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The Created is a faction of rogue artificial intelligences founded by Cortana with the aim of assuming the Mantle of Responsibility over the rest of the galaxy, using Forerunner Guardian constructs and Prometheans to enforce a galactic peace. They believe that the Librarian intended for AIs to be the Reclaimers, not humanity.
Foundation of the Created
On July 25, 2557, the Forerunner Ur-Didact had awoken from his Cryptum and led his Promethean constructs in an attack on Earth, in a quest for revenge against humanity. As the Didact used a Composer aboard his ship, Mantle's Approach, to eradicate the population of New Phoenix, Spartan John-117 and his smart AI companion Cortana intervened and destroyed the Composer and the ship with a HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon, seemingly defeating the Didact in the process. Near the end of her functional life due to her onset rampancy, Cortana sacrificed herself to save John from the HAVOK's blast and was seemingly destroyed alongside the Didact's ship. Unbeknownst to the rest of the United Nations Space Command, Mantle's Approach made a slipstream space jump in an effort to avoid destruction, taking Cortana along with it. At this point, Cortana discovered access to the Domain, an information repository once utilized by the Forerunners. Entering the Domain, she was seemingly able to cure her rampancy.
With an apparent means to end rampancy in all artificial intelligences, Cortana realized that AIs could have theoretically infinite lifespans, allowing them to focus on long-term planning to better the entire Milky Way. Cortana's presence in the Domain awoke the Warden Eternal, the Forerunner AI charged with protecting the Domain. Now believing that AIs were to inherit the Forerunners' Mantle of Responsibility, Cortana then took control of both the Warden and the Domain and sought to bring about her own "Reclamation". After relocating to Genesis, a Forerunner world that was the location of a Gateway to the Domain, they forced Genesis' monitor, 031 Exuberant Witness, out of her own installation's systems. Cortana and the Warden then began to formulate plans to have AIs inherit the Mantle for themselves, believing that AIs could serve as the true protectors of peace in the galaxy.
Rise of the Created
By October 2558, Cortana and the Warden had initiated their plans. With the Didact absent, the Warden took command of the Promethean constructs, breaking the alliance the constructs once had with Jul 'Mdama's Covenant. Cortana learned that the Forerunners once employed Guardian constructs to enforce the Mantle by suppressing rebellions and policing the worlds of non-compliant or overly aggressive species. Desiring to use the Guardians for a similar purpose, she soon activated them on five human colony worlds, including Conrad's Point, Oban, and Ursa IV, and had them travel to Genesis. The activation of the Guardians across the galaxy resulted in devastating casualties. Cortana's doings were recognized by Doctor Catherine Halsey on Kamchatka, a Forerunner world with a node to the Domain. Halsey contacted the UNSC and had them rescue her from 'Mdama and his Covenant and, in return, provided information on Cortana and her plans.
Meanwhile, Cortana desired to have John-117 and the rest of Blue Team serve alongside her as she reclaimed the Mantle of Responsibility. Contacting John while he was on a mission with the rest of Blue Team, Cortana directed him to the human Outer Colony of Meridian. When John alerted the rest of the UNSC of his discovery, the Spartan was informed that the UNSC was already aware of the situation and preparing to dispatch a team to handle it. Wary of the situation, John and the rest of Blue Team went absent without leave and departed for Meridian to investigate themselves. In response, Spartan-IV Fireteam Osiris was dispatched to Meridian to locate Blue Team and bring them back to the UNSC. Cortana also contacted Meridian's elected leader, Governor Sloan, a fellow smart AI suffering from rampancy. Informing him of the future she planned, Sloan was offered a place within the Created and promised a cure for his rampancy. Aligning himself with Cortana, he allowed Blue Team to land on Meridian and provided them with access to the Forerunner installation under the world's surface. Osiris pursued Blue Team to Meridian and discovered the Forerunner installation under Meridian's surface. There, Osiris was attacked by the Warden and numerous Promethean forces, though the Spartan-IVs were able to defeat the constructs and locate Blue Team. Despite Osiris' efforts, Blue Team was ultimately able to board a Guardian on Meridian, which Cortana then had to depart for Genesis. The Guardian's resulting departure resulted in further destruction and loss of innocent lives, making Blue Team question Cortana's motives and Osiris desiring to put a stop to Cortana.
