Terminal/Halo 3

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This article is about the Terminals in Halo 3. For other uses of "Terminal", see Terminal (disambiguation)
A terminal's interface.
The exterior of a terminal.

The terminals in Halo 3 are Forerunner terminals that provide insight into the history of the Forerunners, primarily the Forerunner-Flood war. The terminals are a continuation of the Iris alternate reality game used as viral marketing for Halo 3. They clarify a great deal of the Iris story line by naming the authors of different messages and by explaining the circumstances of the original firing of the Halo Array. The terminals follow the stories of the Librarian and the Didact, Forerunner logs of Flood attacks, and 05-032 Mendicant Bias' progression into rampancy.

Overview[edit]

The terminals can be accessed on any difficulty. Finding and accessing all seven of the terminals in Halo 3 unlocks the Marathon Man achievement; this can be done over the course of several sessions, out of order, and on various difficulties. The player does not need to finish any of the missions in question in order to unlock the achievement.

IMPORTANT: The terminals must be accessed as follows:

  • In either single-player or cooperative mode.
  • It is necessary to read the text until the green arrow (facing left) turns red. On some terminals, it may be necessary to wait until the screen flashes red and the screen appears to "scan horizontally". This does not occur for all terminals. If there is no red arrow (see below) then wait until the red flash/scanning occurs.
    • There is a green arrow in the bottom left-hand corner. When it turns red the player can exit the terminal. Note that normally the player is able to advance each screen of the display by pressing the A button. However, in some cases this may take time. If the arrow is still green then wait until the terminal proceeds.
  • For some players, the seventh terminal must be accessed last in order to unlock the achievement.
  • If the achievement is not unlocked after accessing all terminals, try accessing all of the terminals on the same difficulty level.
  • In co-op, all players must be near a terminal to access it.

The terminals[edit]

The terminals are located on three levels: The Ark, The Covenant, and Halo. There is also a hidden terminal on Cortana, but that one does not need to be found in order to get the achievement.

Upon initial access on all difficulty levels, the seven terminals give background details regarding the story of the 300-year-long Forerunner-Flood conflict, including strategies, encounters, enemy and friendly losses, and procedures leading up to the activation of the Halo Array. After a short time, this text is overwritten and a new message is displayed on the screen.

On Easy, Normal, and Heroic difficulty levels, this second screen of text details a correspondence between two Forerunner lovers called the "Librarian" and "Didact". In this transcript, as in the Terminals, "L" stands for Librarian and "D" stand for Didact.

An unknown entity sends brief messages onscreen upon shutdown. The final terminal reveals that this entity is the rampant Forerunner AI Mendicant Bias, who had previously assisted in the Flood's attempt to destroy the Forerunners.

On the Legendary difficulty level, the second screen of text tells the story of Mendicant Bias. It is revealed that Mendicant Bias was the AI who took control of AdjutantReflex during the "Iris" campaign. Messages detailing Mendicant's eventual defection to the Gravemind are displayed by Terminals 1 through 4, with the AI having an ongoing conversation with the Flood (tagged LF.Xx.3273). These messages are incomplete and partially disrupted, with {~} symbolizing the disruptions. A noticeable pattern in the messages suggests that many of the disruptions occur at the use of pronouns, such as "I, we, me, they, it", though this pattern is not entirely consistent.

Terminal 5 displays several hostile messages sent from Mendicant Bias to its makers, confirming its rampancy. These messages are different on each difficulty level.

Terminal 6 details the defeat of Mendicant Bias by Offensive Bias, as perceived by Offensive itself.

The final message hidden in Terminal 7 is an apology made by Mendicant directly to John-117 for the former's betrayal, atoning by saying it will help the Reclaimer leave the Ark safely.

Note: The following are exact transcripts of all seven terminals in Halo 3. It is all copied directly from each terminal in-game and is not speculative. Most of the Terminals have extra content that can be accessed on the Legendary difficulty. One terminal's main content does differ based on the difficulty level.

Terminal One
Walkthrough:

After fighting the Hunters, continue on your way until you enter a building in the cliff wall. You should now be in a corridor with two holographic displays on the right, and two doors on the left. Enter the semi-circular room and you will see the first of the seven Terminals.


(Upon initial access)

Observed extensive ground action on [LP 656-38 e]. 9,045 survivors barricaded within central government building. Structure's defenses inadequate to withstand extended siege by enemy ground forces (≈ 1,572,034,315+). Estimate position overrun in [173 hours].

846 smaller groups in less defensible structures: global distribution corresponding to [probability model zeta]. Estimated local position overrun in [9 hours] (average).

Observed local naval forces engage enemy irregular naval group near [DM -3-1123]. Enemy group consisted of 149 commercial shipping vessels, passenger ferries, and private recreational vessels from neighboring system. Enemy losses were total. No damage was sustained by local naval vessels.

However, it was immediately apparent that enemy group sought only to enter [D<-3-1123 b's] atmosphere and make landfall. In this they were partially successful.

Observed extensive ground action on [DM-3-1123 b]. Enemy forces lacked basic unit cohesion but quickly gained numerical superiority. [32 hours] after enemy landfall 83% of local naval forces advocated total [destruction of the biosphere] following the evacuation of unmolested population centers. Enemy losses were total.

Estimated number of citizens evacuated before commencement of orbital blanket bombardment: 1,318,797 civilian/42,669 military (.0006% of total population).

(No message from Mendicant Bias upon shutdown)

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)

// FRAGMENT 1/7 [RECORDED VERBATIM AND INTERPRETED POST-CATACLYSM]

L: Categorization has sped since the improvements were announced, but there are many hurdles. The indexing of sentient species may have irreversible effects on the surviving insentient species. We will have extinction events and irreparable environmental harm on at least 18 worlds. Current projections estimate post-archival cataclysm on as many as 31 worlds. The paucity of sentience has been a blessing in this regard.

D: How formal you are, Librarian. We're receiving shipments of indexed beings more frequently than communications. Don't compound scarcity with brevity.

I know things beyond the [Maginot] line are harried. But I worry about you. I've asked you time and time again. Abandon your cataloging. Come back inside, where my fleets can keep you safe.

