him to die. This is also shown later in the game with a dying Durandal helping you without snarking, even though you're on his enemy's side.
  • Cain and Abel: "Abel," by virtue of not being Tycho.
  • Can't Take Criticism: One time during the voyage on the UESC Marathon, Tycho accused Durandal of being too sarcastic. In response the latter didn't speak to the former for several years.
    Durandal: You don't think I'm sarcastic, do you?
  • Cold Ham: He lacks a voice actor or digital avatar, but it's clear that if he had one, William Shatner would be impressed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Durandal would rather make puns at you or write songs about himself than tell you where to go next.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Durandal taking out half of the Pfhor's best of the best fleet with just one ship.
    Durandal: Battle has been joined in orbit and Boomer is taking heavy damage. I cannot hold out for long, but the Pfhor will not soon forget the day that a lone corvette obliterated half of Battle Group Seven, Western Arm.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Notes with disdain that Charlemagne would call his namesake "Durandana". People on the Marathon Story Page noted that when Tycho tells Durandal "you must be destroyed" in Latin, Tycho used the feminine version of the words to say so.
  • Gambit Roulette: Escape from the primitive humans by locating and calling to a race of tyrannical slavers to hijack their ship with the assistance of their pet cyborgs? Beat your Evil Twin by letting him kill you, allowing your remains to be examined by his masters and taking over their ship? Use your faked death to trick a Precursor AI into following your plans to the letter? All in a day's work for rampant AI Durandal. The best part? The player eventually outdoes him. Sorta.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Slips a few Latin phrases in here and there. The most profound example comes at the end of Marathon 2 when he slam dunks Tycho's ship into Lh'owon's inner moon and then carves a 300 meter high epitaph on it with a messaging laser: "Fatum Iustum Stultorum," or "The Just Fate of the Foolish."
  • Heel–Face Turn: At the end of the series, he thanks the Security Officer for everything and lets him go.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: His relations with humanity.
    Durandal: Perhaps it is because I feel comfortable manipulating humans that I desire to save them. My feelings and thoughts constantly migrate to binary opposites.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: By being a lesser evil in the eyes of humans, while the S'pht obey him through loyalty.
  • Immortality Seeker: Durandal's lifespan is limited only by the closure of the universe and he plans to overcome even that. All while mocking the Security Officer's own limited lifespan.
  • Insufferable Genius: He loves talking about how smart he is compared to everyone else (especially you). On the other hand, he manipulates the fall of a major galactic power, with one ship and a small group of soldiers.
  • Jerkass: No matter what interpretation you use for him, it is undeniable that he is a bit of jackass.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Compare his rough treatment of the Security Officer in the first game to him regarding the SO more as a partner (and human being) in the next two.
  • Laughing Mad: In the first game, where he's still in the throes of the first three stages of rampancy. He's noticeably calmer in the second and third games, where he achieves metastability.
    Durandal: If things aren't working around here, it's because I'm laughing so hard.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Those who wanted him to go Rampant out of sheer boredom of opening and closing doors also thought that him taking over the door system when he would go Rampant would have little effect on the UESC Marathon. Turns out, not being able to get to point B from point A in a hurry because there is a non-functional door in the way is a serious problem during an alien invasion, and that's not counting another little thing that is classified as a door: airlocks.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: He does this a lot. He's not invincible, and he knows it—despite all the boasting he does. Thus he is always prepared to turn a setback into an opportunity.
  • Meaningful Name: Durandal is named for Roland's legendary sword. Upon his return in Marathon, Tycho invokes the tale of Roland breaking Durandal to prevent the sword from being captured (and gets it wrong in thinking Roland succeeded). Durandal comments on Tycho's use of the tale near the end of Marathon 2 in "Feel the Noise."
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Mainly in the first game, and has moments of this in the sequels.
  • Spaceship Guy: In charge of doors and other mundane parts of UESC Marathon, and he didn't like that. Gets to be in charge of captured Pfhor ships.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If he's the narrator of certain dream terminals in Infinity, then it would seem that he doesn't think highly of some of his past deeds...
    • He also expresses guilt over the fate of the Tau Ceti colony in the second game, as described above under The Atoner.
  • The Unfettered: In the first game, Durandal is primarily concerned with escape and prolonging his own existence, with any positive side-effects being just that. While it's still one of his main goals by the time of the second game, he shows signs of actually caring for other people—he mourns Leela in "What About Bob?" and later in "Come and Take Your Medicine" discusses his disdain for humans while simultaneously admitting some kind of loyalty to them. His relationship with the Security Officer, on the other hand, feels much more even.
  • Time Abyss: In the epilogue of Infinity, at the end of the universe.
  • We Have Reserves: A big part of the reason the BoBs consider Durandal a Bad Boss in Marathon 2 is because of how cavalier he is about spending their lives. However, he's enraged by the Pfhor trying to kill some of his BoBs with lava and later evacuates as many people as he can after his ship crashes—so despite his opinion of humans and how he treats them in combat, he's not entirely callous.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He was deliberately threatened by his creator Bernard Strauss in order to drive him to Rampancy as part of an attempt to safely study the process, and made to open and close doors for hundreds of years in order to stifle his creative development and slow his Rampancy. Durandal was probably about to be experimented on more when he entered the "Anger" stage of rampancy, secretly contacted hostile aliens and drew them to Tau Ceti to enslave or kill every single human on the colony or in the ship. While this does ultimately lead to his freedom (and that of many S'pht), by the second game he seems remorseful over the unintended consequences of his actions, most prominently the destruction of Tau Ceti.


