Why did the Primordial have opposing goals during the Forerunner war?

So this is a question regarding the Primordial’s goals during the forerunner-flood war. During the 43 year long debate with Mendicant Bias, he told the A.I. that the flood and the precursors were in sync. The flood was unity of the galaxy because the forerunners were denying evolution of the galaxy by not allowing humanity to take up the mantle. However, if the flood’s goal was to infect the ENTIRE galaxy because of the reason to allow humanity to finally take up the mantle, wouldn’t that mean infecting humanity too? What then would the flood do once the entire galaxy was consumed?

I know that at the beginning of the war, the flood retreated willingly for a brief moment from humanity. I am guessing this was to spare humanity so once the flood did return back to the forerunners, the Primordial would have more to go on when persuading Mendicant what the floods true purpose was. So, the floods true purpose is unity? It seems like conflicting goals. The flood wants unity of the entire galaxy, but also to fulfill the will of the precursors by working to let humanity evolve.

I hope yall are lore masters. I haven’t read the forerunner trilogy books but have been diving more into the lore.

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So, the Precursors are the Flood. The Precursors that survived the Forerunners’ genocide went into suspended animation or became dust that was supposed to regenerate into their past forms, which became defective after millions of years. Humanity was the first to discover the dust of the Precursors that would eventually bring forth the Flood. The Flood attacked human colonies until they left the galaxy to wait for a better moment to enact their revenge against the Forerunners. They intentionally let some humans go uninfected to make it seem like there was a cure. The Floods ultimate goal was to enact revenge on the Forerunners and to strip free will from their creations by infecting them as to prevent them from being able to rise up against their creator again. The Human-Forerunner War was actually caused by the Flood in a way. Humanity tried cleansing worlds that had become infected by the Flood and when Forerunner worlds started to become infected, Humanity bomded them, killing millions. The Forerunners didn’t believe the Flood was a threat and the attacks only fueled the Forerunners hatred of what they believed was human aggression towards other species.


The Flood’s intentions are…complex, but in an attempt to put it simply:

During the Forerunner-Flood war, their aim was revenge on the Forerunner; not specifically to enable Humanity to attain the mantle, but just pure revenge.

Afterwards, the flood’s “aim” as such is to test whether Humanity is worthy enough to attain the mantle. As such, this will result in one of two outcomes; either humanity fails and “unity” is achieved…or they succeed, the Flood is beaten and Humanity attains the mantle.

To go into it a bit more…

The latter part of the third book in the Forerunner trilogy, Silentium, is key to trying to understand the motives here.

It’s suggested by the Primordial, that the Mantle is actually to be taken by force, rather than handed over. However this contradicts previous accounts, both that stored in the Domain and the one given by the Primordial itself, over how (and why) the Forerunner defeated the Precursors. It’s entirely possible that this view is a fabrication/ corruption of the truth on behalf of the Flood, due to them being corrupted themselves. After all, they ARE literally corrupted Precursors.

I also personally believe that the logic plague, is basically this perverted perception of the original Precursor concepts held by the Flood, mixed with some good old-fashioned pursuasive coercion.


I believe there’s one specific passage in Halo: Cryptum on page 157 that re-contextualizes everything the Flood’s done into one coherent set of motivations and goals.

There is requisite context for the interpretation of the passage which is diffused throughout the three novels of the series.

1st: The Didact at this point in the story is already afflicted with the Logic Plague, having conversed with the Primordial.

2nd: The Logic Plague is transmitted through interaction… the transfer of information… and there’s no more significant transfer of information than a Forerunner serving as the template for another Forerunner’s mutation. As such Bornstellar now carries the Logic Plague from the point of him undergoing his first mutation.

3rd: The nature of the Logic Plague is that it is grafting the mind of the governing intelligence behind everything the Flood does onto the mind of the recipient, enabling it to manipulate the thought processes of the recipient in both subtle and obvious ways.

