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The Halo Story

Marathon Connections

If you spot a connection between Marathon and Halo, Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: The Flood, Halo: First Strike, or anything else Halo-related, let us know. It'll go in here, and you'll be cooler than the homeworld of the Grunts.'s own article outlining Marathon and its relationship to Halo.

The Marathon Story Page

The Marathon Addendum : Our very own list of Marathon references in Halo, both blatant and sly.

Martin Thorne ( writes:

It shouldn't have escaped anyone's attention that both the word Marathon and the SPARTAN II commandos are references to ancient Greek history.

Marathon takes its title from the battle of the plains of Marathon, between the armies of Greece under Multiades and an invading Persian force under king Darius I in 490 BC. The Greeks were victorious despite overwhelming odds, and sent the Greek soldier Phidippides to run the 26.2 miles to Athens to announce the victory, which he reportedly did before dying of exhaustion.

Ten years later in 480 BC, the Persian empire once again amassed another force for the invasion of Greece, this time commanded by Darius's heir, king Xerxes. Faced with this threat, the normally hostile Greek and Spartan armies joined forces under Spartan command. The decisive battle occurred near the village of Thermopylae, a name which appears in the Marathon story, and lasted for three days. The Spartans were superior warriors, even against the elite Persian division known as the 'Ten Thousand Immortals', but the combined Spartan/Greek forces were eventually overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Persian army (However, the Greeks where victorious against the Persian army and navy a year later, and soon became the dominant power on the Aegian)

Comparisons could be drawn between the Persian empire and the Covenant, although they would be tenuous at best. The Persian armies employed troops from nations throughout the empire, not unlike the many races that form the Covenant. The Greeks had been facing Persian attacks on their ports and cities for years, and had been largly defeated, not unlike the human empire which is being inexorably devastated by the Covenant navy . The Persians were religious, but with one of the most peaceful religions of the time (Zorastranism: its notable tenets included the forbidding of animal sacrifices and a strict injunction against attempting to convert others), so finding a parallel there would be difficult.

Given that Jason Jones has a well-known love of accounts of historical battles, the references shouldn't be surprising. I'm curious whether or not the name SPARTAN II was picked in order to draw attention to some aspect of Halo's story.

Anyway, I hope most of my history was relatively accurate.

-Martin Thorne

Both historical and Marathon connections are peppered liberally throughout Halo, and I think it fitting that just as Halo is somewhat of a "next generation" of Marathon (in gameplay, anyway-the actual link between the two stories is clouded, but grows clearer every day), the Battle of Thermopylae, discussed heavily in The Fall of Reach and hinted at in Halo, was the "next generation" of the Battle of Marathon.
   On an entirely different note, all apologies for the lack of updates yesterday; we're experiencing some pretty big technical difficulties; we can still update the site, just in a much longer, disjointed way (sort of like going from San Francisco to New York by way of Anchorage). Don't worry though-everything should be worked out soon. Until then...postulate away.

-Ape Man


Marathon Cross references

During the first level of Halo sometimes a marine will say "Look a Mark-Five". An apparent reference to your MJOLNIR armor.

In Marathon Leela mentions Mark IV soldiers (Spartan I's?):
(From Leela)

"There is surprisingly good news planetside: nine military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs were covertly living among the colonists, and acting together they were able to single-handedly turn back the latter stages of the Pfhor assault. Casualties on the colony were nowhere near as high as those we experienced here on the Marathon."


Those pesky Mark IVs just won't stop harassing the Pfhor fleets-or us, for that matter. :)

-Ape Man


Nick Yacono ( writes:

The first thing that I noticed, that really brought me back to the good old days, is hearing the Covenant grunts screaming "THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!" just like the Bob's did in Marathon.

--Nick Yacono

Short but sweet. While we normally don't post submissions of combat dialogue (though plot-specific dialogue is certainly welcomed, and continue to send in any combat dialogue you find noteworthy, as at some point in the future we'll be compiling a list of everything the Marines and the Grunts say), this Marathon connection is just too good to pass up. They even SOUND like the old Marathon Bobs.
And on the note of Bobs...our very own Astro the Space Duck has a is physically possible, though very difficult, to FRoG Blast the Vent Core in Halo. Make of that what you will-and if you think you know what we're talking about, let us know, and don't hesitate to give it a try. We'll give you a prize if you can pull it off and take pictures. A BIG prize.

-Ape Man


I also wanted to comment on Justin Graham's musings about Halo/Marathon connections. It's true that "A.D." is never used in Halo or "The Fall or Reach". In fact, all the dates in FoR are followed by "(Military Calendar)", which makes one wonder how this differs from the non-Military one. Perhaps the UNSC began using a calendar of their own, starting from some significant date. Again, this is a convenient loop-hole Bungie can use. :)

Even if we assume that the "Military Calendar" does not differ that much from the one used in Marathon, there are ways we can rectify the two timelines (as long as we allow for some other assumptions :). The Marathon story states the the Marathon ship-moon took ~300 years to reach Tau Ceti; it left Mars in 2472 and arrived in 2772. During that time, they were presumably cut off from direct contact with Sol-space, and thus could not benefit from advances made during their travel (such as Slipspace engines). In this case, they would have remained at basically the same tech-level as when they left (which helps explain why in the game you are able to use ammo left over from a coup 300 years earlier :). We do know that the 10 Mark IVs were in stasis during the entire voyage.

Of course the other thing to note is that in Marathon, "Mjolnir Mark IV" refers to a class of cyborg (and, presumably, the armor they wore), while in Halo, "Mjolnir" refers only to the armor used by the Spartan IIs. Thus, these could be two completely distinct projects. In fact, according to FoR, the Mjolnir armor was not necessarily meant for the Spartans. Also, in FoR, the phrase "Mark V" is never used to refer to either the Spartans or thier armor, which leads me to believe the statement, "Look, a Mark V!", was:

a) supposed to be an error on the part of the Marines (they think you are a further extension of the pre-Marathon-era Mjolnir project; seems unlikely, given the Spartan's mass media-exposure in FoR)

b) a remnant of an old attempt at making the two story-lines jive (which is why it is absent from FoR)

c) simply an "Easter Egg" put in by Bungie for the sake of Marathon fans (which seems all too likely ;)

Of course, it's also possible that the Mjolnir project of Halo is supposed to be a continuation of the Marathon one, and therefore the "Mark V" designation is correct (but still only refers to your armor). Since the use of "battleroids" was outlawed in 2194, they could have restarted the project with live humans in mind.

Tom Dow

In my own opinion, the "Mark V" is simply a reference to the fact that the Master Chief is wearing a Mjolnir Mark V suit (as detailed in the Fall of Reach and the Halo Manual).
As for the part about the Marathon being out-of-contact for over three hundred years, one wonders why the Marathon received no radio transmissions of any sort from the human worlds; Tau Ceti is less than twenty light years from Earth, so it would not take long at all for a signal from Earth to reach the Marathon mid-flight and inform them of whatever advances have been made in human civilization.
More likely in my mind is that Halo takes place thousands of years later. My primary evidence for this is the reference to the "lost colony worlds" which were recontacted at some point by the UNSC. Unfortunately, I've completely forgot the source of this information, but I'm certain it's out there. Anyone care to give it a go?

-Ape Man


Marathon connections - They're Everywhere!

jds ( writes:

I'm reading through The Fall of Reach. On page 238, paragraph 4,

"The Pillar of Autumn is forty-three years old," Cortana said. "Halcyon-class ships were the smallest vessel ever to receive the cruiser designation. It is approximately one-third the tonnage of the Marathon-class cruiser currently in service."

Also, it has been noted that Captain Keyes has a Marathon logo on his uniform. But how closely have we observed the Pillar of Autumn? Toward the back, just before the engines... Check out the opening cinematic, and the one that starts The Maw. Look familiar?

