They're random, baby

The Halo Story


By the 24th century, Humans have founded a modest interstellar empire. There are at least a few dozen, but more likely one or two hundred, colony worlds within human-explored space. Some of them, if not most, are relatively heavily populated, indications of a prosperous 2 centuries exploring our neck (or arm, if you like) of the galaxy.

Human technology is not that far advanced from what we have today; the basic technologies are mostly the same, just on a much larger scale, with the exception of FTL travel made possible by the Shaw-Fujikawa slipstream drives of Human starships. Weaponry is still projectile-based, and explosives still seem to involve chemical reactions rather than a release of contained plasma or energy. While Humans have recently come to possess artificial gravity (another product of reverse engineering Covenant ordinance, as demonstrated by the gravity on the Pillar of Autumn), they have yet to apply it to smaller planet-bound vehicles; the Warthog, for example, still uses wheels and does not hover.

AI is a different story. Mankind has long striven to artificially produce some semblance of consciousness, and their dedication has not been in vain. In Humanity's limited extraterrestrial experience, the likes of Cortana appear only to be matched, if at all, by the constructs of the ancient Forerunner themselves. Covenant AI, though inherently complicated and dangerous, prove to be little more than simple-minded curiosities to Cortana, as she so effortlessly dissects and examines her would be tormenter. However, their exact make-up and origins possess riddles enough for the future.

The Covenant, however, "own nothing which they have not stolen", and have had a decisive advantage so far in their own technological revolutions: the raiding of abandoned Forerunner complexes, caches, and worlds. But, as Humanity's resistance plays out across the fields and starscapes of the Milky Way, mankind not only adapts and incorporates, but creates and improves. The Mjolnir armour and shield technology, coupled with the yields of Humanity's fascination with sentient constructs has so far been the most successful of their ingenuities.

The bulk of Humanity still does not know about the events which transpired after the Pillar of Autumn jumped away from the Reach system; the Master Chief and a handful of Human survivors wrenched from Installation 04's wreckage, are the only remaining witnesses of our race to the Flood and the Forerunner machines left on Halo. All they know is that their last hope, Reach (and her military forces), is either completely lost or severely impeded (depending on the number of surviving Spartans), and that the Covenant still loom over Human space. Even with ONI's morale-boosting propaganda and hush tactics, every night they watch the sky, waiting for the hammer to fall. Earth cannot last long.

The other, other species on the ring...

somerandomuser ( writes:

In Manoflaslomas's post about guilty spark addressing you as "reclaimer" he says "...Guilty Spark thinks (knows?) the master chief is a Reclaimer rather than a member of the covenant or another human (Keys for instance)... this is not quite true on the Library level 343 comments "I would conjecture that the other species currently on the instillation is responsible for releasing the Flood. They seem most persistent in their attempts to access restricted areas." It is assumed from this that he knows that you are indeed human, or thinks the other humans on halo are forerunner.This would fit in with Mr. Yun's theorie that the forerunner are ancient humans.

This made me think... When 343 says that he would conjecture that the other species currently on the installation is responsible for releasing the Flood, was he actually refer to the Covenant, as it would be assumed? Perhaps he is refering, in fact, to the Humans? Humans have been persistant in accessing restricted areas...



franki goes on:

as for the humans, here's some conjecture. perhaps early humans were stranded forerunners. this would explain the genetic similarities but the lack of forerunner tech on the human's part. why do the cov. hate them? perhaps they know that humans are forerunners but that they have seemingly forsaken their technology. perhaps they think that the humans were a banished sect of the forerunners and so see themselves as completing the task of banishment by utterly destroying the humans. perhaps the cov. think that human existence is a blasphemy. we won't know until halo 2 when i believe we will see more of the religious leaders. all we've seen so far is the soldiers and since when were soldiers ever let in on the whole story?

The part about being "stranded" is an especially interesting idea, and very popular in sci-fi. Oh, for a glimpse at Halo 2! :-)



landon ( writes:

the covenant are a collection of species aren't they. why don't they just incorporate the humans into their covenant. if i was a covenant i sure wouldn't mind master chief on my team would you?

No, I can't say that I would mind one bit. It's like I always say, when the going gets tough, make the tough some cookies ;)



Upon reviewing the shear volume of related speculation, we may need to add a "Their Survival" subsection...

Menticided ( ) writes:

"The installation was specifically built to study and contain the Flood. Their survival as a race was dependent upon it. I am grateful to see that some of them survived to reproduce."

