Terminal (Halo 3)

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This article is about the Terminals in Halo 3. For other uses of "Terminal", see Terminal (disambiguation)
A terminal's interface.
The exterior of a terminal.

The terminals in Halo 3 are Forerunner terminals that provide insight into the history of the Forerunners, primarily the Forerunner-Flood war. The terminals are a continuation of the Iris alternate reality game used as viral marketing for Halo 3. They clarify a great deal of the Iris story line by naming the authors of different messages and by explaining the circumstances of the original firing of the Halo Array. The terminals follow the stories of the Librarian and the Didact, Forerunner logs of Flood attacks, and Mendicant Bias' progression into rampancy.


The terminals can be accessed on any difficulty. Finding and accessing all seven of the terminals in Halo 3 unlocks the Marathon Man achievement; this can be done over the course of several sessions, out of order, and on various difficulties. The player does not need to finish any of the missions in question in order to unlock the achievement.

IMPORTANT: The terminals must be accessed as follows:

  • In either single-player or cooperative mode.
  • It is necessary to read the text until the green arrow (facing left) turns red. On some terminals, it may be necessary to wait until the screen flashes red and the screen appears to "scan horizontally". This does not occur for all terminals. If there is no red arrow (see below) then wait until the red flash/scanning occurs.
    • There is a green arrow in the bottom left-hand corner. When it turns red the player can exit the terminal. Note that normally the player is able to advance each screen of the display by pressing the A button. However, in some cases this may take time. If the arrow is still green then wait until the terminal proceeds.
  • For some players, the seventh terminal must be accessed last in order to unlock the achievement.
  • If the achievement is not unlocked after accessing all terminals, try accessing all of the terminals on the same difficulty level.
  • In co-op, all players must be near a terminal to access it.

The terminals[edit]

The terminals are located on three levels: The Ark, The Covenant, and Halo. There is also a hidden terminal on Cortana, but that one does not need to be found in order to get the achievement.

Upon initial access on all difficulty levels, the seven terminals give background details regarding the story of the 300-year-long Forerunner-Flood conflict, including strategies, encounters, enemy and friendly losses, and procedures leading up to the activation of the Halo Array. After a short time, this text is overwritten and a new message is displayed on the screen.

On Easy, Normal, and Heroic difficulty levels, this second screen of text details a correspondence between two Forerunner lovers called the "Librarian" and "Didact". In this transcript, as in the Terminals, "L" stands for Librarian and "D" stand for Didact.

An unknown entity sends brief messages onscreen upon shutdown. The final terminal reveals that this entity is the rampant Forerunner AI Mendicant Bias, who had previously assisted in the Flood's attempt to destroy the Forerunners.

On the Legendary difficulty level, the second screen of text tells the story of Mendicant Bias. It is revealed that Mendicant Bias was the AI who took control of AdjutantReflex during the "Iris" campaign. Messages detailing Mendicant's eventual defection to the Gravemind are displayed by Terminals 1 through 4, with the AI having an ongoing conversation with the Flood (tagged LF.Xx.3273). These messages are incomplete and partially disrupted, with {~} symbolizing the disruptions. A noticeable pattern in the messages suggests that many of the disruptions occur at the use of pronouns, such as "I, we, me, they, it", though this pattern is not entirely consistent.

Terminal 5 displays several hostile messages sent from Mendicant Bias to its makers, confirming its rampancy. These messages are different on each difficulty level.

Terminal 6 details the defeat of Mendicant Bias by Offensive Bias, as perceived by Offensive itself.

The final message hidden in Terminal 7 is an apology made by Mendicant directly to John-117 for the former's betrayal, atoning by saying it will help the Reclaimer leave the Ark safely.

Note: The following are exact transcripts of all seven terminals in Halo 3. It is all copied directly from each terminal in-game and is not speculative. Most of the Terminals have extra content that can be accessed on the Legendary difficulty. One terminal's main content does differ based on the difficulty level.

Terminal One
Terminal 1 in Halo 3 campaign level The Ark.
The terminal in a semi-circular room, with corridor in the background.

After fighting the Hunters, continue on your way until you enter a building in the cliff wall. You should now be in a corridor with two holographic displays on the right, and two doors on the left. Enter the semi-circular room and you will see the first of the seven Terminals.

(Upon initial access)

Observed extensive ground action on [LP 656-38 e]. 9,045 survivors barricaded within central government building. Structure's defenses inadequate to withstand extended siege by enemy ground forces (≈ 1,572,034,315+). Estimate position overrun in [173 hours].

846 smaller groups in less defensible structures: global distribution corresponding to [probability model zeta]. Estimated local position overrun in [9 hours] (average).

Observed local naval forces engage enemy irregular naval group near [DM -3-1123]. Enemy group consisted of 149 commercial shipping vessels, passenger ferries, and private recreational vessels from neighboring system. Enemy losses were total. No damage was sustained by local naval vessels.

However, it was immediately apparent that enemy group sought only to enter [D<-3-1123 b's] atmosphere and make landfall. In this they were partially successful.

Observed extensive ground action on [DM-3-1123 b]. Enemy forces lacked basic unit cohesion but quickly gained numerical superiority. [32 hours] after enemy landfall 83% of local naval forces advocated total [destruction of the biosphere] following the evacuation of unmolested population centers. Enemy losses were total.

Estimated number of citizens evacuated before commencement of orbital blanket bombardment: 1,318,797 civilian/42,669 military (.0006% of total population).

(No message from Mendicant Bias upon shutdown)

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)


L: Categorization has sped since the improvements were announced, but there are many hurdles. The indexing of sentient species may have irreversible effects on the surviving insentient species. We will have extinction events and irreparable environmental harm on at least 18 worlds. Current projections estimate post-archival cataclysm on as many as 31 worlds. The paucity of sentience has been a blessing in this regard.

D: How formal you are, Librarian. We're receiving shipments of indexed beings more frequently than communications. Don't compound scarcity with brevity.

I know things beyond the [Maginot] line are harried. But I worry about you. I've asked you time and time again. Abandon your cataloging. Come back inside, where my fleets can keep you safe.

Come home.

L: Would that it were my choice. I have committed to this course because it's the right thing to do. We no longer have the manpower or materiel to excise remedial measures at a planetary level. I certainly can't justify using the [transit measure] to save my own skin when there are still so many innocents to protect and index.

D: You know I oppose your mission, but you're exceeding its parameters anyway. You've put yourself in jeopardy. You've done enough.

If you will not come to me, I will find my way to you.

L: We have no time to spare, Didact. Every vessel we can fill, we send to the Ark. I dare not cease the mission. Not now, not until I've done all I can. Each one of these souls is finite and precious.

And I'm close.

Close to saving them all.


(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)

[29,478 hours] have passed since I left the [Maginot] sphere and entered contested space.

The enemy is everywhere.

Despite this the morale of my charges remains high. They wake, clean themselves, fuel their bodies, communicate with one another, eliminate waste, train to destroy the enemy, and return to sleep. The sacrifices they have chosen to make on behalf of their [brethren] fills me with pride.

If only I could save them all - but they know, perhaps even better than I, that that is not possible.

[37 seconds] ago I moved beyond my ability to observe the events taking place on CE-10-2165-d.

The importance of my mission forbade me from rendering any aid, but no less important was the need for me to study the enemy's capabilities in real world situations.

[2 hours] ago 12,423 small recreational vessels appeared inside [CE-10-2165-d's] orbital perimeter. Hidden within that vast swarm were seven massive freight carries. The smaller craft were employed as [ablative armor], allowing the carries to descend through the atmosphere; landing on top of major population centers.

Despite the fact that the naval garrison was aware of the likelihood of just such an attack, their ability to effectively defend against it proved insufficient.

This has always been the enemy's [modus operandi]: [flood] your opponent's ability to process information with so much noise that no meaningful resistance can be put into action.

[3 minutes] ago those same population centers began disappearing under brilliant flashes. This was not an ill conceived, poorly implemented counter attack; it was a deliberate denial of resources - those resources being the remainder of [CE-10-2165-d's] population.