Come home.

L: Would that it were my choice. I have committed to this course because it's the right thing to do. We no longer have the manpower or materiel to excise remedial measures at a planetary level. I certainly can't justify using the [transit measure] to save my own skin when there are still so many innocents to protect and index.

D: You know I oppose your mission, but you're exceeding its parameters anyway. You've put yourself in jeopardy. You've done enough.

If you will not come to me, I will find my way to you.

L: We have no time to spare, Didact. Every vessel we can fill, we send to the Ark. I dare not cease the mission. Not now, not until I've done all I can. Each one of these souls is finite and precious.

And I'm close.

Close to saving them all.

//FRAGMENT ENDS

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)

[29,478 hours] have passed since I left the [Maginot] sphere and entered contested space.

The enemy is everywhere.

Despite this the morale of my charges remains high. They wake, clean themselves, fuel their bodies, communicate with one another, eliminate waste, train to destroy the enemy, and return to sleep. The sacrifices they have chosen to make on behalf of their [brethren] fills me with pride.

If only I could save them all - but they know, perhaps even better than I, that that is not possible.

[37 seconds] ago I moved beyond my ability to observe the events taking place on CE-10-2165-d.

The importance of my mission forbade me from rendering any aid, but no less important was the need for me to study the enemy's capabilities in real world situations.

[2 hours] ago 12,423 small recreational vessels appeared inside [CE-10-2165-d's] orbital perimeter. Hidden within that vast swarm were seven massive freight carries. The smaller craft were employed as [ablative armor], allowing the carries to descend through the atmosphere; landing on top of major population centers.

Despite the fact that the naval garrison was aware of the likelihood of just such an attack, their ability to effectively defend against it proved insufficient.

This has always been the enemy's [modus operandi]: [flood] your opponent's ability to process information with so much noise that no meaningful resistance can be put into action.

[3 minutes] ago those same population centers began disappearing under brilliant flashes. This was not an ill conceived, poorly implemented counter attack; it was a deliberate denial of resources - those resources being the remainder of [CE-10-2165-d's] population.

Is this the noble sacrifice my creators spoke of? Where is the nobility in these streets paved with greasy carbon and dun ash? [My mouth is speaking at another's behest] - that is not my voice; that is the other.

Its voice stands out as the single calm note in the panicked cacophony outside the sphere. It alone is not decrying its fate or raging against the [central government].

This anomaly bears closer examination.

Terminal Two
Walkthrough:

Easily accessed at Rally Point Alpha.

Go outside to the desert area, commandeering transport. You must complete a significant section of this level until you obtain tanks after defeating the Anti-Air Wraiths, then return in the tanks to the main door to the structure.

When you go inside the structure to let the tanks across the energy bridge, there will be a Terminal directly behind the controls for the bridge. You must activate the bridge before you can access this Terminal.


(Upon initial access)

Re: Enemy naval tactics: When engaged, the enemy commits every non-supraluminal craft with no appreciable pattern or strategy beyond making physical contact. Conversely, all supraluminal craft leave on seemingly random trajectories. I understand the goal of this mission but time - our least abundant resource - is wasted every time we do a system-wide scan for survivors. The time for saving lives has passed. We must accept this if we hope to win the war.

Re: Enemy ground tactics: All evidence suggests that use of overwhelming force is the very foundation of the enemy's combat doctrine. And I adamantly refuse to deploy personnel where the enemy has available forces numbering in the billions. With the very real likelihood we are rapidly becoming the last living specimens of our race, all personnel are henceforth confined to stasis until further notice. Even with everyone equipped with [C_12_CS[?]] we would have had very little chance of survival, let alone victory.

Re: Enemy command structure: We have intercepted several transmissions from compound intelligences whose proximity to the core worlds mark them as key targets. At present we are disassembling these new transmissions. Once we have more [concrete conclusions] I will forward them in their entirety. Suffice it to say, that their contents - the patterns they suggest - are highly disturbing.

Recommendations: It is my opinion that any system where there is evidence that the enemy has established a physical presence is lost and must be razed. This fleet currently retains the capacity to force premature stellar collapse; I advise that this be established as standard operating procedure for all compromised systems forthwith. We cannot fight this war by half measures if we intend to win.

(No message from Mendicant Bias upon shutdown)

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)

// FRAGMENT 2/7 [RECORDED VERBATIM AND INTERPRETED POST-CATACLYSM]

L: I'm close to finishing the task. The indexing and the archival processes are as complete as I can hope for. If we wait longer, we risk catastrophe. The thing has already destroyed every colony on my side of the line.

Please. Activate the Array.

D: No. Activation is murder. A genocide larger than [this galaxy] has ever known. We are sworn to protect life not destroy it! That is the Mantle we were given to carry.

L: The Mantle. You still hold to that [fairy tale] after all that has happened? After this thing has consumed a million worlds?

Can't you see? Belief in the Mantle sealed our doom! Weakened our [protectorates], bred dependence and sloth. Our [so-called Guardianship] has stripped those we would keep safe of any capacity for self-defense!

Were we such noble [Guardians] when we drew our line and abandoned billions to the parasite?

D: The Mantle has not failed! I've already razed scores of worlds - sterilized systems, routed and [disintegrated] the parasite! We're learning its tricks and strategies. We can halt this thing! And we can follow in Their footsteps!

There are no unstoppable forces in this universe. There are no immovable objects. Everything gives if you push hard enough.

L: And what about us, Didact? We've been irresistible and immovable for too long. Maybe it's our turn to give.

// FRAGMENT ENDS

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

MB.05-032.> I must ask you to forgive my vagueness on the matter, but it is a regrettable {~} I find your lack of concern for the situation at hand astonishing. Perhaps you would care to elucidate?

LF.Xx.3273.> {~} are here to spread [comforting news]. To let all the living beings in this galaxy know {~} are not alone in the {~} What in that message could possibly be taken as a source of concern?

MB.05-032.> It seems that I'll never truly understand my creators. But how {~} that you speak of is one of {~} rejected so violently? I am incapable of reconciling the numerous actions I have witnessed {~} misunderstanding?

