Cortana (SPOILERS)

I finished solo Legendary a few hours ago. We’re left not really knowing what becomes of Cortana. Does she fade into nothingness or what? My thoughts:

343 thinks that fighting the Covenant is so vital to Halo, it has to come back in this trilogy even though it makes no sense in the canon. Yeah, the books explain why, the they explain why because 343 wanted the Covenant to be enemies in the games, not the other way around. Even that they won’t let go of. What’s the two most important parts of Halo? The Chief and Cortana. If they can’t even let go of humans versus Covenant, there’s no way they’re letting go of Cortana, especially this early in the series.

At the end of Halo 4, although Cortana had lost most of her data, and presumable her chip, she was still intact. And it is clear she doesn’t need a chip, since she can move throughout networks. What comes after rampancy? Metastability. And that’s when an AI is said to be a full person. If any AI can achieve that, it’s Cortana. And if she’s metastable, does she even need a network, or has she transcended that? She certainly seemed to have transcendede that at the end of Halo 4. And perhaps this concept is also related to what the Truth And Reconciliation’s AI meant when it said it would be free (CEA terminal). And Cortana was clearly still intact, but had lost most of her data. What causes rampancy? Too much data. Too much thought. If she lost all that data, it’s the AI equivilent of anti-aging. Sure, this might go against the metastable theory, but perhaps losing the data which causes rampancy is part of the process to achieving metastability. And not to mention Cortana was more powerful than ever before at the end of Halo 4, surely a mere nuclear explosion couldn’t defeat her.

And if my theory is correct, perhaps the Forerunner technology which aimed to achieve immortality will be used for Cortana, so she’ll get a physical body (robotic, but still be far more real than, say, Spark).

As for how she escapes the nuclear explosion, either she manages it herself, or perhaps the Librarian rescues her, and maybe even (if she still relies on networks and computer chips) transfers her into either a Forerunner network (temporarily) or a body like I described in the previous paragraph.

And if she does get her own body, maybe she can take tissue from Halsey (sort of like what was stated as a possible way of saving her from rampancy in the earlier levels of Halo 4) to make it biomechanical, or even biological.

Cortana will come back… we’ll just have to wait to see how.

> And if my theory is correct, perhaps the Forerunner technology which aimed to achieve immortality will be used for Cortana, so she’ll get a physical body (robotic, but still be far more real than, say, Spark).
>
> Cortana will come back… we’ll just have to wait to see how.

I’ve mentioned in a few other posts that I believe this is 343 foreshadowing what’s to come, I completely agree.

If she has no limit on her “data storage” (I.E., she has a REAL brain,) then it cures her rampancy…and helps humans take another step forward to assume the mantle the Forerunners were so keen to keep. I think it’s going to take a great deal of character and humanity building in Chief to pull it off (Man and Machine coexisting, reaching a new level,) but that’s what they’ve said they want…to show Chief’s humanity.

If he begins this journey on one side of the spectrum, and Cortana on the other, then they’ll meet in the “middle” and have to break more then one barrier to get there, (physically and mentally.) This could also provide an interesting new chapter for Halsey as well, assuming she lives to the end of the series and gets to be a part of/see the outcome. She took Chief’s childhood and life away to make him what he is for the sake of mankind, but we all know she suffers from the guilt of it and what she did to the other Spartans.

Seeing Cortana made flesh (or transcend/etc however it ends up,) and Chief actually find a life beyond what’s usually in the cards for a Spartan might be a great point for her and would be interesting to see how it might actually bring some closure to her.

Very good points you add. I haven’t read many of the books yet, is the transcendence you mentioned detailed in the books, or are you just going off what little we hear in Halo 4?

> She took Chief’s childhood and life away

And gave Cortana life. Another situation where the Chief and Cortana come from opposite ends and meet in the middle (both ending up as key people in the war).

I also posted this on Bungie.net and somene expanded on what I said to say that perhaps the Composer will turn Cortana into a human. Maybe this is the same as transcendence, again I haven’t read the books yet, but it is an interesting addition to the theory either way.

Whether or not Cortana survives decides whether I love 343 beyond measure (for giving us the emotional ending of H4 but bringing her back) or hate 343 beyond measure.

I don’t know. They could have at leave given even the slightest, most minute allusion that Cortana wasn’t dead.

They did that for the Diadact with his post-credits speech. I’m sure as hell that a cheap shot grenade and a fall can’t kill such a powerful enemy and I have no doubt he will be back.

But they just let Cortana die just like that. Sure there is a chance that she’ll be back but there is nothing in the campaign that suggests otherwise. (aka not including books and other media)

They want us to think she’s dead. It makes it more emotional, both now and when we find out she’s alive.

Not related to COB’s post, but perhaps Cortana had some reason for choosing not to go with John but chose not to tell him for whatever reason, maybe feeling like there was no time to explain. Perhaps she wanted to take control of her rampancy, or reconnect with the data she lost in the explosion, or perhap she wanted to follow the Didact to finish him off, and knew she needed to do it alone. This paragraph is all very hypothetical, I do think Cortana will come back, but I don’t think any of this paragraph is correct. Just throwing around ideas.

