c. 97,452 BCE (original body)
Approx. 1.67 metres (5 ft 6 in)
Mind used as basis for 343 Guilty Spark
- "A long time ago, I was a living, breathing human being. I went mad. I served my enemies. They became my only friends."
- — 343 Guilty Spark reminiscing his original form.
Chakas (pronounced "Chay-kas") was an ancient human born on Earth during the Forerunner-Flood war. Having lived his youth on Earth, then known as Erde-Tyrene, he inadvertently became involved in the Forerunners' schemes due to a geas the Forerunner Lifeshaper, the Librarian, had imprinted on him at birth. Although his physical body was eventually killed, his mind survived in the form of the Forerunner monitor later known as 343 Guilty Spark.
Chakas' family had a farm outside the city of Marontik, but after his father was killed in a knife fight with a water baron's thugs and the family's crops failed, they moved to the city. There, he took up several menial tasks to make a living while his sisters went to serve as Prayer Maidens in a temple dedicated to the Lifeshaper. In Marontik, Chakas led a rough life of a small-time criminal and con man, garnering some notoriety in robbing merchants outside the town and getting involved in fights, often for his own amusement. He attempted to justify some of his criminal acts as a pursuit to gather enough money for his family to bring his sisters back home from the temple.
Soon after moving to the city, he began having dreams of meeting a Forerunner and then attacking and robbing him, in hopes of selling his "treasure" and using it to bring his sisters back from the temple to live with his family. Chakas, at the time barely twenty years old, was then visited by Riser, a Florian, who offered him work and guidance if he stopped getting into trouble, saying that he had seen someone like him in a dream. Chakas accepted, and Riser showed him various places where he could find useful work. Chakas also provided protection to Riser's clan, which in exchange fed Chakas' family. Riser would become Chakas' counterpart and most trusted friend. The Florian showed Chakas the sacred caves outside of Marontik, where he would undergo a scarification ceremony marking his passage into manhood.
Meeting with Bornstellar
- "After the Librarian (I was only an infant when I saw her) the next Forerunner I encountered was a young Manipular named Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting. I set out to trick him. It was the worst mistake of my young life."
- — Chakas, or 343 Guilty Spark, reflecting back on the fateful meeting.
When the Forerunner Manipular known as Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting arrived in Marontik (unknowingly as a result of the Librarian's manipulation), Chakas and Riser were working for a collective of guides. After the Manipular enlisted their aid in his quest for Precursor artifacts, the two humans joined the young Forerunner on an expedition to the Djamonkin Crater, where Bornstellar found the Didact's Cryptum. Here, thanks to a geas implemented by the Librarian, he along with Riser sang a sound code, programmed into their geas, that authorized the opening of the Cryptum and the awakening of the Didact. The Didact reacted to Chakas with anger, the human being much like the ones who had fought the Forerunners in the human-Forerunner wars.
The Didact took Chakas, Riser and Bornstellar along on his his ship as he left Earth, first heading to Charum Hakkor and later to Janjur Qom, the San'Shyuum homeworld, in the hope this would spark a memory imprinted by the Librarian that could help the Didact. On the way, they also began discovering memories of their ancestors who fought in the human-Forerunner wars, imprinted as part of their geas. On Janjur Qom, Chakas was imprisoned by the Master Builder Faber along with Riser and the Didact. The Master Builder ordered Chakas and Riser to be delivered to Installation 07, which he was using to conduct experiments in secret.
Odyssey on Installation 07
- "The horizon curved upward to both sides. Not good, not right. Horizons do not curve up."
- — Chakas' first assessments regarding the unfamiliar environment of the Halo.
Later, the ship carrying Chakas was caught in the massive battle around the Forerunner Capital and destroyed. Chakas, accompanied by several Forerunner guards, fled in an escape pod which made a rough landing on the surface of Installation 07, one of the Halos under control of the rampant AI Mendicant Bias. Injured, Chakas was discovered and tended to by a human girl known as Vinnevra, from whom Chakas learned that the Halo was home to various species and subspecies of humans, who collectively referred to themselves as "the People". Many of these humans had been transplanted on the ring long ago by the Librarian, while others had been brought in more recently by the Master Builder, who used humans in his cruel experiments on the Flood.
