S'pht 320x4802

A S'pht Compiler attacking the player.

The S'pht[1] (pronounced "S'fit")[2] are a race of aliens, cybernetically enhanced by the Jjaro to terraform Lh'owon[3]. They were enslaved by the Pfhor around 1800 A.D., and liberated en masse by Durandal and the S'pht'Kr in 2811 A.D. No human saw them after 2881, following the sacking of the Pfhor system.



Complier analysis by the Pfhor

The S'pht consist of extremely complex brains carried in floating cybernetic bodies, and at least the Pfhor-enslaved S'pht wear long flowing cloaks and are armed with a built-in energy pulse weapon. Some of those S'pht carry cloaking devices.

Pfhor studies of the S'pht anatomy reveals that they are genetically related to the F'lickta[4]. After interaction with non-cybernetic species, some S'pht have mused that the first of their kind may have actually been the result of the Jjaro grafting cybernetic implants onto the F'lickta[5].



S'pht right before being enslaved by the Pfhor

The S'pht were brought to Lh'owon by the Jjarro and Pthia as servants. The S'pht terraformed the planet from a barren desert into "marsh and sea, rivers and forests." When the Jjaro left Lh'owon after the death of "Pthia," the S'pht were released from their servitude, split into eleven clans, and leadership of the race was given to the S'pht royals.[6]

When the Pfhor arrived the Jjaro had faded into legend for the S'pht. Upon arrival the Pfhor sought to enslave the S'pht and war waged. After years of fighing, the S'pht were pushed back to the Citadel of Antiquity. They were able to hold out against the Pfhor there for some time, delaying their conquest through tactics such as irradiating the lower levels of the tower and a virus made specifically to kill Pfhor. During this time, the Pfhor made early attempts at controlling the S'pht. One such experiment involved replacing the "sensory organs" of the S'pht in question with some sort of "small, oblong object".[7]

Despite the best efforts of the S'pht, they were defeated and eventually enslaved. The Pfhor forced them out of their typical forms, (as seen used by the S'pht'Kr) and into the strange garb of the Compilers and the armor of the Cyborgs.


However, when the Pfhor attacked Tau Ceti and the UESC Marathon with the intent on enslaving the Humans there, they were defeated by the player and the Durandal, who then liberated the S'pht on the captured Pfhor ship.

Marathon 2: Durandal[]

Seventeen years later, Durandal and the free S'pht arrived at Lh'owon searching for any leads to the myth of the S'pht'Kr, which was supposedly a clan of S'pht that had fled Lh'owon during a previous war between various other clans. Because of this they had escaped the Pfhor for thousands of years and becoming technologically superior to other S'pht. With the help of the ancient A.I. Thoth, they were called back to Lh'owon to free the rest of the S'pht.


In writing, the S'pht language differs from Earth languages in that it seems to use apostrophes instead of spaces between words. In addition, some words are missing entirely from the short phrases that Durandal mentions to you, and some words are in the wrong order. "Narhl'Lar," for example, means "Freedom and Vengeance," and "K'liah'Narhl" is translated into "Vengeance of K'liah." As "Narhl" is the only shared word, it obviously means "Vengeance," and therefore "Lar" means "Freedom," and "K'liah" is a proper noun that is not translated. "Of" and "and" are both missing entirely from the S'pht translation, and in both instances the remaining words are switched around.


After Pthia's death, Yrro scattered the S'pht across Lh'owon, separated them into eleven clans:

Each clan is led by an Older, and it seems as if the entire planet has one Master who may call the Olders to meeting.[8]


Throughout the series, several different kinds of S'pht and related enemies are encountered:

  • Compilers[9] - The Compilers are the first encountered and most frequently seen S'pht, appearing from the very first level of Marathon. They are usually seen around terminals.
  • Cyborgs - Cyborgs are encountered throughout Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity as well. Their upper body looks organic, while their lower half resembles a tank.
  • F'lickta - Distant, primitive, organic ancestors of the S'pht, F'lickta are found throughout Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity.
  • S'pht'Kr - These powerful, free-willed S'pht are quite rare and not encountered until the end of Marathon 2 and certain parts of Marathon Infinity.


The science staff had difficulty finding a good specimen of the S'pht, or compiler, to autopsy. The only specimen autopsied was almost completely destroyed, but it was obvious that the compilers are cyborgs of some kind. The biological component of the compiler is so closely linked to the machine that it could never survive without it. The compiler's actual body is very small, resembling closely a mammalian brain, except that the neurons are much finer and far more complex.
- Leela, from Marathon, Defend THIS!, Terminal 4



  1. Marathon, Defend THIS!, first terminal
  2. Marathon's Story Page: FAQ
  3. Marathon 2, Six Thousand Feet Under, fourth terminal
  4. Marathon 2 - Level 3: Charon Doesn't Make Change, fourth terminal
  5. Marathon 2, The Hard Stuff Rules..., second terminal
  6. Marathon 2: Durandal, Six Thousand Feet Under, fourth terminal
  7. Marathon 2: Durandal, The Hard Stuff Rules..., fourth terminal
  8. Marathon 2: Durandal, [Bob's Big Date (Level)|Bob's Big Date]], third terminal
  9. Marathon, Defend THIS!, fourth terminal