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Pandora is stuck in an infinite cycle of repeating the same thing over and over again. Let me start with a paragraph written on the walls of Tannis' cell:
"You are the Designed Output that travels in the loop of Pandora to the Final Result, back to the beginning where you do it all again and again and again and again. These Calcuations confirm that you exist in some kind of circular reality."
Also found on the wall is the quote "Nothing is ever finished" repeated five times, and also a picture of the Vault symbol, an arrow leading to it saying Designed Output and an arrow leading away from it saying Final Result, which forms the cycle the paragraph described.
So what does that mean? Just pointless rabble? I mean, the rest of the story doesn't seem to imply that Pandora is stuck in some kind of loop... or does it? Let's take a look.
Perhaps I'm wrong, but doesn't it seem like the Guardian Angel already knows how everything will unfold? One of her first quotes describes how she KNEW you'd be the one for the job. She also knew you had to get off the bus at Fyrestone in order to find the first part of the Vault Key. When you're about to fight Rakk Hive, she repeatedly assures you that you WILL prevail, no question about it. When Steele pages in about having the Vault Key, at first the Guardian Angel predicts that they're all going to learn an important lesson, BUT THEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG. You can CLEARLY sense the tone of shock and urgency when the Guardian Angel claims "No, this isn't supposed to happen!"
I haven't fully looked into the details of the game yet, but I can already think up one specific detail that supports my theory. Rakk Hive and Mothrakk. Notice, after defeating Rakk Hive, the Rakk that burns the barrier leading to the Vault Key. It's a tinier version of Mothrakk. A baby Mothrakk. 200 years later, that Mothrakk is all grown, the character kills it, kills Rakk Hive, baby escapes same as always, and the cycle goes on. This would explain why the player character can't kill that specific Rakk.
Now Rakk Hive. Notice it is still alive even after a large portion of it's body being blown off. Let's say it doesn't exactly die, and instead, over the course of 200 years, completely heals itself. Isn't it also strange how the silver chests near Rakk Hive are already opened...?
So Pandora is stuck in an infinite cycle. Every 200 years the Vault becomes openable, the main quest is completed, and it all starts over again. That's my thought at least. I'm going to pay attention to more subtle details next playthrough. Any thoughts?
Sounds good, but what about the bosses and such you fight along the way? I'm talking story mission stuff and not side mission stuff, how do they come back? Also don't you find one of the keys without her (Krom)? I remember her saying something like "you found another piece without me".
What happens to Tannis and all of them? Do they just "reset"?