The Flood: a species so eminently threatening that a powerful and ancient civilization constructed habitable rings ten thousand kilometres in diameter to contain and observe them. The Flood are as numerous as they are voracious; they neither surrender nor retreat. The Flood appear to be sentient and omni-parasitic, preying upon any host utilizing a certain minimum level of sentience and bio-mass, and can infiltrate "even advanced life forms". It is not known whether they were merely encountered, or created by the Forerunner for some purpose known only, as of yet, to themselves.
There are five known types of Flood. There is the Ranger/Infection class, the Carrier/Incubator class, a Worker/Soldier class, a Command/Pilot form (as contained Keyes), and the Gravemind intelligence (it is not known if the Gravemind is a solitary individual or one of many such beings). To explain how the process begins would lead into a chicken-and-the-egg discussion, so we'll begin at the Rangers.
The Rangers are small, tentacled creatures which have their own defined biological framework, which are not dependent upon a host. A Ranger will seek out any life of capable bio-mass and calcium deposits to sustain itself, and proceed to attempt to use the creature as a host, by tapping into the spinal system, suppressing the host's consciousness, embedding itself in the thoracic cavity, and releasing spores which cause the host to mutate. (343 Guilty Spark mentions these "spores" during his own synopsis of the Flood life-cycle, which may be either another term for the Infection form, or an even more base form of the Flood.) From here, it is assumed that one of three changes will occur in the host.
The first is that the host will remain relatively physically unchanged, save for the Ranger attached to it. These would be the Worker/Soldier class, used for manual labor such as building, gathering, repairing, or defensive/offensive actions. So far, only Marines and Elites have been seen to mutate into Workers/Soldiers.
The second host possibility is that of the Carrier, which presumably only affects creatures who are physically or mentally unsuitable to be Workers/Soldiers. The Carriers grow large epidermic sacs which contain several Ranger-class Flood. When a Carrier is in close proximity to any number of suitable hosts, it triggers some manner of biochemical reaction, causing the pus-filled sacs to explode and spread the Rangers in order to infect more hosts, and perpetuate the cycle of reproduction. When the Flood's inability to suitably care for the host body has caused sufficient degeneration, the Worker/Soldier class will also change into the Carrier form. (It is not known whether the "Juggernaut" hidden on the H2 disc is a Worker/Soldier of another race, or yet another form entirely.)
The Command form has been seen in detail only once and discussed even less, therefore the process of its creation remains uncertain. Found on the bridge of the Truth and Reconciliation, this large multi-appendaged amalgamation appears to be a combined symbioses including several, at least in this case, Human hosts. Other than extracting information, its capabilities and roles are unknown. On High Charity, other such growths are seen lining the walls and apparently even piloting Pelican dropships, though this time with no obvious hosts.
The nature of Gravemind taunts us all the more...
Though they have a relatively simple procedure for reproduction, as 343 Guilty Spark states, the "parasitic nature of the Flood belies their intelligence". What is interesting is that they are able to function the machinery and technology of their host to an amazing degree, and are able to fire weaponry and repair damaged electrical and mechanical equipment at a surprisingly nominal level. The Command form (as we learn through Keyes) has the ability to access host memory, strip it from them piece by piece, and utilize it to it's advantage; the lesser Flood also possess some semblance of this ability, though from what we have seen (Jenkins) it does not appear to have such a pronounced sense of self; it does not exert the same levels of mental force or operate nearly as methodically.
And although the Halo network is meant to ultimately starve and eradicate the Flood, their continued existence after a previous firing and eons of isolation shows ever more that though they may be contained and slowed, as a whole they are not so easily destroyed...
The Flood were created by the Forerunner in a vain attempt to control populations...
Charles George (email@example.com) writes:
Playing through level 5, Assault on the control room I noticed Cortana said something that kind of caught my ear. She called Halo a fortress world. With a little help from Google I learned that a "Fortress world" is also a model for future earth. More info can be found here:
Basically a fortress world is the a world where the rich and poor are extremely segrated and constantly at war. The world is overcrowded, filled with Disease and lacking in the food and natural resources to feed it's ever growing population. In this world a few nations grow excessively rich and territorial, like the US (except for the whole military forced isolation thing ;).
My Bungie anylisis skills arent that great, but I'll give it a shot. Halo is a fortress world, a world where the rich forced themselves into fortress areas and try to keep out the poor of the world looking for the respite. In order to control the poor they released the flood virus into their population, perhaps to make them subservient (notice how the flood seem to serve a central intelligence). But when the experiment went horribly wrong the Fore runnner converted the Halo's into the giant bombs that we play on. They built the libraries on each Halo in an attempt to contain the flood through research, but they failed and eventually the flood won the day.
Just some rampant musings.
That the Flood might have been created by the Forerunner would certainly
be an interesting twist...
Alan Wu addresses the Hunters:
And what about Hunters? Are they affected by the Flood infection forms? We know that Elites are turned into warriors while Grunts and Jackals become carriers. But what happens to the Hunters? (Maybe it's a good thing they don't get infected: imagine an 8' tall Flood warrior with a fuel rod gun, nearly impervious armor, and a huge shield/melee weapon, combined with the dexterity and strength of a normal Flood warrior. Not a happy thought).
No, not a happy thought at all...
Alan Wu (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
This message raises an interesting question: what exactly does Keyes get turned into? We know that it's a form of the Flood, yet it is rather large (larger than any we have seen before). Besides, what is Keyes doing on the ship? There is also a question of how long it takes the Flood to mutate a host. In the 343 Guilty Spark level, you are told that Keyes and his men arrived at the swamp about 12 hours before. You go in and find the Flood, including some Marines-turned-into-Flood (I think). Several hours after you first encounter the Flood, you board the Covenant cruiser to save Keyes. He is still somewhat human (until you find him, then he's a Flood). But why the time difference? After 12 hours, infected Marines are Flood warriors, yet Keyes is still partially human after 12+ hours. Is it because the Flood know that Keyes is somehow special and interrogated/tortured him in order to gain information before turning him into a Flood?
Attached you will find a file that fulfills the dearest dream of most, if not all, Halo players. At least if it isn't in Halo 2, Halo fans can still enjoy the fulfillment of their dearest dream. ;) (It can be used as an AIM buddy icon if you're so inclined)
The file Alan mentions can be found here. Nice work!
Max also writes in with some theories of the Flood's necessity (which, unfortunately, don't involve turnips-though tomatoes may be a safe bet for the underlying metaphorical essence of his submission).
As far as Halo theory, I was always under the impression that the Halo only destroyed sentient life, as the Flood could only infect sentient life. If the Flood required the death of ALL life in the galaxy, then I think the Forerunner would just all out destroy them. A weapon (the Flood) that feuls on ALL life should be destroyed, by all accounts. The Forerunner aren't stupid (obviously). Since the Forerunner DID perpetuate their species, it's possible that they NEED the Flood, in some state, to survive. It's only when they get ahold of a host body that they truly become dangerous. And a host body must require sentience. Now, why the Forerunner WOULD need the Flood, I don't know... Maybe Flood are "cute" in their bacterial stage...
While 343 Guilty Spark does say at the beginning of Two Betrayals that "Any species of sufficient biomass and cognitive capability is a potential factor," it is unknown at this point whether the Flood can still infect non-sentient hosts. If the trees on 343 Guilty Spark are any indication, the answer is likely yes, which means that Halo would still need to be able to destroy nearly all forms of life (except perhaps bacteria, which, if I recall my biology class correctly, cannot be infected by viruses. But I'm not sure, so if I'm wrong, by all means, point it out). So then the question remains: why did the Forerunner not simply destroy the Flood outright, if they were so dangerous as to warrant a network of weapons so powerful as to reduce all life in the galaxy to unicellular organisms. Quandries indeed....
Drow780@aol.com (Drow780@aol.com) writes:
Somebody recently speculated about why Covenant Elite can be infected and not the Master Chief. Well, in Two Betrayals, you end up stumbling across a dead Elite and a dead Grunt, both covered by Flood Infection forms. No matter what you do, (save shoot them) you cannot get those Flood to react to you. My best guess at the matter is that they are converting the dead Covenant into Flood.
So I guess what makes the Master Chief special over the Elites is that he isn't dead.
Well, we certainly hope not... ;-)
There's been some speculation as to why the Flood can infect other species, like the Elites, and yet not infect the Master Chief. It's been noted that the Chief's shield was engineered from Covenant technology, thus seeming to make him at least as vulnerable as any of the Covenant species. Cannibal Harry, however, notes something that has been overlooked...
Robert Boggs aka Cannibal Harry (Robert.Boggs@morganstanley.com) writes:
Kinda surprised I haven't seen this, or perhaps I just skimmed over it. But the reason the elites can be infected and the MC can't should be fairly obvious. Even after the MC's shields drop, he's still wearing a suit that's been sealed against vacuum. The elites aren't.
I doubt even the flood can infect vacuum sealed containers without breaching them first.
Good point. Anyone want to try the secret "remove helmet" command and see what happens? ;-)
Ryan Mears (email@example.com) writes:
I have read several posts talking about the intro for "Two Betrayals". In it, they mention 343 GS's remark of "Which means any lifeform with sufficient biomass is a potential factor" (don't persecute me if I don't get it down to the letter). Anyway, I believe that 343 actually says potential VECTOR, as in a disease carrier (i.e. a mosquito is a vector for malaria.). So does this mean the flood is classified as a disease instead of a sentient life-form?
So, is it "factor" or "vector"? Let us know what you think!
Sentinels: Poorly Designed Hardware, or Overtaxed Guardians of Virtue? You be the Judge!
Jonas (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
We all know the sentinels are pushovers. They totally suck at fighting the flood, which is what they were, by all rights, designed to do by the forerunners, who were supposed to be almost godlike in thier technological sophistication. This seems to be a contradiction, but it can be explained: There were not supposed to be humans/covenent on halo. The flood infection forms, the only kind there were supposed to be, the sentinels are well suited to take out, especially becuase they can't assimilate a machine. The reason they do so badly is that they simply weren't made to fight a flood warior, I mean, who could have concieved that some other race would land on halo?
343 GS seems to recognize MC and starts calling him the 'Reclaimer'. GS states that the other Halo's would follow suit, but it seems the process needed to be started by this 'Reclaimer'. Perhaps the suit MC wears is based on Forerunner technology, stolen from the Coventant, who have been studying / worshiping? the Forerunner for who knows how long.
343 GS says Halo(s) was used before, yet the flood still live, meaning that something about the Halo is keeping them alive. Perhaps the Forerunner were good enough to provide a feeding / norishment process. In their absence, though maybe the Flood are actually driving Halo. Enter the 343 GS quote that the purpose of Halo was 'something their race [Forerunner or Flood?] depended on'. And 343 GS seems a little off his rocker himself sometimes, getting notions of being a wiley genius ("Hmmm, thats a good idea" "I'm a genius").
There is a note also about the strange weather patterns, that seem to contradict the nature of the controlled environment Halo is supposed to be. And if the Flood can control beings like they did Keyes, who knows where else they could be? Could they be in control of the Halo?
The question of why the Flood were never destroyed is still a mystery, but when I read the Fall of Reach timeline in the part where Humans nuked a Covenant ship, I got a strange feeling. What if the Forerunner were a group of nations, and the Flood were their weapon. The Cold war between US and USSR was similar. Nukes were only used as a threat. Perhaps the Flood, and maybe the Halo's destructive power, was a threat that kept each nation from invading the other.
Very interesting possibilty. It would explain the need to keep the Flood alive, yet be able to "neutralize" them by destroying their food source. If so, then it would seem that there would need to be some sort of a counterpart to the "Reclaimer", who would release the Flood rather than set off the Halo. Hmm...
Could the Flood have been a part of the Forerunner? We again revisit this quote from 343 Guilty Spark:
The installation was specifically built to study and contain the Flood - their survival as a race was dependent on it. I am grateful to see that some of them have survived to reproduce.
Jehkoh (Jehkoh@aol.com) writes:
The SURVIVAL part may be intended for the Forerunner. Maybe the Forerunner were dying out and needed to reproduce quickly as to ensure their cotinuing existence. To do so, the Forerunner may have used the Flood as a gene pool, taking the REPRODUCTIVE gene (asexual one at that) and implanted it into their own biogenetic reproductive organs/systems/ rest of body, etc. Maybe after that they moved on either due to over population or just to colonize new galazies. Maybe something went horribly wrong in their genetic code and ended up wiping themselves out due to that Flood gene, completely backfiring. The Flood are a bacteria (as stated in manuals, guides, almost anything having to do with Halo) so they can be used to harbor and grow genes, unlike a virus.
Of all of Halo's conundrums, this remains one of the most perplexing: Why did the Forerunner preserve the Flood, yet ensure the potential to destroy the Flood's food source at will? What good are the Flood?
An interesting HBO forum thread that expands on some theories seen here earlier (see Matt Wright's post, below). The thread was began by ZeroRavenX, with this post by Patroclus quoting the Bible passages.
I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.
Go check it out, then get back here for more speculation. By the way, has anyone finished the homework I assigned a while ago? ;-)
Mr Yun writes:
There has been speculation as to why the Forerunner would keep the Flood alive.
Considering that the Forerunner are an advanced species, we should be more surprised if they completely erradicated the Flood.
Think about it, what kind of idiotic race kills an entire species just because it is dangerous (present company excluded, of course)?
Why not kill all tigers and snakes and alligators and sharks too? (yeah, I know we're trying.)
Well, heres why you shouldn't eliminate every species that is apparently bad: You never know what the future may hold.
Even humans, a moderately advanced race, keeps live specimines of everything from cholera to ebola. During the 1990's we tried to resequence and revive the Spanish Flu (1918 flu), that killed 100 million people world wide...in one year.
So it should be ASSUMED that the Forerunner would keep specimens of the Flood for research. Maybe they could prevent another species from evolving into the flood in another 1 billion years. The Forerunners were thinking ahead...they're supposed to be smarter than us.
Syn Vulture (email@example.com) writes:
As an avid follower of the marathon story line, I have migrated to Halo looking for some grains of truth that may relate back to the thing I love ;)
While reading about The Flood, I may have figured out what they are for. Some have asked why the Forerunners would have kept The Flood alive rather then destroying them outright, This may be why; I believe someone already brought up 'The Flood as Doomsday Device' theory, and I would like to expand on it a little. It was really what 343GS calls the player, 'Reclaimer' that got me on this line of thought. If The Flood was being used as a Cold War style weapon, say it was used. The Flood is released from the Halo(s) and kills whatever the Forerunners may have been in opposition to. So now you have a lot of space unusable because of all this 'Flood' floating around. Now you 'Reclaim' the space by detonating the Halo(s) (since I remember seeing it mentioned that those on the Halo(s) at point of explosion some how survive) thus wiping the space free of any Flood.