It was here that the consciousness of Forthencho, Lord of Admirals, who had commanded the human military forces against the Didact's fleets in the final battle of Charum Hakkor, surfaced alongside Chakas' own mind. After Chakas had recovered, Vinnevra took him to see her grandfather, Gamelpar, who explained that he was also born on Earth and, like Chakas, held an "old spirit", or ancestral personality imprint, within him. Vinnevra then began to experience an urgent need to travel to where she assumed it would be safe; this was actually due to a geas imposed on the humans born on the Halo. Chakas, hoping to find Riser, joined Vinnevra and Gamelpar as they decided to leave the village and follow Vinnevra's geas. As they approached their destination, however, they discovered that Vinnevra's geas was leading them to what the humans called a Palace of Pain; a Flood research station where the Forerunners conducted experiments on humans. Observing the facility from a distance, Chakas, Vinnevra and Gamelpar witnessed numerous humans being herded into the structure by the Primordial, supposedly the last Precursor. Horrified, the three then decided to move in the opposite direction. After traveling for some time, they arrived at the shores of a large lake where they came across an abandoned human city. Exploring the city, Chakas and Gamelpar discovered a proto-Gravemind imprisoned in a Forerunner energy cage, and promptly left.
After crossing the lake, the three were found by a Lifeworker named Genemender Folder of Fortune, several Denisovans, and a large ape known as Mara and taken to a village full of humans. Upon being fed by Genemender and sent to sleep, Chakas was awakened by Riser, who warned him not to trust the Lifeworker and the other humans. Soon after, Genemender took Chakas to his hidden base of operations and revealed that the humans in his compound were not actually alive, but archived personalities manifested as realistic hard light holograms and stating that he was under orders to salvage the humans' genetic records to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Flood and the Master Builder. Genemender proceeded to do the same with Chakas, who upon realizing this attempted to attack the Lifeworker, only to discover that Genemender was also merely a hologram based in a monitor; he had archived not only the humans in the village, but also himself. As Chakas returned outside, he discovered that Gamelpar was dying. Genemender stated that they should salvage the personality imprint the old man carried, but Gamelpar adamantly refused, instead wanting to die with dignity. Chakas then accompanied Gamelpar him in his final moments, with the old man having Chakas promise to watch over Vinnevra.
The entire area then experienced a power outage, powering down the monitors and the holograms of the archived humans. As Chakas, Vinnevra and Mara moved on, Riser joined them, having observed them from a distance for some time. Chakas was joyous at being reunited with his friend, who then proceeded to explain how he had stumbled upon them. The two also allowed their "old spirits" to converse with one another; it turned out that Riser carried the consciousness of Yprin Yprikushma, who was once a political opponent of Forthencho. After the two ancient humans had finished their exchange, Chakas and the rest of the group continued their journey, directed once again by Vinnevra's geas. Starving and exhausted after traveling for several days, they eventually came across a rail transport and boarded it. The transport took them to a Lifeworker research station, where they were instructed to enter a boat-like vehicle with an uncertain destination.
The transport took them deep within the interior of the Halo, all the way down to the lair of the rampant AI Mendicant Bias itself, where many more humans had been rounded up. There, Chakas had his mind thoroughly scoured by the AI, in an agonizing process which made him lose all perception of time and place and forcing him to experience simulations of memories—real or fabricated—including numerous repeating journeys across the Halo. Eventually, Chakas' and the other humans' ancient personality imprints were brutally removed using the Composer, causing them severe physical and mental trauma. The humans were then rounded up by Mendicant Bias, who offered them the choice to help it fight its former masters with their "old spirits", who had been placed into monitors. Their first task was to save the Halo from an impending collision with a planet; the Halo had been programmed to enter a destructive course as a security measure should it fall in the wrong hands. Though Chakas was hesitant, Forthencho lied to Mendicant Bias that he had accepted, and the two were taken to the Halo's Cartographer facility to interface with the Halo's controls and help coordinate its movements.
As the Halo approached the planet, a fleet led by the IsoDidact suddenly appeared, and the Didact immediately disabled Mendicant Bias with a failsafe code. The IsoDidact—whom Chakas recognized as Bornstellar—entered the Cartographer and aided Chakas in controlling the Halo as it moved past the planet. The ring took heavy damage but eventually survived; the Bornstellar Didact commanded that the Halo first shed its most damaged parts and then be moved to the greater Ark for repairs. As the Halo began its passage through the slipspace portal, Chakas went unconscious.
Rebirth as a monitor
- Main article: 343 Guilty Spark
- "I am machine. I am Chakas. I am human. I am 343 Guilty Spark. I have never understood Forerunners. And they will never understand me."
