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The Halo Story

News Archive

April 29, 2005

I'm never one to turn away a Covenant sympathy theory.

Endbringer ( writes:

From watching Half-Jaw's conversation with the Arbiter it seems that Half-Jaw does not share in the suicidal mentality of normal spec-ops Elites. In The Flood we learn through Yayap that special operatives are regarded as "fanatics, chosen for their limitless willingness to risk their lives-and the lives of those under their command". Half-Jaw seems to be an exception to this portrayal. In the phantom we see that even though he is loyal to the Covenant he cares about his Elite's lives. Perhaps it is because of this mentality that he has advanced so far up the ranks that he is given an audience with the Hierarchs as a representative for the Elite Council.

Or are we a victim of our own propaganda?

permalink | Half-Jaw


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...

permalink | The Forerunner


"These fragments I have shored against my ruins..."

HeLL_Penguin ( writes:

I remember first playing through Regret and such, looking around and wondering about the ruins. I mean, it simply just didn't add up that the Forerunner technology was given such a sleek & shiny apearance in Halo, only to be reworked as ancient inhabitants the next [though staff interviews have mentioned that the uniform, tidy appearance of buildings in the first game was a regret]. But on reading the Weekly What's Update for 3/28/05, in the description for the new map "Warlock" (Wizard) it is said that the ruined building "predates Halo itself, and that it must've been moved [there], brick by brick, with obvious reverence by the Forerunner themselves".

This sounds to me as if the ruins weren't actually integral parts of Forerunner technology or even design at the moment but more... decoration. Ditto the birds and trees. Either this or, seeing as Halo is apparently a testing facility as well as a containment facility, the environment could've been provided as a testing grounds for the flood? If so, were they at war with another faction in their race? or are the ruins and atmosphere from another race?

Hmmm. So, is this a sign of yet another race that the Forerunner once looked up to, or as Cortana hinted at when analyzing the Halo 05 craters and protected structures, are these ruins a monument to Forerunner destroyed in some earlier cataclysm? Or are they the last remnants of a world they abandoned, tokens taken with them? Hmm. Hmmm.

permalink | The Forerunner


Could there be more than one ancient race?

hisco scopea ( writes:

It has been assumed that the same species that built Halo also made the facilities on Reach, but I believe this is incorrect for a number of reasons:

First, on Halo we never saw tunnels with dirt floors AND geometric patterns the way the tunnels beneath Castle mountain are described. Nor did we see any doors activated by blood that seemed to open out of nowhere. Also, and probably the most distinct difference, is that Dr. Halsey mentions (p. 143) that the gigantic room where they found the crystal had no visible holographic emmitters. Now, we know from the levels where we activate maps and security systems in Halo that there ARE visible holographic emmitters. The environments and technology of the forerunner and whoever made the tunnels are quite a bit different.

I think the battle fought "900 000 years ago" could possibly have been fought between whoever made the Reach stuff and whoever made Halo.

Keen. Even if there are not two distinct races, the facilities on Halo and Reach certainly exhibit two very different... styles. Halo has its grand, sweeping valleys while the Reach caves have more of that "fleeing the homeland" motif, as though it literally was the way the Forerunner attempted to go "underground" to escape the Flood (another Ark of sorts). The holographic room certainly seems like a comfort added for those long, solitary years buried beneath a planet's surface. Hmmm.

permalink | Ark


April 23, 2005

Finally - an Earth/Ark theory with some sustenance...

J.D. writes:

What if humans are to the Ark like the Sentinels are to the Halos? The Sentinels defend the Halo installations from the Flood and whatnot. The reason that they are machines is so that the Flood cannot infect them. Well, to guard the Ark, maybe the Forerunners wanted something a little more 'organic'. Since humans were somehow the 'chosen' race, they put the Ark on our planet, and we've been unknowingly protecting it throughout history. Let's just say the Forerunners stuck us here to guard it in case some whacko wanted to waltz right in and activate the Halos.

So, the Forerunners built the Halos to study the Flood and eliminate the Flood threat if they leave the rings. They also built a safe-haven on Earth (protected by humans) to protect them from that blast. Then why are they mysteriously gone? Maybe the Flood was released by an overzealous individual (343 Guilty Spark?) and things got bad, fast. They had no time to evacuate and decided to activate the Halos, leaving the Ark and humans on Earth unaffected and isolated.

