SubQuantum (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I'd like to offer a new (if not unthought-of) theory about the Ark. Most of the thoughts on this page try to explain why the Ark is on Earth. I disagree. I believe that the Ark is a large structure that is buried on the planet Coral (or possibly the planet Coral itself - you can never tell with these Forerunner) and that it possibly contains vast volumes of life. I have a lot of evidence to promote this theory. Let's start by looking at the Conversations From The Universe booklet that was bundled with the Halo 2 Special Edition game disk.
There is a letter in it - a conversation from an archaeologist on Coral to (presumably) his wife.
"The object on Coral was discovered during routine quarrying. Explosives revealed the top of the object, blasting out a depth of around 30 meters. Surrounding rock and dirt were evaporated- but this object wasn't even scorched [. . .]We know that the eighty or so meters we've uncovered so far are likely the tip of the iceberg. There seems to be a complex of galleries and vaults beneath, but so far, its secrets remain sealed like a tomb."
This sounds a lot like an "Ark" in the biblical sense (yes, I'm bringing that up again) in that there are several rooms. Perhaps the Forerunner couldn't find it in their heart to totally eradicate all sentient life in the galaxy, so they put seeds of it here in this indestructible vault? The idea is not so far-fetched. Let us detour for a moment to the Library and it's infamous Index. Why, oh why, would they give them these names? The Library seems to be more of a security center holding this key to the "Gun pointed at the head of the universe." If you were going to build a massive weapon to which you could add limitless complexity, and you wanted it to be selective in what it destroyed (sentient life), how would you do it? Personally, I would catalog every life form that I wanted to destroy, and then store them far, far away from the computer that would read them, just as one wouldn't store rifles and ammo in the same cabinet. This is what I believe the Index and Library represent - The Index is a data storage device (evidenced by Cortana's ability to "have" it - she's a computer - she couldn't simply "take" the Index unless it was what was ON the index that mattered) and therefore the Library is a storage bin for all the genetic data relevant to the species Halo is meant to destroy. To fire Halo, the Control Room computer must first be given an index of life forms to eradicate, and then look up the patterns for those life forms in a Library.
How does this relate to the Ark? The Ark is a fall back point - a disembodied Library that instead of having an Index at it's core, has the controls to shutdown the Halo network (or disable it?) and potentially release it's inhabitants from whatever kind of stasis they are in. Alas, we still have not answered how Humans and Covenant became. We know that the Forerunners expected Humans, and that Truth knows something about us that we Humans do not. Note that 343GS calls the Covenant "The Meddlers" in Halo 2, and "The other species" in Halo 1 - clearly they are not connected with the Forerunner in any childlike way.
My only guesses past this are that Humans were potentially released from the Ark after Halo fired to 'reclaim' the role of the Forerunners - and then something happened and we were stranded on Earth (unless this was the intent) and the Covenant evolved separately. The Hierarchs and the Elites evolved on the same planet, and that is where the Covenant religion began. My theory on why Truth (who knows the truth, of course) heads to Earth? We can't take Mercy's statement with any credit - he was brainwashed by the Covenant as well (which is why Truth "kills" him through inaction, and why we constantly hear him mocking Mercy's wisdom and experience in his public speeches (though Mercy would never know)). I bet that Truth thinks that Earth and Humanity know where the Ark is - and he wants to get there to survive Halo. If you knew what was coming, wouldn't you want to survive it, along with your small group of extremely devout followers, to emerge in a totally uninhabited universe, free to rule as you please? As a god?