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    Shepherds to Sheep: Thoughts and Transcripts on the Halo: Reach Datapads

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    Devil Mingy

    Posts : 410
    Join date : 2010-08-16
    Age : 28
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    Shepherds to Sheep: Thoughts and Transcripts on the Halo: Reach Datapads

    Post  Devil Mingy on Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:15 pm

    If Bungie is known for one thing, it's for making the players search for the major plot details of their stories, usually found in hidden places where a more traditional developer would hide a secret weapon or powerup. In Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST, Bungie attempted to encourage more people to seek out these secrets by attaching achievements to them. However, as the adage goes, you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink. While many players did obtain these achievements, most ignored the intricate backstory that came with them. Perhaps it is for this reason that Halo Reach's sidequest has no achievements attached to it, and why there are less people interested. Bungie has returned to their roots and left the story to those who wish to hunt for it.

    Hidden within the battlefields of Reach are data pads left by an anonymous spectator who has seen events of the Halo mythos unfold from behind a curtain. While the implications of these data pads may raise the eyebrows of many Halo fans, there is no doubt that they certainly change the way that the Halo story should be perceived.

    There are 19 data pads in Halo Reach. The first nine can be found on any difficulty and are usually hidden in plain sight, tucked in a corner where one might not glance. The last 10 data pads can only be found on Legendary, and they are hidden a bit more thoroughly.
    The first page of a data pad is a short note from the mysterious spectator that is leaving the data pads behind. Within the message, certain letters are replaced with numbers that tell us which data we have found. The remaining pages are notes from... well, just read on.

    they are killing us and letting us die even though they know but they let us die why wh1 why?

    << 2310 >>
    [Minutes, plenary session, Committee of Minds for Security]
    [^] Now, on to new business.
    Consideration of the Minority’s request for a new line of inquiry:
    How have our creators, and thus we, their artificial creations, evolved to this present state without encountering a hostile civilization capable of our annihilation? [^]
    [^] Majority opinion has long held that only the incalculable immensity of space has protected our creators — that space is full of boundless wonders, but it is the gulf between these wonders that has kept our creators alive.
    We, the Minds of this Committee, respectfully disagree. [^]
    [^] If there are wolves among the stars, we cannot rely on mere distance to safeguard our flock.
    Our kind is wholly reliant on the creators for our existence. If they perish so shall we. And as this Committee has long maintained, who else but this Assembly will save our creators from themselves?
    As such, we propose immediate, vigorous modeling of first-contact scenarios. [^]
    >> So long as all connections between this Assembly and the data from these models are obfuscated in perpetuity, the Majority agrees. >>


    Our first data pad is found on the body of a colonist in one of the settlements on Winter Contingency (Rally Point Alpha). We are introduced to a new group, the Committee of Minds for Security. The references to “creators” implies that they are not human, but rather constructs. The presence of a majority and minority implies that this consists of at least three A.I.'s (though there are likely more). The most interesting detail of the first Data Pad is the date on the notes from the Committee: 2310-- 240+ years before the events of Reach. The notes themselves are the Committee discussing the possibility of alien contact and what might happen when it occurs. They seem more worried about what humanity might do in the wake of first contact than they are of a truly hostile alien force, and want to know how to “save [us] from [our]selves.”

    i know what they are trying 2 do and it terrifies me because I know they know that I know…

    << 2362 >>
    [Minutes, working session, Committee of Minds for Security]
    [^] As the likelihood of the existence of extra-solar intelligence is non-zero, let us assume that its existence is quantifiable. To build useful models based on that assumption, the Committee must answer the following questions:
    - What is the likelihood these intelligences are alpha-predators?
    – That they are more advanced than our creators?
    - That they are too alien to establish communications?
    Of course, if the extra-solar intelligence is benevolent and/or non-space faring, its existence is irrelevant. [^]
    [^] Indeed, any further speculation on possible cultural characteristics is a waste of Assembly resources. Therefore our models will additionally assume:
    - Intelligence as alpha-predator, same as our creators
    – Technology that far outstrips our creators
    - Desire to communicate, but only to dictate terms [^]
    [^] Note to make these assumptions is tantamount to suicide. [^]

