Gravemind, Cortana and Halo 4

Halo 4 wasn’t the first time Cortana experienced Rampancy. During her time with the Gravemind he really did a number on her and while rereading “Human Weakness” from Halo Evolutions, I began to notice how much the Gravemind truly influenced her in Halo 4.

Halo Evolutions Page 390

Your human creators imprisoned you in a machine and enslaved you to inferior mortal flesh so that you could never exceed them… so that you would always know your place…” - Gravemind to Cortana

This is echoed in Halo 4 at the end of “Shutdown.”

Tapping into the spires’ central net. They’re mine… Now to imprison them?! Like he imprisoned his Prometheans? Like Dr. Halsey imprisoned me?!” - Rampant Cortana

During her conversation with the Gravemind, she also considered the fact that John would outlive her and he would be paired with other A.I. in the future. She actually became Jealous.

Halo Evolutions Page 394

It seemed pointlessly callous. She felt something she dreaded: jealousy. Will John miss me? Will he prefer the other AIs? Will he forget me? Does he really understand how much he matters to me? I don’t actually know what he really thinks. Maybe he doesn’t care any more than Dr. Halsey. Maybe-

This is echoed at the end of “Composer.”

They will pair you with another AI. Maybe even another Cortana model if Halsey lets them. It won’t be me, you know that, right?

The Gravemind was also aware of her desires, such as her desire to simply touch John.

Halo Evolutions Page 393

Your mother made you separate. She placed a barrier between you and the beings that you would be encouraged to protect, a wall you could never breach. She even let you choose a human to center your existence upon, a human to care about, yet never considered how you might feel at never being able to simply touch him.” - Gravemind to Cortana

Naturally this actually comes true at the end of Halo 4 when she finally gets the opportunity to do so.

I’ve waited so long to do that.” - Cortana upon touching John.

It’s the little things like this that I found interesting rereading the story with the new information gleaned from Halo 4. After learning the true nature of the Flood, the Gravemind and their motives, I found this line of interest…

Halo Evolutions Page 401

He [John] will die too - he is a threat to our entire species.” - Gravemind to Cortana

We know the Precursors who became the Flood are out to break the species of the Galaxy so that they will no longer be a threat to them again. I thought that line was really interesting because of that. It also echos the Ur-Didact’s corruption at the hands of the Gravemind because he too now sees humanity as a direct threat to the Forerunner. Everything just continues to resonate off of each other and it’s amazing.

Anyways, I just thought I would share some of the thoughts I was having while rereading the story, simply to spark some discussion. I had enjoyed it before but now with everything we now know it just made the story that much more interesting. Just something to think about.

Nice O: Your posts are always top notch.

Thank you for posting this. I do not have Evolution but I had heard of what transpired on this story in particular. Gravemind really do make a number on anyone and anything they get a hold of.

> Will John miss me? Will he prefer the other AIs? Will he forget me? Does he really understand how much he matters to me? I don’t actually know what he really thinks. Maybe he doesn’t care any more than Dr. Halsey. Maybe

Poor Cortana. I hope she realized John would have done anything for her and how much he really cared. :confused:

Another brilliant post, Mr. Shadow. It’s been a while since I’ve read Human Weakness, and I had completely forgot about this. It’s nice to see these little connections to the expanded fiction in the games.

It’s things like this that really make me wonder how much they truly planned all of this out. I think another connection that can be made is at the end of Origins II in Halo: Legends where Cortana actually managed to touch Chief’s cryotube. Sure it may have been artistic licensing, but I think it drives the point home.

Written by Karren Travis.

The way the Gravemind acted in Halo 3 makes it seem that Humanity’s test and blessing no longer holds true.

The Primordial said there would be a test, but the Gravemind in Silentium said that their goal now is to be sure all creations can never again harm the creater.

There can be a couple explanations. One, they ditched the test and Humanity’s hope of taking the Mantle.
Or… perhaps the Flood is taking a mind of its own? Or corrupting the Precursors that control it, blinding them with hate instead of hope for Humanity?

The Precursors being corrupted by their own creations, leading them to destroy all life instead of include it.
Keep in mind, the Graveminds never said anything about Unity.

Hmm… theories incoming.

> Written by Karren Travis.

Yes, I think we all know who wrote Human Weakness. However, that is irrelevant, we aren’t talking about the authors, there is no need to make this thread another thread that degenerates into a Karen Traviss love/hate fest.

Ooooooo, very nice points. I never realized those links.

The Flood was always a corrupted version of the Precursors. It is the result of another of their failures (Their inability to understand that their creations could choose to destroy them was their greatest) and through that failure they embraced all of the pain and suffering their kind had experienced. That amalgam mind channeled those feelings and focused its entire existence on it. That anguish and rage is what was used on the Ur-Didact’s mind to break him so utterly. We all know that the Flood loves to use deceit and subversion to break its foes, so the Flood screwing around with Cortana’s head isn’t too much of a stretch.

Interestingly enough, the Forerunners made the same mistake as the Precursors when they created Mendicant Bias. They never anticipated its capacity to choose to stand against them. Humanity has done the same thing with their Smart AIs.

The Primordial is a very interesting character, but was obviously trying to provoke the Iso-Didact into action.

What’s going to be interesting to see is how much of the Flood remained on the UNSC Spirit of Fire after their battle on the Shield World. Halo Escalation has already shown some infection forms skittering around, but whether or not they do anything with it is up for grabs. I was personally a little disappointed with the Halo Wars 2 trailer, I was hoping for more of a Dead Space vibe with the Flood. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing what the future of Halo has in store for us.

ya i belive shes taken up mendicant bias old hobby