Cassandra could be intended to represent digital vs. analogue encoding.
Analogue: smoothly varied continuous data, not permanent, inflexible, wave signals.
Digital: discrete data, permanent as long as data remains undamaged, flexible, binary data.
If this is so, then Ghost Cassette 's The Tape could serve as a prequel to Area 11 's System;Start, in the sense that The Tape can be interpreted as Cassandra being put into a form of stasis, and System;Start is her revival. Although the lyrics from Area 11's songs are indeed initially based upon anime, Sparkles* has stated that they are then slightly tweaked to act as metaphors for Digital Haunt when interpreted in certain ways.
地 = Appears in various kanji constructions of ‘area’.
The use of a triangle can be linked to the lyric from The Legendary Sannin 'We were three and now we are one'.
This can then be linked to what Cassandra said in Soundrop - 'I am many. I am one'
The balance between the digital and analogue in life is explored on thiswebsite.
|"You are/This is obsolete"||
Analogue being obsolete in comparison to digital.
|"There are those who'll outlive you"||Digital data usually lasts longer than analogue|
|"Honey you were beautiful / But there is someone who'll outshine you"||Once again, digital encoding being more reliable than analogue|
|"When you're at the top of your game / You're at the bottom of someone elses"||While analogue was/is the best to some, digital was/is the best to others|
|"But we'll be replaced tonight"||Needs an upgrade|
|"No longer a reason, we don't need you around"||Digital encoding taking over, leaving analogue behind, passing it off as unnecessary|
|"Lipstick changing, colours fading"||Analogue data deteriorates as it ages. Things may become warped, fade and change.|
|"Static cracks, you can't erase"||Static couldn't be removed from analogue encodings, while it could be from digital. Static may be produced by deterioration.|
|"Counting lines upon your face again"||Once again, aging. Lines could refer to wrinkles/frown lines, or they could refer to deterioration of the data.|
|"Analogue, it's hard to breathe"||As the data deteriorates, so might Cassandra's health.|
|"This is not complete"||Once again, referencing the need for an upgrade|
|"The shock is knocking me to the ground"||
The deterioration may have reached a critical point; as Cassandra's health might have
|"Place you someplace far more stable"||Placing Cassandra into stasis, perhaps an induced coma or on life support to keep her condition stable until she could be helped?|
|"I can't cut the excess cables"||Being unable to let her go?|
|"Show you how to be alive"||Once 'upgrades' are done and she's been revived he can show her how to live?|
|"Now we don't need you, please just leave"||Analogue encoding being phased out in the wake of digital encoding?|
|"You have failed and you can't see"||Once again, Cassandra's health deteriorating because of the deterioration of data?|
"So cut yourself from earthly trestles"
|Once she went under she no longer seemed tied down by things of this earth?|
|"Leave a haunting empty vessel"||Her body seeming hauntingly, eerily uninhabited and empty? Nothing more than a shell perhaps?|
|"Human, you are obsolete"||The idea of 'upgrades' being needed to be made to Cassandra. Perhaps from analogue to digital?|
The Tape may outline the events leading up to and including placing Cassandra in stasis to keep her condition stable. Cassette tapes employ an analogue form of encoding.
|"Machine up to speed within normal parameters"||Cassandra may not be entirely human; or this could refer to bringing her out of stasis, implying that upgrades have been completed|
|"Subject is awake. Vitals are good."||
Implies that she is alive. She was asleep? They could be waking her from the stasis she was placed in, in The Tape
In the timeskip between The Tape and System;Start, it would be presumed that Cassandra has undergone at least some form of upgrade. Perhaps one from analogue to digital? Her data may also have been repaired and her health and condition have clearly been stabilized if they are waking her.
