05-032 Mendicant Bias
|05-032 Mendicant Bias|
|Political and military information|
- "And so here at the end of my life, I do once again betray a former master. The path ahead is fraught with peril. But I will do all I can to keep it stable - keep you safe. I'm not so foolish to think this will absolve me of my sins. One life hardly balances billions."
- —Mendicant Bias to John-117 in its final terminal transmission
05-032 Mendicant Bias was a Contender-class Forerunner ancilla. It was the most advanced Forerunner AI at the time of its creation, and was charged with organizing Forerunner defense against the Flood during the parasite's assault on the galaxy. However, it would later defect to the Gravemind, who ultimately caused it to become rampant and turn against its creators.
 Early history
- "Mendicant Bias... Beggar after knowledge. That is the name I gave you after we last met."
- —Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting, spoken through by the Didact's memories.
Mendicant Bias was created by Master Builder Faber and the Didact following the Human-Forerunner War, after the initial Flood attack on the Milky Way had been pushed back by humanity. After the Flood returned and the Forerunner-Flood war began, Mendicant Bias was placed in charge of all Forerunner defenses, and tasked with resisting the Flood by studying and exploiting the weaknesses of the Flood compound intelligence. Primary extensions of the AI were placed on all of the original twelve Halo installations.
As part of its assignment, in approximately 100,043 BCE, the AI was tasked to conduct the very first test-firing of a Halo ring at Charum Hakkor with the old Ecumene Council's authority. Installation 07, fired on a system-wide power setting, leveled Charum Hakkor's plentiful Precursor structures and eradicated all neurologically complex life across the system. An unexpected development of this test was the emancipation of an ancient being known as the Primordial, an extant Gravemind from the downfall of the Precursors. When the ancient Gravemind was brought to Installation 07 for study, at the Master Builder's orders, it entered into an extended conversation with the AI.
 Defection to the Flood
- "Thus I have chosen to commit my sizable resources to what is, for all intents and purposes, [the proverbial irresistible force]. All that I have is now yours to do with as you see fit."
- —Mendicant Bias to the Gravemind
Bias continued communicating with the Gravemind in an effort to find any possible weakness; logs of this conversation were recorded in terminals found on Installation 00. After conversing with Mendicant Bias for forty-three years, the Gravemind persuaded the ancilla to abandon the Forerunners and join the Flood's cause, convincing it that the Forerunners were so arrogant and prideful as to deny the next step of evolution: the Flood. The Gravemind insinuated that by clinging to the legend of the Mantle, the Forerunners had doomed the galaxy to eternal stagnation; the only way for the galaxy to progress was for superior beings to "restart" it. These superior beings, unsurprisingly, took the form of Compound Minds such as the Gravemind and Mendicant Bias himself.
Although the forty-three year-long conversation logs between Mendicant Bias and the Gravemind were sent back to the Forerunners, they believed that Mendicant would automatically fulfill its objective and destroy the Gravemind, so they did not intervene. Convinced by the Gravemind's arguments and its own discoveries from the deepest recesses of the Domain, Mendicant Bias intentionally became rampant, developed a hatred for its creators, and actively worked toward their destruction.
Acting under the Master Builder's orders, the Mendicant Bias fragment on Installation 07 fired the ring in the San 'Shyuum quarantine system, killing all but few of the San 'Shyuum and disappearing soon after. This caused an uproar in the Council, with councilors deeming the use of such ultimate force a grave violation against the Mantle and having Faber brought to trial. The remaining Halos were transported in orbit over the Capital, in preparation for a decision to decommission them. However, Installation 07 and its rampant Mendicant Bias fragment remained missing.
 Assault on the Capital
- Main article: Battle of the Capital
In the middle of the tribunal against the Master Builder, Mendicant Bias unexpectedly returned with Installation 07 to the Forerunner Capital. Using the authority granted to it in the event of an emergency, Mendicant Bias entered the Capital's systems, disabled all ancillas and security constructs, and held the Ecumene Council hostage by overriding their armor, rendering them immobile. It also gained control over the armor of Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting and confronted him, as he was host to the memories and knowledge of the Didact. Through Bornstellar, the Didact's imprinted consciousness issued a verbal failsafe code, temporarily shutting Mendicant Bias down.
