Dharma Stations Part 8: The Orchid

How seriously are we to take The Orchid Station? It's a worthwhile question. Let's not forget this is a Dharma Station that has never been introduced or mentioned during the actual television programme. It may never be introduced. The Orchid Station, and the video that introduced it, may remain peripheral, Lost Universe material. Don't get me wrong, I will try and tackle this Dharma Station sincerely. But don't think it hasn't escaped my attention that, in the grand scheme of the television series, The Orchid may never matter a damn.

As no doubt all are aware, The Orchid Station was introduced via a rough edit of an Orientation film (it doesn't have Dharma music, or a title card); probably it was never 'officially' completed and used. The story goes that the film was discovered in a building in Norway and the Lost Creation team put it together (which explains the spliced inserts of Gerald De Groot, 'God Loves You As He Loved Jacob' slogan, etc). The truth of the matter, of course, is that it was some spicy material to unveil at the Comic-Convention to whet appetites about all things Lost.

Ostensibly, we are shown the familiar Dharma narrator (here working under the name Edgar Halowax - continuing the Candle/Wick collectivism for all things candle-related in his naming convention) holding a rabbit with a number '15' on its back. He tells the intended audience of the video that The Orchid is Station 6 of the Dharma Initiative and that they had been mislead into believing it was a biological station. Then another rabbit, with a number 15 on it, appears on a high shelf. Small-scale chaos ensues with Halowax panicking about keeping the rabbits apart. And that's pretty much it.

So let me make an assumption. The two rabbits that featured are one and the same. Otherwise why bother having the two be number 15? So, taking that idea as a given - that a rabbit in a man's arms could suddenly appear, duplicated, in close proximity - we then come to the pertinent question: How?

Edgar Halowax: "The unique properties of this Island created a kind of Casimir effect..."

Ah yes, the Casimir Effect. A familiar term to many Lost theorists but let me not take it for granted that you know about it (or have become misconstrued into thinking it's something it's not). In simple terms, the Casimir Effect is the force between one object and another object, and how that force acts on both. Seriously, that's it.

This force takes place at a particle level, so you're forgiven for not noticing! Understanding of this Casimir Effect is important in the real world as things get smaller. Smaller circuit boards, nanotechnology - these become concerned with the interaction of objects at a particle level and how they will influence the construction and function of sophisticated technologies. This doesn't quite explain why one rabbit turns up in the same room as itself, though, does it? But that's all right - because in theoretical terms the Casimir Effect can produce a localised negative region of space-time which enables speeds of faster than light. Oh yeah. . .

Edgar Halowax: "Don't let them near each other! When did you set the shift?"

Assistant: "Negative 20!"

"Negative 20"? A negative region of space-time for faster than light speed? Really? Oh hell, let's not get too bogged down in true scientific terms. Halowax himself proffered the caveat "a kind of Casimir effect". Note that 'kind of'. The truth about the Casimir Effect is not necessarily being reflected here. It's in the ballpark of science but we're playing fast and loose with fiction, too. And playing fast and loose with the Casimir Effect and one bunny rabbit existing in practically the same piece of time and space as itself almost makes a form of logic.

Is it time travel, then? It makes sense. As all Back To The Future fans know, the space-time continuum can be torn apart if a time traveller encounters their own physical being. A paradox, they call it. Thus Halowax's requirement in keeping the two rabbits apart works out. However, I think it's both time travel and a little bit of teleportation. Through a wormhole in negative space-time. Obviously.

I'll talk you through it. I imagine that the original intention in the film was for Edgar Halowax to do something with the rabbit. My guess is that he was to place the rabbit in some form of device where this Casimir Effect had been controlled to produce a negative force in space-time - where a wormhole could be created. The rabbit would then disappear. (I am thinking of rabbits down holes and Alice In Wonderland and it fits nicely.) In a perfect experiment, the rabbit would have 'popped back' at a point in space-time Dharma anticipated. As it turned out, it didn't. The rabbit showed up before the experiment had happened, up on the shelf. Oops. (I guess that the experiment would have to be continued (as the re-run of a new Orientation introduction at the end of the film suggests) in order to fulfil the criteria that a rabbit has to go through the worm hole to appear where it did.)

That's my take on it. I'll be honest, I won't go down fighting to defend it.

However, at the start I suggested The Orchid Station may never appear in Lost. Halowax says, "We apologize for asking you to deceive your family and colleagues," after he has come clean - "as you have no doubt surmised" - that The Orchid is not a botanical Station. That's because I believe it was/is part of what we know as The Swan Station. Halowax is wearing a Swan Station laboratory coat. He believes his audience will know the place is obviously not botanical (which you would, if you were in The Swan). At the moment of panic, an alarm sounds that's very familiar in tone to the lockdown procedure countdown of The Swan. And furthermore, we know in The Swan there's a big, old concrete wall we've never seen behind. My money says that The Orchid, and the experiments pertaining to it, are housed behind that concrete wall. The Swan was the cover station. And then there was 'an incident'.

The crass and obvious idea would suggest that Halowax went and shoved his hand accidentally in a wormhole of negative space-time and lost it. (Imagine that appearing on a shelf behind you - your own hand!) Whatever happened, I think that this Orchid Orientation film was never completed and the experiment shown appeared to be not under control. Couple this with the above evidence linking The Orchid to The Swan and it's enough to make a connection. 'An incident' occurred producing the requirement to 'vent' electromagnetism, The Orchid was sealed up, and if someone should happen to not get that button pushed they might just produce a negative space-time wormhole effect with disastrous results. It might send your consciousness back to a different time and space (Desmond and the fail safe) or, even worse, take a passenger airline from one point in space-time and rip it through a wormhole into another point in space-time (I think you know what I am alluding to here).

Or maybe not, you know. Maybe, like I said, this is the one and only time The Orchid and the Casimir Effect will ever get a serious mention. Just throw the video out there so someone like me can come along and join some dots together to make a picture that fits nicely enough to fill in a blank. "Negative shift", anyone? Oh that's very clever. . .

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