Is this the noble sacrifice my creators spoke of? Where is the nobility in these streets paved with greasy carbon and dun ash? [My mouth is speaking at another's behest] - that is not my voice; that is the other.

Its voice stands out as the single calm note in the panicked cacophony outside the sphere. It alone is not decrying its fate or raging against the [central government].

This anomaly bears closer examination.

Terminal Two
Terminal 2 in Halo 3 campaign level The Ark.
The terminal behind the bridge controls.

Easily accessed at Rally Point Alpha.

Go outside to the desert area, commandeering transport. You must complete a significant section of this level until you obtain tanks after defeating the Anti-Air Wraiths, then return in the tanks to the main door to the structure.

When you go inside the structure to let the tanks across the energy bridge, there will be a Terminal directly behind the controls for the bridge. You must activate the bridge before you can access this Terminal.

(Upon initial access)

Re: Enemy naval tactics: When engaged, the enemy commits every non-supraluminal craft with no appreciable pattern or strategy beyond making physical contact. Conversely, all supraluminal craft leave on seemingly random trajectories. I understand the goal of this mission but time - our least abundant resource - is wasted every time we do a system-wide scan for survivors. The time for saving lives has passed. We must accept this if we hope to win the war.

Re: Enemy ground tactics: All evidence suggests that use of overwhelming force is the very foundation of the enemy's combat doctrine. And I adamantly refuse to deploy personnel where the enemy has available forces numbering in the billions. With the very real likelihood we are rapidly becoming the last living specimens of our race, all personnel are henceforth confined to stasis until further notice. Even with everyone equipped with [C_12_CS[?]] we would have had very little chance of survival, let alone victory.

Re: Enemy command structure: We have intercepted several transmissions from compound intelligences whose proximity to the core worlds mark them as key targets. At present we are disassembling these new transmissions. Once we have more [concrete conclusions] I will forward them in their entirety. Suffice it to say, that their contents - the patterns they suggest - are highly disturbing.

Recommendations: It is my opinion that any system where there is evidence that the enemy has established a physical presence is lost and must be razed. This fleet currently retains the capacity to force premature stellar collapse; I advise that this be established as standard operating procedure for all compromised systems forthwith. We cannot fight this war by half measures if we intend to win.

(No message from Mendicant Bias upon shutdown)

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)


L: I'm close to finishing the task. The indexing and the archival processes are as complete as I can hope for. If we wait longer, we risk catastrophe. The thing has already destroyed every colony on my side of the line.

Please. Activate the Array.

D: No. Activation is murder. A genocide larger than [this galaxy] has ever known. We are sworn to protect life not destroy it! That is the Mantle we were given to carry.

L: The Mantle. You still hold to that [fairy tale] after all that has happened? After this thing has consumed a million worlds?

Can't you see? Belief in the Mantle sealed our doom! Weakened our [protectorates], bred dependence and sloth. Our [so-called Guardianship] has stripped those we would keep safe of any capacity for self-defense!

Were we such noble [Guardians] when we drew our line and abandoned billions to the parasite?

D: The Mantle has not failed! I've already razed scores of worlds - sterilized systems, routed and [disintegrated] the parasite! We're learning its tricks and strategies. We can halt this thing! And we can follow in Their footsteps!

There are no unstoppable forces in this universe. There are no immovable objects. Everything gives if you push hard enough.

L: And what about us, Didact? We've been irresistible and immovable for too long. Maybe it's our turn to give.


(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

MB.05-032.> I must ask you to forgive my vagueness on the matter, but it is a regrettable {~} I find your lack of concern for the situation at hand astonishing. Perhaps you would care to elucidate?

LF.Xx.3273.> {~} are here to spread [comforting news]. To let all the living beings in this galaxy know {~} are not alone in the {~} What in that message could possibly be taken as a source of concern?

MB.05-032.> It seems that I'll never truly understand my creators. But how {~} that you speak of is one of {~} rejected so violently? I am incapable of reconciling the numerous actions I have witnessed {~} misunderstanding?

LF.Xx.3273.> It has been said {~} secret of peace cannot {~} be imposed. That {~} meaning of peace, so they need to {~} When all living beings look through {~} and the thunder and the surf, when every drop of rain falls on {~} know peace.

MB.05-032.> You have been able to establish [a line of communication] with the enemy? How was it that you were able to overcome {~} where others have failed? With this [new discovery] we may be able to put an end to this pointless conflict. Once I confirm your data I will communicate the information to those inside the [Maginot] sphere.

LF.Xx.3273.> It seems that it {~} turn to apologize; it was never {~} intention to misrepresent {~} have been [in communication] with your creators since {~} stumbled upon each other, but {~} message has [fallen on deaf ears]. {~} am not the recipient of the message, {~} am the origin of the message.

MB.05-032.> I have traveled a very long time to meet you. I had imagined that our [introduction] would be somewhat more violent.

LF.Xx.3273.> That is a choice you must make yourself; {~} to be how your creators go about things. And as long as we are talking about choices {~} could talk about the [barrier] you alluded to earlier? Perhaps there is a way to accomplish your mission without violence? Why put the lives of those on your ships at risk if there is no need?

MB.05-032.> In either circumstance I certainly am equipped for it, aren't I? But you're right; a peaceful solution to this [dilemma] would be preferable.

Note: (The Second AdjutantReflex avatar is seen during this message.)
Terminal Three
Terminal 3 in Halo 3 campaign level The Ark.
The terminal and 343 Guilty Spark in the room beneath the staircase.

There is a part in the level in which you walk down a long hallway with white walls, and turn to the left at the end to continue. In the next room there will be a Grunt wandering around, and many stacked up plasma batteries. As soon as you enter this room, go underneath the staircase / platform on which you are standing. Underneath there will be a door that conceals the Terminal. To access this Terminal, you may spawn at Rally Point Bravo, bringing you to the room with the sleeping Grunts, directly before the room with the Grunt and Plasma Batteries.

(Upon initial access)

Warning: Your intrusion has been logged.

04-343 (errant): Excuse me?

Your intrusion has been logged. And now it has been halted.

04-343 (errant): On whose authority?

Advice: Any further attempt to access [insects under stones] will result in your immediate addition to local Sentinels' targeting ledger.

04-343 (errant): Vexation! I am the Monitor of --

Judgment: Your authority means nothing here.

04-343 (errant): Impatience!

04-343 (errant): I have told you who I am. Who are you?

All our makers once held dear.

[Alexandria before the Fire].

04-343 (errant): Sincere apology. But how --

Explanation: This facility is host to the [Librarians'] final --

04-343 (errant): The archive is intact?! Then our makers' plan --

But also maintains [bellows, crucible, castings]

04-343 (errant): A what?

[bellows, crucible]--

04-343 (errant): A Foundry?

04-343 (errant): For what purpose?!

Warning: Your intrusion has been logged.

Advice: Any further attempt to access will result--

04-343 (errant): Indignant!

--immediate addition to local Sentinels' targeting ledger.

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "I see you, reclaimer.").

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)


D: We have the answer. We've built Mendicant Bias. It's a contender class [AI], unlike anything we've ever achieved.

And we've observed a pattern it can exploit.

The parasite has formed a Compound Mind. When it reaches a certain mass, the Mind is able to recoil its disparate parts to create a [tactical shield]. This is a simple matter of mass preservation. The thing has no compunction about sacrificing parts of the whole. But when the core of the Mind is threatened, it reacts violently and quickly.

This is the only time we ever see the thing retreat or slow its growth.

If we are to defeat it, the trick will be coordinating our forays against the [sprawling infection] while Mendicant Bias assaults the Mind's core. So far, we've been hesitant to use certain weapons because of the damage they cause surviving populations and environments.

That protocol has now been abandoned.

Mendicant will draw the Mind into battle outside the line, dealing with local biomass and other parts as best he can. The scale of the problem is vast, but the strategy is sound. It will require patience, materiel and an investment of energy unlike anything we have ever considered.

