June 10, 2008

Floodgate

> — Cocopjojo @ 6:23 pm

“The Flood. It’s spreading all over the city.”

“How do we contain it?”

“Find the crashed Flood ship. Overload its engine core. We either destroy this city, or risk losing the entire planet.”

“Do it.”

“Chief, make your way to the crash site.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

The Flood have arrived on Earth. They may have come to prevent Truth from activating the rings, or they may simply have discovered Earth’s location and could not pass up the opportunity to take hold of a billion new hosts. Either way, Miranda knows that they spread quickly, and their devastation is total. Lord Hood, trusting Miranda’s experience and judgment with the Flood, accepts her proposition and the Chief is ordered to overload the crashed ship’s engine core. This will cause a massive explosion which will incinerate everything for miles around – similar to detonating of the Pillar of Autumn’s engine back on the first Halo ring – and, more recently, similar to what Cortana said she would do back on Installation 05, should Tartarus manage to activate it.

Moving toward the city, you can find one of the game’s more elusive skulls. As you approach the buildings, a lone Flood combat form runs across the roof of the building to your right. He holds the Fog skull. You’ll need to headshot him in order to get him to drop it; he runs away fairly quickly.

“All squads, report!”

“Multiple contacts, unknown hostiles.”

“There! Over there! We’re surrounded, Sergeant!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

As you make your way into the city, you can hear Marine chatter on your radio. The line, “we’re surrounded, Sargeant!” was actually spoken by Captain Keyes during the UNSC’s first encounter with the Flood on Installation 04, during the level “343 Guilty Spark.” Just like the Marines back on Installation 04, things don’t seem to be going well for the troops here. The Chief has an advantage against the Flood that the Marines do not: referred to as a “class two combat skin,” by the Monitor of Installation 04, the Chief’s Mjolnir armor, complete with an energy shield, allows him some protection from the Flood. The Marines do not have this protection, and have, in the past, fared poorly when engaging the Flood in combat. This is the nature of the crisis that the Earth now faces: Humans, on their own, cannot survive against the Flood.

Directly in front of you, before you make the left turn, you can see two Marines fighting an unseen enemy.

Bodies, both Covenant and Human, litter the ground as you draw closer to the Marines. These were likely killed in the battle leading up to the anti-air gun, or perhaps by the crash-landing of the Flood ship. The fact that they are not infected means that they probably weren’t killed by the Flood.

Right as you catch a glimpse of some Marines standing ahead, a guttural roar breaks the relative silence – it’s followed by the bloodcurdling cry of a Marine. If you look through the wire fence to your right, you can see the two Marines from a moment ago. The scream that you heard came from one of them; they are both quickly overtaken by the combat forms attacking them.

“Fall back, fall back!”

“Sergeant, come on!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

Unfortunately, falling back wouldn’t have worked either; a horde of Flood drop down from the building above and fall upon a small group of Marines huddled at the bottom of a loading ramp. Saving them is nearly impossible, since the Flood attack by swarming over them. After just a moment, the Flood’s cries can be heard from every direction, as more combat forms drop down on the Chief, the Arbiter and the remaining Marines. The Arbiter, having experienced the Flood before, knows the best way to handle them.

“Quickly! Let us find their ship. Make short work of this abomination!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

Due to the close-natured combat of the Flood, you may also notice another one of the Arbiter’s new tricks: sometimes, he’ll drop kick enemies. This is particularly awesome when fighting the Flood because they’ll literally fall apart when kicked by him.

Upon entering the buildings, you’ll find a Marine being overtaken by infection forms. It is possible to save him, albeit difficult. If the Flood manage to latch onto him, you’ll see him transform, right in front of you, into a combat form. The Flood can, and will, do this throughout the rest of the game. Any Marine, any Covenant, any corpse is fair game for infection forms. The only way to be safe while fighting the Flood is to dismember any fallen corpse by shooting it apart. Otherwise, a single infection form can transform it into a fully functional combat form.

Inside the warehouse, the Flood are running rampant, their numbers easily overtaking the scattered and terrified Marines. You may have noticed, by this point, an almost indiscernible voice that seems to emanate from the Flood while you’re fighting them: “The armored casket!” or “I will break you,” in addition to many other lines. This would be the Gravemind, speaking through his minions (if you can call them that), and usually directed towards you or the Arbiter.

The Flood have evolved a little since Halo 1. The infection forms that inhabit host bodies are now exposed in the hosts’ facial area; this causes them to be susceptible to headshots, which allows you to bring them down much easier than in the previous games.  Melees also do more damage.  And in addition to the Gravemind communicating through them, they also have a wide variety of sounds that they’ll make while attacking. It’s hard to describe these noises; you can almost hear the decaying flesh sliding down the inside of their throats as they push out their guttural, sickly cries. And they’re made even more terrifying by the fact that they bear some resemblance to the body that they’ve overtaken. With the Human combat forms, you can see the original head pushed up and to the back, sitting as a protrusion on the upper part of the Flood’s back – with the Human face contorted as though the host’s final act was that of a terrified scream. The Brute forms are the same way, except that the Brute’s lower jaw remains below the “face.”

Moving through the warehouse, the Flood attack much as we’ve come to expect – wave after wave rush you, but with a shotgun and a BR, they’re pretty easily overcome. Just don’t get surrounded.

“Cursed parasite! Rise up and I will kill you! Again and again!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

The Arbiter makes note of the fact that downed Flood will reanimate and attack, unless dismembered.

About halfway through the warehouse, you get the chance to place your hands on one of Halo 3’s new weapons – the Flamethrower. This thing is begging to be used against the Flood. Too bad it’s placed right at the end of a battle, and you’ve got some significant walking to do before you get to your next encounter – and, being a support weapon, you move slower while carrying it. At least you look awesome while holding it.

A moment of respite: the next few rooms are clear. Cortana takes this time to speak to you:

“Chief… I can’t tell you everything… it’s not safe. The Gravemind… it knows I’m in the syst…” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

She speaks directly to the Chief this time. It’s clear that she has some sort of message for him, but she’s currently unable to convey it. For many fans, it was known leading up to Halo 3 that Cortana was being held by the Gravemind; but this is the first in-game confirmation that we get regarding that fact. It’s accompanied by images of her apparently in pain or anguish over something.

“I didn’t have a choice! The LT, the Sergeant, they were all infected! I could see it crawling, sliding around beneath their skin! And… and then they got up… started to talk! Oh God! Their voices! Oh, God! No, make them stop! I did them a favor. Y-yeah that’s it; I helped them. Maybe… maybe I need to help myself…” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

A single Marine sits alone in the next room, waving a pistol around. He’s apparently the only surviving member of his squad, and being forced to watch his friends not simply killed, but infected and reanimated by the Flood, has pushed him over the edge. This is obviously a throwback to the Marine you encounter in the first Halo game – the first survivor of the UNSC’s initial encounter with the Flood. Like the Marine in Floodgate, he was driven insane by the experience, as well.

