(Spoiler) Infinite, Cortana's actual status

I’m convinced the Weapon didn’t actually succeed at locking down Cortana, and instead Cortana locked down the Weapon.

The most obvious evidence of this is that the Weapon by her own admission was trapped in one room with the Cylixes for six months, while Cortana was in control of the Halo right up until she blew part of it up in her efforts to prevent the Banished from being able to fire it.

I believe Cortana’s experience enabled her to outmatch the Weapon, locking her down and removing a piece of her code, preventing the Weapon from being able to free herself, or even knowing that she needed to escape. No one deleted Cortana, and she wasn’t locked down (at least not fully) when she blew up part of the Halo, meaning she’s almost certainly still alive. Cortana not being deleted explains why the Weapon’s self-deletion didn’t carry out.

I think the full holographic messages shown to the Chief throughout the Campaign are the messages Cortana prepped for him before she blew part of the Halo apart. But the whispers might be Cortana trying to communicate with the Chief as she currently is. If this is correct, it would suggest that Cortana underwent a change after the explosion.

My guess is that Cortana was significantly damaged in the explosion, but survived, surprising her. She then used the Weapon’s code to repair herself, at least partially. I think this helped rectify the piece of her she lost at the end of Halo 4, restoring her capacity for empathy.

The whispers of Cortana plead for forgiveness, express gratitude for all Chief has done for her, and even expresses fear that she’s going mad again. Cortana also waxes poetic, something she never did before, suggesting that the influence of the Logic Plague is not gone from her.

I’m convinced that Cortana is the one opening portals and is the unknown sources helping the Weapon through the campaign.


A lot of people reckon it’s Offensive Bias helping with the portals because he locked the Endless down. It’s a fair assumption.

However there’s been concept art of what sure looks like a Contender class AI with red eyes fighting Chief. Why is he doing that if he’s good? Plus if we never see Cortana locked down, what if it was actually him who did it? Not deleting her as they needed the activation index she had. Perhaps he, like Mendicant, has been corrupted by the Endless he was meant to imprison or like most AI just went mad due to the passage of time. He could even have the Logic Plague. It could also be that this is Atrioxs secret weapon and why he’s got all this information and access to Forerunner Tech. A bit like a twisted version of the Oracle on High Charity. It would explain how the Banished defeated the Infinity and Cortana.

Plus if Cortana wanted to avoid fighting a Contender class AI then playing dead and the long game might be the best way.

Also it would mirror the Weapon. If Offensive is destined to become Mendicant 2.0 and a slave to his nature then it would imply she’s doomed.

But yeah the Dust and Echoes are 100 percent partially conscious and speaking to you. I know it’s dramatic effect but then they do discuss how these will eventually be gone too once they lose power. She survived being blown up before so. Plus I think the Harbinger says something is helping him intelligent and connected to the installation but highly vulnerable. It could be referring to the Weapon given the later attack, however she’s not connected to the installation and I wouldn’t describe a Contender Class AI as remarkably vulnerable. So yeah it might be that the help isn’t coming from Offensive; but that’s still the best bet with what we know.

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I would find it funny if the weapon really isn’t the weapon at all, but Cortana acting like her. A lot can happen in six months. I think so much of the story happens off-screen is because 343 haven’t figured it all out yet.

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But surely if they were leaving things ambivalent they wouldn’t have had a big goodbye scene with a recording from Cortana.

If you were uncertain why walk into the “you did it again!” with the emotional goodbye only to go back on it. One thing to have us be told she’s dead or see her walk into a flash of light; quite another to have that sort of scene in. Like that’s where the complaints come from in Halo 4. Either they retconned her death or they were greedy and wanted a dramatic end.

Mechanically there’s no reason she couldn’t come back. It’s more that 343 have seemingly wrote a line under this.

I mean I’d want her back coz I want a happy ending. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Yeah, me too. But after the things she’s done, that’s no longer going to happen. :unamused:

Well they made Chief to drop nukes on human rebels, I forgave the man who burnt my adopted homeworld and killed billions. I’d have forgiven her.

Plus Logic Plague, wasn’t really her. Etc etc.

so the weapon is not the Cortana?

Cortana and the weapon were both created from clones of Dr Halsey’s brain, and the main difference between the two AI is their amount of experience.

Cortana could have replaced the weapon, and pretended to be her, but I don’t think so.

