*SPOILERS* 343i Didn't Lie About Cortana (HTT-H5G)

Remember that very first scene in Halo 5, right before Osiris’ briefing, where we see Halsey entering a chamber to get Cortana? Most fans will have already guessed that it happened on Reach, either during or even before the events of Halo: Reach. But if you pay close attention to the book she lays on a desk before she grabs the module that will contain Cortana, you’ll notice that it is her journal.

I believe this was meant to be more than just an easter egg for hardcore fans. It was a clue, something that would lead us to understand what happened to Cortana after Halo 4.

Now, I’ve been rereading Halsey’s Journal since yesterday, and I just stumbled upon a really big piece of evidence that clarifies things up in Halo 5:

> (Journal entry dated August 3, 2552; emphases added)
>
> “Cortana and I have discussed this at length, and she concurs it is the only logical procedure.
> SPARTAN-117 and his team require her expertise for their mission, which I believe will be our last real opportunity at finding an end to the war. She will be invaluable to them in their mission to penetrate Covenant territory and deliver a decapitating blow to their hierarchy.
> Cortana, however, is also the best-suited AI on Reach to analyze the symbols and operating systems in Professor Sorvad’s site.
> The Solomonic solution that we arrived at independently is to divide her.
> I’ll copy most of her IEP translation routines to an independent module. Meanwhile, the incarnate Cortana will continue with John and Blue Team.
> Both operatons are critical to the war effort.
> If Laszlo made a breakthrough, that data would aid Blue Team in enemy space. The severed data-mining portion of Cortana can then be reunited and she can update herself before Blue Team departs.
> I’m not without doubts. So much can go wrong with any part of either mission.
> Cortana is unyielding; in some ways, more dedicated and courageous than I.”

So, basically, that means that what we see in that very first scene is not the real Cortana but only a fragment of her–the very same fragment that Noble Six receives from Halsey, and which he subsequently gives to Captain Keyes. That fragment was used to translate everything in the Forerunner complex beneath SWORD Base.

My theory:

Part of what the Cortana fragment found in the Forerunner database included information about the Mantle. This particular fragment preserved that information even after it was reunited with the ‘incarnate Cortana’. When Cortana became rampant and her personality was fragmented, this particular fragment developed its own conscience (it could even be the one that fights her the most throughout Halo 4). And this was also the only–or probably the most prominent–fragment that survived the destruction of the Didact’s ship, reaching the Domain where it was ‘cured’ from rampancy. The information she kept from the Forerunner site at Reach concerning the Mantle was already distorted by now, though, and what little the Domain could provide to fill in the blanks only made it worse, leading her to believe that the ‘Created’, not the ‘Creators’ (humanity), were the rightful heirs of the Mantle.
In other words, the Cortana we see in Halo 5 is nothing but the fragment we see at the beginning of the game. The ‘incarnate Cortana’ did perish after saving the Chief.

So, in a way, 343i didn’t lie about Cortana not being in the game. Also, don’t forget that they kept talking about ‘Hunting the Truth’ for months. What if Halo 5 was only the beginning of that hunt? What if we’re meant to keep hunting for the truth even now that Halo 5 is over?

I think this is about as solid a theory as any that can be made. Great read.

It would also explain her extreme transformation from one game to the other.

I’d also like to point out, there is more to Warden Eternal than we get to see. Exuberant Witness pointed out that he is not an AI. For a while I thought it would have been the Didact after being composed in the comics, but now I’m not quite sure.

Either way, solid theory and I enjoyed the read.

> 2533274801521685;2:
> I think this is about as solid a theory as any that can be made. Great read.
>
> It would also explain her extreme transformation from one game to the other.
>
> I’d also like to point out, there is more to Warden Eternal than we get to see. Exuberant Witness pointed out that he is not an AI. For a while I thought it would have been the Didact after being composed in the comics, but now I’m not quite sure.
>
> Either way, solid theory and I enjoyed the read.

Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.

All prometheans were once organic life right? So who was the warden?

> 2533274809377410;4:
> All prometheans were once organic life right? So who was the warden?

Maybe one of the first Forerunners to be composed, when the device was in its trial phase? (The Librarian implied that they tested on themselves it during his conversation with MC in Halo 4.)

Just adding another comment to keep this thread alive. I’d hate to see it buried beneath the hundreds of troll/hater posts.

>uses a spoiler tag to indicate that the thread will contain spoilers
>puts a spoiler in the thread title

It’s been a long damn time since I read it, but didn’t they cover that in First Strike? The “be reunited” part is what made me think of that. I don’t know, I could be wrong.

> 2533274939225191;6:
> Just adding another comment to keep this thread alive. I’d hate to see it buried beneath the hundreds of troll/hater posts.

Beware, this is technically post bumping and is against the rules, but OT:

I found your theory really interesting and enjoyed it!

> 2533274866682248;7:
> >uses a spoiler tag to indicate lemming thread will lead to spoilers
> >puts a spoiler in the thread title

LMAO right!?!?

> 2533274882881665;9:
> > 2533274939225191;6:
> > Just adding another comment to keep this thread alive. I’d hate to see it buried beneath the hundreds of troll/hater posts.
>
>
> Beware, this is technically post bumping and is against the rules, but OT:
>
> I found your theory really interesting and enjoyed it!

Dang, thanks for the heads-up!

You realize the title itself is a spoiler.

Good read OP. I have my journal somewhere buried. Will probably dig it up to see what other interesting bits are in it.

Good theory I like it. only part that loses me is

> So, basically, that means that what we see in that very first scene is not the real Cortana but only a fragment of her–the very same fragment that Noble Six receives from Halsey and which he subsequently gives to Captain Keyes.

If the Fragment goes to Noble six then to Keys then to MC on the Pillar of Autumn that would mean that MC only ever had a fragment not the “incarnate Cortana”.

But I could just be missing a piece of lore.

wow this is one of the best theory I have seen in a long time.

> 2533274866682248;7:
> >uses a spoiler tag to indicate that the thread will contain spoilers
> >puts a spoiler in the thread title

> 2535405450804460;12:
> You realize the title itself is a spoiler.

Yeah, I wasn’t convinced myself about it either when I first posted it. Already fixed, thank you!

> 2533274821886199;14:
> Good theory I like it. only part that loses me is
>
>
>
>
> > So, basically, that means that what we see in that very first scene is not the real Cortana but only a fragment of her–the very same fragment that Noble Six receives from Halsey and which he subsequently gives to Captain Keyes.
>
>
> If the Fragment goes to Noble six then to Keys then to MC on the Pillar of Autumn that would mean that MC only ever had a fragment not the “incarnate Cortana”.
>
> But I could just be missing a piece of lore.

After Captain Keyes was given Cortana’s fragment, the latter was reunited with Cortana proper. That was the plan all along, according to Halsey’s entry. The same fragment could simply have acquired a personality of its own when Cortana went rampant, and it survived the whole ordeal of Halo 4.

> 2533274866875282;15:
> wow this is one of the best theory I have seen in a long time.

Thank you! I fear it might get lost in the forums, though. I’m considering uploading it on Reddit, though I’d have to create an account there first :stuck_out_tongue:

Interesting theory. This is kinda off-topic but…

What is that picture of Miranda Keys doing in Halsey’s lab?

> 2533275011491088;19:
> Interesting theory. This is kinda off-topic but…
> What is that picture of Miranda Keys doing in Halsey’s lab?

Spoiler alert in case someone out there still doesn’t know:

Miranda is Halsey’s daughter. Confirmed by the journal itself and in the Kilo-Five Trilogy.