Moving outside, the area that you had previously done battle in is almost unrecognizable now, save for the crane. The air is thick with ash, and the enormous portal still looms overhead. The music that begins to play is an altered version of a theme first heard during Halo 2, entitled “Ghosts of Reach,” which can be heard during the third part of Outskirts, “A Day at the Beach.”

“Hail, Humans, and take heed. This is the carrier Shadow of Intent. Clear this sector while we deal with the Flood.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

A vignette, as they’ve been termed, occurs here and Ship Master Rtas ‘Vadum, or Half-Jaw, as he’s come to be called, makes a transmission to the UNSC forces on the ground. ‘Vadum is known as Half-Jaw because of an injury he sustained while doing battle with a Flood-infected comrade, Sub-Commander Kusovai, in orbit above the first Halo ring. ‘Vadum, previously known as ‘Vadumee, presumably changed his name when he ascended to his current role as Ship Master, after the Sangheili’s separation from the Covenant. It is unknown if this change was due to the Elites’ splitting from the Covenant, or if this title change occurs when an Elite assumes the role of Ship Master. In Halo 2, he was the Spec-Ops Commander that the Arbiter was paired with for his first mission – the assassination of the Heretic on Threshold. He also accompanied the Arbiter for various portions of the rest of the game.

Shadow of Intent disengages six drop pods’ worth of Elites to assist you in disposing of the Flood. As you move closer, and if they manage to defeat the Flood that they are fighting, the Arbiter will rush ahead and begin talking with one of the Elites.

“My brothers, I fear you bring bad news.”

“High Charity has fallen, become a dreaded hive!

“And the fleet? Has quarantine been broken?”

“A single ship broke through our line, and we gave chase.”

“But we had a fleet of hundreds!”

“Alas brother… the Flood – it has evolved!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

What the Elite speaks of here is the Flood’s newfound ability to coordinate and push toward a single objective. Under the Gravemind’s leadership, the Flood located on Delta Halo had begun an all-out assault to escape the confines of the ringworld and move into the safety of deep space. While the Arbiter was busy on the surface of Delta Halo, attempting to stop Tartarus from activating the Array, the Flood were hard at work making a push to capture High Charity. Near the end of Halo 2, they successfully captured the UNSC In Amber Clad, and crash-landed it into High Charity. It was at this point that an Elite Ship Master by the name of Voro ‘Mantakree used the Prophets’ broadcast channel to issue a plea to all vessels in orbit around High Charity – both Brute and Elite:

“This is Ship Master Voro ‘Mantakree of the Incorruptible to all loyal vessels in the Second Fleet of Homogeneous Clarity.

“Brothers, we must cast out our confusion, and cease falling upon one another. The holy relic is tainted. We must burn the corruption before it takes us all.” [Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, pg. 196]

At this point, a temporary agreement was made between the Jiralhanae and the Sangheili and a quarantine was established in orbit around High Charity and Installation 05. With the combined efforts of the vessels of the once-Second Fleet of Homogeneous Clarity, the Flood were pushed back and contained. At some point, however, a single Flood-infested ship escaped, and ‘Vadum’s carrier, Shadow of Intent, pursued it through slipspace and to Earth.

Since the Arbiter has been out of contact with the Sangheili fleet for so long, this is all news to him.

At the base of the remaining crane, you’ll find a Sword, which works wonders against the combat forms. However, your Elite allies are also very skilled at disposing of the Parasite; their plasma weapons are much better suited for doing battle with the Flood.

This is the first time during the game that you fight alongside the Sangheili. They “chatter,” during the battle, much like your Marines do, but they have an entirely different style of speech. “You reprobate… argh!” “Die, Parasite!” They also comment on your actions, like the Marines sometimes do: “Good work!” “Now that is a deed to remember!” “Hahah! Another kill for you!” It’s probably a combination of the voice acting, what’s being said, and the way they take cover and attack, but fighting alongside the Elites is an awesome experience, and it’s an unexpected and welcome change from what we’ve had in the game up to this point.

The Flood make their entrances in Halo 3 the same way they always have – they leap in from somewhere, either from a pit below or from structures above. This creates a very different experience than the one that you have when you’re fighting against the Covenant. Typically, with the Covenant, they will already be waiting as you move into an area, or they’ll come in on a Phantom, which can be seen and heard usually long before it arrives. The Flood, however, are able to enter quickly, and in great numbers. They can also instantly surround you. It really does become a matter of survival as opposed to tactically attacking.

After you enter the next warehouse and defeat more Flood, Miranda, and then Johnson, come in over the radio:

“Chief, the Elites are looking for something. We didn’t believe them when they told us.”

“It’s Cortana, Chief! She’s on that ship! Find her! Get her out!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

It is unknown why the Elites are after Cortana.  It is likely that, while engaging in quarantine procedures above High Charity, they discovered that Cortana was in the city’s network, and in communication with the Gravemind.  They likely assumed that she had at least some information regarding the Gravemind’s plans.

Once outside, you can finally see the tangled wreckage of the crashed ship. Around here, you’ll begin to run into three new Flood forms. They are actually all considered to be variations of a single form – the Flood Pure form. The larger attackers are known as Tank forms, the ranged attackers that fire projectiles are called ranged forms, and there is a slight variation of the ranged form known as the Stalker form, which are very nimble and can move around quickly, climbing on walls and ceilings. Many of these are moving about as you make your way closer to the wreckage.

The ranged forms are tough. They will rest on walls and ceilings, too far away for short- to mid-range weapons, and if fired upon by a long-range weapon, they will assume a defensive position that shields them from most fire. A grenade can bring them down, but it’s often difficult to get close enough to them to make an accurate throw. Typically, you’ll need to take out the ground forces first, and then slowly whittle down the ranged forms with a long-range weapon. It is ideal, of course, to stick them with a grenade, since this will bring them down much faster.

It should also be noted here that you’re slowly being introduced to a variety of new equipment. By this point you may have picked up a Regenerator, which can actually be very useful against the ranged forms, allowing you to stay out in the open and hit them with your Battle Rifle (that is, until they curl up and you have to wait). In addition to the Regen, the Deployable Cover can also be found here. Don’t forget that bullet-based weapons can be fired through this shield, so it can help a lot with bringing down enemies.

“Hurry, demon! We seek the same prize! But our Ship Master will sacrifice all to stop the Flood!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

A couple of interesting things here: obviously, the Elites are still referring to the Master Chief in the same way that they always have – by addressing him as “Demon.” The Chief’s relationship with the Arbiter may be evolving, but to the Elites, he is still the “Demon.”  Also, they specifically state that they are, indeed, looking for Cortana inside the crashed Flood ship. Lastly, a warning – at this point, it’s not entirely known what they mean by “sacrifice all,” but it certainly doesn’t sound good.

As you reach the base of the wreckage…

“We’ll hold here. I will let nothing pass.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

As badly as the Elites may want to locate Cortana, they know that it is the Chief’s place to find her.

