Halo: Primordium, The Precursors and Neural Physics

Following the recent revelations of Halo: Primordium that:

The Primordial claims that the Precursors are the Flood: "We are the Flood. There is no difference."I decided to research the very little we currently know about Precursors and see if there was any correlation to this supposed revelation. I then came across the concept first elaborated upon in Halo: Cryptum, Neural Physics.

‘Neural physics was a Precursor concept. The Precursors felt that the Mantle extended to the entire universe, including energy and matter. The principles of neural physics also postulated that the entire universe was living, but in a way that was beyond the comprehension of biological organisms.’ - NameBright - Coming Soon

This sounded to me very similar to the way the Flood operate. In that they absorb and assimilate all life. The fact that the Flood would consume all life could be what this is referring to so that it would be “living” but as a part of the Flood. The lack of comprehension of this concept by biological organisms is most likely because not all life wants to be consumed. The Forerunners wanted to preserve biodiversity and saw the Flood as a parasite like Humanity and the Covenant do in the future.Later on the website cited above states that: “Precursor technology was based upon the principles of neural physics. While this normally made most Precursor artifacts effectively indestructible, the nature of their construction made them extremely susceptible to the effects of the Halo Array which specifically targeted neural systems.”

I wonder if by “effectively indestructible” they are talking about the fact that because the Flood is such a huge entity as a whole, it’s “technology” and “artifacts” are engrained in the overall knowledge of the Flood that it has absorbed over millions of years?Of course this isn’t perfect because:

  1. I’m interpreting the words to make the theory sound more plausible. Artifacts and technology could actually hold the standard meaning other than the one I gave for it.
  2. The Primordial could be lying (after all he is an enemy/antagonist)- we shall have to wait and see on that one

On the Precursor page of halopedian it states:
“The Forerunners believed them to be theoretical “Transsentient” beings, having the ability to travel among galaxies and accelerate the evolution of intelligent life.”

These could all be theoretically applied to the abilities of the Flood. Arguably the Flood are a Transsentient species in that they are “beyond” (the latinate meaning of ‘trans’) our understanding of “sentience” or sensation or thinking. What became the Flood (the powder) travelled to this galaxy from the Large Magellanic Cloud at the edge of the Milky Way. Lastly the Flood see themselves as the next evolution of life in the galaxy. The Gravemind in Halo 3 said: "Do I take life or give it? Who is victim, and who is foe?"Again this interpretation feels a bit forced. But is possible nonetheless.

In my own opinion I believe the Primordial is not being completely truthful.

Notice in his conversation with the Didact in Halo Primordium he says:

“Those who created you were defied and hunted,” the Captive said. “Most were extinguished. A few fled beyond your reach. Creation continued.” Notice the Primordial’s pronominal usage? It says ‘those’ rather than ‘We’ (Unless it means ‘Those of us’). ‘Most’ isn’t a pronoun but the Primordial could have said ‘most of us’. He also fails to say ‘We’ or ‘a few of us’. Now this could just be me being pedantic but I believe the Primordial is being very cunning here. I’m not totally convinced the Precursors were ALWAYS the Flood but they could have become them/sided with them when they were ‘beyond’ the ‘reach’ of the Forerunners. It is also possible that the Primordial/Captive/Timeless One doesn’t speak for the whole Precursor race and he is manipulating the situation as there is no-one (that we know of currently) to verify/disprove the claims it makes.It has been stated on numerous occasions and is generally accepted that the Precursors created some races. It is hard to think of the Flood (as we know it from Halo 1-3) being the creators of the Forerunners and possibly even Humanity. In the games it seems concerned only with consuming and absorbing more bio-mass. Admittedly however, by Halo 3 and possibly even earlier the Flood are able to create “pure” flood forms. Does that mean they can create non-flood based lifeforms though?In Halo: Cryptum, Bornstellar comments that some Precursor artifacts were known to precede the Forerunners by hundreds of millions of years, and were durable enough to be cycled inside planets’ crusts by plate tectonics. Additionally Precursor artifacts were often encountered by Miners, who obtained and recorded them but rarely held any particular interest in them.The Precursors also created structures such as enormous orbital arches and unbending filaments, which were used to connect entire worlds and solar systems. Obviously we have never seen any Precursor technology as it was destroyed by the Halo Array which targeted the Neural Physics upon which their structures were based on.