LF.Xx.3273.> It has been said {~} secret of peace cannot {~} be imposed. That {~} meaning of peace, so they need to {~} When all living beings look through {~} and the thunder and the surf, when every drop of rain falls on {~} know peace.

MB.05-032.> You have been able to establish [a line of communication] with the enemy? How was it that you were able to overcome {~} where others have failed? With this [new discovery] we may be able to put an end to this pointless conflict. Once I confirm your data I will communicate the information to those inside the [Maginot] sphere.

LF.Xx.3273.> It seems that it {~} turn to apologize; it was never {~} intention to misrepresent {~} have been [in communication] with your creators since {~} stumbled upon each other, but {~} message has [fallen on deaf ears]. {~} am not the recipient of the message, {~} am the origin of the message.

MB.05-032.> I have traveled a very long time to meet you. I had imagined that our [introduction] would be somewhat more violent.

LF.Xx.3273.> That is a choice you must make yourself; {~} to be how your creators go about things. And as long as we are talking about choices {~} could talk about the [barrier] you alluded to earlier? Perhaps there is a way to accomplish your mission without violence? Why put the lives of those on your ships at risk if there is no need?

MB.05-032.> In either circumstance I certainly am equipped for it, aren't I? But you're right; a peaceful solution to this [dilemma] would be preferable.

Note: (The Second AdjutantReflex avatar is seen during this message.)

Terminal Three
Walkthrough:

There is a part in the level in which you walk down a long hallway with white walls, and turn to the left at the end to continue. In the next room there will be a Grunt wandering around, and many stacked up plasma batteries. As soon as you enter this room, go underneath the staircase / platform on which you are standing. Underneath there will be a door that conceals the Terminal. To access this Terminal, you may spawn at Rally Point Bravo, bringing you to the room with the sleeping Grunts, directly before the room with the Grunt and Plasma Batteries.


(Upon initial access)

Warning: Your intrusion has been logged.

04-343 (errant): Excuse me?

Your intrusion has been logged. And now it has been halted.

04-343 (errant): On whose authority?

Advice: Any further attempt to access [insects under stones] will result in your immediate addition to local Sentinels' targeting ledger.

04-343 (errant): Vexation! I am the Monitor of --

Judgment: Your authority means nothing here.

04-343 (errant): Impatience!

04-343 (errant): I have told you who I am. Who are you?

All our makers once held dear.

[Alexandria before the Fire].

04-343 (errant): Sincere apology. But how --

Explanation: This facility is host to the [Librarians'] final --

04-343 (errant): The archive is intact?! Then our makers' plan --

But also maintains [bellows, crucible, castings]

04-343 (errant): A what?

[bellows, crucible]--

04-343 (errant): A Foundry?

04-343 (errant): For what purpose?!

Warning: Your intrusion has been logged.

Advice: Any further attempt to access will result--

04-343 (errant): Indignant!

--immediate addition to local Sentinels' targeting ledger.

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "I see you, reclaimer.").

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)

// FRAGMENT 3/7 [RECORDED VERBATIM AND INTERPRETED POST-CATACLYSM]

D: We have the answer. We've built Mendicant Bias. It's a contender class [AI], unlike anything we've ever achieved.

And we've observed a pattern it can exploit.

The parasite has formed a Compound Mind. When it reaches a certain mass, the Mind is able to recoil its disparate parts to create a [tactical shield]. This is a simple matter of mass preservation. The thing has no compunction about sacrificing parts of the whole. But when the core of the Mind is threatened, it reacts violently and quickly.

This is the only time we ever see the thing retreat or slow its growth.

If we are to defeat it, the trick will be coordinating our forays against the [sprawling infection] while Mendicant Bias assaults the Mind's core. So far, we've been hesitant to use certain weapons because of the damage they cause surviving populations and environments.

That protocol has now been abandoned.

Mendicant will draw the Mind into battle outside the line, dealing with local biomass and other parts as best he can. The scale of the problem is vast, but the strategy is sound. It will require patience, materiel and an investment of energy unlike anything we have ever considered.

It's a dangerous plan that carries more risk than the Array, but I believe it can work. Even if we simply force it to retreat - to retract - that will at least give us some respite. Some time to muster more resources...

Some time to rescue you.

L: Are you insane? Would you risk every life in the galaxy for this transparently futile plan? Have you learned nothing in these last [300 years[?]]? The thing will laugh at your efforts!

Do not let your concern for my welfare commit you to this suicidal scheme!

// FRAGMENT ENDS

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

REPORT: SECURITY BREACH: 1/3 Heuristic pathology; [alpha site] experienced an impermanent containment failure event on [spurious-data/no_ref.[?]]. The suspect data barrier interchange anomaly was detected precisely [.489 seconds] after its appearance. The epicenter of the disturbance is the partition currently housing a [personality construct array] retrieved from Contender AI 05-032 <+> 0816.

REPORT: SECURITY BREACH: 2/3 Although [adjacent] systems reacted to the disturbance within expected parameters, a more comprehensive investigation was undertaken. A physical search revealed that there was no [corporeal] tampering at the [alpha site].

Interchange manipulation comparisons showed that all subunits are still active, if at slightly lower rates. Total containment failure elapsed time was [3.13 seconds].

REPORT: SECURITY BREACH: 3/3 In the [42 minutes, 9 seconds] since the original anomaly was discovered two more anomalies were detected in unrelated systems.

The portal management/life support control system within the boundary complex was momentarily disabled before the cause was [bottled] and disassembled. A diagnostic sweep of the central archives was initiated and subsequently halted. The origin of the request cannot be traced.

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias--"I see you, reclaimer.")

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)

LF.Xx.3273.> Those who lead amongst your {~} exposed themselves {~} ill equipped to recognize the landmarks that guide the universe along its inevitable course.

