I first posted this as a couple of comments on elsane's LJ page
, in response to some intriguing speculations there that paralleled my own. Here's an expansion of those ideas, plus a few new ones ...
OK, these are my suspicions about what's going on:⊕ Why did Barry hide Agatha from Klaus?
We know that Barry thought Klaus was not to be trusted. Some of the reasons for this were set forth in Doctor Beetle's notes, which Merlot conveniently destroyed
. But Klaus was able to decipher some of the notes, and he was genuinely puzzled -- they didn't make sense to him.
This can be explained if Klaus has access to a Time Portal, in a later part of the story that we haven't seen yet. Klaus may have tried to warn his earlier self, or someone else, of the danger posed by the Other. Perhaps the warning took the form of "Agatha must die!" If Barry or Beetle found out about that, it woud explain why they hid Agatha and were convinced that he was a bad guy.
If he'll have access to a Time Portal, it might
even turn out that Klaus
-- acting while wasped and controlled by the Other, or acting from a sincere desire to avert the terrible events of the history that he has seen first-hand -- is the one who attacked Castle Heterodyne.⊕ Higgs ... and Jenka
Why is an Airman Third Class, who had served without distinction
for a decade, so darned competent?
Why is he so ... unstoppable?
I'm becoming more and more convinced that Higgs is a Jäger. He's just not a "regular" Jäger -- he's an irregular
, in the military sense. Where is is written that Jägerkin must
mutate and become monstrous? Obviously, some
do, but do all of them?
I think there's a Jäger Intelligence Corps, and that Higgs is one of their undercover agents. This explains why he's only an Airman Third Class. As a member of the Jäger Intelligence Service, Higgs has to keep a low profile. Therefore he needs to be able to vanish every decade or so and assume a new identity, or else people will notice that he doesn't age. And he can't stand out or advance in rank, or his disappearance will be noted ... and someone may recognize him in his new identity if he was sufficiently well-known in his old one.
When Castle-in-Otilia says
"Your ... ah ... Higgs
here says/says you claim to be the/the Heterodyne" ... I'll bet the second word in that sentence would have been agent
I strongly suspect that Jenka is another Jäger Intelligence Corps agent. (Has there ever been a corps with only one member?) That would explain why she keeps her face covered: so both Jägers and ordinary people won't recognize that she looks human. The existence of a Jäger Intelligence Corps might be a secret that even most Jägers don't know!
If Jenka's an agent, she'll have a cover identity as a human. Hmm. Since Jenka hasn't revealed her face, could it be that she's a character we've already met? ⊕ The Assistant
Who is Agatha's as-yet unnamed Assistant
doesn't the Assistant have a name? Why doesn't Vanamonde
know who she is? And what is the significance of her lightning-bolt sigil
Possibility #1: She's Jenka's cover identity. Both Jenka and the Assistant show up in Mechanicsburg at the same time. As near as I can tell, their eyes are the same color; it's hard to tell about Jenka's eyebrows. However, the Assistant has ordinary-looking hands, and Jenka seems
to have Jäger-style claws rather than human fingers -- could Jenka be wearing clawed gloves? Also, Jenka shows up next to Gil soon after he zaps the battle clanks; could she have come down from the top of the city wall that quickly? On the other hand, Violetta can move very, very quickly, so why not Jenka? On the gripping hand, the Assistant -- unlike Higgs -- doesn't wear a hat.
Possibility #2: She's another Smoke Knight. She's very competent, she wears a sigil that might
indicate allegiance to the Storm King, and she wears clothes that (to my eyes, at least) seem to be a pale shade of violet. Note that Violetta and Veilchen are also clad in violet.
Possibility #3 [added 2011/07/20]: Duh!
She wears clothes that are a pale shade of violet. Who else does this, besides the Smoke Knights? Carson and Vanamonde von Mekkahn, alias Carson and Vanamonde Heliotrope
. She's Vanamonde's sister!
She was with him in the coffee house, she stuck with him when the battle was looming and was ready to put him to bed
...⊕ The Dénouement
It all hinges on this: The Foglios like to hide things in plain sight. In this case, the major revelation is in the opera The Storm King
. The good guy, Andronicus, looks just like Tarvek, and the bad-guy rival for Euphrosynia Heterodyne, Ogglespoon, looks just like Gil. (Including his hat!) This is the Vienna Mechanikopera, so the "actors" are clanks, and their physical appearance is no accident. Note too that the Heterodyne Princess is always clothed in pink
The opera is based on a legend
. (Can you say "unreliable narrator," boys and girls?) But how did that legend come to be? What we "know" via the opera might be only the version of history put out for public consumption ... and history is written by those who survive the battle.
There's also a prophesy
in the opera ... And Moxana can foretell the future with her cards! But this is a world of Science!
Not magic! What are prophesies doing here?
Now, what can all this mean? Well, we have at least two very advanced technologies -- maybe three -- that can drive the plot.
First, we have mind transference, with effects that we've seen in Lucrezia-in-Agatha, Lucrezia-in-Anevka, Castile-in-Otilia, Otilia-in-von Pinn, and even Old Othar-in-Young Othar (see Othar's Twitter
Then there are space-time portals, which can give you a doorway to any place on earth and a window to any time. We've been told
, by Future Tarvek in Othar's Twitter
feed*, that you can't send physical objects into the past because the "energy states
" are different. But is this absolutely true, or just mostly
The third piece of technology is the Heterodyne Device, otherwise known as the Invisibility Field Generator or the Lamp Thingie. This device is an extremely potent energy source; perhaps
it would be powerful enough to overcome the time barrier if it were attached to a portal.