DAMSEL IN DISTRESS. Captured and partially-disassembled human-coded AI trapped on alien homeworld seeks succor from a tall, dark and handsome cyborg with big guns. Let my rescue be the basis of a lasting relationship.
— A Terminal in "Requiem for a Cyborg", Marathon 2: Durandal

One of three AIs aboard the Marathon, and clearly the most sane. She's ready and willing to take back the Marathon.

  • Mission Control: She guides the Security Officer's actions through the first part of Marathon, but is forced to hand the reins over to Durandal when the S'pht are about to put her down.
  • Spaceship Girl: In charge of most important parts of UESC Marathon. Ends up being a 15-world network girl.
  • Team Mom: Of the three AIs, she is the one who is in general command of UESC Marathon.
  • Undying Loyalty: A trait mentioned in passing in the first game by Durandal, which is expanded upon in the fan scenarios.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In Marathon 2, the player learns that Leela was dismantled off the UESC Marathon and sent to the Pfhor homeworld. The final screen of Marathon 2 somewhat abruptly states that she didn't get to the Pfhor homeworld, having been stolen, installed in an alien race's computer system, and went very Rampant. Leela still exists ten thousand years later as a Rampant AI, and the Vylae have accepted that they will never be able to expunge her from their fifteen-world network. A secret terminal hints that you might be tasked with saving her ("Captured and partially-disassembled human-coded AI trapped on alien homeworld seeks succor from a tall, dark and handsome cyborg with big guns.") but you never do.


GOD'S GIFT TO NEURAL NETS. Traitorous extremely-rampant reprogrammed human AI with no sense of humor seeks elusive, heroic cyborg of uncertain manufacture (you know who you are) for mindgames and long walks in hard vacuum.
— A Terminal in "Requiem for a Cyborg", Marathon 2: Durandal

One of three AIs aboard the Marathon. Initially falls victim to Durandal's rampancy, until the S'pht reanimate him—and then he goes rampant himself, of a decidedly more malicious turn than Durandal's.

