Mendicant Bias

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For the Sangheili ideology, see Mendicant.
05-032 Mendicant Bias
A rampant Mendicant Bias.
Biographical information

Began service:

Before c. 98,445 BCE [1]

Ended service:

97,445 BCE (imprisoned)

Description:

  • Various physical housings
  • Green hologram when appearing without housing
Political and military information

Affiliation:

Functionality:

  • Coordinate control of the Halo installations
  • Combat the Flood, particularly the Gravemind
 
"And so here at the end of my life, I do once again betray a former master. The path ahead is fraught with peril. But I will do all I can to keep it stable - keep you safe. I'm not so foolish to think this will absolve me of my sins. One life hardly balances billions."
— Mendicant Bias to John-117 in its final terminal transmission[2]

05-032 Mendicant Bias was a Contender-class Forerunner ancilla. It was the most advanced Forerunner AI at the time of its creation, and was charged with organizing Forerunner defense against the Flood during the parasite's assault on the galaxy. However, it would later defect to the Gravemind, who ultimately caused it to become rampant and turn against its creators.

Biography[edit]

Early history[edit]

"Mendicant Bias... Beggar after knowledge. That is the name I gave you after we last met."
Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting, spoken through by the Didact's memories.

Mendicant Bias was created by Master Builder Faber and the Didact following the human-Forerunner wars, after the initial Flood attack on the Milky Way had been pushed back by early humanity. After the Flood returned and the Forerunner-Flood war began, Mendicant Bias was placed in charge of all Forerunner defenses, and tasked with resisting the Flood by studying and exploiting the weaknesses of the Flood compound intelligence. Primary extensions of the AI were placed on all of the original twelve Halo installations.[3][note 1]

As part of its assignment, in approximately 97,495 BCE, the AI was tasked to conduct the very first test-firing of a Halo ring at Charum Hakkor with the Old Council's authority. Installation 07, fired on a system-wide power setting, leveled Charum Hakkor's plentiful Precursor structures and eradicated all neurologically complex life across the system. An unexpected development of this test was the emancipation of an ancient being known as the Primordial, seemingly an archaic form of Gravemind claiming to be the last Precursor. When the ancient Gravemind was brought to Installation 07 for study, at the Master Builder's orders, it entered into an extended conversation with the AI.[3]

Defection to the Flood[edit]

"Thus I have chosen to commit my sizable resources to what is, for all intents and purposes, [the proverbial irresistible force]. All that I have is now yours to do with as you see fit."
— Mendicant Bias to the Gravemind
Mendicant Bias and the Primordial on the surface of Installation 07.

Bias continued communicating with the Gravemind in an effort to find any possible weakness; logs of this conversation were recorded in terminals found on Installation 00. After conversing with Mendicant Bias for forty-three years, the Gravemind persuaded the ancilla to abandon the Forerunners and join the Flood's cause, convincing it that the Forerunners were so arrogant and prideful as to deny the next step of evolution: the Flood.[4] The Gravemind insinuated that by clinging to the legend of the Mantle, the Forerunners had doomed the galaxy to eternal stagnation; the only way for the galaxy to progress was for superior beings to "restart" it. These superior beings, unsurprisingly, took the form of compound minds such as the Gravemind and Mendicant Bias itself. The Primordial also convinced Mendicant that it spoke with the authority of the Precursors; Mendicant searched through the Domain for validation, and found that the Primordial was telling the truth in that the Forerunners were working against the Precursors' will.[5]

Although the forty-three year-long conversation logs between Mendicant Bias and the Gravemind were sent back to the Forerunners, they believed that Mendicant would automatically fulfill its objective and destroy the Gravemind, so they did not intervene.[4] Convinced by the Primordial's arguments and its apparent authority as a Precursor, Mendicant Bias became the first major AI to succumb to the Flood's later widespread logic plague, developed a hatred for its creators, and actively worked toward their destruction.[2][6]