Perhaps what this means is that the Forerunners and Humans were once allied, and it was the Humans who became infected by the Flood parasites. Maybe the Forerunner believed that almost all of the Human race was infected, and since they were friendly, the Forerunner contained infected Humans to try to find a cure for the parasite and revert the infected Humans back to normal. This could explain why GS is surprised and glad to see Humans, and that they have "survived". The Halo as a weapon serves as a safety measure, obviously, to destroy the Flood, along with all life in the Galaxy. If the Forerunner and Humans were once friendly, this could be why the Forerunner wanted to preserve the Flood, but also be able to destroy them. The Forerunners probably were immune to the Flood for some reason or another [or sufficiently equipped to handle them], which is why they were able to stay alive and build the Halos and such.

And opens another possibility as to why 343 would call you Reclaimer. With Humanity as a partner or client of the Forerunner, the revelation of such a past relationship would still be enough to incite gasps from the audience and yet still leave the Halo universe with all the mystery and aura that only an unknown, powerful, though seemingly dead race can bring.



Brian Goodrow ( writes:

To further speculate on the "how the covenant found Earth" issue, I turn to the ever trusty Halo: Fall of Reach.

I believe that it might be possible that the small Covenant tracking device on the back of Keyes' old ship Iroquois could have sent the signal. After all, that ship was damaged extremely, and could have been sent back to shipyards on Earth for scrapping (or sent to Earth for another reason). It never says that that tracker was limited to only one data signal in the form of a crystal.

Tailed all the way back to Earth, just like a cheap detective story. Damn.



Dan ( writes:

Reclaimer is just the name GS uses for the tool he is using to reactivate Halo. In HTF, 343 GS tells the MC about a marine sergeant that tried and failed to get the index under his direction. 343 GS refers to him as a reclaimer also. In the beginning of the Two Betrayals, 343 GS says that if the MC will not help him then he will simply find another. Moreover the Library level is littered (?) with marine bodies and there is no evidence of Covenant whatsoever. This means 343 GS never used the Covenant to act as "reclaimers." The Library seems to be pretty inaccessible to anyone other than 343 GS or the Flood, who we learn in HTF, move about Halo so easily by using shafts and ducts that run the length of Halo. Marines would not be wandering around the Library as it seems to be difficult to get to and the Covenant never found it. If the Covenant were a Forerunner race, then 343 GS would try to use them to reactivate Halo as well. Surely they would follow a being from the ringworld they so religiously revere. 343 GS used the MC and other Marines simply because humans were the Forerunner.

Humanity does seem to have the Reclaimer market cornered at this point ;)



So the crime we find is just human behaviour, everybody's in the line...

Mike/Kiwi ( writes:

How does he know what a "human" is, unless he has seen/met one before? Does 343GS think MC is NOT human (which, I guess, is partially true)? Is the comment by 343GS a derogatory remark towards humans? Why would shooting at 343GS be a "human" thing to do? Note that this comes long before 343GS's remark about the fascinating "human history" in "The Maw."

Once again, is the answer right under our noses?



Humanity's relationship to the Forerunner has been questioned and touted a great deal in our hallowed halls and lofty pages. At this stage in the game, direct evidence is still scarce, but signals and signs are abundant. For example, early backstory for Halo mentions Human colonists discovering seemingly indigenous Human settlements on distant worlds; a powerful conglomeration of races wants Humanity exterminated for a reason that has few satisfying, foreseeable options; the various biblical parallels involving both the Flood and "Ark theories" provide ample history; John and other's almost tacit knowledge of Forerunner interfaces; at least one inspiration for Halo's story sees Humanity in the position of descendant in relation to a mysterious, enigmatic race; 343 Guilty Spark's highly ambiguous commentary portends a presence and background we have not yet fully conceived.

In this post by Ace we are, as with most speculation, presented and left with more questions than answers, but with a little fiendish editing for brevity and focus...

Earlier I posted about the "Class 2 Armor Thing." After reading a couple of reply posts, it hit me. Like a flood tentacle, right in the face. THAT ARMOR! WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MASTER CHIEFS ARMOR?? Try and bear with me, I feel a rant coming on. Everybody has been talking about how guilty spark recognizes the [human] armor: the armor was taken from forerunner technology, the armor was copied from covenant technology, etc. But we're missing something HUGE here.

The covenant possess nothing which they have not stolen. To quote the prophet from The Flood: (Prophet, to an Elite, talking about Mjolnir armor) "The technology underlying the armor you wear came straight from the forerunners. To say that it is in any way inferior [to the Human-made Mjolnir] verges on sacrilege." (p. 95-96)

Think about it. The covenant are religious zealots, but they don't worship the forerunners themselves, its the TECHNOLOGY they are after. The Covenant have created an entire religion based on pillaging and making use of this technology. EVERYTHING they use, from the Covenant Battlecruiser to plasma rifles to a grunt rebreather mask, is directly from the forerunners. Meanwhile, the humans make some decent reactive body armor and reverse engineer a shield system. Our equipment is barely on par with a Gold Elite. WHY THE HELL would guilty spark pick out Master Chief as forerunner [or as Reclaimer, whatever relation that may have to the Forerunner] when he's got an entire Forerunner tech Armada flying rings around his giant ring!?

