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June 10, 2008

And so we come to the post that made me think back on the nature of Gravemind.

EmptySet ( writes:

This is how I always interpreted that terminal, but Urban Reflex makes an interesting point about differentiating between the infection and the host. I read three ways to interpret this information:

1. The Halo blast kills flood outright - at least, it kills flood forms of sufficient biomass. That matches the terminal account, but it conflicts with everything we were told about the flood previously.

2. The Halo blast only kills the host. This would leave Mendicant's ships adrift, filled with forerunner corpses and swarms of infection forms that removed themselves from the inert bodies. The infection forms live on, but are incapable of piloting the ship, and will be destroyed as OB destroys the fleet.

3. The Halo blast kills infected hosts, and the infection entity, since it is tied too deeply into the host's nervous system. (We see infection forms reanimate "dead" combat forms, but do we ever see infection forms retract themselves from a host in-game?)

For practical purposes, options 2 and 3 are distinctions without a difference - the flood are not killed by the Halo blast itself, but by the consequences thereof.

(What about pure forms?)

Where I'm going: where is it ever stated that the Gravemind was destroyed in the Halo blast? I think it is assumed, because the galactic flood infestation is halted (until Gravemind hijacks HC 100,000 some odd years later, at least), but I can't remember any dialog or terminal thread that stated it explicitly. Do we even know where the flood's "core Mind" is during the battle and ensuing Halo blast?

We really don't know the composition of the Gravemind - we know (at most) that the physical core is made up of at least one prophet, during Halo 2. Especially considering the debate about flood infection vectors, re: flora vs. fauna, is it possible that the core Mind of the Terminals survived the blast (even if some of its sentient "components" were destroyed), and retreated to some safe haven, to await the repopulation of the galaxy?

The Halo Array was built prior to the deployment of Mendicant Bias. If MB knew about the Array (did it?), we can probably assume that the Flood knew about it.

Perhaps the Gravemind "smuggled" itself aboard Installation 05 prior to the Halo's firing. Maybe it tried to sabotage the ring, maybe the ring was somehow shielded from its own blast (still under debate?), maybe because the rings are repositories of Forerunner knowledge, and GM wanted to study its enemy in the same way the Forerunner were studying the spores. Still doesn't explain how it would subsist for 100,000 years without any sentience to consume (on the ring), but it explains how it got there in the first place.

I had always assumed Gravemind survived the blast, but now I wonder. Did he survive it, or did his consciousness, and is that truly one and the same? And have the Forerunner, in their infinite wisdom, created a device that would allow their enemy to survive with a fully integrated consciousness and memory?

Answers on a postcard, please.

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