Mara was the "lending name" of a female ape who lived on Installation 07 during the later years of the Forerunner-Flood war. She was the last living member of the largest species of ape to have ever existed, classified today as Gigantopithecus and known as Shakyanusho in ancient times. Resembling a gorilla in general shape, Mara was enormous in size, reaching around three meters in height when standing upright. Despite her size, she was noted to move quietly and with remarkable grace and agility. She had a wide face with sunken, green eyes, and most of her body was covered in black and dark reddish fur.
Sapient and capable of language, Mara's species once had contact with other hominid species on Earth; together with humans and certain other intelligent primates, the Shakyanusho were similarly regarded as people. However, they were never particularly numerous, their total numbers rarely reaching more than one thousand even at their height. Mara was noted as being among the last five of her kind at the time when the Librarian indexed her species on Earth and the sole remaining individual when she was brought on Installation 07.
During Master Builder Faber's takeover of Installation 07, she lived in the concealed compound of the Lifeworker known as Genemender-Folder-of-Fortune. Genemender was under orders to extract and store the minds of all humans who carried ancestral memory imprints provided by the Librarian, converting their patterns into virtual form but giving them the opportunity to simulate physical interaction via manifesting themselves as sophisticated hard light holograms. This failed to deceive Mara who recognized them as mere illusions, but appeared to appreciate the company nonetheless. Eventually, Mara was the only physical presence in Genemender's station, before the arrival of Chakas, Vinnevra and Gamelpar.
Not long after Chakas and the others had arrived, the area experienced a power outage, leaving the machine intelligences, their hard light projections and the local monitors offline. Mara accompanied Vinnevra and Chakas as they continued their journey, soon being joined by Chakas' friend Riser. His people having known the Shakyanusho in the past, Riser could communicate with Mara, learning her lending name as they introduced themselves to one another. Over the course of the journey, Mara appeared to take a liking to Vinnevra in particular, later opting to follow her instead of Chakas when the group nearly parted ways. As the party continued their journey across a desolate region, Mara and the others became significantly fatigued and malnourished, with Mara's fur eventually shedding in patches. In order to catch birds for food, Mara would put her fur in trees and wait until birds would come to peck it. Mara and the others were later found by a Forerunner transport and taken to a facility overseen by Mendicant Bias. What happened to Mara following this and the Halo's subsequent near-collision with a planet was not specified.
List of appearances
- Halo: Primordium (First appearance)
- Halo: Primordium, page 212
- Halo: Primordium, page 169
- Halo: Primordium, page 165-166
- Halo: Primordium, page 186
- Halo: Primordium, page 202
- Halo: Primordium, page 195
- Halo: Primordium, page 245
- Halo: Primordium, page 250-251