...Don't you think he would be a lot more familiar with them instead of us pesky humans?

The Master Chief and Mobuto do have at least one thing in common, and given the assortment of supposedly familiar gadgetry wielded by the Covenant, armour or tech do not seem to be the necessary requirement for 343. Whether Humanity's ultimate role is that of heir, servant, prodigal son, exile, or favourite child, this post suggests again, with a certain bluntness, the specific place of importance Humanity appears to occupy in relation to the Forerunner. Ace has more to say on this and other topics. Drop in and work it out :)



The possibility of Earth based relics (Human or Forerunner) from the pre-fired Halo days

Michael McClelland ( writes:

Before halo was first activated I believe Earth must have reached a really high point in technology, and AIs among other things were created. If halo activated, then everything feedable to the flood was obliterated, thus ending the flood, except for a few remaining human flood who survived to reproduce(remember 343GS saying that?) into non-infected humans, who in our world would be adam and eve.

So earth was remade into brand new place, with no one ever knowing of the flood's existence. But a few AIS made it through the destruction and carnage because they didn't have a trace of life in them, for example not containing neural implants like others.

One would think that Earth's inhabitants would have found traces of this previous civilization at some point, but who's to say? What with ONI and shadowy stealth ships and intelligent, high-spirited AIs all slouching about, there might be all kinds of stuff we don't know about ourselves.



Of course, then Bryan goes off on some insane tangent about chessboards...

And it would be cool if there was a Halo chess board. On the Covenant side the king and queen could be Prophets. The bishops could be Elites. The Horses would be Jackals . The rooks could be Hunters and the pawns would be grunts. And on the human side, the king would be the MC. The queen could be Cortana. The bishops would be men with sniper rifles. The horses, men with shotguns. The rooks would be men with rocket launchers and the pawns would be men with assault rifles. i'd buy it immediately.

Actually, I'd probably buy that, too! ;-)



With so many processing cycles dedicated to the HSP, it is always difficult to discern between what you remember posting, and what has only been discussed at length, often privately. Very many ideas that are more or less common knowledge just don't make it to print. However, one finds that, like sense, common knowledge is often not so common ;)

James Ribby ( writes:

I just figured it's worth pointing out that in the book, The Flood, when the Chief is going after the Index, he stumbles across the body of a dead marine. The significance is that Guilty Spark refers to the dead marine as "the other Reclaimer". This would imply that he recognizes the Chief not by his armor, but by his race.

So it would seem. For the moment, let's run with it :)



Devin Hallsworth comments on Human technology:

old tech doesnt neccesarily mean low tech, as bullets can only get more cheap, powerful, and efficient as time goes by. and despite the seeming superiority of plasma rifles in terms of power to assualt rifles i imagine that considering the fact that covenant dont seem to carry cartridges for theyre weapons it could get mighty inconvinient to run out of energy for your weapon on a battle field(unless your packing a recharger on your back)

Honestly, how many shots does the average Elite have to expend to put you on your back? One plasma rifle charge is more than enough to kill a man :)



All roads lead to SOL

Joe Nowasaki ( writes:

I think that mabey the reason (which would be a great plot twist for Halo 2) why the covenant found Earth is that remember the space probe Pioneer 10? Pioneer 10 (click here for more info) that "carries a famous gold plaque--an attempt by humans to communicate with other beings should the spacecraft be found by aliens during its journey through deep space."

we could have baisiclly screwed ourselves for the covenant finding Earth! if it is already 10 Billion miles out now from 1983 (only 30 year from the launch) think about 600 years from now!! it decribes how to get to Earth! Makes a good story to me!

VGeR.... VGeR...



Wade "Wado" Yamauchi ( writes:

What scares me about the Flood is that when they steal knowledge and memories, they actually remove that knowledge from the host. Certainly, if the Forerunners knew this, they would have a motive to design a way to transmit information via DNA or something that the Flood cannot steal.

Perhaps SPARTAN/Human intuition and instinct have even more merit than we realize :)



Slipstream Buckshot... and Benny the Bear :P

Arthur Wellesly ( writes:

A while back, Wyatt Mustful†contended my theory that Halo was inside human space. He said that because space travel was so sketchy you could suddenly end up trillions of miles away, no matter where you're headed.