Of course, this brings up the point that if the Forerunners could make a device able to clear such an expanse of space, why would you need The Flood at all as a Doomsday Device?
Well, inscrutable, enigmatic alien races are awfully hard to figure out, sometimes... ;-)
In an HBO forum post, ferrex, a designer extrordina're at Bungie, reveals some specific info about the workings of the Flood:
"The useful parts of the host organism are kept alive and functional by the Flood organism, which gradually replaces the functions of systems which it can improve upon.
And unfortunately for the host, the nervous system is considered a useful system."
Next time you go blasting away at those poor hapless souls, you might think about this...
...for a second or two. ;-)
Btw, if there are any of you out there who have any thoughts about the Flood, or any other Halo-related ruminations, send 'em in! (I know, I know. I've gotten terribly sloppy about updates. :-( Take heart, though! Your submissions are always kept and considered, it's just that acting on those considerations has been difficult, lately...)
We've had a lot of speculation on the "usefulness" of the Flood, but Allan Crossman makes a good point.
Allan Crossman (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
It's pretty clear that the Forerunners thought that letting them escape the Halo was a bad idea - hence the containment protocols and Halo's final weapon. But why is it bad for the Flood to escape? Obviously not because the Flood are a hazard to sentient life, since the Forerunners were willing to eliminate all sentient life in the galaxy... so apart from the threat to sentient life, what's so bad about the Flood?
And when I say a lot, I really mean a lot of speculation has come in with theories on the potential use, misuse, and/or purpose of the Flood. Think about this, though: The Flood don't need to exist as a weapon of some kind, because the Halo itself provides a much more powerful and absolute solution. What, then, makes the Flood so special, that the extermination of all sentient life is called for in the event of their 'release'?
In other words, what would happen if the Halo didn't fire, and the Flood were allowed to spread across the galaxy?
Speaking of the Flood (like I'm sure you always are), Sean's got an idea as to their purpose.
Sean Srakannas (email@example.com) writes:
...maybe the flood are used as some sort of information gathering tool, maybe they collect DNA and any other info on the species they infect and then the forerunner may have extracted this knowledge and created other races...
While it's an interesting excercise to assign altruistic abilities to the Flood, it's difficult to imagine them as anything but a viral catastrophe. After all, they were never presented in a sympathetic light during the game. Or were they? Maybe Sean's on to something...
I also think that the flood were the failed splices of themselves and that they were actually some of the leaders of their race.
We'd looked before at the concept of the Forerunner creating the Flood, but it's interesting to note the possibility of the Flood being "an experiment gone awry."
Galaxy cleansing technology or galaxy cleansing xenoform...which to use, which to use...
Dustin Green (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
...But in my opinion, the most logical reason that you would keep a dangerous organism is if you needed it. perhaps it was neccisary for research, food, i think as a weapon is unrealistic since they already had the halos which can destroy all significant life. anyway, i think the answer lies in examining t! he basic needs of the Forerunners.
Why would the Forerunner need the Flood? They have the ultimate super-weapon, so there's no need for an inferior, biological alternative. (Even if the Halo was only built after the first encounter with the Flood, the Forerunner nevertheless had the ability to manufacture such a thing) To create a "mass strilization protocol" such as the Halo's primary weapon, they must have felt pretty strongly about the survival of the Flood. After all, a whole galaxy is a terribly large thing to gamble on. Unless, of course, they didn't think there was anything worth saving in this particular galaxy...
David Winn (email@example.com) writes:
I was reading your section about the Forerunners, and I'm surprised no one has said what I think it obvious: the Flood probably weren't harmful to the Forerunners, or at least not enough to warrant immediate destruction. Maybe they were robotic, or, as one person suggested, hyper-evolved plants, or of some other form of life, but the forerunners probably didn't destroy them because they didn't pose a direct, serious threat to them.
Indeed. It's been proposed that the Forerunner were built much like humans, but there are any number of possible ways that they would not be "appetizing" to the Flood. Lucky us, we and the Covenant seem to be quite tasty, though.
Ben Haire (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
During the mission 343 guilty spark, when you first come across the installation, I noticed something that caught my eye. As you approach it, a fairly large group of covenant run away from it, like they often run away from you when you have the upper hand. They are being fired at with an assault rifle. Of course most people think this is the flood, but if it was, then why didn't it follow the covenant out? Have you ever known a flood warrior to not pursue it's target?
Which leaves a human force, but in all honesty, do you think the humans would be able to break a covenant force they like that? Especially after being attacked by the flood, they'd just want to get out of there.
The next clue comes when you walk into the installation, as you approach the elevator, it returns from the bottom of the shaft, indicating someone has just gone down there. In my mind, that definitely rules out the flood. So, the question is, who or what, could break a covenant force using a human assualt rifle no less, then ride down an elevator into a flood installation?
Is it the Flood? Or is it something much more than that? ;-)
Ever thought about what it would be like if the Flood did get out? If we were unable to stop their "galactic joyride"? Here's an idea.
Spartan 117 (email@example.com) writes:
...With a race like the Flood, a single ship is the begining of the end. The race that started exploring the world that the Flood originate from probably fell victum to the Flood themselves. Now say they only brought one ship with them and 40 of them were on it. Now that one ship and those 40 hosts are out in the galaxy. They land on a world and the spores disperse among the populace. That is a world that can only be Reclaimed by quatentining it and burning every potential host the Flood could take. But, say those military forces that land there either don't know that is the only way to contain the disease or are unwilling to slaughter those thousands or millions of creatures. Then the world provides a lot of host bodies, but more importantly, a lot of ships. These ship baring Flood scatter to the wind and one shows up on this world, another here, another there. These worlds fall and very quickly it becomes all but impossible to destroy this force that is so deadly not because of they military might that it imploys, but because that it is so multaplicative. It only takes a very small amount to start, but that sets of a chain reaction that unleashes countless thousands.
Nate (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
Drow780@aol.com wrote the following:
"Somebody recently speculated about why Covenant Elite can be infected and not the Master Chief. Well, in Two Betrayals, you end up stumbling across a dead Elite and a dead Grunt, both covered by Flood Infection forms. No matter what you do, (save shoot them) you cannot get those Flood to react to you. My best guess at the matter is that they are converting the dead Covenant into Flood.
So I guess what makes the Master Chief special over the Elites is that he isn't dead."
I want to bring up a contradictory point. On the level "343 Guilty Spark," if you actually take the time to listen to everything the frightened marine with the pistol yells at you, he says "That's what I did...I played dead. They took the live ones!" (I may have misquoted a word or two, but the message was the same.) This brings up a mystery/puzzle/enigma/conundrum. If the Flood appear to infect dead bodies (remember Cortana's observation of the Flood gathering dead bodies in the "Keyes" level), then how did this marine escape? Why did the Flood take the LIVE ones?
Could the Flood still exist because of a moral dilemma? Because of sympathy?
Shawn Stevens (email@example.com) writes:
Why keep the Flood alive? Well since the Flood has demonstrated a large degree of intelligence (maybe the most important one being that they wanted to take control of the Covenant's ship to leave Halo) it would be genocide if the forerunners completely destroyed them. However this poses a logical problem because the Forerunners have no problem wiping out innocent life in a whole galaxy to insure there is no food for the Flood. So then could it be that the Flood was spared simply for research? This is the most logical conclusion. GS says,
"The installation was specifically built to study and contain the Flood†. Their survival as a race was dependent on it. I am grateful to see that some of them have survived to reproduce."
This statement has a lot of meaning in it and we haven't been given all the background info yet. The Forerunners have something up their sleeve here. I don't see them as some type of benevolent race. There is something darker at work with them and I believe we will see what they are all about eventually.
Until we see the MC without his helmet,
make mine Halo
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts and minds of...
Continuing this, from KitzBritz ( KitzBritz@aol.com):
I've been thinking along the lines of why the flood are so important, or so dangerous, to a race that extinguish all life from a galaxy in one fell swoop. We know the rings are meant to stop the flood because Cortana says so, and so this rules out many possibilities (one of which may have been that the Forerunners were simply sparing the galaxy a gruesome fate). Perhaps the Forerunners were afraid of what the Flood could one day become. Think about it: Why doesn"t the weapon merely destroy the Flood, instead of all life in a galaxy? The sentinels make it obvious that the Forerunners could kill the Flood if they really tried, which must mean that they think the energy it would take to preserve carbon-based life would be better spent on other things, so they figure they"ll just kill the food supply and end the Flood, much like the way we might think of lesser creatures on earth. Perhaps the Forerunners were not alive the way we know life. This is supported also by the fact that has been pointed out many times; sentinels were not made to handle converted races. A few drones can easily overwhelm a sentinel, as can the MC.
After all this, the best theory I can come up with is this: The Flood are not carbon-based at all, or are not alive in the way we think of it. Otherwise, Halo would kill them, as well as every other large mass of life in the galaxy.
One would think, from what we've seen, that the Forerunner would obviously possess the tools and the know-how to kill the Flood in whatever form they manifested themselves. If it is a question of priorities or convenience, what is it that their energies could be better spent on?
We ain't seen nothing yet? The Flood may have more secrets than we imagine (as if there weren't enough already):
bhoo (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
Very few people (as far as I can tell) have wondered what the Flood are going to evolve into by the end of their parasitic metamorphosis. What if 343GS destroys their food so as to not let them get that far? What if the flood ARE the Forerunner and that 343GS killed them off long ago for some devious reason and cannot allow them to "re-evolve" and get their revenge on him (assuming that the spores still contain memories from the past fight with 343GS)?
And maybe 343GS had kept some Flood alive in order to attempt to retrieve some memories or info from whatever "brain" they may have in spore form (those computers are all about retrieving as much info as they can, regardless of the dangers that may present).
But now that Master Chief destroyed Halo 004 (and any chance of retrieving memories from the flood spore), 343GS may have added him and the rest of Humanity to his list of enemies to destroy. If this AI is as vengeful and mean-spirited as I imagine him to be, then I wouldn't put it past him to align himself with the Covenant in some way, shape or form to take down Earth for good.
And of the same ilk, Spoonjoppa (email@example.com) writes:
How does Halo work as a weapon? It's not a cudgel, but it's also not a nuke. It doesn't blow everything up and wipe out all life, just that with sufficient bio-mass. So what kind of weapon would pick out only things that are large enough to kill flood? Perhaps Halo, when detonated, sends out a mutant form of flood that simply eat and eat or mutate incorrectly and then die out quickly. Maybe that's the reason for keeping the flood... to make a mutant form whose DNA can be contained within the Index???
Lastly, how did Bungie get to be so frickin' awesome? I just got an idea! Maybe the forerunners started Bungie and with all their advanced technology, so they could make the best game ever...
Bungie? A mere front for Forerunner operations? Hmmm... That explains quite a bit actually ;)
Wrap your head around it...
I understand that people don't understand the need of the Flood if the halo is capable of destroying sentient life.
How about this, Halo destroys sentient life by RELEASING the Flood into the galaxy. After all, the Flood feed on sentient life. Once all sentient life has been wiped out by the Flood, what do the Flood do? Die of starvation. Leaving planets free for colonisation. The perfect weapon. And we ARE told that the way to kill the Flood is to activate the halo.... well in a round about way this IS achieved. Destroy the Flood by starvation by activating the halo and killing sentient life.
That works (in my opinion!)
A few keen Marathon connections relating to our theme:
kareem ramos (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I once asked a Bungie employee if the Forerunner in Halo are the equivalent of the Jjaro in Marathon. He said, "Pretty much." Those two words alone explain quite a bit! So, to know the Forerunner, you need to know about the Jjaro. Who were the Jjaro? Here's a little bit of what I know...
The Jjaro were one of two or more races that first appeared in the galaxy. It's unclear how many other races were present then. One of the terminals in Marathon 2 has this to say about the Jjaro:
"The Jjaro were a mysterious race that disappeared from our galaxy millions of years ago, leaving behind military and civilian outposts on the moons of many habitable worlds. Most of the Pfhor's technology was plundered from sites abandoned by the Jjaro."
Sound like the Forerunner? That's what I thought...
Those outposts could be the equivalent of the Halo's that we know, and the Covenant could have plundered lost and forgotten Forerunner tech from them. A more plausible theory is that the Covenant and the Forerunner had close ties. The Bungie employee said that the Covenant have a long history with the Flood - and who created the Flood? The Forerunner. That would also explain the similarity between the Covenant and Forerunner tech. It's similar because it IS from the Forerunner. It was given to them!
In Marathon, the Jjaro were probably cybernetic. They made a race of part cyborg/part sentient beings called the S'pht, plus another race based on the S'pht, called F'lickta (they look like "Swamp Things" ::cough:: ...Flood... ::cough::). The F'lickta were used to terraform planets. In Halo, I think that the Flood were created for this same purpose. Guilty Spark tells us that they can make repairs to ships, so I'm assuming that they can keep a planet nice and tidy also!
Tantalizing indeed. But terraforming to who's specifications? "Your environment suit should serve you well", so assuming Guilty Spark guesses you to be Forerunner, it seems the atmosphere is not being changed more to your benefit or liking. Oi. More questions than answers :(
The Flood as a symbiote armour
Larry (Lfm662@aol.com) writes:
My theory is that the forerunners were trying to create super soldiers (like the MC) by using the flood as a sort of super symbiote. This would explain why halo has so many different types of terrains for which the soldiers could train on. Then something must have happened and the flood got loose and got out of control and began to take over Halo.
Hey, this suit fits like a glove... Yeah, a really scary glove that burrows inside you chest ;)
Finally! Someone that has read Starhammer and has a few words to say about it! Ryan had also posted this to the HBO forum, where a spirited discussion ensued.
Ryan Parsons (email@example.com) writes:
Every race reaches a level where the only way to go is out, to expand, to find other planets and galaxies in which to gather resources to supply the endless appetite of it's peoples. Imagine this; Forerunner ships reach the Milky Way. They have traveled hundreds of light years, and find a few blooming races that pose no threat as of yet, but do resist the initial attacks. So, they design a few devices to keep these races at bay until reinforcements arrive. These devices? Fortress worlds. Worlds that have the power to completely eradicate the galaxy of all sentient life. Or, if destroyed, release the flood. Either way, everything in this galaxy is in trouble. This is the common link that Starhammer and Halo have. Both have a weapon of enormous power that contains an adaptive super-parasite. In Halo, these weapons were structures hidden in out of the way solar systems. In Starhammer, these weapons were gigantic crawling machines hidden in the bottom of oceans in out of the way solar systems. Also, both weapons had an AI guardian bound by strict rules (343 Guilty Spark and the Keeper) who were tasked with keeping the virus contained within the structure.