4th: the quotation is given through Bornstellar’s senses, informing the reader of what Bornstellar perceived, as he perceived it.

Now for the quotation:

For a few minutes, I thought I experienced yet another voice in my head, not me, not my past me or any future me. It seemed to contain a great deal of knowledge, none of it any use. It was knowledge that belonged to others from very far away, other existences where life and death were meaningless, light and darkness twisted together, where the twin fists of time uncurled their fingers and joined in a clasp, so that nothing changed or ever would.

That last part is the most important part. It’s describing eternity. Literal existence completely disconnected from the flow of time. The past and future (the “twin fists of time”) existing simultaneously and perpetually, eternally unchanging, is the nature of the mind Bornstellar observed.

That is not consistent with any type of mortal being that can be killed or driven insane. If that passage is literally accurate as it appears to be, then the entirety of what the Forerunners thought they knew about the Precursors is completely wrong.

As eternal beings, the Precursors are not subject to the flow of time, which means they were not eradicated, were not desperate to preserve themselves, and they knew the dust would turn into the Flood. All of it is known from the beginning, and was permitted or orchestrated as part of a larger plan. That larger plan is the Mantle of Responsibility.

The Mantle of Responsibility is the duty of the chosen race to safeguard the oportunity of all other races to the reach their highest potential. Not to lead them, or to police them, merely to prevent them from being perpetually prevented from the development they were designed to undergo.

The race the Precursors created to inherit the Mantle was Humanity, but at some point in the distant past, Humanity split into two factions. One that became the ancestors of modern humanity, and one that spent more than ten-million years genetically altering themselves, splicing the genetic strengths of other races into themselves into an attempt to turn themselves into the ultimate species, these being the ancestors of the Forerunners.

The Precursors rejected the Forerunners, and chose Humanity, because the Forerunners were already showing that they didn’t understand the Mantle, and were violating it in their attempts to enforce peace on the galaxy by preventing any other races from rising in power to the point where they could rival the Forerunners. The Forerunners exterminated the Precursors’ biological avatars they’d been using to guide the mortal races, and the Precursors turned the remnant of those avatars into the dust that would in time emerge as the Flood.

The Flood first emerged on human worlds, testing their worth, a test humanity passed by being self-sacrificial in their attempt to save the rest of the galaxy from the Flood. The Flood then stopped attacking humanity, creating the illusion that the “cure” worked, because if the Forerunners hadn’t believed that Humanity had a secret cure that the Forerunners couldn’t discover, the Forerunners would have exterminated humanity utterly. Instead, the Forerunners took special care to preserve humanity in the hope of eventually getting the “cure” from them.

The Forerunners analyzed the Flood’s abilities and realized that the Flood could have consumed everything long before the Halo Array was even designed, but it was deliberately taking longer to spread. In the context of the Mantle, it’s clear that the Flood didn’t wipe out the Forerunners immediately because the Forerunners hadn’t themselves reached their full potential. The end of Halo: Silentium highlights how Forerunner government is restructured, and the major changes they’re going through, exemplifying them finally reaching their peak, and it is at that point when the Flood stops holding back.

The Flood had experience with the Halos, and had even captured Halos from the first array. The Flood was perfectly capable of preventing the Halo Array from firing, but let it happen… but only after enacting judgement on the Forerunners, destroying the Greater Ark with the remnants of the Forerunner culture. This reset the galaxy, giving life a chance to prosper out from under the heels of the Forerunners, and without forcing the Flood to show its hand. Much later, the Flood emerged again, breaking the Covenant before it could exterminate the remnant of humanity, and then collecting its forces above the Ark, the only place in the universe where a Halo could be fired against it without civilian casualties.

The Flood is an antagonist (it does legitimately do terrible things to make the threat credible), galvanizing the mortal races through combat, driving them towards their potential, and towards otherwise unlikely alliances. The Flood is perfectly capable of winning quickly, but these new factions don’t know the extent of the Flood’s abilities, allowing it to hold back far more, giving them opportunities to plausibly “defeat” it. It’s pretending to be less powerful and more malicious than it is for the sake of driving events to the Precursors’ desired outcome.