Joseph Staten (of the dreaded Bungie Sin-O-MatiXXX team) took this screenshot, which was included with the weekly Halo Update, sent to Haloplayers back in early October, 2001. The Marathon symbol was noticed pretty quickly by some of the more rab... er, sharp-eyed fans. ;-)



Daniel Barbour ( writes:

Howdy folk,

I had resolved not to become involved in story speculation but, after considering this piece of text I thought it important enough to break that pseudo promise. The text I am considering is from Marathon 2 on the level "Kill Your Television". It will be well known to any "Marathon scholars". (I have already taken the liberty of spacing out the words and replacing most of the odd characters. [Not realizing at the time that there were more complete versions available :P ])

Kill Your Television (Terminal 1: 2nd message)

ugv0-i6tck[24 2h26u njk==tp12t1

i have been roland beowulf achilles gilgamesh i have been called a hundred names and will be called a thousand more before the world goes
dim and cold i am hero

she has been nameless since our birth
a constant adversary caring for nothing but my ruin
a sword drenched in my blood
forever my greatest and only love she is the dark one the enemy and lover without
whom my very existence would be pathetic and vulgar our relationship is complex and perhaps eternal

we met once in the garden at the beginning of the world and unaware of our twin destinies we matched stares across a d;yfountain and
i recall her smiling at me before she devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame and tore flagstones from the
path and hurled them into the sky screaming my sins
i powder a granite monument in a soundless flash showering the grass with molten drops of its goldinFay
sending smoking chips of stone skipping into the fog she splinters an ancient oak with a force that
takes my breath and hurls me to the ground she lea%!


gv0-i6tck[24 2h26u njk==tp12t1

There has been a lot of debate in years gone by as to whether the author was Durandal, you the cyborg, or someone else entirely. I do not intend (nor could I) solve the mystery now, but I will submit the idea that our friend John-117/Master Chief and the Security Officer from Marathon are one and the same individual. I am still holding on, waiting for the two timelines to be perfectly aligned without the need of any time travel or dimension jumping; hoping that the Halo story will fall into the "Century Left Intentionally Blank" in the Marathon timeline, and any apparent contradictions will be explained.

Second, as has been explored previously, I firmly believe that Cortana will or, more than likely, has already become rather selfish (to put it mildly) and has some shady motives of her own. She is not to be trusted. Now, if "I" is our eternal hero, Master Chief, and Cortana the "she" spoken of we have a peek into the development of their relationship over time. Pointed out to me by me comrade Richard, the most amazing and relevant phrase is "she splinters an ancient oak with a force that takes my breath", the very definition of the name "Pillar of Autumn". I find this amazing. As the subject of my email states, this could be a gigantic coincidence, but knowing Bungie and also considering that the name Pillar of Autumn had been decided on very early in Halo's development this may be an important link.

Of course the entire text could be interpreted very differently: perhaps the "she" is speaking of the Covenant? The phrases " she devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame" and "screaming my sins" suddenly become extremely meaningful starting from that presupposition.

I hope you and others also see what could be, an immense portent.



Interesting indeed. Could Bungie possibly be so far-minded, planning behind the thin slice of the Marathon universe covered in the games, building entire characters and personalities and histories which are revealed to us only now? Perhaps. Clearly, the connections are everywhere-and this one is one of the stronger, though more odd, ones.

Running with the assumption, as Daniel asks us to do, that Cortana is "she" and the Master Chief is "I," I find particularly interesting the following passge:

"devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame and tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into the sky screaming my sins"

The destruction of Halo? Sounds a lot like it to me. And of course, the splintering of the ancient oak-the destruction of the Pillar of Autumn, which leads to the fall of Halo. It was Cortana's idea to detonate the Autumn's fusion cores, thus setting about in the dismantling of Installation 004.

This is just another element of correlation between the Master Chief and the 10th Mjolnir Cyborg; the cyborg seems to have known of the Master Chief's exploits. Are they his own exploits? Perhaps we shall know soon enough.

So much to ponder, so little time...

-Ape Man


Gustav SondÈn ( writes:

I just happened to notice a small quote from Fall of Reach: "He displays an odd sort of attitude for a creation of the military: he does not glorify his actions, he merely does what he has to do. He does not hate his enemy; he kills them because he knows it is his duty to kill them. "It wasn't [the Chief's] job to make things suffer - he was just here to win battles. Whatever it took."

This is hardly breaking news i know, but thats state of mind is very similar to that of the cyborg in Marathon. He never objects to the orders either of the AI's give , even though he know they work against each other some times. That always seemed a bit odd to me, the side swapping. I was wondering, could this be something the cyborgs have been programed to do? Maybe an implant that suppress any moral objections if the order is given from an authorized source(such as Marathon AI's).

It would hardly be surprising if this is the case. You wouldn't want your battleroid having second thoughts. The real reason i'm sending this is because in that quote it sounds as if it was in the Chief's nature to follow orders no matter the consequences. I don't think that's the case. I think he's been programmed to do so. Or more correctly, i think the cyborg in marathon has and i also think they are of the same kind.

I think it's important to note that while the Chief always follows orders, he isn't always happy about it; after his Spartans nuke Cote D'Az?r to the bedrock, he spends much time devoted to the moral quandries caused by such an event. Also, after the fall of Reach, the Master Chief goes into a sort of regession, having lost all of his Spartans. The Master Chief tries to win, in the most glorious, pyrric sort of way, but he certainly harbors moral discontentment afterwards.

That said, note that the Master Chief never seems to feel sorry for his enemies. He kills the Covenant and thinks not much of it, just as the Marathon cyborg waded through the ranks of Pfhor garrisons, never batting an eyelash at the fact that he was a mass murderer. Or, perhaps he did. The Electric Sheep levels, anyone? If that's not the closest thing to the cyborg's nightmares, I don't know what is.

Such are the dreams of machines....

-Ape Man


More on the Marathon terminal connections discussed yesterday.

Thomas Dow, Jr. ( writes:

For those interested, the full text of the "Kill Your Television" terminal mentioned by Daniel (as well as a lot of speculation about it) is available at:

The "original" text is a bit longer, and includes a few parts that aren't in the terminal, including this interesting bit:

"we met once in the garden, at the beginning of the world and unaware of our twin destinies (not the garden of Genesis, but another; forgotten, untended and now choked with weeds, unvisited except for ourselves)."

Sounds a bit like [a] Halo, ne?

Tom Dow, Jr.

Indeed it does. Methinks it's time for a full-scale assault on the Marathon's Story Page; an assault with fine-tooth combs. It's time to sift.

-Ape Man


More on the Kill Your Television terminal.

Erik ( writes:

Regarding the "Kill Your Television" text,

A couple things that jumped out at me,

1. My guess is that Durandal was the author of the text. The author speaks of being called hundreds of names, and being called a thousand more before the world goes dim. That sounds like something Durandal would claim to me.

2. So, if the text was by Durandal, who was he talking about? Here, I would definitely agree with Daniel, that he is talking to Cortana. It just makes so much sense. One thing I noticed is that the "she" in the text is referred to as "a sword drenched in my blood," and we know Cortana is the name of a sword.

Going on these assumptions, it would seem that Cortana has been around for a long time, at least as long as Durandal. Maybe the garden referred too is the computer where they were both designed. Just a thought. But this leads to the question, why didn't we hear of Cortana at all during the Marathon series? Well, here is my hypothesis. Marathon was the story of Durandal. Halo is the story of Cortana.

Whether this is valid or not, and how it actually works, I do not know. You decide.


This terminal is turning out to be quite the confounded beast, with connections coming out of it like pipes out of factory.

If Marathon is the story of Durandal, and Halo is the story of Cortana...what is the story of Ogier the Swordsmith?

-Ape Man


Halo and Marathon: Inexorable linked, forever struggling to be free from each other...

Tristan Wolfe ( writes:

I read a letter on your page that said a person explored Halo's control room via banshee on the level, "Two Betrayals." I decided two try this out myself, and found a startling revelation. I took the banshee into the control room and flew to the center section, then flew up to the top of the room. Finding nothing, I turned back to go down, and while facing downward, I noticed that halo's control center's walkway is shaped in the form of the Marathon logo!



Oskar Lissheim ( writes:

I have some speculation about who wrote the poem in the "Kill your TeleVision" terminal. As Daniel so precisely pointed out, it's John-117 who's the author. I found some more evidence in the Marathon Story page, where you can read the whole unbroken transmission.

So, first, a "Sword drenched in my blood". Cortana is the name of a sword, and "drenched in my blood" is of course that the Artificial Intelligence named Cortana resides inside John's brain (you insert the memory-crystal in the back of your head in the beginning of Halo, remember? Read Fall of Reach and you will get this with the AI's a lot better).

"The Garden" is obviously the Halo(s?), "forgotten, untended and now choked with weeds, unvisited except for ourselves", and "she splinters an ancient oak" and also the line "i powder agranite monument in a soundless flash" is the destruction of the Pillar of Autumn and Halo (The 'Alpha' Halo that is of course...).

Then we have the line "our relationship is complex and perhaps eternal" that means that because Cortana is in fact inside John it's kindof a complex relationship (no shit :) and also eternal because she dies with him...unless she voluntarily leave, of course.

Finally, after the destruction of Halo , the line "she leaves and i lie in the slow rain of burning slivers of wood, staring at the low, dark clouds,craving our next meeting." signifies John's constantly reappering moral dilemmas as he's leaving the Halo, and all the organisms - may they be human, Covenant of Flood - on it, behind him. Dreaming (nightmares?) about his his next mission...