Once again people, if you're at all interested in what the Flood are, how they function, and what their role in the Halo Story is, you really ought to try to find these books.
(Not that the Flood are entirely derived from Rowley's works, but as starting points go, these three books are as good as it gets. ;-))
So, the Halo kills the Flood's food when it is activated, but how resilient are the Flood themselves? A faithful observer wonders the same thing.
Joseph Holewka (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
...Is it also possible that the explosion on Halo killed all of the Flood?
If one had read the Vang books, as one has been admonished to many times by now, one might suggest that the ranger form of the species in those books could survive for unbelievably long times in deep space or encased in a planetary crust. As much as we go on about it, however, the Flood are not the Vang (inspired by the Vang, definitely). But can our Flood survive the vaccuum of space? Time will tell. ;-)
Okay, so you've got your intelligent, adaptive parasite locked up, ready to be studied. Now what, Mr. Smarty Pants?
Matt Motea (email@example.com) writes:
...I also don't see how they were studied, or where they were studied from, and unless the Forerunners were/are(hmmm...) immune to the Flood, it would be, er, fatal to observe them properly.
Good point. We know, for instance that the Sentinels have some weaponry (of a dubious effectiveness), but perhaps they performed other functions? Is there any evidence on 343 Guilty Spark (or elsewhere) that there are any other automated units that might have been used for the observation and study of the Flood?
Matt confirms (pretty much) that 343 Guilty Spark doesn't, in fact, say, "They could soon evolve" as we've got on the Library page, but that he says, "They consume all."
That certainly changes a couple of things...
It's true that Forerunner would seem to have no need for the Flood as a weapon, given their ability to create a tool such as Halo. However...
Noah "I don't care if that's God's own personal
anti-son-of-a-bitch machine or a giant hula-hoop" Piczeli (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I have something to add to the "Flood as a Doomsday Weapon" theory. Sure, the Forerunners could have just wiped people out with the Halos, but why make it quick and painless, when you can make your enemies suffer, and use them as an example to other species.
Sounds great. I just get nervous around the part when the Flood get out of control and start "making an example" out of me :
Halo-Myth Crossover Action! Check out this older (er, finely aged ;) ) post from Roger Wilco here.
Reiyou (email@example.com) writes:
Keyes is still en-route which means when he went in, the flood decided to have a second dinner and munched on marine. However, How do the†flood know to keep Keyes as non-combative flood? The answer†is the Covenant. The elites would know and if elites are part of the flood hive mind, it would obviously know†how to†access their memory storage.
Covenant: They're not just for dinner anymore.
A chilling prediction.
William Petraiuolo (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I have a new theory on the flood. I think they are a highly evloved disease. ... However it is possible that the evolved diseases outlived the forerunners as will proably be the fate of us....
If they're really able to remain dormant for hundreds of thousands years and still pose such a threat, can there be any doubt who will survive whom?
Taylor Cone (email@example.com) writes:
I was wondering about the flood on halo before anyone showed up. How did they survive if they reproduce by eating other organisms and using them as carriers if no one was on halo until the humans and covenant showed up? Halo was there for an unknown period of time, so how did they survive?
It seems, from Halo: The Flood, that Flood spores can survive without food for extremely long periods of time. Eons, really. This echoes a characteristic of the Vang, the parasitic species from the Starhammer books (remember those?). Did they really go all that time without anything? Or does 343 Guilty Spark have other, more domestic, duties besides browsing the Library and slowly going mad?
SA Premium Pilchard (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
What THE FLOOD are is simply a parasitic lifeform that the forerunner have found on a planet. Then they found out that they are threatining to there survival so they built these ring worlds to contain them. Or The FLood could simply be the products of Thousand and millions of years of evoulution on halo. Like the evolution of the human race the flood may have been different many years ago.The other ring worlds may contain the flood but they may only be called the flood. They could be totally diffent to the ones on halo installation 04.The Forerunners could have placed different genetically engineered DNA into halos waters and well "waited".
343 GS is also known as The Moniter and well his name all says it "The Moniter" he may be simply a moniter of the Floods improvment in growth and evolution.As GS also says
"I am glad that the flood clould reproduce."well he is glad becoase the Forerunners must have realised that The Flood have grown into a parasitic life form and could change halos "perfect"atmosphere,landscape and whether so they contained them in holding cells and studied them from there And by not being able to feed them maybe it worked like this. One spore flood dies the dead spore flood feeds 3 spore floods.And although this has not been the greatest nousishment they have become crazey for real food.And also could be a bit mentle because they have been eating there own species so they may have developed mad flood disease.
So other Halos would have creatures on them, creatures which were once the same as what "our" Flood once were, only now they've mutated and evolved and OH MY GOD LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!!
"Mad Flood Disease," though, that shouldn't be too much of a problem. We've got armor and shielding and it's not like we're gonna eat them, right? Right?
In a big ol' rambling paragraph, Aaron notes some irregularities in regards to the Flood and their activities.
Aaron Claussen (AOClaus@msn.com) writes:
...was in reference to GS saying that the Flood were hard at work repairing "your ship" (referring to the Chief and the POA). It was argued that there was no evidence that the Flood were making any sort of repairs to the POA and that they were in fact blowing bits of it up during the fighting we see during the rush to get to the Longsword fighter. I submit that there was no evidence that the Flood were repairing any Covenant vessels either, and that they were "shooting up the place" in those ships as well. And there were parts of the POA we never visited, locked away parts that the Flood managed to infiltrate during the Covenant's occupation of the vessel, who knows what they were doing there if they were hidden away? I also had the thought that if the Flood were truly that intelligent they were most likely repair any and all vessels they possibly could to get off of Halo, purely as a means of escape and the fact that what better way would there be to approach Earth and a Covie world but than in a vessel of that world, a sort of Trojan horse if you will.
We certainly didn't see all of either of the ships, but he's definitely right about the Flood blowing bits of the POA up. Has anyone ever looked at the various things going on during the Maw run to see if there is any organization to it? Eggs are nice, but has Rex hidden anything else, anything story-related, in all that chaos? ;-)
HBO Forum speculation strikes again! Relative newcomer Mooreberg puts out a unique theory on the "usefulness" of the Flood. In a nutshell, the idea is that some aspect of the Flood was utilized to ensure the health of the Forerunner, not unlike the way radiation is used to treat cancer.
This is really the only way I can think of that would fulfill the crieria of 343 GS' seemingly contradictory statement. Halo contained the flood so they could be studied and used to treat plagued Forerunner, but also acted as a failsafe to prevent the flood from spreading and making the galaxy [un]inhabitable. If the Forerunner could build Halo and develop technology far beyond what humans of the 26th century had seen, than terraforming and repopulating the galaxy wouldn't be such a difficult task.
Jamirus99 (among others) responds with a link to a previous post of his own that has some good complementary points, some of which have already been posted here. He claims that his theory disproves Mooreberg's, but I'm not sure about that. Go give both threads a read and join the discussion! As always, feel free to send us your thoughts.
SN (email@example.com) writes:
The debate over why human weapons are so useful against the flood despite Guilty Spark opinion. My first idea is adaptation, assuming a few flood awaken from stasis or get loose every millennia or so and they would be contained by the sentinels and have little chance to make an effective escape because of the lack of hosts. Seeing that they have been microwaved by those pesky red beams for so long why not adapt to resist them. The covenant, having based their tech on the forerunner have similar weapons, so the flood could resist those as well. But not having been exposed to projectile weapons are not yet used to them (not that they couldn get resistant to those in short order as well). The only problem with this is that it does not explain Guilty Spark dislike of them. Another more original idea (at least I think so) that does explain is that while the human weapons are great in skirmish combat, in a large-scale battle they would be less effective. Seeing that projectile weapons in general tear up and distort flesh (a physical change), it would make the flesh unusable of a body, but not for food. The burning lasers (or whatever they are) of the sentinels would burn the flesh removing all nutritional value (a chemical change). So with a gun you might take down your enemy but there is nothing to stop his friends from coming and eating him (like all good friends should) later.
SN (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
The weather around the control rooms has been speculated over a fair amount, I think I may have a suitable answer. Although this might seem a rather small effect perhaps the reason for keeping a constant winter around the Control Room was to preserve bodies. Perhaps the cold made it take longer for the flood to break down the bodies for food or to infect. I don know about you but I think I could eat jackal tenderloin faster than I could a gruntcicle. Seeing that this cold weather would not really affect the sentinels it could be a small battle advantage. And what better place to do this rather than at the most important installation. My best guess as to why not do this over all of halo would be that they wanted to test the flood in different environments or something to that effect.
Socrates (email@example.com) writes:
All this talk about the weather has gotten me thinking. What I'm thinking is this: what if the 'incliment weather' seen on Halo is not an accident or environmental variation, but a weapon against the Flood? It seems to me that (like the Borg from Star Trek) the Flood would want to have a higher-than-normal temperature. If the Covenant discovered the flood sometime during our romp in AotCR, then the systems of Halo itself may have, as a first response, began a temperature change to make things as cold as possible. Perhaps extremely cold temperatures inhibit the Flood's mobility or ability to infect/eat/take over hosts/food, thereby slowing down the spread of the Flood.
Eric Hampton (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
Okay, we know that 343GS has access to all kinda nifty stuff(i.e. teleporter grid and such). Maybe he can also "scan" someone's DNA? If so, maybe being a "Reclaimer" means that one possesses a genetic resilience to the Flood. This could definitely explain why the Flood left Mobuto's body mangled; it was useless to them.
Very interesting hypothesis. The "Anti-Flood" gene: Do you have it?
Greg Salber (email@example.com) writes:
Has anyone considered that the flood could be some sort of warped mutated†age old form of the forerunner? Maybe they could have wiped themselves out in some sort of nucleur war.† As a result they mutated into other forms.†(You know,†Planet of the Apes style)† 343 guilty spark† hints at the reason for the study of the flood, "their†survival as a race was dependant on it."† Maybe the survival is dependant on them being studied to find out how to return them to their original state.† Perhaps 343 mistakes you as one of the surviving forerunner.
So 343 Guilty Spark is the custodian of his former masters, crippled beyond recognition, awaiting a "reclaimer" who can restore the species to their once noble and proud state. I like it. :-)
The Flood as an attempt to create the perfect organism.
This next bit of pondering is merely fanciful thought, but what if the Forerunner believed that genetic perfection was most important above all else. They would be the organic equivalent to Star Trek's BORG. They searched the galaxy looking for genetic material with which they could further their quest for perfection. The Flood just happened to be one of these. After they had introduced the plus parts of the Flood or any other genetic material into their own matrices they would cleanse or "Reclaim" the space that material inhabited so that only they (The Forerunner) with their perfect selves would exist. This still doesn't answer what happened to the Forerunner, who knows maybe they died out because of lack of new genetic difference (inbreeding is bad).
So were the Flood encountered and used in this quest for genetic supremacy, or were they created as a product of it? Would they be an attempt at, or a stepping stone to, the perfect organism?
Trevor White (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I believe that the Flood were at one time a dying race. The Forerunner found this dying race and being all technologically advanced realized that the Flood had the ability to improve upon systems within the body of a life form that had suitable bio-mass. The Forerunner, not unlike humanity, had the most basic instinctual drive of preservation and they rounded up/collected all specimens of the Flood they could find and they put them into specifically designed research facilities; i.e. HALO. The Forerunner would have also realized the huge danger in such an undertaking and in realizing this they also added a built-in fail safe device in case the Flood ever escaped. If this is the case then the Flood are nothing more than an endangered species that is making a comeback, kinda like the California Condor.
Once again, do the Flood still exist out of sympathy?
Chris Davies (email@example.com) writes:
Basically, it's a matter of looking at the shape of the canyon that the Control Room is in- a relatively thin, very deep slit in the ground. At one end of the canyon is the shrine; at the other is a very tall, frozen waterfall. Now, let's imagine that the Flood have managed to get to the stage when they start to alter the atmosphere, and let's imagine further that this alteration makes things warmer on Halo. Okay, Occam's Razor is screaming for mercy at this point, but we'll ignore that.
As the temperature rises, the waterfall at the back of the Control Room canyon begins to melt. Looking at the surrounding area, there seems to be nowhere for this water to go, so the Canyon starts to fill with water...
...and before too long, the Control Room is buried under millions of gallons of water, making it pretty damn hard for anyone to get to it. The coldness of this area is a failsafe; if the Flood ever get numerous enough to threaten the safety of the Halo, its most important room is sealed away by a system that requires no electronics, no-one to activate it, and no moving parts.
...but if you look at the doors to the main chamber itself, there are two sets of double doors, which would make a pretty effective airlock.
Not too shabby! Quite an ingenious solution. Those inscrutable alien races can be so clever sometimes.
Regarding the door that the covies sealed and keyes then opened in 343 Guilty Spark.
As has been mentioned, the flood were already out and about doing their thing, so why seal the door?
Perhaps it wasn't to keep something in, but to keep something out. Now if I remember correctly, weren't the gun placements and shields set up in a way that appeared to be wanting to keep something out, rather than keep something in?
On the top when u first enter the complex there are no defences, if u wanted to keep something in, that would be where u would place your last line of defence as it were, but if u think of trying to keep something out, then that same area is undefendable, its too open, so they move their first line to where it is after u get off the lift, because any enemy coming in would be concentrated in a smaller space and easier to take out.
All gun placements are pointed at the doors you go through (coming from outside, going in). As are the shields.
Perhaps there was something important in that facility and the covenant knew that if they wanted to keep it, they'd have to fight for it.
Keyes' stated reason for going down there in the first place was to retrieve an arms cache. In Halo: The Flood, however, we learn that it's a cache of Covenant weapons that were brought there to help guard the place. It wouldn't be that unusual for the Elites, Jackals, and Grunts to not know all of the specifics of the contents of the structure they've been sent to guard.
Please, do not feed the Flood.
Pete (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
What if the flood are only dangerous when they eat? What if the nature of flood organisms is altered by the feeding response? Maybe that's why Halo only destroys the food, not the flood themselves? Then the Flood would revert to their natural state (we've not seen this yet, since our very presence excited the Flood feeding response.)
What if the Flood are to the Forerunners, like piranha fish are to us? Piranhas are dangerous to other fish, but we (humans) can easily observe them when they are contained in a fish tank. I've even seen divers swim among piranha safely, as long as there not feeding. A behaviour changing "feeding frenzy" is not limited to piranha and sharks, ever see shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving?