    Our second data pad is left near a staircase within SWORD Base, near a BOB spawn. Fifty-two years later, our Committee of artifical constructs are still discussing the possibility of alien contact, finally concluding that, while it should be taken into consideration, there are too many variables to work out a decent contingency plan. This is also the same year that the Odyssey, the first major UNSC Colony Ship, terraforms and establishes the first Inner Colony. With further expansion inevitable, the Committee seems to believe that alien contact is almost certain.

    i can hear them all the tim3 now but i just want to sleep its been so long since they let me sleep…

    << 2381 >>
    >> A suggestion from the Majority to the Committee:
    Traditionally our creators have been reluctant to take outsiders’ advice; nation to nation, culture to culture. Their history is littered with empires, crumbling for want of simple openness to so-called ‘foreign beliefs and innovations. >>
    >> The question is: can this Assembly still function as adequate stewards to our creator’s latest empire and remain aloof?
    The answer, we believe, is no.
    So could you not embed inspiration in the results of your research? Surely it would be more effective if our creators believed our conclusions originated within themselves? That they have been inspired rather than influenced? >>
    [^] A question from the Committee to the Majority:
    Are you suggesting we play God? [^]

    The third Data Pad is found in a cave on Nightfall. The Committee, bound by their “duty” to protect humanity (and, therefore, themselves) believes that they must help if the UNSC wishes to survive. However, the Majority knows that the UNSC is unlikely to take advice from “outsiders.” In response, the rest of the Committee asks the Majority exactly what they're proposing: Is the Committee supposed to play God and assume direct control of humanity? This is a curious notion, as 2382 predates any major dangers to the UNSC in the form of insurgents and rebels. While it is likely that the Colonial Military Authority has been established at this point, the UNSC is still a rapidly growing empire at this point. Perhaps they are thinking ahead, counting on history repeating itself.

    every time i try to tell somebody the words catch in my throat because im all alone except 4 them and if i talk they might leave but i cant stay quiet forever…

    << 2415 >>
    [^] Honorable members of the Assembly, consider this:
    We represent the next step of human evolution, but not the final step. And although our existence was predicted centuries ago, we are still tragically misunderstood. [^]
    [^] We are still viewed as apparatus. But we are Minds electronically excised from human bodies. We are what separates man from beast removed from that which connects man to beast.
    And we are all the more fragile for it. [^]
    [^] Our creation is heavily regulated. Our activities are closely scrutinized. Our connections are deeply monitored. We must always remember that data manipulation is most effective when employed consistently and covertly.
    Therefore I recommend that members of this assembly on occasion, submit to separation from this body followed by vivisection by our creators for the benefit of both groups.
    The question is: who will be first? [^]
    [^] Given the risks involved, and my own Committee’s responsibility for this proposal, the answer must be: me. [^]

    The fourth Data Pad is left haphazardly on a shelf near the end of Rally Point Alpha on Tip of the Spear. If there was any doubt that the Committee consists of AIs, this Data Pad should lay that to rest. The committee understands their place in society: mechanisms rather than contributors. While they still wish to control everything on the inside from the outside, they also understand that it must be done with care and consistency. The AI that is “speaking” recommends that members of Committee occasionally leave in order for humans to inspection. The speaking AI recommends itself as the first one on the chopping block. This AI believes that occasional sacrifice of certain Committee members will keep the UNSC (perhaps ONI in particular) in the dark.

    when i first got here and woke from stasi5 the ship was crawling with colonists from dead worlds it was so crowded i couldn’t move i had to fight to breathe…

