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May 4, 2005

Arthur C. Clarke, suits vs. skins, and the Forerunner

eMCee ( writes:

*I think it should be noted that this submission contains spoilers for Clarke's 2001 series.*

I've been reading Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series, and quite a few things reminded me of Halo and Marathon. The most interesting in my opinion was "The First Born." This race reminded me of the Jjaro or Forerunner. The First Born were an extremely advanced race, and valued the Mind above anything else in the universe. They loved it so much, that they went from galaxy to galaxy encouraging its growth in potential intellegent species. They did this with humans, and possibly many other species.

Could the humans and Covenant have been projects of the Forerunner? More evidence in the Odyssey series could point to yes. In 3001: The Final Odyssey, some backstory in the novel revels that an ancient monolith was found in Africa in 2513, around 500 years after the events of 2001. This timeline is eerily close to Halo's, and with the only two publicly demoed levels taking place in Africa, it makes one wonder if there are Forerunner artifacts somewhere in Africa [ie. The Ark].

What about the Forerunner themselves? If they're not human, what are they? The First Born from the Odyssey series started out as organic beings, but as their machines grew better than their bodies, they gradually moved their brains into machines, and eventually became pure energy. If the Forerunner left their bodies behind, they probably wouldn't have much trouble reversing the effect, would they? This may be a possible reason to keep such a terrible thing as the Flood around.

Maybe the Flood were a resource to the Forerunner. The Flood's genetic adaptability might make them act as a kind of "mold" for organic vessels for the Forerunner to run around in. If this is true, then it could explain 343 GS's apparent confusion with the humans as Forerunner. To 343 GS, there is no other species in existence as smart as the Forerunner, so when 343 sees how brilliant Humans are, he automatically assumes that they are Forerunner, albeit in a weaker "skin." There is actually evidence of this in-game.

343 GS says this: Your environment suit should serve you well when the Flood begins to alter the atmosphere. You are a good planner. But he said this earlier: These Sentinels will supplement your combat system. But, I suggest you upgrade to at least a Class Twelve combat skin. Your current model only scans as a Class Two, which is ill suited for this kind of work.

Why the difference between Environment suit, and Combat skin? Master Chief has his armor, and his body. The only other thing I can see the "Combat Skin" as is 117's body, which would make sense if the Forerunner used biological "machines" to do their dirty work.

An interesting distinction, certainly one I wouldn't have thought of. 343 seems to imply that the Forerunner are truly organic (as they all "died" when the ring was activated") but a creative idea nonetheless. :)

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