This is what is leading me to believe that at some stage the Precursors were a separate species or race from the Flood because the Flood as we currently know them, seem very unlikely to create such things. It is possible that the Forerunners have distorted the truth of what the Precursors really were to hide their uprising against them? On the other hand in this conversation with the Didact:

“It was long ago decided. Forerunners will never Bear the Mantle.”
“Decided how?”
“Through long study. The decision is final. Humans will replace you. Humans will be tested next.”

it is revealed that the Flood are capable of ‘long study’ and thought outside that of consumption of all life in the galaxy also something perhaps thought of as unlikely of the Flood.

Consider the fact that the Forerunners rose up against the Precursors. Their final solution for the defeating the Flood also had a “side-effect” of wiping out every trace of the Precursors? Quite co-incidental.

Based on the information available at the moment I am of the opinion that Precursors were originally a separate species from the Flood. What is clear from Halo: Primordium, as the Didact identifies, is that the Primordial is at the time of their conversation a Gravemind of sorts. What remains unclear is how it became to become a part of the Flood; whether it was always a part of the Flood or was at one point solely a Precursor? Anyway this post has become very long and incoherent, but these are just some ideas I thought I’d share.

> These could all be theoretically applied to the abilities of the Flood. Arguably the Flood are a Transsentient species in that they are “beyond” (the latinate meaning of ‘trans’) our understanding of “sentience” or sensation or thinking. What became the Flood (the powder) travelled to this galaxy from the Large Magellanic Cloud at the edge of the Milky Way. Lastly the Flood see themselves as the next evolution of life in the galaxy. The Gravemind in Halo 3 said: “Do I take life or give it? Who is victim, and who is foe?”

I thought trans sentient meant more along the lines that they were able to survive without physical bodies, with the ability to make structures with neural physics it would be possible for them to transfer themselves to an almost energy like state. ontop of the “tier 0” the Forerunners gave them, which says transsentient, and able to travel between galaxies. It has been stated that the Ark(s) are also outside the galaxy, which means that Forerunners are able to travel to different galaxies, however they never gave themselves a tier 0 rating. So I believe that tier 0 is more than just extra galactic travel.

> This is what is leading me to believe that at some stage the Precursors were a separate species or race from the Flood because the Flood as we currently know them, seem very unlikely to create such things. It is possible that the Forerunners have distorted the truth of what the Precursors really were to hide their uprising against them? On the other hand in this conversation with the Didact:
>
> “It was long ago decided. Forerunners will never Bear the Mantle.”
> “Decided how?”
> “Through long study. The decision is final. Humans will replace you. Humans will be tested next.”
>
> it is revealed that the Flood are capable of ‘long study’ and thought outside that of consumption of all life in the galaxy also something perhaps thought of as unlikely of the Flood.

I only picked this quote, some of what you said previously can go here as well. In the one CEA terminal with Keyes, when he is being assimilated by the Gravemind it seems that the Gravemind is searching his memories for more humans or sentient beings to take over. It is possible after getting to a level that the Primordial was at that and after so many millions of years, that the Primordial would have hundreds of bodies and also minds within him. So he would have knowledge of Precursors, and their(Precursor) minds may even be strong enough to control him.

Honestly when you really think about it, All Forerunners, and even the Primordial says that Forerunners destroyed or attempted to destroy the Precursors, but if the Precursors were always Flood or vise versa couldn’t happen. The Primordial says the Flood decided to stop infecting the Humans, and that there is no way to truly destroy them(which is doubtful, there is always a way). Also with access to the Domain, and the Didacts earlier memories they would remember/know if the Primordial was actually a Precursor.

I still believe the Mantle is what it’s always been believed to be. However the Forerunners blew their shot when they rose up to take the Mantle by force. To take on a job to protect all life, and they try to extinguish your enemy to take that right is insane. It is possible that the Primordial knows from MB what the Halo Array is for and what it could do all living beings, which is why he said Humans will be tested next.

