They're random, baby

The Halo Story

News Search the Story Page Archive

Any All Exact 

October 22, 2006

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.

permalink | Marathon Connections