Title: The Rift Manipulator
Description: How does it work?
beesandbrews - November 20, 2011 08:06 PM (GMT)
In Captain Jack Harkness we find out the Rift Manipulator (RM) has been sabotaged and that a vital piece is missing.
At the same time, Toshiko has half of a vital calculation in her computer and half of the equation on the base mainframe. Why? Is it too dangerous to have intact?
How long as the RM been broken? Did Billis do it? Why? Did Jack know it was bust the entire time he was stuck in 1941? Would having all the pieces of the equation magically open the Rift? Or is the maths part a secondary focusing system that has nothing to do with hardwired way Owen used to open the Rift.
How does the manipulator work anyway? Does it create a giant negative spike and that's how they were able to reset time backwards and pull Jack and Toshiko forward?
I don't understand.
rabecka - November 20, 2011 08:59 PM (GMT)
|Toshiko has half of a vital calculation in her computer and half of the equation on the base mainframe. Why? Is it too dangerous to have intact?|
Well, I'm just as confused on how the Rift Manipulator works, but in this case, I was assuming that the equation on the mainframe was a generalized version that needed additional parameters to connect to a specific space/time. The half on the laptop was because she got those parameters in 1941. If you recall, she got info from Tim, the navigator, that she needed to complete it. Of course, the specific info that she got from Tim could have been calculated at the other end, but it's entirely possible that Tosh was the only one who understood the equations well enough to know that. (Or possibly Jack, but he was right there with Tosh...)
That whole business with the manipulator being sabotaged though? And Bilis having the missing piece? And that they knew Bilis had the missing piece? Yeah, I didn't get that at all.
On how it works, I think of it as opening a door/passage btwn 2 points, that can be walked through. Whether that's right, who knows, but it didn't seem like the rift pulled them thru - more like they walked into it. That's also what it looked like John did in KKBB.
beesandbrews - November 20, 2011 09:12 PM (GMT)
I can see Tosh needing to update the equation with local variables, but she makes a point of saying she keeps half the equation with her and half at the base, and Ianto says something similar, they only have half the necessary equation to safely get them back.
Speaking of which, it's an old, derlict building and she puts the clues in paint cans. How on earth, is she to know that no one will pitch them out before Torchwood figures out her hiding places.
beesandbrews - November 20, 2011 09:16 PM (GMT)
I should also add that what's so blasted confusing is in two linked episodes the dratted machine doesn't seem to work the same way twice. Which doesn't mean that it can't have more than one function, but there's not nearly enough foundation for even handwavy explanations.
They don't reset time when they get Tosh and Jack back from 1941, they just open a door.
But in the next episode, they send time backwards to send all the people who have fallen through the Rift and ressurect Rhys and presumably anybody else who died that morning.
rabecka - November 21, 2011 12:35 AM (GMT)
|I can see Tosh needing to update the equation with local variables, but she makes a point of saying she keeps half the equation with her and half at the base, and Ianto says something similar, they only have half the necessary equation to safely get them back. |
Interesting. I didn't take it as a security thing, though I suppose it could be. I assumed that the constant part of the equation was on the mainframe, and the part that required local variables was on the laptop. Why both sections wouldn't be on the mainframe, I don't know. It could just be that it was under development, and she wanted the variable part on her laptop so she could play with it outside the hub, and figuring she was the only one who could make use of it anyway, it didn't really matter. In fact, thinking about it now, it doesn't make sense to split it, and is possibly something Jack would have a problem with if he knew about it.
Re the time reversal in End Of Days, it makes absolutely no sense to me. LA-LA-LA... Plot device... LA-LA... The only way I can even do handwavy stuff is to assume Bilis caused the timeshift. He did keep saying that time would reverse if they opened the rift, so maybe there was something in that he needed.
And, oh yeah, loved the paint cans. With a large side order of sarcasm.
BTW, is there a way to get notified via email for new messages? I thought I subscribed, but the only reason I saw your reply was cause I logged back in to check.
beesandbrews - November 21, 2011 01:11 AM (GMT)
I noticed there's a bit of a delay on the notifications. I'm not sure. I'm not actually that versed in this board.