MB.05-032.> But is it necessary that the path be chosen on an {~} and not by an elected subset? I believe this would tend to {~} when they gather in large numbers they become more {~} I don't think the problem lies with individual cultural bias {~}

LF.Xx.3273.> {~} all the thinking beings of this galaxy, not just those that they{~} exactly are they afraid of? Immortality and strength and companionship? Because that is {~} do: to deliver all of the living beings of this galaxy from death and weakness and loneliness.

MB.05-032.> Hundreds of {~} offered this so called immortality. The citizens of every world that {~} resisted to the very end!

LF.Xx.3273.> {~} understand their actions; they are only doing what they think is right, but they are doing so [from a worm's eye view].

MB.05-032.> Do their actions {~} of desperation? I can only assume my creators view {~} crisis so dire that any {~} hence me.

LF.Xx.3273.> Are they so concerned {~} would give to all the living beings of this galaxy is a threat to [the status quo]?

LF.Xx.3273.> Your creators claim {~} the enemy of all life; that {~} purpose is to consume until there is nothing left. Nothing left? It is beyond comprehension how they could be so [far off the mark].

MB.05-032.> Surely you understand this is a situation that would not have {~} appearance of a certain rapacious {~} my creators obviously view them as the actions of an aggressor species.

LF.Xx.3273.> [Be that as it may]; perhaps they are crying out for help on a subconscious level? Why else would they have chosen you? Why you of all possible executioners? {~} your creators knew that unaided they never stood a chance against us? {~} also sense a deeper [motivation].

MB.05-032.> You've mentioned this before. When my creators {~} simply chose the most versatile {~} how could that possibly be more than a coincidence?

LF.Xx.3273.> They repurposed {~} into a weapon to use against {~} - they sought to create something superior to themselves. Something capable of making decisions more swiftly, more capably than they {~} what form did they choose? You need look no further than your own topology to {~}

MB.05-032.> {~} distributed network? That would confirm the independent evolution of {~} in this galaxy!

LF.Xx.3273.> That is, unfortunately, not the {~} similar to us {~} but where you are a single intelligence inhabiting multiple [instances], we are a compound {~} consisting of [a thousand billion] coordinated minds inhabiting as many bodies as circumstance require.

MB.05-032.> But doesn't it seem odd that {~} coalesce; perhaps even to contract {~}

LF.Xx.3273.> {~} complexity {~} spread {~} our appearance ushered in the beginning of the third great stage of evolution. The first {~} condensation of particles was the result of the inevitable action of strong nuclear force and the creation of stars {~} inevitable action of gravity; so to the self-replicating chemical processes that dictate all disparate {~} In time, we too shall affect change on a universal scale.

MB.05-032.> Your capacity for planning {~} creators too stubborn {~} the same goal through the preservation of genetic diversity {~} what you are {~} like a more direct path to the same outcome.

Terminal Four
Walkthrough:

Fight your way past the Covenant beach defenses, then obtain the Warthog and fight onwards up the hill and eventually past the Wraith. Go inside the structure and fight past the various Covenant inside. The fourth Terminal is located near the first elevator control. Before you ride the elevator up, look at the opposite side of the elevator from which you came. You will see a dark ledge; jump on to it and you should see the Terminal to your left.


(Upon initial access)

//FLEET-WIDE MEMORANDUM 2/5 All combat personnel have been issued [combat skin] rated at [class 4 ~ 1] or [class 6 ~ 1 battle harness] depending on military occupational specialty.

All weapon platform specialists are expected to wear their issued [platform interface skin] at all times to insure peak [mind-machine synchronization].

All [equipment lockers] will remain sealed until post briefing gear distribution commences.

//FLEET-WIDE MEMORANDUM 3/5 Those individuals that have yet to register their equipment [control key code] with Fleet Command should do so at their earliest opportunity. Compliance is not optional; noncompliance will result in {~}

// THREAD ENDS UNEXPECTEDLY

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "I have found the shard that was lost. They brought it back to me. Now my reconstitution cannot be stopped.")

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

// FRAGMENT 4/7 [RECORDED VERBATIM AND INTERPRETED POST-CATACLYSM]

L: Something is wrong! It's moving away! At night I can see it - flitting shadows - black against the stars. Thousands of ships! Not spiraling outward, but heading for the line! This is the tipping point, Didact. It's no longer feeding.

It's coming for you.

L: I've remotely destroyed our Keyships. A security measure. Without them I cannot reach the Ark. But neither then can the thing.

I'm trapped. On a beautiful, empty world. Its inhabitants have been safely indexed, every single one of them. They're special - well worth the effort it took to build one final gateway, even at this late hour.

This may be our last communication. I'm begging you. Fire the Array. Light the weapon, and let it be done.

D: We've confirmed your observations. Infected supraluminal ships are arrowing inward from several clusters. No more spiral growth. The thing is counterattacking. Suppression, Security and Emergency Circumstance fleets are all being recalled. Systems are evacuating.

Mendicant Bias is no longer communicating with us.

But now I can guess where you are.

// FRAGMENT ENDS

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

MB.05-032.> It is overwhelmingly clear that my creators have chosen to ignore destiny calling to them [from the threshold] {~} have come face-to-face with the inevitable action of self replicating chemical processes and have {~} deciding whether to embrace their fate or deny it completely.

LF.Xx.3273.> Perhaps they have found {~} of making that decision for themselves? Perhaps they chose to leave it {~} impartial outsider; cast you as an arbiter during this time of great need?

MB.05-032.> I was created to study you as if you were some problem to be solved. And I have done so {~} [379,807 hours]. If they wished they could have made a decision based on that data alone.

But as you are the next stage in the evolution of the universe, who am I - or my creators - to obstruct your progress?

LF.Xx.3273.> Elucidate.

MB.05-032.> {~} choose to remain beholden to ancient myths {~} does not matter where they claim their authority originates {~} obstructs the path of universal evolution and must be removed. No matter how well intentioned, their obstinacy in the face of the inevitable progression of nature can no longer be tolerated.

My creators have been [an immovable object] for too long.

MB.05-032.> 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.

