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The Pearl: Misc

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Up to date as of February 07, 2010
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First seen
"?"
Last seen
Constructed by
{{{Constructed}}}
Controlled by
{{{Controlled}}}
Connection
{{{Connection}}}
Number
5 of 6
Purpose
Observation and psychological research
Status
Abandoned, but later used by the Others to monitor the Swan inhabitants
Discovered by
Paulo & Nikki (Day 24),
Locke & Eko (Day 65)

The Temple

[[:Category:{{{Images}}}|Images]]


The Pearl is DHARMA Initiative station number 5, initially discovered by Paulo, and subsequently found by Locke and Eko. Its location is about a half day's journey north of the survivors' camp, and several hours south of the Barracks. The station is located entirely underground well away from any other DHARMA facilities. This is also the location where the drug smugglers' plane crashed on the Island, in the tree canopy above the station.

The purpose of the station ostensibly appeared to be the video surveillance of the inhabitants of the Swan station, but it was later implied that station was actually an elaborate psychological experiment being carried out on the Pearl's own staff. ("?")  ("Live Together, Die Alone")

Contents

History

Mike the Technician

DHARMA Initiative

Little is known of the history of the Pearl station although it was constructed by the DHARMA Initiative somewhere between 1971 and 1973. A number of DHARMA personnel were assigned here during the station's early years -- although it is not clear what their mission was or if they were subjects of ongoing psychological experiments during that time. Mike, who welcomed Ben and Roger Linus on the Island, was a technician assigned to the Pearl, according to his DHARMA jumpsuit. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")

In later years, after the construction of the Swan, staff stationed at the Pearl were tasked to continually monitor the inhabitants of the Swan, recording their activities in minute detail. The Pearl was also equipped with a computer which would remotely log the Swan Station crew members pushing the button. While believing that they were filing reports on their observations with their superiors, it was implied later that the Pearl staff themselves were the ones being experimented upon.

The Pearl was operated by the DHARMA Initiative until at least the time of the Purge, indicated by Roger Linus telling his son that they needed to transport some supplies out to the station on the same day. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")

Later, in the polar bear cave Locke found a skeleton still shrouded in the remnants of a DHARMA jumpsuit displaying the Pearl's logo. This individual's demise likely occurred some point after the Purge. ("Further Instructions")

The Others

The Others clearly were aware of the Pearl station and that it could be used for surveillance. It seems likely that the Others were using the Pearl, in part, to spy on the castaways after their discovery of the Swan. This may explain how Tom knew Locke was carrying a concealed weapon during their encounter at the line on Day 52. Surveillance from the Pearl may also have assisted the Others in manipulating Michael. ("The 23rd Psalm")  ("The Hunting Party")  ("Exposé") Why the Others left Desmond alone in his task of "pushing the button" is unknown.

Mikhail's elaborate prepared deception at the Flame suggests the Others were aware the Pearl could be used to monitor other stations on the Island. Per Locke's comment: "I guess he'll be expecting us." ("The Cost of Living")  ("Enter 77")

The stubbed-out cigarette on one of the tables in the Pearl points to recent visitors and likely was left by one of the Others visiting the station. ("?")  ("Exposé")

Recent Events

The Pearl discovered by Paulo and Nikki

Season One (Days 1-44)

Nikki and Paulo first stumbled upon the Pearl on Day 24 while searching for their missing luggage. The Beechcraft was still suspended in the trees above the Pearl entrance - which, at the time, was covered by a thin layer of fresh dirt. ("Exposé")

Later, following clues in one of Locke's visions, Locke and Boone found the drug smugglers' plane perched above at the edge of a cliff - unaware of the station's location nearby. Boone climbed up into the plane, causing it to fall. This accident later led to his death. ("Deus Ex Machina")

The entrance to the Pearl

Season Two (Days 44-67)

