This article focuses on interpretations about Sigma and the Sigma Virus used in Mega Man X: Unit 49, as well as his participation in the story. To see Sigma's general information in the Mega Man franchise, check the MMKB article.
Sigma as he appears
in Mega Man X8.
|Alternate Name|| Commander Sigma|
|Birthplace:||Dr. Cain's lab|
|Death||Several times, the last one being in April 2193|
|Eye Color:|| Blue|
|Primary Weapons:||Σ Blade|
|Energy Manipulation:|| Sigma Virus|
Unknown Energy (MMX8)
|Affiliations and Positions|
|Enemies:|| Maverick Hunters|
Sigma is the main antagonist of the Mega Man X series. He was the strongest Reploid ever created by Dr. Cain and first to be appointed as Commander of the Maverick Hunters, but Zero's Maverick Virus was transferred to him during a fight and it began affecting his mind. Instead of becoming completely subdued to the influence of the Virus, Sigma could somehow resist the evil program and assimilated it, becoming a new entity called Sigma Virus, that possessed that body. It is uncertain what exactly happened with Sigma's original consciousness after the assimilation and how the evil nature of the program affected his mind. After months, Sigma would turn against mankind and raise the First Maverick Wave on July 4th of 2174 and many Reploids who had rebellious tendencies followed his lead. Sigma was eventually defeated by Mega Man X, but he survived the destruction of his body since he had become a Virus.
Sigma Virus would then make its way to possess other machinery and Reploids in order to gain a physical body again and continue his rebellion through new schemes. Along with Magma Dragoon, he plotted the beginning of the Great Repliforce War and later dropped the space colony Eurasia on Earth with the help of Dynamo, seeking to spread as much viruses as possible only to see Zero's true potential. The Earth became severely polluted and destroyed, leaving the world in an era of darkness called Maverick Spring. Since the Maverick Hunters were low in numbers, a vigilante group called Red Alert appeared to fill the gap, but Sigma, with the codiname "The Professor" manipulated Red and infected his subordinates. Thanks to the efforts of the Reploids, Earth managed to become inhabitable once again in less than a decade, but people grew tired of the endless cycle of destruction and began plans to live sheltered in the Moon. For that, Earth's Government used the New Generation Reploids who used Amorphic Matter technology in order to hasten the process and raise the Jakob Orbital Elevator through the Jakob Project, who had Lumine pointed as its director. Sigma somehow inserted his own DNA in the Copy Chips used in the models who would work in the project and influence Maverick behavior on them.
In Mega Man X: Unit 49, Saturn waited for Sigma's death to put his plan on action. Since many criminals feared losing their minds to the Virus, they had aways avoided associating themselves with Sigma and worked hidden in the obscurity. In opposite to Sigma, who had shown desires of being a ruler and always used people as puppets through the Virus, Saturn began forming a new organization that seeked to bring true freedom to all Reploids by destroying any kind of government, as an act of their own will. Instead of using a Virus, Saturn would convince Reploids through the media with propaganda that would spread the proof of his power and his philosophy. Seeing that was a schism with the previous large Maverick rebellions, Saturn considered himself to be the founder of the Second Maverick Wave and for such called his organization the Neo Maverick Army, although a certain hierarchy was still required to make themselves organized enough to stand a chance against their enemy. Lumine's ideals could also be considered the beginning of a Second Maverick Wave, but his schemes have not lasted long enough and were not considered by Saturn. It seems the Mysterious Man who is Saturn's ally met Sigma at some point and shows interest for data about him.
A discussion of the nature of the Sigma VirusEdit
Be advised that this discussion tries to bring an explanation for a Sigma Virus that propagates through normal physics and has all the features shown in the games. The cyberspaces shown in the X series are not clearly explained and there is not enough info to affirm if those are artificial cyberspaces (generated by a network of physical machines) or they are the same as The Cyberspace, a parallel dimension whose concept was further developed by the time of Mega Man Zero 3 and escapes from tangible physical predictions.