|"A restless sleep in an IV high"||IV = 'in vitro', intervenular (within the vein); her stasis was unnaturally induced?|
|"Something broken inside you"||Machine? A link to the recurrent electronics theme? Referring to her health deteriorating in The Tape, because of the deterioration of analogue data.|
|"As I looked into the burning sky"||Implies destruction. Might refer back to Cassandra's failing health in The Tape?|
|"Oh hold me closely and die in my arms"||He's had to leave someone behind, someone he was very close to. Perhaps referring to having to place Cassandra into stasis to keep her condition stable.|
|"Then stood and watched in horror"||He feels guilty for having to place her in stasis.|
|"And all good victories come with a price"||In order for the plan to progress, they've had to place Cassandra into stasis in order to 'upgrade' and keep her stable.|
|"Because the hope within us all is up in flames"||At some point it may have seemed like her 'upgrades' were going to fail. Because she is central to the plan it would mean that all hope would be lost.|
|"One step forward and two to the side"||Having to compromise in order to proceed. If Cassandra was 'analogue' then they'd have had to compromise in order to place her in stasis to upgrade her.|
|"Inside a machine, inside a machine"||Referring to Cassandra within a stasis chamber awaiting 'upgrades' or 'repairs'?|
|"I cannot let you go"||Perhaps they were faced with a choice of letting analogue!Cassandra go when she started failing and they couldn't, so she was placed in stasis.|
|"Can a mask be the face of reason?"||The idea of a mask = hiding something? Curious as to whether hiding Cassandra is reasonable? Perhaps Cassandra wasn't told that she needed 'upgrades' or 'repairs' and that is what was being hidden?|
|"There's smoke in the air"||A reference to destruction again. Something has gone wrong. Perhaps analogue!Cassandra's failing?|
|"I wanna be with you tonight"||Longing? Wanting to be with Cassandra but knowing he can't because she has to stay under? Just being at her side isn't enough, because it doesn't seem like it's her?|
|"Everything's lost, it's been wiped out. / The fire's spread to the basement now"||The deterioration of analogue files? Something important was lost before they could put Cassandra into stasis and stabilize her.|
|"Fear of failure, we're moving so slow"||
Upgrades to analogue!Cassandra are taking longer than expected and they are afraid that they'll fail.
|"Some quiet noise, some mental health."||A stasis chamber would make a soft noise, as would upgrades being performed. Mental help may refer to those same upgrades, as well as restoration of data|
The title itself translates to "Ballad of Death"
|"Even when my memories fail me"||Could refer back to the deterioration of analogue!Cassandra's health and the deterioration of analogue data.|
Taking this theory into account, either The Tape or System;Start could be part one.
|"I can't believe it, that I got so far / I got so far behind, my love"||They'd neglected 'upgrades' earlier, thinking she'd be okay, but when analogue!Cassandra started failing they realized their mistake.|
|"We're not just numbers, we are alive."||Could refer to the binary format that is digital data, compared to the 'reality' that is analogue.|
|"A digital haunt in an analogue life"||Her stasis chamber may be 'digital', while Cassandra herself is still 'analogue'.|
|"I'm still encrypted, I am a machine"||Analogue!Cassandra may have had an 'encryption' they had to break in order to perform 'upgrades'|
|"'No it's all in my mind' I feel / I should save myself, before this gets too real"||A feeling that her deterioration wasn't happening, that they were only imagining it? Perhaps the thought that she didn't need 'upgrades' and then her condition became much more critical.|
|"Stub out the stars on my wrist"||The stars could be symbolic of hope. Linking back up to Euphemia, the failure of Cassandra's 'upgrades' would result in a loss of hope.|
|"I can't forget the way / The choice that we made that day"||The choice to place analogue!Cassandra into stasis? Perhaps going even earlier, the original decision to enact 'the plan'?|
The child of the void and the ghost in the tape
On Sparkles*' deviantArt page, his tagline is "in between the zero and the one", which could (and probably does) imply something to do with an analogue signal. In addition, this fits with the idea of a 'Digital Haunt', whereby Sparkles* could haunt the digital world by inhabiting this space between 0 and 1.
There are several ideas from the All the Lights in the Sky 「COMPLETE」 trailer that hint to both the digital and analogue aspects of the theory.
- The scrolling diagnostics screen.
- Noticeable words on this screen include 'owls', 'cooper', 'adam', 'frame'
- The numbers down the left hand side after "System Configuration" may be important. They may relate to error codes, gene ID numbers, or some other alphanumeric ID.
- In the shot where Cassandra opens her eyes, the green glow of the liquid in the tank is replaced by an orange glow that could be similar to the light from the scene on the cover of ATLITS. This means that she could be in that world in a non-physical form whilst she is immersed in the tank.
- The sound wave of Cassandra's voice