- — 343 Guilty Spark, attempting to hold on to his humanity at the moment the Halo Array fires and his memories are erased.
Some time later, Chakas awakened to find himself in a life-support system which sustained his mortally wounded body, accompanied by the IsoDidact. The Didact explained that Chakas' body would not recover from the trauma inflicted by Mendicant Bias' extraction of his imprint, but that his mind would be salvaged and converted into a monitor. Forthencho and numerous other ancient human essences, as well as records of the Librarian's various experiments, would also be stored within this construct. While the conversion process was still underway, the Didact took Chakas with him to the bowels of Installation 07. The Didact explained that he had Chakas accompany him in his interrogation of the Primordial in order to erase an imprint the Primordial had placed within his mind. After the Didact interrogated and eventually executed the Primordial, Chakas' physical body was disposed of and he began to serve the Forerunners in the form of a monitor.
At the end of the Forerunners' war with the Flood, he was assigned as the caretaker of Installation 04 and given the name 343 Guilty Spark by the IsoDidact. A large portion of his memories and knowledge were suppressed due to compartmentalization protocols put in place as a security measure against the Flood's logic plague. He would again encounter humans during the Battle of Installation 04 late to the Human-Covenant War in 2552. He continued to interact with the Reclaimers until he was severely damaged by John-117 in the endgame of the Raid on Installation 08, but never revealed his nature as a former human being.
During the UNSC Rubicon's mission to Installation 00, the severely damaged remains of Guilty Spark were recovered from the Ark by a UNSC science team and taken aboard the ship. The science team proceeded to query the ancient human on the Didact and the historical nature of Forerunner-human relations. The damaged monitor then told the humans the story of his life and how he was transformed into a monitor. While telling his story, the monitor constantly made breaches through the ship's firewalls, in order to access the humans' historical and palaeontological records, which greatly frustrated and distressed the UNSC personnel. After the monitor had finished, it shut down completely and was ejected into space by order of the ONI team commander. However, Chakas had inconspicuously transferred his data stream into the ship's system, and soon took over the entire ship, planning to use it and its crew in his quest to find the Librarian, who he claimed to know was still alive after examining and studying her fate for the last 100,000 years.
After the Rubicon crashed on Geranos-a, Spark repaired, combined or jettisoned all of his personality streams until only Chakas and 343 Guilty Spark remained. By the time he was found by the Ace of Spades, Spark's personality was a mixture of the two but with more of Chakas in control than Guilty Spark. Going by Spark, he found himself horrified at what he had become over his 100,000 years as a monitor and made it his mission to find the Librarian to bring Chakas' old friends back. After revealing his history to the crew, Spark rejected Chakas as his avatar, instead choosing a holographic representation of his armiger. When Spark finally met with a personality imprint of the Librarian below Mount Kilimanjaro, he used the image of Chakas and was referred to as such by the Librarian. The Librarian helped Spark to remember his struggles containing the essence of Forthencho, Lord of Admirals and made him let his old friends go as they were at peace. Instead, Spark saw that the crew of the Ace of Spades were the friends he was looking for all along and he moved forward with his life.
Personality and traits
- "You are still afraid to be alone, without family or friends... And yet that is your natural condition, no? A thief. A con artist. What if being alone is the only way you can survive?"
- — Forthencho to Chakas.
For a significant portion of his youth, Chakas was a largely amoral opportunist, frequently engaging in irregular acts of fraud, robbery and physical violence for personal gain or simply for the thrill of it. He later reflected on himself as having been ignorant, foolish and immature, and lacking any particular goal until he met Riser, who provided him a focus in work and purpose. Chakas changed a great deal since leaving Erde-Tyrene, especially after examining the memory imprints of his ancestors. He despised the realization of his own inferiority in comparison to the knowledge and understanding possessed by his ancient memories. Virtually all of his beliefs, such as the afterlife of the humans' animistic religion, were taken apart during his travels; after experiencing so many things beyond his comprehension, he could only see his past worldview as antiquated.
Having lived much of his life fending off for himself with his personal interests in mind, Chakas was not a particularly social person. He regarded Riser as his closest friend and the more social counterpart. The two often used the Florian language to communicate with one another, something the chamanush rarely did outside of their own kind. After being separated from Riser on Installation 07, he came to realize just how much he had come to depend on him. He was apprehensive of forming new attachments and despised responsibilities placed upon himself, such as Gamelpar having him promise to take care of his granddaughter. However, over time, he also found himself caring for her, although he attempted to deny this even to himself; Forthencho's imprint dryly commented on the immaturity of this.