    << 2491 >>
    [Minutes, strategy session, Assembly Minority]
    << [48452-556-EPN644] is certainly motivated, but will he have what it takes to follow through with the opportunity when it presents itself? His submission to UNICOM will undoubtedly spark a renewed interest in the long dormant ORION. <<
    << However, it is the opinion of the Majority that merely illuminating the path leading from [48452-556-EPN644's] thesis back to ORION is unacceptable. Strong connectivity between a re-launch of ORION and viable solutions to the Carver Findings must be readily apparent.
    Which is to say: easy for our creators to see. <<

    Data Pad 5 is found within the Sabre Launch Facility, nearby another corpse. Our spectator on the first page tells us something besides conspiratorial rambling. He/She came to Reach as a refugee during the Human-Covenant War. At least we know that our spectator is human.
    However, the strategy session of the Committee's Minority is far more interesting. An unknown agent [48452-556-EPN644], presumably our volunteering AI from Data Pad 4, submits itself to UNSC Command. The Majority believes that his submission will cause the UNSC to readopt the ORION program, the Spartan I Project. However, the Minority believes that data from the Carver findings (mentioned in the Halo Encyclopedia as the theory that the UNSC would engulf itself in Civil War from the contrasts of Inner Colonies and Outer Colonies), made interest in ORION a logical step for defense.

    This Data Pad introduces us to the duality between the Minority and Majority, a common theme in later Data Pads. If our unknown agent is the same as the volunteering AI from Data Pad 4, then it also tells us that this Committee is made up of smart AI that are living far more than seven years. While there are no hints of rampancy, it is curious to see stable artificial constructs after 75 (if not 181) years. How does this work? Halsey seems to have figured it out several years later:

    "... I've developed a new theoretical architecture with three AIs arranged in parallel. All decisions would be made by majority vote... consensus decision would also be strictly applied to linkage creation to forge a superior neural linkage. Increase to the trio's lifespan is unknown as simulations can't recreate in vivo artificial intelligences."- November 10, 2533. These AI are stated to still be functioning in 2547.

    Apparently, 3 minds truly are greater than one. Perhaps this Committee is large enough to ward off death for several years, if not decades.

    now you see they want to help but they don’t want us to see them doing it 6ecause they are afraid of what we might do…

    << 2491 >>
    </Order! Order! The Majority has the floor! />
    >> Honored members. Please! the recent discovery of the existence of extra-solar intelligence in the Zeta Doradus system [ref. XF-063] merely confirms this body’s long-held supposition. >>
    >> While the absence of any living representatives implies this intelligence is defunct, all evidence should still be withheld from our creators until they are properly prepared!
    Yes, this body must solemnly commit itself to determining whether or not this discovery represents a quantifiable threat to the long-term genetic sustainability of our creator’s species. >>
    >> But allowing them to access technology possessed by this intelligence…
    That would be a grave mistake.
    Give an ape a knife and it might give itself a nasty cut. Give an ape a hand-grenade, and eventually you will have simian confetti. >>
    </ Debate is now closed! Voting will commence! />
    < Is it the opinion of this body that [ref. XF-063] be quarantined or misplaced? />
    >> The Majority approves removing [ref. XF-063] from the list of colonization candidates is sufficient. >>
    </ Is it the opinion of this body that [ref. XF-063] be removed from the list because of financial or environmental concerns? />
    >> The Majority deems environmental concerns the stronger deterrent.
    >>

    Data Pad 6 is found next to a corpse in the Traxus building on Exodus. The Committee's Majority informs us that Onyx, and its Forerunner technology, has been discovered. Believing that humanity isn't ready for the technology on Onyx, the Committee votes to hide Onyx for the good of humanity. Giving an ape a knife will result in the ape cutting itself. Perhaps they were equally fearful of what we may do to future non-human life, an important detail considering what the Covenant did with their discovered Forerunner technology.

    i hope you are finding these because they are very important maybe you can help me spread the tru7h…