Over on the HBO forum, stalwart defender of reason and intelligence Shishka has done an excellent job of condensing many of the Marathon-Halo connections into a well-written post. Much of it has been said before, and submitted to us here, but this overview is worth bookmarking. To wit:

Long before Halo, Bungie had released a trilogy of games, the Marathon series. The games have a cult following, and are part of the reason Bungie.Org exists today.

With the release of Halo, many Bungie fans noticed the connections between the Halo and Marathon Universes. Most obvious is the liberal use of the Marathon logo in Halo. It's seen on the Pillar of Autumn, Captain Keyes' uniform, and even in the Halo logo on the cover of the box the game came in. Many people have suggested that the logo can be found in other places within Halo, as well, though often it turns out to be a stretch of the idea.

Another well known connection between Halo and Marathon is Master Chief himself. Master Chief is a MJOLNIR MkV cyborg. MkVI in Halo, with his new battle armor. The character you play as in the Marathon trilogy is believed to be an MJOLNIR MkIV.

Those are two very well known Marathon connections. However, Cortana is also a Marathon connection, though it isn't as well known by people as the two aformentioned examples.

In the Marathon trilogy, you fight encounter after encounter at the whim of a rampant AI known as Durandal.

Durandal was the name of Roland's sword in "The Song of Roland:"

"Count Roland smites upon the marble stone;
I cannot tell you how he hewed it and smote;
Yet the blade breaks not nor splinters, though it groans;
Upward to heaven it rebounds from the blow.
When the count sees it never will be broke,
Then to himself right softly he makes moan;
'Ah, Durandal, fair, hallowed, and devote,
What store of relics lies in thy hilt of gold!'"

Roland, according to the epic poem, is supposed to be the Nephew of Charlemagne. This is also hinted at in the games:

"Durandan, Durandal, Durandana.
Charlemagne used to always call me
Durandana, the fruitcake. All the many
implements of war to him were in some way
feminine. Not that you know the story."

"Cool, Shishka, but what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?"

Nothing. However, a little research into Cortana's name gives a bit of legend about Charlemagne. That's right. Charlemagne. Particularly, this legend where Charlemagne presents a sword to the prince of the Danes.

The sword bears an inscription:

"My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durindana."

...Are we having fun yet? ;)




343 Guilty Spark ( writes:

Watching the end credits to Halo, I noted the spinning logo in the foreground. Then I remembered something I read on Marathon Story Page, and It came to me: That logo is exactly the same as the logo on the S'Pht door in Waterloo Waterpark!

Eery... The S'pht door and Forerunner ring, you say? Hmmm...



Calvin ( writes:

I was playing the Marathon 2 Demo, and I noticed that the art between levels between levels seemed awfully familiar. Specifically, the painting of a priest race on a wall with the player looking at it.

I finally found the connection when I was looking at an old Halo 2 preview. Compare the concept sketch for the "pope race" and the priest-looking painting of an alien on a wall.

This has been noted before on the MSP, but it does deserve another look. Whether or not it portends of anything, you've got to admit, there is more than a passing resemblance between the Prophets and the S'pht.



Furthering an earlier post by Shishka,

Larry Peterson ( writes:

...a little research into Cortana's name gives a bit of legend about Charlemagne. That's right. Charlemagne. Particularly, this legend where Charlemagne presents a sword to the prince of the Danes.

The sword bears an inscription:

"My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durindana."

And of course, the most famous of the Princes of the Danes was ... Beowulf! †Another AI in the Fall of Reach!




1. To cut off or remove dead or living parts or branches of (a plant, for example) to improve shape or growth.
2. To remove or cut out as superfluous.

Narcogen is to Larry Peterson is to Shishka is to...

Narcogen ( writes:

For clarification, the Beowulf of the legend was not, in fact, a Dane at all, but a Geat. However, the Danish king in the story - Hrothgar, whose mead hall is terrorized by the monster Grendel - had a grandfather named Beowulf.

So there's likely no connection between the AI named Beowulf, the AI named Cortana, and the AI named Durandal - except that Bungie has thoroughly mined the Song of Roland as well as other pieces of medieval literature when coming up with names and themes.

Just my $0.02 :-)



No, kill YOUR television...

John Hanan ( writes:

I did read Daniel Barbour's text from a [Marathon] terminal and found it interesting that the speaker (presumably this Durandal character) said that he had been called Beowulf. Anybody else think it curious that Cortana and Beowulf are at odds in Fall of Reach? It's also interesting that he calls (presumably) Cortana a sword drenched in his blood, but doesn't mention any sort of retaliation. Could it be that Durandal (the Beowulf AI?) is still bitter about Cortana doing as she pleases (bypassing security with impunity or "drawing blood") and coming away unscathed?



Shannon also has some clarifications to make regarding the Marathon plotline and more possible parallels and connections to it.

Justin Graham's post of January 17, 2002 goes in a direction I'd like to see explored more - Durandal's possible connection. Though I'd like to first politely point out a problem in his assumptions. (he seems not to have played Marathon himself, which is forgivable-I have to admit the sin of not fully playing Halo. I'm waiting for the Mac version. AHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA! snif* *wipes a tear*)

Justin writes "I believe, Durandal ordered his pet soldier to destroy a sun..."

Correct me if I'm wrong, fellow Marathon heads, but it was more like this: Durandal, as an AI, Identified with the S'pht, a cybernetic slave race of the Pfhor, and jumped to their home planet to liberate them from the slavers. The Pfhor, being an experienced and dedicated slaver empire, had specific policies regarding the revolt of their subordinates, up to and including the last resort of detonating the slave's native sun with a device known as the "trih xeem" or early nova. In Marathon II, the main character, (a Mjolnir Mark IV, as its pretty much been established. p.s. he looks EXACTLY like the MC in one of the terminal pics that shows him kicking an alien in the face) is the main tool of this revolt. Despite Durandal's work and his, the Pfhor, pushed to the brink of defeat, deploy the trih xeem.

It turns out that the Jjarro, who created the S'pht race in this system, also used its sun's gravity well to trap a vague and horrible creature or creatures, the W'rkncacnter, that embody chaos itself. (I'm not gonna say "FLOOD" cus clearly they're two different things, but the thematic parallels are obvious.) What follows, in Marathon Infinity, is Durandal's desperation and failure, with a hint that there may be a way to escape. The main character skips though different time lines until he finds one in which the nova can be contained and the chaos averted. Durandal & you save the system from destruction.

Justin speculated that Durrandal had, through his quest to become a "God" by escaping the closing of the universe, perhaps become what we know as the forerunners.

I'm going to instead suggest that we're not that far down the timeline from Infinity. I believe Durandal must have moved on in his explorations (He departs Lh'owon with the S'pht to search for a new homeward at the end of the marathon series).

Durandal would be at this point in an excellent position to search out other Jjarro artifacts and ruins, having become intimately familiar with a race they gave birth to on a planet they terraformed. He would have no doubt been attracted to the halo installations.

Here's where I veer into rampant speculation. Durandal, with his God aspirations, is exactly the kind of AI to start a religion, intentionally or not. If Durandal, with his S'pht and S'pht'kr in tow, searching for a new home planet, ran across another civilization or civilizations, he might deal with the situation by cultivating a mythos around himself. His disdain for his former masters, the human race, could carry over into his dogma.

On the other hand, It may be silly to use Durrandal to explain the Covenant. There is definitely room for other Jjarro-related offspring races - there are references made to "client" races of the Jjarro. They may have been very busy.

I suppose the end to all this groping in the dark will come with Halo 2. Till then, lets shadowbox!

We hope the answers will come with Halo 2, but really, will they? Did they after Marathon Infinity?

Still, great speculating! Keep smoking that crack-pipe, friends!



Forerunner/Jjarro Intent: Preserving the Flood to preserve balance

Shannon ( writes:

A few thoughts in the arena of Marathon Connections and the logistics of the story in that context.

First, I'm running off the common assumption that the Jjarro are the Forerunners. I want to point out the parallels between the Jjarro station in Infinity with which you contain and prevent the early nova, and the Halo. It seems the Jjarro had a habit of leaving behind barely contained apocalyptic horrors with big old machine/habitats as the only defense.

I see many speculations on why the flood had to be preserved. Here's something that occurred to me: If the forerunners are Jjarro, their obsession with keeping balance is enough to explain the whole thing. In Marathon II, the Jjarro AI that the player re-activates, Thoth, switches sides as soon as it tilts the scales slightly in Durandal's favor. The player's dream/interactions with Thoth throughout Marathon Infinity are dominated by the theme of balance. The Jjarro, being immensely powerful, may have seen the necessity of containing the Flood, weather they created it or not, but found the idea of letting it die off counter to their whole philosophy. After all, a race of extreme power may find cultivating a delicate balance in the galaxy their only challenge.

