Sentrakh Broke The Red Star (Theory)

Theory time.

One of the many unanswered questions from Bionicle’s original story is this: what/who broke the Red Star?

It may not be one of the most important questions, but it is one that I will explore nonetheless.

For the answer, we turn to Sentrakh. Specifically, these two parts of his backstory: (From BS01)

  • “…trapped in a state between life and death by various experiments.”
  • “However, the process destroyed Sentrakh’s memory…”

When this was written, it is clear that the writer just wanted to give Sentrakh a cool, mysterious background. But then, in 2011, Greg Farshtey completely recontextualized the concept of death in the Matoran Universe, by introducing the idea that the Red Star is a repair station for dead beings.

In this new light, we must reconsider Sentrakh’s state of “trapped between life and death”. What does that mean?

Here’s my theory: during the experiments performed on him, Sentrakh died and was revived by the Red Star. But then, for some reason (most likely due to said experiments), the return process was stopped from working correctly, and his body was returned without its AI. This explains his loss of memory and complete loyalty to The Shadowed One; his body literally doesn’t have a personality. For all we know, this was the intended goal of the experiments: to prevent a being from having a personality. We know that the experiments were at least intended to increase loyalty.

It also explains his existence of being “trapped between life and death”; part of him is in the Matoran Universe (‘alive’), and part of him in on the Red Star (‘dead’).

Of course, the Red Star isn’t going to like this; its job is to teleport dead beings back into the Matoran Universe, and it still hasn’t completed that task, since Sentrakh’s AI is still on the Star. From the perpective of whatever system is running the Red Star, Sentrakh is continuously in the process of teleporting back, and that teleportation will not be complete until his AI is returned to his body.

It is known that teleporting two beings at once is ill-advised. This isn’t just a Bionicle rule; this goes for science-fiction in general. Plus, we are told in Reign of Shadows that it is dangerous to latch on to a teleport in progress. The Great Beings would have known this, so the Red Star assuredly has some kind of program or protocol in place to prevent it; it creates a queue of beings to be teleported back, and won’t start on one being until the previous one has been teleported back.

And so is created the problem: the Red Star won’t teleport anyone back until Sentrakh has been fully returned, but the nature of the experiments on Sentrakh prevent this from happening.

So the Red Star doesn’t send anyone back.

(And Gaardus just happened to die around this time. It has been confirmed that Gaardus is not the cause of the Red Star’s failure.)

EDIT: There’s actually an exact time of failure for the Red Star: 80,000 years ago. This is when Gaardus was experimented upon.

This gets a little tricky now: It is said that Gaardus died “at some point”. It is presented in a way that suggests that this happened long after he was experimented upon, but this can’t be the case: the Red Star broke more or less immediately after he left, yet it is also known that the Ghosts that Gaardus killed are trapped on the Star. Therefore, he must have died before killing the Ghosts.

And we know that he killed the Ghosts more or less immediately after the experiment 80,000 years ago.

So, “at some point” must have been during the experiment.

SECOND EDIT: Additions from the comments:

14 Likes

Sentrakh would have to be very old for this to be the case. Or has it been confirmed when the teleportation mechanism broke? I thought it was very erarly on Mata nuis trip.

2 Likes

It was certainly earlier on, but there is no reason that Sentrakh can’t be that old; a majority of beings in the Matoran Universe have been there from the beginning.

7 Likes

Cool theory!

The being who was killed to create Sentrakh certainly was alive from the beginning. But Sentrakh was created after Dark hunters became to be. Question is when were Dark hunters created

Edit. It is said in BS01 Gaardus was transformed 80 000 ago and Greg says he was expecting the Nyhrah matoran to come back to life so he could kill them all over again. --> the star functioned for 20 000 years. Therefore there is indeed enough time for Sentrakh to be the cause for the stars malfunction

2 Likes

This is all very interesting.
Well done on this theory.:+1:

Question, though:
If Sentrakh’s AI isn’t in his body, how is he able to cary out orders?

1 Like

Good point.

