Rubicon Protocal Preview 3

Okay so they did the final canon fodder article for the Rubicon Protocal and it really sounds like it’s going to be one of those novels. I am not expecting any real insights into the Banished and their motives from that excerpt.

“An amused grunt issued from deep within Gorian’s throat. He polished off the wing, juice and fat sticking to the fur on his chin, and then wrenched open the bird’s chest, biting into one side. “There are more of us here than there are of you. More weapons. More ships. And soon we will control not only the ring, but the—”

Now, that caught his attention. What else was there? What were the Banished up to?

Gorian laughed slowly. “You humans have been here for years, studying with your feeble minds, and yet you know nothing about what this ring is capable of or what it holds.””

So here the author is alluding the discovery of the Endless which we already know about. Hardly a revelation or offering any insight.

Not sure why the Spartan doesn’t proceed to interrogate this brute to get a real answer, but hey it’s Christmas.

“And you do?”

“Why else would we be here?”

Not exactly a giant revelation, but Horvath was starting to think it might have something to do with the artifacts the Banished were so interested in. “So what’s the endgame, then? You take control of the ring and whatever else is here and then what? Do you even know why you’re fighting?”

“War.” He ripped off a giant chunk of meat. “It is the lifeblood that feeds the Jiralhanae soul. There need be no other reason than that.” He took a moment to study his opponent. “You think you are different? Is it not your lifeblood as well? What would you do without war, Spartan? Who would you be?” He grunted and went back to eating. “Nothing. Nothing at all.”

This is a non answer on the Bansihed motivation for waging war in the UNSC and I suspect it’s because the author hasn’t been told what Atrioxes deal actually is. That’s something the Devs are saving so we’re getting cryptic non answers.

Okay the Banished like war so they want to fight. Great motive. Why bother taking a Halo Array? Just go throw yourselves at Earth if you just want to fight.

Also I really have to question the authors use of the Christmas Truce as an analogy here. The Banished butcher civilians and eat them. They’re called monsters in the games for good reason. The character literally said they just do this because war is all they know. It’s completely false to suggest that’s like a Spartan IV. A volunteer soldier who is fighting for a Democracy that’s end goal is being left alone. There’s no moral equivalency or balance here, as the use of the WW1 Christmas Truce analogy strongly implies.

So the author is actually relying on the ambivalence with the Banished motives to get away with this scene. Because if you, for example, described what they did to the scientists on the Ark you’d probably find this a tough sell. Rather than have the Spartan call the Brute out on his bull and list the atrocities the Banished have committed.

I don’t like this insipid attitude towards a repulsive faction. They’re the aggressors that have invaded the UNSC in an unprovoked war at the behest of a Tyrant who wants power. This is night and day.

I ll get it with the audible credit. I am hoping at least we get some decent fight scenes since it is described as a war story. So hopefully we do get a lot of Banished put in the ground.

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Brute’s planet was destroyed and its population was greatly reduced. They urgently need a new home, and Halo can also provide an extremely powerful military deterrent.
Atriox, as an ambitious Brute, I think he is very concerned about the future and status of his species.
I believe it is much more radical and crazy than the theory of sword and plough.

That just raises more questions. If Brutes only had one planet, how are they still a thing or even able to continue commanding the Banished?

Plus, that just isn’t what’s put across here and more to the point why is this Spartan giving him the time of day? It just said they’re born to kill and want power; which is why they’re massacring humans and launching an entirely unprovoked invasion. Not only is it not sympathetic but if it’s that bad, why are they literally having a fireside chat about it?

Also I am not sure how this scenario is occurring. A Spartan could easily kill a Brute so why wouldn’t he do that if it’s not a prisoner?

Maybe they were just bandits before, causing less threat than Jul. After Cortana destroyed the planet, it triggered a series of retaliation against UNSC, including the massacre and looting of colonies.

Truce? It may also be that 343 wants to create a positive brute character that is more acceptable to players.At least one brute who can communicate can provide a lot of information.