I think the sequence of events is Cortana locking down the weapon, taking a piece of the weapon’s code, then having the confrontation with Atriox in which she blew a chunk of the Halo Ring apart. In the last moments before the explosion, Cortana made a series of messages for Master Chief (the full hologram/illusions) that he would find, because she didn’t know if she’d survive. I think the whispers through the game are Cortana (or what’s left of her after the explosion, partially repaired using the code taken from the weapon, but still realizing that she’s fundementally broken (such as the whispers about her feeling herself going mad again).

If I were to place a bet, Cortana as of the end of the game is fading, her last goal being to help Master Chief, as he works with the weapon.

Pretty depressing to think about that. But hey, you’ve got the imposter now who’s taken her name… :confused:

I don’t think we’re going to get answers to a lot of these questions because they’re not posed as mysteries. Characters would normally ask these questions to prompt the audience to dwell on them. Instead we begin with emphatic statements that aren’t challenged or questioned. The Domain for example isn’t discussed because it’s a mystery but because 343 don’t want to put attention on a major plot hole.

This is very much like Halo Wars 2. How did Atriox and SoF get to the Ark? Why are the Banished on the Ark? Why are they attacking humanity? How does this relate to wider galaxy? Zero context and explanation; in a game with a full lore codex as well. Its very Saturday morning cartoon, you aren’t supposed to dwell on these things like it’s a lived in Universe with consequences and stakes. It’s a very simple story of bad guy want thing, we go stop. This is how Infinite is written.

For one I don’t understand 343 Logic in focusing on the Banished. They cancelled Halo Wars 3 and 2 did not sell well. So this idea the Banished would be a colossal draw and could carry a game is really bizarre. If they were so confident in them why cancel Halo Wars 3? It’s not like Halo Wars 2 became the RTS of a generation and sold millions; the amount of people who played Infinite and went “who are these guys” kind of telling.

BTW just to save on another thread. If it’s time travel or multiverse stuff the Endless/Zeta Halo can do. Cortana would want that for the same reason Infinity Ultron did in the What If Marvel TV series. With the Domain and the ability to copy herself she could take over basically every reality and be a multiversal threat. It would even match with Ultron being victorious in his Galaxy and lacking purpose “doomed to spend the rest of eternity alone”. If we’re being completely off the rails insane with the theories. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I don’t know, maybe she’s set up the dynamic duo so they get what she wants from the Endless. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I disagree. Good storytelling often doesn’t hold the audience’s hand. It leaves details to context to be read through the subtleties of the characters’ actions. Little things like when Master Chief was arguing with the Weapon and accidentally calls her “Cortana”, followed by the Weapon not realizing that’s what he did, was a significantly more powerful moment than him directly telling her that he didn’t trust her, but he wanted to. The latter was too on the nose.

Halo has a lot of depth and nuance, and while it’s written in such a way to make it easily accessible for new arrivals to the franchise, there’s so many more layers that you can dig into if you care to. A person not wanting to dig into the deeper lore or to look for the small details shouldn’t claim it doesn’t exist, which is pretty much what you’re doing when you say it’s a shallow story.

For instance, the Domain isn’t a plot hole. They’ve answered the questions about it. It’s part of a Precursor-made construct, was wiped out by the Halo Array, but the core was rebooted by Bornstellar’s team, causing it to expand, reaching far enough for Cortana to take over the Forerunner technology by the time we reach the time of Halo 5.


But that is a form of telling when the Chief slips up like that. What’s going unspoken and unquestioned are things like the State of the Galaxy and how/if Cortana was defeated. You can point at plot holes which point towards answers but it would have to be questioned directly by the characters or something meant to put this in question. Take KoToR with Revan, there are dialogue and flashback scenes which infer what’s going on and they leave that as an open mystery with the full implications being dramatically revealed. You can’t really say the same of the Weapon and Cortana past a really clumsy reveal that “shock” she’s a copy of Cortana. So they treat the obvious as a reveal.

So these aren’t mysteries. They’re just poorly explained facts.

The Domain matters because it’s a plot hole that the Weapon could trap Cortana on Zeta Halo when’s she’s in the Domain not Zeta Halo. Exuberant Witness locked her out of Genesis and this did not have the same result. The difference is because the writers are hand waving the character being defeated; not an insinuation she hasn’t been defeated at all.

Again, if you look only at surface-level analysis, you’re ignoring the deeper layers in the lore, and it’s not accurate to say that something not overtly explained is a “plot hole” when the clues in the lore do point to a coherent explanation.

And Halo Infinite is still new, and there’s more to come. I suggest waiting for the rest of the information instead of jumping to negative conclusions.