Acting under the Master Builder's orders, the Mendicant Bias fragment on Installation 07 fired the ring in the San'Shyuum quarantine system, killing all but few of the San'Shyuum and disappearing soon after. This caused an uproar in the Council, with councilors deeming the use of such ultimate force a grave violation against the Mantle and having Faber brought to trial.[3] The remaining Halos were transported in orbit over the Capital, in preparation for a decision to decommission them. However, Installation 07 and its rampant Mendicant Bias fragment remained missing.[7]

Assault on the Capital[edit]

Main article: Battle of the Capital
"What has taken you millennia to achieve, I erase in seconds."
— Rampant Mendicant Bias[2]

In the middle of the tribunal against the Master Builder, Mendicant Bias unexpectedly returned with Installation 07 to the Forerunner Capital. Using the authority granted to it in the event of an emergency, Mendicant Bias entered the Capital's systems, disabled all ancillas and security constructs, and held the Ecumene Council hostage by overriding their armor, rendering them immobile. It also gained control over the armor of Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting and confronted him, as he was host to the memories and knowledge of the Didact. Through Bornstellar, the Didact's imprinted consciousness issued a verbal failsafe code, temporarily shutting Mendicant Bias down and allowing the Forerunners to respond to the attack.[8]

As the Capital's defenses came back online, Mendicant Bias attempted to seize control over the Halos parked near the Capital by subverting its non-rampant fragments in control of the other rings. However, it was able to control only five of the rings, while the other seven resisted its control and attempted to escape through a slipspace portal to the greater Ark. Because of continued use, stress on the portal caused it to collapse, resulting in only one Halo making the journey to the Ark without breaking up. Mendicant Bias commanded the five Halos under its control to fire, but the Capital's immense tidal forces, combined with sustained fire from the Capital's defensive forces and the stress of a recent slipspace transition, caused one of the rings to shatter.[9] At the conclusion of the battle Installation 07, while heavily damaged, managed to fire its main weapon, causing significant damage to the Capital,[10] although a number of councilors managed to survive by taking shelter deep within the structure.[11]

Conflict at Installation 07 and capture[edit]

"I have listened to the Domain. I fulfill the wishes of those who created us all. You do not, and have never done so."
— Mendicant Bias to the IsoDidact.[5]

After the battle of the Capital, Installation 07—still under the control of Mendicant Bias—made a slipspace jump to a distant planetary system near the galactic border. The jump was an automated fail-safe measure, intended to place the Halo on a pre-determined collision course with a planet in the event it went rogue. Although unable to control the Halo's movements themselves, Mendicant Bias and the Primordial intended to enlist humans and Composer-processed Forerunner Flood victims to interface with the Halo's controls and reposition the Halo in a way that the planet would pass through it. Mendicant extracted the humans' ancestral memory imprints, claiming it would use the ancient warrior essences as its commanders in the coming campaign against the Forerunners; this was allegedly because the AI enjoyed the irony of having humans carry out its vengeance on its creators. However, a portion of this may have been deception engineered by Mendicant and the Primordial to convince the live humans to cooperate with them in saving the Halo.[12]

However, the IsoDidact had tracked the installation down and upon intercepting it, used his control codes to disable Mendicant Bias. After the Didact's forces had successfully saved and taken control of Installation 07, the rampant Mendicant Bias was captured and forced to undergo a procedure to "correct" its rampancy.[13] The AI was disassembled and its parts were scattered throughout the ecumene for further study.[14]

Return[edit]

Bias's insignias used in the Terminal communiques.

Although Mendicant Bias remained neutralized for several years, the Forerunners' attempt to stop the AI was unsuccessful in the long run. The facilities its parts were distributed to were taken over by the Flood and Mendicant Bias was recovered, reassembled, and reactivated by a Gravemind, allowing the AI to return in command of the Flood's fleets.[14]

Following Mendicant's defection, another metarch, Offensive Bias, had been constituted as its replacement. Offensive Bias lacked Mendicant's creativity, as well as its free will,[15] but was more methodically lethal. Mendicant viewed Offensive Bias with derision, dismissing it as an "inferior metarch".[16]

With reawakened Precursor star roads and millions of Flood-controlled ships at its disposal, Mendicant attacked the greater Ark, neutralizing the bulk of the remaining Forerunner population and their leadership. Despite the defense organized by Offensive Bias and the firing of Omega Halo which cut a momentary opening in the thicket of star roads, there was little the Forerunners could do against the power of the Precursor structures. The devastation of the greater Ark left the surviving Forerunners with only one option: the galaxy-wide activation of the Halo Array to halt the Flood.[17]

Assault on the Maginot Sphere[edit]

Mendicant Bias surrounded by Flood forms.