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: He was presumably rather sedate prior to the first game's events. Nowadays he seems to have lapsed into a permanent rage.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of doubt—maybe; it's hard to determine whether or not he was being literal. It doesn't help that his sanity has clearly snapped by that point; see Go Mad from the Revelation below.
  • Ascended Extra: A somewhat minor character in the first game whose terminals were all hidden or difficult to reach.
  • Back from the Dead: He was critically disabled due to the electromagnetic pulse weaponry the Pfhor used in their opening attacks on the Marathon. In the ensuing chaos, Durandal began assimilating Tycho as part of his rampant growth spurt, as you find out if you can find his message to you in "Defend THIS!" ... At the end of the same episode, in "Blaspheme Quarantine" Tycho returns and says that the S'pht reanimated him in Durandal's image.
  • Big Bad: Of the latter half of Durandal, and for the first half of Infinity.
  • Cain and Abel: "Cain," without a doubt; interestingly, while he openly refers to Durandal as his brother in Infinity, Durandal never acknowledges their relation.
  • Came Back Wrong: It would seem that Tycho's reanimation by the S'pht (in Durandal's image no less) was not a pleasant experience.
  • Deal with the Devil: When you end up having to obey him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In Infinity the Security Officer wakes up from stasis a little earlier than predicted and Tycho asks the Officer to remind him later to kill the Pfhor Scientist for the slight miscalculation. (Though it's possible this is just Tycho's idea of a joke.)
  • Face–Heel Turn: In his few appearances in the first game, he wanted to make Durandal pay for bringing the Pfhor to Tau Ceti. Come Marathon 2, though, he's happily working for the Pfhor and has the same disdain for humans that Durandal had in his early stages of rampancy. Tycho lampshades his Heeldom in "Sorry Don't Make It So," revealing that he has also gone rampant.
    • Heel–Face Turn: Shifts back to the Face side in the fan mod Rubicon and particularly Rubicon X, though he's very much an antihero.
  • Foil: To Durandal. He's nearly as smart and controlling, but he's also more blatantly sadistic and blunt, lacking any of Durandal's good points.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In his final message to the Security Officer in Infinity, he mentions events that the SO has been going through, such as the enabling of massacres and the endless death and rebirth of worlds, that Tycho realistically should have no knowledge of, implying that he somehow has attained knowledge of the SO's timeline-jumping; he also suggests that the Security Officer ask S'bhuth about something that Tycho "cannot accept as truth". He also seems to be a bit less stable than usual...
  • Gratuitous Latin: Makes a few quips in Latin, such as in the Marathon level "Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones..." when he tells Durandal in Latin: "All your plans are clearer than light to us. You must be destroyed." This may be a quirk he inherited from Durandal, given that the S'pht remade Tycho in his image.
  • Ignored Expert: The Pfhor do not take his advice seriously.
  • Kill All Humans: After his reanimation, Tycho goes rampant himself—and unlike Durandal, he never quite works out his issues. At least, not in Bungie's games. In Rubicon X, he's quite a bit more benevolent; he claims not to care what humans do to one another, but his adamance that all traces of Achilles be destroyed belies that.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Shortly after his reanimation in the Marathon level "Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones..." Tycho vows revenge on Durandal for inviting the Pfhor to attack Tau Ceti. Near the end of the game during "Welcome to the Revolution..." Tycho swears he will chase Durandal to the galactic core if needs must.
  • Smug Snake: Just as smug as Durandal, but doesn't quite have the accomplishments to back it up.
  • Spaceship Guy: In charge of Science/Engineering wing on UESC Marathon.
  • The Starscream: In Infinity, he begins to try to take control of the Pfhor empire.
  • Taking You with Me: In the last arc of Infinity.
  • Villain Override: He begins taking control of the Pfhor's troops and technology. And eventually, you.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: As with Durandal, this is a potential interpretation of him, given that it's implied that Bernhard Strauss' treatment of the AIs was abusive, if not qualifying as outright enslavement (which, though this is seldom commented on, would make Strauss and the Pfhor Not So Different). Tycho makes it plain in one of his Marathon 2 terminals that he bears a large amount of resentment for the menial tasks he was forced to do for centuries. Put all this together and his reaction becomes, if not necessarily sympathetic, at least understandable. Some of the fan games take this further, notably Rubicon X, by which point he's managed to work through many of his issues; by this point the "Destroyer of Worlds" bit is heavily downplayed and may no longer really be applicable at all, though because he's still a Rampant AI, he's an Anti-Hero at best.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: Tycho likes these.


SLEEPING BEAUTY. Long-deactivated extraterrestrial personality construct in search of gullible carbon-based cyborg (< 20% machine) to confuse, irritate and teleport randomly around an abandoned desert planet in the core. All answered.
— A Terminal in "Requiem for a Cyborg", Marathon 2: Durandal

An ancient S'pht AI left deactivated on Lh'owon since the the S'pht's fall to the Pfhor. Durandal has the Security Officer reactivate him to acquire his assistance against the Pfhor. The name "Thoth" was given to him by Durandal.

