January 19, 2006
ONI: They know more than they let on, we know that much. But if we know they know more and they know we know they know more, than how much more do they know than we know?
Arthur Wellesly (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
I think The Fall of Reach makes it pretty clear that Admiral Stanforth, informed, no doubt by ONI, knew about the relevance of Sigma Octanus IV. On page 162 Keyes notices a prowler, an ONI stealth ship, and remarks to himself that he knows that this desperate defence of a seemingly unimportant planet was more than just a morale boost. So how does ONI know about the navigation rock in the museum? Well, in the first Halo, Cortana quips that the Covenant broadcast information on unencrypted channels. It seems likely, then, that ONI intercepted many of†these messages, possibly even before the Covenant struck Harvest. Therefore, they†probably had a comprehensive knowledge of Covenant runes. Since the Covenant immitate the Forerunner in all things, we can assume they have similar symbols. [Ed. Note: Though for the record, the military doesn't seem to be able to decipher them.]
What does all this mean? It means that some ONI personnel probably stumbled into this rock, recognized its significance, and translated it by cross-referencing Covenant symbols. They didn't remove it from the museum because it would look too suspicious, but when the Covenant got there they realized they were looking for it too and it was too late to get rid of it. This explains how Stanforth knew about the significance of Sigma Octanus IV, but it doesn't cover the full reprecussions of it. If ONI was able to translate the rock, they knew where Alpha†Halo was - which means they probably investigated it, it being only a 20 day journey from Reach. So what does this mean? Well, I don't know for sure. It might mean humans were the first species to make contact with Alpha Halo which might explain 343's special relationship with humans which he passed on to 2401 Penitent Tangent. Perhaps after being without the Forerunner for so long the Monitor accepted the first species to come along. Who knows what else it could mean; only time will tell.
It wouldn't totally explain it but it could, perhaps, lend plausible insight into some actual first contact between Humans and Covenant. Showing up with guns blazing at Harvest always did seem a little strange...
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