The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
Much like its acronym's literal namesake, the UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence manages to simultaneously elicit both blatant awe and suspicious fear, while existing in both the forefront and shadows of Humanity's military operation. Their presence is unmistakable, but their details and internal organization are largely unknown.
Section 3 and NavSpecWep are involved in all aspects of covert and black operations, intelligence gathering, special weapons research and development, mission planning, and consultation.
Section 2 of ONI is involved primarily in propaganda and data manipulation, both in the name of security and keeping the hopes of Humanity set high.
Nothing, so far, is known about the implied Sections 1 or 0.
Their people are everywhere, as most recently demonstrated by Lieutenant Haverson, formerly aboard the Pillar of Autumn and rescued from the wreckage of Halo 04. Although compliant and dedicated, most operatives have a tendency to act above the law, often skirting their own protocols for the sake of speed, subtlety, and effectiveness. Thankfully, while they may tempt fate and hoard their secrets, Humanity's preservation is still a top priority...
Matt Wright (email@example.com) writes:
In TFoR, the PoA was given a ship grade AI. This was never initialized because of the sudden attack on Reach, and Cortana had to step in. However, Cortana, as TFoR emphasized, was a different type of AI, much smarter then all the security AI's and much more creative. Cortana was never meant to be a warship's AI, but was merely in the right place at the right time. 343 GS is pretty observant. He'd be stupid to think Cortana is just a warship AI.
Also, during The Maw, 343 GS seems to differentiate between a 'construct' and a 'warship's AI'. He keeps asking the Master Chief to hand over the 'construct',†Cortana, who has control over the Index. Yet throughout he keeps saying that this 'warship's AI' "possesses far too much data", and that destroying†the PoA†would destroy a record of human history.
When beaching the PoA on Halo, there is no mention of a purging of the ships data arrays as in previous encounters with the Covenant (not mentioned doesn't mean it didn't happen). But... maybe the mysterious other PoA AI survived and was still in the ship. The Covenant wouldn't be able to access this dead info from outside the ship, but 343 GS was inside, able to see ALL the information there, not just the data moving on the network. Most importantly 343 GS keeps talking about the AI having too much info, even though Cortana is currently with the MC.
If 343 GS is talking about another AI, it would†make for an interesting twist.
An excerpt from Cortana Letter #4:
x - process 044220.127.116.117734 initiated (process owner: BW ˜ AI Class III ˜ autonomous)
Route Code: PoA > BHQ (EC #42: cannot confirm; security compromised)
Source: BW-AI aboard (?) PoA
An elusive stowaway? What could it be up to? What has become of it?
Of a possible encounter with Mendez at John's post-Cote d'Azur ONI debriefing...
Nicholas John Roberts Jones (N.J.R.Jones@brighton.ac.uk) writes:
i've alwyas wondered what happened to Chief Mendez. i know that when the Spartans graduated and went and got their Mjolnir armour, he said his goodbyes, and John recalls never seeing the Chief again after that. but we never do know what happened to the Chief. or do we?
i've noticed something that could show where he ended up in the Fall of Reach. now i havent read The Flood yet, so correct me if i'm wrong, but i think he works for ONI.
my first thoughts at this were that being a part of such a project s the SPARTAN project wouldnt allow him to be around other field-personnel or allow him to continue as a Drill Instructor.
the other thing is something i've spotted a few times but never really thought it was worth mentioning. it is during Chapter 24 when the Master Chief reports to ONI at Camp Hathcock. as he recalls the firefight with the Hunters and he rewinds the tape to where the Jackal was crushed, he makes a statement that someone says "What do you mean, son?"
now i know it may be nothing, but it is a new voice that sounds "older and rough", just like Mendez. The Master Chief says he can only offer his opinion and the same, scratchy voice replies "Offer it, Master Chief, i for one would be very interested what someone with first hand experience has to say...for a change."
this sounds like a rebuke at his ONI superiours as they were always rather sceptical of the project, and the fact that there is a "rustling of papers, then silence" could be the annoyance of them.
this may not be much, but the other thing is that we see that the older, rougher sounding man that i think is Mendez is smoking a cigar:
"The old man chuckled. The faint glow of a cigar tip flared near his voice then faded." could that by any chance be a Sweet William cigar? or am i just throwing sticks at ghosts?
the last thing is when one of the panel says "Jesus...what do you expect from one of Dr. Halsey's wind up toys?"
