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September 24, 2003

Eryk B Nice ( writes:

The Flood are named just that, Flood. Mention has been made of Bungie's fondness for biblical references. This is nothing new. However, in the Bible, the flood is precipitated by "opening the floodgates of heaven." Granted, many people have focused on the rapid reproduction and adaptation of the Flood, but perhaps this is not the whole story.

Perhaps the Flood have their source and home in another place, be it another dimension or simply another part of this universe. Halo was referred to as a fortress world. Where do you build a fortress? You build a fortress at strategically critical and most easily defensible position, generally in your home territory. Think of, for example, a fortress built high on a cliff wall overlooking a river that enters your territory from the sea. It is much easier to defend a small doorway than to fight off an army when you are standing in the middle of a large room (any decent Halo player will agree). I envision, then, that Halo was built at some point that the flood could invade from, be it a pathway to another dimension, or the exit of some space transportation tunnel. This allows several nice points:

Why build a containment weapon that will kill all the food instead of killing all of the Flood? Well, killing all of the Flood in the area would do nothing for all the rest streaming through the Floodgates. Presumably a weapon of this power could only be fired once in a great while. Killing all of the food, on the other hand, would prevent any flood who came through the portal from surviving long. Perhaps this portal existed naturally, perhaps the Forerunners opened this portal once not knowing what was on the other side. Either way, the explanation works. Destruction of Halo is not a solution - it would only contribute to the problem. Destruction of the Flood is not a solution, more would follow. Starving them, as GS says, is the only way.

Presumably the presence of the Flood in their home is too strong for any kind of invasion of destruction. The best option therefore seems to be to study the Flood, find a way to perhaps turn their own strengths against them in the hope of eventually destroying them for good. I am reminded of the use of a virus to kill a virus, as suggested in certain Card books. This helps explain why you would keep something so dangerous around instead of simply killing them all and ending the threat permanently. I have to disagree with some of the arguments for keeping the flood around that say things like 'we would not kill off all the sharks simply because they attack us." True, but we can contain and control sharks. However, we WOULD wipe out AIDS or Ebola in a heartbeat were we able. This is because these viruses pose an honest threat to the survival of humanity, rather than being a mere occasional tragedy.

This explanation allows the Forerunners to be good. I say this not out of personal desire for their healthy sense of conscience, but rather because it certainly seems that whoever activated Halo previously was reluctant to do it. Recall the question posed GS. I cannot except the casual explanations of the Flood as part of an experiment, or human life not being worth much to the Forerunners in light of what seems to me to be the struggle of conscience reflected in asking another if they would do the same.

The blue plasma streams shot into space could serve the function of either destroying anything that tries to pass through the gateway or sealing off the gateway. I imagine it as sort of a giant bug-zapper for spacecraft.

The biggest advantage to this theory is that it explains quite effectively why you would design a weapon to kill the food, not the creature, while still allowing the weapon designer to care about the food. The only thing I have NOT worked out is why Cortana would advocate destruction of Halo knowing that it is a fortress against Flood invasion. Perhaps Halo is the portal and the fortress wrapped into one? Perhaps it is the installation that drills a tiny hole in the Floodgates in order to let a small drip of water through for study, but also is designed to contain the flow if that hole tears open? I don't know, I will leave it to others to ponder.

We don't know exactly what Cortana learned while in the core. It's also possible that she had prior information that, coupled with this, led her to the conclusion that the destruction of Halo was necessary. Then again, she can be a bit impulsive at times and may not always make the most considered of choices. At least, some of her behavior suggests this. ;-)

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