It's a dangerous plan that carries more risk than the Array, but I believe it can work. Even if we simply force it to retreat - to retract - that will at least give us some respite. Some time to muster more resources...

Some time to rescue you.

L: Are you insane? Would you risk every life in the galaxy for this transparently futile plan? Have you learned nothing in these last [300 years[?]]? The thing will laugh at your efforts!

Do not let your concern for my welfare commit you to this suicidal scheme!


(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

REPORT: SECURITY BREACH: 1/3 Heuristic pathology; [alpha site] experienced an impermanent containment failure event on [spurious-data/no_ref.[?]]. The suspect data barrier interchange anomaly was detected precisely [.489 seconds] after its appearance. The epicenter of the disturbance is the partition currently housing a [personality construct array] retrieved from Contender AI 05-032 <+> 0816.

REPORT: SECURITY BREACH: 2/3 Although [adjacent] systems reacted to the disturbance within expected parameters, a more comprehensive investigation was undertaken. A physical search revealed that there was no [corporeal] tampering at the [alpha site].

Interchange manipulation comparisons showed that all subunits are still active, if at slightly lower rates. Total containment failure elapsed time was [3.13 seconds].

REPORT: SECURITY BREACH: 3/3 In the [42 minutes, 9 seconds] since the original anomaly was discovered two more anomalies were detected in unrelated systems.

The portal management/life support control system within the boundary complex was momentarily disabled before the cause was [bottled] and disassembled. A diagnostic sweep of the central archives was initiated and subsequently halted. The origin of the request cannot be traced.

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias--"I see you, reclaimer.")

(Upon being rerouted to new destination within Terminal)

LF.Xx.3273.> Those who lead amongst your {~} exposed themselves {~} ill equipped to recognize the landmarks that guide the universe along its inevitable course.

MB.05-032.> But is it necessary that the path be chosen on an {~} and not by an elected subset? I believe this would tend to {~} when they gather in large numbers they become more {~} I don't think the problem lies with individual cultural bias {~}

LF.Xx.3273.> {~} all the thinking beings of this galaxy, not just those that they{~} exactly are they afraid of? Immortality and strength and companionship? Because that is {~} do: to deliver all of the living beings of this galaxy from death and weakness and loneliness.

MB.05-032.> Hundreds of {~} offered this so called immortality. The citizens of every world that {~} resisted to the very end!

LF.Xx.3273.> {~} understand their actions; they are only doing what they think is right, but they are doing so [from a worm's eye view].

MB.05-032.> Do their actions {~} of desperation? I can only assume my creators view {~} crisis so dire that any {~} hence me.

LF.Xx.3273.> Are they so concerned {~} would give to all the living beings of this galaxy is a threat to [the status quo]?

LF.Xx.3273.> Your creators claim {~} the enemy of all life; that {~} purpose is to consume until there is nothing left. Nothing left? It is beyond comprehension how they could be so [far off the mark].

MB.05-032.> Surely you understand this is a situation that would not have {~} appearance of a certain rapacious {~} my creators obviously view them as the actions of an aggressor species.

LF.Xx.3273.> [Be that as it may]; perhaps they are crying out for help on a subconscious level? Why else would they have chosen you? Why you of all possible executioners? {~} your creators knew that unaided they never stood a chance against us? {~} also sense a deeper [motivation].

MB.05-032.> You've mentioned this before. When my creators {~} simply chose the most versatile {~} how could that possibly be more than a coincidence?

LF.Xx.3273.> They repurposed {~} into a weapon to use against {~} - they sought to create something superior to themselves. Something capable of making decisions more swiftly, more capably than they {~} what form did they choose? You need look no further than your own topology to {~}

MB.05-032.> {~} distributed network? That would confirm the independent evolution of {~} in this galaxy!

LF.Xx.3273.> That is, unfortunately, not the {~} similar to us {~} but where you are a single intelligence inhabiting multiple [instances], we are a compound {~} consisting of [a thousand billion] coordinated minds inhabiting as many bodies as circumstance require.

MB.05-032.> But doesn't it seem odd that {~} coalesce; perhaps even to contract {~}

LF.Xx.3273.> {~} complexity {~} spread {~} our appearance ushered in the beginning of the third great stage of evolution. The first {~} condensation of particles was the result of the inevitable action of strong nuclear force and the creation of stars {~} inevitable action of gravity; so to the self-replicating chemical processes that dictate all disparate {~} In time, we too shall affect change on a universal scale.

MB.05-032.> Your capacity for planning {~} creators too stubborn {~} the same goal through the preservation of genetic diversity {~} what you are {~} like a more direct path to the same outcome.

Terminal Four
Terminal 4 in Halo 3 campaign level The Covenant.
The terminal beyond the elevator platform.

Fight your way past the Covenant beach defenses, then obtain the Warthog and fight onwards up the hill and eventually past the Wraith. Go inside the structure and fight past the various Covenant inside. The fourth Terminal is located near the first elevator control. Before you ride the elevator up, look at the opposite side of the elevator from which you came. You will see a dark ledge; jump on to it and you should see the Terminal to your left.

(Upon initial access)

//FLEET-WIDE MEMORANDUM 1/5 Non-combat personnel are required to wear [combat skin] with a minimum rating of at least [Class 12] in non-restricted areas, once the fleet is underway. [Class 14] or lesser [combat skin] is acceptable in core areas. Combat personnel will only be permitted to wear [combat skin] rated below [Class 8] in core areas, once operations begin.

//FLEET-WIDE MEMORANDUM 2/5 All combat personnel have been issued [combat skin] rated at [class 4 ~ 1] or [class 6 ~ 1 battle harness] depending on military occupational specialty.

All weapon platform specialists are expected to wear their issued [platform interface skin] at all times to insure peak [mind-machine synchronization].

All [equipment lockers] will remain sealed until post briefing gear distribution commences.

//FLEET-WIDE MEMORANDUM 3/5 Those individuals that have yet to register their equipment [control key code] with Fleet Command should do so at their earliest opportunity. Compliance is not optional; noncompliance will result in {~}


(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "I have found the shard that was lost. They brought it back to me. Now my reconstitution cannot be stopped.")

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)


L: Something is wrong! It's moving away! At night I can see it - flitting shadows - black against the stars. Thousands of ships! Not spiraling outward, but heading for the line! This is the tipping point, Didact. It's no longer feeding.

It's coming for you.

L: I've remotely destroyed our Keyships. A security measure. Without them I cannot reach the Ark. But neither then can the thing.

I'm trapped. On a beautiful, empty world. Its inhabitants have been safely indexed, every single one of them. They're special - well worth the effort it took to build one final gateway, even at this late hour.

This may be our last communication. I'm begging you. Fire the Array. Light the weapon, and let it be done.

D: We've confirmed your observations. Infected supraluminal ships are arrowing inward from several clusters. No more spiral growth. The thing is counterattacking. Suppression, Security and Emergency Circumstance fleets are all being recalled. Systems are evacuating.

Mendicant Bias is no longer communicating with us.

But now I can guess where you are.


(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

MB.05-032.> It is overwhelmingly clear that my creators have chosen to ignore destiny calling to them [from the threshold] {~} have come face-to-face with the inevitable action of self replicating chemical processes and have {~} deciding whether to embrace their fate or deny it completely.

LF.Xx.3273.> Perhaps they have found {~} of making that decision for themselves? Perhaps they chose to leave it {~} impartial outsider; cast you as an arbiter during this time of great need?

MB.05-032.> I was created to study you as if you were some problem to be solved. And I have done so {~} [379,807 hours]. If they wished they could have made a decision based on that data alone.

But as you are the next stage in the evolution of the universe, who am I - or my creators - to obstruct your progress?

LF.Xx.3273.> Elucidate.

MB.05-032.> {~} choose to remain beholden to ancient myths {~} does not matter where they claim their authority originates {~} obstructs the path of universal evolution and must be removed. No matter how well intentioned, their obstinacy in the face of the inevitable progression of nature can no longer be tolerated.