Edit: Just thought about this, kinda goes against alot of what I posted.
What if the Primordial isn’t Flood at all, he just controls them, thats their test. To see what the plan of action is to combat the Flood. The Forerunners during their fight chose to wipe out the Galaxy of sentient life, to destroy all life. The Humans however were willing to sacrafice 1/3 of their OWN civilization to get rid of the Flood. They didn’t involve the San’Shyuum or anyone else, they were sacrificing their own people to make sure the Flood was stopped. And the Flood decided to just stop infecting? Why would you stop when you have 1/3 of the population assimilated? That would be like the Forerunners stopping their 50 year assault on Charum Hakkor just because they defeated 1/3 of Human forces.

The point about transsentience was pretty weak (especially the ‘travelling from other galaxies’ thing which was pretty much a technicality) in all honesty I was just trying to play devil’s advocate and see both sides of how you could argue it. But you do make some good points on that matter!

> It is possible after getting to a level that the Primordial was at that and after so many millions of years, that the Primordial would have hundreds of bodies and also minds within him. So he would have knowledge of Precursors, and their(Precursor) minds may even be strong enough to control him.

NB: Strangely I always end up referring to the Timeless One as a ‘him’ as well!

In Keyes CEA Terminal you refer to, the Captain manages to hold out for an unknown period of time, so I guess it’s possible that if a Precursor mind was absorbed it could be strong enough to maintain a presence in the Primordial or alternatively the Primordial could have absorbed Forerunners/someone with knowledge of the Precursors and is now exploiting it? After all lets not forget the way that the Didact/Bornstellar refers to the Timeless One in Cryptum calling it an ‘aberration’ or something like that I don’t have the book with me right now!

The Domain remains shrouded in mystery and to me is really intriguing.

> Honestly when you really think about it, All Forerunners, and even the Primordial says that Forerunners destroyed or attempted to destroy the Precursors, but if the Precursors were always Flood or vise versa couldn’t happen. The Primordial says the Flood decided to stop infecting the Humans, and that there is no way to truly destroy them(which is doubtful, there is always a way).

“Those who created you were defied and hunted,” the Captive said. “Most were extinguished. A few fled beyond your reach.” I wouldn’t say you could ‘hunt’ the Flood. Because they are so numerous I’m pretty sure the Flood would be the hunters not the hunted. It doesn’t add up! I can’t help but feel the word choice by the Captive in that quote is really clever especially if you factor in the use of pronouns. I also believe you are right that the Primordial could be lying about the cure.

I agree that the Mantle is the key. But not sure whether the Forerunners have distorted the ‘true’ meaning of the Mantle as the Primordial hints at in its discussion with the Didact? It’s clear that the Forerunners failed their version of the Mantle as they had to wipe out all life in the galaxy because “Rather than allowing every species to rise on their own merits, the Forerunners, following their Mantle, gave them no need to do so, serving as protectors against any threats that might have forced technological or cultural progression. An unforeseen side-effect was that only the Forerunners were able to hold their own against the Flood (at least once they rearmed), while their charges were unable to defend themselves; the Forerunners had unintentionally left the galaxy vulnerable to Flood infection.” - Mantle of Responsibility | Halo Alpha | Fandom

> Edit: Just thought about this, kinda goes against alot of what I posted.
> What if the Primordial isn’t Flood at all, he just controls them, thats their test. To see what the plan of action is to combat the Flood. The Forerunners during their fight chose to wipe out the Galaxy of sentient life, to destroy all life. The Humans however were willing to sacrafice 1/3 of their OWN civilization to get rid of the Flood. They didn’t involve the San’Shyuum or anyone else, they were sacrificing their own people to make sure the Flood was stopped. And the Flood decided to just stop infecting? Why would you stop when you have 1/3 of the population assimilated? That would be like the Forerunners stopping their 50 year assault on Charum Hakkor just because they defeated 1/3 of Human forces.

So the Flood are acting as almost an agent of the Precursor(s)? The Flood aren’t the same as the Precursors, but they are their ‘answer’?

In relation to the potential Flood cure the strategy of the Flood seems tactical - if you believe what the Primordial says about there being no cure. “No immunity. Judgement. Timing.” The motives may be linked to the Precursors and the Mantle as you said it wouldn’t make sense for the Flood to just stop if they could have wiped out Humanity and then the Forerunners.