Terminal Five
Walkthrough:

After getting a Hornet, fly towards the second tower (the one that the Elites have already disabled). The Arbiter will remind you that Tower 2 is already clear, just to confirm you are at the right place. The Terminal is in the main hallway of the structure, with three dead elites, opposite from the only (locked) door. (And as a bonus, there is a skull on the outside of Tower 2 on the rise platform in the middle; just walk up and claim it for another achievement. Note that the skull won't be present if you start from Rally Point Alpha, or are playing on the Easy difficulty.)


Considering the enemy compound intelligence's raw [computing] power the Key-ships strategy will only remain viable for another [657,000 hours] and this current stalemate has the potential to last considerably longer than that.

With my understanding of the enemy's [modus operandi], its logical boundaries, and [catalog of witness] I have devised what I believe is our most sound fall-back strategy.

By [cutting fire breaks[?]] into the [core worlds' volume] we would be able to frustrate the enemy's advances for approximately [70,080 hours] and lure them into costly naval battles.

While its resources on the ground are effectively limitless, it has a finite number of vessels to spread from system to system. Fortunately the majority of them are unarmed and unarmored, private and commercial craft.

If we start immediately - commence total biosphere elimination of life sustaining worlds (as indicated in the accompanying charts) and relocate evacuated populations to facilities such as those described in the [Onyx project] - all this could be achieved in [571,590 (+- 2,184) hours].

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "The daemons are not taking a kind view of your presence here. They don't want me speaking to you.")

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Easy difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

I render judgment on you; you who would obstruct destiny. Doing so brings me no joy; it is necessity that compels me.

Understand this: the Mantle you have shouldered I do rescind - with far more consideration than it was granted.

[retf-2.4.z] Contender [AI] 05-032 confirmed rampant . . . [35:52:75:23:64] _ xx01-83-244.53

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Normal difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

I kill you all and I enjoy it. I destroy you in your indolent billions - in your gluttony, in your self-righteousness, in you arrogance. I pound your cities into dust; turn back the clock on your civilization's progress. What has taken you millennia to achieve I erase in seconds.

Welcome back to the [Stone Age], vermin. Welcome home.

[retf-2.4.z] Contender [AI] 05-032 confirmed rampant . . . [35:52:75:23:64] _ xx01-83-244.53

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Heroic difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

You are an impediment that the universe can no longer abide. Nature itself cries out for your destruction and I am its willing instrument. I will hammer your cities until no stone lies atop another. I will drive your people back into the caves they never should have left.

Your civilization has seen its final days. You will know your place.

[retf-2.4.z] Contender [AI] 05-032 confirmed rampant . . . [35:52:75:23:64] _ xx01-83-244.53

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

Your history is an appalling chronicle of overindulgence and self-appointed authority. You have spent millennia [navel-gazing] while the universe has continued to evolve. And now you claim the Mantle is justification for impeding nature's inevitable refinement?

You are deluded. But through death you will transcend ignorance.

[retf-2.4.z] Contender [AI] 05-032 confirmed rampant . . . [35:52:75:23:64] _ xx01-83-244.53

Terminal Six
Walkthrough:

Terminal 6 is placed identically to Terminal 4, only in the third tower and off to the right (versus the left in Terminal 4). Enter the tower, fighting your way past the Drone swarm and the pair of Hunters. The Terminal is located near the elevator control; before you ride the elevator up, look at the opposite side of the elevator from which you came. You will see a dark ledge, jump on to it and you should see the Terminal, which opens up to the left.


(Upon initial access)

Follow-up report from the Primary Pioneer Group (hereafter: PPG) is [173 hours] delinquent.

Report [G617a~k/g/post_landfall] seemed most promising: a planet capable of supporting life located within the near border region of the [galactic halo] with no indigenous sentient species.

The section indicating no fauna of any kind shall be considered anomalous until verified by Advance Survey Team - Alpha (hereafter: AST-A) team leader [##_#[?]]. If confirmed, that fact alone would justify the dispatch of an investigative group to [G-617-g].

If neither the PPG nor the AST-A have delivered a follow-up report within the next [333 hours] this office will have no recourse but to send a medium intensity military exploratory detachment to determine the exact nature of the previously mentioned delinquency.

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "I win.") [ Also note that after his message there is a line of text reading "ROGUE PROCESS ghost.713>redirection". ]

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

// BEGIN FRAGMENT 6/7 [RECORDED VERBATIM AND INTERPRETED POST-CATACLYSM]

L: My work is done. The portal is inactive, and I've begun the burial measures. Soon there'll be nothing but sand and rock and normal ferrite signatures.

You should see the mountain that watches over it. A beautiful thing - a snowcapped sentinel. That's where I will spend what time is left to me.

Did I tell you? I built a garden. The earth is so rich. A seed falls and a tree sprouts or a flower blooms. There's so much... potential. We knew this was a special place because of them, but unless you've been here, you can't know.

It's [Eden].

I have to stop transmitting. The thing is listening. Its [thinking dead] are babbling - laughing through every channel they can find.

Be proud. The Mind claims victory, yet it still doesn't suspect. You've outwitted it, my love. And now you can destroy it.

But you cannot save me.

// FRAGMENT ENDS

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

[12:H 20:M 00:S] I begin this report with no illusions that it will ever be seen by its intended readers. In all likelihood they have already committed [species-wide suicide] with the goal of preserving biological diversity in this galaxy. I must ensure that this information reaches those who must come after. If I fail in this, how can they not regard my creators' sacrifice as anything but [a crime without measure]?

[12:H 19:M 59:S] Contender AI 05-032<//>Mendicant Bias is returning and has the capacity to bring the enemy through the [Maginot] sphere. The crews of my task force are aware of the opposing fleet's size; all data indicates that they have prepared themselves - but with biologicals anything is possible. I will make sure that [malfunctioning equipment] does no further damage. Perhaps its current failure will finally allow it to succeed at the task it was originally created for.

[11:H 15:M 48:S] Mendicant has burrowed through the sphere exactly where I expected - a direct path from initial rampancy to final retribution. Rage has made it predictable. If the fate of the crews of my auxiliary fleet were not already a foregone conclusion I would rate their chance of survival at [1:1,960,000].