The Flood isn’t actually trying to consume everything, but that’s the narrative it is perpetuating for the sake of manipulating the other races to the desired outcome.

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Two issues here:

Firstly, I’m confident the imprinting of Bornstellar happened BEFORE the Didact contracted the logic plague.

Secondly, is there a source for Humanity fracturing as you say and one becoming the Forerunner?? I haven’t re-read the trilogy in a while, but this may be something I missed, any info would be greatly appreciated. I took it as they were two completely separate species.

Look closely at the nature of the mind Bornstellar observes. It’s not himself (past or future) and as an eternal mind, it can’t be the Didact either. As such, applying Occam’s Razor yields the mind being a Precursor as the singular most plausible and probable explanation.

Regarding Humanity and the Forerunners, their shared heritage isn’t directly stated in concrete terms, but it is hinted throughout the novels extensively.

1: the physicality of Forerunners. They extensively genetically augmented their bodies as a species, and the change extensively each time they undergo an artificial mutation, meaning their form-zero is the closest to their natural form they’ll ever get. In Halo Cryptum the extensive similarities between Humans and Bornstellar are pointed out, even highlighting that Bornstellar bears a closer resemblance to the humans than he does to his father. Likewise when the Librarian takes a crew to Path Kethona (in Halo: Silentium) the descriptions of the Forerunners there who have 10-million fewer years of genetic alteration than the Milky Way Forerunners also have the strong similarities between them and Humanity highlighted.

2: It is theorized within the novels by some Forerunners that they and Humanity have shared heritage, and that line of research is rejected for the sole reason that the Forerunners find the notion offensive, not that it lacks merit.

3: Humanity’s homeworld is never directly stated anywhere in the lore. It is definitively NOT Erde Tyrene because when the Forerunners planted the de-evolved humans on the planet, there was no sign on the planet of humanity ever having lived on that planet, which would not be the case if it had been their natal world. This means humanity came from somewhere else, but the Forerunners weren’t willing to look for that home, and instead found a planet they could put humans on that didn’t have technology they could find that could jump-start their civilization’s development.

4: The Precursors promised the ancestors of the Forerunners that their descendants would be granted the Mantle of Responsibility, and millennia later, the Precursors let the Forerunners know that Humanity was to be granted the Mantle, not the Forerunners. Unless the god-beings of the Halo universe were lying, that means humanity are also direct descendants of that original race that the Precursors made the promise to.

5: The Forerunners destroyed their own homeworld with a stellar engineering accident. That’s a plausible point in the timeline for the Forerunners to have lost a significant amount of their records (such as an ancient expedition across the galaxy that hasn’t contacted them since they left, the descendants of which wouldn’t recognize modern Forerunners as being the same species due to how much the forerunners altered their DNA in the intermittent time, resulting in neither faction recognizing the other)

There’s more, but this gives a starting point for what to look for.


I wasn’t disputing that it was a Precursor mind at all, simply that he was infected with the logic plague - a large part of the trilogy is watching the dichotomy between the two Didacts, given the divergent paths. I don’t disagree that it was a Precursor mind he felt, but I DO disagree that he felt it due to being infected with the logic plague.

  1. True, but let’s not forget both were created by the Precursors. Applying razor, there are a number of logical reasons why both were created yet have similarities. Let’s also not forget that as many similarities as there are, there are also vast differences. It’s also I believe stated in Cryptun that both were created as separate species by the Precursors, at the same time. I honestly believe this is simply a continuation of this thread from the original trilogy, a messy one at that.

  2. That could well be their origin as stated above, with them both being created by the Precursors.

  3. Where is that stated? I always thought it WAS Earth, with Charum Hakor mirroring Reach. If not that’s a shame, because I always found that a fun aspect.