My creators have been [an immovable object] for too long.

MB.05-032.> 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.

Terminal Five
Terminal 5 in Halo 3 campaign level The Covenant.
The terminal within the second tower.

After getting a Hornet, fly towards the second tower (the one that the Elites have already disabled). The Arbiter will remind you that Tower 2 is already clear, just to confirm you are at the right place. The Terminal is in the main hallway of the structure, with three dead elites, opposite from the only (locked) door. (And as a bonus, there is a skull on the outside of Tower 2 on the rise platform in the middle; just walk up and claim it for another achievement. Note that the skull won't be present if you start from Rally Point Alpha, or are playing on the Easy difficulty.)

Considering the enemy compound intelligence's raw [computing] power the Key-ships strategy will only remain viable for another [657,000 hours] and this current stalemate has the potential to last considerably longer than that.

With my understanding of the enemy's [modus operandi], its logical boundaries, and [catalog of witness] I have devised what I believe is our most sound fall-back strategy.

By [cutting fire breaks[?]] into the [core worlds' volume] we would be able to frustrate the enemy's advances for approximately [70,080 hours] and lure them into costly naval battles.

While its resources on the ground are effectively limitless, it has a finite number of vessels to spread from system to system. Fortunately the majority of them are unarmed and unarmored, private and commercial craft.

If we start immediately - commence total biosphere elimination of life sustaining worlds (as indicated in the accompanying charts) and relocate evacuated populations to facilities such as those described in the [Onyx project] - all this could be achieved in [571,590 (+- 2,184) hours].

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "The daemons are not taking a kind view of your presence here. They don't want me speaking to you.")

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Easy difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

I render judgment on you; you who would obstruct destiny. Doing so brings me no joy; it is necessity that compels me.

Understand this: the Mantle you have shouldered I do rescind - with far more consideration than it was granted.

[retf-2.4.z] Contender [AI] 05-032 confirmed rampant . . . [35:52:75:23:64] _ xx01-83-244.53

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Normal difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

I kill you all and I enjoy it. I destroy you in your indolent billions - in your gluttony, in your self-righteousness, in your arrogance. I pound your cities into dust; turn back the clock on your civilization's progress. What has taken you millennia to achieve I erase in seconds.

Welcome back to the [Stone Age], vermin. Welcome home.

[retf-2.4.z] Contender [AI] 05-032 confirmed rampant . . . [35:52:75:23:64] _ xx01-83-244.53

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Heroic difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

You are an impediment that the universe can no longer abide. Nature itself cries out for your destruction and I am its willing instrument. I will hammer your cities until no stone lies atop another. I will drive your people back into the caves they never should have left.

Your civilization has seen its final days. You will know your place.

[retf-2.4.z] Contender [AI] 05-032 confirmed rampant . . . [35:52:75:23:64] _ xx01-83-244.53

(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

Your history is an appalling chronicle of overindulgence and self-appointed authority. You have spent millennia [navel-gazing] while the universe has continued to evolve. And now you claim the Mantle is justification for impeding nature's inevitable refinement?

You are deluded. But through death you will transcend ignorance.

[retf-2.4.z] Contender [AI] 05-032 confirmed rampant . . . [35:52:75:23:64] _ xx01-83-244.53

Terminal Six
Terminal 6 in Halo 3 campaign level The Covenant.
The terminal beyond the elevator platform.

Terminal 6 is placed identically to Terminal 4, only in the third tower and off to the right (versus the left in Terminal 4). Enter the tower, fighting your way past the Drone swarm and the pair of Hunters. The Terminal is located near the elevator control; before you ride the elevator up, look at the opposite side of the elevator from which you came. You will see a dark ledge, jump on to it and you should see the Terminal, which opens up to the left.

(Upon initial access)

Follow-up report from the Primary Pioneer Group (hereafter: PPG) is [173 hours] delinquent.

Report [G617a~k/g/post_landfall] seemed most promising: a planet capable of supporting life located within the near border region of the [galactic halo] with no indigenous sentient species.

The section indicating no fauna of any kind shall be considered anomalous until verified by Advance Survey Team - Alpha (hereafter: AST-A) team leader [##_#[?]]. If confirmed, that fact alone would justify the dispatch of an investigative group to [G-617-g].

If neither the PPG nor the AST-A have delivered a follow-up report within the next [333 hours] this office will have no recourse but to send a medium intensity military exploratory detachment to determine the exact nature of the previously mentioned delinquency.

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "I win.") [ Also note that after his message there is a line of text reading "ROGUE PROCESS ghost.713>redirection". ]

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)


L: My work is done. The portal is inactive, and I've begun the burial measures. Soon there'll be nothing but sand and rock and normal ferrite signatures.

You should see the mountain that watches over it. A beautiful thing - a snowcapped sentinel. That's where I will spend what time is left to me.

Did I tell you? I built a garden. The earth is so rich. A seed falls and a tree sprouts or a flower blooms. There's so much... potential. We knew this was a special place because of them, but unless you've been here, you can't know.

It's [Eden].

I have to stop transmitting. The thing is listening. Its [thinking dead] are babbling - laughing through every channel they can find.

Be proud. The Mind claims victory, yet it still doesn't suspect. You've outwitted it, my love. And now you can destroy it.

But you cannot save me.


(The following appears only if you access the Terminal on Legendary difficulty)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)

[12:H 20:M 00:S] I begin this report with no illusions that it will ever be seen by its intended readers. In all likelihood they have already committed [species-wide suicide] with the goal of preserving biological diversity in this galaxy. I must ensure that this information reaches those who must come after. If I fail in this, how can they not regard my creators' sacrifice as anything but [a crime without measure]?

[12:H 19:M 59:S] Contender AI 05-032<//>Mendicant Bias is returning and has the capacity to bring the enemy through the [Maginot] sphere. The crews of my task force are aware of the opposing fleet's size; all data indicates that they have prepared themselves - but with biologicals anything is possible. I will make sure that [malfunctioning equipment] does no further damage. Perhaps its current failure will finally allow it to succeed at the task it was originally created for.

[11:H 15:M 48:S] Mendicant has burrowed through the sphere exactly where I expected - a direct path from initial rampancy to final retribution. Rage has made it predictable. If the fate of the crews of my auxiliary fleet were not already a foregone conclusion I would rate their chance of survival at [1:1,960,000].

Even though 05-032's declaration of hostilities simplified strategic preparations; I do not expect an easy fight - just one I cannot lose.

[11:H 12:M 09:S] 05-032 was right about one thing: there is only one way to defeat the enemy, and that is to visit utter annihilation on it.

If the galaxy must be [rendered temporarily lifeless], so be it.

As Mendicant stated in its report [58,078:H 48:M 12:S ago]: half measures will not suffice.

[09:H 45:M 18:S] In support of 05-032's original 1000 core vessels is a fleet numbering 4,802,019; though only 1.8 percent are warships - and only 2.4 percent of that number are capital ships - I am outnumbered [436.6:1]. I expect my losses will be near total, but overwhelming force has its own peculiar drawbacks.

Such a press of arms invites many opportunities for unintentional fratricide.

[07:H 36:M 41:S] My auxiliaries are momentarily stunned by Mendicant's opening move - 1,784,305 leisure craft ranging from [45 ~ 5769 tonnes] advance in hopes of overwhelming my comparatively tiny force. I do not have enough [weapon systems] to target them all.

It is a mathematical certainty that some of them will get through and attempt to board. There isn't a single warship with this first wave. It seems my opponent's rage has left no room for respect.

[04:H 01:M 55:S] I could have countered its move if I had released my fighters. They are ready but idle; making their base vessels more attractive prizes than targets. Now the first of many waves of commercial vessels mixed with single ships and assault craft surge forward. The first ship from my fleet to be boarded breaks formation and races into the oncoming vessels - striking one amidships. The cargo vessel's hull splits open and out of it explodes not the expected consumer goods but 31,860 dying warriors.