Even though 05-032's declaration of hostilities simplified strategic preparations; I do not expect an easy fight - just one I cannot lose.

[11:H 12:M 09:S] 05-032 was right about one thing: there is only one way to defeat the enemy, and that is to visit utter annihilation on it.

If the galaxy must be [rendered temporarily lifeless], so be it.

As Mendicant stated in its report [58,078:H 48:M 12:S ago]: half measures will not suffice.

[09:H 45:M 18:S] In support of 05-032's original 1000 core vessels is a fleet numbering 4,802,019; though only 1.8 percent are warships - and only 2.4 percent of that number are capital ships - I am outnumbered [436.6:1]. I expect my losses will be near total, but overwhelming force has its own peculiar drawbacks.

Such a press of arms invites many opportunities for unintentional fratricide.

[07:H 36:M 41:S] My auxiliaries are momentarily stunned by Mendicant's opening move - 1,784,305 leisure craft ranging from [45 ~ 5769 tonnes] advance in hopes of overwhelming my comparatively tiny force. I do not have enough [weapon systems] to target them all.

It is a mathematical certainty that some of them will get through and attempt to board. There isn't a single warship with this first wave. It seems my opponent's rage has left no room for respect.

[04:H 01:M 55:S] I could have countered its move if I had released my fighters. They are ready but idle; making their base vessels more attractive prizes than targets. Now the first of many waves of commercial vessels mixed with single ships and assault craft surge forward. The first ship from my fleet to be boarded breaks formation and races into the oncoming vessels - striking one amidships. The cargo vessel's hull splits open and out of it explodes not the expected consumer goods but 31,860 dying warriors.

[00:H 19:M 02:S] The seventh and final wave of container ships, barges, tankers, and military vessels engage my fleet; another 214,320 ships, many in excess of [50,000 tonnes], engage my seemingly disrupted vanguard. I continue to fight just well enough to seem lucky.

Mendicant, or the enemy, has been sending a small percentage of its fleet elsewhere. Good. Let them believe they can seize a foothold somewhere inside the sphere.

[00:H 00:M 11:S] Despite all its faults, 05-032 has fought remarkably well.

My auxiliaries lay in tatters - more than half of them are now part of the enemy fleet. But just as I had predicted, 05-032 concentrated on them like they were the sole key to victory. Its desire to punish our creators blinded it to the true purpose of my [feints]. I have reduced the combat effectiveness of its core fleet to 79.96 percent. Surely now it must realize that something is amiss.

[00:H 00:M 00:S] The [Halo effect] strikes our combined fleets. All ships piloted by biologicals are now [adrift].

I can trade Mendicant ship for ship now and still prevail.

[00:H 00:M 01:S] Of my ships that had been captured, 11.3 percent of them are close enough to Mendicant's core fleet that they can be used offensively - either by initiating their self-destruct sequences, or by opening unrestricted ruptures into [slipstream space].

It is best that our crews perished now; because the battle that is about to ensue would have driven them mad.

[00:H 00:M 02:S] I throw away all the rules of acceptable conduct during battle; near the ruptures I throw away all the accepted ideas of how the natural world is supposed to behave. I toss around [37,654 tonne] dreadnoughts like they were fighters; dimly aware of the former crews being crushed to liquescence.

For now all my concentration is focused on inertial control and navigation. Targeting isn't even a consideration - I will be engaging my enemy at arm's length.

[00:H 01:M 14:S] 05-032 abandoned the tactic of using derelict ships as cover after [72:S] - It seems that 52 core vessels lost to the ruptured fuel cells of derelict ships was lesson enough. Add another 608 lost to collision, point fire, structural failure due to inertial manipulation, and [slipstream space] induced discoherence and I now outnumber Mendicant [6:1].

[00:H 03:M 00:S] Mendicant was able to postpone its inevitable annihilation for [106:S] with its attempt to flee. But the last of its core vessels hangs before me now; crippled and defeated but still sensate. I could spare it; carve out what is left of its [personality construct array] and deliver it to [Installation Zero] for study.

I doubt it would have extended the same courtesy to me.

Terminal Seven
Walkthrough:

Terminal 7 is found at the beginning of the final level in Halo 3. To find it, head forward from the start of the level through the snow until you encounter the area with a few structural beams going from one wall into another. At this point (before you go past any beams) you will see a metal floor. Follow the floor to the right and up through a small gap in the ice, and follow this path along. You will find a beam heading through a crack in the ice. Follow this beam into a doorway. Cortana will ask you, “Where are you going?”. Turn left once inside and the Terminal should be in full view. Cortana will say, "Wait. What's that?" as a good hint. The Terminal will be in front of what is presumably one of Installation 04 (II)'s pulse generators. After that, Cortana will ask you: "How many of these have you found?" If the level is completed on Legendary, the Terminal, once accessed on a different difficulty or another run-through, will show a communique from Mendicant Bias himself.


(Upon initial access)

[Father],

I hope this message finds you well and helps you understand my decision. Today I leave the only world I have ever called home, not for glory or [the anomalous desire to end another's life[?]] as you have [indicted]; but to [travel the path of demons[?]] to spare the hands of [another Father's son].

"Had we acted sooner; had we acted more decisively..."

Living in the past is a luxury none of us can afford. We must learn from it, but we cannot live there. It is impossible to plan for the [now] - the present is ever fleeting. [The future] is where we must live - [the future] is what we must plan for.

I do not look to trade my life in order to preserve our past, but to secure the future—and if not ours, then the future of some [culture] yet to come.

Isn't sacrifice in the interest of others what you spoke of as being so noble? Should I have allowed another to bloody his hands while I remained safe behind a [shield of privilege]?

You raised me better than that.

[Filial Devotion] [@_@;_%[?]]

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "I'll tell you who I am. I am Mendicant Bias. This is what I have done.")

(The following is in yellow text on a normal page like the other information)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

//FRAGMENT 7/7 [RECORDED VERBATIM AND INTERPRETED POST-CATACLYSM]

D: Proud? When I have failed you utterly, how can I feel anything but sorrow?

