Frank O'Connor/Robt McLees Interview - August 2008
In late April 2008, Joe Staten was asked to make good on a rash promise to answer more questions for the Halo Story Page crew. He told us he'd get to this, but to 'rattle his cage' if we hadn't heard from him in a few weeks. In mid-May, we rattled his cage - and were told that the questions had been passed along to Frank O'Connor, who'd just taken a new position with Microsoft as curator of the Halo Story. Things were a little crazy for Frank for a while there, and by the time we actually got some answers to these questions, it was almost three months after we'd submitted them. I blame Marty, personally. Frank wanted to make it clear that most of the work was done by Robt McLees (which, actually, is true about most aspects of the Halo universe - Robt is Bungie's best-kept secret).
HSP: Blue beams. Tidal control device? Energy venting? Data transmission? Throw us a bone.
FO/RM: Yet-to-be explained thing that actually has a purpose.
HSP: When the Arbiter is old like Shaw and Fujikawa, what will his grandest adventure be?
FO/RM: He's already had it. Post-Halo3 he is a bureaucrat—a terrifyingly intimidating bureaucrat—but a bureaucrat nonetheless.
HSP: The Pelicans and Warthogs are a big part of what makes Halo great, but how old are they and for how long have they seen service in the UNSC?
FO/RM: I think that they (not individual vehicles, but as a recognizable family of vehicles) have been in service around 40~50 years.
HSP: What exactly does the UNSC Army (a very mysterious branch of the UNSC military) do in the Human-Covenant War, a conflict fought primarily throughout interstellar space?
FO/RM: The UNSC Army is part of the UNSC-DF along with the UNSC Air Force. They occupy territory as a defensive force.
HSP: How does the UNSC, political-wise, relate to the UN, UEG and CAA, and which one of those entities is the supreme authority of the UNSC?
FO/RM: The UNSC is the military branch of the UEG. The UN is part of the UEG. The CAA is the governing body in control of the colonies. During the Covenant War the UNSC has more or less been given control of both the UEG and the CAA (the CAA was a little more resistant to the idea than the UEG and has subsequently been stripped of most of its power).
HSP: Very few Halo fans know about the history of the Haloverse, particularly the 2160 - 2200 period and the interplanetary war between communism, fascism and the nation-encompassing UN, which eventually led to the governing system seen in the 26th century. Is there any chance that this time period of human history might be expanded upon in future Halo media, seeing as how the UNSC was formed around that time?
FO/RM: Don't hold your breath. However, anything is possible.
HSP: Halo is a source of inspiration for aspiring writers to test their writing skills. What are your opinions on Halo fan fiction?
FO/RM: I think it's pretty good.
HSP: We know the Sarge listens to classical music, what's the pop scene like in 2552? Do they hold tea dances?
FO/RM: Yes. With scones.
HSP: Librarian and Didact - a secret, passionate affair? Or the kind of thing where every Forerunner watched their wedding on the holo-viewer? Did their relationship affect the war?
FO/RM: They may have been people with crucial roles to play during the war, but they were not royalty. And those titles are translations, best guesses.
HSP:Would you say that the Monitors come from the same programming, or independent entities in their own right?
FO/RM: The Monitors are machine-based AIs. They are manufactured.
HSP: It's been mentioned some time ago that you and Frank O'Connor were working on a "definitive" definition of Halo canon. How have those efforts developed?
FO/RM: Things are still afoot.
HSP: There has been some debate going on within the Halo fanbase regarding the currency used by the UNSC - and most of humanity - in 2552. To start with, the term "government credits" is mentioned in Halo 3 by marines, but on the other hand, Bungie.net has an article on the civilian Warthog which costs "86,000 UN Credaroos". Our question is what do people pay with when they go grocery shopping in 2552: "Credits" or "UN Credaroos"?
FO/RM: Let me ask you a question. When you go grocery shopping in 2008 in the USA do you pay with dollars or bucks?
HSP: One of the most intriguing aspects of the Haloverse is its realistic nature and vivid connection between the real world and 2552, but information about Earth beyond the East African Protectorate is sketchy. We know that the USA has been absorbed by the URNA and the UN, but what happened to Europe, Asia, Australia and South America in 5 centuries' worth of evolution? And is Bungie ever going to release any behind-the-scenes articles of how they thought about Earth's history up until the 2500's?
FO/RM: Yes. If it's relevant to the story we are telling.
HSP: The "Ghosts of Coral" pre-release title for Ghosts of Onyx raised much speculation as to what mysteries the planet Coral holds, especially since it has been mentioned in I Love Bees and the Conversations from the Universe booklet. Can you tell us more about Coral?
FO/RM: Yes, but then I'd have to kill you.
HSP: We've been holding our breath ever since "another Halo trilogy" was announced. Any news on the Halo: Chronicles project with Peter Jackson and/or other projects?
FO/RM: When was another Halo trilogy ever announced?
HSP: Bungie currently has a three-novel contract with TOR Books. Is there any information about the next Halo novel you would like to share with the fans?
FO/RM: Yes. The Cole Protocol. Tobias Buckell. When it comes out: buy it.
HSP: Is Jenkins the sharpshooter from Contact Harvest actually the same marine as Wallace A. Jenkins from Halo: Combat Evolved?
FO/RM: It sure seems that way, doesn't it?
HSP: Like every Special Forces unit, the ODST's (also known as the insane badasses willing to jump on the surface of a planet from space) must have some operational history. When were they introduced into the UNSC?
FO/RM: The ODSTs have always been a part of the UNSC.
Once again, we'd like to thank Frank and Robt (and Joe of course!), for their invaluable contribution to our obsess... er, speculations. Thanks, guys!