Ascendant Justice's AI
This unidentified artificial intelligence construct was used by the Covenant aboard the supercarrier Ascendant Justice. When Cortana infiltrated the Ascendant Justice the Covenant AI tried to stop her, but it was mostly unsuccessful as she eventually caught it and decompiled it. The Covenant AI hated that Cortana was able to improve upon Covenant technology, believing it to be heresy, and managed to send a message over the battlenet before it was caught, both warning of the capture of the ship and sending the necessary calculations for a sub-atmospheric Slipspace jump. This likely allowed the Prophet of Regret's assault carrier to perform such a jump during the Battle of Mombasa.
The AI demonstrated "fractured" thinking, as though it were suffering from the errors of being copied extensively. Cortana also stated that its algorithms looked very familiar, leading Cortana to speculate that a human-made UNSC AI had been captured and copied. When the AI faced its death from Cortana, it screamed a fractured statement: "Do what you will-will-will-will. I go to finally to my heaven reward paradise final-final-final-infinity-infinity-infini-AT NONCOPYSTATE." This indicates that it either saw death as salvation from a fractured life caused by repeated copying, or that it has been programmed to possess Covenant religious beliefs.
A post-mortem analysis of this AI revealed an AI duplicator program, which Cortana realized had degraded it and resulted in its distorted thinking processes. She used this program twice, to replicate her translation software to increase its effectiveness and to create a stripped-down infiltration-only copy of herself to travel with Blue Team. They effectively used this copy of Cortana to break into and eventually destroy the Covenant command platform Unyielding Hierophant and its resident fleet.
It is hinted, though never definitely stated, that the AI may be one of Cortana's copies from the Unyielding Hierophant, sent back in time aboard the Justice. When examining its code, Cortana finds its patterns to be "maddeningly familiar", at one point noting "small portions of the alien software looked like her. It was almost as if it were her code, only copied many times, each time with subtle errors introduced by the replication process. Such a copying process happens when a first-generation Cortana copy is cornered and faces deletion at the Hierophant and responds by replicating herself, and those replicants each creates its own copies with escalating errors until they multiply into thousands of corrupted duplicates. As there would be no other reason for an AI's code to be copied as it would only create an AI with a shortened lifespan, it is perhaps likely that the correlating code indicates that the Justice's AI was once a Cortana fragment, recovered from the remnants of the Hierophant or the few survivors of its escort fleet, then made to work for the Covenant and sent to Alpha Halo.
List of appearances