GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Did the alliance plan to turn River into an assasin ?

POSTED BY: DBELL46
UPDATED: Friday, April 2, 2004 17:44
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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 8:59 PM

DBELL46


River, as described by Simon, has what is sometimes called hyperintelligence syndrome. This includes not just her intellectual abilities, but also her physical abilities such as dance. One of those physical abilities could be absolute position. This is an ability similar to perfect pitch. A person with a.p. always has an instinctive sense of their position in the universe as well as an intuitive knowledge of their immeadiate surroundings. (some pilots have it.)
In War Stories, when she glanced out at the
three men, then shot them with her eyes closed, she was using this ability. If her eyes had been opened it would have spoiled her concentration.
The point is, this was a gift she was born with. Any damage the alliance did to her brain has
ruined her ability to apply judgement in its use,
thus turning her into a loose canon as dangerous
to the alliance as to anyone else around her.
I don't think that's what the alliance had in
mind. What do you think?


If history is remarkably clear on one point, its
that people don't learn from history

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 9:57 PM

NEROLI


My thought is they probably were trying to turn her into some kind of weapon, an assassin being the most likely.

I believe they experamented with less "gifted" individuals first and found the results lacking so started the school to get access to better test subjects. However, they got more then they bargained for there...miscalculated what it would take to control their new subjects. It seems to me like they had some idea what they were doing, but then ran into things they were not expecting.

And it seems very likely that the process they were working on was never completed in River, leaving her half finished. Who's to say they would not have been able to place controls in place if they had had more time. It would explane why they want her back so bad, because as she is now she is a loose cannon.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 10:02 PM

NOOCYTE


Maybe they would have put a chip in her brain to control her aggressive tendencies...oh...wait...

Department of Redundancy Department

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 10:06 PM

NEROLI


Well, I was thinking more along the lines of brainwashing but...ya never know.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 10:47 PM

TALONPEST


I think the assassin angle is too pedestrian and predictable for Joss. He'd have come up with something to surprise us.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 10:54 PM

WREN


A question just popped into my head - if the Alliance are totally in control who would they need to assassinate and why would they need a 'special' assassin to do it?

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 1:39 AM

KALIMEERI


I disagree with the assassin angle, because in the first episode she was flatly terrified of guns and would not let Simon anywhere near her with one in his hand. She has got more familiar with them over time on Serenity, and she did what he had to do in War Stories. (She listens to the crew's preparations and is left out, but recognizes that she can make a contribution here).

I think there are a couple of pointers, but not enough to indicate Blue Sun's purpose. First, her babbling about 'needles ... and ask me what I see', and second Mal's statement 'she's a reader'. The hint technique is similar to Inara's "Everybody's running from something."



Jen dao mei.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 2:11 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by kalimeeri:
I disagree with the assassin angle, because in the first episode she was flatly terrified of guns and would not let Simon anywhere near her with one in his hand. She has got more familiar with them over time on Serenity, and she did what he had to do in War Stories.



Could it not be that part of the Academy Training was to force her to be proficient in firearms through negative reinforcment. If you don't hit the target here's a bit of pain

This would mean she might end up scared of guns (she subconciously associated them with punishment) but is extremely proficient in their use

River never finished the Academy program. The rest of the training could have been to make her comfortable with weaponry now she was good with them


...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 2:16 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by Wren:
A question just popped into my head - if the Alliance are totally in control who would they need to assassinate and why would they need a 'special' assassin to do it?



Why assume the people at the top have anything to do with it. Why not the Military-Industrial Complex? Alliance Intelligence and Blue-Sun R&D people working together

In the late 1970's MI5 (British Intelligence) were spying on the British Prime Minister (it's in the book Spycatcher). The State is not as monolithic as people think

Wheels within wheels


...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 6:59 AM

CORWYN


I don't think she planned to contribute. They were going to shoot Kaylee, (who was wigging out) no one gets to shoot Kaylee. EVERYONE who evens threatens her DIES.

I think she closed her eyes so that she wouldn't see herself murder people, not so that she could concentrate. 1) She needs to concentrate TO close her eyes "don't look, don't look". 2) I have not seen her need to concentrate to do anything external. Remember she can not forget things.

As to what the blue hands wanted with her, I also don't think it was as an assassin. Of course, I have never understood the need for a super soldier, when regular soldiers are so cheap and plentiful.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 7:05 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by kalimeeri:
I think there are a couple of pointers, but not enough to indicate Blue Sun's purpose. First, her babbling about 'needles ... and ask me what I see', and second Mal's statement 'she's a reader'.

You're suggesting she was part of some remote viewing experiment? Good thought. It'd gel nicely with her eerie-ass perceptive abilities.

For you non-conspiracy buffs, remote viewing uses psychics to spy on (or just map out) different locations. They can give you detailed floorplans of enemy installations, locate lost personnel/equipment, and could even be used as undetectable (thus unhackable) long range communication.

During the Cold War, the US apparently ran a remote viewing project under the name "Project Stargate" (ironic, I know).