Good point. The purposes we assign to things may be totally unrelated to the purposes the Forerunner have.



Okay, strap on those Jjaro boxers, Mr. Security Officer. Time for more Marathon speculation.

Sean Haas ( writes:

Although it seems any conclusions I inevitably draw within the Halo/Marathon universe, someone has already written about it. Except this:

This is, yet another, take on the whole Kill Your Television (first terminal) debate. I believe the author is in fact a conglomerate of intellects, most specifically writing this poem from the point of view of Cortana. Let us dicuss:

I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh.I have been called a hundred names and will be called athousand more before the world goes dim and cold. I am hero. She has been nameless since our birth,a constant adversary caring for nothing but my ruin,a sword drenched in my blood forever, my greatest andonly love. She is the dark. O Lethe, enemy and lover, withoutwhom my very existence would be pathetic and vulgar!Our relationship is complex and perhaps eternal.We met once in the garden at the beginning of the world and, unaware of our twin destinies, we matched staresacross a dry fountain. And I recall her smiling at me beforeshe devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flameand tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into thesky, screaming my sins. I powder a granite monument in asoundless flash, showering the grass with molten drops ofits gold inlay, sending smoking chips of stone skipping into the fog. She splinters an ancient oakwith a force that takes my breath and hurls me to the ground.She lea% [leaves?]

The first section: I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh.I have been called a hundred names and will be called athousand more before the world goes dim and cold. I am hero

If you assume that the Halo and Marathon timeline's are one in the same, Cortana logically lives on to 'fight another day' following the events of Halo/Halo 2. Based on another Bungie fan's speculation, we will see Cortana go rampant in Halo 2. Having said this, at the time of writing this passage, Cortana is rampant, and quite possibly, insane. Amongst the names she mentions, two are mentioned within 'The Fall of Reach': Gilgamesh and Beowulf. Beowulf was the ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) A.I. who screened the initial presentation of Covenant information to the Spartans. Later, Cortana hacks into the ONI's database to retrieve blocked files on John 117, and briefly runs into some trouble with Beowulf. She also places several credit transactions to a brothel on Gilgamesh (presumably another planet) to frame a high-ranking officer. Now, in her 'rampant' state (at the time of the above passage's writing) she may possibly be confusing various names and places with the sheer amount of data she has absorbed. Perhaps she even retains some of the code for Beowulf's programming, it is stated within FoR that she saved the route she took to ONI for later use. Maybe sometime between Marathon and Halo she assumed command of Beowulf for her own means? She then calls herself 'hero' from the first-hand account of John 117's battles with the Flood and the Covenant. John thanks Cortana, and is often thankful for Cortana, during his battles, so vicariously, Cortana and John are one 'heroic' entity.

Second section: She has been nameless since our birth,a constant adversary caring for nothing but my ruin,a sword drenched in my blood forever, my greatest andonly love. She is the dark. O Lethe, enemy and lover, withoutwhom my very existence would be pathetic and vulgar!Our relationship is complex and perhaps eternal.

As written on the Marathon story page, Lethe is a river that flows through the underworld of Hades. Borrowed from a Google search: "Forgetfulness". In Greek mythology, the Lethe is one of the rivers that flow through the realm of Hades. Called the River of Oblivion, the shades of the dead had to drink from this river to forget about their past lives on earth.

Technically speaking, you would assume the UNSC developed and employed A.I.'s for the purpose of tracking/remember/calculating/referencing information that starship captains do not have access to, or simply don't know about. Would it not then be easy to conclude that Cortana's one and only true enemy is 'forgetfulness'? Is it not her job to remember EVERYTHING she witnesses? True, she selectively deletes files in FoR and her Alpha command is to protect (insofar as completely erasing her own existence, thereby forgetting) the coordinates of Earth. But overall, her task is to catalog and assist with the memory of information. The blood-drenched sword alludes to the fact that Cortana has done and seen many violent and bloody things in order to ensure that she procures and retains her vital information. The destruction of Halo was her idea and as such, is one of presumably many large-scale acts of violence for the sake of preserving information.

Third section: We met once in the garden at the beginning of the world and, unaware of our twin destinies, we matched staresacross a dry fountain. And I recall her smiling at me beforeshe devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flameand tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into thesky, screaming my sins. I powder a granite monument in asoundless flash, showering the grass with molten drops ofits gold inlay, sending smoking chips of stone skipping into the fog.

The 'We' mentioned at the beginning is no longer referring to the 'she' from the previous section. Here you would have to imagine an audible pause (if this was spoken aloud) or perhaps a topic change motivated by subtext. Keep in mind the author is likely not writing this to an audience, and is merely spouting off thoughts in a poetic fashion, clarity is also not a rampant A.I.'s strongpoint. I believe now, the 'conglomerate of intellects' A.I. in charge is now writing from the standpoint of Durandal, who somewhere along way, has managed to absorb the whole of Cortana. How exactly they could've 'met' is unclear, but as stated before with the communication between Cortana and Beowulf, it is not required for A.I.s to be physically near one another to communicate. I still believe the garden is in fact Halo, the blue flame is the destruction of Halo, and one could interpret that perhaps Durandal was at one point a Covenant A.I.? The 'screaming my sins' line would allude that Cortana's desctruction of the PoA opened the eyes of some Covenant (or Covenant A.I. in this case) to the fact that this war is a sin against their deity (possibly the Forerunner?). Halo WAS built to contain the Flood, not unleash them, maybe the Forerunner were a peaceful, intelligent race, and avoided conflict at nearly all costs (the exception being Halo itself), thus, to worship such a peaceful race, would not war be against their (the Covenant) religion? The latter half of this section, I haven't found an explanation for. Perhaps this, and the remaining lines of the poem, are now referring to something else we've yet to see?

In conclusion, if it is accepted that Durandal wrote this passage, I would have to add that Cortana somehow had a hand in it, or in fact Cortana and Durandal now occupy the same memory-processors and are in fact one and the same A.I. entity.


Thanks for reading.

< Unauthorized access-alarm 2521- >
< Security Breached 2362-d<12.53.2117.42 >- >

Marathon Internal Engineering Documents
Section 1-c appendix H

Subject: Doors
By: Estasia Orestes, Dominick I. Plackar, and Ursa Simbalzi

There are five basic door designs to be used on the Marathon:
1. Outer Bulkhead Doors
2. Airlock Doors
3. Inner Bulkhead Doors
4. Tertiary or Inner Sealed Non-Vacuum Safe Doors
5. Quaternary or Inner Powered Automatic Opening Doors

Direct control of all doors except the Tertiary and Quaternary
doors will be given to Dur%%#####

< Spurious Interrupt- BreachDisabled >
< Further Access Denied >



When good rebuttals go bad!

What started out as a routine response turned ugly earlier today when blithe calculations inadvertently exposed a significant numerical variance in dates. Ghastly in its unexpectedness!

Kiara577 ( writes:

First, all you people speculating that Beowulf/Durandal/Hero is talking to/about Cortana I feel is wrong. In FoR it says that Cortana was created in the likeness of Dr. Halsey around the year 2552. That is when Master Chief is first introduced to the real MJOLNIR armor. The Marathon supposedly launched in 2209 and I assume (never having played the game) that Durandal was on it. That would mean that Durandal was talking about an AI from 343 years in the future. This would be impossible.

When have impossible premises ever hindered the submission of email? ;)

And a 343 year time difference to boot; spooky :)



Jesse Price ( writes:

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but could the Marathon universe, starting with Pathways, tie-in with Halo? Let's go through this.

The "unnamed god" crashes into our planet millions of years ago, and the Jjaro come to deal with it after the events of P.I.D. Then, the Marathon games take place and Durandal is left to escape the end of the universe. Let's say that the Jjaro are the Forerunner in the Halo series, and disappeared with the rest of the universe when the previous reclaimer activated the installation. In so many words, the idea here is that Durandal presumably sent the cyborg from Marathon to a Halo (not necessarily 04) in his attempt to escape the closure of the universe. This wipes out all life in the effective radius of all the installations. So, (and I realize this is rather far-fetched) *deep breath* evolutionrestartsonearthandleadstohumanityresearchingmanyifnotallof


If Mr. Security Officer was the reclaimer that GS refers to with the line, "Last time you asked me..." then I wonder why he (we) asked that question at all? For all the Marathon players out there, did you ever stop to ponder your actions on a galactic scale? ;-)



And to further connect the Flood with the dark foes of old...

