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July 27, 2008

Mack - Endless Summer

James Ficker emailed us some ideas concerning the connection between Mack (the AI controlling agricultural activity on Harvest) and Endless Summer (the successor of Deep Winter in Zone 67 on Onyx).

James Ficker ( writes:

I recently lent my girlfriend The Fall of Reach, as she is an avid reader herself and thought she might like a bit of background into my slight Halo obsession (I'm working on making a set of Mark V armor to use for Caboose from Red Vs Blue) and she liked TFoR so much, she asked to read the other books. When she was finished she posed the following question to me, which I had never even thought of:"

"Did you pick up the Mack/Loki connection with the AI Endless Summer from Ghosts of Oynx? Mack's last transmission was the words "Endless Summer"? It seemed to me that Mack was more than a "Smart AI," shown by the fact that it literally took the downfall of a planet to use up this AI, and that he'd been around for more than 7 years, hadn't he? That seems to suggest that his core processing might have been so good that was reused by humans in the future. Since you can't completely delete everything on a computer system, it makes sense that his last thought would be a ghost transmission in his rebooted system that he used to name himself in the future."

I had never considered the fact that humans might reuse their AIs. I know that Smart AIs "die" in the sense that they pretty much think themselves to death. However, the process for creating an AI as described in the books, scanning a recently deceased person's brain, seems very expensive and complicated, especially when coupled with the fact that I'm sure a candidate for scanning must meet a very specific set of criteria to be suitable for base for an AI.

Is it possible that the UNSC recovers some core fragments from the AI and uses it to build a new AI so they don't have to create a new one form the ground up and if so, would there be some fragments, some ghosts left in the programming from the pervious "life?"? We know from Cortana in First Strike that an AI can copy fragments of themselves which retain personality and memories.

The UNSC was the losing side of a war that was pushing them to their limits. I'm sure anyway to cut corners, speed things up and reduce costs would have been used, and it seems to me that Mack was a very robust and resourceful AI, an excellent source for a future AI to be built on.

Well, Contact Harvest states that Mack's figure appears to be an American cowboy, while Endless Summer from Ghosts of Onyx portrays the figure of a Native American. This leads to the Cowboys and Indians fame, and to a strong likelihood that Endless Summer is indeed a follower of Mack's remains.

Though it depends on when Endless Summer was created. At the time when Mack was destroyed, the UNSC was still fairly intact even with the Covenant threat lurking closer to Earth every year, so the military might have still had the necessary resources to create a completely new AI. Despite this, however, the theory still stands. Very nice find.

Thanks, James.

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-UNSC Trooper