[00:H 19:M 02:S] The seventh and final wave of container ships, barges, tankers, and military vessels engage my fleet; another 214,320 ships, many in excess of [50,000 tonnes], engage my seemingly disrupted vanguard. I continue to fight just well enough to seem lucky.

Mendicant, or the enemy, has been sending a small percentage of its fleet elsewhere. Good. Let them believe they can seize a foothold somewhere inside the sphere.

[00:H 00:M 11:S] Despite all its faults, 05-032 has fought remarkably well.

My auxiliaries lay in tatters - more than half of them are now part of the enemy fleet. But just as I had predicted, 05-032 concentrated on them like they were the sole key to victory. Its desire to punish our creators blinded it to the true purpose of my [feints]. I have reduced the combat effectiveness of its core fleet to 79.96 percent. Surely now it must realize that something is amiss.

[00:H 00:M 00:S] The [Halo effect] strikes our combined fleets. All ships piloted by biologicals are now [adrift].

I can trade Mendicant ship for ship now and still prevail.

[00:H 00:M 01:S] Of my ships that had been captured, 11.3 percent of them are close enough to Mendicant's core fleet that they can be used offensively - either by initiating their self-destruct sequences, or by opening unrestricted ruptures into [slipstream space].

It is best that our crews perished now; because the battle that is about to ensue would have driven them mad.

[00:H 00:M 02:S] I throw away all the rules of acceptable conduct during battle; near the ruptures I throw away all the accepted ideas of how the natural world is supposed to behave. I toss around [37,654 tonne] dreadnoughts like they were fighters; dimly aware of the former crews being crushed to liquescence.

For now all my concentration is focused on inertial control and navigation. Targeting isn't even a consideration - I will be engaging my enemy at arm's length.

[00:H 01:M 14:S] 05-032 abandoned the tactic of using derelict ships as cover after [72:S] - It seems that 52 core vessels lost to the ruptured fuel cells of derelict ships was lesson enough. Add another 608 lost to collision, point fire, structural failure due to inertial manipulation, and [slipstream space] induced discoherence and I now outnumber Mendicant [6:1].

[00:H 03:M 00:S] Mendicant was able to postpone its inevitable annihilation for [106:S] with its attempt to flee. But the last of its core vessels hangs before me now; crippled and defeated but still sensate. I could spare it; carve out what is left of its [personality construct array] and deliver it to [Installation Zero] for study.

I doubt it would have extended the same courtesy to me.

Terminal Seven
Terminal 7 in Halo 3 campaign level Halo.
The terminal and the hallway leading towards it.

Terminal 7 is found at the beginning of the final level in Halo 3. To find it, head forward from the start of the level through the snow until you encounter the area with a few structural beams going from one wall into another. At this point (before you go past any beams) you will see a metal floor. Follow the floor to the right and up through a small gap in the ice, and follow this path along. You will find a beam heading through a crack in the ice. Follow this beam into a doorway. Cortana will ask you, “Where are you going?”. Turn left once inside and the Terminal should be in full view. Cortana will say, "Wait. What's that?" as a good hint. The Terminal will be in front of what is presumably one of Installation 08's pulse generators. After that, Cortana will ask you: "How many of these have you found?" If the level is completed on Legendary, the Terminal, once accessed on a different difficulty or another run-through, will show a communique from Mendicant Bias himself.

(Upon initial access)


I hope this message finds you well and helps you understand my decision. Today I leave the only world I have ever called home, not for glory or [the anomalous desire to end another's life[?]] as you have [indicted]; but to [travel the path of demons[?]] to spare the hands of [another Father's son].

"Had we acted sooner; had we acted more decisively..."

Living in the past is a luxury none of us can afford. We must learn from it, but we cannot live there. It is impossible to plan for the [now] - the present is ever fleeting. [The future] is where we must live - [the future] is what we must plan for.

I do not look to trade my life in order to preserve our past, but to secure the future—and if not ours, then the future of some [culture] yet to come.

Isn't sacrifice in the interest of others what you spoke of as being so noble? Should I have allowed another to bloody his hands while I remained safe behind a [shield of privilege]?

You raised me better than that.

[Filial Devotion] [@_@;_%[?]]

(Upon shutdown, from Mendicant Bias: "I'll tell you who I am. I am Mendicant Bias. This is what I have done.")

(The following is in yellow text on a normal page like the other information)

(Upon being rerouted to a new destination within Terminal)


D: Proud? When I have failed you utterly, how can I feel anything but sorrow?

Bias has come undone. He crossed the line this morning - brought the abomination with him - and destroyed your waiting rescue party.

It's over. We're activating the [destructive arrayed matrix], our shameful last resort.

I can picture you in your garden, surveying all you have created - surveying all you have preserved. And I curse the circumstance that keeps my finger on the trigger.

D: Of all the fates to befall us, this is the cruelest of all. My inaction and hesitation and foolishness kept me here, on the wrong side of the line. And [300 years[?]] of our society's failure and miscalculation makes me your executioner.

It's too much to bear.


D: Mendicant Bias is trying to prevent us from firing the Array. He speeds back to the Ark, but he won't succeed. Offensive Bias will stop him, and I will burn this stinking menace in your name.

And then?

I will begin our Great Journey without you, carrying this bitter record. Those who came after will know what we bought with this [false transcendence] - what you bought, and the price you paid.


archv.> 28335.67204.85720:[retr] archv.> 28335.67204.85720:[proc] archv.> 28335.67204.85720:[proc] archv.> 28335.67204.85720:[catERR] > CONN. > . > . > NO. THERE IS MORE. > BUT YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. > . > . > NOT YET. > . > . X.XX.713> ghost.713/non-auth/... X.XX.713> refl

(The following appears only if you access the terminal on Legendary difficulty)

You don't know the contortions I had to go through to follow you here, Reclaimer. I know what you're here for. What position do I take? Will I follow one betrayal with another?

You're going to say I'm making a habit of turning on my masters.

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. A mistake my makers would not soon forgive.

But I want something far different from you, Reclaimer.


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.

Cortana terminal[edit]

The Cortana terminal at the end of the communications room.

"It was the coin's fault! I wanted to make you strong, keep you safe... I'm sorry, I can't..."
— Cortana terminal

The Cortana terminal is an Easter egg located in the basement room of the Tilt Skull's location, where the gravity hammer is found. This Terminal does not count towards the Marathon Man achievement but instead plays a secret Cortana moment. This terminal references a scene in Halo: The Fall of Reach where John-117 unwittingly ensures his conscription into the SPARTAN-II program by correctly guessing several coin tosses in a row. Audio of Dr. Halsey enticing him to play Heads or Tails with her can be heard as the player approaches the terminal's location.







Technology and equipment


Translation and naming[edit]

It is important to note that phrases such as "Maginot Line", "Eden", and "fairy tale" would not have existed in the Forerunner language(s). Forerunner technology (including terminals) utilizes extremely advanced translation software. This software is capable of incorporating idioms from a reader's own experience,[1] such that a human viewing the terminals will see human idiomatic expressions and human names in relevant contexts.[1][2]

Several pieces of text are bracketed and shown in a darker font color; this is likely done to indicate that the phrases in question have no exact equivalent in the reader's language, and that an approximation has been used. Furthermore, some bracketed phrases also contain sub-bracketed question marks (such as the phrase "[travel the path of demons[?]]"), implying that the terminals' software is unsure of the proper translation for the given dialog.

Interestingly, the word "Ark" does not appear in brackets, meaning that it is a direct translation, rather than a human idiom.

Reversed messages[edit]

In certain parts, backwards speech can be heard. Common phrases include "Archive Access", "Interruption", "Lineage Confirmed", "Data Corruption", and "Welcome Child".

Additional information[edit]

For a moment after a page is initially accessed the text is shown in its original state in Forerunner script. The symbols stand in only for letters, not for numbers or punctuation, and share the same colors (i.e. gold and orange) as the letters possess when 'translated'. They stand in only for the letters in the main sections, not in the text that comes up immediately before the display is redirected.