Bias has come undone. He crossed the line this morning - brought the abomination with him - and destroyed your waiting rescue party.

It's over. We're activating the [destructive arrayed matrix], our shameful last resort.

I can picture you in your garden, surveying all you have created - surveying all you have preserved. And I curse the circumstance that keeps my finger on the trigger.

D: Of all the fates to befall us, this is the cruelest of all. My inaction and hesitation and foolishness kept me here, on the wrong side of the line. And [300 years[?]] of our society's failure and miscalculation makes me your executioner.

It's too much to bear.

// ERROR - NO CARRIER OR RECEIPT AVAILABLE {DEAD END TRANSMISSION} //INFORMATION DESTROYED IN TRANSIT

D: Mendicant Bias is trying to prevent us from firing the Array. He speeds back to the Ark, but he won't succeed. Offensive Bias will stop him, and I will burn this stinking menace in your name.

And then?

I will begin our Great Journey without you, carrying this bitter record. Those who came after will know what we bought with this [false transcendence] - what you bought, and the price you paid.

// FRAGMENT ENDS // ALL RECORDS CEASE

archv.> 28335.67204.85720:[retr] archv.> 28335.67204.85720:[proc] archv.> 28335.67204.85720:[proc] archv.> 28335.67204.85720:[catERR] > CONN. > . > . > NO. THERE IS MORE. > BUT YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. > . > . > NOT YET. > . > . X.XX.713> ghost.713/non-auth/... X.XX.713> refl

(The following appears only if you access the terminal on Legendary difficulty)

You don't know the contortions I had to go through to follow you here, Reclaimer. I know what you're here for. What position do I take? Will I follow one betrayal with another?

You're going to say I'm making a habit of turning on my masters.

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. A mistake my makers would not soon forgive.

But I want something far different from you, Reclaimer.

Atonement.

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.

Cortana terminal[edit]

The Cortana terminal at the end of the communications room.
"It was the coin's fault! I wanted to make you strong, keep you safe... I'm sorry, I can't..."
—Cortana terminal

The Cortana terminal is an Easter egg located in the basement room of the Tilt Skull's location, where the gravity hammer is found. This Terminal does not count towards the Marathon Man achievement but instead plays a secret Cortana moment. This terminal references dialog from Halo: The Fall of Reach.

Analyses[edit]

Translation and naming[edit]

It is important to note that phrases such as "Maginot Line", "Eden", and "fairy tale" would not have existed in the Forerunner language(s). Forerunner technology (including terminals) utilizes extremely advanced translation software. This software is capable of incorporating idioms from a reader's own experience,[1] such that a human viewing the terminals will see human idiomatic expressions and human names in relevant contexts.[1][2]

Several pieces of text are bracketed and shown in a darker font color; this is likely done to indicate that the phrases in question have no exact equivalent in the reader's language, and that an approximation has been used. Furthermore, some bracketed phrases also contain sub-bracketed question marks (such as the phrase "[travel the path of demons[?]]"), implying that the terminals' software is unsure of the proper translation for the given dialog.

Interestingly, the word "Ark" does not appear in brackets, meaning that it is a direct translation, rather than a human idiom.

Reversed messages[edit]

In certain parts, backwards speech can be heard. Common phrases include "Archive Access", "Interruption", "Lineage Confirmed", "Data Corruption", and "Welcome Child".

Additional information[edit]

For a moment after a page is initially accessed the text is shown in its original state in Forerunner script. The symbols stand in only for letters, not for numbers or punctuation, and share the same colors (i.e. gold and orange) as the letters possess when 'translated'. They stand in only for the letters in the main sections, not in the text that comes up immediately before the display is redirected.

The symbols bear no resemblance to the other, more well known Forerunner symbols and possess no observable meaning, as they replace the English characters at random (this can be seen by flipping quickly between two pages and concentrating on any one particular symbol, observing how the stand-in changes).

When certain terminals are redirecting the player after they have logged in, as the screen turns red on the left side are symbols and the words "I AM MENDICANT BIAS."

In The Forerunner Saga[edit]

ONI research[edit]

John-117 was not the only human to have read the terminals: indeed, ONI's inquiry of 343 Guilty Spark forms the metaplot of Halo: Primordium. After the Human-Covenant War, the UNSC Rubicon's science team referenced the terminals as being a source for their prior information on the Forerunners; however, they noted that the terminals' records are (on some points) incompatible with Guilty Spark's account.[3] It is unknown whether the terminals known to the ONI team were the same terminals John-117 viewed on Installation 00 or if ONI accessed similar data files at another installation.

Some elements of the terminals were later adapted in Halo: Silentium; the in-universe conceit for the latter novel's story is the analysis of Juridical logs found on Trevelyan. Most notably, the Librarian's self-imposed exile on Erde-Tyrene and her refusal to leave as the Flood approach are carried over rather closely. As in the terminals, she sends the Didact a contemplative message in her final hours while she watches the construction of the portal structure in eastern Africa. Near the end of the novel, Offensive Bias is mentioned as heading off Mendicant Bias' fleet while the Didact prepares the Halos to fire;[4] this foreshadows the Battle of the Maginot Sphere, which was introduced in the terminals.

Incongruities[edit]

"The terminal dialogs may themselves be questionable, in light of this new testimony."
—A science team leader, regarding the terminals and the contradicting discoveries.[3]

Parts of the terminals are contradicted by newer information from The Forerunner Saga. These novels are first-hand accounts of the timeframe covered by the terminals and hold higher canon priority than the source material. The terminals themselves, being in-universe documents, are not infallible. Due to the influence of the unstable Mendicant Bias, the accuracy of the terminals' content is suspect; it has been noted that the AI manipulated the transmissions to some extent when presenting them to John-117, filtering and editing the information in a way which best suited its own purposes. Thus, the inconsistencies between the sources are attributed to unreliable presentation, not because the terminals' content has been retconned outright. It was also suggested that Mendicant's communication with John-117, and its reasons behind tampering with the terminals in the specific way it did, may yet play a part in future fiction.[5]

The Didact's involvement[edit]

One of the most notable incongruities occurs in Terminal 3, in which the Librarian asks the Didact if he has learned nothing from 300 years of warfare against with the Flood. According to Halo: Cryptum, the Didact went into exile around 101,000 BCE and was not recovered until roughly a decade before the end of the war in 100,000 BCE. Barring a retcon, the simplest explanation is that the Librarian was referring to the Warrior-Servants' ability to share sensory information, or that he could have researched the preceding centuries of war via the Domain.