As the Capital's defenses came back online, Mendicant Bias attempted to seize control over the Halos parked near the Capital by subverting its non-rampant fragments in control of the other rings. However, it was able to control only five of the rings, while the other seven resisted its control and attempted to escape through a slipspace portal to Installation 00. Because of continued use, stress on the portal caused it to collapse, resulting in only one Halo making the journey to Installation 00 without breaking up. Mendicant Bias commanded the five Halos under its control to fire, but the Capital's immense tidal forces, combined with sustained fire from the capital's defensive forces and the stress of a recent slipspace transition, caused one of the rings to shatter. At the conclusion of the battle, Installation 07, while heavily damaged, managed to fire its main weapon, causing significant damage to the Capital.
 Conflict at Installation 07 and capture
After the battle of the Capital, Installation 07 - still under the control of Mendicant Bias - made a slipspace jump to an unknown planetary system. The jump was an automated fail-safe measure, intended to place the Halo on a pre-determined collision course with a planet in the event it went rogue. Although unable to control the Halo's movements themselves, Mendicant Bias and the Primordial managed to enlist humans and Composer-processed Forerunner Flood victims to interface with the Halo's controls and reposition the Halo in a way that the planet would pass through it. However, the Bornstellar Didact had tracked the installation down and upon intercepting it, used his control codes to disable Mendicant Bias. After the Didact's forces had successfully saved and taken control of Installation 07, the rampant Mendicant Bias was captured and forced to undergo a procedure to "correct" its rampancy. The AI was disassembled and its parts were scattered throughout the ecumene for further study.
Although Mendicant Bias remained neutralized for several years, the Forerunners' attempt to stop the AI was unsuccessful in the long run. The facilities its parts were distributed to were taken over by the Flood and Mendicant Bias was recovered, reassembled, and reactivated by a Gravemind, allowing the AI to return in command of the Flood's fleets. With reawakened Precursor star roads and millions of Flood-controlled ships at its disposal, it attacked the greater Ark, neutralizing the bulk of the remaining Forerunner population and their leadership. This left the surviving Forerunners with only one option: the galaxy-wide activation of the Halo Array to halt the Flood.
 Assault on the Maginot Sphere
- "What has taken you millennia to achieve, I erase in seconds."
- —Rampant Mendicant Bias
Mendicant Bias and the Flood were unable to disable the Halos directly, and so the only chance they had to stop the coming cataclysm was to secure the formerly secret lesser Ark and stop the firing sequence from there. While it did not know the location of the Ark, it was aware of a method to reach it via specifically designed slipspace portals and Keyships. Following Mendicant's defection, another metarch, Offensive Bias, had been constituted as its replacement. Offensive Bias lacked Mendicant's creativity, as well as its free will, but was more methodically lethal. It was given the task of preventing Mendicant Bias from accessing Installation 00, and to buy time for the IsoDidact to activate the Halo Array. The Forerunners also destroyed or disabled most of the Keyships to stall Mendicant's assault. However, Mendicant Bias managed to locate one of the remaining Keyships.
As the IsoDidact was preparing to activate the Array in the final hours of the war, Mendicant and its fleet of nearly five million ships launched a massive attack on the Maginot Line and breached it. Immediately after the Flood's arrival, Mendicant Bias sent a coded message to Offensive Bias stating that it would give no quarter and would destroy the Ark. Mendicant offered Offensive a chance to join it and survive; Offensive rejected the offer. At the Maginot Line, Mendicant was confronted by Offensive Bias and the last remnants of the Forerunner fleet, vastly outnumbered by the Flood. This led to a final, titanic naval battle between the two metarchs. Mendicant's fatal mistake was that it had come to hold the Forerunners in abject contempt: its rampancy had clouded its perceptions, such that it had become too confident of its own superiority and failed to anticipate its opponent's ingenious feint. During the battle, the Halos were fired and as the pulse swept through both fleets, the Flood-controlled portions of Mendicant's fleet were disabled, suddenly tipping the scales in Offensive Bias' favor. In a matter of minutes, Mendicant Bias was outsmarted and defeated by Offensive Bias, who utilized the now-crewless ships with a ruthless, unconventional efficiency.