"Thats quite enough, Colonel!" the older man snapped "This man has earned the right to some courtesy...especially from you." now, this to me sounds like a trainer defending his trainee doesnt it? also, why would the Master Chief have earned some courtesy ESPECIALLY from this Colonel? my guess is that the Spartans perhaps rescued him once? and Mendez will probably read up on ALL of the Spartan's missions, cos after all he did train them to be what they were.
Hmm. It's always nice to have friends in high places. If it was Mendez, let's hope he still remembers us when we get back to Earth. ;-)
Relating to a former post concerning the possibility of Humanity's prior knowledge of Halo 04...
Arthur Wellesly (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
However, Stanforth obviously knew Sigma Octanus 4 had an important piece of information, and it made sense to him that the Covenant were interested. Now I think I know why....
Alpha Halo 04 might be just a hop, skip, and a jump from Earth...
Arthur Wellesly (email@example.com ) writes:
The last date given on the Fall of Reach just as the POA was leaving Reach was August 30. Then the ship arrived at Halo on September 19. That's only about 20 days from the heart of the Human Empire! To use another date reference, it took John and the other Spartans from November 2 until November 27 to get to Chi Cheti 4. That is 25 days! So, assuming that the Human borders are the same all the way around, Halo was INSIDE the Human borders, and I don't know about you guys, but I think it would be pretty hard to overlook such a significant installation. Now, perhaps the human border is shorter at parts than others and maybe the Spartans waited a few days before leaving for Chi Cheti 4, but still that would still place Halo VERY close to the Human border close enough to be explored by a ship or at the very least seen with a telescope. It just doesn't make sense.
That leads me to my other theory. Maybe ONI did know about Halo but kept it a secret from the public. Maybe they knew that aliens existed long before 2525. However I've exhausted my theorying for the day, and I cannot speculate as to why they would know about it and not investigate it.
How do we know they haven't investigated it?
(Update: ìThe Covenant ships have always been fasterî. The journey from Halo 04 to Reach in the Ascendant Justice took only 13 hours (FS p.95) versus the 3 weeks it took the Pillar of Autumn going the other way. replay (firstname.lastname@example.org) has posted his assertion that Delta Halo 05 may also be well within Human explored space. Long, but thorough -Finn :)
Did ONI know about Halo before we ever got there? More than a few references have been hauled out to show that this, indeed, was the case. Two specific things to chew on here.
Zoidberg (email@example.com) writes:
On the bridge on the main screen you can see 'Target ID: Halo'
Had the ONI recruited cortana and given her the co-ordinates to Halo either for recon or to check up on a previous mission. Well this would explain how she knew the name of the structure (Halo). Well why her? Simple, shes a piece of code...with a limited life span. And she can be manipulated i.e. memory files removed etc. AND if she should become a threat to ONI interests she can simply be deleted or, when being transferred in one of those neural chip things, lost. And she has a perfect delivery system...the chief.
An AI going missing isn't a big deal. BUT a human death raises questions.
Well if she had been recruited.....what for?
As I said recon...find out specifics of Halo (which she did), or check up on a previous recon team. This could go towards explaining the weird unknown marines on GS with EMP on their backs. In addition to explaining why there are dead marines all over places that no one from the POA had been prior to you.
As mentioned recently the proximity of HALO to earth or human space.
I find it hard for something like Halo to go un-noticed. Someone must have picked it up, if its so close.