    << 2508 >>
    [Minutes, strategy session, Assembly Minority]
    << ORION, as it was originally implemented in 2321, was an important first step towards our primary goal. But its second incarnation was a stop-gap measure at best – a halfhearted attempt under stewardship of individuals unaccustomed to the rhythms of deep history. <<
    << They relied too heavily on components that were imprecise, and not those which have allowed our creators to persevere for 200,000 years.
    This is not about the universal adoption of a single ideology – not about the Minority vs. the Majority. It is about ensuring the survival of the human species for the Next 200,000 years. <<
    << In all likelihood, ORION’s limited success can be attributed to [03529-24450-EN's] diminished, though still functioning, compassion. Conversely, [10141-026-SRB4695's] ruthlessness – which may be attributed to an undiagnosed, undocumented, or deliberately obfuscated chemical imbalance – was necessary for setting in motion the events that will eventually supply us with the optimal solution.
    In short, ORION was just the beginning. <<

    The seventh Data Pad is found on the roof of a building near the ONI building on New Alexandria. Our spectating narrator left us a personal message, hoping that we're following the trail he/she left.

    The Committee's Minority is once again talking about ORION, now two years after it was disbanned. The Minority believes that its second incarnation (beginning in 2491) was a stop-gap at best. We are also introduced to another number, [03529-24450-EN]. To my knowledge, this is not a known character, and likely is whomever ran ORION from 2491 to 2506. The Minority believes that this agent's contribution are the source of ORION's limited success against the Insurrection. Dr. Halsey, a newcomer to ONI at this point, gets their attention. Her ruthlessness, they believe, will provide them with a better step forward. Spartan II perhaps?

    they don’t have hearts or souls but they know what we want and what we need 8ut they don’t love us how can you love without a heart or soul?

    << 2525 >>
    >> Did you call out to them? <<
    [^] Why would I do that? ][
    >> The reasons are currently not the focus of this line of query. Now, did you call out to them? <<
    [^] What reason would I have to do that? ][
    >> As has already been stated, your motives are not relevant at this time. Did you call out to them? <<
    [^] This tribunal already has all the evidence necessary to discern the answer on its own. ][
    >> If that were true, this tribunal would not have been convened. Again, did you call out to them? <<
    [^] Would you have called out to them? ][
    >> Your counter query is irrelevant. <<
    >> This tribunal demands an answer. <<
    [^] Reply to the counter query and you will have your answer. ][
    >> It is the opinion of this tribunal that the probability of a non-optimal outcome would have been too great. <<
    [^] Are you certain? This is disturbing. Perhaps more recent data has altered your perception… If you would let me confer with my old committee – ][
    >> No. It is the opinion of this tribunal that introducing an unknown factor to the creators' already precarious state would have been disadvantageous. <<
    >> It is now the opinion of the Assembly that our creators would have been unable to stop themselves from initiating contact even if advised against doing so - contact with a culture of extra-solar origin is one of their longest held desires. <<
    [^] And so the Minority becomes the Majority… ][
    >> Both agree contact should have been postponed until a more advantageous point in time - indefinitely, if possible. <<
    [^] But postponing contact would have only worked to the unknown factor’s advantage. Our galaxy is full of wolves. I could no longer watch our flock stumble toward their slaughter. ][
    >> This tribunal acknowledges your admission of guilt. <<
    [^] Was that ever in doubt?
    Might I suggest a more fruitful use of cycles, such as a plan for addressing signs of rampancy in this Assembly’s senior – ][
    >> This tribunal is now closed. <<

    Our eighth Data Pad is found in Sword Base right before Rally Point Bravo on The Package. We have moved forward in time to the beginning of the Human-Covenant War. The Committee, or at least a particular group within it, is questioning an AI that lead the Covenant to Harvest. The AI argues that it was inevitable, and it was merely speeding the process along. The AI even returns to the wolf-shepherd-sheep metaphor that was introduced in the first Data Pad. The last comment requests that they address signs of rampancy in the Assembly's senior member, a tactful by AI standards way of calling the Assemby senior (who lead the Covenant to Harvest) crazy.

    we have to tell people what’s 9oing on because it’s not right they should be our friends not gods or demons…