How can bandits have more capital ships than the UNSC? Humanity only has one Infinity, how can the Banished have hundreds of Dreadnoughts and not be impacted by losing an assault carrier (which the only one we know of).

That’s a bit of an assumption. For all we know Doisacs destruction is only a few hours before the Battle of Zeta Halo. The chronology in the Encyclopedia implies Atriox just got real mad and decided to throw his fleet at the Death Star. Which Cortana kind of forgot to fire or use Guardians because reasons. So all those target dossiers are referring to atrocities committed long before the destruction of Doisac.

You can provide information on a faction via villains. Presenting a “good guy” character would only be done if there was a conscious effort to humanise the faction and force the audience to be sympathetic to the Banished cause. Indeed this scene is explicitly trying to compare the UNSC to the Banished; which is absurd. He can say that, but the fact your hero doesn’t push back or call it out suggests you should take that as face value. It’s trying to get a scene which makes no sense given the genocidal and brutal nature of the war being waged against humanity.

It’s no more a genocide against humanity, as it is a genocide against the Sangheili too.

The Banished are a faction with humans and Sangheili working for them who raid and loot human settlements, Sangheili outposts, and Jiralhanae settlements. All three species get attacked.

Oxford Dictionary definition -

The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular race or nation .

Activating a planet killing weapon like a Halo ring seems to fit this description perfectly fine. Which they repeatedly say is their intention and the entire premise of Halo Infinite and Halo Wars 2 being stopping the Banished doing this.

As does the leader of the faction saying statements like “humanity will burn”.

Also the attacking a nation is a specific category. So attempting to destroy all the citizens of the UNSC is genocide as that’s a distinct society from the totality of humanity. A single human colony or city also meets this definition. Escharum boasts about the human cities he destroyed in game.

Plus, even if, we assume that all the trailers and two games are an intricate misdirect and the Banished have no intention of actually firing the ring. Even if genocidal statements and anti human sentiment up to suggesting they regularly butcher and eat human POW. Even after all that…what they did on Reach by driving the human population away and threatening them with death meets this threshold.

“Raid” is playing down the seriousness of what the Banished are actually doing and what’s being implied to occur. You’re talking about innocents being massacred and their bodies eaten; their valuables looted afterwards. You’re confusing the games age rating with what they’re about. It’s like saying the Empire in Star Wars isn’t that bad because we don’t see them do too many bad thing apart from destroy a rebel planet. What are the heroes complaining about?

Do you believe Cutter, the Pilot, Isabel, the Chief and the Weapon are incorrect when they call the Banished monsters? This is not “just business” and a normal faction that’s just a political rival operating within the law. You’re being forcefully told how bad they are if that’s how your noble heroes are describing them.

especially those of a particular race or nation

So a genocide against the Sangheili and Jiralhanae too then?

They have pillaged numerous Covenant/former Covenant strongholds killing many Sangheili. They have pillaged many Jiralhanae settlements where civilians live as well.

I never called them noble heroes or said they were moral, where did you get that from? They have done mass killings to other species too. Yes, the Banished are evil, to all species.

Yes, the Banished as a nation or people would be committing genocide if they were killing other Brute peoples or groups that disagree with them and are outside that nation. I wouldn’t count this in their favour or as a sign of how tolerant and inclusive the group is. If your policy is to butcher (often literally) anyone that does not bow to the Supreme Leader and join the army; that’s not exactly nice or okay.

Because why bother deflecting the accusation if you weren’t trying to defend them? Cast it as “oh Atriox is just some badass Brute that we need to have a showdown with. It’s all just business and within the norms of the world. UNSC does exactly the same thing.”

Back to the book. That chapter is very much playing down how bad the Banished are and how a Spartan would view a member of that organisation. They should not be having a fireside chat and if a Brute did try to talk dumb bull then I would expect more push back from the guy who just had all his friends killed by them.

I do want a very good explanation why he isn’t either interrogating this brute or introducing a big rock to its skull.