This could also explain the holy war the covenant have waged on us. ONI found HALO, sent a team to investigate, its holy ground for the covenant, we desecrate Halo in their eyes....holy war begins.
oddworld (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
So by now it's all but confirmed that there are more Halos. We do not yet know why the Covenant are invading Earth as opposed to just glassing it. Most think that there is something they want. How deep is ONI's influence? Could it be deep enough to hide a nearby Halo from common knowledge? I don't know how commonplace civilian space travel is in the Halo Universe; I would imagine that if it is not extremely common, they could simply keep government flights out of the immediate zone, and mask it from sensors somehow.
So, anyway, along the tangent that there is a Halo near Earth, perhaps it isn't laid out like Installation 04. Or, assuming ONI got to it first...perhaps the Index isn't there. Maybe the Covenant know this.
Maybe that's what they want on Earth - the key to our destruction.
Or... better yet... what if ONI had found a Halo previously, and had actually figured out how to harness it's power. What would a shadowy government agency want more than a bomb that could completely wipe out the enemy in an area without damaging any structures?
There have only been two instances when the Covenant did not fight to the last ship, but instead turned and ran. The first, at Sigma Octanus IV, had to do with arcane symbols that may have been products of the Forerunner. The second was at Reach, when the apparent purpose was to obtain the NAV database from the stealth ship Circumference. But what if the Covenant wanted more than that? What if coming to Earth has more to do with finding "that which was lost," rather than simply glassing another homeworld? I know I'm going to be checking out those strange rocks in my backyard tonight. They seem oddly familiar...
Ackerson's King Under the Mountain
Jesper (email@example.com) writes:
Now there's one episode in the First Strike, where we really learn ONI Sector Three's mission. When tapping into the ONI complex's computers, Dr. Halsey meets the Colonel Ackerson's AI, Araqiel, apparently attempting to steal SPARTAN-II information according to Dr. Halsey. Anyway, she destroys the AI and begins to look through its files. There are two folders: "S-III" and "King Under the Mountain"...
The first folder very possibly stands for SPARTAN-III as already speculated [Note: Or merely Section III]. This just again reaffirms Ackerson and ONI Sector Three's interest in the SPARTAN project and maybe their own wish to take control of it and continue with it without Dr. Halsey involved.
But more importantly we got the "King Under the Mountain" folder. What does this stand for? Well, the office IS in a mountain, right? And what does Dr. Halsey find under the Mountain? The "holy of holies", the Holy Light, which is apparently of enourmous significance to the Covenant.
And what does this folder contain? First of all, a much larger blueprint of the CASTLE base than Dr. Halsey had ever seen! But the folder†also had detailed information on John-117's attack on CÙte d' Azur, where he found the strange alien artifact (that eventually led to Halo if no one remembers). And also detailed information on the symbols found on the artifact!
But this just leads to new speculation. Dr. Halsey does in fact say, after discovering this, that Ackerson had kept a very dangerous secret. Does she mean that he actually knew Reach would be destroyed [or was at risk]? But how would you be able to know that just from some star coordinates on an alien artifact? And, how can it be Cortana and Dr. Halsey found two different coordinates on the same artifact [Halo and then Reach from ONI/Cortana's analyses and the signal captured by John's camera, respectively] and does that mean anything? Could the artifact hold all the different coordinates to the greatest Covenant holy places, and thereby also Earth? (If we consider Earth another place for an alien artifact since the Covenant does not seem to glass it!).
This is a confusing bit of the story thus far. The analysis of the rock from Sigma Octanus did lead Cortana to Halo (FoR p. 336, as mentioned above), but apparently the captured images made by John off of the same rock create the coordinates of Reach (Epsilon Eridani) itself (FS p.130). Bizarre, unless each rock contains several sets of markings... is there something we are missing?