> > Edit: Just thought about this, kinda goes against alot of what I posted.
> > What if the Primordial isn’t Flood at all, he just controls them, thats their test. To see what the plan of action is to combat the Flood. The Forerunners during their fight chose to wipe out the Galaxy of sentient life, to destroy all life. The Humans however were willing to sacrafice 1/3 of their OWN civilization to get rid of the Flood. They didn’t involve the San’Shyuum or anyone else, they were sacrificing their own people to make sure the Flood was stopped. And the Flood decided to just stop infecting? Why would you stop when you have 1/3 of the population assimilated? That would be like the Forerunners stopping their 50 year assault on Charum Hakkor just because they defeated 1/3 of Human forces.
>
> So the Flood are acting as almost an agent of the Precursor(s)? The Flood aren’t the same as the Precursors, but they are their ‘answer’?
>
> In relation to the potential Flood cure the strategy of the Flood seems tactical - if you believe what the Primordial says about there being no cure. “No immunity. Judgement. Timing.” The motives may be linked to the Precursors and the Mantle as you said it wouldn’t make sense for the Flood to just stop if they could have wiped out Humanity and then the Forerunners.

More on this to kind of clarify, and it does get a bit far fetched, but I can see it happening.

The Precursors own the Mantle of protecting all life in the galaxy, however their “creation” the Forerunners want to take over the Mantle, and are told they aren’t ready/can’t (this isn’t stated it’s just a guess). So the Forerunners take it by force (which is against the Mantle. The last of the precursors flee the galaxy and start to rebuild. During this time they create/or find a parasitic entity. And we could assume at a higher tech level than the Forerunners they would be able to transplant their consiousness into another living being(Graveminds). So the answer they come up with for the Forerunners request to take over the Mantle is actually a test. Infect their galaxy and sit back and see what they do to combat this new threat. Humans and San’Shyuum were some of the first to encounter the Flood along with the leader of the parasite the TO/Primordial. Considering the Primordial may be a Gravemind with a transplanted conciousness, he is still a Precursor, but more of a defender/fighter class (I doubt if they took the Mantle as we know it seriously they would have a need for any warriors that go out just to destroy). So he sits back and watches how the flood is dealt with by the Humnas, stopping short of destroying their race completely. Only to be imprisoned on Charum Hakkor. Now the Forerunners come along and test fire their super weapon to defeat the Flood, and release the Primordial. During that time we have 2 conflicting statements. 1) Medicant Bias talked to the Gravemind(possibly the Primordial) for 43? years. 2) He had a program put in to him from the Master Builder that if he were to be captured to take revenge in his stead. I won’t even deal with #2 since it’s known Medicant can choose to disregard orders if he desires. So going off of #1 if Medicant talked to the Primordial, and the Primordial spent 43 years talking and explaining that the Flood are not actually going to wipe out all life it is a test to see how far the Forerunners are willing to go to stop the Flood/save the galaxy. So Medicant(MB) decides to assist/ explain how the Halos work. After learning this the Primordial decides that the Forerunners clearly can not hold up the mantle due to their option of wiping the galaxy of life, let’s face it, the Humans had a theory sacrificed their own people to try it, and it “seemed” to have worked. The Forerunners were unwilling to sacrafice themselves, and stopped looking for a “cure” when they decided an easier way would be to wipe out all sentient life. Had it not been for 1 Forerunner group (lifeworkers) all indications are that the Forerunners would have hid in shield worlds, fired the Halos and would have been the only species left in the galaxy. That is neither noble nor is it with keeping with the Mantle to preserve life. And then we get to when S-117 destroys installation 04, he easily could have pulled the trigger on the Halo (AI have override codes, he could have overridden Cortana and had her give him the key) And destroyed the flood and all life in the galaxy. Instead he fights through, destroys his own ship at the risk of being stuck there and destroys what remains of the installation. This test is showing that Humans are willing to sacrafice themselves for the greater good, that none of them are willing to fire the Halos and kill all sentient life and take the easy way out.

Is it co-incidental that the conditions throughout Halo CE, 2 and 3 are the same as when Ancient Humanity first found the Flood ‘cure’? Humanity fighting a superior alien race (The Covenant) as well as the Flood?

I personally like this explanation from a user on Bungie.net called grey101 in this thread:
http://www.bungie.net/Forums/posts.aspx?postID=69100495

“I would also like to state that “The old ones” created the flood as they thought it was the “ultimate peace” and they joined it. which is where the “Precursors, flood, there is no difference” comes in. The Flood is the Mantle.”