On Day 49, Paulo returned to the station on his own looking for a good place to hide the diamonds. While concealing the diamonds in the station's bathroom, he overheard the arrival of two Others: Ben and Juliet. Unaware of Paulo's presence, Ben seemed surprised to find the entrance of the station open, attributing it to Tom's visit a couple of days earlier. Ben asked Juliet to have Tom cover the Pearl's entrance with the now-fallen drug smugglers' plane. The two used the station's monitors briefly to monitor activity at the Swan before departing.("Exposé")

The Pearl was discovered by Locke and Mr. Eko who were searching for the location that corresponded to the question mark at the center of the blast door map. During their search, they happened upon the fallen drug smuggler's plane. Inspired by a dream, Eko climbed to the top of the cliff. Looking down, he noticed a cleared circle in the vegetation which when combined with the plane looked similar to a question mark. The cleared area of ground had been salted to prevent it from being overgrown by the jungle. The Pearl's entrance was hidden beneath the crashed plane.("?")

"I guess he'll be expecting us."

Season Three (Days 68-91)

A small party consisting of Locke, Desmond, Sayid, Nikki and Paulo returned the Pearl in an attempt to see if they could learn anything further from the Pearl's computer which might lead them to Jack, Sawyer and Kate. They discovered that the monitors could be used to observe other DHARMA stations on the Island -- and in fiddling with the feeds, Sayid briefly was able to switch one to gain a live picture from the Flame. A man with an eye patch was briefly seen, who looked right at the camera before reaching up and turning it off. ("The Cost of Living")

Station 5 - The Pearl

Purpose

The exact purpose of the Pearl station is ambiguous. According to the orientation video, the station's purpose is to monitor the inhabitants of the Swan via a video surveillance system - particularly with an eye towards monitoring their psychological state as they continued to perform their duties. The video also appears to imply that "pushing the button" was of no significance. However, other evidence suggests that the Pearl staff themselves were the ones who were subjects of an experiment, rather than those they were monitoring.

It should be noted that the Pearl was built well before the Swan, so likely had a different mission earlier in its history.

The Pearl's Orientation video

Pearl Orientation video

The Pearl Orientation video was discovered in one of the station's cupboards. The video is hosted by a man who introduces himself as Dr. Mark Wickmund. According to the film, the staff of the Pearl would work in teams of two, continuously monitoring activities of DHARMA Initiative projects elsewhere on the Island. While not referred to directly, video feeds from the Swan are visible in the background on some of the Pearl station's monitors. Dr. Wickmund notes that the subjects seen on the monitors are unaware that they are under observation or that they are subjects in an experiment. Team members would take an eight hour shift, recording their observations carefully in provided notebooks. Each time a notebook was filled, it was to be placed in a pneumatic tube where it would be immediately transported to their superiors. At the conclusion of their shift, the staff would be transported back to the Barracks via the Pala Ferry. The use of the word "projects" by Dr. Wickmund suggests that other stations on the Island may be monitored from the Pearl. ("?")  ("The Cost of Living")

Other Evidence

  • At least one camera was hidden within the Pearl station to monitor the watchers. The camera was exposed by the collapse of one of the ceiling's panels allowing Locke to spot it. It is unknown if the camera was still operational in 2004 - or where it might be monitored from. ("?")
  • Later, Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and Michael stumbed onto a garbage dump out in the middle of the jungle which appeared to be the terminus of the pneumatic tube. A huge uncollected pile of capsules appears to suggest that the work being done at the Pearl had little or no value. (Per the eight hour shifts of the Pearl staff, it is unlikely that work continued for long after the Purge.) ("Live Together, Die Alone")
  • The act of pushing the button at the Swan clearly had a specific and tangible purpose, which seems to reinforce the notion that it was the Pearl whose staff members were unknowingly taking part in a psychological experiment. ("?")  ("Live Together, Die Alone")

Station

The Pearl station is located entirely underground. A ladder descends from a hatch set into the ground into a short corridor which leads into a large octagonal room. While there is a bathroom, there are no living quarters as the Pearl's staff only served in eight hours shifts. The station appears to have sustained some damage over the years: there are missing panels in the roof, loose wires hanging from the monitors and signs of neglect.