ONI may have previously known of Halo, and a lot of other things, if this trail is followed a while. Ackerson has a folder entitled KING UNDER THE MOUNTAIN. There are Forerunner facilities (not all of which were necessarily seen by the Spartans and Halsey) beneath the ONI base on Reach. So, doesn't this imply that Ackerson (and ONI) may have been well aware of these caves on Reach, and through co-ordinates gleaned here and there, on other planets as well, for some time? If so, what have they been doing with this information? Waiting for the... mood to be right? :P
Key words from The Fall of Reach just begging to be speculated on...
Infininja (WolfRex87@aol.com) writes:
I was recently re-reading the Fall of Reach, then stopped to read First Strike, and I picked it up where I left off, quite near the end. I must've started around pg. 281, because that transmission really caught my eye.
Based on the location, it seems to be from humans (I started out thinking maybe there could have been a section of Covenant, or for all we know, Forerunner, working with ONI) but it's the codenames that really caught my eye. COALMINER, of course, brings me back to the Forerunner facilities deep underground Reach, as described in First Strike. SURGEON and HYPODERMIC almost make me think of a splinter faction, or at least, a special group such as ONI slipping into and out of things.
Now, this is all me just speculating wildly (people say rampant too much ;)), but with all the intelligence ONI is supposed to have, it seems stupid for them to put a ship out there, which no one is supposed to know about, with NAV data intact. They had counterintrusion software put in, was that just to stop the AI from detecting them, or were they possibly expecting Covenant and trying to stop them from gathering the data?
And with that, was the first Covenant 'AI' really heard from in First Strike? Perhaps those data invasion packets on page 302 were actually just parts of a much larger 'being.'
A "transient AI" was detected... Cortana/UNSC AI, or the Covenant scoping out their prey from the system's edge as is their custom?
Also, who would this ONI ship be planning on tailing, or inserting for that matter? Are they following the Spartans in, planting their own agent, or could this be a rival mission?
Hello. My name is ONI, and I have something I'd like to apologize for...
MC vince (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Apokalypz (Bonemonster@aol.com) write:
It has been speculated that a factor in the covenant starting the war, was because there was some disruption in the ranks. Surely if humans started the war, then surely we have to apply the same theory. Rebel bases have been mentioned in two books, and in the First Strike it mentions that "not everyone wanted to be ruled by an Earth government". Informing us of their history, without them playing a significant enough role thus far, to me, indicates that they could become a future plot point, focusing more on their personal rebellion, etc. [If any survived the Covenant that entered their system...]
Also, if ONI did "start" the Covenant vs. Human war, then the question is why? As we know Ackerson seems to understand this crystal from Cote d' Arzur. Perhaps he is more aware of these crystals, and perhaps humans have been hiding them for the Forerunner, or protecting them for some reason. I probably need more information on this theory about ONI knowledge of the Forerunner. However I did find this quote to be pretty interesting: "Just his style to play with fire and get us all burned". Bungie seems to have a way of taking the literal meaning; I believe in this case, it is; ONI hiding Forerunner artifacts, and then getting burnt by plasma, from the covenant ;)
What if Ackerson also had intel on Halo 04 and other famous sites (refer to First Strike) before they were "discovered" by the PoA and other subsequent individuals. It is my belief that Section III stumbled upon these areas and began doing their stuff, the Covenant caught these filthy humans rummaging about in these Holy Places and that is why the Covenant wish to eradicate the Infidels. That leads me to believe that Section III started this whole damned war. But one can only speculate until the truth is revealed. Until that time comes, speculate away.....
And so we shall. Hmmm... As Shadows Heir (email@example.com) also mentions, "If thats so, then why have they decided to kill us NOW? What triggered the switch from observer to cosmic xenophobic exterminator?"
The first transmission from the Covenant (at Harvest) was supposedly in English. Later, Halsey comments that "in a matter of weeks they had learned our language"; apparently they had been watching us for some time. An inconsistency, or has Humanity really encountered them before?
