Cortana's Final Words to John-117, Revisited:

[Stream Alpha]: Escalation

Issue #8 of Halo: Escalation is now out, and within the first few pages, we are taken to revisit Cortana’s final moments with John-117, when she saved him from the nuclear detonation that ultimately destroyed Mantle’s Approach and ended the Ur-Didact’s campaign against Erde-Tyrene. But before this emotional senf off, Cortana was able to help John-117 in overwhelming the Ur-Didact by creating hardlight clones of her AI matrix and essentially tying the Ur-Didact down where he stood. He was then knocked backwards into a slipspace fissure to an unknown destination, which we now know was Installation 03.

Cortana: “I’m not coming with you this time.”
John-117: “What?”
Cortana: “Most of me is down there. I only held enough back to get you off this ship.”
John-117: “No. No, that’s not… we go together.”[/li]
Let’s break this down. Cortana says “with you this time” to John-117. Why would she phrase it in such a manner, as to imply that there could have been other ways for her to escape the exploding Forerunner vessel? This statement is further muddled when she adds “most of me” and “down there”. Most of her? Down where? This is actually a pretty heavy statement when examined further, but when taken at face value, it can be overlooked and taken in a far simpler fashion, as the ending of Halo 4 and Cortana’s supposed demise may have us currently believing.

Most of her: So- the fragment that we see saying goodbye to John-117 isn’t the bulk of Cortana, but just a piece of her. Where is the rest? We know that she split off into multiple fragments of herself to overcome the Ur-Didact, but is she implying that there’s still more of her left? And…

Down there: Down where? In the ship’s exploding systems? Down through the slipspace portal via hitchhiking inside the Ur-Didact’s armor? Somewhere untheorized as of yet?[/li]
I think there are far deeper reasons than mere flashback’s sake for revisiting this scene between Cortana and John-117. 343i loves to hint and foreshadow what’s to come, and this would fall right into their standard “bag of tricks”.

Since the beginning, I’ve felt that 343 through in the Cortana fragments going into the helmet as an out, in case they wanted to throw her back in.

It’s easy enough to just act like it’s nothing if they don’t want to pursue it, and yet if it appeared it would be a popular move they could easily say that a fragment or two are stored in the Didact’s helmet.

In the cinema scene where her fragments restrain the Didact you see a couple fragments appear to either chokehold him or enter his armor. It is possible she may have hid a fragment of herself on the Didact out of curiosity or self preservation.

> In the cinema scene where her fragments restrain the Didact you see a couple fragments appear to either chokehold him or enter his armor. It is possible she may have hid a fragment of herself on the Didact out of curiosity or self preservation.

The evidence is strong with that theory. One fragment slams his head down, and a second fragment appears to enter (or is absorbed) by his armor.

> Since the beginning, I’ve felt that 343 through in the Cortana fragments going into the helmet as an out, in case they wanted to throw her back in.
>
> It’s easy enough to just act like it’s nothing if they don’t want to pursue it, and yet if it appeared it would be a popular move they could easily say that a fragment or two are stored in the Didact’s helmet.

I think they always planned for her to return, as she’s possibly part of the Librarian’s grand scheme, and even (to the fringes I go!) a possible host for the gaes of the Librarian/Lifeshaper herself. If she did in fact survive, it’s also possible that she’ll be different or changed in some way, much in the way that the fragment of Black-Box was altered when it was severed from BB’s main matrix.

> > In the cinema scene where her fragments restrain the Didact you see a couple fragments appear to either chokehold him or enter his armor. It is possible she may have hid a fragment of herself on the Didact out of curiosity or self preservation.
>
> The evidence is strong with that theory. One fragment slams his head down, and a second fragment appears to enter (or is absorbed) by his armor.

Which is subsequently followed by his Ancilla Receptacle glowing once he breaks free from the bridge.

> Since the beginning, I’ve felt that 343 through in the Cortana fragments going into the helmet as an out, in case they wanted to throw her back in.

343i did say that they had their story planned out from the beginning, though.

Yeah it was always fairly obvious that Cortana hitched a ride with the Ur-Didact but it is nice to almost get confirmation of it.

I have said it before and will say it again, I will eat my internet hat if Cortana is actually dead and stays that way.