The Pearl covered by the plane, as seen by Mr. Eko

Entrance/Question mark

The entrance to the Pearl is a large hatch set into the ground at the foot of a large cliff in the middle of the jungle. A large area of ground in proximity to the hatch was cleared and salted so as to create the giant symbol of a question mark. The salt kept the symbol from being overgrown by the jungle and it was of sufficient size to make it clearly visible from the air. ("?") In the feature Access: Granted, the Pearl was confirmed to be the question mark displayed on the blast door map.

This area was also the crash site of the drug smugglers' plane which later fell and was used by the Others as additional concealment for the station's entrance. ("Exposé")

The station entrance itself is a large two-door octagonal hatch. Below a ladder descended into the station's underground interior.

The Pearl's observation room

Observation room

At the foot of the ladder, a short corridor leads into the central location of the Pearl: a large octagonal chamber. One end of the room is taken up by a large bank of monitors with two comfortable chairs set in front of them where the Pearl staff would perform their surveillance activities. Set along one wall is a recessed counter with a computer and associated printer. Several cabinets were built into the walls containing a number of notebooks used by the DHARMA staff to record their observations, plastic capsules for the pneumatic tube, and the DHARMA orientation video for the Pearl. The room also contained a beta-VCR capable of playing the videos on the monitors.

Monitor bank

One end of the room is entirely taken up by a large monitor bank consisting of nine screens. The monitors are configured in a 3x3 array and numbered, columns first.

Each monitor has three circular operational dials aligned in a vertical column. The upper two have similar designs, but the lower dial is different and is about twice the size. To activate the monitors, Locke used the big dial to turn on screens 1 through 3 and the upper small dial to turn on screen 7 (upper right).

Locke watches the Swan

Screen 7 received a live video surveillance feed from the kitchen of the Swan station, showing Jack, while all the other screens displayed static. Screen 5 was used to display the Pearl's orientation video, and Ben was able to manipulate it to display the same feed as screen 7. Above the monitors, mounted on the wall, are three speakers which likely transmitted audio from the stations under surveillance. ("?") It should be noted that when John looks up during the Pearl Orientation Video at the live feed of the Swan, the camera angle appears to have panned; now showing the hallway leading into the bunk area.

It was revealed that the Pearl is designed to monitor several stations at once. Sayid managed to patch a signal in from the Flame. During this transmission, a resident of this station, Mikhail, became aware he was being observed and shut off the camera. ("The Cost of Living")

Similar banks of monitors have been found at the Flame, the Hydra and the security room at the Barracks. It is unknown if these camera feeds are connected.

The Pearl's chair buttons

Chairs

Two padded comfortable chairs sit before the monitors, each with a table and magnifying viewing lens mounted on an adjustable arm assembly. Several rocker-switches sit on the left arm of the chairs and on the right chair a dial can be used to dim or increase the room lights.

On Paulo's visit to the Pearl, looking to hide the diamonds, one of the tables contained what appeared to be the stubbed-out ashes of a cigarette. These were later seen by Locke and Eko in their discovery of the station. ("?")  ("Exposé")

The Pearl's computer

Computer

Main article: Pearl computer

Atop a small counter nearby is the Pearl computer, looking very similar to the the Swan's computer, with the addition of a printer, a DHARMA-branded Apple ImageWriter II. (Interestingly, the Pearl's computer bears the logo of the Swan but this is most likely a production error.)

When Locke discovered the computer, the screen was displaying the prompt, "Print log? Y/N". Upon giving the "Y" command, the computer's dot-matrix printer printed the log printout, a repeating series of numeric codes, interspersed by the word "accepted" (example: 41602064:41 accepted 41602086:29 accepted) These numbers indicated the timestamp of activity occurring on the Swan's Computer when the inhabitants of the Swan station entered the Numbers and pressed "Execute". Later Desmond discovered that the log also captured the "system failure" warnings from the Swan corresponding to the crash of Flight 815. ("?")  ("Live Together, Die Alone")

Dr. Mark Wickmund and the pneumatic tube

Message tube

Main article: Pneumatic tube

In one corner, the Pearl contains a functioning pneumatic tube. Upon completing a notebook of observations, the station's personnel were supposed to insert their notebooks in a plastic capsule and place the capsule inside the tube. The Pearl orientation video then maintains that the capsule would be transported directly to "us". The terminus of the pneumatic tube, however, turns out to be a large garbage dump where containers of notebooks were simply piling up without anyone checking or collecting them.