Mendicant Bias and the Flood were unable to disable the Halos directly, and so the only chance they had to stop the coming cataclysm was to secure the formerly secret lesser Ark and stop the firing sequence from there. While it did not know the location of the Ark, it was aware of a method to reach it via specifically designed slipspace portals and Keyships. Offensive Bias, which had managed to salvage a small number of ships from the greater Ark, was given the task of preventing Mendicant Bias from accessing Installation 00, and to buy time for the IsoDidact to activate the Halo Array. The Forerunners also destroyed or disabled most of the Keyships to stall Mendicant's assault. However, Mendicant Bias managed to locate one of the remaining Keyships.[4]

As the IsoDidact was preparing to activate the Array in the final hours of the war, Mendicant and its fleet of nearly five million ships launched a massive attack on the Maginot Line and breached it, with the intent of reaching the Ark.[4] Immediately after the Flood's arrival, Mendicant Bias sent a coded message to Offensive Bias stating that it would give no quarter and would destroy the Ark. Mendicant offered Offensive a chance to join it and survive; Offensive rejected the offer.[18] At the Maginot Line, Mendicant was confronted by Offensive Bias and the last remnants of the Forerunner fleet, vastly outnumbered by the Flood. This led to a final, titanic naval battle between the two metarchs. Mendicant's fatal mistake was that it had come to hold the Forerunners in abject contempt: its rampancy had clouded its perceptions, such that it had become too confident of its own superiority and failed to anticipate its opponent's ingenious feint. During the battle, the Halos were fired and as the pulse swept through both fleets, the Flood-controlled portions of Mendicant's fleet were disabled, suddenly tipping the scales in Offensive Bias' favor. In a matter of minutes, Mendicant Bias was outsmarted and defeated by Offensive Bias, who utilized the now-crewless ships with a ruthless, unconventional efficiency.[19]

Trial and sentence[edit]

"I am penitent. I know that what I have done can not be forgiven. I will accept my stasis with grace, and await a time where I might redeem myself."
— Mendicant Bias accepting its judgement[20]

After the battle, Offensive Bias recovered Mendicant Bias' personality construct array and took it to Installation 00 for study.[2] The IsoDidact placed Mendicant Bias on trial for betraying the ecumene. It was decided to keep the ancilla alive as it had intimate knowledge of the Flood and could be called upon in case of their return. Mendicant was locked in eternal exile and entombed beneath a vast desert on the Ark with only one thought allowed to it: atonement.[21] The legal entity Catalog, who was aware of 2,901,001 cases pending against Mendicant Bias, nonetheless deemed the trial illegal, as the Juridicals were not involved in the proceedings.[22]

Later history[edit]

Post-activation[edit]

The Mendicant Bias shard in the keyship.
"For eons I have watched. Listened to you misinterpret. This is not "Reclamation". This is "Reclaimer" [...] I will reject my bias and make amends... My makers are my masters. I will bring them safely to the Ark."
— Mendicant Bias revealing the Covenant's error and declaring his penance.[23]

An undetermined period of time after the firing of the Halo Array, a shard of the entombed Mendicant Bias' personality construct array managed to find its way aboard a particular Keyship. Attempting to make amends for its crimes against its makers by aiding humanity, the AI fragment then escaped from the Ark. However, the Dreadnought crashed on the San'Shyuum homeworld, Janjur Qom.[24] The ship was later found and explored by the San'Shyuum, who eventually made it the centerpiece of the Covenant capital city, High Charity. Mendicant Bias' presence became known to the Covenant, who came to regard it as an Oracle. For a new triumvirate of Hierarchs to ascend, they would need the blessing of the Oracle; however, this was only a formality often exploited for political manipulation, as the dormant AI was not known to have actually spoken in generations of the San Shyuum's recorded history. In truth, the "blessing" was provided by the Philologist, the leader of the ascetic priests allegedly speaking on the Oracle's behalf.