Although once the food (sentient life) is gone and the Flood no longer are at risk of succumbing to their volatile feeding response, who then is safe from them, as the Flood is still spread throughout space and there is no one left TO BE safe (they are all dead at the Halo's hands), except the Forerunner perhaps, if they have evaded the blast and have suitable means to study the newly pacified parasite. Nonetheless, any attempt to reoccupy the areas that still contain this now docile Flood would immediately prompt the dangerous food response. Curious...
Three to get ready...
kareem ramos (email@example.com) writes:
We have yet to see it the Flood can survive in space, but if they can, then the Flood are probably spread all over the galaxy by now (in one of the Vang books, it says that the Vang can survive in space as long as the universe exists; they travel in space pods that look like big, silver pumpkins). Some probably found their way onto Covenant worlds. I recall some Bungie employee (Jason Jones?) saying that the Covenant and the Flood have a long history together. In Starhammer, there's a race of slavers called the Laowon who ran into the Vang, and were forced to glass two of their own planets in order to sterilize the threat. I'm guessing the Covenant have had a similar experience.
Perhaps they have. The Prophets at least did not seem surprised by the Flood's presence on the ring at all, though many Elites, 'Zamamee included, did not have the slightest clue...
As for the vacuum resilience of the Flood, for our sake let us hope we find them quite vulnerable.
E Parker writes:
My theory on the Flood are that they are a multi-celled virus, and we, are their multi-celled host "cells." As the Flood only take the live ones, so too do our one-celled not-so-friendly DNA-in-a protein covering, aka the virus.
Also, like many invertebrates inhabiting caves and deep oceans, perhaps the Flood enjoy the ability to come together to form a "community," all working toward the benefit of the whole. Certain flood may be components of an arm or an eye, a leg or a claw. In order to unite, however, they'd need to do their own version of terra-forming in which they alter the atmosphere. This is what GS was talking about when he complemented the Chief on being "a good planner."
This reminds me of another aspect of ::gasp:: the Vang (by Christopher Rowley). The Military Form has a strong genetic compulsion to produce a Higher form, a ruling Hostmaster, but only when the surroundings and foreseeable future seems reasonably secure enough to do so safely. Is atmospheric change merely a precursor to something more?
claire bloom (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
Just realized this, why the hell would the Flood need to change the atmosphere of Halo? They're ADAPTIVE, it makes very little sense for a race such as the flood to need to change an atmosphere. I don't really care how they would change the atmosphere, I think why is the real question!
John Kinzey (JKinzey@trevornet.org) writes:
I read somewhere that the water level on halo may have been higher when it was first constructed. So I took a closer look at the flood spores and they reminded me of some kind of alien fish. Maybe the flood where originally aquatic and the water level was lowered on halo in an attempt to contain the spores. But over millions of years the flood spores evolved to become amphibious to survive on the newly formed land.
From docks to wave breaks and reservoir chasms to pipes, so much of Halo seems to be built around water. For what end purpose though?
Ronnie "you can be my wingman anytime" Smith (email@example.com) writes:
I looked up the word 'Cognitive' and it's a fancy word for intelligence apparently. 343 Guilty Spark states that any species that has enough Bio-mass (is large enough) and cognitive capabilities (smart enough) is a potential vector, or host I'll presume.
So with a little research the answer is simple. While the Hunters are more than big enough they are just too stupid to be useful. Hunters may be big, and strong, but aren't too bright.
Halo: The Flood shows more concretely the Flood's usage of both Jackals and Grunts to produce Carriers, yet we still receive no official word whatsoever on the Hunter's own susceptibility. For now, this will have to do ;)
Which brings me to the monitor. Like stated before, if he's there to keep a tight lid on the Flood, then how come he doesn't have complete control? And if there were any other mechanical units there, did they even have the ability to activate Halo's primary offensive/defensive weapon? I think that t he monitor was only there as a light upkeep defensive measure, like if a stray few hundred flood-popcorn ran towards a lab with a bunch of Forerunners in it. Something like a leutenant, who has a certain amount of authority, but not enough to make large decisions. Well, in which case, the Monitor would be there to assist with small amounts of Flood accidents/attacks. If you ask me, the Forerunners were all "assimilated" into the Flood, thus killing all access to Halo's weapons, for the time being, leaving poor ol 323 GS to his lonesome with his dronies. It all leads down to, why in gods name would halo have control panels, if actual (at least) humanoid presence did not exist?
The Forerunner assimilated by the Flood? Hmm. I don't know, I can't seem to work up any compassion whatsoever for the little tentacled gasbags. Waste 'em. (Kind of puts a damper on future Forerunner-Human political relations, though)
I also might be able to explain why flood infected hunters are never seen in Halo. It is pretty much obvious that Fuel rod cannons are extremely unstable (The ones that Grunts drop explode with the same destructive power as a plasma grenade). Maybe the Hunters have some sort of natural, organic mechanism inside their body that keeps their Fuel rod gun stable, that hangs on even after death. What happens when the flood infect, though, may inadvertently bring about the death of themselves. Flood pretty much ignore all stimuli from their hosts (This is why sniper rifles don't work on them and they keep getting back up after being shot) Maybe when the flood infect the hunter, they disable that organic mechanism/ gland/ appendage/ whatever that keeps the fuel rod gun stable and ignore the stimuli from the host that say, "Hey, dumbass, that thing in my arm's gonna explode!" The cannon would quickly destabilize and explode, killing the flood, the flood's host, and any nea! rby flood. Once the flood are dead, they cannot adapt to something, so they'd never figure out that infecting a hunter results in a big boom.
It would sure be fun to see, though. :-)
Kyle M. (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
Anyways, I have a theory on why Halo was built. It's fair to say that most people agree Halo was built to hold/ contain the flood. However, what we don't know for sure yet is why the forerunners were attempting to contain and/or study the flood instead of destroying them outright. Apparently, the Forerunners must have had some use for them to invest the manpower (and possibly funds, if they had a monetary system). It stumped me for a while, but then I read one line about the Flood that gave me a revelation:
It would seem that the Flood have some ability to access host memory, and utilize it to their advantage.
Is it at all possible that the flood, in their base state, know something critically important to the Forerunners? Would it be so important that they were desperately trying extract it from the flood, and in doing so, brought about their own dissapearance? Maybe the knowledge that the flood contain is the "Forbidden fruit of eden" that the covenant are fantically trying to protect?
Excellent idea. If the idea of a species that serves to hold racial memory is intriguing to you, I suggest you read Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space, or either of the other books in that series. Good stuff.
The Flood just can't take the pressure... or the lack of it in space, as the case may be.
Nate (Uukla the Mok) Emch (email@example.com) writes:
Kareem Ramos wrote "We have yet to see if the Flood can survive in space..." to which Finn replied "As for the vacuum resilience of the Flood, for our sake let us hope we find them quite vulnerable." From my observations the chances of the Flood being able to survive in a vacuum would be even less than that of a human. Let me explain my reasoning:
When you shoot or melee a Flood infection (their "true" form) they "pop" or explode, and they do so with enough force to start a chain reaction of explosions amongst themselves. Logic would dictate that this points towards the Flood having some sort of gas under a significant amount of pressure within their bodies. In a vacuum this gas would most certainly exert intolerable amounts of pressure causing the Flood to explode (and thus, die).
True, the ranger form seems as if it would be susceptible to the depressurization of space. However, is there not a spore form that may be more tenacious?
Further analysis of the installation found on the level 343 Guilty Spark:
Ryan7 (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
If we look at the installation in 343 Guilty Spark, the whole place is reminiscent of a prison/lab. Think about it - when you pass through those passages that link the rooms (such as the one you go through before meeting the traumatized marine) there are two small rooms on each side with locked doors, almost like cells or holding pens. They even have a grate in the floor which could be a drain (do the flood go to the bathroom?!)
Also, the larger rooms are separated into two levels. It is possible that the lower level housed flood samples while the forerunner observed them from the higher "viewing platforms". And what of the large, glass-walled cases you see in some rooms? Could these have once housed flood samples for observation or experimentation? If the above two points are true, the forerunner didn't bank on the flood's climbing abilities. ;)
Or, as has been previously asserted, perhaps they had been examining the Flood in a less... how should we say, volatile state.
Darl & Pam Rantz (email@example.com) writes:
I read the first theory on the story page about the flood. It said that halo was a fortress world that separated the rich and poor. He theorized that the Flood had been created by the Forerunner to control the poor. I thought that the forerunner could be drastically different from humans. What if the "poor" were the Flood. The forerunner could be the upper-class and the flood could be the lower-class. Even the forunner could look like the flood and actually BE the flood. HALO: The Flood says that another 'reclaimer' attempted to get the index and MC found his body. He was a heck of a marine... The reason why 343GS chose MC and another marine to be the reclaimer could have been because on the upper-class forerunner/flood could obtain hosts. There are tons of possibilities from there. Maybe the flood/forerunner was symbiotic with a non sentient host the was farmed on the surface of halo like cows. The flood could've been studied because they had developed some disease or genetic defect. Forerunner using their own poor as test subjects for a cure(like lab rats). Not ethical to us, but like I said, they aren't us.Theres plenty to go on thinking about from here but i'm leaving that up to whoever reads this, if anybody.
We know that there were ambient life forms in earlier versions of Halo. Could one of these be the "non sentient hosts" mentioned here?
Daniel "The Social Adept" Root (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
Hullo there, just some thoughts on the nature of the Flood. Alright, here goes. Now, much speculation has been made already about the "Keyes Blob" as it is called, on the second to last level of Halo. My own thoughts: I don't think the Flood is quite as mindless as we may have thought previously, and the mysterious Keyes Blob is a key factor int his theory. First, some background info:
1. In game, I have never observed Flood infectees or Flood spores attack each other, as you would see in a truly mindless species. In fact, they work more in concert with each other than Marines or Covenant.
2.The Keyes Blob. Now, the incredible size of this organism, not to mention the fact that it contains both Keyes AND a Covenant Elite (as evidenced by the legs sticking out of it), indicates perhaps a relay mchanism contained within it, a sort of "Communications Tower", or at least the biological equivalent.
3.More importantly than anything else, quoting Cortana in the level's opening, "The Covenant are terrified that the Flood will repair this cruiser and use it to escape the ring." A mindless organism would NOT have the organizational skill, much less the know-how or brains to repair something as advanced as a Covenant battlecruiser.
Conclusion: The Flood is not mindless... In fact, I believe it to be more intelligent than anything ever encountered before by either Humans or Covenant. I believe the Flood to be sort of 'Hive Mind', not unlike the Borg from Star Trek. They assimilate, and adapt, to anything they come into contact with. I believe the TRUE purpose of the Keyes Blob is to act as a sort of focal point, a nexus if you will, for the Flood's telepathic signals, or whatever it is that keeps them so well organized. If so, then the purpose of Keyes and the Elite inside the blob is to gain access to as much knowledge as it can about both races and their collective technology, thus allowing it to escape Halo and infect more worlds. As seemingly random as it may act, I believe the Flood has a much more sinister purpose in mind...
Oh, there's no doubt that the Flood are smarter than we give them credit for, especially since most of their actions with regards to us seem to be focused on simply "overwhelming annihilation." And the 'Hive Mind' idea really makes me wonder what other environments we're going to see in Halo 2. ;-)
Another well-written, considered opinion on the nature of one our most relentless adversaries.
Tim Jones (email@example.com) writes:
Assume that, at the time of the Floods' first appearance in the galaxy, the Forerunner were the most advanced and itelligent life around. They would have observed (with growing alarm) the nature of the Flood infection and quickly established that if left unchecked, all sentient life in the galaxy (possibly including themselves) would be assimilated and ultimately destroyed.
How would the Forerunner devise a plan to escape?
Simply using Halos power to destroy all sentient life makes no sense whatsoever - if everything will die anyway, why go to all that trouble just to speed up the process? I believe that the firing of the Halo was the final part of a much more elaborate plan to rid the galaxy of the Flood. Furthermore, this plan would ensure the survival of sentient life.
Suppose the Forerunner built the Halo as a "Safe Haven" for samples of sentient life from all over the galaxy. Perhaps the Forerunner themselves ventured into the galaxy to select samples and create a "library" of all life safely hidden away on the Halos. Shortly after this process is complete, the Flood reach epidemic proportions across the galaxy and the Forerunner "Final Solution" is prepared. This is when the Halos are fired thus wiping out sentient life and the Flood along with it.
The life forms kept on the Halos are safe - this is a known fact, the Floods continued existence can only be explained this way. Once the galaxy is cleansed (reclaimed?) from the Flood, the Forerunner can go about sending all the sentient life back to its original habitat. This now makes perfect sense, the Forerunner actually had a solution to the Flood epidemic which allowed sentient life to continue unhindered in the galaxy. This can also be backed up by the potential timeline issue concerning the previous firing of the Halos. If they were fired to destroy the Flood 100,000 years ago, then that would mean that the Earth would have been affected at a time when it was supporting sentient life, the only way humans could have survived beyond this point is if they were saved by the Forerunner along with everything else - it would seem that Forerunner and Human have met before! (This could also explain GS343's excitment at finding a record of all "our" lost time)
What I like most about this theory is that it coincides pefectly with the Noahs Ark story. Could this Old Testament story be the only surviving record of the Forerunner saving Humans from the "Flood"?
The Forerunner plan was a great success, everybody wins, sentient life is spared, the Flood are no more but...The Forerunner, being a benign species, couldn't bring themselves to destroy the Flood completely, so samples of the Flood were saved along with everything else, a huge mistake.
The Forerunner were not foolish enough to repatriate the Flood, but retaining even a single living spore in high security is obviously dangerous enough. As GS343 says in The Library level:
"Of course, samples were kept here after the last catastrophic outbreak...for study. It seems that that decision may have been an error."
- no shit.
Anyway, my final piece of supporting evidence is simply this - if the whole point of building and firing the Halos to kill all sentient life in the galaxy was a desperate attempt to destroy the Flood, ie. the very purpose of this catastrophic action was to get rid of the Flood in one final massive holocaust, they how in Gods name could it be the only species the Forerunner chose to preserve? Why are the Flood still alive?
PS Of course this means that the Covenant were also saved by the Forerunner- and that explains quite a lot too!
Ah, that most indecipherable of enigmaticly parasitic species, the Flood. What would we do without them?