I think it’s reasonable that a being’s AI could be split into a “base functionality” section and a “personality” section.

Kind of like how if you factory-reset a phone, you lose all of your photos and apps and such, but the OS is still there.

So Sentrakh still has his base functionality, but no personality.

2 Likes

But isn’t that what the Red Star does to begin with, since the awakening didn’t happen until after the Red Star’s design was finished, so thus, it wasn’t built to preserve their sapient personalities, thus making the stakes of being offed still a thing in the MU?

I see what you’re saying, and that is certainly a good idea for a direction that the story could have gone; it would have given Greg his “zombies on a space station” story while also keeping characters dead.

However, Gaardus and Mavrah are living proof that the Red Star is capable of reviving the “personality” section of the AI. In a more general sense, Greg has stated that the Red Star would revive a being in the same state they were in when they died. For a post-Awakening being, this includes their personality. The Red Star just brings back everything about a being, regardless of its origin.

That’s a good point about the Awakening though, and it actually plays into my theory: the “personality” section of their AI was added later, which is why the experiment was able to separate Sentrakh’s “base functionality” and “personality”. They basically “unAwakened” him. That’s why Sentrakh is still capable of following orders.

1 Like

That’s a very elaborate theory! It adds up very well and is within the time zone. Can we get a word from Greg on this?

1 Like

It’s definitely possible. Chats with Greg place the founding of the Dark Hunters around 90k years ago, while Gaardus’s existence and the Red Star breaking is “at least” 80k years ago. Sentrakh’s page on BS01 gives no time on his creation, so it’s entirely possible that his experiment happened in the right time period. Don’t know if Greg would be willing to confirm or deny it; I’m not sure on his record on even considering things like this, from what I know he tends to do more clarifying than really adding to canon like this.

2 Likes

Actually, it is at most 80,000 years ago. We know that the Red Star was active when the Gaardus experiment began 80,000 years ago. Therefore, it broke after that point.

But again, as I said in my edit, the Star broke exactly 80,000 years ago. (give or take a few hundred years, since I don’t think the year counts in the story are very precise)

(Unless, I suppose, it took Gaardus thousands of years to kill the Ghosts who experimented on him. Then the Star may have been broken less than 80,000 years ago. Either way, it was at least 10,000 years after the creation of the Dark Hunters.)

I’ve just been going off of BS01’s timeline, which lists all of the vents surrounding Gaardus as “At Least 80,000 Years Ago”. The only citation in this section is to the old Ask Greg archive, where he answered the question of how long ago Gaardus was mutated by saying it was before the Barraki rebellion. The Barraki’s attempt at overthrowing the Great Spirit is marked as 80,000 years ago, so that starts our frame of reference at least that far back.

However, when it comes to when the Red Star stopped functioning… well, we don’t really have a clear frame of reference. The Kestora tell us that Gaardus was the last to leave, which would be very useful… if we knew anything about how Gaardus died. Problem is, nothing about his death is specified, so the “when” of the Red Star breaking is entirely up in the air. All we know is that it happened after the Dark Hunters were formed, so it’s possible that Sentrakh was the cause.

Actually, there is a time of failure.

Gaardus was the last to leave. Also, the Nynrah Ghosts that he killed are trapped on the Red Star.

https://greg.thegreatarchives.com/2013-2017/page409#post10802035-line3-5,12

Therefore, Gaardus has to have died before killing the Ghosts. (This also explains why he expected the Ghosts to come back. As of the current canon, it is unknown how he knew the Red Star was supposed to send them back.)

Additionally, we know that he killed the Ghosts after escaping from their captivity.

Also, we know that Gaardus died after the experiment began, since the Kestora recognized him in his mutated form.

So, unless this experiment took place over the course of thousands of years, all of these events took place relatively close together. Then, we know that the experiment began 80,000 years ago.

Therefore, the Red Star must have been broken 80,000 years ago. (Barring the possibility that the experiment took place over a non-trivial amount of time)

1 Like

While still not an exact or directly stated time, you make good points.