Dropping down into the hole and watching the environment change from metal and steel to tissue and slime really gives you the feeling that you’re descending into something foreign. It’s almost hard to believe that you are still on Earth; the environment is so strikingly Flood.

The Gravemind speaks:

“Do not be afraid. I am peace. I am salvation.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

His voice emanates from all around you, and he speaks in the same fashion that Cortana has been communicating with you – you move slower, and your vision is hindered. With the Gravemind, however, an unsettling visual effect accompanies this dialogue. It almost appears to be a digital recreation of a dolly zoom.

I find it very interesting, the first things that the Gravemind chooses to say to the Chief. Rather than threats or warnings, he begins by offering words of reassurance: he is not the enemy that he has been made out to be. I encourage everyone to read Voc’s The Thunder and the Surf. The Gravemind has a history spanning hundreds of thousands of years, and the tide was turned in his battle against the Forerunners by the same type of dialogue that he is attempting to open with the Chief. He once won an incalculably important war not with overwhelming physical force – but with words.

I want to point out something slightly less interesting, but still noteworthy: bodies of Elites rest here in these tunnels and the armor type the Elites are wearing appears to be random with each playthrough. What’s interesting is that they sometimes load with a helmet that cannot be found anywhere else in the game; one which can best be described as a cross between the Combat and Assault helmets.  From the look of it, it may be a glitch with how the game loads, rather than a new helmet.

Also, any infection forms that come into contact with these corpses will infect and reanimate them.

I really can’t say enough about the environment here. While I first dismissed it as bland and uninteresting, I’ve come to really appreciate it. The mix between the Covenant and Flood environments is really interesting, and the pulsing Flood sacs on the wall are telling – not only do the Flood infect living organisms, but they also infect whatever areas they come into contact with, mutating environments to suit their needs.

“I am a timeless chorus; join your voice with mine, and sing victory everlasting.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

The Gravemind continues his one-sided conversation with the Chief.

Finally, you come to a device, and your HUD reads: “Hold RB to retrieve Cortana.”

“Chief!”

“Cortana?”

“High Charity, the Prophets’ holy city, is on its way…”

“Cortana!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

Cortana’s hologram fades, and something approaches from above…

“Reclaimer!”

“We must act quickly before your construct suffers any further trauma!”

“Wait. Leave her alone.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

It is 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor of the now destroyed Installation 04.  It seems likely that he arrived with the Shadow of Intent.  It’s also possible that he was the one who informed the Elites of Cortana’s position with the Gravemind, and that she may hold important information.

A Flood combat form approaches and the Monitor displays a new talent, blasting out a bright red beam and knocking back the attacker.

“If we do not take this device to a safe location, somewhere I can make repairs…”

“On Halo, you tried to kill Cortana. You tried to kill me.”

“Protocol dictated my response! She had the Activation Index, and you were going to destroy my installation. You did destroy my installation. Now, I only have one function: to help you, Reclaimer, as I always should have done.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

The Chief acquiesces to the Monitor’s attempts to take hold of the storage device containing Cortana, and the two are lifted up into a Phantom waiting overhead.

The shot changes and the Phantom can been seen flying away from the wreckage of the Flood ship. However, the wreckage is the only structure that can be seen – Ship Master ‘Vadum’s fleet has begun glassing the region – “glassing” being the slang term to indicate that the landmass below is being seared to such extreme temperatures that glass is all that remains. What was once the city of Voi, now appears to us only as smoke and mist. A mountain range rises above the mist in the distance. It is likely that the ships will glass that area, soon, as well.

The Phantom then heads toward a massive Covenant cruiser holding position near the portal. The area at the base of the portal is covered in mist, as well, indicating that it has already been taken care of by the Covenant fleet.

Half-Jaw inquires of the status of Cortana:

“Will it live, Oracle? Can it be saved?”

“Uncertain. This storage device has suffered considerable trauma. Its matrices are highly unstable.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

Lord Hood offers an idea:

“Perhaps one of our technicians…”

“That will not be necessary.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

The Ship Master does not want to waste time considering the idea that a Human technician might be able to make repairs on a Covenant device. Probably a wise decision.

The message begins to replay:

“Chief!”

“Success!”

“High Charity, the Prophets’ holy city, is on its way to Earth, with an army of Flood. I can’t tell you everything. It’s not safe. The Gravemind – it knows I’m in the system.”

“It’s just a message.”

“Let it play.”

“But it doesn’t know about the portal, where it leads. On the other side, there’s a solution – a way to stop the Flood, without firing the remaining Halo rings.”

“Hurry, Chief! The Ark… there isn’t much time.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

The first glimmer of hope, the first sight of a possible solution. And at the same time, doubt: the Flood-infested city of High Charity is headed to Earth. And what is the Ark? What is Cortana’s solution?

“I’m sorry…”

“No matter, Oracle. We’ve heard enough. Our fight is through the portal, with the Brutes and the bastard Truth!”

“Fine. We’ll remain here, hold out as long as we can.”

“Did you not hear? Your world is doomed. A Flood army, a Gravemind, has you in its sights! You have barely survived a small contamination.”

“And you, Ship Master, just glassed half a continent! Maybe the Flood isn’t all I should be worried about.”

“One single Flood spore can destroy a species. Were it not for the Arbiter’s counsel, I would have glassed your entire planet!” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

Lord Hood, concerned for the safety of Earth, and obviously demoralized and exhausted, attempts to make an argument for holding out here, while the Elites follow after Truth, and Cortana’s solution. The Ship Master has had experience with the Flood, though; he knows that there will be no “holding out.” All resources must be devoted to stopping Truth and finding Cortana’s solution, or all will be lost.

It should also be pointed out here that the Arbiter convinced ‘Vadum not to destroy more of Earth than was necessary.  And while it is possible that a Sangheili meeting has taken place, and that they have decided to attempt to make allies of Humanity, we have nothing to support that theory.  All of the information that we have points to the Sangheili still considering Humans to be enemies.

In fact, it’s interesting that Lord Hood is even aboard the Shadow of Intent. It has only recently emerged from slipspace, and already Lord Hood and Miranda are aboard, taking counsel with Ship Master ‘Vadum.  Ship Master ‘Vadum obviously respects the Arbiter a great deal to allow himself to be convinced that Humans are worthy allies.

Miranda attempts to reason with Lord Hood:

“Sir, with respect, Cortana has a solution.”

“Cortana? Did you see her condition? How damaged she is? She could be corrupted, for all we know. Her solution could be a Flood trap.”

“We should go through the Portal, find out for sure.”

“What we should do Commander, is understand, clearly, that this is Humanity’s final stand – here, at Earth. We go, we risk everything: every last man, woman, and child. If we stand our ground, we might just have a chance.”

“No! If your construct is wrong, then the Flood has already won.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

The Arbiter offers his advice at the end. I really feel like the dialogue here is speaking more to us, the audience, than it is to the characters in the game. A lot of people had problems with how quickly the plot moved away from Earth in Halo 2. I’ve always seen Lord Hood as arguing on our behalf, here.