As if by magic, here's one of those Flood reports I was talking about! ;-)
craZy (Drow780@aol.com) writes:
Does it seem to you that the Flood are, and I dare say, evolving throughout the course of Halo? Well, maybe not evolving, but getting more and more used to their new bodies?
Take the level 343 Guilty Spark for example. When the flood are first released (or, rather, when you first fight them) you face only the ranger forms. After a few waves, some combat forms burst in.
And even after you've been introduced to the combat forms, they don't use weapons. Not until you've taken an elevator down. It's like they're still getting used to their new hosts, learning how to manipulate various things, like a new born. You know, baby steps.
But it doesn't end there. After they get the basics of aiming a weapon and shooting it, they go on to tactics. Things like rushing enemy positions, and... well that's about all they do, but its still more then just standing in one spot.
They do get better at it, however. Like in Keyes, they seem to know the advantages of being higher then one's opponent. Those pesky buggers always occupy the ledges in the canyon section of the level.
Also, in the last two levels in general, them seem to be winning the fight against the Covenant. Even the strategy guides tell you that whenever you come across a Flood and Covenant battle, to aim for the Flood first.
"It's parasitic nature belies the Flood's intelligence," eh? Now, where have I heard that before? ;-)
Why do people assume that in the end we humans are gonna win? Because we are fighting the good fight, against an amoral enemy? But have we not learnt, that those who fight the good fight dont always win? So all you who think that we shall go to the edge of the abyss and back, remember, its just as likely we may fall in. However I like to think that if we do fall in, we'll take alot of them with us. We shall not go out with a whimper but with spectacular BANG with a light show to match.
Now, I've also been told that the Flood can throw grenades in the Maw, on Legendary, but I've never seen this so I'm not sure if it's true. But if it is... well, it only helps to prove my point.
Well, I like a big noisy light show as much as the next guy, and we've had other reports of Flood warriors throwing grenades, but we must win! Why? Because losing isn't as fun. And it's for losers.
Wado SG (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
First, I believe that the term used by the Covenant for the ancient race that built Halo translates to the Forerunners (as confirmed by Cortana when she first enters Halo's core). If the ancient race were the gods of the Covenant, they would not be called forerunners but instead would be called "deities" and also if the ancient race were the enemies of the Covenant, they also would not be called forerunners but instead would be called "devils" or something like that. My point being that the Forerunners must have come before the Covenant and been friendly to the Covenant.
I speculate that the Forerunners were the religious forerunners to the Covenant and the current Covenant religious beliefs and political structure was developed as a result of Forerunner teachings. This would explain why the Covenant call the ancient race the Forerunners because they are their forerunners.
Incidently, the Covenant call Spartans "devils" so perhaps they or all of humanity represents the enemies of the Forerunners. However, humans couldn't just be the enemies of the Forerunners because there are so many indications that the humans might be the decendants of the Forerunners (for example the fact that 343 GS only selects humans to be potential reclaimers). Could this mean that humans were also of the same race as the Forerunners but they were the ones that went bad (corrupted Forerunners).
Perhaps here is where the Flood come in. The Flood outbreak purged the galaxy of the corrupt ancient ones and the Covenant races survived because they made a Covenant with the Forerunners (the good ancient ones in the eyes of the Covenant) and with God (and God being the creator to whom the Forerunners were messengers for). Unbeknownst to the Covenant, some humans (corrupt ancient ones) managed to survive as humans (or at least their DNA survived).
What would be the purpose of DNA surviving but not the knowledge of the ancient ones? Who is to say the knowledge was lost, all that needs to be done is the human race needs to discover fire and such and then tens of thousands of years later they can discover how to travel interstellar distances. At that point humans could find signs or the ancient race and assimulate that knowledge. Whoopie, the ancient ones are reborn.
Well the Covenant would want to stop the genetic decendants of the corrupt ancient ones from ever assimulating their ancient knowledge; that very well could be the motive for the Covenant attempt to wipe out humanity. At the same time, if their true Forerunners ever came back (assuming they are gone, since Halo seems abandomed of all Forerunners), the Covenant would likely greet them on friendly terms.
So how can the Covenant tell the good from the bad ancient ones. Perhaps humanity is the genetic decendants of the good ancient ones (the Forerunners) but because we have not reassimulated the knowledge of the ancient ones we don't know we are. And the Covenant look at humans (and human nature is not all that great, we certainly are not saints I'd add) then how could the Covenant not think that humans are the bad ancient ones.
Well, not to be out done by some of the mega Halo Story Page posters, I'm going to continue on with a bit about why the Forerunners might have been so popular to the Covenant. I'll start with the statement that the Covenant has had a long history with the Flood.
Now let's imagine the Flood several hundred thousand years ago, some ancient race may have stumbled upon the Flood. So pictures of the Alien movie come to mind where this ancient race is infected by a parasitic being and four movies later, this ancient race is never even mentioned even though in the second movie the humans set up a colony on the same darn planet that the ancient race crashed on. Oh nevermind. Forget all of that and think that the Flood that the ancient race stumbled upon were not parasites but an advanced race that had conquered much of this galaxy.
These Flood were intelligent and had enslaved many other races, such as the Grunts, Jackals, and other races found in Halo. The enslaved races treated the Flood as masters and deities -- worshipping them and providing offerings or else the Flood wrath be unleased upon them. The Flood were masters of organic and genetic technology and actively altered their slave races to be better at their functions. Grunt ancestors may have been altered to be better workers, Jackal ancestors were like police that could hunt down escaping Grunts, and Hunter ancestors were the task masters used to control all the slaves. Elite ancestors may have been best suited as warriors.
Some pockets of resistance were still holding out against the Flood, such as the Prophet ancestors. The Prophet ancestors could not win this war on their own but like a godsend, the Forerunners came. The Forerunners allied with the Prophet ancestors and so the war against the Flood began. It was a vicious war with Elites fighting Elites (some of the Elites joined the side of the Forerunners). All that joined the Forerunners formed a Covenant.
Forerunners built many weapons to defeat the Flood and Flood responded by creating more vicious versions of themselves. It finally came down to a point where both sides could annihilate each other with various weapons (Halo's final weapon for example, and the most vicious infection forms of the Flood on the other hand). No one was going to win this war. The Covenant (Forerunners and allies), realized this when the Flood unleashed the most vicious form of themselves, a form that could not die from starvation because it could hibernate in a form of stasis deep underground. No planet ever infected by them was ever going to be safe again. What is worse is that this new infectious form of the Flood was designed specifically to be most effective verse humans and Elites (the primary fighting force of the Covenant at the time).
Even Halo's final weapon would not stop the Flood if this new infection form got a foot hold in this galaxy. Halo's weapon would have to be fired before the outbreak went too far. There were those Forerunners that said Halo's weapon must be fired and those that said no, make peace with the Flood.
Of course this is just speculation above, but image if it was mostly true. Some wanted to make peace or maybe even join up with the Flood to avoid total annihilation, others had no choice in their minds but to kill all life in this galaxy to stop the Flood before it was too late. What if because of this internal struggle that not all Halos fired? Certain portions of this galaxy would have been wiped of life, others not.
Since not all the Halos fired, the war continued in areas still infected. The Flood made a horrible miscalculation though. In making such a vicious parasitic form, they consumed too much too quickly and soon they ran out of food. Those of the Covenant that survived just happened to be on planets the Flood never reached before their food ran out. Thinking they were safe, but not knowing why they were still alive, they were careful to stay put and not explore because any planet other then the ones already controlled by the surviving Covenant could be infected by the Flood.
So the long, slow, and careful search for other survivors began.
What ever happened to the original Forerunners, the ancient ones? They honestly believed that all the galaxy was going to get wiped out, so they fled the galaxy with their allies.
And why might the Covenant not know the location of the Alpha Halo and everything that happened? My guess is because the Covenant that survived were just politicians, civilians, workers, and military grunts... just everyday Covenant joes that were expendable. They had no clue about the Halos back in the day that all this happened. The ones that knew fled the galaxy.
And so to tie up at least one lose end. The human worlds may have been populated by the expendable ancient ones who were left behind. It's a strange thought, but they may have picked some planets to go to in an area that was far away from the Flood outbreak in hopes it was safe and then purposely destroyed their technology so that if they somehow got infected by the Flood, they would not risk giving those Flood the ability to travel to other stars and thus infect the other survivors on other planets.
Oh and before I forget, the Flood are back because some idiot space faring being got infected and started yet another outbreak somewhere. Now the Covenant must find the Alpha Halo for some way to stop the Flood.
Without commenting too much on this, let's see what readers of the HSP think. Can the Flood be such an advanced species as to have bio-engineered themselves to be the creatures we met? Or worse? Send in your thoughts!
Erica Carr (LvChk7@mail2erica.com) writes:
I've recently started to read all of the theories and speculations in the Halo Story vaults, and it's come to my attention that the general Halo-crazed public has two views regarding the Flood: they are adaptive and continually gain knowledge or they are simply parasitic and are controlled by one central figure. I am of the opinion that they are incredibly adaptive at an almost alarming rate. 343 Guilty Spark, our favorite rampant AI bot, mentions in The Library that, "The Flood are already hard at work repairing your vessel. Its parasitic nature belies the Flood's intelligence." The second sentence is obvious to me, but the first is intriguing. By "your vessel", 343 GS apparently means the Pillar of Autumn. I asked myself why the Flood would want to repair a human vessel, and they of course just want to find sentient life to overtake. Ok, in the Truth and Reconciliation the "Keyes Blob" was there presumably to gather knowledge and, I believe, to find out how to fly the craft out of there. If the Flood were also repairing the PoA in order to fly off of Halo, then how come there's not another Blob there? I would assume that it's because the Flood didn't capture another important human, but they would find someone wouldn't they?
P.S.-I think it's important to note that I'm one of the few devoted Halo female fans out there. Cortana is my hero!
Who's to say that the Flood weren't trying to repair both vessels, hmm? It seems to me that an intelligent race would use each and every resource at its disposal in order to get off the Halo and out into the galaxy.
And, lest we forget, Cortana rules. :-)
Kodos (Tyrant343@aol.com) writes:
There has been a little confusion over wether Flood infest living or dead specimens. For the most part, it seems to be the Dead, but, if we listen to the crazed marine, we hear that they "took the live ones". Perhaps this Marine just went unnoticed and got lucky? Or perhaps not.
Perhaps as time goes by in the game, the Flood are regenerting.
Think, they have been stuck in Halo, with no Food for what? Centuries? Eons?
Starvation weakens life.
Perhaps when they first came out they where weak, and only able to infect living things, but as time went on, and as they became more "alive" they learned(remembered?) to infect dead bodies as well.
And, given a choice between fighting to infect a live body, or simply waltzing over an infecting a dead one, well, I think the decision is obvious.
And as for evidence for them being weak when they come out, keep in mind, it takes a while before they start using projectile weapons. Thankfully they never learn(remember?) to use vehicles
Flood in Warthogs? Very scary ^_^
Scary? Terrifying! Also, that's an interesting idea about "waking up" and remembering more sophisticated ways of spreading. Imagine if the Flood had more time to organize themselves. ;-)
CJ Russell (email@example.com) writes:
There's been a lot of speculation about the flood-like plants in GS, and I think I may have an idea as to the nature of these plants (which are contained in one part of Halo that we see).
Assuming for a second that the Forerunners preserved the Flood, despite the imminent danger to the rest of the sentient creatures in the galaxy (through both the flood and the Halo that contained them), for the purpose of maintaining a balance of life, then how would they utilize the flood? They could, presumably, keep them locked up on Halo forever (or until their release as in the game), or they could keep them there until such a time came that they found a USE for them.
Enter the trees.
Now, while a swamp is not a place I would personally choose to live, it IS a place where life could thrive. Many places we see on Halo connect the "natural" portions to the constructed sections. Would it not be feasible to connect just the environmental components (specifically atmosphere) to another section of Halo, just above it? Go with me here...GS talks about how the flood "alter the atmosphere"-it doesnt matter how, or into what, but what IS important is that it's apparently not compatible with our physiology, and he mentions how the suit will "protect" us. What if the trees in the swamp were genetically engineered by the Forerunner for the purposes of converting Flood exhalations into breathable atmosphere? If that were true, then the Flood would have value as an organism capable of terraforming planets relatively quickly, between the gas exchange of modified flora and the flood. If the Jjaro are to Forerunner what the S'pht are to humanity, then haven't we already seen manipulation of a lifeform to the greater will of a "supreme" alien race?
Also, it seems obvious to me that the flood come from a high-G planet. Not only are the primary forms very short, but they can also jump quite far in what we consider to be "normal" gravity, and even farther after they have gained a host, and altered their physiology. Connections to the race imprisoned by the Jjaro in the gravity well abound as a result of this, but then, most people have already seen that parallel.
There's that "J" word again. ;-) Very nice work putting it together, though. That "balance of life" concept is so simple, but can lead to such a wealth of fascinating situations, especially in conjunction with our (current) favorite inscrutable alien race. :-)
Eryk B Nice (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
The Flood are named just that, Flood. Mention has been made of Bungie's fondness for biblical references. This is nothing new. However, in the Bible, the flood is precipitated by "opening the floodgates of heaven." Granted, many people have focused on the rapid reproduction and adaptation of the Flood, but perhaps this is not the whole story.
Perhaps the Flood have their source and home in another place, be it another dimension or simply another part of this universe. Halo was referred to as a fortress world. Where do you build a fortress? You build a fortress at strategically critical and most easily defensible position, generally in your home territory. Think of, for example, a fortress built high on a cliff wall overlooking a river that enters your territory from the sea. It is much easier to defend a small doorway than to fight off an army when you are standing in the middle of a large room (any decent Halo player will agree). I envision, then, that Halo was built at some point that the flood could invade from, be it a pathway to another dimension, or the exit of some space transportation tunnel. This allows several nice points:
Why build a containment weapon that will kill all the food instead of killing all of the Flood? Well, killing all of the Flood in the area would do nothing for all the rest streaming through the Floodgates. Presumably a weapon of this power could only be fired once in a great while. Killing all of the food, on the other hand, would prevent any flood who came through the portal from surviving long. Perhaps this portal existed naturally, perhaps the Forerunners opened this portal once not knowing what was on the other side. Either way, the explanation works. Destruction of Halo is not a solution - it would only contribute to the problem. Destruction of the Flood is not a solution, more would follow. Starving them, as GS says, is the only way.