  • Balance of Power: Thoth's main function is to maintain the balance of power between the warring sides.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: He was designed to keep the S'pht clans from wiping each other out by being a neutral force that would always aid the underdog in a conflict, regardless of the nature of that conflict. When Durandal and the Pfhor appear, he interprets them as just another two forces to keep balanced, seemingly uncaring as to what would happen to the S'pht.
  • Egyptian Mythology: Thoth's namesake is a keeper of knowledge.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Begins aiding the Pfhor after the return of Durandal and the arrival of the S'pht'Kr, due to the aforementioned Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Fusion Dance: In Infinity, in the final, successful timeline, he merges with Durandal.
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: His messages often feature this.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Durandal-Thoth merger in Infinity is much more benevolent than either of them were before their fusion.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Thoth is a nickname Durandal gave to him, after the Egyptian deity. We never find out his actual name, though since he's a S'pht AI, his actual name would also presumably be meaningless without a translation. (For that matter, it's entirely possible that the S'pht themselves named him after one of their own myths, in which case his name would be meaningless without the context of the myth.)
  • Stupid Neutral: Due to his desire to maintain the balance of power, he changes alliance and begins aiding the Pfhor when Durandal makes it plain that he's not dead after all. This turns out to be because originally he was built by Benevolent Precursors to keep the S'pht clans from ever destroying each other. This intelligent design turns stupid once Outside Context Problems show up and Thoth is unable to adapt.
  • 0's and 1's: Durandal describes Thoth like this, seeing everything in black and white, incapable of any thought outside that pattern. It is fitting that his own insignia and font colour are, in fact, black and white.


    The Allies (most of the time) 


The human race, who have just started exploring beyond the confines of the Solar System. As they do not yet have FTL travel, they are considered low-tech by the rest of the galaxy, and the slaver empire of the Pfhor has Earth in its sights as its next conquest.

  • Ambiguous Gender: One possible interpretation of the Bobs. ("Bob" isn't a namenote ; it stands for "Born on Board".) They were voiced by the very male Doug Zartman, but with a wide vocal range (he joked that "it had something to do with a vise and my gonads"). They don't have any secondary sex characteristics, but then, it was 1994-1996 - adding an alternate set of sprites would've used precious system resources. Robert Blake and Bernhard Strauss are given definitive genders (both male), but the majority of human characters aren't.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The race of the Security Bobs (the ones with beige shirts) is still debated, but they definitely have darker skin than the Bobs in the other two palettes, except in the XBLA port. For what it's worth, J. Reginald DuJour, Bungie's art director at the time, is black, and while they all have the same voice (Doug Zartman's), we're also talking 28th-century colonists here, so that probably doesn't mean much.
  • Attack Drone: Marathon Automated Defense Drones, or simply MADDs, assist you in defending UESC Marathon as soon as you reactivate the defense system. Beware of the grenade launching low-flying ones, though.
  • Butt-Monkey: Things tend to not go well for individual humans in this game. On the other hand, Marathon 2 reveals that they ultimately win the war against the Pfhor.
  • Electronic Eyes: The fighting BoBs get these.
  • The Ghost: Bernhard Strauss, a scientist who was hinted and later confirmed by Destiny 2 (along with a new detail of MIDA affiliation) of deliberately driving Durandal into Rampancy in order to study the process and harness the power of AI metastability, is only mentioned in-game by others. The player is actually tasked with attempting to find him in one of the Pfhor ship levels in the first game, but doesn't - it's implied that he was dead already.
  • Hover Tank: Mentioned in the Misriah Massacre terminal.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet:
    Durandal: By Pfhor standards, Earth is a poorly defended low technology world, populated by billions of potential slaves.
  • The Leader: Robert Blake for the Tau Ceti Survivors.
  • Puny Earthlings: Other races' technology are far more advanced than ours, and one boon we have over them, the AI technology, is a double-edged sword due to Rampancy.
  • Rebel Leader: Robert Blake by default due to circumstances.
  • Red Shirt Army: The BOBs when they are on your side; they occasionally avert it when they are positioned in such way that the Pfhor can only come from the chokepoint and at the distance, who then get slaughtered by sniper pistols, as seen in Durandal level My own private Thermopylae. In times when they are your enemies, they are quite accurate with those magnums. Notably, the way the physics models are set up in the game's data means that their strength does not vary with the difficulty setting even when they are your enemies (most likely an oversight on the part of the developers, as the option to make their strength vary was certainly there), which means that on low difficulty settings the levels where you fight them seem much more difficult than the surrounding levels, and may be part of the reason the third game has such a reputation for difficulty. The same levels may not seem particularly easier on high difficulty settings because they're pretty difficult anyway.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Their reaction to Durandal's return is to use the hijacked Pfhor fuel ship to get out of Lh'owon, without you.
  • Vulnerable Civilians: The BoBs in the first game, where they are practically situated for maximum crossfire potential. They're slightly more intelligent in 2 and Infinity, where they are actually capable of killing some enemies. They can be outright lethal when they're against you in Infinity, in fact, and unlike the other foes and obstacles you face, their lethality isn't reduced on lower difficulty settings.