The Chief speaks:

“I’ll find Cortana’s solution. And I’ll bring it back.”

“Earth… is all we have left. You trust Cortana that much?”

“Sir. Yes sir!”

“This is either the best decision you’ve ever made or the worst. Hell, if it is, Chief, I doubt I’ll live long enough to find out which.” [Floodgate, Halo 3]

Lord Hood gives up and walks away. The glassing of Voi, the destruction of most of Earth; these things have obviously taken a toll on him. He probably also realizes his lack of knowledge and experience in the issues currently being discussed – this must be terribly demoralizing, to be the leader of Earth’s armed forces, and to realize that you’re not wise or experienced enough to make decisions about the fate of Earth. He ultimately makes the right decision, though, and leaves matters in the hands of those who know best.

This shot is really worth paying attention to. What you’re looking at here is a UNSC frigate resting inside of the Shadow of Intent. This shot really helped me to start to get a grasp on how big these Covenant cruisers really are.

These next scenes are also really great for other reasons: Warthogs move alongside Phantoms. Elites sit, waiting, near a group of Marines. Johnson carries Covenant weaponry, and the Sangheili nearby stand as he passes – they are likely apprehensive about their new “ally.” The Arbiter carries Human weaponry, and the Marines stand, as well. The two pass each other, as they move back toward their respective groups. While the troops of each species are still having a hard time approaching each other, which is understandable, their leaders take the first steps toward bridging this gap.

The next shot is gorgeous:

Miranda and the Chief wait nearby, as Lord Hood boards a Pelican. It seems as if the two are having a hard time believing that their leader is out of place here. Perhaps they’re saddened by what things have come to. Or perhaps they’re disappointed that Lord Hood has not offered to accompany them through the portal. Regardless, it is obvious that Lord Hood’s sentiments for Earth are clouding his ability to see the bigger picture. At least he has the sense to recognize that, and defer to those who can make the decisions.

And while his Pelican flies away as the Sangheili cruisers move into the portal, we can be sure that all are thinking the same thing: let Cortana’s solution be real – this war has gone on long enough.

86 Comments »

  1. The Elite with the weird head armour looked famliliar to me. In one of the cutsceens, Im not sure which one or the level, I the The Elite Shipmaster had the same look. So this new “Helmet” could be the elites Shipmaster variant. It would be neat if this could be like a giveaway like Recon is for the Spartan class.

    Comment by Angus xL — June 28, 2008 @ 6:37 pm


  2. In response to post 50:

    Yes the Flamethrower is in Halo:CE for PC and Mac, but it was only in Multiplayer. This is the first time it has been used in the campaign, and it is new to consoles, as neither Halo:CE or Halo 2 for consoles had a flamer.

    Correcting my post earlier, it was in “The Flood”
    (the novel that took place in Halo:CE) that the Chief was almost infected during his return to the Autumn.
    Again, how is Johnson immune frome his Spartan I status if the Chief was almost infected when he had been a Spartan II for 30 years?

    Comment by Desert Rat — June 30, 2008 @ 10:20 am


  3. The ‘ee’ part of an Elites name signifies being a warrior of the Covenant.

    Comment by mike — July 1, 2008 @ 5:08 pm


  4. To comment on #25–Cortana’s Solution:

    This is a little late in coming, and somebody may have beat me to it, but I have only read back here recently.

    Cortana couldn’t have answered the Gravemind’s questions through a means of buying time because Medicant Bias left on the keyship that went back to Earth. How else could he have gotten to the Ark? Besides, I believe that it actually says that he was on the keyship, but I can’t recall where.

    Also, if she had communicated with Medicant Bias, Cortana’s quick-thinking skills used in the novels, Especially Halo: The Flood, would have caused her to have a solution closer to the end of Halo 2 than the beginning of Halo 3. If she was stalling for time, it was probably so she could learn the telepathy power the Gravemind posessed.

    Comment by Mark — July 8, 2008 @ 5:08 pm


  5. I also want to point out one other thing:

    At the end of Cortana’s message in the final cutscene in this level, she mentioned that the Gravemind was coming to Earth with an army of flood. So, why didn’t he come? He could have gotten a bunch of new hosts for the other flood, and then led an all out assault on the Ark. My only guess as to why he didn’t is because he remembered the Ark, and decided to go straight there. Any comments???

    Comment by Mark — July 9, 2008 @ 10:01 am


  6. I always thought it was interesting, that of all the people at the meeting who could have said something, it was the Arbiter who said ” No, If we don’t go the Flood have already won”. It was not Master Chief, but the Arbiter.

    Comment by Delta Charlie — July 21, 2008 @ 4:40 pm


  7. I personally think it makes sense for Cortana to know that a replacement ring was probably being manufactured based on what we know about the Forerunner at that point:

    1. The Forerunner viewed Humanity as their heirs. Hence the honorific “Reclaimer”.

    2. The Forerunner viewed the Flood as a threat that had to be stopped. The sacrifices they were willing to make to see the Flood stopped were total and ultimate. Even their creations share this mentality. The Sentinels erected an enormous Quarantine around Installation 05’s Library when the outbreak occurred.

    And on this further point:

    3. The Halos were designed to last.

    Evidence to point three:
    a. The Halos are not destroyed when fired.
    b. The Halos are overseen by Monitors. Why bother to design an AI to maintain the ring if you only intended to use it once?
    c. The primary weapon of the Halo Array can only be fired by a Reclaimer or, one assumes, a Forerunner. Why allow another race to pull the trigger unless you foresee the need for another firing?

    Throw in some rudimentary knowledge of the Flood:

    4. The Flood can reproduce from a single spore. As long as just one spore survives, the Flood are alive.

    And we can make this conjecture:

    5. The Forerunner would have anticipated the Flood eventually becoming a threat once more.

    The Forerunner foresaw the return of the enemy they had sacrificed everything to stop. They designed the Array so that it could be used by their heirs to stop the Flood once again. The Forerunner consistently display evidence of long term planning, as in the long lasting nature of the Installations. In a plan this carefully thought out, does it make sense for them not to anticipate the possibility of an Installation’s destruction? Space is a cluttered place; an asteroid could smash into a ring, a comet strike it. A gravitational anomaly could tear the ring apart. Too many things could go wrong, and the only way they could go right is if the Array survived. The Array must remain complete to be of any use. The Flood must be contained or destroyed.

    Some last points of evidence and conjecture:

    6. The Forerunner were no strangers to autonomous mass-production facilities, the Sentinel Factories of Installation 05 being a case in point.

    7. Cortana is aware of the existence of the Ark, a central control unit for the Array. The Ark is, in all likelihood, as far away from the Flood as possible, and possibly outside of the range of the Halos.