That seems a bit off to me. I think the inaccuracy of space travel is better compared to a musket. If you fire a musket in London†at a target 100 yards away, chances are it won't hit the target you wished, but†it certainly won't end up in Beijing. So while exact days may be difficult to use in determining how far Halo is from REACH, it†still seems likely it is extremely close to humans.

Keyes does comment that Human jumps have been known to be off by "hundred of thousands of kilometers" (P.295), but not trillions. (The original post on this subject is here.) Cortana did have a human star chart match however, at 86.2% no less (FoR, p.336); she had a previously known system to compare with the results of her calculations...



Pertaining to the Covenant's usual orbital tactics and their deviations from them

Alexis J. Lojek ( writes:

As we have seen before, the Covenant glass most planets that Humanity inhabits. However, whenever a planet has Forerunner artifacts on it they either only partially glass it (as seen with Reach in First Strike), or invade it entirely (Reach and Sigma Octanus). Earth must have some type of Forerunner artifact on it. Funny that we haven't found it yet...

Or has someone? Dah dah dah ::cue spooky music::



Was the war instigated by the Covenant's first impression of a less than ideal group of Humans? Pirates or rebels perhaps? Ain Soph Aur entertains the possibility.



Hey, ever get a feeling of deja-vu?
Time ... flies
Time ... wounds all heals
Time ... is pretty interesting when 343 Guilty Spark is involved.

LostRock ( writes:

When I saw Tartarus in The Great Journey trying to force Miranda to activate Halo, it struck me as a bit odd. Why did the Brute not do the honor of turning the Index himself? I began to consider that maybe the Index requires some sort of genetic handshake signal when it is turned, and since Keyes touched it first, it was up to her to make the fateful turn of the key. This handshake would be a security measure.

Then I terminated the idea. In Halo 1, Guilty Spark declared that, by protocol, he was the one responsible for the key on the journey to the control room. Since Penitent Tangent wasn't around to escort the Reclaimer, there was no chance to fulfill this protocol in Halo 2.

However, this hypothesis kept persisting in my mind. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized: Reclaimers are humans, and have never been any species but human. Consider the following.

Guilty Spark calls John-117, Mobuto, and Miranda Reclaimers." That is what he calls all humans. The Conversations From The Universe packet includes GS's files on "Cross reference Reclaimer terminology/nomenclature/slang for hegemonizing swarm 'Covenant' against self-descriptors." This page helped me realize that Guilty Spark calls humans "Reclaimers" much like how we name the Sangheili and Unggoy as Elites and Grunts.
Reclaimer is a species name, not just a designation or rank.

Remember in The Maw, Guilty Spark murmurs, "Human history, is it?" He puts an inflection on the word "human" as if to say, "Oh, so you call yourselves humans?"

Now, if the humans are Reclaimers, and Reclaimers are designated to snatch up the Index, then this suggests that the only purpose for humans' existence is to activate the Halo(s). We are the guardians of the Forerunners' ringworld artifacts, and we may very well have been engineered by Forerunners.

Another thing: the ending of Halo 2 implies that this "Ark", this Halo systemwide control room, is located on Earth (perhaps in the vicinity of New Mombasa?). And why not? What better place to put such a facility than on the homeworld of the species that the Forerunners entrusts with the Halos' activation?

Now I only have one question. What happened to OUR lost time, Guilty Spark? Not yours, but we, the Reclaimers'.

Time warp, that's why you think you've seen this post before.



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.



The meek shall not inherit the internet

Patrick Happel ( writes:

In regards to ths theory:

A bit of humility is good every now and then, but in this case it doesn't really fit. There are plenty of signs that have been pointed out that suggest humans may actually be the Forerunners, but even if we're not, we are certainly are more significant than dogs.

Say you had an atomic bomb which could blow up the entire world in an instant, and you locked it with a genetic key so that only the people you wanted to could set it off. Now think hard, would you put your dog's genetic pattern as the key? Would you create the controls so that only dogs had control of whether or not the bomb went off?

Even if humans are not Forerunners, the fact is that only humans have so far been identified as 'Reclaimers.' Only humans are at this point able to set off and disable the Halos. Humans are in control of the fate of the universe. If humans aren't Forerunners, we at least held some very high position in the eyes of the Forerunner, for them to have placed this responsibility in our hands.

This is also a strong indication that the Ark is indeed on Earth. If you're going to make the bomb so that only your family has the ability to detonate it, you want to make damn sure that the bomb's remote control is located where your family can get at it.

But maybe we were really, really good dogs.