To each their higher purpose.

permalink | Ark


April 21, 2005

We've occasionally mused that they must have been smoking something, but geesh! ;)

permalink | UNSC Forces


April 6, 2005

Mercy's Dying Words

Michael  ( writes:

Something always struck me as odd about the Prophet of Mercy's dying words in the cutscene at the beginning of High Charity. He says the Covenant are heading to Earth, "to finish what we started...and this time none of you will be left behind." At first, I thought this simply meant that they were heading to Earth to complete the destruction of humanity, but lately I've been thinking that he means something else.

The wording just doesn't seem to imply our destruction, at least by a Covenant fleet. The phrase "none of you shall be left behind" is the same wording as the Covenant use when talking about the Great Journey. For example, at the end of the Heretic cutscene, Truth says to the (soon to be) Arbiter, "Soon the Great Journey shall begin. But when it does, the weight of your heresy will stay your feet and you shall be left behind."

Does this mean that the Prophets plan on inviting humanity along for the Great Journey? Yes and no. I think it's been fairly clearly established that Truth (and probably Mercy) didn't really believe in the Covenant religion, and have some plans of their own (Truth lets Mercy die because he knows too much, or something to that effect [Regret's demise could also have occurred under similar sentiments]). The Prophets absolutely despise humanity (for reasons unknown except to themselves) and would not be interested in letting them into "the Divine Beyond". The Prophets know what the Halos do and are willing to use them to get rid of humanity.

Here's where it gets crazy. What if "to finish what we started" is a reference to the first activation of the Halos over 100,000 years ago? Could a Prophet/Human (civil?) war have led to this? Remember that the 343 Guilty Spark was glad to see that some of us "survived to reproduce" in the Library...what if the Prophets messed up last time and some humans escaped the activation (by using the Ark?), but "THIS time" none of us will make it. A 100,000 year-old grudge would certainly explain why the Prophets hate us so much.

So, Covenant religion just a cover for the Prophets to hunt down the remnants of humanity that survived the rings' activation? How do the Flood fit into this? Speculate/shoot down away.

Excellent. No matter what the details of it turn out to be (whether it be a war gone by, revenge for eradicating their species at the same time as the Flood, a past subjugation, etc.), the fact that the Prophets have kept their motivations for the Human Campaign to themselves is not only mysteriously eery, but also a strong implication of a conspiracy of sorts. "100 000 Year's War" indeed.

UPDATE: Wado SG slightly refines and adds to the idea.

permalink | Prophets


April 5, 2005

He he. Totally off-topic, but the 117 mention is too much. Thanks :)

permalink | Rampant Speculation


Mganga hajigangi.

We haven't mentioned anything on this yet, but there is no time like the present. If you have a moment, be sure to check out the huge depository of Swahili dialogue clips and their translations (recorded from the Earth levels of Halo 2) over at the Dialogue Databank. Even if they portend nothing, they're mighty interesting on their own.

permalink | Humans


Zak Anderson starts a lengthy forum discussion on the exact details of the In Amber Clad's ordnance and payload. Persnickety.

permalink | UNSC Forces


Do we get a peak at Gravemind being on High Charity long before the game's conclusion? Some people seem to think so. More support for that darn "Flood are plants" theory...

permalink | Gravemind


pile o nades has got a few thoughts on just why and how the Prophets' sweet rides (ie. chairs/thrones) work the way they do. Neato.

permalink | Prophets


On the forum front (okay, so it's a little old) 7ack gives his $0.02 on the identity of Cassandra (mentioned in the "Conversations..." booklet included with the Limited Edition).

A fellow Spartan? One of the "3 too distant to be recalled"? Ahh. Or perhaps the one too injured to continue active duty? It's all blind conjecture at this point, but at least it's fun blind conjecture.

permalink | SPARTAN


Sep7imus and slith put their heads together in pointing out the relationship between an elaborate picture used as a wall texture on Quarantine Zone (details of which can be found here) and the upcoming multiplayer map Containment.