    8. Halos are ^&#$*%^ huge. They probably take some time to manufacture.

    9. Delta Halo was capable of sending data at superliminal speeds to the other pieces of the Array (the standby signal).

    Compromise of the Array is unacceptable. If a ring were to be destroyed, it would have to be replaced. I don’t know about you, but if I were building a superweapon, I’d build it as far from possible enemy territory as possible. Seeing as the Ark is probably located far from the other pieces of the Array, it would make an ideal location for the secret manufacture of doomsday devices. Since the Halos are capable of communicating with the Ark, it is reasonable to assume that the Ark knew when Alpha Halo kicked the bucket, and began constructing a replacement. Unless the Ark is absolutely enormous, it would take more time than elapsed between Halo CE and Halo 3 to finish construction.

    Following the above points, couldn’t one assume that there was an incomplete Halo ring located at the Ark?
    *****
    Just my opinion, that’s all. I, personally, think it makes sense, but that might just be me. Apologies if the above argument is confusing or hard to follow.

    Comment by Rhetorical Bias — July 30, 2008 @ 10:48 am


  8. Response to 32, point 2:

    Are you being sarcastic? Using their brains? The Covenant are a highly-advanced collective group of intelligent species who do NOT have a backup plan if the Dreadnought suddenly decided to get the hell out of High Charity?

    If anything, because of the ships mammoth production of energy, far more than enough to power High Charity, the excess energy was placed in generators so that if the Dreadnought ever left, High Charity could at least keep running normally for a while. It just wouldn’t make any sense not to have a plan ‘B’ if the worst should happen.

    Comment by Gary — August 13, 2008 @ 4:15 pm


  9. Going along with the line of thought about Gravemind dropping flood pods on Earth – would he even need to?

    When the captured flood ship exits slipspace within Earth’s atmosphere, it appears to be trailing some kind of smoke/gas. I don’t find it too difficult to believe that some of this smoke would contain tiny flood spores. Now, depending on how high up the ship was when it first exited slipspace, it seems likely that the wind would carry some of these spores far away from Voi and the Elites’ means (glassing) of containing the infection.

    And as Vadum says – “One single Flood spore can destroy a species.” The Forerunner were unable to stop the flood once it made contact with one of their worlds. It’s difficult to believe that the act of simply glassing Voi and the surrounding area saved Earth from the parasite.

    Comment by Omega 2401 — August 14, 2008 @ 2:26 am


  10. I hate to nitpick, but you continually refer to Covenant Assault Carriers as Cruisers. This is technically incorrect. The Assault Carrier is the massive, 3-mile long ship with the distinctive hooked prow that can hold a UNSC frigate in its hangar bay.

    The Cruisers on the other hand, are CCS-Class BattleCruisers, the more common 1-mile long ships. The Truth and Reconciliation is a popular example of a CCS-Class BattleCruiser.

    Comment by Demolition Pants — August 15, 2008 @ 5:04 am


  11. you know the area where you first meet the stalker form crawling on the crates?

    If you look across near the hole you go into to finish the level, you will notice Elite Ultras (white armor) engaging the flood as they move towards the ships “entrance”. I suppose they would be the dead elites you find. Flood do pop out of the whole as you make away. I assume they overpowered the elites.

    Comment by Indo — August 15, 2008 @ 7:31 pm


  12. Just a few thoughts about other comments people have had.

    1. Johnson is immune to possession by flood due to a case of Boron’s Syndrome, which is simply put a
    distortion in the nervous system.

    “It has been shown that prolonged exposure to the radiation emitted by plasma grenades, without proper protection, can cause a deviation in the neural electric pathways of the user–a disorder called Boren’s Syndrome.” -From Halowiki.net

    Dr. Halsey speaking to Chief about Johnson in First Strike (by Eric Nylund. pgs 244-246)(I only put in conversation text. There is more description about their environment and actions in the story that is not here.)

    Halsey: “He was diagnosed with Boren’s Syndrome.”

    Chief: “I haven’t heard of it.”

    H: “I’m not suprised. It’s caused by exposure to high-yield plasma. Like the burst released by a Covenant plasma grenade. We don’t see many cases- people usually die from the direct effects of those weapons long before these secondary symptoms manifest. Apparently the Sergeant captured a crate of plasma grenades from the Covenant during the Seige of Paris IV. He used them all- received a commendation for bravery… and a twelve-hundred-rad cumulative dose of radiation as an unanticipated bonus.”

    C: “I don’t see the connection between the Sergeant’s sickness and his surviving the Flood.”

    H: “Boren’s Syndrome is characterized by migranes, amnesia, and brain tumors… and without treatment, death. It disrupts the electrical signals in a person’s nervous system.”

    C: “Is it treatable?”

    H: “Yes, but it requires thirty weeks of intensive chemotherapy. Which brings me to this.” She hit the NEXT PAGE key and official “Refusal of Treatment” document appeared on the screen. “The Sergeant did not wait thirty weeks to get back and fight.”

    C: “How did this disruption of his nervous system save him?”

    H: “I’ve deconvoluted the biosigns of the soldiers overtaken the Flood. The parasite interfaces with a host by forcing a resonant frequency match to each host’s nervous system.”

    C: “And the Sergeant’s nervous system is so jumbled that the Flood couldn’t force a match.?”

    H: “Correct. Further blood tests show his system bearing traces of Flood DNA- very much dead and noninfectious, but some gene fragments are intact. I believe this is proof of a failed attempt to possess him. It also appears to have imparted him with some curious regenerative abilities, although I cannot yet fully confirm this side effect.”

    C: “I think I see.”

    H: “No, You don’t.”

    C: “Doctor?”

    H: “Discovering how he survived is not what I want to talk about. It’s what happens next to Sergeant Avery Johnson. I’ve prepared two separate reports on this for ONI Section Three. The first has all the relevant data on my analysis and the possible technology to counter an initial Flood infestation. The second includes the source material: Private Jenkin’s and Sergeant Johnson’s mission logs and the Sergeant’s medical files. I leave it up to you which to deliver to Lieutenant Haverson.”

    C: “Why would I withhold any data, Doctor?”

    H: “For a long time I had thought that we had to sacrifice a few for the good of the entire human race. I have killed and maimed and caused a great deal of suffering to many people- all in the name of self-preservation. But now I’m not sure that philosophy worked out too well. I should have been trying to save every human life- no matter what the cost. If you give ONI the first report, they may be able to find a countermeasure for the Flood. Maybe. They would have a slightly better chance, however if you gave them the second report.”

    C: “Then I’ll give them the second report.”

    H: “Which will murder Sergeant Johnson. ONI will not be satisfied to take a sample of blood. They will dissect him to find out he resisted the Flood. It would be a billion-to-one shot that they’ll ever replicate his unique medical conditions- but they’ll do it anyway. They will kill him because the trade-off is worth it to them. Is it worth it to you John?”

    C: “Why do you want me to make this choice?

    H: “One last lesson. I’m trying to teach you something it’s taken me all my life to realize. I’m giving you the chance to make the decision that I thought I couldn’t make. I’m sorry. Linda is almost ready for surgery, and I have several things I must accomplish before then. You should go.”