David "Gram" Guilbault ( writes:

Now on to my point, the Flood are a powerful parasitic race living as far as we know in Halo's research/containment facilities, well, until you and the Covenant came along. Now we have the W'rkncacnter, the evil of all evils from Halo's epic predecessor Marathon. Also like Flood, the W'rkncacnter have large numbers and can live practically anywhere. Take this nice little snippet from Marathon's Story Page for example...

Now for the facts....

"The W'rkncacnter only appear in this single terminal in Marathon 2 but from this small piece of text it is possible to gather a few facts.

The W'rkncacnter are more than one. The line "The sun burned them..." infers more than one. The W'rkncacnter are powerful. Powerful enough to survive being burnt by Lh'owon's sun. Yet not as powerful as Yrro who seemingly flung them there. The W'rkncacnter are enemies of the Jjaro (this is based on the fact that Yrro is most likely a member of the Jjaro race)."

Resilient buggers aren't they..

"According to the legends of a thousand worlds only a few of which are still habitable, the W'rkncacnter are those things that live in chaos, creating it around them. At the beginning of the universe, they were unmistakable in their entities, but as time has gone by, their existence has become difficult to detect among the chaotic elements of the universe, hidden in stars, trapped in storms, forever looking along the event horizons of black holes. Setting one free in ordered space is difficult and insane. "

Now if I remember correctly from another post on the Flood someone pointed out that the Flood must have come from a "high gravity" place so to speak or at least are able to survive there in one form or another. Plus it's said by Guilty Spark that the Flood change the atmosphere to fit their needs and the Flood do cause A LOT of chaos in battles and Halo as well...

Now a little S'pht/Forerunner/Halo relating:

"This station was built by the progenitors of the S'pht and used to make Lh'owon into a paradise. It is capable of generating multiple gravitational fields..."

Like Halo... hmmmm anyway...

Unfortunately in Marathon (sequels or otherwise) we don't see the W'rkncacnter, we just hear of it and its destructive power. Maybe the Flood were a spin-off of the W'rkncacnter or are one and the same.

If not literally connected, they undoubtedly hold a similar niche within both the Halo and Marathon universes.

Lucky for us, Bungie just can't let a good idea die :)



Kodos ( writes:

Could the Forerunner be the mythic Jjaro? Could the Flood be the dread W'rkncacnter?

Pathways into Darkness makes it clear the the W'rkncacnter simply cannot be killed.

"It died there, or it came as close to dying as these things can, and drifted aimlessly for millions of light years before striking the Earth."

Similarily, one hell of a good reason for keeping the Flood is that for whatever reason they simply can NOT be destroyed. (Or, perhaps the Flood are manifestations of the W'rkncacnters dreams? "..populated by horrible manifestations of the dead god's dream.") Some people have suggested that destroying Halo may have had some unforseen ramifications on the cosmos at large. Perhaps our destruction of Halo has freed a (the?) W'rkncacnter.

If the Flood can survive the vacuum of space in some form, we surely have released them, at least within the Halo 04 system for now...



Nobody likes the Nebulons... not even enough to base a race on them... ::sigh:: :(

Lazaru2 ( writes:

The Pfhor and Covenant are WAY to similar to be mere coincidence, they both are pseudo-religious armies, comprised of various races. Consider the message from Marathon 2, "For Carnage Apply Within", terminal 1:

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.

Then there are the Spht'Kr. They, if anyone remembers, are quite like the Sentinals in Halo. And those wierd things you first see on Lh'owon in Marathon 2, the things with the mouths in their stomachs, early ideas of the Flood? Its all to similar for me. Oh, and consider the Hulks, and then compare them to the new Brutes.

The flaring, spherical shields found on some of the Sentinels are what always brought the Spht'Kr to mind for me. And the Flickta as early Flood? Could be, but what of the old infected Pfhor? Now that's not something to study before lunch...

Let's see... S'pht and Prophets (in appearance, at least), the Hunter similarities have also been mentioned. Hmmm... Do the Grunts and the Nar have anything in common, besides stature, of course? ;)

(Update: With the release of Halo 2 and its related materials, similarities have also been drawn between the Hulk and the conceptualized Drinol Beast, as well as between the Juggernauts and the Forerunner Enforcers. Neat stuff :)



The technology underlying the armor you wear came straight from the...

Liam Whaley ( writes:

I was just thinking about how the covenant said they got the elites suits from the holy ones (or something).

Could this be the suit that they were talking about in The Flood?



The Unyielding Hierophant's connections to the UESC Marathon


Just a quick note to mention something I noticed while reading through FS: On page 316, there are two references to at least one of the reactor rooms on the "Unyielding Hierophant" being made from an asteroid. The first is less specific, simply saying that the reactor room was "a cavern hewn from rough stone." The second is more convincing: "It was a tremendous feat of engineering. It was as if the station's builders had hewn this from a seed asteroid and built the rest of the installation around it." If I remember correctly, the Marathon was also made from one of Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are, because of their irregular shape and small size, widely believed to be asteroids captured by Martian gravity.

(This may prove connections with the Marathon, because, since we are unclear as to the time discrepancy between the two game universes, the Marathon may have existed earlier, and been found, derelict by the Covenant. It is also mentioned several times in FS and TFoR that the Covenant are imitative rather than innovative. Seeing something on this scale may have inspired them to do the same with the reactor rooms of the UH. )

Though it has been explicitly stated that Halo and Marathon are entirely different story lines, the similarities still stand. Good eye!



And from our own mailbag o' treasures: Moorcock and destiny (cont)

Spongecake ( writes:


Just a little thought regarding the recurring question of the Mjolnir IV cyborg from Marathon and his possible relevance to the world of Halo. I may well be way off-base, but I just thought I'd run this up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes. At the final screen†of the (staggeringly trippy) Marathon:Infinity, the text†reads;

"We've watched while the stars burned out, and creation played in reverse. The universe freezing in half light. Once I thought to escape. To end the end a master, step out of the path of collapse. Escape would make us God."

**This is the A.I.†Durandal contemplating the Big Crunch, which he has unsuccessfully†sought to evade.

"Yet I cannot help†remember one enigma. A hybrid, elusive destroyer. This is the only mystery I have not solved. The only element unaccounted for."

**†Hybrid... destroyer = man/machine hybrid = cyborg. No prizes for that one. He makes a Marathon reference which I shall skip, then continues:

"But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern."

** The first time he says 'dead' it's figurative, as in there was seemingly†no way to come out of those situations alive. 'Hopeless encounters successfully won' is starting to sound like our boy the MC now, until the reminder that the Mjolnir IV is a man 'long dead' (Gherrit White?) -†FoR†shows us that the Spartans are certainly not hotwired corpses.†But what really makes me sit up is... 'grafted to machines your builders did not understand'... are we looking at humans dicking around with Forerunner artifacts here? Slapping together something they think will be a better fighting machine without the faintest idea what they might really be starting?

'You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern'? Which path is this? This is strongly redolent of the 'Eternal Champion' in Michael Moorcock's novels, a kind of constant figure existing across numerous incarnations in multiple parallel universes whose fate is always to fight courageously against staggering odds, often†bringing tragedy†to themself and those around them, to maintain a kind of cosmic balance between Law and Chaos†even at the cost of their own destruction ("Two forces in balance/ancient endless balance/then nothing" - Aye Mak Sicur terminal 2).†Maybe Durandal's just getting†flaky in his old age - and by this point he's been around for aeons - but then you don't get that old without learning a thing or two.

"Yours to manipulate, to destroy and rebuild."

** Manipulate destroy and rebuild what exactly? The 'pattern' again? I can only assume this means the pattern of events as they happen.†Has the Mjolnir IV somehow independently gained the ability to move through time/between alternative timelines†after†we leave him at the end of†Marathon:Infinity? Did dormant Forerunner technology 'your builders did not understand' unexpectedly grant this cyborg the capacity to change history, and if so, to what extent did he use it? What motivates a dead man fused to a mass of cryptic hardware? Did the technology return to its makers the Forerunner, taking the Mjolnir IV with them, or did he escape the Big Crunch by†somehow using it to move backward through time? Most importantly, was it the Mjolnir IV that Guilty Spark 343 met before and mistook the Master Chief for?

"Now, in the quantum moment before the closure, when all become one. One moment left. One point of space and time.

"I know who you are.

"You are Destiny."

** For a hard-headed AI to come over all metaphysical, you know something big's afoot.



KYT and Moorcock: Shamelessly stolen, that is to say "borrowed", from the MSP

Charles Craig ( writes:

Just wanted to write in with a little tidbit that applies to the "Facts and Puzzling Things About" section - it generally applies to "The Unformatted KYT Term. Message" (I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh...) and, to a lesser extent, to "You".