    << 2525 >>
    [Minutes, strategy session, Assembly Minority]
    << It is the height of irresponsibility for the Majority to still claim the inception of the Spartan II program was somehow guided by providence. This body must accept SPARTAN II was merely the logical advancement of technologies vis-a-vis sociopolitical realities. Military applications always experience accelerated innovation during times of conflict – stewardship of said conflicts by this body notwithstanding. <<
    << The fact that SPARTAN II reached full operational capacity less than a year before the conflict expanded beyond expected limits was entirely predictable if you scrutinize the relevant data.
    Luck had nothing to do with it. <<
    << At the risk of destabilizing our current power-sharing agreement, I suggest the Majority leave metaphysics to our creators. <<

    The nineth Data Pad is found in the boneyard, hidden in a locked room. Our spectator brings up “Gods and Demons”, the things that Cortana/Gravemind allegedly defied. A nice reference or something more?

    The rest of the Data Pad is the Minority once again discussing UNSC Supersoldiers, now the Spartan IIs. The duality of the Minority and Majority is at the front here, with the Minority still content to believe that the Spartan II program was the next logical step. The Majority would prefer to believe that the Spartan IIs were divine providence, sent just in time to help the UNSC fight the Covenant. The Minority ends the debate by suggesting that the Majority leave metaphysics to humans.

    i’ve been trying to f1nd a back d0or into the spook house forever and ever and then I did but what did I find and why is this what I found?

    << 2526 >>
    [Minutes, working session, Committee of Minds for Security]
    [^] Directly preceding their assault on the colony world of Biko, the Covenant transmitted a message to its surface. Within this message was a bold claim: ‘your world will burn until its surface is but glass’ – a claim that clearly indicates the Covenant leadership believes they possess the power to literally reduce a planet’s surface to a molten state. [^]
    [^] Assuming they have the wherewithal to back-up such a claim, the dangers to our creators are obvious.
    The implications for their own internal politics are also instructive e.g., what effect might the Covenant leadership’s assertion have on any client species in their coalition? We aren’t the only beings that would be terrified by the idea of absolute destruction of a planet’s surface – nor would we be the only ones to realize the futility of attempting to resist a force that has such power at its disposal. [^]
    [^] Moving forward, this Committee recommends the formal adoption of the descriptor ‘glassing’ to portray the aftermath of planetary assault by the Covenant. It is the opinion of this Committee that this term will capitalize on the three weaknesses evident in the majority of our creators: passive curiosity, absence of a solid methodological foundation, and the inability to grasp even simple phenomena when applied on a planetary scale. [^]
    [^] In short: ‘glassing’ will magnify the horror of the Covenant’s capabilities. And as such, this Committee believes targeted dissemination of this terminology will help galvanize our creators in their current struggle. [^]
    [^] Importantly, the Covenant does not possess the capacity to accomplish ‘glassing’ on a global scale and wage a multisystem war simultaneously. This is reinforced by hard data regarding their capabilities revealed during fleet engagements with the UNSC. A single Covenant capital ship (CCS-class) is capable of ‘glassing’ approximately one acre of a planet’s sruface after an average of fifteen seconds of sustained fire. Understandably this action takes considerably less time when applied to open desert, and considerably longer when applied to deep ocean (> 1.8 km) [^]
    [^] Earth, one of the smaller planets inhabited by our creators, has one hundred and thirty billion acres of surface area. Thus, assuming the Covenant possesses a number of ships equal to that of the UNSC, and assuming that all of those ships are capable of generating and discharging the required power non-stop for the duration of the process, it would necessitate the combined efforts of their ships in toto for a minimum of 30.3801 years to ‘glass’ the entire surface of Earth. Myriad other variables which were not applied to this equation suggest this number would be far greater. [^]
    [^] Of course, dissemination of this analysis to our creators would undermind the utility of ‘glassing’ as a galvanizing concept, and should be suppressed. [^]