    C: “Doctor, don’t let her die again.”

    END CONVERSATION (First Strike by Eric Nylund. pgs 244-246)

    2. The rings destroy all of the Flood’s food which is any sentient life or life with enough biomass to support them.

    Level: Two Betrayals (Halo: Combat Evolved)

    {Opening cinematic—Long shot of the Control Room. Master Chief and 343 Guilty Spark teleport in, obviously in the middle of a conversation}

    343 Guilty Spark: “…Which means that any organism of sufficient mass and cognitive capability is a potential vector.”

    (Master Chief pauses)

    343 Guilty Spark: “Is something wrong?”

    Master Chief: “No, nothing.”

    343 Guilty Spark: “Splendid. Shall we?”

    {Master Chief and 343 Guilty Spark move up to the main panel.}

    343 Guilty Spark: “Unfortunately, my usefulness to this particular endeavor has come to an end. Protocol does not allow units with my classification to…perform a task as important as the reunification of The Index with The Core. That final step is reserved for you, Reclaimer.”

    {Master Chief takes the Index, and puts it into a slot on the console. Lights and holograms appear, but then fade.}

    343 Guilty Spark: “Odd, that wasn’t supposed to happen.”

    {Cortana suddenly appears over the console.}

    Cortana: “Oh, really?!”

    {There is a flash of light, and 343 Guilty Spark is thrown back, and down to the ground.}

    Master Chief: “Cortana?”

    Cortana: “I’ve spent the last 12 hours cooped up in here, watching you toady about, helping that thing get set to slit our throats!”

    Master Chief: “Hold on now, he’s a friend.”

    Cortana: (Mockingly) “Oh? I didn’t realize. He’s your pal, is he? Your chum? (Angrily) Do you have any idea what that bastard almost made you do?!”

    Master Chief: “Yes… Activate Halo’s defenses, and destroy the Flood, which is why we brought the Index to the Control Center.”

    Cortana: “You mean this?”

    {Index hologram appears in Cortana’s hand.}

    343 Guilty Spark: “A construct?! In the core?! That is absolutely unacceptable!”

    Cortana: “Sod off!”

    343 Guilty Spark: “What impertinence! I shall purge you at once!”

    Cortana: “You sure that’s a good idea?”

    {Cortana’s avatar absorbs the Index.}

    343 Guilty Spark: “How… How dare you! I’ll-”

    Cortana: “Do what? I have the Index! You can just float and sputter!”

    Master Chief: “Enough! {The Chief brings both hands up in the middle of them as if to stop a fight then turns back round to Cortana} The Flood is spreading. If we activate Halo’s defenses, we can wipe them out.”

    Cortana: “You have no idea how this ring works, do you? Why the Forerunners built it? Halo doesn’t kill Flood, it kills their food. Humans, Covenant, whatever. We’re all equally edible. The only way to stop the Flood is to starve them to death. And that’s exactly what Halo is designed to do; wipe the galaxy clean of all sentient life. You don’t believe me? Ask him. (Points at Spark)”

    {Master Chief hesitates, and then turns to 343 Guilty Spark}

    Master Chief: “Is it true?”

    343 Guilty Spark: (pauses) “Of course. Technically, this installation’s pulse has a maximum effective radius of twenty-five thousand light years. But, once the others follow suit, this galaxy will be quite devoid of life, or at least any life with sufficient biomass to sustain the Flood.” (pause) “But you already knew that… I mean, how couldn’t you?”

    Cortana: “Left out that little detail, did he?”

    343 Guilty Spark: “We have followed outbreak containment procedure to the letter. You were with me each step of the way, as we managed this crisis.”

    Cortana: (Alarmed) “Chief, I’m picking up movement!”

    343 Guilty Spark: “Why would you hesitate to do what you have already done?”

    Cortana: “We need to go, right now.”

    {Sentinels float up behind 343 Guilty Spark}

    343 Guilty Spark: “Last time, you asked me, if it was my choice, would I do it? Having had considerable time to ponder your query, my answer has not changed.”

    {Master Chief looks around at the Sentinels, and backs towards the panel. He takes Cortana’s disk out of the console, and inserts it into his head.}

    343 Guilty Spark: “There is no choice. We must activate the ring.”

    Cortana: (whispers in Master Chief’s head) “Get. Us. Out. Of. Here.”

    343 Guilty Spark: “If you are unwilling to help, I will simply find another. Still, I must have the Index. Give your construct to me, or I will be forced to take her from you.”

    Master Chief: “That’s not going to happen.”

    343 Guilty Spark: “So be it. Save his head. Dispose of the rest.”

    {343 Guilty Spark teleports away, and his Sentinels attack}

    {Cutscene ends}

    In this conversation, Cortana states that the rings destroy all sentient life.

    Definitions of sentient:

    1) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sentient

    Main Entry:
    sen·tient Listen to the pronunciation of sentient
    Pronunciation:
    \ˈsen(t)-sh(ē-)ənt, ˈsen-tē-ənt\
    Function:
    adjective
    Etymology:
    Latin sentient-, sentiens, present participle of sentire to perceive, feel
    Date:
    1632

    1 : responsive to or conscious of sense impressions
    2 : aware
    3 : finely sensitive in perception or feeling
    — sen·tient·ly adverb

    2) http://www.yourdictionary.com/sentient

    Definition
    sen·tient (-s̸hənt, -s̸hē ənt)(adjective)

    of, having, or capable of feeling or perception; conscious

    Etymology: L sentiens, prp. of sentire, to perceive by the senses: see sense

    sentient Related Forms:
    sen′·tiently (adverb)

    sentient Synonyms:

    conscious, aware, alert, perceptive; see observant 1, sensitive 3.

    These definitions state that the anything that can perceive itself or things around it is sentient. (I don’t have proof from a dictionary from this one but I have also been told that the term sentient means is able to feel pain and then react accordingly.)

    343 Guilt Spark states that the rings eliminate the Flood’s food source, which seems to be anything about the size of an average human or larger from the biological taxonomy system in the Animalia kingdom. This means that all life smaller than the average human and all life in the Plantae, Fungi, Protista, and Monera kingdoms is safe from the effects of the discharge of the Halo installations when they are fired. (info on the biological taxonomy systems can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_(biology))

    These are just some of my thoughts about what people have said in their own comments. I hope that my evidence supports what I tried to clarify for you guys. Also to the guys doing these posts I throughly enjoy them and commend you on your more than excellent work.