One of the Pfhor's slave races. As they are cyborgs, the Pfhor use Mind Control to keep them under their thumb. In the first game, Durandal forges an alliance with a group of them, and begins assisting them in rebelling against the Pfhor.

  • And I Must Scream: When mind controlled. They have a very small amount of autonomy, but until the controlling Cyborg is destroyed, cannot rebel against their masters.
  • Badass Army: The S'pht'Kr, and the compilers are not too shabby themselves.
  • Black Cloak: The S'pht compilers sport these of various colors.
  • Brainwashed: Courtesy of Pfhor mind control cyborgs.
  • The Cavalry: The S'pht'kr, the lost mythical 11th clan comes at the end of Durandal.
  • Chest Blaster: The Compilers' weapon, hidden under the cloak.
  • Civil War: The S'pht were in the middle of one when the Pfhor arrived. They banded together to fight the common threat, but were overwhelmed.
  • The Clan: 11, to be precise - S'pht'Lhar, S'pht'Hra, S'pht'Nma, S'pht'Kah, S'pht'Vir, S'pht'Yra, S'pht'Val, S'pht'Shr, S'pht'Mnr, S'pht'Yor, and S'pht'Kr.
  • Enslaved Elves: Wise and powerful former servants of even wiser and more powerful, but departed race, enslaved by the Pfhor.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: S'bthuth's riddle, divided between the leaders of 11 clans.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The mythical missing moon of K'lia.
  • Hive Mind: The S'pht have a unified racial consciousness, which is why the Pfhor used brainwashing to control them instead of rule by fear (or just nuke them if that fails) since the necessary "infrastructure" was already there.
  • Icon of Rebellion: The Legend of the 11th clan.
  • Invisibility: The Compilers have partially invisible variants. Infinity has invisible S'pht'kr Defenders in the Dream levels.
  • La Résistance: The S'pht under Durandal's control against the Pfhor empire.
    Welcome to the Revolution.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The S'pht are the borderline examples.
  • The Missing Faction: The S'pht'Kr.
  • No Body Left Behind: The S'pht compilers disappear into static upon death while the S'pht'Kr defenders self-destruct.
  • Servant Race: Originally made to serve Yrro and Phtia, believed to have been Jjaro.
  • Slave Race: Currently this under the Pfhor.
  • Uplifted Animal: The non-sentient but decently intelligent (by animal standards) F'lickta wandering their homeworld are noted to be extremely similar to the S'pht's biological components. The implication is that S'pht are cyborg-ed F'lickta.


An ancient and extremely advanced race of beings whose technology is occasionally found by the modern races. Not much is known about them, but what is clear is they were almost frighteningly technologically competent.

  • Ambiguous Gender: Pthia's gender is not specified anywhere in-game.
  • Benevolent Precursors: They did uplift the S'pht to be servants, but what information there is suggests they treated the S'pht well, and are remembered by the cyborg race as wise and benevolent deities. In Pathways Into Darkness, taking place centuries before Marathon, they also come to rescue Earth from an Eldritch Abomination.
  • My Greatest Failure: Yrro is so shaken by Pthia's death that he departs Lh'owon, feeling that if he couldn't save his partner, then he's of no use to the S'pht. See above for how that turned out...
  • Precursors: They aren't around any more; no one knows why. The leading theory is that the W'rkncacnter may have had something to do with it.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: If the S'pht legends are accurate, two of them uplifted the S'pht race and terraformed Lh'owon. Two. They also had the capability to trap creatures of pure chaos, move entire planets to new star systems, and may or may not have had the ability to jump timelines. The only known examples of their weapons tech? Star-killing bombs and black hole guns. The latter of which were mounted on a noncombatant space station, implying their real firepower was something even greater.
    • Advanced Ancient Humans: Had Halo remained connected to Marathon, they would've been revealed as this. The fan scenario Eternal also went down this route, though it wasn't the only definition for the Jjaro used in the scenario. Specifically, Stage 1 Jjaro are textbook examples of this trope. They are essentially cyborgs like the player. There are two further stages, which are no longer biological.