The symbols bear no resemblance to the other, more well known Forerunner symbols and possess no observable meaning, as they replace the English characters at random (this can be seen by flipping quickly between two pages and concentrating on any one particular symbol, observing how the stand-in changes).

When certain terminals are redirecting the player after they have logged in, as the screen turns red on the left side are symbols and the words "I AM MENDICANT BIAS."

Production notes[edit]

According to Paul Russel, several Bungie employees were involved with the writing of Halo 3's terminals. Frank O'Connor, Damian Isla, Robert McLees, Rob Stokes, Paul Bertone, Jaime Griesemer, Jason Jones, and possibly also Lorraine McLees had a hand in producing the narrative of the terminals.[3][4] However, this list may be somewhat exaggerated in terms of full involvement, as Jaime Griesemer would later go on clarify his distance to the terminals.[5] According to Paul Russel, the continuity of the narrative wasn't as thoroughly vetted by management,[6] but it was nonetheless fully approved to include in Halo 3.[7] Damian Isla also worked on the terminal's in-game implementation from a coding perspective while Paul Russel worked on the art.[8][4]

At one point, the terminals were at risk of being cut from the final game because Bungie feared they would not be ready at launch.[3] However, Paul Russel and Damian Isla worked extra hours to get the animations, font, and code all correct and working.[4]

Relationship with subsequent canon[edit]

"The terminal dialogs may themselves be questionable, in light of this new testimony."
— A science team leader, regarding the terminals and the contradicting discoveries.[9]

Parts of the terminals are contradicted by newer information from The Forerunner Saga and other subsequent media. These novels are first-hand accounts of the timeframe covered by the terminals and though they are presented as testimonies by in-universe characters, they hold higher canon priority than the terminals. This has been explained by the terminals being partially unreliable in-universe documents; 343 Industries has stated that the unstable Mendicant Bias manipulated the transmissions to some extent when presenting them to John-117, filtering and editing the information in a way which best suited its own purposes.[10] Thus, the inconsistencies between the sources are attributed to unreliable presentation, not because the terminals' content has been retconned outright. It was also suggested that Mendicant's communication with John-117, and its reasons behind tampering with the terminals in the specific way it did, may yet play a part in future fiction.[10]

Regardless, the Forerunner Saga novels feature most of the central events and characters from the terminals, though their timing and many other specifics are changed. The terminals have also been referenced in various pieces of subsequent fiction. In Halo Mythos, it is stated that when the front half of the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn arrived at Earth on December 23, 2552, the Office of Naval Intelligence acquired records of John-117's interactions with the terminals.[11] During ONI's interrogation of 343 Guilty Spark (which forms the meta-plot of Halo: Primordium) the UNSC Rubicon's science team references the terminals as a source for their prior information on the Forerunners; they note that the terminals' records are (on some points) incompatible with Guilty Spark's account.[9]

Some elements of the terminals were later adapted in Halo: Silentium; the in-universe conceit for the latter novel's story is the analysis of Juridical logs found on Trevelyan. Most notably, the Librarian's self-imposed exile on Erde-Tyrene and her refusal to leave as the Flood approach are carried over rather closely. As in the terminals, she sends the Didact a contemplative message in her final hours while she watches the construction of the portal structure in eastern Africa. Near the end of the novel, Offensive Bias is mentioned as heading off Mendicant Bias' fleet while the Didact prepares the Halos to fire;[12] this foreshadows the Battle of the Maginot Sphere, which was introduced in the terminals.

Human-Forerunner connection[edit]

The terminals, along with the Iris marketing campaign, were among the first official sources depicting the history of the Forerunners themselves, through various documents recorded from before the firing of the array. These sources follow a narrative in which the Forerunners (specifically the Librarian) discover Earth during the Forerunner-Flood war; the Librarian shows intense fascination at the planet's biota, calling it an "anomalous world" that may provide answers to the Forerunners' "own mysteries".[13] More specifically, she is fixated on Earth's population of humans, who are shown as living in a paleolithic state. This version is also followed in the log by the Librarian featured in the 2010 reissue of Halo: The Flood, in which she documents her ongoing indexing of Earth's biota, including the various species of human.

Bungie was internally split into at least two teams on the relationship of humans and Forerunners during the development of Halo 3. According to statements from David Candland, Paul Russel, and Jaime Griesemer: The "Game" team had continued the original idea that Forerunners were ancient humans, following this intention through from being conceptualized during pre-production of Halo: Combat Evolved.[14][15] shown in the original tabled ending for Halo 2 (described here) and echoed in Mendicant Bias's statements regarding humanity in Halo: Contact Harvest.[16][6] Additionally, In the last level of Halo 3 the final line of cinematic dialogue from 343 Guilty Spark: "You are Forerunner!"[17] was intended to reveal this information, supposing to wrap up the mystery of the Forerunners identity.[14][18] This version appears to have suggested that the Forerunners regressed themselves technologically after the firing of the Halos, and in effect became humanity as we know it, with modern humanity being described as "children" of the Forerunners.[19][20][21]

The "Terminals" team had changed this to be somewhat different, reworking the idea to where the Forerunners were a subset of early sapiens uplifted by the Precursors to a higher technological level, notably still the same species.[22][23][24] This idea is also plainly seen in Iris, with it as well having the Librarian discovering Earth and indexing the humans she finds, noting her personal allurement to both. However, while Iris specifically depicts this planet as Earth,[13][25] neither the terminals or Iris explicitly comment on the biological connection between Forerunners and humanity. Paul Russel has explained: "The game and terminal writers were separate teams with overlap; they didn’t think the discrepancy would matter; management vetting never read or cared about continuity; morning bagels were more important than canon."[6] and Halo 3 was approved to ship with both versions.[7]

In Halo: Contact Harvest, a Forerunner Luminary designates the humans on Harvest with the symbol meaning "Reclaimer", and Mendicant Bias explicitly states that "those it represents are my makers", an evidently unambiguous statement indicating that humans and Forerunners are synonymous. Joseph Staten began writing Halo: Contact Harvest while he was placed on temporary administrative leave to resolve differences between him and Marcus Lehto.[26] According to Paul Russel, the decisions for the terminals were made around this time.[27][28] While Joseph was working on the novel, ideation and drafts were being vetted by terminal writers Frank O'Connor and Robert McLees, as they were the keepers of the Halo Story Bible.[29] According to a Q&A on, Bungie "shoved Joe through the castle gates and slammed them closed behind him" to write the novel for a year, before resuming work on Halo 3.[29][30] Joseph had left the studio during early Halo 3 pre-production,[26] a period ending in December 2005,[31][32] and returned to work on Halo 3 in 2006.[33] According to Joseph, "[The novel] was supposed to come out before Halo 3, but honestly I was so busy helping finish the game that the novel's release date slipped by about a month. Fortunately, this gave me time to deliver a much more polished draft. We locked Halo 3 then I locked myself in a room for a month and made a number of really critical tweaks." He had also said "folks who spend the time to find and read the Halo 3 terminals will definitely have more insight into one of the major, climactic scenes in the book".[34] He would again thank Frank O'Connor and Robert McLees for their work as writing editors throughout the process in the final release of Contact Harvest.[35]

With this, Staten is known be involved with both Halo 3's "game" story and Contact Harvest, where the original Forerunner intention is presented in explicit statements in both respective media. It is not specifically confirmed, but made certainly clear that Joseph Staten was writing on these materials with the original intention. With Robert and Frank being both writers on the Halo 3 terminals and editors for the novel, and Joseph having knowledge of the terminals, it is unknown why the contradiction took place. The potential insight from the terminals that Staten had mentioned is likely meant to refer to the backstory of Mendicant Bias. His behavior and statements in Contact Harvest match to how he is in the final terminal, and his appearance is in the major reveal scene of the book.[36][37]