Earth. Or what's left of it.

xTr1GGeR HaPPYx asks,

"I'm guessing those ruins in the back are Old New Mombasa, so, whereabouts is the Chief and this Forerunner structure?"

Frankie responds,

"That is indeed the ruins of New Mombasa. The artifact and the Chief are where they appear to be, on the desert outskirts of New Mombasa, and many miles inland. The mountain behind him is Kilimanjaro."


ThreeShot asks,

"Seriously though, how long have the covenant had control of Earth before the cutscene started? Days? Weeks?"

Frankie responds,

"The Covenant have basically been in control of Earth since the final events of Halo 2. What was left of the human forces was either distracted by Delta Halo, or already overwhelmed by the sheer force of the Covenant onslaught."

(Distracted? They actually left the home planet less than fully protected?)


MarkoM asks,

"Does the canyon / hole in the trailer have something to do with New Mombasa and that spacejump the Covenant Capital Ship made at Halo 2? "

Frankie responds,

"That's an excellent question. A Slipspace jump in-atmosphere would have a devastating effect on an environment, don't you think?"

(Yeah, I'd say so.)



"Also, are those rings sticking up in the background remnants of the space elevator?"

Frankie responds,
"Yes, that is the wreckage of a fallen "tether." "

(Or "The Spoke" as I've heard a few people refer to it. Tethering what? I'd like to hear the background on that piece of equipment; that's a lot of mass.)



This is rather striking: Ace Heart noticed more than a few similarities between the real life Fort Jesus in Mombasa, Kenya and a locale most Halo players are more familiar with than their own kitchen cupboards...

Check it out ;)



Jordan117 and Al Gore team up for a crack(-pot?) at the future and Global Warming: The images are in, and he makes quite a case for it via carefully scrutiny of Earth coastlines in Halo 2. Check it out!

(Oh, and " ;) " ).



Mack - Endless Summer

James Ficker emailed us some ideas concerning the connection between Mack (the AI controlling agricultural activity on Harvest) and Endless Summer (the successor of Deep Winter in Zone 67 on Onyx).

James Ficker ( writes:

I recently lent my girlfriend The Fall of Reach, as she is an avid reader herself and thought she might like a bit of background into my slight Halo obsession (I'm working on making a set of Mark V armor to use for Caboose from Red Vs Blue) and she liked TFoR so much, she asked to read the other books. When she was finished she posed the following question to me, which I had never even thought of:"

"Did you pick up the Mack/Loki connection with the AI Endless Summer from Ghosts of Oynx? Mack's last transmission was the words "Endless Summer"? It seemed to me that Mack was more than a "Smart AI," shown by the fact that it literally took the downfall of a planet to use up this AI, and that he'd been around for more than 7 years, hadn't he? That seems to suggest that his core processing might have been so good that was reused by humans in the future. Since you can't completely delete everything on a computer system, it makes sense that his last thought would be a ghost transmission in his rebooted system that he used to name himself in the future."

I had never considered the fact that humans might reuse their AIs. I know that Smart AIs "die" in the sense that they pretty much think themselves to death. However, the process for creating an AI as described in the books, scanning a recently deceased person's brain, seems very expensive and complicated, especially when coupled with the fact that I'm sure a candidate for scanning must meet a very specific set of criteria to be suitable for base for an AI.

Is it possible that the UNSC recovers some core fragments from the AI and uses it to build a new AI so they don't have to create a new one form the ground up and if so, would there be some fragments, some ghosts left in the programming from the pervious "life?"? We know from Cortana in First Strike that an AI can copy fragments of themselves which retain personality and memories.

The UNSC was the losing side of a war that was pushing them to their limits. I'm sure anyway to cut corners, speed things up and reduce costs would have been used, and it seems to me that Mack was a very robust and resourceful AI, an excellent source for a future AI to be built on.

-UNSC Trooper


Leviathan and Stephen Loftus were chatting away on the forums and brought up this theory:


One thing that I always thought was strange was the fact there was a lake there [at the TRAXUS Complex] at all, especially one that would have been large enough and connected enough to give reason for the shipping seaports we played through. I wonder if Bungie's invention of the lake has anything to do with the theories (unless a Bungie artist talked about it, I can't remember) about there being a huge rise in sea level, hence the old, large sea walls in Mombassa... Maybe there was a very dynamic change in the landscape with that sea rise (if there was one) which led to Voi being connected to the sea. - Leviathan

Enough evidence supports things of that nature. The Global Water Campaign info on the "Ghost Town" map, Kilimanjaro meltwater, the severe cut into the Mombasa island to create more docks and piers, the sea walls as you mentioned... - Stephen Loftus