I know I shouldn't think too deeply about these things, but it's this rewatch/write a story challenge I've set myself. I sit down looking for openings and fall through plot holes.
okay, this is what I have so far:
Billis Manger wants Torchwood to open the Rift so that Abaddon will come through. Because Abaddon is trapped in a pocket dimension and the Rift is the barrier between his world and ours. Fine.
Billis Manger can walk through time. Evidently without the benefit of any sort of gadget. Again, fine. Take as given that he's either alien or has magic. Handwaving his methodology right now.
Somehow, Billis gets his hands on a vital piece of the rift manipulator. He then entices Torchwood to the Ritz and traps Jack and Tosh.
Tosh has half the rift manipulator equations in her laptop, and half the equation on the mainframe. Why? Does she need something more interesting than Suduko to do on the London train? Except, bad Tosh has forgot to charge her battery. (Unless timetravel is hard on batteries?)
Stuck in 1941 Tosh sends a series of clues to the future. Billis helps, except when he doesn't, rubbing the last bit of the equation out so that they don't have it in the present.
Okay. This suggests that there's in fact, two different ways to open the Rift. The easy way - with maths, and the hard way, with the water tower. One opens a door, the other is a battery ram.
Somehow they figure out that Billis has the missing piece. Handwaving like mad here. That he's set Torchwood up and kidnapped Jack and Tosh is one thing, that he's got key bits of their machinery is something else.
Owen flips out, he hardwires the watertower and forces the door open releasing Toshiko and Jack, and causing cracks in time. Next thing we know, Romans and plague victims are falling through the Rift.
But, the second time they open the Rift after the rebellion, they don't activate the manipulator the same way. Why not? Is it the time component? If so, how does Gwen know what to type madly into the computer? Is there a 24 hour reset code? If they have the power to manipulate time shouldn't they have at least suggested that Torchwood had that capacity? Why does opening the Rift a second time make things better?
beesandbrews - November 21, 2011 01:42 AM (GMT)
Hang on, figured something out.
Billis actually opened the door between eras that freed Jack and Tosh. Not Owen.
Owen just cracked the window of time.
beesandbrews - November 21, 2011 02:50 AM (GMT)
And ... I just worked out why they had to do retina scans and what not the second time. Note: this means there had to be at least a day between episodes.
Jack decides he doesn't want anybody unilaterally opening the rift now that the manipulator is operational. So he puts locks on it that require the entire team are in agreement before the protocols are engaged.
This still doesn't work out how time goes backwards though. There must be a big, shiny button that Owen didn't press the first time.
rabecka - November 21, 2011 03:32 AM (GMT)
And hereby proving I can handwave with the best of 'em...
I think I can explain the retina scan thing. They're actually doing 2 different things - manipulating the rift is not the same as opening it. The first is intended to create a doorway, under control. I could theorize that when something comes thru the rift, they're sometimes able to gather enough info to open a doorway, allowing whatever it was to be sent back. I've seen this in fanfic several times, but there's canon support in Meat, when Jack wants to send the creature back thru the rift. Presumably he means to send it back where it came from. How they'd get the right parameters, well (handwave, handwave, strained shoulder...) they seem to record rift events so maybe they can figure out the right one in order to reverse it.
As for opening the rift, that might not involve the manipulator at all. It's a sort of "throw open the hatches and prepare for the flood". And that's something that would need an entirely different level of security. Hence the retina scans.
On time going backwards... Billis can't open the rift himself to release Abbadon, so he has to trick TW into doing it. Suppose that when it's opened badly (i.e. without the full equations from Tosh) he can somehow use the uncontrolled energy to create cracks in time, and throw everyone into crisis mode. But (not being Davros or Rassilon) he doesn't actually want to destroy everything, so once the rift is open, he reverses the damage. Abbadon is freed, with a nice, healthy planet to feed on. It could also be an interesting twist on Billis - "See, I didn't lie. Things reversed just like I said they would. With one little side effect..."
Tired hands are tired now.
rabecka - November 21, 2011 04:05 AM (GMT)
Ha, just thought of an analogy. If the rift manipulator is like a fire hydrant, then using it is like attaching a hose and directing the water. It's not trivial, and there's a lot of power, but it can be controlled. Opening the rift would be like shearing off the hydrant at its base. This might be entirely useless, but I'm in a sharing mood :}
beesandbrews - November 21, 2011 01:04 PM (GMT)
Sharing moods are good. No worries there.