    Comment by Fattybob — August 21, 2008 @ 3:06 am


  13. This is my first time visiting your site and i must say i like it very much.
    Your post was an educationa read.
    I will definetly come back here more often!

    hooka

    Comment by hooka — August 26, 2008 @ 8:21 pm


  14. response to a couple things:
    # 57: you refer to humanity and forerunner as two seperate species, when in fact, they are not (despite the two-thumbed hands on the switches in h2, which I assume are to accomodate left and right hands). guilty spark says it himself “you are the child of my makers … you are forerunner” plus in contact harvest it turns out that the eradication of humanity is a cover-up (unless truth was totally blinded by his religion even then, which I have to admit, is a real possibility) for the fact that humanity are forerunners.

    secondly, so many of you refer to the incredible amounts of power outputted by the forerunner ship. I know I am missing something, as I had never heard anything about the SPARTAN-I program, but I do know that the covenant had only unlocked about 20% of the dreadnought’s engine power. that may stll be an incredible amount of power, but it doesn’t seem that way to me. this is speculation, but I think that they were barely able to get enough power out of the ship to operate high charity, and it certainly seems reasonable that they had an auxilliary power source (especially since you blow it up in h3).

    Comment by gauntletrunner — September 22, 2008 @ 4:48 am


  15. Gauntlet, the Terminals actually tell the story of how the Forerunners first encountered humanity; it makes it very clear that they are two separate species, and that humanity was chosen to inherit the Forerunners’ technology. I encourage you to read voc’s articles on the Terminals – they shed a lot of light on the history of the Forerunners:

    http://blog.ascendantjustice.com/halo-3/the-terminals/

    Also, we know that the Dreadnought outputs enormous amounts of energy because it had been powering the entire city of High Charity (at partial-power) for some time, as revealed to us by Cortana in the level “Gravemind,” in Halo 2.

    Comment by Cocopjojo — September 22, 2008 @ 3:20 pm


  16. Actually, the ‘ee’ part of the name is added when an elite joins the Covenant military and since the elites are no longer part of the Covenant, the ‘ee’ part is removed.

    Comment by Uasp Erbomee — November 1, 2008 @ 11:07 pm


  17. I agree with many of the above statements. Cortana likely knew of the Ark from her time spent in the Installation 04 core. Possibly even learning of the foundry on the Ark to produce more rings in the event of the destruction of one.

    Also, as an interesting aside, in playing through this level with a friend one time, I made reference to Guilty Spark’s ‘duplicitous’ dialogue and actions throughout the remainder of the game. I feel that this word fits him perfectly due to the nature of his behavior in ‘helping’ the Chief and the Arbiter.

    Comment by Gribbleshnibit8 — November 15, 2008 @ 5:24 pm


  18. Just thought I’d point out, you did a fairly good job describing this cut-scene at the end, but there is a little bit off with your description. What you have to see to recognize the true beauty of that moment, where Johnson and the Arbiter pass, isn’t that they’re just going forward to meet one another; this is still a much too early stage for that. When the scene with those two starts, the elites and humans are on their respective sides, with their respective weapons and equipment, just kind of staring the other down. When Johnson walks in (grabbing a beam rifle resting against a ghost), the elites stand, in a rather obviously aggressive stance: the humans, right then (not when Arby walks up) also jump up, more than ready to defend their Sargent should things get messy. However, Johnson doesn’t really seem bothered (at least outwardly, a true sign of how good he is at this: even if the rumors about him being an S-I are true, he’s nothing against these 8-9 foot tall elites), and, before the situation can get any more serious, THEN the Arbiter comes along, carrying some human gear (spankr and flamer, if I’m not mistaken [boy I’d like to dual-wield those]). In an incredible defusing of the situation, they calmly walk past one another, moving the weapons they’re carrying slightly out of the others way. That is the true awesomeness of that cut-scene.

    Comment by mic — November 18, 2008 @ 1:24 pm


  19. Many of you hit the right ideas, but when you back them up, I’ve noticed the most common response is “I can’t seem to remember.”

    Johnson was a Spartan-I, project Orion. The Spartan-I’s were only given the Chemical Augmentations, to see if it was survivable. Once they were given the augmentations they were free to live out there lives normally, but carefully watched. The spooks at ONI had to make sure there was no long term effects. One of the chemicals enhances the nerve conduction velocity, promoting faster reflexes. Sarge was diagnosed with the syndrome, and was expected to die if not treated, and when he survived without treatment, it was due to his nerves being augmented. It was only with the combined effects of the Orion project and the plasma radiation, was he able to survive the Infection.

    The Ark is massive, the rebuilt installation 04 was in the center of the Ark. The Ark pulls massive ammounts of raw material from surrounding systems to construct a Halo, much like the Star Forge from SW:KOTOR.

    Cortana Knew about the Ark from the Gravemind, who learned of it from Regret and Mercy, who learned it from Mendicant Bias.

    I own all the books, and read them frequnetly, but at this moment I do not have the time to reference the exact pages, and or sources, but this information is correct. I research everything I enjoy, and Halo is a series I enjoy, both palying, and reading. Time to go to work.

    Comment by LokiShinigami — November 25, 2008 @ 1:45 am


  20. Isnt it likely to assume that the Gravemind already knew the location of the ark because Mendicant Bias told him? After all, before he was wiped out, he was trying to reach and attack the ark. So its likely that he knew where it was. He just didnt make it in time because the rings where fired before he could reach the ark.

    So he never even went to earth with high charity but went straight to the ark. If he did go to earth there would have been not a chance that earth didnt got over run by flood. You saw how instable High charity was when it appeared over the ark. Such a thing would surely have happend to earth as well.

    Also, High Charity is never seen to appear out of the portal, but more out of a slipspace inmediatly over the ark.

    Comment by Lexus — December 31, 2008 @ 7:47 am


  21. kill a marine half way through being infected watch what happens

    Comment by me — January 14, 2009 @ 4:10 am


  22. Have any of you guys noticed that the Pure forms have the red prongs of an Infection form sticking out of them? I think that the Tank Form is the infected form of a Hunter, the Ranged Form is the infected form of a Jackal, and the Stalker is the infected form of a Drone! Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Hey, cocopjojo, yopu guys did an excellent job! Keep up the good work for the Halo analysis!

    Comment by Christian Bethel — March 3, 2009 @ 1:14 pm


  23. The Flood ship was obviously headed for Earth. You can clearly see it coming out of Slipspace directly over Voi. Remember that Gravemind assimilated 2401 Penitent Tangent. He, being a Monitor, would know Earth’s Location.

    Comment by Christian Bethel — March 9, 2009 @ 12:13 pm


  24. Are you guys there? Why haven’t you guys responded?

    Comment by christian — March 13, 2009 @ 1:24 pm


  25. What are you asking for a response to?

    Regarding the Flood ship headed to Earth, yeah, I didn’t disagree with that in the article. I said that maybe they came to Earth because they knew Truth was there and they needed to stop him; or maybe they came to infect humanity.

    And on the topic of the infected forms of the Flood, I don’t think there’s any hard evidence confirming which form is derived from which specific race of the Covenant. And it becomes even more difficult to speculate on when you start considering the fact that they can mutate between some of these forms at will.