Ackerson, Spartan or Section III, and an historical indication of betrayal
James Kinsella (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ted blum (email@example.com) assert while A. N.-W. contrasts:
On page 130 in First Strike Dr. Halsey is looking in Ackerson's files, and finds one called s-III. It has research on all of the Spartan-II program. I think we may assume that s-III is Spartan-III.†This begs the question, "What is Ackerson doing making Spartans?" I think it's a pretty simple explanation; Jealousy. He has created these Spartans†because he is jealous of what Dr. Halsey has done, and yet he can't get over their operational effectiveness. So to combat these feeling of inferiority he creates another goup of Spartans,†a†much larger group, and then pulls them out of hiding when the shit hits the fan. His Spartans save the day with their incredible training and whatnot, and Ackerson geets the credit for having had the foresight to create more Spartans. That would be why he seems so happy when he believe the good doctor is pushing up dais..er...glass heaps.
From the books, the most obvious evidence is in FS, the top of Page 103 when General Strauss says "At least we have your special weapons programs Ackerson. Dr Halsey's Spartans were such a great suc-"
Also, page 127 has an interesting quip from Dr. Halsey when she's talking to Araquiel, Ackerson's AI "Don't you have anything better to do than steal data from my SPARTAN program?"
The above quote would make sense, particularly if Araquiel was stealing data from the SPARTAN's so that Ackerson's projects could be done without a hitch. What Ackerson might have found most interesting is the technique used to make flash clones of the SPARTAN's organs and possibly the markers that Dr Halsey was looking for when selecting conscripts. Information like that could be very important towards Ackersons research on flash clones and more importantly on what kind of complications could be expected from cloned bodies, which Dr. Halsey lamented about later in FS.
People have speculated that Ackerson's file 'S-III' must mean Spartan III. I find that extremely unlikely. The Spartans are Ackerson's biggest humiliation. I can think of no conceivable way that a sane man would put such a glaring reminder right in his own face. Though that does raise the question of Ackerson's sanity...
If Ackerson were to create his own super-soldiers, they would naturally be designed to†be able to defeat†the Spartans, and hence prove their superiority. Now, who were the Spartans defeated by? The Persians! And then only when a traitor led them around the pass. I think this says we should be very careful in Halo 2...
With all due respect to my predecessor...
Alexis (firstname.lastname@example.org) mentions another possible point of contention over the true focus of Ackerson's special weapons program and S-III. Read on for further discussion.
God_Holocaust (email@example.com) writes:
Ackerson gave the covenant AIs as well. That bastard.
Cortana notes that part of the dissected Covenant AI looks like her, but... horribly fractured. And she also notes that the copying software might do the same to her. Am I the only one making 3 and 4 equal 7? Ackerson sold the Covenant one AI, as well as Earth and all the rest, which I already discussed, and the covenant copied it over and over and over.
Oh, and one more thing pointing to my theory being correct?
Ackerson's attitude towards Reach. Lieutenant Wagner thinks Ackerson sounds almost as though he WANTED the Covenant to glass Reach. And how did Ackerson get back to Earth anyway?
"Halsey's freaks have finally lost their luster of invulnerability." Ackerson is speaking almost from a Covenant point of view. The Covenant know now that the Spartans can be killed.
Ackerson also pours cold water on the idea of sending a scout ship to Reach. His reasoning, on the surface, is that the UNSC cannot spare one ship. He drills the idea that everyone on Reach is dead into the good Lieutenant, making it seem silly to send a scout ship. There obviously was something on Reach that he didn't want the UNSC to know about.
He also suggests pulling back everything to defend Earth. It seems odd that the Covenant had a massive fleet at the Unyielding Hierophant. Ackerson, you bastard! He was trying to catch all of the UNSC forces at Earth, and wipe them all out in one fell swoop.
It is a well-known fact of science fiction that government spooks are never to be trusted. Is Ackerson any different? Time will tell...
ONI = demon. Oh, and that other Bungie game.
