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Big big big spoiler questions about a big endgame spoiler character

Blackjack Gabbiani

Clearly we're great!
I'm wondering about the professor's AI. They say they can't leave the lab but someone had to have moved the professor's body out of station four, yeah? And how do they intend to survive in the past/future if they can't stray from that location?

I've seen people theorize a few things:
--It was a lie and they know they'll die once they reach their destination
--The tera crystals that embed into them in the last battle will keep them alive
--they meant that they can't leave Area Zero, not the lab, and only couldn't get the locks because they were locked into the lab
Frankly these all seem pretty likely/feasible, though if tera crystals could do that then surely either the professor or the AI would have tested that a long time ago.

Also, when was the AI created? And when did the real professor die? I got the feeling it had been some time ago, but the legendary doesn't break out of Area Zero until right before the game takes place.

How much of the professor was really left? It seemed during the last fight like the "real one" was fighting the AI for control, and I'm not sure if they intended to have a LITERAL ghost in the machine or just a figurative one. Was the professor really evil or was that just how the Paradise Protocol interpreted them? I know the journals depict someone who was losing their got-dang mind out of desperation for answers (Pokemon seems to be big on that lately, don't they?) but was that desperation really enough to no longer care about what happened to the rest of Paldea and the world, a la Lusamine?

I got a plot bunny to write about Turo's death from the AI's perspective but it requires the AI to be present in station four. Would this be possible? Or do you think a scene with them together would only be possible if Turo was able to stagger back to the lab before dying?


Yeah so this entire post was a spoiler take care
 

Auraninja

Eh, ragazzo!
1. My big leaning on how the AI professor can leave via time machine but not out of Area Zero is because they are powered up by the Tera Crystals, and the crystals themselves remain fixed in their location throughout time.
2. The Tera Orb was created 10 years ago after the discovery of harnessing Tera Crystals for Terastallizing Pokemon outside of Area Zero. The real professor died shortly after Arven was born since their spouse left them. Given the approximate age of Arven, it is likely the two events happened pretty close to each other, which the journal entries in the different labs span the course of these events.
3. So, to side track, the chronology of Metal Gear Solid tells of the fate of The Boss and an AI meant to replicate her and her legacy. A similar thing is happening here, except the professor made the time machine and the Paradise Protection Protocol. The professor and the AI clashed in the idea whether paradox Pokemon can live in harmony with Pokemon of the present, or whether such an endeavor caused environmental damage. My guess is that the real professor really wanted to believe their plan would work and turned a blind eye to the potential destruction simply due to their unwillingness to accept that likelihood.
 
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Blackjack Gabbiani

Clearly we're great!
Where do you get that second claim there? The journals and Arven's words put a great deal of time between those events.

The spouse walked out, but the professor didn't die for quite some time. The real professor lived for several years and had worked alongside people like Clavell and Jacq, among others, and had become increasingly distant from Arven. The AI didn't exist until years later, after the real professor kicked everyone else out, having degenerated into a tunnel-minded obsession and decided that the only possible assistant for them was their double ("If only there were two of me"). This is implied to be fairly recent, considering that line is in the second to last journal and the "new assistant" is only mentioned in the final journal, alongside the arrival of the second box legend, the one we know will ultimately kill the real professor.
 

Xaby

SW-3553-0104-8530
I don't know how to use spoiler tags, so reader beware I suppose.

First, we can safely establish that the prof's work with the Terra Orb predated most of the things in the discussion, including the Time Machine. The journals stated that it was because of the success of the orb that they can get funding for future projects in Area Zero. More likely than not, it was also this project that the staff in the academy were involved with. This project, in fact, was not actually HQ'd in Area Zero but in the lab built on Cabo Poco's light house ("Someday, though, I'll return to the crater and resume my study of these crystals").

Second, we can also safely establish that the time machine was created before Arven was born. There is no direct proof of this, but based on the writing of the journals, and by the simple fact that many of the succeeding events needed the time machine to be functional for them to occur, this is the most logical inference that can be made. It is also highly unlikely that the academy staff were involved in this, as they seem to have no knowledge about the machine itself, and that the professor brought minimal staffing into the crater ("My team will be smaller, but no matter").

The time when the AI begins to function is what is questionable, however I don't believe it is that recent. The journals in station 4 seems to state that the period when the AI is usable and when the 2nd box legendary was captured were close to each other. Again, there is no direct proof of this, but it will not be hard to assume that the 1st legendary was put into Arven's care during this time to avoid territorial battles between the two. However, because the 1st legendary was seen by civilians, it was brought back into Area Zero, which I believe would have led to the fatal battle between the 2 legendaries which caused the professor's death.

The time table for those events in the previous paragraph is what is debatable. Definitely we can place Arven's age to at least be independent at this point, so at least 10 years have passed between this and the other spouse leaving. How long after that did the fatal battle happen is also unknown, which you could take to be immediately after the 1st's return to Area Zero, or to be just recently before the start of the game (or both, depending on how you look at things).