Very interesting ideas! Expanding on his thoughts, when the Primordial says, ‘Creation continued’ in his conversation with the Didact in Primordium perhaps he was alluding to the creation of the Flood?

I can see why the flood would be the ultimate incarnation of the mantle, without killing everything would be joined. No wars no strife, however it seems there is no free will. Even with that being said i really have a hard time believing the mantle is the flood. And in respect to creation continued, that could mean anything. It could definitely refer to the flood, it could mean another galaxy of sentient beings they evolved and created. Or it could simply mean the precursors continued to reproduce.

> The Precursors own the Mantle of protecting all life in the galaxy, however their “creation” the Forerunners want to take over the Mantle, and are told they aren’t ready/can’t (this isn’t stated it’s just a guess). So the Forerunners take it by force (which is against the Mantle. The last of the precursors flee the galaxy and start to rebuild. During this time they create/or find a parasitic entity. And we could assume at a higher tech level than the Forerunners they would be able to transplant their consiousness into another living being(Graveminds). So the answer they come up with for the Forerunners request to take over the Mantle is actually a test. Infect their galaxy and sit back and see what they do to combat this new threat. Humans and San’Shyuum were some of the first to encounter the Flood along with the leader of the parasite the TO/Primordial. Considering the Primordial may be a Gravemind with a transplanted conciousness, he is still a Precursor, but more of a defender/fighter class (I doubt if they took the Mantle as we know it seriously they would have a need for any warriors that go out just to destroy). So he sits back and watches how the flood is dealt with by the Humnas, stopping short of destroying their race completely. Only to be imprisoned on Charum Hakkor. Now the Forerunners come along and test fire their super weapon to defeat the Flood, and release the Primordial. During that time we have 2 conflicting statements. 1) Medicant Bias talked to the Gravemind(possibly the Primordial) for 43? years. 2) He had a program put in to him from the Master Builder that if he were to be captured to take revenge in his stead. I won’t even deal with #2 since it’s known Medicant can choose to disregard orders if he desires. So going off of #1 if Medicant talked to the Primordial, and the Primordial spent 43 years talking and explaining that the Flood are not actually going to wipe out all life it is a test to see how far the Forerunners are willing to go to stop the Flood/save the galaxy. So Medicant(MB) decides to assist/ explain how the Halos work. After learning this the Primordial decides that the Forerunners clearly can not hold up the mantle due to their option of wiping the galaxy of life, let’s face it, the Humans had a theory sacrificed their own people to try it, and it “seemed” to have worked. The Forerunners were unwilling to sacrafice themselves, and stopped looking for a “cure” when they decided an easier way would be to wipe out all sentient life. Had it not been for 1 Forerunner group (lifeworkers) all indications are that the Forerunners would have hid in shield worlds, fired the Halos and would have been the only species left in the galaxy. That is neither noble nor is it with keeping with the Mantle to preserve life. And then we get to when S-117 destroys installation 04, he easily could have pulled the trigger on the Halo (AI have override codes, he could have overridden Cortana and had her give him the key) And destroyed the flood and all life in the galaxy. Instead he fights through, destroys his own ship at the risk of being stuck there and destroys what remains of the installation. This test is showing that Humans are willing to sacrafice themselves for the greater good, that none of them are willing to fire the Halos and kill all sentient life and take the easy way out.

Look, this is where I have come to understand more of the big pieces of the halo story. just like you stated. couple things i’d like to reiterate to fit in with your puzzle.

  • now we know why the people who interrogated the TO in his cage on Charrum killed themselves immediately. They found out that they had no agency, but were being tested by a creator race. and would be tested again in the future. they gave up.

  • I think there IS a cure, and humans found out with their human-guinea-pig approach. they passed. as a group they passed. but the female general -Yoinked!- up by bringing the TO to charrum.