Presumably the presence of the Flood in their home is too strong for any kind of invasion of destruction. The best option therefore seems to be to study the Flood, find a way to perhaps turn their own strengths against them in the hope of eventually destroying them for good. I am reminded of the use of a virus to kill a virus, as suggested in certain Card books. This helps explain why you would keep something so dangerous around instead of simply killing them all and ending the threat permanently. I have to disagree with some of the arguments for keeping the flood around that say things like 'we would not kill off all the sharks simply because they attack us." True, but we can contain and control sharks. However, we WOULD wipe out AIDS or Ebola in a heartbeat were we able. This is because these viruses pose an honest threat to the survival of humanity, rather than being a mere occasional tragedy.
This explanation allows the Forerunners to be good. I say this not out of personal desire for their healthy sense of conscience, but rather because it certainly seems that whoever activated Halo previously was reluctant to do it. Recall the question posed GS. I cannot except the casual explanations of the Flood as part of an experiment, or human life not being worth much to the Forerunners in light of what seems to me to be the struggle of conscience reflected in asking another if they would do the same.
The blue plasma streams shot into space could serve the function of either destroying anything that tries to pass through the gateway or sealing off the gateway. I imagine it as sort of a giant bug-zapper for spacecraft.
The biggest advantage to this theory is that it explains quite effectively why you would design a weapon to kill the food, not the creature, while still allowing the weapon designer to care about the food. The only thing I have NOT worked out is why Cortana would advocate destruction of Halo knowing that it is a fortress against Flood invasion. Perhaps Halo is the portal and the fortress wrapped into one? Perhaps it is the installation that drills a tiny hole in the Floodgates in order to let a small drip of water through for study, but also is designed to contain the flow if that hole tears open? I don't know, I will leave it to others to ponder.
We don't know exactly what Cortana learned while in the core. It's also possible that she had prior information that, coupled with this, led her to the conclusion that the destruction of Halo was necessary. Then again, she can be a bit impulsive at times and may not always make the most considered of choices. At least, some of her behavior suggests this. ;-)
[In regards to the post by Eryk B Nice on the Flood]
Deimos Fawkes (email@example.com) writes:
I have to disagree with some of the arguments for keeping the flood around that say things like 'we would not kill off all the sharks simply because the attack us." True, but we can contain and control sharks. However, we WOULD wipe out AIDS or Ebola in a heartbeat were we able. This is because these viruses pose an honest threat to the survival of humanity, rather than being a mere occasional tragedy.
This is untrue. The CDC in the USA maintains a small amount of the smallpox virus (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/index.asp). Smallpox was effectively "wiped out" from the Earth. However, as history has shown us, even a single surviving strand can mutate into the next pandemic.
Completely eliminating all contained samples of the Flood would be foolish. As, from my understanding, the Flood are actually a mutagenic virus. Containment and study protocols would, in fact, mirror our own for normal viruses.
On another note, many viruses that exist in reality are capable of surviving a hard vacuum. Destroying the Installation 04 may have simply released them on the entire galaxy. Thus the beginning the process that destroys the forerunners (human) in the first place.
I love a good old-fashioned predestination paradox.
Anyone else want a hit from my Bridge Commander Crack Pipe?
May have released them on the galaxy, yes. But how will they get anywhere? It remains to be seen what happens in the immediate vicinity of the former Installation 04. Did any ships survive? Any method of transportation? Anyone besides us and the aptly named, "Dustin Ekoes?" ;-)
And lets not forget that there must be more Covenant out there. Can we save humanity from both the Covenant and the Flood?
Savant Suykerbuyk (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I have heard lots of people discussing/debating on why 343GS supposedly has all this power over the flood and the resposibility of their containment, yet he does not use it. Perhaps the Forerunners decided that extreme measures would not need to be taken unless there was a Reclaimer. After all, the flood only remain as spores unless some outside input like say, a downed human ship, which would in turn provide the danger of the flood escaping, AND providing a Reclaimer. Just a thought.
Interesting hypothesis. As long as no one shows up at Halo, there is no possibility of the Flood escaping. If someone shows up and lets them out, that person (thing?) is responsible for assisting with the required "containment protocols." Pretty harsh justice, if you ask me.
Gamesradar.uk recently posted a rather lengthy article (soon to appear in Edge magazine, for those who would like a hard copy) discussing the making of Halo and hinting at some of the progressions to expect in Halo 2. Jaime Griesemer gets quite a few words in edgewise...
In a discussion of favourite enemies, Jaime mentions the Flood Warrior with Active Camo found in The Maw's armoury. This, he says, "indicates that the Flood are intelligent, and know how to use equipment, and aren't just dumb alien monsters." Given. However, he goes on to point out that while they did not intend for the Flood to retreat and throw grenades (thus imitating Covenant tactics), the "AI was originally intended to be every bit as complicated as the Covenant, but we ran out of time implementing behaviours and they ended up being a lot simpler and straight forward... we didn't get a chance to develop all of the characteristics of the Flood that was going to make them not only different and very interesting to fight." What can be expected from the Flood tactically that has not already been exhibited? Ambushes? Further utilization of and adaptation to surrounding objects? The real-time infection of their foes? Hmmm...
Also dropped to the proverbial cutting room floor were more omni-parasitic centered embellishments: "Flood-encrusted objects" and heavily besieged Covenant forces. "We were able to do some of that, but weren't able to implement nearly as much of the environmental changes as we wanted. We wanted it to look drastically different." Now, just how different of a landscape, what is the exact nature of the Flood's atmospheric change, and what would these Flood encrusted objects be exactly... ?
Trevor (email@example.com) writes:
While playing through Halo I was often perplexed by the name given to the parasitic lifeforms known as the Flood. Why would Bungie give these creatures such a seemingly random name? After reading through different little speculations and how bungie enjoys bible references, it hit me. Maybe the Flood was not necessarily a part of the forerunners or even a creature found and studied, but really a method of wiping out the wicked developed by the Forerunners.
The nature of the Flood and the rapid growth of their population would indicate that their name is, indeed, apt. It would seem that Cortana got their name from the Forerunner databanks, but ponder this: The Forerunner, an impressive galactic (universal? ;-)) power, felt sufficiently awed by this parsitic species to name them as such. How about you? Think the Flood deserve such a title? ;-)
CJ (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I've been thinking about how the Flood could be made to be less volatile or hazardous to the rest of sentient life. Quite a few strings have touched upon the potential "good" of the Flood, and whether or not their survival is simply the result of Foreruner sympathy (strange sympathy though,†to imprison an intelligent†species on a structure designed to starve them to death). Taking into account all that has been said about MC and his Reclaimer status, plus what we know about the Flood (and their all-consuming hunger)†I came up with a theory, and maybe I'm off on a tangent here, but bear with:
As a result of his augmentation, MC has "suppressed sexual desires", i.e., does not feel the need to reproduce. (In addition, simply trying to do so while inside of MJOLNIR would be awkward at best.) So my question is this: if the Flood were given robot bodies (or cyborg, if you will)†to occupy, ones that not only quenched their hunger for knowledge (via AI), but also contained them from reproducing so recklessly, would they still be a threat?
CJ, you've got spunk. A tantalizing possibility. But could the Flood's hunger EVER be satiated? I doubt we would be willing to turn over a SPARTAN to find out...
A climactic battle 900 000 years ago? "The flood as the forgotten peril that ended a galaxy-spanning empire is a pretty fundamental tenet of good sci-fi"?
Let's see, 2+2=...
Joe Nowasaki (email@example.com) writes:
One was (after watchin the xo3 video for halo 2) was that the one guy said: "we want the ruins to really look like there was an epic battle that took place 900,000 years ago..." I think mabey the forerunners might have fought some other ancient group, and may have created the Halo's in case they lost.
Like... the Flood? ;)
Speaking of Starhammer by Christopher Rowley... we were, weren't we? No? Well, we should have been ;)
Then we have Halo 04. What kind of benevolent race would allow the construction of such a device? While it could be used for the 'good' and 'worthy' purpose of preventing catastrophic Flood outbreaks, it seems more like a barbaric tool of destruction. Halo seems more like a deterrent, much like nuclear weaponry during the Cold War. Think about it. You are an alien race oppressed by the Forerunner. You form an uprising and plan to overthrow your malevolent masters. However, the masters happen to have this weapon, capable of effortlessly slaughtering your entire force (and every allied race with sufficient biomass). To me, Halo does not seem to be an effective method of containing the Flood (is it necessary to forceably remove all food and water in a city because of a cockroach infestation at Joe's Steakhouse? Especially when the cockroaches can survive without food for a considerable amount of time). Halo would likely have a different purpose to simply eliminating high-biomass lifeforms to prevent the spread of a parasite. Granted, a highly dangerous parasite, but if it so dangerous, why save the Flood from extinction? As has been stated before by Jonas, perhaps the Flood were a weapon, a deterrent in addition to Halo? The threat of releasing the Flood would certainly keep the enemies of the Forerunner in line. So what is the fortress world really *for*? And besides, doesn't 'fortress' entail a militaristic nature of its builders? The Forerunner seem to be more of a galactic terror than the Flood...
As has been pointed out, the Flood make a terrible deterrent. They are slow to start and virtually unstoppable once they get going. A race that had never had any experience with them might not understand the threat until it was too late. But it's also been pointed out that the Covenant have had a long history with the Flood, and they didn't seem to have learned their lesson, did they? Could the Forerunners have simply been so benevolent that they couldn't bring themselves to eradicate the Flood?
Tursas (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I was just perusing your page again, and something hit me: What if the Flood have already found their way off Halo by the time 343 Guilty Spark introduces himself to the Master Chief?
"Greetings. I am the Monitor of installation 04. I am 343 Guilty Spark. Someone has released the Flood. My function is to prevent it from leaving this installation. But I require your assistance. Come. This way." -- 343 Guilty Spark, in the final moments of the level named after him.
If 343 GS' function is to prevent the Flood from leaving installation 04, then it stands to reason that he would busy himself in doing so, correct? Yet during the library, he is nearly always with us, and mentions where he is going and what he is doing when he is not present. As well, it is the function of the Reclaimer, not 343 GS, to trigger mass sterilisation. The process of going through 343 GS (the level) and the Library, is part of the secondary protocol, not the primary function.
It stands to reason that only after failing in his attempts to contain the flood on the ring would 343 GS initiate the mass sterilisation protocol. Of course, reason may fly out the window as we realise that 343 GS is a few slats short of a train track.
Hence, I believe that at one point 343 GS was busy with preventing the Flood from leaving Halo, but that point was far in advance of where things stand when the Master Chief is brought into the Library. The entrance of Mobutu in the equation only makes matters worse: if 343 GS had initiated the sterilisation protocol with a completely different person (perhaps) hours before, it stands to reason that the Flood are already that much further away from the ring.
Of course, we must question the meaning of "leaving this installation". Does it mean that the Flood had gained access to the Truth and Reconcilliation or Pillar of Autumn, which had not really 'left' the ring, or did the Flood manage to board another ship and get away?
Good point. We blew up and (supposedly) destroyed whatever was on Halo, but, since the primary weapon never fired, anything that was already off of the ring is out there somewhere... waiting...
Flood as... well, you name it. In this case, as an Information gathering tool, etc.
Milkshake (DarthMule88@aol.com) writes:
I have read 'The Flood' and a thought that I had was that, as the flood 'mind-rape' keyes, that they are simply doing what they do because they are in origin, a form of intelligence gathering, created by the Forerunner, in use against their foes and wars. Of course there is no question that they went rampant (in both senses of the word). That makes a little sense, right?
The thought of the Flood being used as an information gathering tool, scraping together records of the fallen's DNA, has been touched on before, but as they also seem to possess some of the most wicked, brutal, and efficient interrogation techniques imaginable, the idea deserves revisiting. However, considering that Captain Keyes can hide his thoughts within his neural lace (and the Flood seem incapable of touching him there), would the Flood be able to interface with any sort of cybernetic or mechanical alterations? To them directly, or in a host? The Flood can wield technology, but can they also integrate it?
Flood as a potential medicine or biological upgrade, Flood as a DNA sampling tool, Flood as a superfluous weapon, Flood as organic armour, Flood as food (bleh), Flood as a terra-forming tool, Flood as mutated Forerunner...
Whether or not the Flood were encountered and preserved for study, or created for a particular purpose, the list of possibilities is growing rather long...
Lamin "darklight" Ball (email@example.com) writes:
How long does the flood live? If halo was supposedly vacant for over 100 thousand years plus activated once, what ?biomass? did the flood live off of for 100 thousand years after activation? And if it did some way find a way to live off something, who?s to say that it never evolved to a new type of flood that the forerunners never even seen. If you were to think of humans in a 100 thousand year period, you will see that is how long it took for modern man to evolve.
Who knows how long the Flood have existed? They may have evolved into their present state eons ago, perfecting whatever arcane mechanisms their biology employs long, long ago. As far as Flood cannibalism goes though, chew on this: The Military Form af the Vang (Isn't that familiar? As if from an old dream?) had slowly consumed itself as it floated in space through the millenia. If our Flood are modeled after that species, a hundred thousand years or so would be a piece of cake.
Ellimist (Ellimist117@aol.com) writes:
i was reading the post "On Slipstream Space and Really Big Explosions" and Toby Dillman said that Humans, the Covenent, and other alien races were carbon based life forms. I beleive this to be true,because we all seem to breath oxygen, which is vital to carbon based life forms. But could the flood be non carbon based?
There is only one other element, stable and abundant enough, that a life form can be based on...silicon.
343 GS says that the flood was changing the atmosphere, this is probably to hurt the other races on Halo 04, not because they need to breath something other than oxygen. They cont seem to mind what they breath.
This is because a silicon based lifeform does not require oxygen and hydrogen. This would mean that they can survive in open vacume, this could have lead to some getting off Halo 04
Interesting. If the Flood were solely a silicon-based lifeform, would they have some difficulty in the pre-atmosphere-adjusted, oxygen-rich environment of Halo as we knew it?
Stargate and Halo
Deep in the recesses of the subconscious, an update has been forming based solely on the mail we receive comparing Halo to other contemporary titles. Stargate, however, has produced enough input, and good input at that, to merit its own private mention.
Oray Griever (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Justin Hornsby (email@example.com) write:
Why have the Forerunners decided to study alive floods in installation 04 ? You certainly knows Stargate SG-1. Humans are in war against Goa'ulds, who is a parasitic specie wich take integral control of his host. The symbiot immunises his host against all deseases, makes it more stronger, more powerful, his wounds heal speeder, and they both can live a long long time. We know that Flood spores have an exceptionnal longevity (100 000 years, as we learn in "The Flood"), that other forms (Elites and Marines) are very strong, not easy to kill (some must be shooted two times), and they can live in extreme conditions. As the Goa'Ulds, the Floods take control of their host. In an episode of SG-1, humans from an other planet managed to extract from the symbiot its superhuman properties. By that way, they can have all the advantages of the symbiot without beign infested by it. Here I come : What if the Forerunners decided to study the flood to extract their strenght and stamina without having to be infected? It will be like a kind of eternal-life elixir, mixed with creatine and EPO. :p
They were around, and very advanced, in acient times of our planet. Perhaps, like in SG1, the Forerunner were part of ancient history. This could explain the ancient myths and legends, not to mention the pryamids and there corrilation to the stars.