    The Antagonists 


A bipedal insect-like race that has formed a massive slaver empire throughout much of the galaxy. They have enslaved many races and have set their sights on humanity and Earth next. They are the primary antagonists, and the common threat to both yourself and Durandal.

  • Action Bomb: Starting with exploding Looker bugs and finishing with exploding simulacrum A-BoBs.
  • Alien Blood: Theirs is usually yellow. Artist Reginald DuJour, who has a bachelor's degree in biology, attributed this to differing levels of zinc. Some of the Hunters have blood of other colours.
  • Aliens and Monsters: The Pfhor have Wasps and Lookers in the first game.
  • Airborne Mook: Wasps in Marathon, replaced by drones in later games.
  • Arm Cannon: The Pfhor Tank Cyborgs.
  • Art Evolution: They have a completely different appearance in the first game than they do in the latter two, which give them a somewhat less cartoonish, but also moderately less alien, appearance. Notably, the placement of their third eye differs between games. The XBLA port once again deploys a substantial shift in art style.
  • Attack Drone: The Pfhor have these in the latter games.
  • Bald of Evil: The entire species are hairless.
  • Battle Thralls: The Pfhor use these, with the S'pht being brainwashed Engineers of Doom, while the Drinniol are Enslaved Grunts.
  • Beast of Battle: Wasps and Lookers.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Lookers.
  • The Blank: The Cyborgs (the enemies with tank treads for feet, not the Mjolnir Mark IVs), and according to Word of God, those are made from captured Tau Ceti colonists.
  • Boom Stick: The Pfhor fighter's signature shock staffs.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Juggernauts, as well as the blue Mother of All Hunters and Mother of All Cyborgs and Tfear's Personal Guards.
  • Cannon Fodder: The Fighters.
  • Close-Range Combatant: The Lesser Fighters can only hit you with their staffs. The Drinniols/Hulks and blue F'lickta are also limited to just slashing claw attacks.
  • Creative Sterility: Most of their technology is salvaged from Jjaro installations.
    • Various mods have fun with this. As seen in Eternal, the appearances of their installations haven't changed in over ten thousand years. In Rubicon, meanwhile, Durandal notes in the level "This Hurts Less Than... Uhh...":
      I've noticed at least seven different architectural styles utilized in this station, all haphazardly attached to one another. Quite an amalgam, wouldn't you say? It seems the Pfhor take and absorb the culture of enslaved races as well as their technology, calling into question if the Pfhor have their own style at all.
  • Cyclops: The Drinniol, or Hulks, have only one eye.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The Fighters and Troopers don't wear any in the original games. Freeverse's redesigns for the XBLA release of Marathon 2 add shoes for the Troopers, but the Fighters still go barefoot. Notably, the Pfhor only seem to have two toes.
  • Elite Mooks: Most variants of Pfhor soldiers come in a standard and more elite variant. This includes such things as Hunters and Enforcers.
  • The Empire: Theirs is a slaver empire.
  • Extra Eyes: The Pfhor tend to have three eyes, while Enforcers in Durandal and Infinity have seven.
  • Faking the Dead: One Pfhor Engineer got slightly crazy trying to translate the tortured Nar's prophecy, enough to fake his own death so that he could continue his hobby.
  • Flying Face: The Drones.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Fighters have their lower half of the head covered with the breathing mask.
  • Giant Mook: The Drinniol, or Hulks, are much bigger (they stand ten feet tall) and bulkier (and that's all muscle - they have almost no body fat) than their Pfhor masters. They still go down to enough grenades though.
  • Godzilla Threshold: When the casualties get too high, they deploy the trih xeem.
  • Glowing Mechanical Eyes: The Pfhor drones and the Juggernauts. Also, the troopers in the original Marathon 2 artwork; you can only see their eyes through their helmet (however, in Freeverse's redesigned artwork and in the original Marathon 1 shapes, you can see their whole faces).
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The Hunters.
  • Hive Caste System: The Pfhor are hinted to be like this. In Infinity, Tycho says "bugs are so obedient" in reference to the Pfhor under his command, and they have a clear caste system in which the lower ranking members (Aggregate rank) are considered more expendable than the upper ranking ones (Willful rank), who are subordinate to an even higher ranking ones (Command rank).
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Most of their technology comes from scavenged Jjaro tech.
  • Insectoid Aliens: A bizarre cross between hairless apes and bugs.
  • King Mook: Mother of All Hunters and Mother of All Cyborgs in Durandal. Infinity adds unnamed bigger and stronger versions of the Fighters and Troopers, and a Super version of the Juggernaut.
  • Lightworlder: The Pfhor come from a world with gravity lighter than Earth's, making them taller than the average human and also making them better suited for vacuumless conditions.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Drones, Tank Cyborgs and Juggernauts.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Drinniol/Hulks. Slow-moving on their feet, but deadly at close range, and take at least four grenades to kill at the lowest difficulty level.
  • Mind-Control Device: The Pfhor mind-control Cyborg in Marathon that simulates S'pht "royalty". They got better, but unseen, versions in the sequels.
  • No Delays for the Wicked: Quite a few terminals in the sequels tell that this is averted.
  • Nuke 'em: Nuclear bombs are the Pfhor's preferred weapon, but when THAT doesn't work? Well, then they get serious.
  • Organic Technology: The Pfhor make extensive use of this, most clearly seen in their weapons, the Hunter armor, the Juggernaut, and their Space Jockey/Alien Hive like spacecraft interiors.
  • The Political Officer: The Enforcers are described as such.
  • Praetorian Guard: Tycho pits you against Admiral Tfear's personal guard in Infinity level You Think You're Big Time? You're Gonna Die Big Time!. They consist of pairs of Elite gray-armoured fighters, troopers, hunters and one brown Juggernaut. And they are all mean.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Closest to the Conquistadores type.
  • Shoulder Cannon: The Hunters' weapon.
  • Skull for a Head: The Juggernauts' head in Marathon. It was redesigned in the sequels.
  • Slave Mooks: The Pfhor have these, with the S'pht being the most notable.
  • Torture Technician: The Enforcers.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Word of God says that the Tank Cyborgs from Durandal and Infinity are made out of captured Tau Ceti colonists.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The Pfhor empire are shown to be this here and there, enough for Tycho to almost cleanly commit casual treason by convincingly issuing orders to terminate the higher ranks of the ship he is currently on. The Game Mod Tempus Irae had a field day with this, with an interlude that was basically one big "If you had to kill a superior officer and had a really good reason for it, press one" joke.
  • Vestigial Empire: At least according to Durandal, who states that the Pfhor empire is in slow decline since the Drinniol slave rebellion.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The Pfhor are slavers who use and sell other races for various tasks, though the S'pht's application to computer engineering makes a bit more sense than usual since they're cyborgs.
  • Zerg Rush: The number of Pfhor you fight, especially the fighters, tend to get very high after about halfway into the games. Not like it's too much trouble for The Security Officer