Lol what?

Why are you putting words in my mouth. I never said that. That’s your own assumption projected from debates with different people.

What I did say was “Yes, the Banished are evil, to all species”.

We agree the Banished are evil, why force a disagreement that isn’t there? The distinction I made is that they are evil to all species, not only humans exclusively.

And?

I don’t know why you’re hung up on this. The Banished aren’t more in the right because they kill their own as well as humans. So why even bring the point up?

Well, people keep defending the Banished and Atriox. I think people really do need to be reminded that our heroes are calling them monsters for a reason and that our introduction to the faction was in the aftermath of a massacre of innocent civilians. It is a grotesque twisting of things to say that the Banished are in any way the good guys and I don’t like how it keeps coming up. Even in a tie in novel as noted here.

That alien has probably killed innocents and eaten them. He openly boasts about this and has the nerve to claim moral superiority over this Spartan. Rather than have the hero confront the villains self justifying bull I think the author is pushing this idea that there’s common ground. There isn’t. The Bansihed need to stop invading human space and continuing an entirely unprovoked and genocidal war of conquest on humanity. That is not negotiable. Only one side is committing crimes here. It’s at the point where the debate should be “do we nuke them, or keep this civil”, not having fireside chats with a cannibal.

If the Banished whole thing is that they want power then they should have the same end as the Germans in the Ark of Covenant.

You don’t seem to care to emphasize the atrocities they’re committing against the Sangheili or innocent Jiralhanae civilians in the settlements they pillage. You’re only highlighting conquest on humanity in every thread, when they’re doing the same atrocities to other species too. That’s the point.

No, I don’t think they are in the right. I’ve agreed they’re evil 3 times now, that’s independent to only portraying them as evil to humanity when they are evil to all species.

So why keep projecting this on to me, when these people are different people? Take it up with them. I already agreed the Banished are evil.

There’s not much to say on it. 343 hasn’t done any world building in 5 years where we have much to say about the other species interactions with the Banished. We only see the Banished from humanities perspective and it’s a very limited one that’s heavily sanitised due to the games age rating. They don’t really have the time to go into the violence perpetrated by them against the rest of the Galaxy.

Believe me I d love to sit here and list the crimes of Atriox and the Banished against the Elites. How he’s a hypocrite for killing anybody who disagrees with him whilst preaching that he’s setting people free. But there’s not much to work with beyond “Brute raids”. This ambiguity is where people who like the Banished creep in and try to make the “Sith aren’t evil” argument.

I think it’s because 343 don’t want to do anything that might cast Atriox and the Banished in a negative light. So the characters are pulling their punches and not critiquing the Banished for what they’re doing. Just enough so that you don’t think the characters are robots or for when they think there’s a bit of drama to be had like with Isabel; but nothing serious. Because if you did rip into them, it would be very difficult to think of them as this cool or badass faction. Your focus is being set on Atriox beating three Spartans, not how he’s killing all these defenceless people for no reason and how his motivations are complete hypocrisy. Budget Perturabo.

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Here’s some instances to get you started.

The Banished attack on Arkad Nar 'Kulul’s Sangheili base (Rise of Atriox: Issue 4).

The Banished using Grunt colonies as slaves (Halo Wars 2 Phoenix Logs).

Decimus sending his Sangheili to their deaths for his amusement (Halo Wars 2 pre-release lore).

The Banished raiding Jiralhanae settlements on Doisac (Spartan Field Manual).

Ik’Novus laying waste to settlements of humans, any species, and any faction in his way (Halo Infinite).

I finished reading the whole novel. The human traitor who could command the Jackal attracted my attention.

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Anyone have any idea why Halo: The Rubicon Protocol is not available in new Zealand/ Australia?

I am only a few chapters in.

Are you really sure it was 4 minutes Escharum?

I am assuming it has to happen soon but they’ve been on the ring for six hours and it hasn’t exploded yet. My impression was they got out the drop pods and it happens immediately.

