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January 18, 2002

And also, Tom muses about dates in Halo and Marathon:

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?

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-Ape Man