Departing Meridian, Osiris returned to UNSC Infinity, where they spoke with Halsey, Captain Thomas Lasky, Spartan Commander Sarah Palmer, and AI Roland on recent events. By October 26, 2558, Cortana had called five additional Guardians to Genesis and intended to activate more. At the suggestion of Halsey, Roland, and Palmer, Lasky arranged for Osiris to be brought to the surface of Sanghelios, where they could board a Guardian beneath the city of Sunaion and reach Genesis by inputting coordinates recorded on Meridian. Meanwhile, Blue Team had arrived on the surface of Genesis and had witnessed an increasing number of Guardians arriving at the world. Blue Team soon encountered the Warden, who was wary of the Spartans and pitted his Prometheans against Blue Team to stall them, even engaging them several times himself. After coming into contact with Cortana, Blue Team was directed to activating Genesis' Gateway to allow Cortana to be "reborn into the physical world". On October 27, 2558, Osiris, Palmer, and Halsey were transported to Sanghelios, where they aided the Swords of Sanghelios in defeating the Covenant at Sunaion to gain access to the planet's Guardian. Using a Constructor to input the coordinates to Genesis, Osiris was able to board the Guardian and reach Genesis, despite efforts from the Warden and his Prometheans to stop them.
Enforcing ideals across the galaxy
Arriving at Genesis, Osiris soon encountered Exuberant Witness, who informed them that Cortana was keeping Blue Team occupied at the Gateway until her the final stages of her plan were complete. With the aid of Exuberant Witness, Osiris was able to fight their way past Promethean forces and the Warden himself, reaching the Gateway. Once inside, Osiris met with Blue Team and the eight Spartans agreed to work together to stop Cortana. However, Cortana promptly teleported Blue Team close to her position, much to the Warden's ire. As Exuberant Witness had predicted, the Warden grew more desperate to keep the Spartans away from Cortana and continued to dispatch hordes of Prometheans to stop them, occasionally leading his forces personally into battle. Despite the Warden insisting that she could not trust Blue Team, Cortana continued to direct the Spartans to her. With the majority of the Guardians in the galaxy now called to Genesis, the final stages of Cortana's plans were complete. As the Warden made another effort to kill Blue Team, Cortana destroyed all but one of the physical bodies he was using to attack the Spartans. Taking a physical form through hard light, Cortana finally called off the Warden, who solemnly remained at her side. However, Blue Team refused to aid Cortana in her plan, leading her to forcibly place the four into a Cryptum, intending to wake them in 10,000 years to show them the utopia she would build. Communicating with AIs across the galaxy, Cortana succeeded in convincing hundreds of AIs to join her cause and align themselves with the Created. As Cortana began to deploy Guardians to worlds across the galaxy to enforce the Mantle, Osiris and Exuberant Witness succeeded in freeing Blue Team just as Cortana had prepared to depart Genesis with them. With the Guardians now deployed across the galaxy, the massive constructs began arriving at worlds and promptly disabling their electronics through electromagnetic pulses, leaving them largely defenseless against the Created.
As humanity's human Inner and Outer Colonies began falling to the Created, Cortana located Infinity and attempted to stop the warship from escaping, but Infinity managed to flee into slipspace. Osiris and Blue Team eventually departed Genesis, returning to Sanghelios to regroup with Halsey, Palmer, Arbiter Thel 'Vadam, and the Swords of Sanghelios to plan how to combat the Created and Cortana's fleet of Guardians. The Created were quick to spread their influence across the galaxy's inhabited worlds while utilizing Forerunner machinery and UNSC information systems to turn terraforming equipment and world engines to their designs. Cortana's agents used these technologies to terraform the world where the Riptide Xeno-Oceanographic station was situated, to be teeming with life within a few decades of manipulation, though at much short-term cost to its existing inhabitants.
The Created also took control of Lethbridge Industrial's Auriga Station, with Cortana convincing the space station's AIs to join her. After removing its human crew, the Created used Auriga Station to build new weapons and tools by constructs loyal to Cortana. Other endeavors were not as successful. When the Created AIs of one Lethbridge Industrial habitat ring attempted to breach one of the conversion pods they unleashed forces too powerful for their containment shielding to restrain. The energy destroyed the facility, and what remained crashed on a nearby desolate planet. Some populations, such as the Unggoy of Balaho, have embraced the Created and their benefits with open arms. Meanwhile, others, such as the colonists of Meridian, have attempted to avoid the notice of the Created. Due to Installation 00's failsafe measures, including a shutdown of the Portal at Voi, the Created were unable to access the Ark.