The true properties of the Sigma Virus are ambiguous and for such the extent of Sigma's powers are unknown. Its most notable effect is the corruption of a Reploid's mind, causing them to turn into evil, becoming crazy or aligned to Sigma's will as puppets. When conscious, Sigma can also mutate its program. By analyzing Sigma's many apparitions during the Maverick Wars, the following questionings can be done:
Through what means the Sigma Virus propagates? Is it always a thing with a physical body, regardless of its material and properties, or can it be an invisible presence made of information that travels as electromagnetic waves? How could some of its manifestations be destroyed as if the weapons used by the Maverick Hunters could actually touch them?
Although a cyberspace must be generated by a physical thing in a real world (and for that, be a physical thing as well), for this series of questionings and arguments, the digital entity will be defined as an invisible being that only exists in such cyberspace and a physical entity a being that is made of one or more substances. There are three cases: Sigma Virus is a physical entity, a digital entity or manifests through both means depending on the situation.
• The Sigma Virus is a digital entity who can only manifest in the real world only when it manages to infect and take possession of something:
What are the properties of that Cyberspace? Is there a single cyberspace? Does it permeate the entire world or only specific regions? The Sigma Virus could reach places out of the regions in which that cyberspace is consolidated? Why could not Sigma infect every machine linked to that cyberspace in a short time, since he travels as electromagnetic waves that are extremely quick? Is that just a matter of available energy to propagate or is it a limitation of the cyberspace itself? How much a purely digital entity can interact with a physical body of a Reploid, who is not linked to an internet nor has its systems opened to receive that kind of program?
• The Sigma Virus is a digital entity that CAN be a physical entity who begins infecting machines after direct contact with the substances in which the virus is manifesting itself:
If the direct contact is required, then the Reploid infection through the cyberspace infection hypothesis is probably discarded and it is only a physical entity. If the digital infection is equally effective, then the need for direct contact is nonsensical, so either the physical contact is more effective than the digital infection or it is only used in regions in which the cyberspace does not exist.
• The Sigma Virus is a purely physical entity:
Suppose the Sigma Virus can only propagate through physical substances or it can be materialized by spending a certain amount of energy. What kind of substances (aside from Reploid bodies) the Sigma Virus can take control over? What are the properties of the materialized bodies that could carry it? Are they always visible? Regardless, this hypothesis implies that the Sigma Virus can always be detected and physically destroyed, since it is always made of a substance.
This aspect is crucial to determine how Sigma can survive and resurrect as a conscious being.
How does the consciousness of Sigma behaves as a Virus? Is it always a thinking mind that has the exact same properties of Sigma's mind when possessing a Reploid body, or does the Sigma Virus carries only the essence of Sigma, such as his strongest ideals, feelings and memories? Is it a matter of how much energy is put into the Virus that is propagated?
Regardless if the Virus is physical, digital or both, the act of propagation brings more problems:
• If the Sigma Virus propagates and/or replicates itself, what happens to the consciousness of those replicated viruses? Do they all share the same consciousness, even if they are extremely separated? If so, how do they communicate?
The Duplicate ProblemEdit
Suppose two copies of the Sigma Virus are separated and isolated of communication regardless of their means of doing that. Then, those two copies are given two bodies to possess without knowing what happened with the other part, and those bodies awaken as Sigma's new Reploid avatars. Knowing they cannot communicate with each other, will those two Sigmas believe they are the original/main consciousness? Did that ever happened to Sigma naturally? If those two Sigmas began plotting distinct plans, how would they react if their goals conflicted, given that time and different stimuli already made them slightly different entities? A possible answer to this problem is that the Sigma Virus will always cooperate with its other replicates, always trying to act as one entity. However, if their communication is always blocked, they could disturb each other's plans without knowing.
This situation proves that, regardless of the nature of the virus, it would be possible to split Sigma's consciousness into two distinct entities, although identical in the beginning.