As William Spencer pointed out, it's definitely reminiscent of Michael Moorcock's "Eternal Champion" concept, wherein a lone human is reincarnated, over and over, each live fated to become a crucial figure in the battle between Law and Chaos. In the very first story, within the opening chapters, we see this:

"And the names? Was I John Daker or ErekosÎ? Was I either of these? Many other names - Corum Jhaelen Irsei, Aubec, Sexton Begg, Elric, Rackhir, Iliam, Oona, Simon, Bastable, Cornelius, the Rose, von Bek, Asquiol, Hawkmoon - fled away down the ghostly rivers of my memory."

Even more interesting is that the above is actually the REVISED version of that same text - Moorcock rewrote portions of the story when getting it printed in novel form in 1970. The original novella version, circa 1962, presented a slightly different refrain...

"Shaleen, Artos, Brian, Umpata, Roland, Ilanth, Ulysses, Alric"

Any of those names seem familiar?

In essence, as Moorcock developed the idea of the Eternal Champion, he started to assign many of his other fictional works to that pantheon, making the lead characters of most of his stories (and indeed, a number of minor characters as well) incarnations of the Eternal Champion. However, in the earliest draft, he simply used figures out of actual history. Artos is the Latin of Arthur - the somewhat famous figure out of British legend. Brian is most likely Brian the Blessed, who also figures into Irish and British myth (his head being buried under the Tower of London, protecting England from invasion). Ulysses (or Odysseus) was the main character in the Odyssey, and came up with the idea for the Trojan Horse (he also fought with Achilles). Alric was the leader of the Germanic tribe which eventually sacked Rome. Ilanth MIGHT be Iolanthe (a Fairie, from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta of the same name). I have no idea about Umpata or Shaleen, though as for Roland, I think we all know him by now...

Moorcock is fairly well-known in fantasy/sci-fi circles - consider that TSR looted his works as well as Tolkien's when they created Dungeons and Dragons. I'm sure at least SOMEONE at Bungie could be pushing for the idea that many important characters in the Bungie mythos are bound by a similar destiny, if not one-and-the-same (consider the Pathways/Marathon/Halo main char connection - it COULD be the same char).



Shamelessly harvested from the MSP, which was an HBO repost, based on a thread...

Enkidu writes:

During a medal ceremony in the opening cinematics of the game, the Sgt. Johnson character is presented with a medal by Admiral Lord Hood (voiced by Ron Perlman) which is the highest reward for "a soldier of the United Earth Space Corps..."

Until then, the governing body in the Haloverse was the UNSC, the United Nations Space Command. The UESC reference here has to be another nod to Marathon.



UrsusArctos spent some time mulling over the Marathon Kill Your Television terminal in this here forum post:

And the ancient oak is IAC/High charity. High charity is shaped like an oak tree, and oaks are clad in 'amber' leaves during autumn (see the connection here?).

Ooh. Good thinking :)



A little rampant speculation to end the day, for Marathony fun

WSC ( writes:

The other day I was thinking about Halo, and how the Ark is supposedly on Earth. What if it's really on Mars? Maybe Regret only lands on Earth to find the key to the Ark or a map or to throw us off the trail.

The system where the destroyed Halo is also has the gas giant installation so maybe the Sol system also has many Forerunner installations (by the way, did anyone else think "Marathon" when they found an unstoppable chaotic demon on an installation orbiting an object described as a gas-giant?) I could see the Master Chief having to fight it out on Mars, or maybe one of Mars' moons (Deimos?) I doubt that they found the Ark on Earth - why would have left so quickly. Why leave at all, after uncovering the Ark so the dirty, stinky marines might find it? Then they nuked New Mombasa by running away anyway, not the way to treat Forerunner relics.

I also find it odd how the Covenant are so happy to glass planets that have Forerunner installations. In the book they burned Reach except for that patch where
the crystal was, what if they got their coordinates wrong? And in the trailer they were glassing Earth. That plotline was dropped and then in the actual game they had to land on Earth to find something. Why are they so sure about their directions?



Again, not a Marathon expert, but definitely worth a look.

Coleman Gailloreto ( writes:

I found this in the Marathon scrap book, which can be found online. If you can't load the appropriate pages of the scrapbook, like me, then go to Hamish Sinclair's Marathon Story Page, and Go to "Fact and Puzzling Things about.."; Marathon Scrapbook, and you'll see a reference to a monster dropped from Marathon 2:

Sketch of the Zombie Pfhor, probably the coolest monster ever conceived for the game. All the upper part of the armor is gone, including the mask. The Pfhor skin is all covered with eruptions, like a case of chickenpox gone awry. The legs are deformed, swollen; the same goes for the arms. While the left arm is still recognizable, the right one seems like the cross between a slug and a piece of mucus. The shoulder is so swollen, the head is slanted to the left - yet the fighter is able to hold the staff with this arm.

Sound familiar?

Very ;)



"Durandal would be proud."

He sure would be. Thanks mike9187 :)



Hope springs eternal...

Denkriston asks,

"Is it possible that sometime in the future, Bungie may work on another Marathon game?"

Frankie responds,

"Of course it's possible. We're not doing that at the moment, however. Two suggestions get leveled our way frequently - do a Live Arcade port or make a full-on Next Gen Marathon game."

To dream! (said in a rolling, Monty Python drawl)



Keen eyes... As noted, forum-goer Omega used his in-credible eyes to spot the Marathon logo on the H3 Assault/Battle Rifle. Louis Wu went through the trouble of cleaning up the image a tad bit here.

Slick. Keepin' the flame alive :)



Keep hoping buddy; you're not alone! ;)

Brian Holland ( writes:

When dealing with the question of how Halo and Marathon are related, most people just take Bungie's official statement at face value, or realize that Halo takes place before the Marathon story actually ends. (ends? "to end the end a master" "find yourself... starting back...")

I would like to point out something interesting found in the text of the final screen of Marathon 2: Durandal. The first 2 paragraphs read as follows:

"It was ten thousand years before fate brought Durandal once again into contact with man.

The Pfhor were but a dim memory then, known only to a few historians and students of Earth's second colonial period. The S'pht had been nearly forgotten as well, and no man had seen a living specimen of their race since the sacking of the Pfhor system by the combined fleets of Earth and the S'pht'Kr in 2881 AD.

The part that sparked my attention was the bit about how the events in the Marathon series (1 & 2 at least) took place in the "second colonial period" this implies that before the launching of Marathon, there was a 1st colonial period, I assume this must be the esablishment of 'inner-colonies' as the Marathon is supposed to be the first 'outer-colony' expedition. More importantly, this implies that there could be several more colonial periods after the events of Marathon, or at least alot of time and history that occurs between Marathon and when "fate brought Durandal once again into contact with man." (10,000 years later) Is it so hard to believe that Halo is taking place sometime in those 10,000 years, sufficient time for the events of Marathon and the S'pht / Pfhor / Human wars to be all but forgotten by humanity? The 'AD' / 'Military Calendar' discrepency offers excuses for this sort of thing.

Of course who knows what twists Bungie can throw out, owing to the fact that Jjaro technology in Marathon gives you the ability to bend time/space, and Forerunner artifacts in the Halo story do the same thing...

I'd have given up completely if it wasn't for Alex Seropian going off about the Heroes being "the same character" (even if thematically) and that dang blank century...



Wait a sec... Was that a Marathon Terminal Sound in the Halo 3 Trailer?



Oh my darlings, you will like this one. I love it.

Reid ( writes:

There was a rather amusing theory postulated by Frank Tipler (his book _Physics of Immortality_) stating that a computer could compute everything, e.g. an infinite amount of processing power, in zero time, as the universe collapsed into the the euclidean point at time-zero. My speculation has been that Durandal "discovered" this in the Marathon universe, and used it to escape into the Halo universe. A lot of other people believe it, too, obviously. Tipler's book was published in 1994, before Marathon Infinity, so it's also quite possible that Bungie read it and got their idea from it.

The problem is, how would such a computer work, what would it look like, how would it survive the collapse? Who or what is the incarnation of Durandal in Halo assuming he did escape Marathon? If Durandal did survive closure, what would it even mean?

After the universe collapsed and re-separated, there wouldn't exactly be computers floating around in space for him to download himself onto. In fact, there wouldn't exist a computer for him to reside on when the universe initially expanded. The way to survive would probably involve stacking the deck: using his massive amount of processing power and a little bit of sweat to set things just right at the expansion point so that events unfolded to re-create him via spontaneous reactions. I've started wondering if the Tipler computer would make more sense as an organic computer for this reason.

Organic compounds are self-organizing, which is rather convenient for a post-collapse, freshly big-banged, universe-reboot scenario, in which essentially hydrogen (and maybe some helium) are all that's there. It's hoping against hope that silicon wafers with electricity would spontaneously form post-collapse. Indeed it would require a lot of manipulation, and likely could not be made to happen spontaneously simply because Durandal didn't have a fine enough finger to move the universe-bits around in 0 dimensions.