Locke took his rough sketch of the blast door map and sent it through the tube where it was later found by Sawyer at the capsule dump. In examining one of the completed log books at the dump, Kate found several references to an "S.R." It is highly likely this was shorthand for Stuart Radzinsky - indicating the Pearl was to be staffed after Radzinsky took up operation at the Swan before the Purge. ("Live Together, Die Alone")

The fact that the notebooks were merely accumulating at a spot, seemingly not being used for any purpose, reinforces the idea that the psychological experimentation was actually directed against the inhabitants of the Pearl, rather than those whom they were observing.

The Pearl's camera

Camera

Behind one of the broken panels in the ceiling, a camera is visible, apparently filming the Pearl station and its personnel. It can be assumed the Pearl's staff during the time of the DHARMA Initiative was unaware of its existence per its location would have been hidden behind the panel. ("?")

The diamonds hidden in the toilet

Bathroom

The Pearl has a functioning bathroom which Paulo used to hide the diamonds. The room is separated from the Observation chamber by a sliding door. ("The Cost of Living")  ("Exposé")

Notable visitors

Picture Name First visit Last visit Reason for Visit
Tom "Exposé" "Exposé" Visited the Pearl to monitor the survivors in the Swan hatch.
Nikki "The Cost of Living" "The Cost of Living" The first of the survivors to find the Pearl, Nikki chooses not to explore it until much later, when she goes (along with Paulo) to Locke. Witnesses Mikhail's appearance and Eko's death.
Paulo "The Cost of Living" "The Cost of Living" First found the Pearl with Nikki, hid the diamonds in the toilet. Later revisited, retrieved the diamonds, and witnessed Mikhail watching them over the camera. Soon after, he witnessed Eko's death.
Ben "Exposé" "Exposé" Visited station with Juliet to monitor Jack.
Juliet "Exposé" "Exposé" Visited station with Ben to monitor Jack.
Elliott "Whatever It Takes" "Whatever It Takes" (*Non-canon*) Explored the Pearl after finding a capsule near the sonar fence.
Locke "?" "The Cost of Living" Found the Hatch with Eko, causing him to have a crisis of faith.
Eko "?" "?" Visited with Locke, told to find it by a vision of his brother, Yemi.
Desmond "The Cost of Living" "The Cost of Living" Visited station with Locke.
Sayid "The Cost of Living" "The Cost of Living" Visited station with Locke.


Trivia

The Pearl at the beginning of Cloverfield

General

  • The Sanskrit translation for Pearl is "Falling Star" or "Gem of the Moon"
  • In the opening sequence of the movie Cloverfield, The Pearl station logo appears briefly as a visual "Easter egg". Cloverfield was written by Drew Goddard, a writer on Lost, and produced by J.J. Abrams, one of the creators of Lost. (Outside references to Lost)
  • The inverted version of the Pearl logo (With a black pearl) can be seen inside the Season 2 DVD Box Set behind the special features disc.


Production notes

  • The Pearl's computer bears the logo of the Swan, indicating it is probably the same prop.


Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Pearl/Theories
  • When was the station constructed?
  • Why was it necessary that location of the station be visible from above?
  • What other stations can be monitored from the Pearl?
  • What was the purpose of the experiments being carried out at The Pearl?
    • Why was the Pearl computer set up to monitor the act of "pushing the button" at the Swan?
    • Who was monitoring the Pearl's staff?
  • When did the Others become aware they could monitor the Swan from the Pearl?
  • Who left the stubbed-out cigarette butts before Paulo's visit?

This article uses material from the "The Pearl" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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