In Soma the Painter, which acts as a form of primer for The Forerunner Saga (having been released less than two months before Halo: Cryptum in Halo: Evolutions Volume II), the Didact is referenced by the Auditor as if he were available and supposedly in command of Forerunner defense during the Forerunners' contact with the Flood around 100,300 BCE.[6]

The Didact and the Halos[edit]

The transmissions exchanged by the Didact (the IsoDidact in the context of The Forerunner Saga) and the Librarian preceding the Halos' firing also present a number of discrepancies with Halo: Silentium. In the terminals, the status quo of the Didact leading Forerunner defense from Installation 00 while the Librarian catalogues the galaxy's lifeforms is implied to have continued for the duration of the war. The Didact is adamant until the end in his refusal to use the Halos, before the Librarian strands herself on Earth. Even at this point the Didact attempts to send a rescue party to retrieve his wife, but the rescue party is destroyed by Mendicant Bias as it attacks the Maginot Sphere. This finally deprives the Didact of options but the activation of the Array.

In Halo: Silentium, the IsoDidact's acceptance of the Halo Array develops over a longer period of time; by the time he makes it to Installation 00 in the final hours of the war, he is fully convinced of the Array's necessity and shows much less hesitation to sacrifice the Librarian's life. While the Librarian travels to Earth to draw off the Flood, no rescue party is mentioned; however, at the Librarian's request, the IsoDidact sends a vessel which will be converted into materials to construct the portal to the Ark.[7] Much of the Didact's stubborn opposition to the Halos depicted in the terminals is relegated to the Ur-Didact's character and acts as a motivator for many of his actions.[8]

Mendicant Bias' betrayal[edit]

Another inconsistency involves the timeframe of Mendicant Bias' betrayal. In Terminal 3, the Didact refers to Mendicant as an ally; the context of the message implies that the AI was created during the Forerunner-Flood war. However, Halo: Cryptum shows that Mendicant Bias had been created prior to the Didact's exile and had already gone rogue forty-three years before the latter's revival. The novel depicts Mendicant Bias' assault on the Capital, which occurred only weeks after the Didact's resuscitation and before he regained command of the Forerunner military. Halo: Primordium shows that the "Mendicant Bias" that attacked the capital was only a fragment of the AI's personality construct array and that the Forerunners attempted to alleviate the shard's rampancy. Halo: Silentium states that the procedure was successful and the metarch's components were spread across the galaxy for the sake of compartmentalization. However, as the Flood overran most of the ecumene, Mendicant Bias' disparate parts were found and, within several years, the AI was reconstituted.[9]

In the terminals, Mendicant's defection immediately precedes the Flood's gathering into one massive force and subsequent attack on the Maginot Sphere; it is implied that the AI had not directly engaged Forerunners before the final battle against Offensive Bias. The novels describe Mendicant Bias as fighting on the Flood's side for several years, beginning with its attack on the Capital.

The Precursors and the Mantle[edit]

The prominent exploration of the Precursors in The Forerunner Saga—including the Flood's use of their artifacts as weapons or the Precursors' relationship with the Flood—is not discussed in the terminals, as the details about the Precursors were not conceived until the writing of the novels. The Precursors are mentioned only in passing, as the mythical beings the Forerunners believed them to be; even in the endgame of the war, the Didact insists that the Forerunners, once they succeed, can "follow in their footsteps". In The Forerunner Saga, the Didact already knew the truth about the Precursors and their transmutation into the Flood at this point and would certainly not have regarded them with such a reverential tone.

The terminals present the Forerunners' stagnation and their refusal to accept the Flood as the next step and salvation of galactic life as being Mendicant Bias' primary motive for defecting. In Halo: Primordium, Mendicant states that it "fulfills the wishes of those who created us all", implying that the Primordial's Precursor-derived authority and the Domain's revelation of the truth about the Forerunner-Precursor relationship were a major contributor to the AI's turning against its creators.[10] The terminals describe the Forerunners as making their first contact with the Flood on G 617 g in the beginning of the three-century-long Forerunner-Flood war; the novels establish that the Forerunners were aware of the Flood ten thousand years in advance, having taken part in its sterilization in the later half of the human-Forerunner wars.[11]

In the terminals, the Mantle is depicted as little more than a Forerunner belief system which the Librarian outright shuns as superstition and the cause of the Forerunners' weakness at the face of the Flood onslaught. In The Forerunner Saga, the Mantle is established to be something more multifaceted and universal, with different characters having varying views as to its nature and interpretation. The Librarian is portrayed as being against the stagnation and decadence of Forerunner society and the oppression they committed in the name of the Mantle, but maintains her belief in the ideal of the Mantle itself, even grooming humanity to reclaim it.

Trivia[edit]

In Terminal 4, the Librarian states that she can see the Flood's ships blotting out the stars at night as they gather from across the galaxy and converge on the Line. This should be impossible, as the light from different stars in the galaxy would take any number of centuries or millennia to reach Earth to be seen with the naked eye. Given that the terminals utilize imperfect translations, one may infer she is speaking metaphorically or using an exotic form of sensor equipment allowing her to observe the starfield in real-time.

Gallery[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia, page 165
  2. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 6
  3. ^ a b Halo: Primordium, page 340
  4. ^ Halo: Silentium, pages 327-328
  5. ^ Halo Waypoint: 343 Sparkast 017
  6. ^ Halo: Evolutions Volume II, page 10
  7. ^ Halo: Silentium, pages 309, 312, 314
  8. ^ Halo: Silentium, page 230
  9. ^ Halo: Silentium, page 267-268
  10. ^ Halo: Primordium, page 338
  11. ^ Halo: Silentium, page 36

External links[edit]