With this, the ol' Flood Juggernaut, and the Battle Creek images recently discovered in Beaver Creek textures, one has to wonder what other little gems are still tucked away, seemingly out of reach.

permalink | Rampant Speculation


April 2, 2005

Poor Arbiter! I'll protect him.

Jim Bob ( writes:

Something struck me recently, the Elites eyes are more to the side of their head then the front, which struck me as a bit confusing, Prey have their eyes to the side of the head so they can see a wider area to better evade the predators who have their eyes on the front of the head to provide them with better [depth perception] so they can kill more effectively.

So the Elites have eyes to the side of their heads, which means they were most likely prey on their home world at one point. Who would be able to stand up to an Elite?

permalink | The Covenant


Stupid autopilot . . . downfall of the human race . . . effing computers . . .

Jeff May ( writes:

I've been pondering this for quite some time. Why was
the Prophet of Truth going to earth if he thought the
Halos were going to be activated? There would be no
reason for this attack. As I was thinking of this, I
realized something. If Earth truly is the Ark, then
it is quite possibly a place where the Halos would not
kill you. Maybe it has some sort of protective
property? Maybe the Prophet knew the Arbiter was
going to stop Tartarus? But this wouldnt hold because
he thought the Arbiter was dead. So it is quite
possible that the Prophet(s) knew what the Great
Journey really was, and they were attempting to escape
it. This is supported by the fact that the Prophets seemed to screw people over a lot. It is also quite
possible he didn't mean to go to Earth. Since he was
aboard the Forerunner ship, he could have had the
Fleet following him for protection. This means the
ship might have automatically gone to the Ark for some
reason, and the rest of the fleet would have gone too.

permalink | Rampant Speculation


Because we have to know how

Lonesoldier ( writes:

If the human mind works by jumping small charges (positive ions? Don't remember) between brain cells (nerve impulses) and the Flood can hijack these impulses and insert their own, shouldn't they be able to hijack electronic impulses across a computer's motherboard?

permalink | The Flood


Mama always said I was going to Hell in a handbasket.

kiodane ( writes:

"Penitent" in my copy of The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary eventually leads in circular definitions to mean describing something that is self punishing for it's sins. I believe that after the Forerunner's downfall (possibly the first outbreak of the flood), 2401 Penitent Tangent committed at least one form of digital suicide. And since the flood are thought of as being very capable of repairing technology as well as operating host's machines, then Gravemind with the analogy of the fallen angels post in the news section would revive this fallen, yet regretful servant to the "lords".

But the quote I post at the top I mean to insight the possibility that 343 Guilty Spark was the one to release the Flood, perhaps with the intention to follow his original order to study the parasite and it's interactions with various life forms, including the Forerunner. Guilty knows what he did, perhaps even referencing his previous determination (the answer he's pondered to reiterate to the MC that if he could do it again, he would).

Guilty Spark is not a living organism and kept far enough away from Halo 04's gravemind to avoid capture and exploitation. That means that the release of the flood is hardly a concern to this being and therefore cannot be reasoned with to disobey it's orders.

I was just considering that perhaps the "level" of the Halos is similar to levels of hell, heaven, and purgatory that Dante brings up in The Divine Comedy.

If 04 is considered the middle of purgatory, then Guilty Spark would be unsaved, yet unrepentant. If you believe that the numbers of the monitors relates to a function of their Halo installation number, then an end-cap to the middle of 04 would be 01's monitor would be 1 (7^(Halo # - 1) = monitor #). Penitent Tangent is in the hands of a devil icon and perhaps committed an ultimate sin (suicide, by my theory).

Would that make monitor #1 the king, or the Metatron (closest angel to God with his own throne) of the Halo Monitors? Perhaps it's the reverse and 01's monitor is Satan for being so devoid of the number seven (Is more or less powers of seven evil or good?).

I also think that the secondary terms "spark" and "tangent" could either refer to their respective game's story line or the technology that is employed in the background of the story. "Spark" could refer to the ignition of the story with "tangent" meaning the distant and off-topic elements that inevitably weave into the heart of the plot. "Spark" could also refer to the intended firing of Halo 04 that isn't seen until Halo 05, and leaving "tangent' to refer to the teleportation system that both a recent HPS news post and the in-atmosphere slipspace jumping concept that is introduced midway in First Strike.

permalink | Monitors


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