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Some answers to your questions
I took the liberty of answering some of your questions.
Halo: Combat Evolved
What's the precise definition of "reclaimer"?
- Claim would be in relation to "claimant" - a claimant to a throne would be someone with a legitimate claim to it as a successor. "re-claimer", therefore, would be synonymous with "claimant" - reclaimers would have legitimate claim to Forerunner technology as the successors of the mantle. This is why humans are allowed access to Forerunner technology, and why Tartarus was forced to keep Miranda alive well after I would have lost it.
On The Library, why does Guilty Spark seem to say he's grateful that some Flood survived to reproduce? Is he still getting the hang of English? Is he talking to someone besides the player, and it makes sense in context?
- He is referring to the species that repopulated the galaxy. The vagueness is intended so that the player does not understand the story until Two Betrayals.
What's the meaning of the Coral and Sacred Promise segments in Conversations?
- Coral is a planet mentioned in i love bees - the story is intended to pay homage to 4orty2wo. The Sacred Promise was a ship mentioned in the transmissions, an early ARG for Halo: Combat Evolved, set during the Pillar of Autumn's journey to Installation 04 and the subsequent battle that takes place. Sacred Promise was attacked by the Autumn over Installation 04 while Cortana still had control of the MAC - before John's arrival on the bridge.
How'd the ONI-developed bubble shield come to be standard equipment for Brutes?
- In the Halo 2 level "Uprising" we see that the Jiralanae have captured human weapons placed inside an armoury. It can be inferred that they see nothing wrong with using other technologies.
Was the detonation of the second Installation 04 powerful enough to destroy the Ark permanently, or will it eventually repair itself and rebuild the installation, possibly with Flood still on it? Is anyone planning an expedition to find out?
- The Encyclopedia states that the Ark was destroyed. While it is possible for the sentinels to rebuild it, the Flood would not have survived due to exposure to vacuum. While an expedition may be possible, it would be unlikely to take place until after ONI has worked out how to re-activate the portal generator under Mombasa.
Is the Legendary Planet located near where the Ark was or somewhere else? What kind of beacon does Cortana drop, and how many years will it take to reach someone? Will the Chief wake, and if so, when and where?
- As Cortana said in the epilogue, the Forward Unto Dawn was partially-inside the portal when it closed, leaving John stranded near the Ark - as the ring was on its default setting it only targetted the Flood "super cell", leaving John alive. The beacon is likely slipspace-capable like others throughout the series, and so will reach the UEG in less time than the distance between Earth and the Ark, which is at a minimum of around 237,144ly. Even with slipapce a Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine can only go so fast - if it is unaffected by any temporal anomalies within slipspace it would take more than two hundred thousand years to get home.
Will Cortana succumb to her seven-year lifespan or find a way to outlast it? Or is the seven-year lifespan being considered non-canon?
- Cortana went online in 2549, and recent stories have shown that she is still affected by the "seven-year lifespan". However, it should be noted that the seven-year period is not literal or exact - it is the average amount of time a smart AI is expected to run for before becomming corrupt. In her time in space she has still not found a way to prolong her stable runtime.
Does the line "I'll clear it with Admiral Cole" imply canon-violating FTL communication?
- UNSC ships have been known to send out satellite beacons for communication through slipspace - you record a message; deploy it and wait for it to come out at the specified coordinates. The ship you are communicating with will then receive the message and answer in the same way. Think of it as having an Email account using a very laggy server - it could take minutes or even an hour for it to finally arrive.
If Brutes and Engineers were encountered at Harvest, and humans learned the Covenant were after Forerunner relics, then why are all three (as well as possibly Drones) unknown in FoR and First Strike? Were they covered up for some reason?
- The FoR and FS information was redacted in the 2010 revisions. The Huragok are not properly understood due to their few sightings, and ONI seems to prefer secrecy on their existence until enough intel. is gathered.
Halo: The Fall of Reach
Did the UNSC really leap from no artificial gravity to ubiquitous artificial gravity in the time between 2517 and
2552 2528? If so, how?(Edit: Not sure if this resolves it.)
- Artificial gravity exists today, though is currently too weak to have use in space. While the Tiara had near-Earth artifical gravity in 2524, it can be assumed that it was a recent brakethrough and that many ships still had not been fitted with such technology.
How much about the wider galaxy is being kept secret by those in power, and why? When were the Forerunners first learned of?
- Knowledge of the Forerunners' existence was present in the 26th century, though not particularly well. Anders had made a presenation on Forerunner symbols, though their nature and their makers were unknown. The first confirmable discovery of Forerunner technology was the Coral artefact, which ONI was well-aware of, though the Arcadia ruins were not too far away from an ONI base.
Halo: The Flood
Was Marvin Mobuto a Spartan-I?
- The Spartan comment was not to be taken literally - John was saying that his impressive survival and tactical skills were spartan-like.
What's a slipbeacon? If it's what it sounds like, why have they never been seen in other stories?
- Ship beacons have been encountered in Evolutions; Cole was said to have abused the functionality of a distress beacon to trap an insurrectionist ship.
Did Black Team escape the installation in the end? If they didn't, how does that square with Halsey's comment in FoR about only three deaths in the past decade? If they did, what happened to their knowledge of the Flood?
- The Blood Line story is set after the Fall of Reach, which occured at the same time as Black Team's mission in Halo: Evolutions (same star system). If they returned to Earth it may have been after John's arrival, and so a Flood warning would no longer be necessary.
Why do female Elites have breasts?
- While the Sangheili appear reptillian, nothing strictly rules out the development of mammary glands.
How'd John survive a two-week flight from Delta Halo to Earth? Was there some kind of time dilation? Was he protected by Mendicant Bias? If so, how, and what did he make of it?
- In physics, travel at particularly high velocities will affect time/space noticably, leading time around you to pass much slowly. The UNSC is aware of this, and cryo-tubes were added onto human vessels - while they were experiencing time much slower than (for example) Earth, it was not slow enough to allow the crew to live normally (a ship of severl hundred men and women would use up resources during a month-long slipspace journey). While John was on the Forerunner ship between November 3 and November 17, time within the vessel may have only been a few days.