117649 Despondent Pyre
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Judging the Xalanyn
After the firing of the Halo Array, and the subsequent survival of the Xalanyn, the Grand Edict charged Despondent Pyre with guarding the Xalanyn's prison, and informed her that Offensive Bias had been deployed to aid her in this assignment. Although Despondent Pyre carried out her orders, she was burdened with tremendous guilt over this injustice. Over the many years that followed, she explored the Ring and contemplated its secrets which had been withheld from her. In particular, she pondered the nature of the Ring artifacts scattered across the installation's surface. During this time, she created Adjutant Resolution to serve as both a Sub-Monitor and a friend.
Eventually, Despondent Pyre became so overwhelmed by guilt over the Xalanyn's imprisonment, she ceased communicating with the Monitors on the other Rings and sealed herself inside Zeta Halo's Conservatory.
After the United Nations Space Command established a presence on Installation 07 in 2555, around three hundred researchers were contracted by the Office of Naval Intelligence to study the ring as part of the Zeta Halo project. However, monitor 117649 had not yet been discovered by any research detachment. Doctor Luther Mann theorized that it was possible that the monitor had heard about humanity's and the Covenant's presence on other installations—which led to the destruction of Installation 04, the partial glassing of Installation 05, and the destruction of Installation 04's replacement—and decided to remain hidden from the researchers.
Around December 2559, Cortana, leader of the Created, went to Installation 07 for unlock its secrets. Although Despondent Pyre accepted Cortana's control over Zeta Halo's weapons, she denied her access to the ring's secrets, fearing the human AI could release the Flood. When Cortana revealed she knew there were more dangerous things than the Flood on the ring, 117649 again refused Cortana's requests. When the UNSC Infinity arrived into the installation, Cortana dismissed the Monitor. Cortana locked the Monitor in her cradle in the Conservatory and limited her communication with the ring's defensive network. Although Zeta Halo's submonitors maintained the ring's systems in her absence, they were unable to release Despondent Pyre, even after Cortana's destruction.
On April 17, 2560, Submonitor Adjutant Veridity located the boat crew in the foundations of Zeta Halo and informed them of the situation. Veridity sought their help as Reclaimers to free Despondent Pyre, warning that the Banished had already found the Conservatory and that it was only a matter of time before the Banished discovered what Spartan Bonita Stone had done to their stolen data. The Banished might also seek to extract the proper information and authority rights from Despondent Pyre herself, although it would take them a very long time to enter the Conservatory and even longer to find Despondent Pyre's cradle, if ever. Hoping to gain the support of the ring's Monitor and her help to decrypt Zeta Halo's coordinates and send a message to the UNSC, the boat crew agreed to help.
On May 9, 2560, Veridity, the boat crew and Spartan Tomas Horvath finally reached the Conservatory where Despondent Pyre and a number of submonitors were sequestered by Cortana in an energy barrier that Veridity and her fellow submonitors had been unable to deactivate. Accessing a console at the base of Despondent Pyre's cradle, Horvath, with the help of his AI Elfie, was able to release Despondent Pyre, but the Monitor failed to wake up. Veridity explained that sometimes Despondent Pyre would fall into despair, contemplating Forerunner decisions and their consequences. By ramming the Monitor, Veridity was able to awaken her and revealed that Reclaimers were present. After scanning the humans, Despondent Pyre deemed them to be irrelevant and attempted to go back into hibernation despite Veridity's attempts to make her see the danger that the Banished posed and the damage that had already been done to the ring. However, Despondent Pyre was uninterested as anything that landed on Zeta Halo eventually either left or died and she was willing to let the war play itself out and the Halo eventually repair itself from the damage as it had always done. Veridity asked for full access to the communications network if the Monitor was unwilling to help, but Despondent Pyre refused.
Veridity finally got Despondent Pyre's full attention by revealing to her that the Banished had released the Harbinger from her cylix and that the Harbinger and the Banished were working together. Despondent Pyre instantly scanned Horvath and Nina Kovan before releasing the submonitors from their contemplation and giving them orders, causing the submonitors to disperse in different directions. The Monitor declared that the Harbinger had to be stopped at all costs and Veridity asked for access to the beacon towers so that the humans could call for reinforcements to rid Zeta Halo of the Banished and the Harbinger. However, Despondent Pyre revealed that they had lost control of the energy beacons as a result of Cortana's actions. Despondent Pyre began preparing a security override to bring one of the towers back online and rejected Kovan's attempt to give her the data chip containing everything that Stone had copied from the stolen data streams. Despondent Pyre generated a data key that, once inserted into the central plinth in the beacon tower, would perform a security override and instruct the tower to send a superluminal message into human-occupied space containing Zeta Halo's current coordinates and the site's pertinent data. The Monitor returned Kovan's nod of thanks, but she refused to allow Veridity to accompany the humans on their mission, going so far as to forcibly stop the submonitor from leaving. Instead, Despondent Pyre transmitted a path out of the Conservatory to Kovan and stated that if what Veridity had said about the Harbinger was true, then the Monitor couldn't afford to expend any of the installation's executor staff to assist them.
On May 28, 2560, Despondent Pyre was terrified by the return of the Harbinger and moved to protect the Conservatory. The monitor sought the John-117's help. However, she was ambushed immediately by the Harbinger and her skimmers being destroyed afterwards despite resisting. After killing the monitor, the Harbinger extracted Despondent Pyre's encephalon in order to start the Reformation that would rebuild the Silent Auditorium.
As Zeta Halo's Monitor, Despondent Pyre carried out her duties without hesitation, though not without question. She wondered why the Forerunners had entrusted her with the Ring yet withheld its secrets from her. As she explored the Ring, she felt that its history was constantly being rewritten but didn't understand why. In particular, she pondered the true nature of the Ring artifacts, which she discovered were potentially older than the Forerunners themselves.
Despondent Pyre was also burdened by guilt over the Xalanyn's imprisonment and was especially troubled that Forerunners had used the pretense of a parley to lure them to Zeta Halo in the first place. Nevertheless, she viewed the Xalanyn as such a dangerous threat that she refused, even under torture, to reveal their location.
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