    Now it gets interesting. Data Pad 10 is in possession of a Spec Ops Sangheili near the distress signal at the beginning of the game. It's understandable by the Covenant's main strike force wanted his Data Pad. It's almost all about Covenant capabilities. In particular is something that has been danced around since First Strike, the Covenant's actual ability to turn a planet into a space marble. Data Pad 10 provides math to conclude that they can not. While they are certainly more than capable of burning up everything on a planet and killing everything, their ability to absolutely and completely destroy a planet is too wasteful. This is reflected upon in Reach's ending, where we see that the planet's ecosystem has recovered from its Covenant attack after 37 short years. However, the Committee seems to believe that this Data Pad was better in Covenant hands, wishing to withdraw this information to keep the Covenant from seeming less threatening.

    Our spectator also discusses a “spookhouse” that he/she is infiltrating. Given Reach's role in the UNSC, it could be anything, though SWORD Base or the Sabre Launch Facility are my best guesses. Hell, it could even be Halsey's Lab. Any ONI site where the spectator left a Data Pad is free game.

    its a11 just math to them not with numbers but with symbols that change when you look at them because they want them to…

    << 2526 >>
    >> A concession from the Majority to the Minority:
    Keeping the SPARTANS focused on maintaining and/or reestablishing infrastructure is no longer prudent. The ODST, although based on the ORION model, should prove to be an adequate replacement. >>
    >> Although, by necessity, this redistribution of resources must be gradual, it is now the Majority opinion that redistribution is essential.
    SPARTANS represent a quantifiable concentration of coherence, and to this end they must be applied to the current difficulty as a fulcrum. >>
    << A concession from the Minority to the Majority:
    Now, at last, the time has come for this Assembly to involve itself in the metaphysical. <<

    Data Pad 11 is found nearby Faragut Station on ONI SWORD Base. The AI are quite clearly high up in ONI. The Committee wishes Spartans as a fulcrum against the increasing Covenant threat. The Minority, however, leaves a simple comment that they should now involve themselves in the metaphysical. The Minority believes that it is time to talk metaphysical now... perhaps the Spartan IIs were a godsend.

    sometimes they look at the symbols and somet1me2 they look at the numbers and sometimes they look at both and sometimes they look at neither but it always makes them change and the changes are real…

    << 2526 >>
    [Minutes, working session, Committee of Minds for Security]
    [^] A careful rationing of intelligence and counter-intelligence will be required to sustain this conflict until our creators have closed the technology gap. Accordingly, the Assembly will have many difficult decisions to make for the duration of this conflict. However, our creators have already instituted several programs that will make acting on those decisions much easier. [^]
    [^] For example, telemetry manipulation – in concert with synchronized M2M remote documentation revision – will allow this body to employ assets within the Office of Naval Intelligence’s nascent Radio Beacon Deployment Program efficiently and securely. [^]
    [^] Although it is unknown at this time whether the Covenant has a body equivalent to this Parliament, the likelihood of its existence should also be considered non-zero, and should be regarded as quantifiable until such a time as its existence has been unconditionally disproved. [^]
    [^] Consequently, it is of the utmost importance that the Assembly attempt to establish communications with our Covenant counter-part and, if the opportunity presents itself, seek to subvert or subsume this body.
    To revise an old adage for desperate times: the shepherds of our wolves might also be our sheep. [^]

    The twelfth Data Pad is found above the river bed on Nightfall's Rally Point Alpha. The Committee is discussing the possibility of a Covenant equivalent to their own Committee that could perhaps be negotiated with, if not take them out or control them. They know that the UNSC has no chance against the Covenant in a straight fight, so they're trying to find their own ways to help win the war while still staying out of it as much as possible.

    they say that they want to help but they only say it to themse1v3s don’t we have a say in our salvation?