Winters (PMOH_Winters@hotmail.com) writes:
For some reason, ONI is often seen as a shadowy, sinister organization, where their agenda is not always clear.†I think that the word, Oni seems to describe them perfectly.†Oni is a Japanese term, and in English, translates roughly as "demon", "devil", or "ogre".†Their features are often described as horned and fearsome beings. Just looking at the mask of one certainly brings to mind Sgt. Johnson's comparing ONI's looks to Engineers. Its a common misconception that Oni are evil, but in Japan, Oni are often seen as both a destroyer and a protector. ONI is certainly Oni-like when it comes to the "destroyer" part. After all, it was ONI that authorized the SPARTAN project, and undoubtedly countless other projects and operations over the years. It can even be argued that ONI is possibly the "destroyer" of Earth. after all, as mentioned in First Strike and the HSP: it could've been their operatives' disregard for the Cole Protocol which could have (accidentally?) led the Covenant to Earth. Yet, ONI is also a "protector". In Japan, people used to put up tiles shaped like Oni faces to ward off evil spirits and worship the Oni for protection. This shows ONI's other face. Even though ONI may have many secret agendas, such as maybe leading the Covenant to Earth on purpose, ONI's primary directive is†to protect Humanity and ensure its survival.
As a side note, Bungie also has another game on their site, aptly named "Oni", for the Playstation 2. Unfortunately, I know very little about it.
Oh, but I bet someone around here might...
King of the Mountain: Alternate
GryphonOsiris firstname.lastname@example.org has posted an extended look into the possible meanings of the "King Under the Mountain" (A quick search will reveal more regarding this). This time it is based on Frederick and German lore. Excellent conversation continues from there. Read on...
Avateur Starz (email@example.com) writes:
Referring to a post†by†replay†about the ONI's possible prior knowledge of Halo Installation 04 and maybe 05, I've noticed some things that help bring sense to the HALO universe.†replay stated that, "This was one mural of several that was supposed to briefly describe the history of the Covenant, but did not make the final cut (note that it mysteriously features one Installation outside the borders of the galaxy)." He goes into this briefly, mostly explaining how the installations could cover the galaxy, even from outside of it.
Going back to HALO, one thing I had noticed that bothered me was how at the very end of it, Master Chief was flying his Longsword outside of what one could assume to be the Milky Way Galaxy.
This leads me to wonder what ONI was doing looking outside of the galaxy to begin with, assuming they did know about Halo 04.
"Halo Story Page: ONI knows much more than they let on."
"Joseph Staten: Without a doubt."
So why isn't ONI at least communicating with the UNSC? It looks as though they're keeping all of this urgent information to themselves. I've noticed how people believe that Cortana might be rogue, possibly not really trying to save the Earth at all. Could it be that ONI, or someone in it,†doesn't want the Earth saved?†It's already been noted that the higher-ups in ONI don't like the Spartans, the only thing keeping the human race alive. This is leading me to believe that there's a conspiracy going on...
Is somebody in ONI committing acts of treason? Is there a leak within ONI giving information to the Covenant, or purposely not passing along information to UNSC forces so as to help assure the Earth's destruction? Assuming that ONI knows about the Ark on top of everything else, they might not care if the Earth gets destroyed or if the Halo installations become activated, especially if they're working with the Covenant (or more specifically, the Prophets). There's so much speculation that the Covenant went to†our solar system in search of a Forerunner artifact. What if in reality they stumbled upon us because of information leaked to them purposely by someone within ONI?†Something fishy is going on here...
With ONI? I'd expect nothing less! ;)
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...
Wouldn't you just know it? Doesn't matter where you go, there's always a
Scots ONI there before you.
joe cole (email@example.com) writes:
With regards to this post:
In the Conversations from the Universe booklet, 343 Guilty Spark clearly states:
"A primitive, hegemonizing swarm calling itself The Covenant has landed on Installation 4. Apparently seeking something specific. Exploring! Meddling! I've seen it all before. They'll record what they see and they'll leave."