As for the AI's "morality", it was the AI assistant which wanted to destroy the time machine, and it was the professor through his or her programming of the time machine who installed fail-safes to ensure that it kept on running ("Wha—?! Wɑs kəəping the time maɔhıne runnıng truly all thə profəssor cɑred about?!"). There is no question in this: the fact that the final battle changed from AI Sada/Turo to the Paradise Protection Protocol makes this clear.

I also don't believe that the professor's will was in the AI, or "ghosting-the-machine" as you term it. It is also abundantly clear that the AI differed from the professor's opinions, probably because it was designed to be a logical assistant ("I may have been created as a copy of the professor, and yet...I cannot seem to find the logic in allowing such a tragedy to occur."). The difference in opinion may have stemmed from the mania the real professor had, just the cold hard logic of programming of the AI, or other factors, but what is clear here is that AI is not the professor, nor was the professor in the AI.

As for the Protection Protocol itself, I believe that it was just a part of the programming of the time machine with the given directive of "Keep the time machine running at all costs."

The question then, I believe, is if the use of the time machine and the want to protect it was an act of "evil". Again, here is the brilliance of the writing for these games: it is not. Creating a program that makes it perpetual to prevent tampering is not wrong. The creation of a machine that is used to alter ecosystems is, in and by itself, not wrong. The logic of the AI is possible, that the release of such creatures could destroy the ecosystem, but that is a possibility and not a definite.

That's why I like the writing for these games, as they like to explore more themes than your average Pokémon game. The professors aren't completely innocent, Arven's deep emotional trauma is a testament to that. But they aren't inherently evil, just extremely flawed human beings. Compare that to the winner of the Worst Pokémon Parent award, which I will award to the SunMoon Lusamine, the living embodiment of nihilism.
 

Blackjack Gabbiani

Clearly we're great!
Wait you think Lusamine was a worse parent than Ghetsis?

Oh about the professor's consciousness or will or whatever being in there, I meant in the PPP, which takes over the AI near the end. Notice the speaker changes after a point and is no longer "AI [professor]" but identified as the professor themself.
 

Xaby

SW-3553-0104-8530
Wait you think Lusamine was a worse parent than Ghetsis?

Oh about the professor's consciousness or will or whatever being in there, I meant in the PPP, which takes over the AI near the end. Notice the speaker changes after a point and is no longer "AI [professor]" but identified as the professor themself.
For the parentage thing, I can argue for it, yes. One, N is not his real offspring, so you can view it that he just adopted him for his abilities and as a tool for his plan. Two, Ghetsis is evil, but he is, at least, making sense in his goals. Consider SM Lusamine and how she treats her daughter, which is her own flesh and blood, to be a focus for her obsession (changing her hair to look like Nihilego, using her to make Nebby become an opener of wormholes, etc.). And she does this not even for a grand plan: she has an object of mania, and damn the world and everything in it if that's what it takes.

As for the professor being in the Paradise Protection Protocol itself, I can see where you are coming from. However, I still hold that what is just left at the time machine is just the codes running, and it just so happens that they do take after their creator. As a programmer, I can attest to this: programs are most understandable and relatable to their own programmer; that is why it's a pain in the rear to onboard or transition new programmers, especially if it is custom code.

I would explain the AI Professor and the Paradise Protection Protocol as two programs created by the Professor, and as such is part of his or her aspect. The professor poured logic on the AI so that it can be worthwhile assistant, and in that created a being that logically questions the actions of its creator. The professor then poured his desire to keep the time machine running in order to create a world where paradox Pokémon could exist, and as such the PPP protected the system to a fault.

Again, this is the beauty of the writing of a game in which there are actually no villains: you can see this as just two conflicting pieces of code running into a logical battle, or the professor's id and ego clashing because of the imprinted personality into the machine, or maybe we're just looking into things too much (that's possible too). But for me in the end it really doesn't matter: a good piece of story telling makes the observer ask questions about things, and I believe this game has just done that.
 

Auraninja

Eh, ragazzo!
Where do you get that second claim there? The journals and Arven's words put a great deal of time between those events.

The spouse walked out, but the professor didn't die for quite some time. The real professor lived for several years and had worked alongside people like Clavell and Jacq, among others, and had become increasingly distant from Arven. The AI didn't exist until years later, after the real professor kicked everyone else out, having degenerated into a tunnel-minded obsession and decided that the only possible assistant for them was their double ("If only there were two of me"). This is implied to be fairly recent, considering that line is in the second to last journal and the "new assistant" is only mentioned in the final journal, alongside the arrival of the second box legend, the one we know will ultimately kill the real professor.
I'd have to check back with what the game said. Otherwise, there could have been an error on my behalf.
I already corrected one where I meant the Tera Orb and not Area Zero.
 

Blackjack Gabbiani

Clearly we're great!
It feels like the AI and the PPP were different parts of the professor's personality. The AI was the compassionate side that still loved Arven despite everything, and that sacrificed themselves for the time dragon they cherished, while the PPP was their zealous, tunnel-visioned obsession with achieving their aim no matter what disaster it would bring to the region. And both of them were part of the same whole.
 
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