Just a thought, but who knows, maybe someone at Bungie is a SG1 junky on the side.
Hmmm... who could that have been... Brannon? ;)
The trees of the field will clap their hands...
Will (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I just noticed this the other day, a little detail that may bring some validity to the suggestion that perhaps the trees in the level 343 Guilty Spark have been infected or being used by the Flood. On page 24 of the March 2004 issue of OXM there is an interview with Frank O'Connor, the new Content Manager at Bungie, in which he replies to a letter asking about the Prophets. Anyways, in his response he says "...since every single part of Halo, from the way THE TREES LOOK to the map layouts is designed TO TELL A STORY, we're very protective of plot."
They're not creepy looking for nothing I suppose.
Hmmm, map layouts, eh? Might add a little poignancy to this idea perhaps...
Jan Clawson (email@example.com) writes:
I was reading the 2nd book (Halo: The Flood) today, the part where the ODSTs invade the T&R. Several of the scenes take place on the Covenant bridge. No big deal right?
Well, where's the Keyes blob? The MC didn't kill it, just Keyes. Plus, if you shoot the blob (which provides hours of enjoyment) it twitches and moves.
My point is, that the blob moved. It might not have gone down with the ship. Which stills allows it, in theory, to still be alive. It "downloaded" a lot of info. from the Captain. Maybe enough to learn how to pilot an escape pod (Cortana says to the chief to get to an escape pod in "The Maw") or fighter. And, wouldn't there be fighters and escape pods on the T&R?
What if that wasn't the only information it got. For all we know, it got the coordinates of Earth or some other colony.
So, even after death, Keyes still may be our Saviour, or our downfall.
It would seem that the Flood have been completely stopped, what with the destruction of Halo and all. However, those little buggers were pretty tenacious, surviving as long as they did with no apparent "host" organisms around. Their survival in hard vaccuum wouldn't be too surprising (There's also another possibility ;-)). As always, time will tell.
AhhSai (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
in "the two betrayals" the monitor mentioned that halo has been fired before, but still the flood have not starved to death, which what is expected to happen, but they managed to live,which means they are able to stay dormant for a period of time until a host is detected and can be taken over.
in "first strike" cortana said that there are flood virus present in sargent Johnson's blood stream, but are "dead" because they could not take over the sarge's nervous system, but because of their ability to stay dormant, what if the sarge comes into contact with another person and passes the flood virus to another person which can be infected? what will happen then?
We shudder to think. ;-)
It may seem rather obvious, but someone has to say it.
Seth (SethB001@aol.com) writes:
When 343 Guilty Spark mentions that the flood change the atmosphere, their method may be by releasing spores. My proof is that in Halo 2, when you are at on High Charity there are spores in the air. The strategy guide even says that "spores in the air will obscure your view"
343 Guilty Spark told us we were good planners.
Analyzing the forms of the Flood, David offers a few general comments on hosts and their potential.
David McCulley (email@example.com) writes:
While the physical aspect of a Flood victim would effect what class of Flood they would be transformed into (humans = worker/soldier and grunts = carrier/incubator), it occured to me that perhaps the Flood can choose what type of Flood their victims turn into by the social/military status of the victim. We know through Captain Keyes's battle with the Flood parasite that the Flood have the ability to cosume the memories of their hosts. Perhaps while a Flood infection form takes over the hosts body and suppresses their consciousness, the infection form also extracts the basic memories of their hosts. Then once an infection form has an understanding of their hosts basic social and military status the infection form can then determine in what form the host can better serve the Flood. This can explain why the Flood can choose so many possible forms for their hosts such as Worker/Soldier or Command/Pilot or mabey even Gravemind. Since the main source of hosts for the Flood are elites and marines when the Flood infect them the infection form instantly extracts the knowledge that their hosts are basic soldiers and transform them into worker/soldier types. Yet if an infection form infects someone of higher rank and is more knowlegeble than the average host, like Captain Keyes or maybe a prophet, the infection form will automaticly start to transform them into a Command form or make it apart of a Gravemind like form.
Zak Anderson (Zakman1989@hotmail.com) writes:
Icky! Flood transport forms, not half as friendly as Moya I'll bet.
Jeff Garza (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I was wondering about what 343 Guilty Spark said about the Flood altering the atmosphere. In what way they could alter it? After a while I thought that altering the atmosphere might prove necessary for the Flood to evolve.
In the movie Evolution, the lunar rock that landed started changing the atmosphere directly around it and, in doing so, different types of creatures emerged. I was thinking that if the Flood broke loose on a planet, and under the best of circumstances, the native race knew the danger of the Flood and left, the Flood would be relatively contained. Unless they made a giant Flood pyramid to get out of the atmosphere, but that's just silly.
So, back to the movie Evolution, as the organisms started becoming more prominent, the atmosphere near the initial landing point started changing so much that they needed the containment building around it. After they finally broke loose, they began to fly around and some amassed themselves into massive creatures. Put into perspective on Halo, it isn't too farfetched a theory and would definitely support how the Flood Juggernaut that BOLL found could be created.
I learned in Science that oxygen, to some life forms, is a toxic, poisonous gas and can be very damaging (i.e. rust) and can kill microorganisms (i.e. bacteria, germs, viruses, etc.) in the same way that Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide is dangerous to humans. So maybe the Flood can further their evolution if they change the atmosphere enough.
When I think about the changing of the atmosphere and the environment around them, it makes me think of Starcraft. A quite obvious parallel to the Flood is the Zerg, which has many iterations of the same larvae. Also, the Creep in Starcraft (the purple stuff that spreads from around the buildings) is the only thing that supports Zerg buildings and tells other players in the game when they're getting near a Zerg "base". The same thing could be with the Flood changing the atmosphere.
What if, for the sake of argument, the Flood changed the atmosphere enough so that they could create larger creatures (like the Flood Juggernaut) that could transport Flood forms to other planets? The Flood could, quite effectively, dominate an entire galaxy if enough Flood "Mass Transporter Forms" were created, slowly moving throughout planetary systems, killing all sentient life, taking more planets, and moving on.
Icky, icky, icky!
Good ole' Heretic Leader.
Here's my thoughts on the Juggernaut:
I believe it's a creation by the Heretic, because he was studying the Flood and therefore made an abomniation by combining a Combat form with a Carrier form ... that way this Flood can fight while carrying probably 2 times as much Floodlings as the Carrier form
Lonesoldier (email@example.com) writes:
If the human mind works by jumping small charges (positive ions? Don't remember) between brain cells (nerve impulses) and the Flood can hijack these impulses and insert their own, shouldn't they be able to hijack electronic impulses across a computer's motherboard?
Asides from having a very odd taste in levels, he has some good points.
Gregory Prill (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I was thinking, after playing through my favorite level, the library, last night, about something 343 Guilty Spark says. Something to the effect of "The Forerunner isolated the flood to study them. Their survival as a race was dependent upon it." This got me thinking, to whom was he referring, the Forerunner, or the Flood. I think it was one and the same.
Consider the following:
The Forerunner were a super-advanced race, with limited, but still great power, like that it would take to build the Halos. The Flood were able to infiltrate, and destroy, nearly the entire race, to the extent to which the Halo's must have been activated. How would the Forerunner have the time to conceive, design, and build a weapon system such as Halo, not to even mention the Ark, whatever that really is, when locked in 'Mortal Struggle' for thier race's survival with the Flood? Logic would follow that if they could do this in such a short period of time, they most likely would have come up with a better, and less general, means of exterminating the Flood.
So the only other logical choice was that they built the Halo system in advanced, along with the Ark. This is where my logic ends, and I tend to go out on a limb, But I think the Flood were developed as something akin to Resident Evil's T-virus. In simple terms, they stored all their genetic code, and that of as many species as they could find and put them in the ark as a sort of Back-up File. 'Open in case of racial deletion' Then, they used the Flood virus as a sort of stimulate, making them stronger, smarter, faster, etc. But something went wrong.
Maybe the Virus mutated unexpectedly, or maybe for one-reason or another, it was altered to it's current form purposely, but something happened to cause the entire Forerunner Empire to collapse almost instantaneously. The remainder of their race fled to their only protection against such an occurrence, the Halo's, and the Ark. Since the Flood, while possessing a rudimentary intelligence, are driven but what has been called a 'primal instinct' to feed, another T-virus correlation, they would go to the nearest food sources, and since (almost) everyone went to the Halo's, (and they were the main threat, even a flood could see that) the Flood followed. Since the Flood had forced the Forerunner back, their 'antidote' to the virus, assuming they had one, would have dwindled while the fought vainly to defend themselves against the flood. Seeing that their only defense was about to be overrun, the Forerunner on the Ark fired the weapon themselves.
There is a theory that the Halo weapon is based on Electro-magnetic pulses, and I'll assume that now. The Pulse would have killed all the defending Forerunner on the Halo's but it most likely stranded the Flood on the Halo installations as well, leaving them to be discovered by an unfortunate UNSC Navy Captain 100,000 years later.
Slith comes up with some long thoughts on the flood on our forum here. I found it an interesting read.
Hey! Look at this lovely piece of speculation!
Jillybean (email@example.com) writes:
Constantly quoted and overanalysed, it strikes me there's a simple solution to this. The Ranger spore is the vector for infection - or to put it simply, that little mushroom has got to get its tentacles inside your central nervous system (normally through the soft cartilagenous tissue of the rib cage and into your spinal column). That's infection.
So far, the smallest thing we've seen being infected is a Grunt, roughly five feet tall. The Ranger spore is about a foot in length. If I were Stephen Loftus I could come up with a nice chart to show the relative size of the rib cage to the Ranger spore's tentacles, but I'm not.
All I'll say is that if the spore can't get its creepy crawlies into your spinal column, you've probably not got sufficient biomass.
They're in your miiiind... and can do your taxes!
Grant Williams/Redwall (firstname.lastname@example.org) and automatic jack (email@example.com write:
"This installation was specifically built to study and contain the Flood. Their survival as a race was dependent upon it. I am grateful to see that some of them survived to reproduce."
Now, the way I understand that the Flood works is that they infect a host with spores, which take over the body and slowly convert some of the body's cells to Flood spores and eventually Rangers in the Carrier form. This sounds like how a virus works, by exchanging the cells' DNA for the virus DNA. If that's true, then as the Flood spreads, the "pure" Flood DNA that started out will change relative to the hosts they are taking, and so once the Flood spreads the DNA will no longer be pure. Now, if you assume that in the above quote the Monitor is talking about the Flood's survival (a point of debate in itself), then you could go along to say that the Forerunner want the Flood to stay genetically "pure", for some reason.
But why would they want this? My first thought was that maybe the Forerunner were intergalactic racists or something. After a bit of thought I've come up with a better idea. Some time ago I was reading about organic computers - that is, computers made of living tissue. These computers can process information faster, and also store a lot more information, than silicon-based computers. However, silicon is a lot more sturdy than most organic tissue, so it doesn't really make sense. However, suppose you used DNA to store information - it already stores genetic information, after all - you would genetic memory in the most literal sense. If you used DNA to store information, you would have to make sure the organisms would survive, for one, and not mutate or change DNA, for another. That means engineering some incredibly sturdy and long-living organisms that reproduce asexually (without a partner; i.e., by cloning themselves) - an almost perfect description of Flood spores. Now, obviously you'd want to enact measures to make sure these organisms don't spread and also make sure you'd be able to study them, stopping the small amount of mutations that would occur. Of course, there's the question of what information could be so important to warrant wiping out all life in the galaxy in order to preserve it? Well, perhaps Forerunner genetic information, secrets of the universe, or even the ultimate question to the ultimate answer of life, the universe, and everything. (heh)
...Given that the human brain can whip the best computers in the world up and down in some processing disciplines, a being that is 10 feet in diameter, and probably 60% - 80% brain matter would make a very formidable computing engine.
Holy infection forms! We've received a nice note from none other than Christopher Rowley himself, mentioning that he's got a website up now. Not only that, but there's a ton of great stuff there, including info on background and inspiration for his books. A big HSP, "Hello!" to Mr. Rowley, and for the rest of you, go check it out!
To finish off with today - a healthy debate. Do the Flood feel pain? is a question raised on the forums. This is a bit of science vs. canon argument, but very enjoyable none the less. Well done Mordrorru.
As I just got my exam results back to find that I didn't do nearly as well in 'Infection and Immunity' as I should have done - I'll leave you in Craig's capable hands.
Craig Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I read a speculation on the flood that mentioned viruses not being able to infect bacteria. I'm a medical student at Boston University with a decent background in epidemiology and evolution and I'll just throw out some of my own speculations on the game combined with some science. Viruses can, in fact, invade any host cell. Viruses work by injecting their own DNA or RNA into a host cell (different viruses infect bacteria, plants, animals) which then enter in to a certain cycle. Cells express the genes in their DNA by the process of transcription and translation which I'm sure anyone who's taken biology is somewhat familiar with. RNA viruses take over the cellular machinery that assembles amino acids into proteins, thus they simply make more and more viruses until the cell explodes releasing those parasites to infect other cells.
DNA viruses actually integrate themselves into the host's genetic code, allowing them to stay dormant for a while, then entering into the lytic cycle described above at an unspecified time. As I've read in your site, 343 guilty spark describes the flood as 'spores' which are released when rangers tap into the spinal cord. Spores are not viral, they're bacterial. Spores are super-resistant hard shells that carry genetic material until environmental conditions are correct where they transform back into bacteria. Anthrax is an example of a spore-forming bacteria. My impression of how the Flood 'disease' works is that:
1. Spores obviously start out being carried by rangers (which are either some higher level multicellular version of this same bacteria, or perhaps a genetically engineered spore carrier, or even a symbiotic host)
2. the rangers then insert themselves into the spinal cord or whatever main nerve axon runs through the host species
3. The spores are released into the central nervous system where the hard spore (thermally sensing that it is safely within the host) transforms into the active bacteria
4. bacteria generally release toxins as their main weapon. The flood's toxin must need a very highly evolved nervous system to operate (in other words it needs a highly cognitive, sentient host)
5. The brain, which is rich with millions of neural connections in intelligent beings, is then attacked by the bacteria and its toxins. Perhaps the way it takes over the host's functions (like muscle movements and even memory) is by forming its own neural connections with the nerve cells already present in the host's brain. Preprogrammed electrical signals (action potentials) may fire into the host's brain from the flood bacterial cells, thus causing the observed behavior from flood infected species. Thus the bacteria itself is similar to a neural cell in that it can form connections with other neurons and send information (in the form of action potentials) and force them to behave a certain way. Not only that, but there are also all the obvious physical mutations inherent with the infection. So, using relatively simple biological functions, the disease could effectively take over the host's entire body and mind and incite it towards extreme homicidal behavior.