The Monitor did not simply pick the first species that came along to be Reclaimers. But perhaps, Arthur was correct about ONI finding Halo.
Perhaps they arrived and the Monitor recognized them, he probably informed them of the Installation's purpose, told them all about the Flood and told them that they were the only ones who could activate the Rings. He may have even told them that something important was on Earth, be it the Ark, or something else.
And to take it one step farther, what if SPARTAN I's were the ones who were sent to the ring to investigate it? And after 343 Guilty Spark tells them all this, he assumes that they're going to go back and tell everyone, which, being ONI, does not happen. They keep the information highly classified, so when Master Chief shows up, the monitor just assumes that he knows what his duties are.
The reason ONI kept it classified is because of obvious security reasons, I mean, would you want everyone to know how to destroy all life as we know it?
No, especially not the Covenant, and you have to remember, at this point Humans had no clue about what the Covenant were trying to achieve aside from mass genocide of the Human race.
But this still doesn't explain why Guilty Spark recognizes you as the last person who activated his Installation.
Or does it? Dun dun dun
Oni HighCom on Earth connected to the Ark?
Dragonclaws certainly thinks so (and with good reason, I say).
The humans probably don't know what it is, IF it is, but the fact that ONI has apparently known of the Reach Forerunner installation for an indefinite amount of time should have set off a few more alarms than it did. For the Reach facility to have been built coincidentally over top of those caverns is just that: quite a coincidence. If ONI had some knowledge of Forerunner sites (stemming from an unknown source) it would make sense that their underground facilities would tie into them whenever possible.
Don't mind the forum flak; I think you're definitely onto something. The chances that Castle Base "struck Forerunnner" (Black Gold, Texas T...) accidentally is extremely unlikely. And no matter what, that ONI had known of these tunnels since some indefinite point in the past was a massive revelation in and of itself.
If Castle had been built atop the caverns unintentionally, you can bet that ONI's been scrounging around for more such locations on other worlds ever since (Coral?).
If Castle was strategically positioned on top of the Forerunner relics, this strongly implies that others had been found previously (in a similar fashion/location we might assume) to merit the search and eventual decision to build there.
As Regret said, Humanity has apparently been blocking access to sacred sights (though this doesn't seem to be the whole, real reason for the extermination of Mankind). Previous contact between ONI and the Covenant is looking more and more certain all the time...
UPDATE: With the Halo 3 announcement, and the nigh certainty that the Ark was merely lying beneath New Mombasa (and revealed by the explosion of Regret's Carrier's departure), we may wonder all the more why a city (and a massive space elevator operated by ???) would be built precisely there, of all places...
UrsusArctos thinks Ackerson's behind it all.
Pertaining to Frankie's statement that the "remainder of the human fleet was either obliterated by the Covenant or distracted by the events at Delta Halo", Ursus wonders what other than a blend of cunning, betrayal, and guile could draw the fleet away from a besieged Earth, especially in the face of the defensive commitment Lord Hood displayed.
(Major portions of the Human fleet jumping to High Charity? Sounds like quite the untold story to me!)
Perhaps we'll see Ackerson in the 3rd installment. Or, knowing the book-game crossovers thus far, maybe not.
Ross poses the possibility of ONI having known about the Flood before even the incursion on Delta Halo, an analysis he's drawn based on ONI Alpha Site's rough geographical location.
Ross Rankin (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
In ODST the ONI building is my main point off attention. Its built like a castle. It has a moat, a high wall and only one way in.
But the wall is on the wrong side of the moat, for me its designed to keep something in rather than out and who needs a moat when your in a world with Pelicans.
Also Dare is nice enough to let us know that the building is directly above the Superintendent with her comment about the Hive. Then directly below the Super is the hole leading to the Forerunner structure. That's already open before the covenant begin to excavate (Can be viewed on the mission Data Hive).
I doubt its coincidence that the ONI building and a high level AI were all built above the hole to the forerunner structure.
