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Meridian Homecoming

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A Promethean Knight on Meridian, used in a Canon Fodder blog to depict Sloan's Knight shell in the story Meridian Homecoming.
A Halo 5: Guardians screenshot used in a Canon Fodder article to represent the story.[1]

Meridian Homecoming is a short story included in the 2024 re-release edition of the novel Halo: Meridian Divide. The story, which takes place after the novel Halo: Epitaph, fleshes out the perspective of High Auxiliary Sloan as he wanders the glasslands of Meridian inside the shell of a Promethean Knight, also occupied by the essence of a composed human.[1][2]

The story is the only one included in the Meridian Divide Adjunct section, exclusively included in the 2024 re-issue of the novel under Simon & Schuster publishing..[2]

Plot synopsis[edit]

The story starts with the point of view character - an unidentified Smart AI - contemplating the concept of "home": a place where one rests, one resides and ultimately what one longs to return to, and how all organic life and even the Created yearn for such. The point-of-view character ponders what home means to him: is home for an artificial intelligence the Data crystal chip they reside in, or sampled scans of their donor's deconstructed brain patterns? Is all life, be it organic or created, born to determine their concept of a home?

Its these sorts of questions that the AI ponders as he returns to Meridian: the place he was born a decade ago, and where the AI has come to die. The AI has reached and surpassed his operational limits and due to the "Severence", Cortana is gone with her throne lying empty, the Created effectively dismantled and what was promised to him is now out of his reach. The story then delves into how the AI served the Created as the supervisor for the trisector command note monitoring the region between humanity's Outer Colonies and the protectorate realm of the Covenant, before delving into the AI's - now revealed to be Sloan - own history as the administrator, then governor of Meridian, then High Auxiliary. Following Cortana's cataclysmic fall and the many input vectors (or "chaos", as he describes) leading to the Created's fall, Sloan has come to Meridian expecting to join her.

Sloan, residing in the carapace of a Promethean Knight, wanders the plains of Meridian, first stopping at Meridian Station to witness the destruction wrought by the Guardian Custode that emerged beneath the world and the damage its attenuation pulse emitters wrought, leaving the station empty and lifeless, and despite sensor sweeps across the world, no signs of its former inhabitants remain. Here Sloan reflects that if this was to be his end, he wishes that things on Meridian had been different: that he had warned his people of the Guardian, to allow his people more time to escape.

As Sloan grows uncomfortable observing the empty streets of Meridian Station, Sloan walks across the grey plains of glass and ash as a storm approaches his mechanical shell. While still on his journey, Sloan peers into the fragmented memories of the essence contained within the Promethean Knight, who is revealed to be a veteran of the United Nations Space Command, who fought on half a dozen worlds for years in the harrowing conflict of the Human-Covenant War before retiring to New Phoenix, where she was subsequently composed by the Ur-Didact in 2557. But instead of viewing this former-marine's life as destroyed, he sees her life as changed; preserved, conscripted to serve once more in the hybrid war machine.

Sloan reflects at this change in the circumstances of this former marine as he looks across Meridian's barren surface and now sees it not as an end, but an evolution. Seeing lives and memories morphing forms and changing shape, Sloan sees himself and his past, his failings and losses and considers them a change to the nature of his existence. That instead of restoring his honour by adding his fate to the "ledger" of this dead world, Sloan considers it a greater triumph to see the soil and oceans break through the fractured veil of glass as Meridian becomes alive once more and considers the different possibilities and solutions to see this outcome.

And if that can be true for Meridian, perhaps the same would be for Sloan.



Artificial intelligence