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 7:30 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


I am thinking that the Blue Hands were doing research on her, but what they hoped to have as an end result, I am not sure. Assassin seems to easy an out for the plot. Of course if they tinkered enough, they would have the ultimate assassin. We have seen evidence that River can read thoughts at times, and her marksmanship w/ a firearm is downright scary.

Wren wrote:

Quote:

A question just popped into my head - if the Alliance are totally in control who would they need to assassinate and why would they need a 'special' assassin to do it?


Just because the Alliance is in control doesn't mean they don't have enemies Wren. Every government has enemies, political and otherwise, they would like to do away with at times.

Who is to say the Alliance would control her? What if it is some secret experiment of the Blue Hands?


"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."


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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 7:49 AM

NEROLI


Ok, you guys are convincing me that assassin is not what the Alliance had in mind for River.

And the comments about her closing her eyes so she wouldn't see herself kill and how she reacted to the gun in Simon's hand in Serenity reminded me of Ariel, when Jayne is fighting the guard...River's expression during that makes it clear she is very disturbed by violence. Had forgotten how she is in that scene. When all these are put together along with her defeating Early without using any weapons, unless you count Mal as one, assassin just doesn't add up.

So now I am clueless on just what they were trying to do...LOL

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 7:56 AM

MILORADELL


Maybe she was supposed to be multi-purposed. Someone who could do many things - pick up on the feelings of a crowd. Look into the future. Infiltrate and observe. And if you have an operative like that, they need to be able to defend themselves. Hence - proficiency of arms, tactics, etc. Less assassin and more agent.

I think it's a given they weren't able to finish with her. But...who was the super-secret organization that contacted Simon? How did they know what they knew, and how were they able to get her out, and presumably others?

****
The crucifix is a torture device. ‘Nuff said.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:14 AM

HONORBOUND


Have you ever read David Weber's Honor Harrington series? The main character, Honor, has this same ability. It is even talked about in the book "Feild of Dishonor" where she is at a pistol duel with an enemy and just blows him away before he can even raise his pistol.



A kind word turneth away wrath, but not as well as superior firepower

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:37 AM

RAW53X


the "reader" idea that mal said could be her main purpous. to read minds of the enemy and route out trators. she could also be a HUMAN COMPUTER. because "she just did the maths".
a possible super agent. for the blue hands.
or a test subject to see if it is possible to creat a telipah. of see what happens when a person uses more of there brain. than normal.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:56 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


Quote:

Originally posted by MiloraDell:
Maybe she was supposed to be multi-purposed. Someone who could do many things - pick up on the feelings of a crowd. Look into the future. Infiltrate and observe. And if you have an operative like that, they need to be able to defend themselves. Hence - proficiency of arms, tactics, etc. Less assassin and more agent.

I think it's a given they weren't able to finish with her. But...who was the super-secret organization that contacted Simon? How did they know what they knew, and how were they able to get her out, and presumably others?

****
The crucifix is a torture device. ‘Nuff said.



"Super agent" really makes more sense than anything else so far.

Though she seems as innocent and of the mentality of a child, it is obvious she is much more than that. Look at how she escaped Serenity in a space suit, space walked to Early's ship, got into said ship, and played her prank on the bounty hunter. Definitely not something just anyone could do.

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."


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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:59 AM

KALIMEERI


<>

Now this is an interesting thought. The 'Blue Sun guys' are a part of the Alliance, but may be a covert offshoot or subversive part. Notice that the Alliance soldiers in "Ariel" aren't especially scared of them, and treat them as just another government employee, except elite and more powerful. And then they end up dead.

Also, if Book was a high-ranking officer in the Alliance in his former incarnation (LOL) he's smart enough to have picked up on the "hands of blue" right away.

(Sorry, my quote didn't come through)

Jen dao mei.

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Thursday, April 1, 2004 4:01 PM

DBELL46



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Thursday, April 1, 2004 4:29 PM

DBELL46


Quote:

Originally posted by Honorbound:
Have you ever read David Weber's Honor Harrington series? The main character, Honor, has this same ability. It is even talked about in the book "Feild of Dishonor" where she is at a pistol duel with an enemy and just blows him away before he can even raise his pistol.



A kind word turneth away wrath, but not as well as superior firepower




Unless a new book has come out in the last few weeks, I've read the entire series.

That's the point that some seem to be missing,
hyperintelligence syndrome would have given River
a whole host of gifts long before the academy got
to her. If you can kill people with your brain,
there's no need for skill with firearms.

Perhaps the blue-handed duo were specially trained
enforcers for the school, rather than a desired
end product. That would explain River's overwhelming fear of them. Perhaps all that was
wanted of River and others like her was an
unstoppable intelligence gathering device.

If history is remarkably clear on one point, it's
that people never learn from history.

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Thursday, April 1, 2004 5:59 PM

ZOID


I think River was being deconstructed and turned into the ultimate military AI.

Her instantaneous calculation of trajectories to kill three opponents were child's play for her...

...So she did it with her eyes closed. "No power in the 'verse can stop me."

It is my belief that BlueSun/Alliance were attempting to create a strategic super-genius to cement, for all time, their dominance against future aggressors/revolutionaries.