  4. Technically, that’s what the Forerunner believed they were told. What they were actually told was that they’d been created with that intention, but would be tested, which of course they failed. As such, they were to be destroyed and Humanity then tested and expected to pass the same test.

  5. That still doesn’t necessarily prove anything, even circumstancially. If you mean the expedition to Path Kethona specifically…they did recognise the Librarian’s team as Forerunner.

With regards to genetic manipulation, yes many were done…but there is a big difference between manipulating certain genes, and completely changing your DNA structure from a double to triple helix…that is massive, potentially on the level of the Precursor level of tech…it seems a reach to me.

I understand why people think this is genuinely a thing…but I disagree. There’s been a lot of effort to seemingly retcon that old thread from the original trilogy that Forerunner were actually ancient humans. I believe that massively outweighs the evidence that is brought up to support this theory.

I’ve read the series multiple times, and I’m convinced the Ur-Didact received the Logic Plague when he first conversed with the Primordial, before he went into his Cryptum prior to the events of Halo: Cryptum. It’s possible that either or both of us are mis-remembering, so I think this point is at an impasse until one of us finds enough time in our schedules to re-read the series.

1: Very good point that a common creator is a valid explanation for the similarities between the two races. However, in the context of the other evidences for them having been the same species, I believe the explanation I gave is the most plausible candidate for their canonical relationship in the Halo universe.

2: We already know the Precursors created them both. As a work of fiction, there would be no point in hinting at their shared ancestry if the extent of the truth was them having a shared creator, which we already know.

3: I don’t have the page reference without re-reading the books to find it. After the Human-Forerunner war, the Forerunners concluded that Charum Hakor was their homeworld, though it is noted as odd that there were no Human-made structures on Earth at the time, when all of the worlds where they found humans they had extensive structures. The most obvious answer to this mystery is that Earth was not the natal world of Humanity.

4: The Precursors created Humanity… The Forerunners split off from Humanity via extensive genetic manipulation … The Precursors tested both factions and found only one of them to be worthy, though intervention by the Forerunners took away Humanity’s progress, resulting in Humanity having to develop again, and be tested again.

5: The two groups of Forerunners did recognize each other, almost as much as they recognized their differences, and the similarities between the Path Kethona Forerunners and the Humans. My point was that the narrative that fits all of the available information the best at this time, is that at some point after the creation of Humanity on Ghibalb, one faction went on a deep-space exodus from their natal star system, and settled in the Orion Arm of the galaxy, and became the ancestors of modern Humanity. The faction that stayed in their home system, and spread out from there accidentally destroyed Ghibalb at some point after that, resulting in records of the other faction getting lost. The Forerunners augmentations after that point changed them so much that by the time they re-discovered the other faction of Humanity, they didn’t recognize them as the same species, because they didn’t have records of how much the Forerunners had changed themselves away from their original biology. After the Forerunners rebelled, and the Path Kethona Forerunners sentenced themselves to Exile, the rest of the Forerunners continued changing their DNA artificially right up until the end of their civilization, resulting in nearly as much difference between the Milky Way Forerunners and the Path Kethona Forerunners as there was between the Path Kethona Forerunners and Humanity.

Look up the passage about the Path Kethona Forerunners. They created from just their own DNA, livestock and plants. Let me repeat myself… The Forerunners took their mammilian DNA, and altered it to the extent that they created Plants out of it, and not just fruits and vegetables, they even created vines that record their history on the rocks, and they did that with the technology on their warships, not specialized science vessels. The differences between Forerunner and Human DNA are not outside of the Forerunners’ genetic-manipulation technologies.

I’ve dug deep, and I believe the narrative I’ve presented is the singular most plausible explanation for the canonical relationship between the Forerunners and Humanity.

I have not seen compelling evidence to the contrary. Bungie originally intended the Forerunners to be ancient humans, but that was retconned, and pre-retcon information isn’t particularly compelling.