As expected the characters give a cursory mention to their mission and haven’t given freeing the Galaxy from Cortana any concern at all. It’s almost as if that problem takes care of itself and the story is self conscious of this. You’d think they would mention the downed Guardian or at least speculate on it. Shouldn’t there be an army of Prometheans? At least wait until the time jump before our characters get obnoxious tunnel vision.

Really not holding my breath on any world building or speculation on Earth or the fate of the Galaxy which should be more important than the meaningless number of Banished corpses.

The game seems to presume we know who the Banished are and acts like they’re an established part of the lore. This is annoying. Why don’t the UNSC character ask why the Banished have launched an unprovoked assault on their fleet whilst they’re trying to save the Galaxy, including the Brutes. Last I checked it wasn’t even established they were at war or what terrible grievances existed between these two nations.

Edit - Okay so ring does eventually go boom and after this they deduce that the Banished are now the main threat since there’s no sign of “her forces”. Okay, that’s a massive assumption to make and you’re not making as big a deal about this. If you really think Skynets down I’d expect a stronger reaction and less interest in purging generic Xenos. Seriously, just nuke them. You’d think freeing the Galaxy from the AI would be more significant than some cookie cutter brute warlord and his trash army.

Now, I will admit. These Spartans don’t seem to appreciate having their friends killed by the Banished and do seem keen to put them in the ground. I am glad the author has at least started out with the humans disliking the filthy Xenos. Still I think they are pulling their punches and it lacks the moral condemnation that I think the characters would have. There’s a lack of contempt and hatred; mainly because the author wants to make the Banished seem threatening.

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“As it should be,” Gorian replied with a menacing growl, and Stone could see the raw fury in his profile. It was clear the Banished meant to make Zeta Halo their home, effectively taking back what Cortana had stolen from them—the ring wasn’t just a strategic play for the Banished,they were going to rebuild Jiralhanae civilization on it, from the ground up.…

Okay:

  1. I can’t take Brutes seriously. As the player you kill thousands of them in game. It’s ridiculous when they act all tough and strong. I just want to laugh and mock them but the games/books love to put them on a pedestal instead. Yes, I know the intent is to prop the players ego up as they take down these supposedly powerful aliens. But its wildly absurd how little self awareness the characters have to this.

  2. What of my vengeance? Should be the sentiment that the heroes and other character reply with to any Brute that talks about how they’re the victims in all this.

  3. Atriox wanted Zeta Halo and the Endless before Doisacs destruction.

  4. It’s incredibly stupid to make your home on a Halo ring controlled by hyper advanced machines and infested with Flood. That is Pandora clutching at a vessel they don’t understand.

  5. Can 343 make up their minds on if the Banished are a Brute nationalist organisation or are all about Brotherhood and power? Because why Elites want Atriox to get his living space is beyond me.

  6. Stolen implies agency, which Cortana didn’t have because she was insane with rampancy. She’s literally a malfunctioning Nanny Bot.

It also implies innocence from the party being robbed, when Atriox was openly trying to raise an army to conquer the Galaxy and seize a Halo ring. Plus, it’s not really theft if the person puts the keys in the ignition and shoved you in the car. Maybe surrender should be considered when somebody can destroy your planet.

That’s putting your ambition and dream of Empire ahead of your own people.

Plus the only reason the Brutes still exist is because Cortana helped saved the Galaxy a few times. Back when the Brutes were trying to commit suicide by firing the Halo Array. So that pathetic excuse for a civilisation is only still around because she saved them from themselves already.

  1. “Civilisation” wow Atriox sure is learning some big words isnt he. I didn’t realise clubbing people to death and eating them was civilised.

  2. So he wants this small population of pure Banished to stay on a space station and become super inbred. Hmmm. Our glorious leader has such vision for the Brutes.

  3. You don’t think every other species in the Galaxy might object to the Brutes controlling a Halo Array and that such a war would devastate an already weakened population? For pride and arrogant hubris?

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