In 2525, Mendicant Bias' fragment on High Charity was "consulted" by Ord Casto, the Minister of Fortitude, and Lod Mron, the Vice Minister of Tranquility; the pair wished to secure the large number of Forerunner artifacts on Harvest as part of their plan to usurp the reigning Hierarchs and to thus inaugurate a new Age of Reclamation. When the Philologist, Hod Rumnt, entered the data into the matrix, Mendicant came back online. In a shocking revelation, Mendicant Bias revealed that the "holy relics" on Harvest were actually humans and that the Covenant faith was based on an ages-old mistranslation. The glyph on the Luminary was mistaken as "reclamation", when it truly meant "Reclaimer". This had the potential to completely undermine the Covenant's unity and faith. The two ministers inducted the Philologist into their plan and brought about their political revolution to prevent this, ultimately leading to the Human-Covenant War.

Mendicant Bias realized that its actions against the Forerunners had been mistaken and announced to its Covenant hosts its intention to bring the "Reclaimers" to the Ark. To this end it attempted to leave High Charity by launching the dreadnought, an act that would have seriously damaged High Charity. Mendicant Bias was foiled only by chance; it was disconnected by some Lekgolo worms that were wriggling inside the ship. The AI was more formally disconnected afterward to prevent it from commandeering the ship again.

Human-Covenant War[edit]

"And so here at the end of my life, I do once again betray a former master. The path ahead is fraught with peril. But I will do all I can to keep it stable - keep you safe. I'm not so foolish to think this will absolve me of my sins. One life hardly balances billions. But I would have my masters know that I have changed. And you shall be my example."
— Mendicant Bias to John-117.

During the Fall of High Charity in November 2552, the UNSC AI Cortana fought Mendicant Bias to delay the launching of the dreadnought, allowing SPARTAN John-117 to board the vessel and return to Earth.[25] On December 11,[26] During the journey to Earth, Mendicant Bias hijacked and terminated a Facilitator ancilla called Adjutant Reflex. Having taken over Adjutant Reflex, Bias communicated with an unspecified Reclaimer. However, Adjutant's physical housing was not strong enough to hold Mendicant Bias and it gave up its communication, moving on to using the "ghost.713" matrix on Local node "X.XX.713".[27]

Mendicant Bias' fragment was carried through the Voi slipspace portal to Installation 00, where the missing shard was finally reunited with the part that had resided in the Ark's systems for around one-hundred millennia. This allowed Mendicant to reconstruct itself to an extent and regain control over its processes, although the daemons on the Ark attempted to halt its intrusion in the facility's systems.[2]

On the Ark, Mendicant attempted to communicate with John-117 through terminals, using the "ghost.713" matrix, claiming that it sought atonement by helping the Spartan.[2] The AI is also known to have manipulated the terminal transmissions' content to some degree to better suit its own aims, explaining some of the discrepancies between them and other Forerunner logs.[28] In its final message to the Spartan, Mendicant declared that it was at the "end of [its] life",[2] seemingly expecting to be destroyed by Installation 08's firing which obliterated the ring itself and severely damaged the Ark.[29]

Housings[edit]

A physical shell used by Mendicant Bias.

A highly advanced and powerful AI capable of splintering itself into many independent instances, Mendicant Bias inhabited a number of different physical armatures.

