So... what's the lore behind how reflections actually work?

This is my first actual topic so I’m a bit nervous but I’ve been really wanting to know and have thus far found no answers… how do reflections work? In the lab when Parabolan research is required, you study with the reflections of those in your lab, who are completely different? Your own reflection is a separate identity? Concrete lore or personal speculation welcome


To my knowledge, the in-game information comes from the following places:

  • Recurring dreams: Is someone there?
  • Reflection of your Lab. In particular, F.F. stands out to me.
  • In Parabola, Dome of Scales followed more directly by Parabolan Warfare
  • Minor hints in the Railway at Station VIII.

Summing all of these up, they… don’t all seem to work the same. But I think they do all fall into one of two categories.

From Parabolan Warface, you have a Double in Parabola who is most definitely a separate entity, and in some sense is defined as the You who took different choices and walked a different path. So, in a certain sense a reflection. This is seem most concretely in terms of they chose a different Ambition ending than your character did.

The lab reflections seem to be something else, more like… who those characters want to be, or view themselves as. In some cases metaphors, in some cases destinies. I don’t think they’re separate entities, more like the part of a person who extends into parabola when their main self is working on lab stuff.

F.F. is illustrative because she’s not different. I think this represents her being more in control of herself, like she has alchemically altered her personality to excise what she perceives as flaws, and her hidden self is much more aligned with her waking self.

I’m guessing the lab reflections are more like the entity whose perspective you use during the Is Someone There? dreams. Maaaybe they exist, in some Is-Not sense, but they’re not nearly as independent as your Double.


I view it differently actually. Parabola is two things: the things that are and the things that aren’t, at war with each other (literally) in a stew of creativity and imagination. I think reflections are manifestations of that warfront; what exists in the real world meeting what doesn’t exist but could. I think the reason the lore looks different is because different people are more or less attuned to that discordance.

F.F. is special because she understands parabola to the extent that she is able to synthesize the Things That Are Not into her own existence as What Is.


Thank you for the interesting read :D, and also for the reminder that this game has some truly remarkable methods of characterization… I must say my perspective has been shifted


This interpretation is some fantastic brain food thank you


… yes to HexBeloved and the is-isnot-war. but generally my read leans towards psgarak.

for me it makes (sometimes, kind of) sense to differentiate between entities of Parabola, entities that crossed into Parabola and their respective reflections. for example during Light Fingers there is a definite difference between Hephaesta being in Parabola and helping you researching and Hephaesta being in your lab and her reflection helping you generate Parabolan Research.
your own reflection which you can war on to me would be more of a Parabolan entity, because they don’t exist right from the beginning, but need to be fed for some time before they start to create problems.