WARNING: Long post, but an important read for those with good understanding of the Forerunner novels.Several new theories generated within this thread have been added to the OP. Read the OP again to stay informed on all running theories.
In the post-E3 Sparkast, Frank O’Connor made several statements that significantly alter my understanding of the Prometheans from the Forerunner novels. Read the quotes below, followed by my analysis.
“Prometheans are a race of warrior knights within the forerunner society. The things that you think you know about that class in the books may evolve or change as you play the game. They are Forerunner Warrior-Servants…they are super powerful warriors… they were mostly outfitted and trained and ultimately in some ways designed genetically and mechanically to fight the Flood."
“The Prometheans are covered in the Greg Bear novels, from Cryptum, Primordium, and soon, Silentium (working title). Their role or class is part of 343i’s Halo 4 story. Bluntly, the final chapter of that novel comes out after the game for a very good reason because some of that is revealed there.”
Additional quote from the Promethean Knight character description:
“While these Prometheans are significantly different from the legendary Forerunner Warrior-Servants of ages past, these Knights are no less harrowing.”
The things that you think you know about that class (Prometheans) in the books may evolve or change…Something VERY dramatic must occur in Silentium in order to properly explain this evolution of the Prometheans. The legendary Promethean Class Warrior-Servants of ages past were organic, living, extremely lethal Forerunner warriors. To my knowledge, the original Prometheans were not “designed” or “mechanical”. If my memory is correct, Bornstellar described the Prometheans as over 4 meters tall, with arms the size of tree trunks. I believe 343 Guilty Spark also stated Forerunner Warrior armor was 12 times the strength of MJOLNIR Powered-Assault Armor.
The running theory in this thread is that this new rate of Promethean classes are a mixture of AI, non-organic, and non-AI. Cortana clearly recognizes the Crawlers as Non-Organic Defense AI. However, when the Master Chief is confronted by the Knight and Watcher, Cortana can only say that the Knight is non-organic. This by extension may suggest that Knight is also non-AI, classifying the Knight as both non-AI and non-organic. This leads to another running theory…
It is possible that the original Prometheans were defeated in the Forerunner-Flood War, and the Didact used The Composer to insert the consciousness of fallen Prometheans into this new rate of Prometheans, tasked with defending the shield world installations. The Knights may be classified as Promethean consciousness, non-AI, and non-organic. Quite a combo, and very similar to the Forerunner War Sphinxes. This may be the only possible explanation why this new rate of mechanical warriors earn the title of Promethean. Which leads to another running theory…(this thread is a theory generator)
The previous theories also provide evidence for why some Promethean classes disintegrate/incinerate, and some do not. The classes that can be infected disintegrate/incinerate, and the classes that cannot be infected simply cease functioning. The Crawlers are Non-Organic Defense AI, designed to combat the flood in close quarters combat, and cannot be infected. If our theorizing is correct, the Knights are both non-organic and non-AI, but still can be infected in the sense that the flood can infect the Promethean consciousness within the armor. This would explain why the Knights disintegrate/incinerate upon death.
I take issue with Frankie recognizing this new rate of Prometheans as Forerunner Warrior-Servants. These new Prometheans are clearly a new beast altogether, designed specifically to combat the flood, but Frankie directly compares them to the legendary Prometheans of ages past in the quotes above.
Let me know your thoughts.