The Conciliatory HypothesisEdit
The following hypothesis seeks to give a concrete definition to the properties of the Sigma Virus, without conflicting with the canon and giving a reason for why Sigma could indeed "die for good" at the end of Mega Man X8.
Sigma is simultaneously a physical and digital entity. It can travel as information, but it can also propagate physically given a proper substance. It can be materialized and spread proportionately to the energy available.
The propagation of the Sigma Virus has actually two distinct forms, but they all require an energy source to remain active.
Its most common propagation carries only Sigma's essence (essence propagation), which can make Reploids mad, evil and eventually begin working to Sigma without noticing they had been infected and even build a new body for him. When Reploids die, the Virus normally dies along with them. Sigma's "virus bomb" at the beginning of X5 would be a notable example of that propagation, since he did spread the virus through the entire world, but it seemed like his consciousness was still concentrated in that "bomb body" before it was destroyed.
The most concentrated clusters of matter/energy/information make a "core virus", a (consciousness propagation), such as Sigma's final form in Mega Man X2, X3 and X5. Due to Duplicate Problem, it is implied that every new core virus created from another is a new consciousness, and whether Sigma has been the same core virus through the entire series is debatable. They normally reside inside Sigma's main body once he gets one and escape when it is destroyed, allowing him to transit through multiple bodies. However, without a body, a cyberspace available and no energy to sustain its physical form, it begins fading away and it can disappear forever. As they decay in their escape, there can be information loss and thus damage to Sigma's consciousness.
An evidence for that point is that the Zero Space made digital entities become physical and so Sigma was truly hurt during the final battles in X5, and since he had already exhausted too much energy to make the "bomb", he became demented and even with Gate's help in X6 he could not recover completely (supposing that amount of nonsense spelled was not caused by the incomplete bodies). That means Sigma could create a double of his own consciousness if he so wished, but it seems he always acted as a single core virus. At the end of Mega Man X8, the core virus in possession of Sigma's devilish body was in a very bad ambient to escape, survive and recover: The Moon probably has not a cyberspace of its own; even if he tried to possess Reploid bodies, the only known Reploids to be in the Moon were New Generation Reploids, who were immune to viruses and could not be infected and serve as a shelter/energy source to his core virus. For that reason, it is extremely plausible that the core virus bearing Sigma's consciousness faded away in the space, and so Sigma had finally died for good. However, there was still much of the Sigma Virus spread by essence propagation that was still on Earth, and so his legacy would still survive until a solution was finally created.
The "Many Sigmas" HypothesisEdit
This hypothesis uses the same definitions of essence propagation, consciousness propagation and core virus, as well as The Duplicate Problem. It is meant to explain how could Sigma have survived Dr. Doppler's vaccine at the end of Mega Man X3. It can also be used to explain why he survived space after the destruction of the Final Weapon. Through the Maverick Wars, there have been times in which Sigma (core virus) considered the risk of exhausting and fading away. Although it is uncertain if he liked the idea of splitting his consciousness into a new core virus, it was a simple method of making a backup of his consciousness.
• Supposing Doppler's vaccine was indeed effective at first, but later Sigma infected Doppler:
Before Sigma went after Dr. Doppler to make him his puppet, Sigma had left a backup of his consciousness dormant somewhere else (probably in a provisory body), since there was a possibility Dr. Doppler could somehow detect him and use the vaccine to destroy his core virus before the infection (as it would happen later). Regardless of the canonical ending, Sigma's core virus was completely destroyed by the vaccine and his existence faded away. However, the backup consciousness awakened some time later and it assumed the identity of Sigma (since it was Sigma, although an exact replication of his original core virus, who formed from the merge of the Maverick Virus and the original body of Sigma). There is also a chance that it was the duplicate core virus who actually died during those events. That can be used to explain Sigma's survival even after dying in space in the Final Weapon as well.
• Supposing Sigma's core virus died at the Moon:
There is nothing that prevents Sigma from having left yet another backup somewhere else. If he became overconfident of his victory, maybe he did not do that this time.