The only thing I’d add is that there’s no stated amount of time between Gaardus escaping from captivity and hunting down the Ghosts. It could be inferred that he killed them immediately, but Gaardus doesn’t really give us a timeline when retelling his backstory. Technically it’s possible that a notable amount of time passed, even though I agree that it doesn’t seem likely.

He does give a very rough timeframe:

“I had not thought of the star in so long,” Gaardus continued. “Not since the death of the Nynrah. The star was why I stayed in the Nynrah’s village for so long after my escape. Now I wonder if what I was waiting for was up there, not down among the land and water.”

This shows that he never left the village after escaping or before killing the Ghosts; he killed them in the village.

I can’t see the hunt taking too long when it is constrained to only take place in the village. Granted, we don’t know how big the village is, but still.

(Also, this excerpt shows that he was aware of the Red Star’s function before killing the Ghosts, which further supports the theory that he died before killing them.)

1 Like

And again, you prove me wrong. I guess that’s what I get for skimming the text instead of digging into it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Now I’m curious if some digging could let us get some estimate on when Sentrakh became who he is. Probably not, but seems worth a shot.

I usually eye fan theories with a load of skepticism, but this is one of the few that adds up on a number of levels and makes things simpler, not more complex. I like it.

Only thing I’m wondering is that if Sentrakh’s experiment really was that long ago, then why hasn’t TSO tried it again since? I got the impression it was recent only because otherwise he’d surely have given it another shot or two.

From what I heard in an interview with Greg, I got the impression that the idea would be that the “repair” function was just as broken as everything else, and they’d start decaying or something, meaning that even once you come back to life, you’ve suddenly got a limited lifespan (which these characters aren’t used to, the Karzahni plant completely went bezerk over that idea).

The only two places you’d possibly find something like that would be the DH book or Time Trap - from memory, Sentrakh didn’t show up much (unfortunately) from then on.

Greg didn’t make a lot of timeline remarks in his writing during '05 - that started to pick up once Legacy of Evil was written and a few more key dates were established roughly.

1 Like

That answer comes straight from The Shadowed One himself: In the Dark Hunters book, The Shadowed One makes a remark about how he doesn’t want to try it again, since he had to reteach Sentrakh everything about the Dark Hunters. (And that book came out 15 years before this theory. It’s really all coming together.)

Although that does render this part of the theory incorrect:

We now know that that was not the goal of the experiments. But that was kind of just a side theory anyways, not actually important to my main theory.

The only thing I can remember is that Sentrakh appears (in his “unAwakened” state) in a flashback in Legends 4: Legacy of Evil. I can’t find the exact scene, but those flashbacks only go back around 10,000 years, at most, and I think the one with Sentrakh was closer to 5,000 years.

So we know that he got unAwakened at least 5,000-10,000 years ago, which isn’t much help.

Also, I may as well address this:

The “repair” function was the Kestora themselves, from what I can tell; they would be manually responsible for repairs. Then, as we all know, once the Star broke, they went a little nuts and started chopping things up.

So, in a sense, I suppose that Sentrakh jamming the system was indirectly responsible for the repair system breaking as well.

And that reasoning can also be used as a catch-all to explain any other issues with the Red Star that I have forgotten to address; even if Sentrakh didn’t directly break something, the Kestora did, in their frenzy to fix the Sentrakh problem.

2 Likes

Yeah, that’s because the experiment was a limited success. I imagine he’d try to refine the process, TSO doesn’t strike me as a “oh well, we tried” kind of guy. :stuck_out_tongue:

I suppose that he (or more realistically, whoever he had employed who was actually figuring this stuff out) might well have just hit a brick wall in the process, which is actually supported by the theory (if the process depends on deliberately stripping out the individuals AI, then there’s not going to be any way around the memory loss, is there?)

It also makes me wonder who was actually doing these experiments. In the case of this theory, it’s curious to consider whether they had accidentally stumbled on this Matrix-esque loophole in the MU, or if they knew more about the Red Star than perhaps they ought to.

2 Likes