6. Perhaps the bacteria also stimulates the manufacture and release of certain 'flood' hormones (which become airborne) that keep large groups of hosts together and on the same wavelength. This could account for how flood-infected species seem to act as one coherent unit the whole telepathy thing doesn't really fly with me, unless it's that crazy gravemind thing that seems to have an immense amount of cognitive ability.
The 'infected trees' may demonstrate how life forms without nerve impulses are only infected very superficially. The higher the level of sentience, the more effective the disease is at its function.
So I'm gonna keep rambling here and speculate a little more. I don't think that this 'forerunner' would just stumble upon, capture, and decide to study these things.. they don't seem like naturally evolving species; no evolutionary system could sustain something like this. Plus, if you just randomly discovered something like this, your first thought wouldn't be to build giant ecosystem-imitating rings capable of destroying all sentient life just to STUDY these blammers. I think the forerunner were definitely trying to biologically engineer these things. There must have been some enemy which the Flood was meant to destroy; or perhaps even warring factions within the forerunner spurred on the development of the flood as a weapon. The halo's are perfect testing arenas for biological warfare. They can imitate any climate, probably even those vastly different from earth-like planets, to see how this bio-weapon will perform. I think some forerunner military and scientific minds got together on these facilities to prepare to fight something or someone.
As for the main weapon of Halo and its purpose, function, and use, I'll have to contemplate more. But it seems to me that its first use didn't just destroy all life in the galaxy. 101,217 years is not enough time for new life to spring up on more than one planet. The amount of time it takes life to evolve from single celled organisms to more complex forms like plants and animals takes time in the billions of yearsힿ there's gotta be some other explanation, and I don't buy that there's a type of energy burst that can pick out sentient beings and kill just them and not other life. Maybe the main weapon of Halo is actually some kind of Flood dispersal weapon If they can teleport things back and forth across the Halo, maybe they can use a super powerful energy burst to teleport flood carriers to the far reaching parts of the galaxy.. This would effectively kill off any sentient life on planets, moons, and perhaps the teleporting burst could even transfer the flood to starships. Then there is the ark which I would suppose is somehow resistant to the energy burst released by the halo because of its own energy field or the material it is made out of it must have contained the few remaining forerunners, or slave species, or something to carry on anyway. Maybe the Halo is fortress world because it is the place from which the forerunner made their final stand against something, using the main weapon to disperse their biologically engineered flood super weapon in a last ditch attempt at survival.
Dojorkan (Dojorkan@gmail.com) stumbles upon a few unused Shielded Carrier Forms: What will those zany B.boys think of next?
A few details from The Art of Halo: not-so-inert Flood crust on objects and walls, rampaging Juggernauts, and careening Sentinel Factories to name a few.
Darkneshasfallen (Darkneshasfallen@aol.com) writes:
I dont know if anyone had figured out what that structure was, and why the flood had caused it to crash.... The object that falls (crashing / exploding.) in the Single player level, "Quarantine Zone" not a human structure or ship at all, it is in fact a Forerunner Sentinel factory.
It makes sense that the flood would destroy it... the sentinels are the only thing keeping them at bay on Delta halo. I don't know if anyone had read the little white-boards that contained the level details from the book "The Art of Halo." but thats where I got the info... So its legit information.
Along with that text it also talks about where the Flood Juggernauts were supposed to spawn and how the battle between the flood and Sentinels was supposed to turn, as more Juggernauts spawned. It was new information to me, so I just thought I would share it...
Im kinda upset Bungie left out the Juggernauts... it seemed like it would have added a whole new "whoa!" (im creeped out by the flood again) factor.
It aslo explains that the player (Arbiter) had to destroy flood "crust"to keep the Juggernauts from spawning.
Pretty cool eh?
Very. Creepy that is. :)
Neil thinks a bit about the exact timeline and the release of the Flood. It raises some questions about why the Covenant unlocked the Flood if they knew what they were . . .
Neil Corbould (email@example.com) writes:
In 343gs a marine states the Covenant tried hard to lock the Flood door but the thing is the Covenant were already running from the flood before the marines accessed the chamber. This would also explain the bodies outside the room. With hard enough viewing, I saw human blood next to the very place where the dead marines were which means the flood had already been let out before the marines arrived in the chamber. The covenant must have securely locked the Flood door before but then maybe an accident (presumably stupid grunts) opened it and a small portion of flood was let out before the covenant locked the door again without them noticing. This would explain a few scenes, firstly the [sic] Flood Elite [at the log]. I also noticed the Flood Elite was a yellow blip on the motion tracker but a red target on the reticule. Also the Elite that had his stomach scramblified, that also tells us that the Flood was released before the marines arrived. What ponders me is the wacko marine that shoots you. We all thought that all marines in the captainힿs squad had died, but this tells us otherwise. He must have survived because of 2 reasons:
1: he knows the Floodힿs image
2: he has wet his pants (either literally or an expression) in fear, telling me he has witnessed the events that occurred.
This scene is also on my mind. Some people playing Halo try to get out the way they came but find the elevator burnt and destroyed. 3 different reasons and anyone can be true:
1: the Flood that already broke loose might have secured the area above when you were meeting the Flood and destroyed the elevator either by blowing it up so that survivors will get stuck in the facility or they messed around and accidentally blew up the elevator.
2: the Flood that you meet in the chamber spread around the station destroy the elevator from below.
3: the Covenant might have ordered reinforcements and destroyed the lift blocking the floods way out sacrificing their own troops.
Another scene I guess people have already figured out. Deep in the station you enter a room from above where you watch 2 marines being violently beat up by flood. They are part of the rescue team at the end of the mission. So are the men that are killed with all the shotguns in the hallway and in the room after with dead jackals.
A list of possible flood mutations (most you probably know):
Elite = Elite Warrior
Grunt = Carrier Flood
Jackal = Carrier Flood
Human = Human Warrior
Hunter = None
Brute = Unknown because never seen but imagine an image of it. Now thatힿs scary!
Drone = Unknown but come on! Imagine a flying flood that would dive and whip you hard!
Prophet = I know this is weird but nobody has ever realised that Gravemind could be an infected prophet! Probably a prophet that the forerunners worshipped or something, evolved into a godly flood form because of years of containment and being around flood. Also you can view the first stages of an infected prophet in the beginning movie of the Gravemind level, guess who? Itힿs the paranoid prophet Regret!
Engineer = Possibly, quite possibly an I.Q form, what Keyes was turned into on Halo 1, level Keyes. If the engineer is infected and a high I.Q source is merged with it, it will form an I.Q form (or a blob of gooey flood) that is like infection forms only that it infects computer networks and absorbs data.
And "ooh, Gravemind!"
Don't miss this one.
Asmus Neergaard (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
After reading Ibeechu's idea concerning the languages of the Covenant I began thinking. We know from the novel The Flood that Elites are capable of speaking English, though they loath speaking it. What language does Prophets speak, then? Let's assume that the language of Prophets are the exact same, or at least quite similar to the language of the Forerunners. After all, the Covenant uses hieroglyphs which are quite similar to Forerunner hieroglyphs. We have heard a Prophet speak in the Prophet tongue, in the cutscene in Halo 2 called Testament. This cutscene shows a hologram talking. Master Chief only understands what it is saying after Cortana translates it. From this we can conclude that the Prophet/Forerunner tongue is not a part of the MJOLNIR translation routine.
However, this cutscene also shows something else. That the Prophet language, and Forerunner language if I'm not mistaken, sounds very much like gregorian chanting. This fact is interesting, because which creature in the Halo-verse have we encountered, who "speaks" like this? I give you a hint:
"In the distance, he could hear a droning buzz. It had an odd, musical quality, Gregorian chant slowed to a fraction of its normal speed." (p.198, The Flood)
Now, what could this mean. Is it a mere coincidence? I think not. The Flood "speaking" like the Prophets, albeit slower?
This has been hinted at by others, but this theory by Sauth pulls it all together.
This theory concerns Ghosts of Onyx
Sauth (email@example.com) writes:
The thing which most struck me about Ghosts of Onyx was the idea of ramping quality down, but production up, on Spartans. The idea of large-scale ground engagements in the Halo universe really grabs me.
It got me started thinking, though, on the particular shortcuts and changes in the S-III program. We're trading strategic thinking for easy mass-production, extreme aggression, and the ability to ignore damage that should be incapacitating. To counteract, we need a more clear-minded leader to keep the grunts in line.
Follow the movement in that direction as far as you can, and what do you get?
The Flood - and a Gravemind.
Spartan IIIs, a logical human reaction to a terrible opponent (the Covenant) and a faltering war effort, are almost like a mix between the Spartan IIs and the Flood. Given other examples of mass-produced, modular Forerunner tech (sentinels of Onyx), doesn't it seem interesting that the Flood are mass-produced and modular?
And doesn't it seem interesting that the human line of reasoning is leaning towards a mass-produced and modular solution? Seems to indicate that the Forerunner could have indeed been humans, and the Flood their army against some foe... until the Flood escaped their
And now I return to sleep, or study . . . whatever. Stop messing up my etheral talking. The boys do it so much better. At any rate - cool theory to finish with. Enjoy.
ouelletten (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I have heard alot about the controversy between whether or not Flood infect dead hosts. Thanks to the "Freaked-out-as-hell" marine firing on you with a pistol and yelling thing about being attacked by the flood on 343 Guilty Spark, we know that he evaded them by "Playing dead, they took the live ones" I believe I know why. If the forerunners weren't human, then that was the Floods first ever encounter with the human race and they wanted to gather as much information from them as possible. Any dead specimens wouldn't allow them to extract information from thier brain, or at least it would be difficult. With the specimen alive, they can "interrogate" it and get information directly. And considering all the Covenant Flood we see on the way out, I'd say they didn't need that many more rienforcements, although we do see few human combat forms those might have been infected and taken over for easier transportation. Point is, thay can infect dead hosts, but didn't in that case because they needed thier subjects alive. One thing still bothers me, on Jenkin's helmcam you see them inspecting a dead elite with it's "insides scrambled". Why? Why did they kill the elite but didn't infect it? Also the abundance of dead jackels and grunts laying around, usually in pools of gront blood all over the floor and walls (overkill much?) When going down an elevator (don't remember which) in 343 Guilty Spark, if you look up, you see TONS of grunt blood on the walls. This seems to be a waste to me, and if the Flood are as intelligent as they are supposed to be (and we know them to be) then I'm curious as to why they would waste perfectly good hosts.
Alec Reimer (email@example.com) writes:
The way the game is set up, it is easy to make the
assumption that the Flood was released around the time
of AotCR, but was it?
In the level "Halo", at the section "Reunion Tour",
you come across an empty lifeboat, and Cortana notes
that there are no signs of survivors, but if you have
a marine with you, another piece of dialogue surfaces:
"This lifeboat is trashed, Chief. There are weapons
and supplies but... no bodies!"
Now this is immidiately after the PoA and Covenant
fleet arrive at Halo, so the Covenant/Humans haven't
had much time for searching for "secret weapons
caches", but it would seem to be implied, (since the
Covenant have no interest in Human bodies) that the
Flood took the bodies (I always viewed it as some nice
little foreshadowing there).
Now all of this naturally begs the question, if the
Flood was released before the Humans/Covenant went
digging, does that mean that the Flood was already
loose and running about Halo? Perhaps the Flood have
always been loose, biding their time, and waiting for
some fresh meat for parasitic mutation...
This one's 'containment' and this one's 'further study' and this one's 'zoo' and this one's 'ambient life' are all the same?
The Flood and Machines.
Honestly raised an interesting question on our forum. Can the Flood indeed infect machines? This question is responded to by SgtSatin, explaining that a flood form can only grow if it has infected a sentient host, that is, a living being. Go check it out and post your opinion!
Another post on the thread agreed for the most part. CarbonElite wonders if the Gravemind is not as sophisticated as we think.
CarbonElite (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I agree with you on the fact that the flood are all linked and the more "minds" that are added to the flood the greater its capacity for intelligence. However what if the flood were not able to create a Gravemind but instead make a connection to the Gravemind? The main theories I have heard has been we have the Gravemind at the top, those flood spine shooter thingies [pure forms - J] then combat forms then spores. What if there was another tier within these classes as Jillybean suggests? Where have they been this whole time in the trilogy?
What if Keyes in Halo 1, and this tentacled menace in Halo 2 were such communication forms? The flood spores would only need a basic genetic "order" or instinct to form into a communication form. So this form has the ability to make contact with a higher order of Flood which has the capacity to instruct the Flood further (Which I beleive actually is the Gravemind) Basically I believe that they use a Galaxy wide pony express moving thoughts and commands around the galaxy.
And the the Gravemind that we've run into is not the Gravemind's physical form but just a mouthpeice. A communication form.
If this is the case this might help explain how the Gravemind survived the Forerunner conflict. It was never destroyed, just one of its mouths. And when Cortana states that "It's trying to rebuild itself on this ring." She doesn't realize that this mouthpiece isn't the Gravemind. Honestly how long would it take to remake an intelligence that has the mental capacity to store thousands of years of information? A very long time And if I'm not mistaken the flood are pretty chatty and intelligentish (its a word I swear) [We believe you - J] on the last level when its still tying to remake itself. Or how about this metaphor. Does it take longer to copy everything word by word from someone speaking and then read that out loud, or is it faster to just get that person on the telephone and have them speak? I believe that when High Charity was destroyed Master Chief merely broke the phone and so the flood made a new one.
Ron emails us a very simple suggestion as to why the Forerunners decided to examine - and not wipe out - the Flood.
Ron Kobish (email@example.com) writes:
I Think I know the reason that the forerunners kept the flood for a simple reason.
Not as a cold war weapon or to keep out the poor people in some kind of fortress world.
They could do either easily with their knowledge of engineering, physics, chemistry, etc.
But They kept the flood because it was the one thing they knew nothing about and as a highly advanced race, they could not have that.
The Reason they kept the flood is because of a thirst of knowledge and simple curiosity.