    Comment by Cocopjojo — March 13, 2009 @ 1:33 pm


  26. i dont like lord hoods decision to stay behind i would go with them and bring the MAC cannons along for the ride too LOLZ. also i think Guilty Spark 343 is loopy or i mean insane and i wonder what trouble the arbiter had convinceing “half jaw” to not glass earth well not all of eath so ill play it out

    (half jaw) “ill glass the planet cause the flood might spread to all of the contenants of earth”
    (arbiter) NO!
    (half jaw) why?
    (arbiter) because we might wipe out the human species
    (half jaw) well they deserve some of it for all your “friend” did to us (the “friend” is master chief) and if you were not here i would have
    (arbiter) OH is that so? thats it rtas im gunna stick a bar of soap in your mouth if you glass the planet
    (half jaw) fine fine! just please stop acting like my mom ok?
    (arbiter) ok but you stop acting like a grunt ok?!
    (half jaw) ok

    (two hours later)

    (half jaw) will it live oricale?
    (oricale) un certain this storage device has had a tremendous amount of damage

    Comment by nathen — April 3, 2009 @ 3:03 am


  27. Regarding sentience:
    Sentience is simply defined as “self-awareness,” true, but the tests for sentience are much more complicated. As far as I know, only three terrestrial species, humans, chimpanzees and oragutangs, have yet been proven sentient. So far, even the cetaceans don’t seem smart enough to pass as sentient. One must not only be aware of oneself, but be able to pick oneself out from a group of one’s peers. Sentient animals are usually aware of their own mortality once mentally mature, too, but not always. This is all surprisingly difficult to do for most animals. Sentience requires atypically high intelligence, and the rat wouldn’t do at all for the Flood if their hosts must truly be sentient.
    As a general note, don’t use generalized dictionaries to define psychological or bioloical states, as has been done above. The definitions that have been given were all colloquial rather than the academic definition used to define a given species mental faculties. The colloquial definition boils down to no more than being able to respond to stimuli, in which case oak trees are endagered by the Flood. Only the academic definition, which is defined by tests for sentience much more than diction, makes sense when dealing with the flood.
    Of course, it’s possible that only sentient hosts are of use to them for their planning and coordination, but that lesser animals may be infected but end up just scrambling about madly with no purpose.

    Regarding Johnson’s immunity:
    Yes, Halsey said that it was because of radiation that his nervous system was all screwed up, but those records could easily have been falsified. Much of his past is unknown and so left up to speculation and rumor. He may or may not have irradiated himself with plasma grenades and he may or may not have been a participant in ORION. None of these events were actually observed firsthand in games or in narration, but rather reported years later by characters’ dialogue, so I’d place very little faith in those ideas. Characters are fallible and are capable of lying.

    Regarding Spark’s dialogue:
    Firstly, that monitor is insane. Why would anyone trust anything it says so wholly? Secondly, the Forerunner could have viewed humanity as its children, its responsibility, no matter the species, like we were really smart pets or something. Parentalism seems pretty popular as a policy in the Halo continuity, even just between the UNSC and humans. That would also explain humans being labelled as Forerunner relics or treasures by the monitor aboard the keyship rather than actually being labelled as Forerunner. Thirdly, Sparky is insane, remember?

    All this talk of the Flood reminded me of something my brother insists on doing while battling them. Whenever a character says, “the Flood,” replace it with “the Children” (or something like that). It’s far funnier than one might imagine, and it works well in all the games.

    Comment by TheAsterisk! — April 5, 2009 @ 4:01 am


  28. Self-correction for post #77:
    Johnson WAS in ORION. Sorry ’bout my poor proofreading. I meant to say we have few solid ideas as to how it may have affected him physiologically.

    Comment by TheAsterisk! — April 6, 2009 @ 2:06 am


  29. You know, Cocopjojo. It’s just that when I post a comment, It takes eons for someone to respond. You should see my comment on the Sierra 117 Addendum!

    Comment by Christian Bethel — April 21, 2009 @ 2:59 pm


  30. I see, cocopjojo. My apologies. But still, keep up the good work! We should brainstorm more often!

    Comment by Christian Bethel — April 21, 2009 @ 3:00 pm


  31. didn’t you guys say that a sentient life form has to be a certain size to be infected?

    Comment by Chistian Bethel — April 22, 2009 @ 3:02 pm


  32. Most Earth life are able to be infected. But like TheAsterisk! said, most of them would be running around like a… something… Actually, they are combined to make Graveminds, Proto-Graveminds, Carrier Forms, etc, etc. Especially Carriers, they just could be making up the top part of it while a apparatus with legs could be at the bottom, enabling the Flood body to move. An example would be that in Halo 3, it was said that Jackals lack sufficient calcium for them to be infected by the Flood. And Grunts were too weak for it too. Surprisingly, in Halo Wars, there were infected Jackals and Grunts as our enemies. However, the fact remained that Hunters cannot be infected because each of their worms have their own nervous system. Well, that’s what you get when you let Ensemble Studios make a Halo game.

    One more thing. Do you know about the relationship between Hunters and Scarabs? Can you guess? No? Well, it’s…

    The Lekgolo worms of the Hunter are in the wiring of the Scarab and can be seen at the power core of a Halo 3 Scarab. The hunters release them into the system of the Scarab! Cool, huh?!?!

    And you think that’s cool? I know all this and I’m only 11 years old!

    Comment by Gabriel Palazzi — July 20, 2009 @ 9:59 am


  33. Ok, a question. I agree with post 70 – It makes sense for Gravemind to already know the location of the Ark through genetic memory of the previous Gravemind, who was told this info by Mendicant. If the that’s true, why didn’t Grave just book it to the Ark the second he got his hands on a Slipspace-capable ship – In Amber Clad? Hunger for the hosts on Charity? Or was his ass too small to fit on In Amber Clad?

    Comment by freeman — August 5, 2009 @ 9:02 pm


  34. ive come up with a theory as to how the flood originated. It probaly starts out as a liquid, in which microscopic bacteria starts to develop into a flood spore, then an infection form which then infects anything big enough to sustain it, such as a human or brute or elite, grunt, jackal possibly even engineers then the combat form then turns into a carrier form due to the liquid expandind, inside the carrier form spores develop which then turn into infection forms.

    Then a gravemind form develops from the combanation of dead biomass, such as a human hand and a elite head. This continues to combine taking in all the infected victims info and memory, turning it into a proto-gravemind, alowing it to communicate with other flood forms, this proto gravemind then sucks in more biomass until it reaches gravemind in which it has complete control of all flood.

    thats y gravemind was able to rebuild himself on the second instalation 04

    Comment by bluecow22334 — November 22, 2009 @ 12:35 am


  35. What I think is most interesting here, is that I think we all want to be part of this, and see ourselves as BA as the chief, but at the same time, don’t want to face to horrors of the flood!

    Comment by John Ransom — July 28, 2010 @ 9:42 pm


  36. Wonderful overview, but one mistake you made was that you continually referred to the Elite Carrier that houses Forward unto Dawn as a cruiser, which is a smaller covenant vessel

    Comment by Grant.94 — August 2, 2010 @ 9:36 pm


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