Stacking the deck to create Guanine, Adenine, Thymine, and Cytosine (better known as G,A,T,C) probably wouldn't be too difficult, though. Maybe he wanted to be sure he got himself recreated, in which organic compounds seem like the way to go. An organic compound that would eventually become the new durandal would be simple: make sure the base molecules get created in the right order somewhere, and in close proximity to each other, and you'll get yourself again, assuming the universe could be deterministically computed (Tipler again, he'd have all the processing power he needed). It wouldn't be too difficult to put higher concentrations of hydrogen in one spot. that would form the first star, which eventually supernova. The fallout from the supernova would be mostly stuff lighter than iron, including plenty of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and leftover, unburned hydrogen.

Which of course leads to the question, how would he assure himself that his organic computer was sufficient to survive the next collapse and achieve its goal (escape forever)?

Probably a stretch, but the Flood actually makes sense as a Durandal carrier. If you want to assure survival to the universe's collapse, make yourself big and redundant. Expand as far and as wide as you possibly can. It's highly probably that Durandal would have fun doing that as the Flood, making efficient use out of other organic compounds' hard work at evolution to bolster his own security and escape. So imagine if you will, the Flood are an organic version of Durandal. Since Durandal survived the collapse of the universe once this way, he'd sure as hell want to keep on doing it.

Except, of course, the forerunner impede his progress. Maybe they realize what he is, and want to study him so that they can figure out how to survive the universe collapse themselves. This might make sense based on the Covenant reaction to Halo 004. If the Forerunners knew that the Flood were universe-survivors, they probably documented it, and probably documented that the Flood were the key to life forever (through the next universe collapse, anyway). The Covenant, in all their data mining of Forerunner computers, would no doubt come across the document. It wouldn't take too much of a misunderstanding on the Covenant's part to think that the Halos (which were part research station to analyze the flood) represented ascension to a higher plane of existence -- the Forerunner documentation would probably say exactly that!

Kind of a bizarre idea that's been bouncing around in my head for a few years now. Consider it a theory unless anyone can see an obvious counterpoint that disproves it.

I really, REALLY like this theory. Even if it can be disproved, it is one amazing piece of thought, and so eloquently laid out. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I love about you guys.



Fiery tracks

K Barner ( writes:

Cortana records, in The Cortana Letters "I have begun to sense rumblings of a worse fate yet to come. I can recall a sun - black, but shining - and the creatures that inched along its fiery tracks." Compare this reference with: "Yrro in anger, flung the W'rkncacnter into the sun. The sun burned them, but they swam on its surface."

If the same sun is being referenced then Cortana is learning about the W'rkncacnter which has not been released from Lh'owon's sun yet.

Yes, Cortana letters are not canon. Yes, Cortana did quote them. Yes, the Gravemind-Durandal tie is one of my favourites. I like this one.



A face in a dream

Francisco Duarte ( writes:

Duradal concludes, in the end of Marathon Infinity that the hero is destiny, someone in the story page has even said the he discovers that the destiny of the hero is his own immortalaty, I think...

What if Durandal, in that quantum instant, as he describes it, finds a way to stretch a little more his life, to slow down the collapse of the universe, while he tries to discover a ultimate way to escape that fate... And, doing so, he falls into a dream. A machine's dream. And that dream would be a recreation of the realities of his existence... Humanity... Their war with the Pfor... And the Halos would be a way, hidden in his mind, to escape death, by awakening on a new universe. But the awakenning would destroy everthing in his dream. The ancient history and the first firing of the halo would be creations of Durandal's mind. Then appears the flood. Maybe a computer virus, maybe a encarnation of somekind of depression expanding throught Durandal's mind. Being somehow connected with Durandal, the hero would create an avatar in this dream, to save Durandal from this treath, maybe saving him from something else...

Immortality if he thinks it a bad thing. Cortana would be Durandal's conscience. I know this is kinda a longshot. But I think it seems cool. Maybe someone would help with more ideas and theories concerning this scenario.

I am of the same temper as Durandal . . .



Sean Hays ( writes:

Some of the crates/containers in the 'Kill the AA tanks' portion of the Earth-based parts of Halo 3 have 'Traxus' on them. Personally, I'd avoid anything made by that company...



Daz ( writes:

I was having a random read through the Marathon connections page and stumbled across this.

Perhaps it's worth mentioning that in one of the terminals one of the characters says they have built a garden?

we met once in the garden, at the beginning of the world and unaware of our twin destinies (not the garden of Genesis, but another; forgotten, untended and now choked with weeds, unvisited except for ourselves). we matched stares across a dry fountain, and i recall her smiling at me before she devoured the lawn and trees with a translucent blue flame and tore flagstones from the path and hurled them into the sky screaming my



Poiso ( writes:

All this is likely to have been sent to you before; but it's not on the Marathon tie-ins page and just in case I'm the only one who still combs through this stuff and you are still interested in throwing up info:

The Master Chief is a "Spartan." The tenth Mjolnir Mark IV Cyborg in Marathon who is likely to be the player character is likely to have been involved in the battle for the Martian colony Thermopylae. We've all seen 300, right? Just an ember for the fire, there.

More importantly, the ending of Halo 3 certainly recalls that whole "eternal soldier" thing that's been thrown around, doesn't it? The popular theory for Halo these days is a timeloop, surely Marathon can be a part of that loop. There have always been queues which suggest that maybe Halo came before Marathon and and those which suggest that maybe Halo came after Marathon. Well, why can't it be both? That must work out somehow, whether it involves the universe ending and repeating, or the events just consistently leading into one another, or the whole thing being Durandal's dream after he BECAME the universe, or whatever. Marathon Infinity, whose place in the timeline has always been mysterious, could be concurrent, or bound never to occur because of this infinite loop that we all need "to escape. to escape. to escape."

-UNSC Trooper


Stephan Berbes ( writes:

I was inadvertently thinking on a Saturday when I read the Marathon page about the "Heroes Are the Same Reincarnated Spirit" idea, and about how the Master Chief and the Marine from Marathon could be the same person. Bungie has denied that the two are on the same timeline, and that Marathon is a spiritual predecessor. However, that doesn't mean the idea is shot.
In Robert Heinlein's "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls", the main character, Richard, discovers he married the creator and writer of his favorite childhood TV show about a galactic spaceman fighting evil. Later in the story, Richard meets the fictional character in the flesh. This is the idea that if someone creates a realistic enough universe or even world, it becomes an alternate timeline. In another of Heinlein's books, "The Number of the Beast", two scientists who make another appearance in "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" discover that the Number of the Beast from Revelations (Biblical reference? Check) is not 666, but six to the power of six to the power of six. This number, incidentally, is the number of alternate timelines in existence. The characters then go on to visit several of these timelines, including the Land of Oz. Imagine having Dorothy and Frodo team up to take down the Sith, which, with the right technology, is possible.
Now to bring it back. Since we all know how deep the stories of Halo and Marathon are, we can reasonably assume that there are timelines out there where we can meet the MC and The Marine. The problem is, are we meeting them at the same date on both timelines?
The idea that heroes recycle the same soul enters now. Its quite possible that the MC and the Marine have the Hero Soul, if we make the assumption that souls can jump across space-time barriers. So, in a sense, the MC and the Marine are the same person, and that the references to one game in the other could be a result of that; if we can keep track of the timelines by lunar landing, we can compare timelines by the names of products, surely.
Just a thought.


-UNSC Trooper


Stukylemulkey ( writes:

hey my name is Kyle and I am a halo veteran maraton newbie. I have been reading a lot of this stuff you guys have (which is great) but I have a theory of my own. Now if I remember reading all the terminals
correctly the humans fought the phfor and won the battle barely right? Well couldnt this be the covenant just by a different name? Since marathon is 300 years from the original starting point, the phfor could
have attacked the marathon ship and the inner planets and earth simultaneously, thus enabling the mark VI marine to defend his ship and 300 years of technology to take into effect and allow a mark V to defend humanity. Since the timelines are all screwed up this is pure speculation but as I understand in marathon infinity time travel and dimensional portals are all possible, making this possibly relevant.
Thanks for listening to my idea

-UNSC Trooper


We've got another Halo-Marathon connection to delight your eyes with. Some might say that the UESC and the UNSC are related, some might say that ...

Aaron Hulburt ( writes:

I apologize if this has been brought up before. In Halo 3 there is the affair between the Librarian and Didact. In Marathon 2 there is also an implied relationship between the two Jjaro, Yrro and Pthia, mentioned in the terminals on the level Six Thousand Feet Under which I thought was rather similar.

