The Halo Universe has an absolutely dizzying array of story threads that weave their way in and out of a variety of different mediums to tell the larger tale of the fiction. One of my favorite feelings is that moment of realization when you recognize that something you’ve just read or saw connects back and resonates with something you might have seen weeks, months, or even years before. Your Halo Universe Forum Monitors adore the fiction just like you, and absolutely love the life you all give to it with the discussions you create and become involved with.
With this in mind, we’d like to start a weekly series of exploring a hidden corner of the fiction. Basically a conversation-starter that will take a look at some of the scattered stories around the Halo Universe. It could be from a short film, a short story, a motion comic, or even an art book entry, but it will all be to discuss how it ties back the the greater tale being told. And hey, even fiction veterans might find something they missed, or perhaps just haven’t revisited in a while, and it will be a great time to get reacquainted with whatever details we present! Also, in case these little discussion events make you curious about where you can find even more avenues to learn more about the Halo story, you can check out this post here for one easy place to see all the spots you can look in.
Our first entry will focus be on the short story “Petra”, from the adjunct section of the 2010 reissue of Halo: First Strike.
The story is set post-Halo 3, after the Human-Covenant War, and focuses on war journalist Petra Janecek. It takes place on Forseti, a colony miraculously left unscathed by the Covenant during the war. While on Forseti, Petra is gathering intel for a new story about the final days of the war, but for better or worse, she’s never one to settle for what’s on the surface. We learn that she has managed to somehow procure the transmission sent by Cortana to the UNSC while she was still trapped on a Flood-infested High Charity. We all remember the famous dialogue, where Cortana reveals that there is a “solution to the Flood” to be found at the Lesser Ark. A solution that doesn’t have to involve firing the remaining Halo rings. Janecek simply cannot shake the thought from her head that there is potentially a lot more to what Cortana was saying, and that the end result that we saw in the closing events of Halo 3, where Chief lights the replacement 04 ring, was not necessarily what Cortana had in mind in her message.
Personally, I adored this story from the beginning, as it exactly echoed thoughts and doubts that I had had on my own, from the moment I heard Cortana say those same words my first time through Halo 3. I remember thinking, “I don’t think this is what she meant… I feel like there is more…” Judging by both the story of Petra, as well as newly-revealed information in all three books of the Forerunner Saga, it might be true.
What do you all think? What was Cortana’s solution on the Lesser Ark? Does it have something to do with what we now know about the nature of Humanity, Forerunners, or The Flood? What might this mean for the over-arching story going forward? Bring your speculation caps, boys and girls… let’s do this.