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April 26, 2005

Analysis of the Sigma Octanus 4 Artifacts and Related Information

As you may have noticed, I don't usually post the huge submissions we sometimes get (I leave that to my cohorts ;). Every so often though, the length is required simply to span the breadth of the point being made. At least, I think there's a point ;)

Anton P. Nym ( writes:

I've been spending some (far too much, probably) time mulling over the artifacts mentioned in the Halo novel "The Fall of Reach". There are some interesting conclusions in my maundering which may open up some new areas of speculation.

There's a lot to cover, so for ease of reference I've made them bullet points. The bullets indicate what kind of point applies each is; a dash (-) is a fact I can back up with references from Bungie sources, an asterisk (*) is a general observation that I can't cite a Bungie reference for, a pound sign (#) is a conclusion related to prior points, and the question mark (?) shows The Big Question all this leads to.

(References are abbreviated; CE refers to Halo:Combat Evolved (the game), FoR to "The Fall of Reach" novel, tF to "The Flood" novel, and FS to "First Strike" novel.)

I don't think it's vapour, but maybe someone else can show me the holes...

- Several similar artifacts were found on Sigma Octanus 4, "typically... in long eroded impact craters on the planet surface [made] at present minus sixty thousand years" according to Cortana. (FoR, p. 233-4)

- Sigma Octanus is 40,000 light years away from a black hole showing evidence of matter trapped in its accretion disk with similar encoding to these artifacts (FoR, p.234)

* Placing both references on the same page, in the same block of dialog, implies that these two are connected. The sly reference to human error also implies that the authour is giving himself a fudge factor in case the arithmetic is off. (Hah! I've been behind the authorial curtain too, Mr. Nylund! I'm wise in the ways of the wriggle-room...)

- Halo has been in existance for "[e]xactly 101,217 local years" according to 343 Guilty Spark (tF, p.238)

- The exact length of a "local year" is firmly and decisively evaded in interviews. (

* 40,000 ly away + 60,000 years ago = 100,000 years, implying a connection between the founding of Installation 04 and the event at this black hole. Or it could be a coincidence... (In a Bungie product? Yah, right.)

# The artifacts travelled from the black hole to Sigma Octanus.

# This would mean that the artifacts could be transported from system to system.

# If the dates are to line up, then the artifacts had to travel at roughly light speed from the black hole to Sigma Octanus

- Covenant ships have their control rooms "buried deep within heavily-armoured hulls, making them impervious to anything less than a mortal blow." (tF, p.4)

- Cortana comments that she thought that the Covenenant were "looking for the bridge of the ship I damaged during the battle above the ring" (tF, p.117, which is dialog from CE scripting from cinematic leading to "Shut up and get behind me - Sir." on T&R) This shows that Cortana belives that control rooms can be separated from the rest of the ship by catastrophic damage... finding a crashed starship should be fairly simple if it's intact, but finding all the pieces of a shattered one would be more difficult.

* The Covenant borrow heavily from Forerunner designs and architecture, but are not yet as good.

* The Forerunners built to last... Halo must be made of extremely durable materials to survive spinning for over 100,000 years. (not as strong as Niven's Ringworld, but pretty mighty anyway.)

- Even small artifacts of the Forerunner are difficult to damage or destroy when built to protect the contents... in The Flood they make intense efforts to just cut through ventilation grilles (tF p.295, they "depleted at least a hundred energy pistols and rifles") without breaching it.

# Forerunner ship control rooms were likely extremely durable.

- Earth AIs are encoded on crystals (many references, such as Halsey's comment on p.128 of FS.)

- Forerunners used crystals for advanced constructs, such as the grav-adapted one in FS (p.148 shows the discovery)

- The Cole Protocol is designed to keep navigational information out of the Covenant's hands. This includes removing ship-board AIs. (tF p.25-6, and CE cinematic leading to "Cyborgs and Ship AIs first!" on PoA)

- Multiple navigation coordinates are found in the Cote d'Azur stone according to Eric Nylund.

* Pathways into Darkness, a prior Bungie game, takes place on the Yucatan... site of the Alvarez asteroid (dino killer) impact crater 65 million years ago. Something survived that impact...

* Bungie likes to carry over themes from prior games. (PiD ancient aliens/Marathon Jjaro -> Halo Forerunners)

* Even very small masses can create large impact craters when travelling at relativistic speeds. The size of the crater is determined by the impact energy, and the kinetic energy of an object travelling at near light speed is huge!

# The Sigma Octanus crystals are remnants of Forerunner shipboard navigation systems, possibly even shipboard AI matrices.

* Relating this to earlier points, this implies that at least one Forerunner vessel was destroyed at the black hole. Probably many more, as dispersion over 40,000 ly would scatter debris very widely even with a narrow exit angle. You need a lot of debris to make multiple collisions with Sigma Octanus 4 plausible.

# There was a major battle, or space-related catastrophe, at that black hole at roughly the same time that Halo 04 was constructed. Since the scale we're using is in thousands of years, "roughly the same time" could be several thousand years apart.

? Did the battle or catastrophe lead to the construction of the Halos? Or did construction of the Halos lead to this event? Only the Bungiegods truly know...

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