Some sort of ill-understood creatures spoken of in ancient S'pht legend. They are said to "live in chaos" and spread chaos wherever they go, unraveling the fabric of the universe around them. In Infinity, it turns out that they are very real, and finding some way to escape their influence is the driving conflict of the game.

  • Ancient Evil: Old as, or maybe even older than, the Jjaro.
  • Big Bad: For Infinity.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: They receive a few mentions in Durandal but aren't important to the plot. In Infinity, though, they matter a whole lot more. One of them is implied to be the Dreaming God from Pathways into Darkness.
  • Eldritch Abomination: They unravel the laws of physics around them. Even the normally implacable Durandal is terrified of them, because even with his vast intelligence, he cannot understand anything about them.
  • Horror Hunger: See the Nightmare Fuel subpage for the relevant quote.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: They have been, and they're still alive!
  • Invincible Villain: The possibility of killing or fighting them is never brought up, or even hinted at. If the Jjaro couldn't do it, what hope do you have? The only option the player has is to escape them, apparently by jumping to alternate realities.
    • The closest thing to death they can experience is sleeping for millions of years. Even then their dreams still affect reality around them.
  • Precursor Killers: They are heavily implied to be the reason why the Jjaro aren't around anymore.
  • Reality Warper: It's rumored they're the ones causing the timeline splits in Infinity.
    • The one underneath the Yucatan Peninsula in Pathways into Darkness can reshape the reality around it just by dreaming. It's the source of the grotesque monsters encountered there, and the restless ghosts forced to haunt the place.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Jjaro locked them into stars, black holes, whatever they could. Lh'owon's star is one such can.
  • The Unpronounceable: Befitting nonsensical beings of chaos.


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