If one cannot create a thinking computer, perhaps one could take a group of 'cognitive leapers' -- geniuses -- and turn them into computers by removing their human behavior?

Does anybody recall the part of Rinver's brain Simon said they'd been toying with? Amygdala, was it? And then he said it was the seat of her emotions(?).

From http://www.sci.uidaho.edu/med532/amygdala.htm

amygdala (uh mig' dull uh)

It is a set of subcortical nuclei that is important for perceiving in others and having in oneself emotional or affective behaviors and feelings (e.g. fear, anger). It is, therefore, a component of the limbic system.

Based on a quick 'net search, the amygdala is responsible for bodily reactions to threatening stimuli. I'd say River's has been hyperactivated based on her characteristically physical overreactions to her environment...

Respectfully,


zoid

"River didn't fix faith. Faith fixed River."

- Senator Richard Wilkins, Independent Congress
from A Child Shall Lead Them

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Thursday, April 1, 2004 6:10 PM

ANKHAGOGO


Quote:

Originally posted by corwyn:
I think she closed her eyes so that she wouldn't see herself murder people, not so that she could concentrate. 1) She needs to concentrate TO close her eyes "don't look, don't look". 2) I have not seen her need to concentrate to do anything external. Remember she can not forget things.



If we go with River being a reader, we've seen her exhibit maybe three different types of reading. The possible one is in Safe, and the two definite ones are in Objects in Space.
In Safe, she "read" what had happened to Ruby. Now, River could have simply asked Ruby "Why won't you talk?", Ruby thought about what had happened, either in actual words or in mental images, and River literally read her mind.
In Objects in Space, however, River was exhibiting two very different kinds of reading. One - she was hearing what was in people's heads. Notice I didn't say she was "hearing what they were thinking".
I'm gonna use Book as an example to make this less twisty. I don't think when River "heard" Book say, "I don't give half a hump if you're guilty or not..." that was what Book was consciously thinking at the time. He was probably thinking, "This knife is pretty sharp, I better cut carefully" or, "Yeah, right, like Jayne could give up chicks!"
Same for everyone else -- the thoughts River heard likely weren't actually being thought at that moment. It seems to me like River heard something they were trying to keep hidden, and that's a very different, much deeper thing from reading someone's actual thoughts.
Second -- We've been told that River's amygdyla (sp?) is stripped, and that she can't not feel anything. That could make her an empath, albeit a reluctant empath. We saw her experiencing Zoe & Wash's emotional states rather intensely, and that's what empaths do -- feel the emotional states of other people.

The empath things kind of figures in with why I think she was able to hit all three of those guys. I do think she was concentrating when she closed her eyes, but on their emotions or minds, not on their physical location. If she can sense emotions like that, then physical sight could be a distraction.
Or even if you don't buy the empath theory, I still think that River is probably aware that what she thinks she sees isn't always reality, so she wanted to close out her physical vision, in case she what she thought she saw wasn't real.

I've kinda just been assuming that the blue hands were doing experiments to enhance/create psychic abilites, but like someone said, to what end, I do not know. I don't know if "assassin-spy" was the ultimate goal, or if they were just hoping they could get assassin-spies out of the deal.


"So...would his job be available?"

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Friday, April 2, 2004 3:16 AM

KALIMEERI


There are quite a few examples of the empath behavior you mentioned. When she's dancing, she reacts to what I presume to be Mal's distress at seeing Book on the ground. She picks up on very strong emotion involuntarily, but can, if she tries, delve deeper. She also seems to react to the "aura" of a place, as in Bushwacked--the idea that strong emotions linger even if the people are gone. She may well have picked up on the emotions of the soldiers attempting to get into Serenity in War Stories (never thought of that). I just figured she "did the math," which seems to be a recurring theme with her. Emotion can distort what you see, but math is precise.

Jen dao mei.

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Friday, April 2, 2004 5:44 PM

ANKHAGOGO


Quote:

Originally posted by kalimeeri:
She picks up on very strong emotion involuntarily, but can, if she tries, delve deeper. She also seems to react to the "aura" of a place, as in Bushwacked--the idea that strong emotions linger even if the people are gone. She may well have picked up on the emotions of the soldiers attempting to get into Serenity in War Stories (never thought of that).



I really wonder if her delving deeper is voluntary. Whatever they did to her inarguably screwed up the way she receives all different types of information, and Simon says (har) that she has her good days and bad days. So it's possible that her ability to percieve whatever rises and ebbs -- a good day would be when her reading abilities are low, because then she's not getting so much information that she can't process it all correctly. A bad day would be when she's reading everything and everyone and just
can't tell reality from delusion.

Quote:

I just figured she "did the math," which seems to be a recurring theme with her. Emotion can distort what you see, but math is precise.


I didn't really mean "she perceived their emotions and used that to help her aim", I meant "focused on where the emotion was originating from in order to give herself a target."
But it is quite possible that she just "did the math", as in "there are three guys. There are three sides to a triangle. That guy is --" ok, I forget all my geometry terms, but you get what I mean. She is supposed to be a math genius, and I suspect she has a photgraphic memory.



"So...would his job be available?"

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