One thing that dose puzzle me is the pelican sized hole the Phantoms use to enter the Supers chamber and the forerunner structure below.
There is a constant flow of flaming debris falling from above, that would put the hole directly under the burning ONI building (and would point to good attention to detail by bungie) but when the building was standing no pelican would have been able to access the hole and an elevator would have landed directly onto the Super with no easy way down.
Then we come to the interior of the building, it has no stairs or visible corridors, only three lifts with two lower level landing pads and one on the roof, no windows and the middle is a void for as far down as we can see. What would someone do in a building like that?
There doesn't seem to be much room for floor space. What is the point of the building? In the opening sequence you see the 3D map showing the carrier over the city, the ONI building is quite visible and shows how much real estate the entire area covers, about the same area as the wild life reserve. But in the relatively small building there is not much to it.
It has almost a Forerunner design to it. I once read some theories about the first Halo ring in Halo Combat Evolved, that it was designed to slow the floods spread with high valley's, sheer cliffs and small defendable bottle necked corridors.
The ONI building is not as high as the valley's in the original halo but it would be hard to get out off. From what we see the only way up from the super is elevators, the rest is all sealed off by data stacks and vertical shafts. Even if you get to the ONI building you need to deal with sheer walls and once your on ground level you have a moat and a huge wall to deal with.
I think ONI has had access to the Forerunner structure for sometime, enough time to build the impressive building with possible Flood proof defences? Did they find the flood in the Forerunner structure?
Anyway I think ONI knew it was there and for some time.
James responded to Ross Rankin's recently-posted theory regarding ONI's timely awareness of the existence of the Flood. After playing through Halo 3: ODST, he suggests the parts of ONI Alpha Base covered in icy fog could be the result of a measure employed to counter the Flood, which, in turn, could have possibly been used by the Forerunners as well.
James Delaney (email@example.com) writes:
I was reading through the last update to the Halo story page, Ross Rankin's theory of ONI knowing about the Flood, and his comments about the building's architecture resembling the containment design of the Forerunners in particular. I just picked up ODST from a friend and played through the campaign a few days ago. On the level Data Hive, just after you take out the Brute Chieftan with the turret, you come across an area covered in ice, with a lot of low lying fog.
Now I know that this could just be the superintendent's cooling system going haywire because at this stage, I'm sure he's not in the best of health and can't control all his systems. But it could also be the same precaution that the Forerunner had against the flood. Using ice and cold weather to slow their advance. With the strong similarities between the forerunner's designs for slowing the flood advanced and the design of the ONI building, it just seemed to me that it was a little too similar to see an icy landscape and have it not relate to the slowing of the flood.
Food for thought anyways,
The HSP is starting to look like a discussion forum ever since I posted that ultra-update a month ago, with various Halo story enthusiasts replying, completing and adding pertinent information to the theories already posted. If we keep this up, it's going to mark a change in the Halo Story Page's functional direction, from a repository of Halo storyline speculation to fan interaction. That would definitely make the HSP more dynamic.
This time, Joe WaferMouse Jones and David Moore make some canonical completions to James Delaney's most recent theory (scroll down to the last submission to view it). It treated the mysterious presence of icy clouds in one of ONI Alpha Base's compartments, which he interpreted as being connected to an anti-Flood defensive mechanism, one he also proposes may have been used by the Forerunners.
Joe WaferMouse Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
In response to James' most recent take on this, whilst it's definitely plausible, the room he refers to is a set-piece for "Sadie's Story" in ODST, which only unlocks if 29 of the phones have been found. Without wanting to spoil it for anyone who hasn't found all the ringing phones, the ice buildup is related to an argon release from the fire extinguishers, a known event. Argon is often used in data centres at a fire deterrent, to prevent damage to equipment.
The whole level is reminiscent of The Library, though, with the repeating architecture and dark corridors. Or even more so, Sentinel Wall from Halo 2, with the machine-oriented architecture and piston-like data stacks impeding progress.