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July 5, 2003

Those 'blue beams' as orbital stabilizers or thrusters, and the ring's weather as a fail-safe

Jonathan Pratt ( writes:

There's a lot of theories floating around regarding the blue plasma being fired seemlingly pointlessly up into the "sky" on the "Halo" level (number two). I propose another: gravitational stabilization.

A structure requiring a precise balance among other sources of gravity (Basis, Threshold, etc) in space would require constant correction if it were to stand for long periods of time, as the Halo rings must have if they have been activated before. Meteors and such striking Halo, although they wouldn't damage the structure, would damage it's balance. Even a modest rock in space could send Halo tumbling into Threshold after a few thousand years. That would certainly be a waste of resources.

Perhaps the blue material shooting up is some sort of venting system for Halo to stabilize it gravitationally when such corrections are necessary. Surely something as massive as the Pillar of Autumn (consider the hull and whatever mass powers its massive engines and reactors) would have an effect on Halo's balance as it plowed forcefully into its surface (as indicated by the scene at the beginning of the Maw, quite an impact). That in conjunction with other landing craft, human and Covenant, not to mention the Truth and Reconciliation, would create chaos if left uncompensated. The most fundamental laws of physics demand an equal and opposite reaction if Halo is to maintain in gravitational equilibrium.

Like the derigibles and zeppelins of old venting ballast water, maybe Halo has a gravitational system that vents superdense matter when necessary. This theory is supported by the rapid frequency of the blue "plasma" bursts in Halo if you consider the circumstances outlined in my previous paragraph (interference in the gravitational equilibrium from spacecraft and whatnot)...there would be a lot of venting activity (as there is in the game) if there was a sudden arrival of aliens to Halo's surface. Whether or not these are recycleable or rechargeable is something someone else can contemplate and discuss...surely Halo could recharge it's ballast over time by collecting space dust. But I digress from pure speculating.

It's been noted that the water level on Halo has dropped (erosion on Silent Cartographer) since some earlier time...perhaps the water on Halo's surface is a reservoir of mass which is later converted into superdense material for venting? However, I am skeptical of this as a rotating ring near a gravitational body (or two) would have tidal effects, so using water and leaving less on the surface to slosh around would itself upset the gravitational balance of Halo, requiring more stablization. Seems like a snowball effect. Maybe a better explanation for lower water levels is still out there...

Some have wondered about why so few of those blue plasma structures exist in such a concentration at only one point on Halo...but this is an assumption. I'm sure someone out there is capable of calculating the environmental (inner) surface area of the Halo ring based on some Greek mathematics, and that they could also calculate the surface area of the levels in the game. Compared to the surface area of Halo, the levels are minute and practically insignificant. Now, factor in that not all of these levels are on the surface of Halo and that even the some which are on the surface are in unsuitable locations (the Assault on the Control Room is unsuitable due to the fact that it's in a big canyon, for example), and you'll see we really didn't see all that much of Halo, especially the parts likely to have these vents firing into the "sky". So it stands to reason that more of these structure could be scattered about, as well as other things we have yet to discover. My belief is that they exist all over the ring, not just on the inside, but along the outside edges as well, acting as directional thrusters for stablization.

The second part of this rant is in regards to the snow around the control room, although it's a bit sketchier than my previous theory. It struck me as odd that it is constantly snowing near the control room and yet the snow seems to be at convenient heights and nothing important is "snowed-in", as it obviously should be after a blizzard spanning millenia. Perhaps this snow is a recent automatic attempt by the Halo environmental systems to bury in the control center in a snow-packed canyon, quarantining it from undesireable life forms (eg flood, humans, Covenant) and preventing them access to something important? It seems like if the Forerunners would take the time to build all of these massive installations, they'd also find every possible way of protecting them, even if it is such an oddly creative one as using the environment as a safeguard.

The weather as a fail-safe is an idea that just gets better with age. Nice work! :-)

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