 Later history
- "For eons I have watched. Listened to you misinterpret. This is not "Reclamation". This is "Reclaimer" [...] I will reject my bias and make amends... My makers are my masters. I will bring them safely to the Ark."
- —Mendicant Bias revealing the Covenant's error and declaring his penance.
Offensive Bias intended to bring the vanquished Mendicant Bias to Installation 00 for study. Led by the IsoDidact, Mendicant Bias was put on trial for betraying the ecumene. It was decided to keep the AI alive as it had intimate knowledge of the Flood and could be called upon in case of their return. Mendicant was entombed in the Installation's desert with only one thought allowed to it: atonement.
However, one shard of Mendicant Bias' personality construct array somehow found its way on a particular Keyship, which arrived at the San 'Shyuum homeworld, Janjur Qom.[note 1] The ship was later found and explored by the San 'Shyuum, who eventually made it the centerpiece of the Covenant capital city, High Charity. Mendicant Bias' presence became known to the Covenant, who came to regard it as an Oracle. For a new triumvirate of Hierarchs to ascend, they would need the blessing of the Oracle, but as Mendicant entered dormancy, the blessing became a matter of political manipulation.
In 2525, Mendicant Bias' fragment on High Charity was "consulted" by Ord Casto, the Minister of Fortitude, and Lod Mron, the Vice Minister of Tranquility; the pair wished to secure the large number of Forerunner artifacts on Harvest as part of their plan to usurp the reigning Hierarchs and to thus inaugurate a new Age of Reclamation. When the Philologist, Hod Rumnt, entered the data into the matrix, Mendicant came back online. In a shocking revelation, Mendicant Bias revealed that the "holy relics" on Harvest were actually humans and that the Covenant faith was based on an ages-old mistranslation. The glyph on the Luminary was mistaken as "reclamation", when it truly meant "Reclaimer". This had the potential to completely undermine the Covenant's unity and faith. The two ministers inducted the Philologist into their plan and brought about their political revolution to prevent this, ultimately leading to the Human-Covenant War.
Mendicant Bias realized that its actions against the Forerunners had been mistaken and announced to its Covenant hosts its intention to bring the "Reclaimers" to the Ark. To this end it attempted to leave High Charity by launching the dreadnought, an act that would have seriously damaged High Charity. Mendicant Bias was foiled only by chance; it was disconnected by some Lekgolo worms that were wriggling inside the ship. The AI was more formally disconnected afterward to prevent it from commandeering the ship again.
 Human-Covenant War
- "And so here at the end of my life, I do once again betray a former master. The path ahead is fraught with peril. But I will do all I can to keep it stable - keep you safe. I'm not so foolish to think this will absolve me of my sins. One life hardly balances billions. But I would have my masters know that I have changed. And you shall be my example."
- —Mendicant Bias to John-117.
During the Battle of High Charity in November 2552, the UNSC AI Cortana fought Mendicant Bias to delay the launching of the dreadnought, allowing SPARTAN John-117 to board the vessel and return to Earth. On December 11, Mendicant Bias' fragment was carried through the Voi slipspace portal to Installation 00, where the missing shard was finally reunited with the part that had resided in the Ark's systems for around one-hundred millenia. Meanwhile, it attempted to communicate with John through terminals, claiming that it sought atonement by helping the Spartan. Mendicant Bias was presumably destroyed along with Installation 00, following John-117's destruction of Installation 04B.
A highly advanced and powerful AI capable of splintering itself into many independent instances, Mendicant Bias inhabited a number of different physical armatures.
One of its primary extensions, kept on Installation 07, was housed within a massive casing vaguely resembling a spider in construction, consisting of an enormous, city-sized mass of data crystals as well as a single green eye within a central body, supported by an array of hard light legs which allowed it limited movement. Completing the spider analogy was the AI's core facility; a massive chamber in the center of which lay a web-like maze of green hard light. Before Installation 07 was retaken by the Didact, this physical incarnation directly observed a group of humans that had been gathered in the facility.