I’ve actually not read any Halo novels either, so I’m going off what we’ve seen in game. The Librarian mentions that Chief isn’t a coincidence, nor is Cortana. With the Diadact so focused on fighting humanity (who was trying to wipe out the flood,) and so ready to just trade life for machines to fight the flood thereafter, he basically becomes the enemy of everything the mantle exists for. So, her plan works after a fashion and you get Chief and Cortana, two keys to the puzzle of what’s supposed to launch humankind beyond the Forerunners (the Precursors did it, or so the Forerunners believe that transcendence is possible, however you choose to define “transcendence.”)

I haven’t mentioned The Composer purely because it’s seemingly destroyed at the end of the game, but then a lot of people assume Cortana dies at the end as well. One thing to note is she touches Master Chief and says “I’ve waited a long time to do that…” Could just be something they put in for flair…or another lead into what’s to come.

For me, it’d make sense that the two central characters of the games, and the ones that really are two sides of the same coin, hold the key to humanity’s future. 343 is banking on that emotional connection at the end of Halo 4, and if handled right will pay off in spades. John is now FORCED to be without Cortana, someone he’d come to rely on more then anyone else while fighting against the Covenant, and pretty much being the most badass Spartan ever to live. Cortana did say she picked Chief not on his abilities, but because he was lucky…who’s to say that isn’t partly due to the Librarian’s work. They’ve already shown he’s now thinking about the fact he’s human, regardless of how he’d been raised and how strong his sense of duty is.

And that’s important, because we have to see him explore that side of him, because the fighting will end…and don’t need him going back quietly into a cyro-tube. It’s important because 1) that’s 343’s stated goal, to make Chief more human, and 2) it’s going to be integral to saving Cortana. Saving Cortana is what will make Chief human.

> Not related to COB’s post, but perhaps Cortana had some reason for choosing not to go with John but chose not to tell him for whatever reason, maybe feeling like there was no time to explain. Perhaps she wanted to take control of her rampancy, or reconnect with the data she lost in the explosion, or perhap she wanted to follow the Didact to finish him off, and knew she needed to do it alone. This paragraph is all very hypothetical, I do think Cortana will come back, but I don’t think any of this paragraph is correct. Just throwing around ideas.

What I take from it is thus, she’s going rampant and she believe it’s her last hurrah. She gets to save the one thing she really cares about (which already shows how far beyond a regular AI she is,) right before she dies due to her age. She’s probably thinking (to death, woops!) that he’s risked so much for her, that it’s the only way to repay him, or that the situation calls for it. She takes the option out of his hands (don’t all women? /duck,) and got to do one last thing before she succumbed fully to rampancy. She might very well have a secret…she sounds very…knowing and sad right after Chief detonates the bomb and you’re in the slipstream thing.

I think the point of it’s that she sad because she knows that there’s no recovering her at this point, the Composer is seemingly destroyed and there’s no way to either fix her rampancy…or merge her data back together/remove her from the exploding Composer. She’s “dead” in any scenario. Sad resignation of someone who knows they’re already dead, but also that she’s leaving Chief all alone. (And she STILL might have a secret :P)

When you say transcendence, then, are you just referring to the same thing I was (going from AI to full person)?

When Cortana touched Chief it looked like she left a blue mark on his armor where she touched him, it was probably nothing but it was almost as if she was trying to keep a part of herself with him or something. Not sure though, I’ll have to see the cutscene again.

Did the Librarian do something related to Chief specifically? I remember her saying that he’s not a coincidence, but does that necessarily mean that SHE, or even the Forerunners, are behind it? She could have meant something else. But I might be missing something, the campaign is so full of new information I’ll need to play it again to fully take in everything.

The Composer was destroyed, so the technology to create the AIs from creatures was lost. Also, it needs to be from a living thing, it can’t make an AI from an AI

But it can turn an organic lifeform into an AI and back again, so why not turn an AI into an organic lifeform? And just because it was destroyed (assuming it actually was, including all data and technology in it) doesn’t mean all the technology is lost, it could be backed up somewhere, or even another Composer. When we saw Halo in CE, we didn’t realize there’s 6 other rings.

The AI was talking about the halo wiping them out and then being free from the covenant.

The librarian is dead, that was a memory.

> When you say transcendence, then, are you just referring to the same thing I was (going from AI to full person)?

Yea, basically. 343 might add more to it (since they’ve got all the cards,) but the idea is that once Chief/humanity find out a way to have AI’s fully develop into sentient beings and be able to have actual bodies…you’re basically breaking down the limitations of life forever. You’re transcending life and death, because age and sickness and a multitude of life’s issues become extinct with this discovery and it’s endless opportunities.