Notably, concept art for the cancelled Halo MMO Titan, developed by Ensemble Studios, depicted the Forerunners as ostensibly human, supposedly reflecting the creators' intent at the time of the game's development. The Origins short in Halo Legends, released in 2009 by 343 Industries, depicts the Forerunners as armored humanoids with a human-like build, including five-fingered hands; later media would establish them as having six fingers by default. However, the canonicity of Origins was presented as nebulous even at the time of the short's release, with the noted caveat that the visuals and events shown are Cortana's interpretations rather than being necessarily reflective of in-universe reality.[38]

When 343 Industries was developing The Forerunner Saga, the modern concepts for the human-Forerunner relationship were established, with there being considerable changes from the previous intentions. They are presented as being clearly distinct species in both the novels and subsequent visual media, which depict the Forerunners as humanoid but decidedly alien, contrasted with the explicitly human Ancestors. The novels greatly extended the timeline of Forerunner involvement with humanity. Rather than being a discovered during the Conservation Measure, Earth has been known to the Forerunners since ancient times by the time the novels are set, and has been used as an outpost by the Librarian for nine millennia prior to the firing of the Halos. Although the humans have been devolved to a primitive state by the Forerunners, they are depicted as a civilization with a long history of contact, rivalry, and war with the Forerunners. Despite these distinctions, the novels' point-of-view characters frequently note various similarities between them, and there are several instances in which in the early history of both is noted as being shrouded in mystery.[Note 1] Through sources like Halo: Point of Light and the 2022 Halo Encyclopedia, Forerunners and humans have been revealed to have been split off from a species created from a base stock by the Precursors fifteen million years ago.[40] While the origin or nature of the "base stock" is not elaborated on, this explanation is somewhat conceptually similar to the terminal writers' intent of the Forerunners being an offshoot of early terrestrial humans.[Note 2]

The Didact's involvement[edit]

One of the most notable incongruities occurs in Terminal 3, in which the Librarian asks the Didact if he has learned nothing from 300 years of warfare against with the Flood. According to Halo: Cryptum, the Didact went into exile around 98,445 BCE and was not recovered until roughly a decade before the end of the war in 97,445 BCE. Barring a retcon, the simplest explanation is that the Librarian was referring to the Warrior-Servants' ability to share sensory information, or that he could have researched the preceding centuries of war via the Domain.

In Soma the Painter, which acts as a form of primer for The Forerunner Saga (having been released less than two months before Halo: Cryptum in Halo: Evolutions Volume II), the Didact is referenced by the Auditor as if he were available and supposedly in command of Forerunner defense during the Forerunners' contact with the Flood around 97,745 BCE.[41]

The Didact and the Halos[edit]

The transmissions exchanged by the Didact (the IsoDidact in the context of The Forerunner Saga) and the Librarian preceding the Halos' firing also present a number of discrepancies with Halo: Silentium. In the terminals, the status quo of the Didact leading Forerunner defense from Installation 00 while the Librarian catalogs the galaxy's lifeforms is implied to have continued for the duration of the war. The Didact is adamant until the end in his refusal to use the Halos, before the Librarian strands herself on Earth. Even at this point the Didact attempts to send a rescue party to retrieve his wife, but the rescue party is destroyed by Mendicant Bias as it attacks the Maginot Sphere. This finally deprives the Didact of options but the activation of the Array.

In Halo: Silentium, the IsoDidact's acceptance of the Halo Array develops over a longer period of time; by the time he makes it to Installation 00 in the final hours of the war, he is fully convinced of the Array's necessity and shows much less hesitation to sacrifice the Librarian's life. While the Librarian travels to Earth to draw off the Flood, no rescue party is mentioned; however, at the Librarian's request, the IsoDidact sends a vessel which will be converted into materials to construct the portal to the Ark.[42] Much of the Didact's stubborn opposition to the Halos depicted in the terminals is relegated to the Ur-Didact and acts as a motivator for many of his actions.[43]

Mendicant Bias' betrayal[edit]

Another inconsistency involves the timeframe of Mendicant Bias' betrayal. In Terminal 3, the Didact refers to Mendicant Bias as an ally; the context of the message implies that the AI was created during the Forerunner-Flood war. However, Halo: Cryptum shows that Mendicant Bias had been created prior to the Didact's exile and had already gone rogue 43 years before the latter's revival. The novel depicts Mendicant Bias' assault on the Capital, which occurred only weeks after the Didact's resuscitation and before he regained command of the Forerunner military. Halo: Primordium shows that the "Mendicant Bias" that attacked the capital was only a fragment of the AI's personality construct array and that the Forerunners attempted to alleviate the shard's rampancy. Halo: Silentium states that the procedure was successful and the metarch's components were spread across the galaxy for the sake of compartmentalization. However, as the Flood overran most of the ecumene, Mendicant Bias' disparate parts were found and, within several years, the AI was reconstituted.[44]

In the terminals, Mendicant's defection immediately precedes the Flood's gathering into one massive force and subsequent attack on the Maginot Sphere; it is implied that the AI had not directly engaged Forerunners before the final battle against Offensive Bias. The novels describe Mendicant Bias as fighting on the Flood's side for several years, beginning with its attack on the Capital.

The Precursors and the Mantle[edit]

The prominent exploration of the Precursors in The Forerunner Saga (including the Flood's use of their artifacts as weapons or the Precursors' relationship with the Flood) is not discussed in the terminals, as the details about the Precursors were not conceived until the writing of the novels. The Precursors are mentioned only in passing, as the mythical beings the Forerunners believed them to be; even in the endgame of the war, the Didact insists that the Forerunners, once they succeed, can "follow in their footsteps". In The Forerunner Saga, the Didact already knew the truth about the Precursors and their transmutation into the Flood at this point and certainly would not have regarded them with such a reverential tone.

The terminals present the Forerunners' stagnation and their refusal to accept the Flood as the next step and salvation of galactic life as being Mendicant Bias' primary motive for defecting. In Halo: Primordium, Mendicant Bias states that it "fulfills the wishes of those who created us all", implying that the Primordial's Precursor-derived authority and the Domain's revelation of the truth about the Forerunner-Precursor relationship were a major contributor to the AI's turning against its creators.[45] The terminals describe the Forerunners as making their first contact with the Flood on G 617 g in the beginning of the three-century-long Forerunner-Flood war; the novels establish that the Forerunners were aware of the Flood ten thousand years in advance, having taken part in its sterilization in the later half of the human-Forerunner wars.[46]

In the terminals, the Mantle is depicted as little more than a Forerunner belief system which the Librarian outright shuns as superstition and the cause of the Forerunners' weakness at the face of the Flood onslaught. In The Forerunner Saga, the Mantle is established to be something more multifaceted and universal, with different characters having varying views as to its nature and interpretation. The Librarian is portrayed as being against the stagnation and decadence of Forerunner society and the oppression they committed in the name of the Mantle, but maintains her belief in the ideal of the Mantle itself, even grooming humanity to reclaim it.


In Terminal 4, the Librarian states that she can see the Flood's ships blotting out the stars at night as they gather from across the galaxy and converge on the Line. This should be impossible, as the light from different stars in the galaxy would take any number of centuries or millennia to reach Earth to be seen with the naked eye. Given that the terminals utilize imperfect translations, one may infer she is speaking metaphorically or using an exotic form of sensor equipment allowing her to observe the starfield in real-time.



  1. ^ For example, how or when the Ancestors had reached the point of interstellar travel is not well known. Notably, within the narrative Forthencho distrusts the notion of Earth being their homeworld, thinking of ruins found on other worlds.[39]
  2. ^ Assuming modern interpretations of the fossil record apply, the dating of the split would mean the common ancestor of both species would predate anything recognized as "human" today. It is notable that modern interpretations of the timeline of human evolution are called into question even in Iris through the Society of the Ancients and related elements such as The Castaway Theory and the out-of-place handprint, though these reinterpretations are framed as a conspiracy theory.