For movement across Installation 07, Mendicant Bias used a massive, two-meter wide monitor shell with a single green eye. The fragment in the Covenant's Forerunner Dreadnought was based within a smaller, teardrop-shaped casing largely similar to that of a normal installation monitor, having a single eye and a smooth, silver-like surface.
One of Mendicant Bias' fragments was apparently housed within a monitor-like, though more ornate, casing with three eyes and a glyph in the center as it turned rampant. However, this particular shell may not have existed as such, since it has only been depicted in Cortana's visualized retelling of Forerunner history.
- The word "Mendicant" comes from the Latin Mendicans and describes those, particularly from religious orders, who survive purely on charity and begging. "Bias" is a preference to a particular perspective or ideology. It was given this name by the Didact, who characterized him as a "beggar after knowledge".
- Mendicant Bias may be the source of the whispering voice heard distinctly in the Mausoleum Suite on the Halo 2 Original Soundtrack. There are obvious similarities between the character expressed in the whispers and Mendicant Bias — both are imprisoned by memories of their past crimes, both are seeking forgiveness, and both retain a sense of fatalist philosophy. Its voice may also be heard as a similar whisper during the terminals' shift and when the script changes from the original terminal messages to the later messages after the originals become red. If the audio of the terminals' shifting is played backwards, a voice can be heard, possibly Mendicant Bias'.
- In Origins, AdjutantReflex's symbol is depicted at the center of Mendicant Bias' casing. This may be due to Cortana's interpretation of the data she possessed on the Forerunner-Flood war, however, as Mendicant Bias is shown to have used two distinct symbols in the Terminals on Installation 00.
 List of appearances
- Halo 2 (First mentioned)
- Halo 3
- Terminals (First appearance)
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Human Weakness (Mentioned only)
- Halo Legends
- Halo: Cryptum
- Halo: Primordium
- Halo: Silentium
- ^ When exactly the Mendicant Bias fragment ended up on the Forerunner Dreadnought is unknown. It is possible that, in order to prevent Mendicant from subverting or harming the latter AI, Offensive Bias broke the mind of Mendicant Bias into its component sections and scattered them throughout the few remaining ships of its fleet for transport; thus, one of the ships could have been overtaken by Mendicant and made its way to the San 'Shyuum homeworld. Alternatively, given the Dreadnought fragment's desire for atonement, it is possible that the primary incarnation entombed on Installation 00 somehow managed to upload an offshoot of itself into the Keyship which repopulated the San 'Shyuum homeworld, unless the incarnation on the Dreadnought came to the same conclusion independently.
- ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 325
- ^ a b Halo Waypoint, Hero-Fortitude
- ^ a b c d e Halo 3, Terminals
- ^ a b c Halo: Primordium, page 190-192
- ^ a b c d Halo Encyclopedia, pages 188-189
- ^ Halo: Primordium, pages 337-338
- ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, "Human Weakness"
- ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 282
- ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 300-303
- ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 335
- ^ Halo: Primordium, page 272
- ^ Halo: Silentium, String 2
- ^ Halo: Primordium, page 356
- ^ a b Halo: Silentium, String 33
- ^ Halo: Silentium, String 35
- ^ Halo 3, Terminal 7 ("But the one that destroyed me long ago, in the upper atmosphere of a world far distant from here, was an implement far cruder than I. My weakness was capacity - unintentional though it was! - to choose the Flood.")
- ^ Halo: Silentium, String 36
- ^ Halo 3, Terminal 6
- ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, pages 274-276
- ^ Halo Waypoint - The Trial of Mendicant Bias
- ^ Halo 2, campaign level, High Charity
- ^ Halo: Primordium, page 287-288
- ^ Halo: Primordium, page 200
- ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 273
- ^ Halo Legends, Origins
|Known Forerunner Ancillas|
|05-032 Mendicant Bias • Offensive Bias • AdjutantReflex • 049 Abject Testament • 343 Guilty Spark • 686 Ebullient Prism • 2401 Penitent Tangent • The Knowing • Unidentified ancilla (Installation 05) • Unidentified ancilla (Installation 00) • Shield 0459 AI|