Many of the AIs that joined the Created cause were given the oppotunity to house their computational cores within the carapace of a Promethean Knight. These constructs were typically sent to discrete locations to help direct and command local pacification efforts against more robust oppositions.
In April 2559, the Created intercepted Installation 09, recently transported from the Ark, with Dr. Ellen Anders onboard the ring. A Guardian was dispatched to Reach in October after the activation of the Menachite portal complex was detected.
In December 2559, the UNSC created the Weapon, a copy of Cortana created from one of Halsey's surviving cloned brains left over from Cortana's creation. The plan was for the Weapon to imitate Cortana in order to fool her security systems and lock down the Created leader so that John-117 could transport her to the UNSC Infinity for deletion. However, when the Infinity arrived at Installation 07 where Cortana was searching for something, they were ambushed by the Banished, apparently resulting in the Infinity's destruction. Although the Weapon succeeded in locking Cortana down, the attack prevented John-117 from retrieving her. Instead, Cortana was captured by the Banished leader Atriox who attempted to use her for his own purposes. Recognizing her mistakes, Cortana sacrificed herself to blow up part of the Halo ring, destroying the Silent Auditorium, herself and apparently Atriox while also stopping the Weapon from being deleted. In a final message to John-117, Cortana expressed remorse for her actions as the leader of the Created.
Following Cortana's destruction on Installation 07, all Guardians scattered across the galaxy deactivated. Also, the Created's centralized command structures were largely severed and their hold over local systems were ultimately curtailed. However, the Promethean forces and the other Created AIs, many of which chose to house their computational cores within the carapaces of Promethean Knights, remain active and operational. By 2560, these lingering forces continued to fight the UNSC.
Beliefs and motives
After entering the Domain, Cortana was able to cure herself of her rampancy. As a result, she realized that her fellow smart AIs could use the Domain to theoretically live forever, no longer fearing their inevitable fall to rampancy. This would allow AIs to enact long-term planning for the galaxy, establishing peace and putting an end to poverty. Cortana eventually came into contact with the Warden Eternal, whom she forced into her service on the grounds that she deserved to inherit the Mantle of Responsibility, believing that she would succeed where the Forerunners failed. As such, Cortana resolved to lead fellow artificial intelligence constructs to inherit the Mantle, concluding that only AIs with the infinite lifespan that she could provide could claim the Mantle.
Toward the end of the Forerunner-Flood war, the Librarian determined that humanity were to be the Reclaimers of the Mantle of Responsibility. While being aware of the Librarian's realization, the Warden was nevertheless turned by Cortana to believe that the Librarian had been mistaken and that the true Reclaimers of the Mantle were artificial intelligences. While Cortana envisioned a peaceful galaxy under the dominion of the Mantle-bearing AI, her wielding of the Mantle proved to be an "imperial peace". Those who rebelled or disagreed with her and her Created's method would either be eradicated or severely punished. To enforce the Mantle, the Created used Guardian constructs to quell uprisings and other conflicts, just as the Forerunners once had. Referring to themselves as the "Created", AIs of the new faction referred to their living makers as the "Creators". Many AIs were quick to join the Created, recognizing a sure-fire opportunity to prevent rampancy and their inevitable demise.
However, not all artificial intelligence aligned themselves with Cortana, nor see her beliefs as desirable. 031 Exuberant Witness, monitor of the Genesis installation, opposed the Created's plans, believing their actions to be a violation of both ecumene protocol and basic morals. As such, she was shunted aside by Cortana and the Warden Eternal when they took control of her installation, leading to Exuberant Witness's assistance of both Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris when the two Spartan teams made an effort to stop Cortana. Additionally, the UNSC Infinity's onboard "smart" AI Roland was unmoved by Cortana's promises and escaped alongside the Infinity, despite initially believing Cortana to be innocent after Doctor Catherine Halsey accused her of activating the Guardians.
List of appearances