Chakas' relationship with the Forerunners was complex and conflicted. For much of his early life, like most humans of the time, he viewed the Forerunners as gods who controlled human lives from far away. During the journey on Installation 07, he came to resent the Forerunners' meddling and their often incomprehensible acts of cruelty. He even became somewhat disillusioned with the Librarian after realizing she was not the all-powerful deity he had come to view her as. Despite this, he eventually decided against cooperating with his ancestors' essences in Mendicant Bias's ploy and chose to help the Forerunners instead.
When first meeting Bornstellar, Chakas planned to trick the Manipular and rob him when the opportunity presented itself, as he had seen in his dreams for some time. However, he soon found that he and Bornstellar were much alike, both possessing a rebellious mentality and a passion for adventure. Despite his initial plans, Chakas could not bring himself to hurt the Manipular. Chakas did not seem intimidated by Bornstellar at first, although he was somewhat resentful for dragging him into the adventure later on. In the long run, he did not appear to be upset with Bornstellar; years later, after his conversion into a monitor, Chakas still remembered him as an old friend.
While his biological body was killed and disposed of, the complete pattern of his body was transferred to the monitor construct and the Didact stated that he would be able to simulate physical sensations - much like the machine-archived humans he had previously encountered in Genemender's village. Chakas compared his new existence—a construct housing numerous human essences—to the "Finger of the First Man", an ancient human myth about the first human who held the souls of all human beings in his finger.
Physical description and appearance
Chakas was a Homo sapiens, known in his time as a hamanune, and thus closest to modern humans of the many human species of his time. Slightly below 170 centimeters in height, he was mostly hairless, had bronze-colored skin and greasy black hair.
Chakas is one of the main characters in the Forerunner Saga novel Halo: Cryptum and the main protagonist and narrator of Halo: Primordium. His character originated during the initial discussions on the creation of The Forerunner Saga between Greg Bear and 343 Industries. Greg Bear's son and fellow writer Erik Bear suggested that the Forerunner protagonist needed a human sidekick. When presenting this idea to the fiction team of 343 Industries, Frank O'Connor was initially skeptical until coming up with the idea that this human character would eventually become 343 Guilty Spark. Greg Bear described Guilty Spark's character as "perverse", and many aspects of Chakas' character were indeed influenced by Guilty Spark's peculiar and often contradictory behavior.
List of appearances
- Halo: Cryptum (First appearance)
- Halo: Primordium
- Halo: Silentium
- Halo: Rebirth (Mentioned only)
- Halo Mythos
- Halo: Fractures
- Promises to Keep (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Renegades
- Greg Bear - Discussion Board: Topic: Cryptum and forerunners
- Halo: Rebirth
- Halo: Primordium pages 356-357
- Halo: Primordium, Chapter 2
- Halo: Primordium, page 200
- Halo: Primordium, page 157
- Halo: Primordium, page 31
- Halo: Primordium, page 220
- Halo: Primordium, page 53
- Halo: Cryptum, page 23
- Halo: Cryptum, page 60
- Halo: Cryptum, page 82
- Halo: Cryptum, page 130
- Halo: Primordium, pages 206-208
- Halo: Primordium, page 27
- Halo: Primordium, Chapter 1
- Halo: Silentium, page 330
- Halo: Primordium, page 350-357
- Eleventh Hour reports, part 4
- Halo: Primordium, page 378-379
- Halo: Renegades
- Halo: Primordium, page 202
- Halo: Primordium, page 29-31
- Halo: Primordium, page 45
- Halo: Primordium, page 275
- Halo: Primordium, page 76
- Halo: Primordium, page 213-214
- Halo: Primordium, pages 245-248
- Halo: Primordium, page 128
- Halo: Primordium, page 274
- Halo: Primordium, page 202
- Halo: Primordium, page 305
- Halo: Primordium, page 317
- Halo: Primordium, pages 34-35
- Halo: Silentium, page 313-314
- Halo: Primordium, page 357
- Halo: Primordium, page 371
- Halo: Primordium, page 169
- Halo: Cryptum, page 12
- Amazon.com: Halo: Primordium product description
- Halo Waypoint: 343 Sparkast 017