Forerunner mutation

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Close-up of the Ur-Didact.
The Ur-Didact prior to mutating.
The Ur-Didact after a failed attempt to acquire an immunity to the Flood.
The Ur-Didact after mutating in a failed attempt to gain Flood immunity.

Mutation was a Forerunner term referring to customized biological maturation to new forms or rates, entailing a carefully-adjusted combination of genetic engineering, gene therapy and biochemical manipulation.[1] A Forerunner's mutation determined the individual's place within their family, Maniple, guild and society overall. The process was typically performed between two to five times over the course of a lifetime and was always patterned after the individual's mentor, typically but not always the parent.[2]

Typically, a mutation was a slow, gradual process, with the changes appearing over a period of several years.[3] "Brevet mutation" was a term used to refer to the undertaking of risky, ad hoc mutations that carried higher risk of complication.[2] This type of mutation was typically performed by Warrior-Servants during wartime.[4] The Didact provided a brevet mutation for Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting, whereas the Didact's brevet mutation to his second form had been performed by the Confirmer thousands of years earlier. The Didact's brevet mutation occurred on the Deep Reverence in the chaos of battle when he was just a cadet. Without that quick and immensely painful mutation, the young cadet might not have survived.[5][6]

The mutation ceremony itself was a highly ritualistic process. It had to be performed under the direct light of stars, or a close approximation, such as a projection of the exterior inside a starship. The individual undergoing the mutation, as well as their mentor, had to be completely naked during the process. A mutation was said to be painful, but anyone present was not permitted to respond to anything else than requests for water to drink.[7] First, a column with small spherules outlined and scanned the Forerunner being mutated, and was connected to the mentor during the process. The spherules contained the various chemicals involved in the mutation, and the mentor's genetic imprint was supplied through the connection. A specific ritual litany was recited by the mentor during the mutation.[8] It was expected for one to be disoriented, hungry and thirsty following a mutation. With normal mutations, it would take several years for the changes to take effect,[3] while in brevet mutations, they would appear within a matter of days.[9]

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Halo Waypoint - Universe: Forerunners
  2. ^ a b Halo Waypoint, Cryptum Glossary (Retrieved on Mar 14, 2014) [local archive] [external archive]
  3. ^ a b Halo: Cryptum, page 225
  4. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 145-146
  5. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 178
  6. ^ Halo: Epitaph, chapter 9
  7. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 148-149
  8. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 153-154
  9. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 155-156