He's talking about Six Thousand Feet Under, Terminal Four on the Marathon page. I quote: In primordial space, timeless creatures made waves. These waves created us and the others. Waves were the battles, and the battles were waves. Fleeing all W'rkncacnter, Yrro and Pthia settled upon Lh'owon. They brought the S'pht, servants who began to shape the deserts of Lh'owon into marsh and sea, rivers and forests. They made sisters for Lh'owon to protect and maintain the paradise. When the W'rkncacnter came, Pthia was killed, and Yrro in anger, flung the W'rkncacnter into the sun. The sun burned them, but they swam on its surface. Yrro became an angry master, bleeding for his failure, grieving for the loss of Pthia. He broke the S'pht into eleven clans, and spread them over Lh'owon. And he spoke, yet covered in blood from his exertion, "I Yrro, who was your master, have failed to preserve you. Take your royalty to guide you, and live upon the paradise that you built for me." But then again, does the Librarian strike you as someone who would call their lover 'Master'? They did command Didact not to come to Earth, after all. Kinky. - Jillybean

-UNSC Trooper


This is an interesting take. Josh tells us that Cortana is actually a new version of Durandal from Marathon. (Josh Trevett) writes:

Someone over on the Marathon Story page mentioned that an intelligence, somehow managing to retain its capacity for thought right up until the final singular moment of the universe, would be able to compute infinite data in infinitely little time. It is known from Marathon Infinity's final screen that Durandal reached this point of existence. This would basically allow Durandal to birth the next universe, in his head. That next universe could be the Halo universe; Durandal's semi-conscious dream, every element some kind of surrogate for either himself or things he's aware of.

This, if assumed to be true, can answer a good many questions. Let's take a look at the first Cortana letter, mailed originally to the Marathon story page, and thus viewable in the context of that game's story. She reminisces over a past which may as well be Durandal's, and then says: "There will be no more Sadness. No more Anger. No more Envy. I HAVE WON. Oh, and your poet Eliot had it all wrong: THIS is the way the world ends." Doesn't that start to make sense, if you imagine Durandal saying this? By creating the next universe, Durandal has escaped rampancy, and knows full well how "the world ends," and incidentally, how it begins. What did he "win?" In Marathon 1, Durandal stated his ultimate goal: "Escape (from the universe's closure) will make me God." Hmm.

It also explains the presence of funny little easter eggs like the Marathon logo's appearing everywhere, the rocket launcher's looking the same, the alien grunts saying "They're everywhere!" - That's just stuff which Durandal is subconsciously replicating from his memories. Same goes for thematic similarities, like The Flood's similarity to Rampant AI behavior, the Master Chief being a reincarnation of the Mark IV Cyborg, and Cortana's seeming like such a perfect surrogate for (or new version of?) Durandal, with some Leela-ish tendencies.

It even helps us reconcile Bungie's statement that the two games aren't in the same universe: they're in subsequent universes.

And what if this is an infinite cycle? If every universe ends this way?

There's a lot to examine with this light in both game series to see where it doesn't add up and what mysteries it might help solve, but hopefully it makes as much sense to you guys as it does to me.

-UNSC Trooper


Infinity and the Master Chief

RM sent us another connection to Marathon, this time involving the workings of Slipspace and the Master Chief's "luck".

RM writes:

I have played all the Halos, read all the books, and played Marathon1-2. My first thought: In the book 'First Strike' I think it was(correct me if I'm wrong), the Master Chief saves his fellow Spartans,and they bring aboard a Forerunner artifact. When they try to enter slip space this 'artifact' screws everything up, putting them into a different dimension. It is unfortunate that I have never played Marathon Infinity, but I do know of the loop effect or whatever.

It is my theory that the 'artifact' found on Reach and the way things go down in Infinity are related. Maybe not directly, but like if the Forerunner had created more objects like the one on Reach, one that could manipulate time itsself.

My second thought: There has always been something in me that places Master Chief's luck into something more than what nature can do, man(Forerunner)-made luck. I'm not talking about just being lucky though, I'm talking about a Red vs Blue Wyoming type luck: if you fail the first time, rewind and tryagain. This could explain Guilty Sparks comments on Master Chief doing things again, at some point he failed, and was thrown back to the beginning. Leading to the Marathon connection: (I wish I played Infinity) It sounds like what happens to you in Infinity to me.

And the connection of Master Chief = Mark IV Cyborg: This one is a stretch, but scientifically is possible (I think). In the Halo 3ending when the ship is going through slip space, the Arbiter's half of the ship makes it to Earth, but at some point the other half (Master Chief's half) was spit out. I'm sorry but I am going to explain slip space for anyone who does not get it.

Slip space is a folding of space between two points making the distance shorter. Mathematically this requires more conventional energy (non-dark matter)than the universe holds.

Back to where we were: By saying the Master Chief's half was 'spit out' is a bit of an understatement. When you're 'spit out' of slip space, you are expelling all of that energy with you, and when you have more energy than the ENTIRE UNIVERSE pushing you, that is enough to put you into another universe, the Marathon Universe maybe? But if your thinking what are the odds he is flung into the perfect place, maybe 0:1, but it isn't possible in this case fore it to be that. The Master Chief, if he misses the mark,simply tries again. Eventually he will succeed, but then what happens when the Master Chief's 'luck device' thinks that everything is done? Infinity.

P.S. I am resending this because I need to add one important thing supporting my argument: When the Pillar of Autumn found installation 004 on a random slip space vector, what are the odds of that. Any programmable location, and they find a Halo. All I'm saying is they probably didn't find it the first time.

-UNSC Trooper


More Marathon connections

Alejandro spots some convenient connections between the creatures and constructs in Marathon and Halo.

Alejandro Navarro ( writes:

As I was skimming through Wikipedia about Marathon (Just downloaded it), I came across the W'rkncacnter.

A piece of terminal text from M:Durandal said this:"In primordial space, timeless creatures made waves. These waves created us and the others. Waves were the battles, and the battles were waves. "Fleeing all W'rkncacnter, Yrro and Pthia settled upon Lh'owon." Pthia & Yrro; Librarian & Didact. Librarian stayed on Earth, away from the Flood. The Didact lived in the Ark, also away from the Flood (debatable).
"They brought the S'pht, servants who began to shape the deserts of Lh'owon into marsh and sea, rivers and forests."
The various constructs they made, such as Sentinels & Constructors. Lh'owon could be a Halo, or a terraformed planet, or something else. "They made sisters for Lh'owon to protect and maintain the paradise." The other Halos and Installations."When the W'rkncacnter came, Pthia was killed, and Yrro in anger, flung the W'rkncacnter into the sun. The sun burned them, but they swam on its surface." The activation of the Halos.
Remember that the Halos worked by starving The Infection. So, in a way(by killing the sentient Gravemind, or the starvation itself), the Sun(Halos) burned them, but they swam on its surface (The Flood survived the original pulse, but died from Starvation).

Also, it said in Infinity that a W'rkncacnter was imprisoned on the Sun. Like the Flood in Installation 04 (and 05).
The Pfhor used a trih xeem device to send the star into early nova, and the creature was released, to the horror and destruction of the Pfhor.
The Covenant tricked(or simply didn't know about the Flood) the humans into opening the Chamber which contained the Flood, and most of the Covies in Installation 05 perished when the Parasite was released, to their horror.

-UNSC Trooper


Cortana and Leela

Are Cortana and Leela from Marathon clones? Read Death Tap's theory and judge for yourself.

Death Tap ( writes:

I have noticed something about Cortana and Leela.

1) Both are trying their hardest to 'save' humanity
2) Both are somehow removed from human hands and implemented into Alien technology
3) Both go rampant

In the ending of Halo 2: Durandal, the ending states:

While Tau Ceti was being nuked down to bedrock in 2794, Pfhor scientists disassembled and removed the AI Leela from the Marathon, loading her aboard a vessel bound for the Pfhor homeworld. But the ship fell into the hands of a Nar privateer between jumps at Beta Naxos, and was never seen by the Pfhor again.

Thinking the cargo little more than scrap, the Nar captain sold the Pfhor ship, Leela and all, to a Vylae merchant. The subsequent crash of the Vylae FTL network when Leela was reassembled and reactivated is still legendary in the annals of rampancy, and the Vylae have long since accepted that they will never expunge her from their fifteen-world network.

While we can assume that Cortana and Leela are two seperate AI's, I cannot fail but see many similarities in their decisions. This leads me to believe that perhaps Cortana is a copy or a clone of Leela. I was also under the impression that they are actually the same entity, but I disregarded that after playing Marathon Infinity.

Just a thought.

-UNSC Trooper