  • In light of these thoughts, it actaully helps me better understand what we knew for so long about medicant bias. that he was turned. I always thought he was turned like (brody from tv show homeland) a POW or SPY would be turned by an enemy. But in fact he was turned because the gravemind appealed to his unwavering logic. and thats what the flood-as-test unleashed by the precursors was… gravemind tells MB the forerunner failed because they created the rings, and even fired it on charrum and then prophet land so its double proof they failed the mantle. MB would logically conclude the gravemind was right and find the test should run to its completion.


some parting thoughts

  • I think we should all try to keep teh timeline in mind as we discuss putting pieces of knowledge together. As it stands offensive bias hasnt been created yet, didact hasnt decided to use the halo array, the big war at the maginot line we know about hasnt began yet, etc etc

  • Thanks to OP for finding the link with the neural physics to explain how the array was able to break the TO’s cage open (and later erase all precursor tech form teh galaxy such that we havent interacted with any yet)

> Look, this is where I have come to understand more of the big pieces of the halo story. just like you stated. couple things i’d like to reiterate to fit in with your puzzle.
>
> - now we know why the people who interrogated the TO in his cage on Charrum killed themselves immediately. They found out that they had no agency, but were being tested by a creator race. and would be tested again in the future. they gave up.
>
> - I think there IS a cure, and humans found out with their human-guinea-pig approach. they passed. as a group they passed. but the female general Yoink! up by bringing the TO to charrum.
>
> - In light of these thoughts, it actaully helps me better understand what we knew for so long about medicant bias. that he was turned. I always thought he was turned like (brody from tv show homeland) a POW or SPY would be turned by an enemy. But in fact he was turned because the gravemind appealed to his unwavering logic. and thats what the flood-as-test unleashed by the precursors was… gravemind tells MB the forerunner failed because they created the rings, and even fired it on charrum and then prophet land so its double proof they failed the mantle. MB would logically conclude the gravemind was right and find the test should run to its completion.

I don’t think the TO would tell the Humans it was a test, otherwise they would do nothing knowing that they would be spared in the end. I’d say he more told them what their “cure” was (chemical makeup or something like that), something he shouldn’t know, and then said it didn’t work that he chose to stop infecting, and that they can not defeat the Flood, and I imagine it in a deep, slurping monster like voice (like the Gravemind from the games).

I don’t know if there is a chemical cure, but we know that the Flood and the TO and the Graveminds can be destroyed, I think the only way to completely beat them is to exterminate them. However if the Precursors created them as a type of “weapon/test” you would think they would create an antidote or something, no body creates a super virus or anything without having an antidote to protect themselves. It is possible that the Spartans were accidentaly/unknowingly given some type of cure serum during their augmentations. Look at Johnson, the Flood are taking everyone in his command, except him(the only augmented one) and in the game when you’re playing as Master Chief, if the Flood kills you, they never take over your body, like they don’t even attempt to ( it could be the armor) but I’d like to believe the augmentationsmean alot more than just making them stronger.

And looking at the Timeline, it gets even more weird. At the end of primordium there was no Offensive Bias, and the Didact shut down MB (only temporary I’m sure). However, they destroyed the TO, now at that point who would Medicant be fighting for? Why would he still continue his assault on the Forerunners if his “new master” was dead? There is something else there, another Gravemind came about right after the TO was killed, or another “Precursor” to continue the test?

An addition question.

In the events of Halo: 3 we see that MB is seeking forgiveness for his deeds years earlier. He clearly finds that what he did was wrong. If he was helping in this test, why would this regret still occur? What would be the source of this regret?

Perhaps the Precursors willingly infected themselves with the Flood and attempted to spread it to the rest of the galaxy.

The Gravemind recites scripture in Halo 3 to the point where he almost seems like he is on a crusade, much like The Covenant, to assimilate all life. Perhaps the Precursors had the opposite views of the Flood to the Forerunners, in that infection was a good thing.

Just theories that are coming off the top of my head.

> An addition question.
>
> In the events of Halo: 3 we see that MB is seeking forgiveness for his deeds years earlier. He clearly finds that what he did was wrong. If he was helping in this test, why would this regret still occur? What would be the source of this regret?

Well, if MB believed in the Forerunner and their vow to uphold the Mantle, He may not have thought they would actually use the Halos, And he’d be able to reason with the Didact. But more to the point whether it was putposeful or inadvertent he had a huge part in the destruction of life in the galaxy, the Forerunners were seemingly obliterated, and how many life forms didnt get catalogued and were lost forever? All of this thread is pretty much theory, but it makes sense.