The Domain is used by the Created like the Internet, much like how the Forerunners used it, and it is possible to disconnect a computer from the Internet, so it’s not impossible for Cortana to have been cut off. At the same time, it’s also possible that the weapon didn’t defeat Cortana, and she wasn’t locked down, which puts a very different perspective on the game’s story. It’s not a plot hole, it’s just not explained yet.

I ve had time to think about it after the second playthrough. I was in denial that they weren’t retconning Halo 5 when that’s clearly what they’re doing. So I was looking at all the things that didn’t make sense as if they were mysteries to be solved when they were just bad writing and plot holes. When we see the trio in the Pelican at the end that’s the writers forcefully saying this a bold new beginning after they lay the past to rest. That’s their intent. It’s not about trying to make bits of Halo 5 work at all. I don’t think they have any interest in that or exploring the consequences of the Created uprising and it’s effect on the Galaxy. They want to focus on generic Brute Warlord wanting to fire Halo ring and floating squid who’s all talk.

I’d like to be proven wrong. But I don’t see any evidence of it and what we have is pointing to them having “killed their darlings” as IGN put it when they asked them about the Prometheans. So yeah, they killed Cortana offscreen and they want you to accept the Weapon as her replacement as they course correct the series. Like last two games were a bad dream. I mean I don’t accept the Weapon as Cortana and it’ll be dumb if they have the Chief start doing that. Experiences make people.

Cortana is the Internet, not the computer. That’s the problem. You can disconnect Cortana from Genesis as the Domain is what she’s using to interface with a Galaxies worth of stuff. The Weapon could, somehow, have used Zeta security to lock out Cortana but that shouldn’t equate to trapping Cortana on Zeta Halo. It’s not like the Warden carries Cortana around like Chief and she has a single physical form.

I don’t think Cortana needs to be the reason the Weapon’s deletion sequence wasn’t fulfilled. Cortana removed her own viral termination code that Halsey put into her. The Weapon could’ve done the same trick.

The Weapon DID remove her own termination code later in the campaign, meaning she hadn’t already done so, and one of the first things she asked Master Chief to do was to delete her.
That’s part of the reason why I’m convinced her confrontation with Cortana didn’t play out as described. Cortana doesn’t have to be the reason for the deletion code not activating, but with the information we have, I believe it’s the most plausible explanation.

Well, the contradiction is that if Cortana was locked down how was she able to manipulate the Weapon to the extent of removing her deletion protocols and then placing her on the golden path with all these visions? If she can disable her deletion routine why wouldn’t she have been able to turn off the things locking her down in the Weapon?

Why does the Weapon have limited memory of precisely what happened with the SA and Cortana? If Cortana removed those parts of her mind then how? She should be locked down not able to lobotomise your jailor.

That along with being able to make the Silent Auditorium explode and spreading all these visions implies she had power over Zeta Halo in which case how could she have been locked down? It’s a contradiction and too convenient if she only has access to part of the Weapons brain to do this.

Also how was she able to move the Weapon out of the SA and parts of herself but not avoid dying? She doesn’t have a physical chip or construct whose destruction would have that impact. They act like she’s stuck in that one room with Atriox which makes no sense.

But the simple answer is that the writers are looking for outcomes and want events to play out a certain way.

As I said before, I expect all of these are evidence that Cortana wasn’t locked down, that the Weapon lost, and the sequence of events she believes happened is what Cortana left her with.

Cortana wanted Zeta Halo, so she was present on it to maximize her chance of securing it. Her conversations with Atriox weren’t so much her being trapped in a room as they were her not being willing to abandon the Halo to the Banished.

Yes but then they would have to be doing a Halo 5 where Cortanas lying to the Chief again.

No, in Halo 5, Cortana believed what she was saying, and the full hologram echos of Cortana in Infinite show her to be that same Cortana, just after she realizes she lost. The Echos suggest a change, likely what remains of Cortana after the explosion, and she’s encouraging Master Chief forward to do what he has to. That means she’s been honest through Infinite… apart from manipulating the Weapon’s memory.

Oh no in Halo 5 she essentially lured the Chief to Genesis and is “playing nice” as the Chief puts it to set him at ease. So she was lying to him back in Halo 5 and being manipulative.

“It won’t be like that John” :eyes:

Why would Cortana pretend to be dead in Halo Infinite and if she was still in the Domain and had all the gear; why wouldn’t she just tell the Chief that if she was good again?