So ... I suspect that by the end of the story it will transpire that Tarvek is indeed the Storm King -- the original one
. Either Tarvek will physically go back in time a couple of hundred years to become the Storm King, or his mind will be sent back to occupy the body of Andronicus Valois. (Possible scenario: Tarvek is dying, and putting his mind into another body is the only way to save him.)
And Euphrosynia? Either she's a woman of the Storm King's era whose brain receives a copy of Agatha's mind, or she's Agatha's mind downloaded into the body of a woman from Agatha's time who goes through the portal with Tarvek. Zola (with her pink
fetish) would be a good candidate for this host body, if only we could wipe her personality and then somehow get rid of that darned neural trap. Olga would be an even better candidate, since her body and brain are currently untenanted. (Oooo! Chekhov's gun!)
Result: Gil and Agatha wind up together in "the present" (whenever that is), and rule Europa; Tarvek and "Agatha" wind up together in the past, and rule Europa. Win-win!
If Tarvek goes back to the time of the first Storm King, he could tell
Moxana what's going to happen ... or program it into her. That would explain how he could give the plot of the opera to Portentius Reichenbach.ALTERNATIVE ENDING:
Tarvek goes back in time, but he doesn't
take Agatha (or a copy of her) with him. This would be consistent with the implied ending of The Storm King
Possible scenario: Tarvek turns out to be Not Entirely Good, and tries to do something at the climax to take Gil out of the picture. The two fight, and Gil throws Tarvek through the Time Portal window into the past. (Gil is definitely strong enough to do that
Hmm. Tarvek might turn out to be van Rijn instead of Andronicus. We know he's good at repairing the Muses -- perhaps it will turn out that Tarvek made them in the first place.COUNTER ARGUMENT:
The personality that animated von Pinn was originally Otilia, one of the Muses built by van Rijn for Andronicus. Yet there's no evidence that von Pinn ever recognized Tarvek, either while he was a child on Castle Wulfenbach or later when they were in Castle Heterodyne. This would argue against the scenario of Tarvek's body going back in time, unless there were some really good reason for Tarvek as the Storm King (or as van Rijn) to order Otilia not to appear to recognize his future self. It wouldn't rule out Tarvek's mind traveling back in time, though.
Time travel also can account for where Bill, Barry, and even Lucrezia are during the GG story: they're in transit from the past to the future. Agatha can snatch them from the past via Time Portal and transport them directly to the end of the story, safe and sound.
With mind transfer technology, perhaps Lucrezia can be "cured" of possession by The Other. Or perhaps Lucrezia herself was never possessed by The Other! The Other might be merely a defective recording of Lucrezia that got away, or (as others have speculated) Lucrezia tried to separate ther good impulses from her bad ones so she could be a better wife to Bill, and The Other is Lucrezia's spiritual Evil Twin.
We still haven't seen the final act of The Storm King
, and I think that's because it would give too much away. But from what I've seen of the Professors' penchant for "purloined letter" foreshadowing, I'll bet a roller-skating giraffe really does turn out to be involved somewhere ...
* For convenient reference, here are Othar's tweets regarding time travel, in earliest-to-latest time sequence:
# He asks me if I would be willing to try to set things right. Ah. This would be another crazy person who's been thinking about time travel. 11:12 AM Jul 2nd, 2009 via web
# I patiently explain that time travel can't work. The energy requirements needed to move physical masses are insurmountable. I worked it out. 11:12 AM Jul 4th, 2009 via web
# Tarvek shrugs and says that this won't be a problem. The dust around us is apparently a high energy source and now, I am too. Interesting! 12:13 PM Jul 6th, 2009 via web
# He takes me to a control room and powers up some odd looking devices-Good lord! It's a hole in the air! There's people and-this is the past! 12:40 PM Jul 7th, 2009 via web
# He says that this isn't just a viewer, it's an actual portal into the past. I ask why we couldn't just step through. Ah. It's "complicated". 12:05 PM Jul 8th, 2009 via web
# Apparently the past has a different "energy state". Tarvek questions me a bit and spins some dials-why, that's me! Standing outside Paris! 11:24 AM Jul 9th, 2009 via web
# Tarvek says that he will send my consciousness back in time and it will "take over" my younger body. Okay, I've heard enough. Smack time. 11:31 AM Jul 14th, 2009 via web
# AAAAAGH! My head! My head is killing me! I sit up. A young girl, who was churning butter, jumps up and runs out. Uh-oh. I feel myself passi- 12:43 PM Jul 29th, 2009 via web
# There is an old man looking at me. He asks me how I'm doing? Good question. My head doesn't hurt. Good. The rest of me...Man, I feel GREAT! 11:39 AM Jul 30th, 2009 via web
# I sit up. My hands…my body! Damn! I look good. Amazing! That Tarvek fellow has done it! I'm back in the year-Oh! Oslaka is still alive. 12:12 PM Jul 31st, 2009 via web