Dr. Shim and Vex
Welcome back everyone, today we will once again be exploring Vex lore but this time from the perspective of Dr Shim. I have to say this is my favorite lore video to date, so if you enjoy it make sure to drop a like and leave a comment!
Understanding the story of Dr. Shim provides great insight into how the Vex operates. If you cannot remember who Dr. Shim is, it is probably because it has been some time since you have played the story mission, the Archive. The Archive is where the Ishtar Collective were keeping all the information about the Vex. The Ishtar Collective were group of scientists, including Dr. Shim on Venus who were experimenting on the Vex, trying to uncover their power and secrets of time travel. And uncover they did.
This story can be considered as chapters within the grimoire cards, however it was mostly incomplete until more recently when the House of Wolves DLC added another card. The first chapter, is Ghost Fragment: Vex. Two scientist are speaking with each other about an experiment they are conducting on a captive Vex mind. The researchers are Maya Sundaresh and Chioma Esi. Chioma tells Maya of their first major discovery, the Vex are not just robots, they have ability to think and perceive the world. She says “human merkwelt” which in German translates to, “meaning of the world” and relates to robotics and biology, the ability of a creature or android to interpret the universe, to manipulate information and synthesize a meaning. Different creatures and even androids have different ways of gathering this information and different ways of interpreting this information, therefore they are able to form different perspectives of our universe.
In essence, the conversation that they are having, is the Vex are more than robots, they can think freely, they appear to have a form of intelligence, something beyond calculations. The researchers are studying the captive Vex’s mind and can see these images. What the Vex shows them is of great concern. It shows them a simulation, the simulation is of two researchers having a conversation, it is them Maya and Chioma, their virtual selves, having the exact same conversion. However, in this scenario The Vex is in control, the Vex is no longer captive.
The two researchers call a meeting which is documented in the next chapter, Ghost Fragment: Vex 2 grimoire card. Dr. Shim and Duane McNidah enter. Duane basically says, who cares, it is a virtual world, it is not us. The rebuttal is that the Vex could torture our virtual selves for eternity. Duane once again says, why does that matter we will not feel their pain. Dr. Shim, drops a bomb shell, if they can create one reality, then they can create multiple realities. This card ends with a chilling statement from Dr. Shim
“Odds are that we aren’t our own originals. Odds are that we exist in one of the Vex simulations right now”.
The next chapter, Ghost Fragment: Vex 3 tells how the four researchers begin to turn on each other, with the realization that all might be lost. They begin by saying what is the point of a plan, if we are a simulation then the Vex already knows our plan. Dr. Shim pulls the group together, he says “Stop talking about ‘real’ and ‘unreal.’ All realities are programs executing laws. Subjectivity is all that matters.” Basically saying that reality is a perspective and from their perspective they are real and therefore they must fight. Duane, says, “maybe they are just bluffing, maybe they do not have control” and Dr. Shim smarter and wiser delivers one of the best solar burns in the game “I wish someone would simulate you shutting up.”
They come to the conclusion that they must escape and to escape they must
“bring in someone smarter than the specimen. Someone too big to simulate and predict. A Warmind. In the real world, the Warmind will be able to behave in ways the Vex can’t simulate. It’s too smart. The Warmind may be able to get into the Vex and rescue – us.”
They contemplate that their escape may result in punishment from their Vex captors, with torture for eternity but they choose to try and contact a Warmind anyway. And that is the cliffhanger that the vanilla grimore cards finishes on.
The House of Wovles cards provides one more chapter. Ghost Fragment: Vex 4. It is revealed that the team successfully contacted a Warmind. The Warmind
“rescued themselves from the inside of a Vex mind, two hundred and twenty-seven copies of themselves, untortured and undamaged. Those copies voted, all unanimously, to be dispatched into the Vex information network as explorers.”
So the Warmind successfully rescued the virtual minds of the researchers, 227 virtual minds to be exact and each virtual self agreed upon the same plan, to explore the Vex networks.
The center of the Vex network, a place that appeared to pierce time and space, a place that existed before the traveler, the Vex citadel. No human have ever ventured to the citadel, for it contains Vex cells, elements that are “infectious, halluncinogenic and entheogenic”. Entheogenic is a chemical substance that is used in religious, sharmanic or spiritual purposes to alter your state of consciousness. A real world example of this, would be Peyote, a small cactus that has psychogenic properties, when you ingest this plant a lot of people have these out of body experiences, a feeling of transcending and a new claim to the meaning of the universe. For the Vex, it was a defense system, to trap any minds that tried to enter the Citadel, altering their consciousness.
So rather, than just enter the Citadel, they actually entered as a simulation and they used the Warmind as neural firewall. Their physical bodies, sat within the Academy, whilst they channeled their thoughts through the warmind, through the firewall into their simulated selves. Put in simple terms, it is very much like the movie the Matrix. They plug their physical bodies and minds into the system and enter into virtual reality. This protected them from the infectious nature of the Vex.
Their goal, to find out where the Citadel could send them and whether they could come back. Using the Vex technology against them, each virtual explorer carried a laptop containing 227 copies of more virtual selves. They planned to send all copies through system. If successful, one of those copies may return with an answer, with a solution to change the future. Duane asks the question
“could you use this place to change things? If you regretted something, could you find a way through the Citadel, go back, and change it?”.
The explorers continue on their objective, climbing to find the Vex aperture they plan to use.
“They overlay the luminous stone and ancient brassy machines with images of sun and sand. They set up the transmitters and interfaces that will translate two hundred and twenty-seven simulations of the four of them into Vex language, into the tangled pathways of the Vex network, to see what’s out there, and maybe come home.”
Arriving at their destination within the Citadel, they awaken their stored copies from their laptops,
“they find themselves surrounded by the mental phantasms of themselves: two hundred and twenty-seven Mayas and Chiomas knocking helmets and smiling, two hundred and twenty-seven Dr. Shims making cynical bets with each other about how long they’ll last, two hundred and twenty-seven Duane-McNiadhs blowing goodbye kisses to the sweet golden sun, two hundred and twenty-seven of them shaking hands, smiling, making ready to explore.”
That is where the card ends, however I do not believe this story is over and I hope that the Taken King provides the final chapters to Dr. Shim’s exploration team! This has been my favourite lore video to date, so make sure you drop like and leave comment. We will see you next time. Peace.