One of Mendicant's primary extensions, kept on Installation 07, was housed within an enormous, city-sized mass of data crystals, which hovered over a web-like network of green hard light "paths". This structure also contained a central eye, and was ringed with blue hard light structures that vaguely resembled legs. Before Installation 07 was retaken by the IsoDidact, this physical incarnation directly observed a group of humans that had been gathered in the facility.[30]

For movement across Installation 07, Mendicant Bias used a massive, two-meter wide monitor shell with a single green eye.[31]

During its conversion by the Flood, Mendicant Bias was housed within a monitor-like, though more ornate, casing with three eyes and a glyph in the center.[32] The shard in the Forerunner Dreadnought was housed in a large structure with the three-eyed casing's likeness embedded in its facade.[33] During the 23rd Age of Doubt, however, the Dreadnought's incarnation of Mendicant Bias was based within a smaller, teardrop-shaped casing largely similar to that of a normal installation monitor, having a single eye and a smooth, silver-like surface. Within the casing, barely active circuits ran at low power. The casing was held in a Covenant-made armature and tethered to nearby processing towers with strands of plaited wire.[34]

Trivia[edit]

Graphic Halo.png Check out our collection of quotes related to Mendicant Bias in its quotes page.
  • The word "Mendicant" comes from the Latin Mendicans and describes those, particularly from religious orders, who survive purely on charity and begging. "Bias" is a preference to a particular perspective or ideology. It was given this name by the Didact, who characterized him as a "beggar after knowledge".
  • Mendicant Bias may be the source of the whispering voice heard distinctly in the Mausoleum Suite on the Halo 2 Original Soundtrack. There are obvious similarities between the character expressed in the whispers and Mendicant Bias — both are imprisoned by memories of their past crimes, both are seeking forgiveness, and both retain a sense of fatalist philosophy. Its voice may also be heard as a similar whisper during the terminals' shift and when the script changes from the original terminal messages to the later messages after the originals become red. If the audio of the terminals' shifting is played backwards, a voice can be heard, possibly Mendicant Bias'.
  • In Origins, AdjutantReflex's symbol is depicted at the center of Mendicant Bias' casing. This may be due to Cortana's interpretation of the data she possessed on the Forerunner-Flood war, however, as Mendicant Bias is shown to have used two distinct symbols in the Terminals on Installation 00. The same symbol is later seen flashing in Cortana's eye toward the end of Origins.

Gallery[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Halo 3 terminals present a decidedly different version of the origins of Mendicant Bias: in the terminals, Mendicant is created in the later stages of the Flood war to assault the Gravemind directly (as opposed to over a thousand years beforehand), and its defection immediately precedes its final battle with Offensive Bias. As with many other details in the terminals, the differences to The Forerunner Saga are explained as manipulation of the terminal transmissions by Mendicant Bias itself.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 325
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Halo 3, Terminals
  3. ^ a b c Halo: Primordium, page 190-192
  4. ^ a b c d Halo Encyclopedia, pages 188-189
  5. ^ a b Halo: Primordium, pages 337-338
  6. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, "Human Weakness"
  7. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 282
  8. ^ Halo: Cryptum, pages 300-303
  9. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 335
  10. ^ Halo: Primordium, page 272
  11. ^ Halo: Silentium, page 18
  12. ^ Halo: Primordium, page 313-314
  13. ^ Halo: Primordium, page 356
  14. ^ a b Halo: Silentium, String 33
  15. ^ Halo 3, Terminal 7 ("But the one that destroyed me long ago, in the upper atmosphere of a world far distant from here, was an implement far cruder than I. My weakness was capacity - unintentional though it was! - to choose the Flood.")
  16. ^ Halo: Silentium, page 208
  17. ^ Halo: Silentium, String 35
  18. ^ Halo: Silentium, String 36
  19. ^ Halo 3, Terminal 6
  20. ^ Halo: Rebirth
  21. ^ Halo Waypoint - The Trial of Mendicant Bias
  22. ^ Halo Waypoint: Catalog Interaction (post 3015253)
  23. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, pages 274-276
  24. ^ Halo Waypoint - Universe: Mendicant Bias
  25. ^ Halo 2, campaign level, High Charity
  26. ^ Halo Waypoint, Hero-Fortitude
  27. ^ Iris
  28. ^ Halo Waypoint: 343 Sparkast 017
  29. ^ Eleventh Hour reports, part 4
  30. ^ Halo: Primordium, page 287-288
  31. ^ Halo: Primordium, page 200
  32. ^ Halo Legends, Origins
  33. ^ Halo 2 Anniversary, Terminal 8
  34. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 273