> When Cortana touched Chief it looked like she left a blue mark on his armor where she touched him, it was probably nothing but it was almost as if she was trying to keep a part of herself with him or something. Not sure though, I’ll have to see the cutscene again.

It looks like she’s actually touching him, and he reacts exactly as someone would in that situation if she had mass instead of just being a visual representation of a program. That’s what I’m going with, even if we find out it’s not true later. It’s fun to believe now, and adds that much more emotional attachment to the end scene (which I believe that’s why it’s like this, she comes so far to lose it all right when things could be “alright.”)

> Did the Librarian do something related to Chief specifically? I remember her saying that he’s not a coincidence, but does that necessarily mean that SHE, or even the Forerunners, are behind it? She could have meant something else. But I might be missing something, the campaign is so full of new information I’ll need to play it again to fully take in everything.

It’s alluded to, from what I make of her conversation with him. All the talk about seeding humanity genetically, be it info or maybe help in guiding their evolution or however deep that rabbit hole can go, and Chief/Cortana is basically the culmination of her plans, (of which she’d not know if they’d succeed or not, but have to try…right?)

It points to him being destined for his role, or at the very least he’s given the tools that’s needed to become what she hoped and planned for. She does alter him, during that scene, she says she can accelerate his advancement or somesuch (referring to him as being basically an example of what humanity can become,) and makes him immune to the Composer

I am pretty sure the Didact will be back in Halo 5 and Cortana maybe, but I don’t know, it would be awesome though.

> I am pretty sure the Didact will be back in Halo 5 and Cortana maybe, but I don’t know, it would be awesome though.

I hope they bring the Diadact back, at first I was thinking he’d be a cheap and cheesy villain, but I say he worked out rather well. I love the voice they did for him, and how he looks.

To be put plain and simple, Cortana’s still alive. How? Remember when multiple versions of her jumped into the Didact? Well basically, she fused with his armor (read the books if you don’t know). It hints at the end that he is still alive, thus meaning that she’s still alive.

And, I’m done.

Some interesting theories, it will be interesting to see how they approach Cortana, our a lack thereof, in Halo 5, that said, I hope she comes back, I really liked her as a ,.more so in Halo than ever before

They put far too much emphasis on the Forerunner immortality NOT to use it in my opinion. As for what became of Cortana: After the credits, when the Pelican lands in the deserted city while the Didact is talking, we see a few marines exit the ship carrying some sort of scanning equipment and approach some out-of-sight rubble. When one of the marines begins to scan it, we see blue/purple points of light begin to drift about. Who else wants to bet that that’s our girl being recovered?

Looking closer, I believe that the rubble that is being scanned is human remains. Be that as it may, I still think the lights represent Cortana. Perhaps she has some connection to whatever became of the humans that were scanned and collected by the Didact?

They played her to hard to just have her be dead. As for the Didact and any big bad game villain, unless you personally see the corpse they aren’t dead. And even then that isn’t a guarantee.

I bet she’ll somehow kill Chief in the end.

> The AI was talking about the halo wiping them out and then being free from the covenant

I know what the AI was talking about, but perhaps freedom goes further than simply not having Covenant rulers. Perhaps it means being freed from the system it is a part of.

> It’s alluded to, from what I make of her conversation with him. All the talk about seeding humanity genetically, be it info or maybe help in guiding their evolution or however deep that rabbit hole can go, and Chief/Cortana is basically the culmination of her plans, (of which she’d not know if they’d succeed or not, but have to try…right?)
>
> It points to him being destined for his role, or at the very least he’s given the tools that’s needed to become what she hoped and planned for. She does alter him, during that scene, she says she can accelerate his advancement or somesuch (referring to him as being basically an example of what humanity can become,) and makes him immune to the Composer

I think you’re right. And I knew that she advanced his evolution in Halo 4, I was just talking about prior events that led up to him becoming a Spartan, and as good of a Spartan as he is.

> I am pretty sure the Didact will be back in Halo 5 and Cortana maybe, but I don’t know, it would be awesome though.

I definitely think the Didact will be back in 5. Cortana, maybe 5, or maybe not until 6. Hopefully 5, I miss her already.

> To be put plain and simple, Cortana’s still alive. How? Remember when multiple versions of her jumped into the Didact? Well basically, she fused with his armor (read the books if you don’t know). It hints at the end that he is still alive, thus meaning that she’s still alive.
>
> And, I’m done.

So perhaps she didn’t go with the Chief because she was unable to because of being with DIdact, and didn’t think it was plausible that Chief could rescue her from Didact.

> They put far too much emphasis on the Forerunner immortality NOT to use it in my opinion. As for what became of Cortana: After the credits, when the Pelican lands in the deserted city while the Didact is talking, we see a few marines exit the ship carrying some sort of scanning equipment and approach some out-of-sight rubble. When one of the marines begins to scan it, we see blue/purple points of light begin to drift about. Who else wants to bet that that’s our girl being recovered?

I missed that, I’ll have to go watch it again.