I'm inclined to stick with my notion that Jack imposed additional protocols because the notion of having the entire team in accord is emotional and reactive in the extreme. In a normal crisis situation, what if some of them were deployed elsewhere handling an emergency? What if someone died off site? I can understand multiple command codes being entered; they do that on weapon systems all the time (at least on tv) but everyone? That's the sort of thing that's imposed in the heat of the moment.
Jack describes what happens at the dancehall as a simple temporal shift. They're sent to the Ritz because of reports of music, not because their predictor recorded an event.
Then there's the matter of that missing part. The when if it bothers me. I'm inclined to think because of Jack's reaction that they've never used the RM, but Owen has more than a passing knowledge of how to work around it because of how quickly he starts pulling cables and so forth.
Bah. I think that blows a hole in my theory about how Billis got that missing piece. I think he must have just shifted in and stolen it after all.
rabecka - November 21, 2011 03:47 PM (GMT)
|Jack describes what happens at the dancehall as a simple temporal shift. They're sent to the Ritz because of reports of music, not because their predictor recorded an event.|
Agreed. My impression was that the temporal shift in the dancehall was caused by Billis, and had nothing to do with the rift.
On the security protocalls, it's still possible there was a different procedure for opening the rift. Jack could have changed that at the last minute, after the team brought up opening the rift as a solution. What confuses me there though, is why he wouldn't set it up so that he was the only one who could do it. If he didn't trust the team, why not cut them out of the loop entirely?
Also, there's a deleted scene on the DVD that goes into the fact that there's a protocall in place for opening the rift, and there's a whole discussion over it. I haven't watched it in quite a while and I know deleted scenes aren't canon, but there might be some useful info in there. And if not, you can just ignore it.
Oh, and here's an interesting little sidebar... Why didn't Abaddon escape when the rift was opened in Boom Town (the Doctor Who episode with Jack/Rose/Nine in Cardiff)? That was in 2005. End of Days is in 2007. Maybe Billis learned something from that event and then worked on implementing it. I don't know if that helps you or not, but maybe it could explain how Billis discovered that there was this group of people that could manipulate the rift. It would then take him time to figure out how to use that. Or maybe he discovered that just opening the rift wasn't enough, and those cracks in time played a role also.
|Then there's the matter of that missing part. The when if it bothers me. I'm inclined to think because of Jack's reaction that they've never used the RM, but Owen has more than a passing knowledge of how to work around it because of how quickly he starts pulling cables and so forth.|
That whole thing is horribly inconsistent. I can't come up with any reason why Owen would know how to use the RM, unless it was routinely in use. I mean, he's a doctor. There's no reason for him to train on an unused prototype device. On the other hand, if it's used regularly, why didn't anyone notice there was a piece missing. Hm... maybe a possibility is that Jack routinely removed a piece when it wasn't in use to make sure no one could use it without his OK. In an emergency, if he wasn't there, Ianto also has access to the secure archive. And hey, maybe the missing piece and the blueprints were kept together, which is how Owen knew to look for them. You could handwave Owen not knowing about the missing piece in advance because Jack and Tosh are usually the ones in control of it and Owen tends to ignore things that don't directly concern him.
beesandbrews - November 21, 2011 04:18 PM (GMT)
Owen was also Second at that time, which is a decent enough reason for him to be trained on the machine.
I don't know. This isn't a story I want to touch with a barge pole, at the moment. It's just the shear illogic of what was going on threw me so hard out of the episode I got mental whiplash. (But I still might anyway, just because I have another idea.)
It would have helped a whole hell of a lot if they'd set up a better foundation. I mean really, all they did was periodically have some character say, "It's coming out of the dark." Which is a whole lot like Buffy's "From beneath you, it will devour." Except in Buffy, there were other bits and pieces that added to the arc. (Which was still not executed all that well, but that's another discussion. At least there was a set up and a follow through.)
We needed to meet Billis earlier. We needed an episode that gave us some knowledge of the Rift manipulator. How and why it is used. Why it was developed. Not just "Look! We have a cool water feature with more functions than a Swiss army knife." This is what they should have been doing instead of Random Shoes.