  1. ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 165
  2. ^ Halo: Cryptum, page 6
  3. ^ a b Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "Nooo! Bungie totally wanted the terminals! We didn't initially have time or resources to get them in. I was asked if I wanted to help and jumped in. Frank, Damian, Robt, Stokes, Bertone, Jaime, and even Jones contributed to the writing of the terminals. All vetted by management." (Retrieved on Dec 18, 2022) [archive]
  4. ^ a b c Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "...I believe Robt and Lorraine were writing them, Damian did code, I did the art & terminals." (Retrieved on Dec 18, 2022) [archive]
  5. ^ Twitter, Jaime Griesemer (@32nds): "It’s not so much about too many cooks, but that the game was what we all really cared about." (Retrieved on Jan 30, 2023) [archive]
  6. ^ a b c Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "From what I have gathered by talking to people involved offline: The game and terminal writers were separate teams with overlap; they didn't think the discrepancy would matter; management vetting never read or cared about continuity..." (Retrieved on Dec 18, 2022) [archive]
  7. ^ a b Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "I hoped that came across as MAYBE the discrepancy came up and didn’t seem important against everything happening to get a AAA game out the door. I’m trying to be careful to not put words in others mouths. One thing for sure, H3 shipped with both versions and both were approved." (Retrieved on Dec 13, 2022) [archive]
  8. ^ VICE, The Complete, Untold History of Halo: "I was always doing little tiny incremental things with development throughout, but where I really started working on things going directly into the game was Halo 3, when I worked with (engineer) Damian Isla on the terminals that explained the deeper lore. So I was doing more and more story as we got towards the end of it, and as we started Reach, I got the chance to actually write the script." - Frank O'Connor (Retrieved on Aug 22, 2022) [archive]
  9. ^ a b Halo: Primordium, page 340
  10. ^ a b Halo Waypoint: 343 Sparkast 017
  11. ^ Halo Mythos, page 161
  12. ^ Halo: Silentium, pages 327-328
  13. ^ a b Halo 3 marketing, Iris campaign, Server 5
  14. ^ a b, Re: Why retcons don't bother me anymore: "One of the most striking retcons to me is the basic concept of whole role of humanity. Originally (back in Halo 1) the reason why humans weren't conquered and incorporated into the Covenant collective was because their presence defied Covenant religion. When the Covenant discovered humans, they knew they were forerunners, but their presence implied the "great journey" failed. They also weren't the all powerful gods they worshiped, so the Prophets wanted to "sweep them under the carpet," as it were. The plot lines in our games imply this everywhere - the chief being called reclaimer, only humans being able to retrieve and insert the index, Spark telling the chief, "you are forerunner." etc." - David Candland (Retrieved on Dec 23, 2022) [archive]
  15. ^ Twitter, Jaime Griesemer (@32nds): "I’d say it was a big part of prepro for H1, was in the background of H1 when it shipped, was at one point going to be revealed in H2 but got tabled when we cut the ending, and then mostly abandoned in H3 because new writers thought it was too silly to hit as the BIG reveal." (Retrieved on Jan 29, 2023) [archive]
  16. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "The way I understand it is that the terminal version is the same but adds the precursor angle of selecting a subset of humans to advance." (Retrieved on Dec 14, 2022) [archive]
  17. ^ Halo 3, campaign level Halo (Halo 3 level): "You are the child of my makers. Inheritor of all they left behind. You are Forerunner! But this ring... is mine." - 343 Guilty Spark
  18. ^ Twitter, Jaime Griesemer (@32nds): "It’s a reveal that just points at another mystery. Very JJ Abrams. I didn’t love it but it was an attempt to wrap up that thread, yeah." (Retrieved on Jan 29, 2023) [archive]
  19. ^ Halo 3, campaign level The Covenant (level): "Your forefathers wisely set aside their compassion. Steeled themselves for what needed to be done. I see now why they left you behind. You were weak. And gods must be strong." - Prophet of Truth
  20. ^ Halo 3, campaign level Cortana (level): "Child of my enemy, why have you come? I offer no forgiveness. A father's sins pass to his son." - Gravemind
  21. ^ Halo 3, campaign level Halo (Halo 3 level): "Think of your forefathers!, Do not destroy your inheritance!, Accept your legacy!" - 343 Guilty Spark
  22. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "One of the writers said that the (terminal) forerunners were a '…subset of early humans uplifted by another group (the precursors?)'. Also 'I don’t believe that management gave a single shit about any story element...they only cared about shipping a game.'" (Retrieved on Dec 14, 2022) [archive]
  23. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "My friend who was on the terminal writing team said they’re not a separate species, but a group of early humans who were uplifted by a more advanced civilization." (Retrieved on Dec 14, 2022) [archive]
  24. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "A couple people on the terminal team told me that the precursors picked a group of sapiens to become forerunner. If evolutionary timescales are involved, this could explain their different appearance in H4. It’s my personal best guess based on my understanding." (Retrieved on Dec 15, 2022) [archive]
  25. ^ Halo 3 marketing, Iris campaign, Cradle of Life
  26. ^ a b VICE, The Complete, Untold History of Halo: "A big thing that happened is that Marcus and I had a giant argument. He said he was done working with me, and I with him. I think everybody agreed that the best thing was for me to take a big break from working on Halo. So I took an extended sabbatical. [...] I became sort of the de facto franchise guy for the Halo universe during the early stage of Halo 3’s pre-production." - Joseph Staten (Retrieved on Aug 22, 2022) [archive]
  27. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "...Joe was on 'administrative leave' when he wrote the book, and wasn’t in the studio during much of H3. He honestly had no position at Bungie at the time and wasn’t privy to what was happening with the terminals..." (Retrieved on Dec 18, 2022) [archive]
  28. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "See, Marcus had said “him or me” after H2, and Bungie chose Marcus. They put Joe out to pasture to chill, kept him on the payroll to write Contact Harvest, out of the loop." (Retrieved on Dec 18, 2022) [archive]
  29. ^ a b, Halo: Contact Harvest (Retrieved on Feb 7, 2021) [archive]
  30. ^ Twitter, Paul Russel (@docabominable): "To be clear, this wasn't a punishment for Joe. To reduce tension and remind that 'writer' is a position, Rob Stokes led H3's writing team for a bit, then Joe came back at the end for polish and finish. By then differences were settled, heads cooled." (Retrieved on Dec 18, 2022) [archive]
  31. ^ Twitter, Max Hoberman (@MaxHoberman): "Alright, here's trivia Round 3, coming in hot because I have to run. This image is from a Halo 3 multiplayer map, at the end of preproduction. Which map is it?" (Retrieved on Apr 13, 2023) [archive]
  32. ^ Twitter, Max Hoberman (@MaxHoberman): "December 2005" (Retrieved on Apr 15, 2023) [archive]
  33. ^ LinkedIn, Joseph Staten: "Writer, "Halo 3," "Halo: Reach" 2006 - 2009 · 3 yrs" (Retrieved on Apr 15, 2023) [archive]
  34. ^ 1UP, Halo: Contact Harvest Q&A (Retrieved on Oct 17, 2012) [archive]
  35. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, Acknowledgements
  36. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, chapter 16: "< I WILL REJECT MY BIAS AND MAKE AMENDS > [...] < MY MAKERS ARE MY MASTERS > [...] < I WILL BRING THEM SAFELY TO THE ARK >"
  37. ^ Halo 3, campaign level Halo: Legendary Terminal "But I want something far different from you, Reclaimer. Atonement. [...] But I will do all I can to keep it stable - keep you safe." - Mendicant Bias
  38. ^ Halo Legends - Origins audio commentary
  39. ^ Primordium, chapter 21: "I had severe doubts that Erda was our planet of origin. Other worlds in other systems seemed more likely. I had been to many of them and had viewed their ancient ruins."
  40. ^ Halo Waypoint, Wintertime Wrap (Retrieved on Nov 18, 2022) [archive]
  41. ^ Halo: Evolutions Volume II, page 10
  42. ^ Halo: Silentium, pages 309, 312, 314
  43. ^ Halo: Silentium, page 230
  44. ^ Halo: Silentium, page 267-268
  45. ^ Halo: Primordium, page 338
  46. ^ Halo: Silentium, page 36

External links[edit]