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July 2, 2003
Okay, strap on those Jjaro boxers, Mr. Security Officer. Time for more Marathon speculation.
Sean Haas (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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Marathon Internal Engineering Documents
Section 1-c appendix H
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%%#####
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< Further Access Denied >
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