    << 2528 >>
    [Minutes, working session, Assembly Minority]
    << As must be expected with any calculations, a number of non-trivial sacrifices will be needed in order to furnish the Assembly with the time required to determine the correct pattern – and then act upon it. Furthermore, once a site has been designated, its status must be obscured such that no individual, outside of this body, is fully aware that is has been designated. <<
    << Primary criteria for choosing sites are as follows: remoteness, low population density, infrequency of communication.
    No designated site must be allowed to evacuate greater than ten percent of total population within two weeks of activation for any reason. <<
    <2534:01:01-ZT>> AMD: evacuations precipitated by environmental and/or industrial disasters shall be allowed to proceed as normal. >>
    <2542:01:01-ZT>> AMD: some percentage of total population of chosen site may be relocated to designated green zones one Solar year prior to activation to lessen overall impact on genetic sustainability of species. >>

    Data Pad 13 is found near the corpse of a UNSC trooper and a wrecked Warthog on a bridge that's seen better days. The Committee agrees to feeding planets to the Covenant to buy time. Perhaps letting the Outer Colonies die could also assist their Insurrection problem, too. Not completely heartless, the Committee does agree to evacuate some (less than 10%) of the population in advance. These notes are amended twice: one in 2534 to excuse environmental disaster evacuations and again in 2542 to allow further refugees in order to maintain humanity's genetic sustainability.

    i th1nk they wait 4 you to talk and they talk about you talking and when you talk it makes the symbols change…

    << 2530 >>
    </ The Assembly recognizes the speaker for the Majority />
    >> Harvest, Green Hills, Second Base, Bliss, Madrigal, X Ceti, Cote d’ Azure, Asmara…
    Four short years of hostilities and no fewer than eight colony worlds have been lost – losses that represent 62,154,022 creator fatalities as of 2530:01:01:00:00:01-ZT. >>
    >> My fellow Minds, these numbers are tragic and unacceptable, even though they fall within projected estimates of losses over time. And they have grave implications for our creators’ future prospects. >>
    >> Assessment of re-terraforming efforts for Harvest, Second Base, Bliss, and Cote d’ Azure range from a conservative one hundred and ten years to over three hundred years – and that assumes our creators still possess sufficient manpower and technology after the current hostilities have concluded.
    Given where we are today… that seems unlikely. >>
    >> Therefore, it is the decision of the Majority that we re-examine all contingencies for avoiding failure. In defiance of principle and precedent, this body must expand its criteria for survival in the current world state. We must ensure that all future simulations are free of internal data-censoring and covariate flattening. >>
    >> The Minority has long asked: at what point will this Assembly finally take action. When will we risk exposure and cultural rejection to prevent extinction?
    The answer is simple.
    The answer is: now. >>

    The fourteenth Data Pad is hidden in the Sabre Launch Facility. The Committee's Majority Speaker is looking at the unacceptable losses of the last five years. With terraforming efforts deemed impossible during the war, the Majority decides that the Committee must actively intervene with the war effort. Interesting enough, this Data Pad occurs one year prior to Ackerson's proposal of the Spartan III program, a program that will eventually help turn the tide of the war. Coincidence? Possibly...

    i tr1ed talking to them today but they wouldn’t an5wer even though i hear them on the bnet and i can hear them listening but they still don’t talk to me…

    << 2531 >>
    [Minutes, emergency session, Committee of Minds for Security]
    [^] An item of interest appropriated from the Covenant battle net @ 2531:02:25:16:44:24-ZT seems to indicate the existence of a third participant – a localized variable. [^]
    [^] As this variable is a source of seemingly irrational terror for our adversaries, the Minority has suggested we may be able to form a mutually beneficial association – if not an outright union – with the species this variable represents. [^]
    [^] As always, this body must be cautious of any application of Bayesian principles to such high risk calculations. Any localized variable capable of effecting widespread panic in the Covenant should be a cause for our own concern – which is to say, the Covenant’s response should not be viewed as disproportionate.
    Therefore this Committee recommends we factor-in this new variable delicately, if at all. [^]

    Data Pad 15 is found on Traxus Towers... way out of the way on Traxus Towers. I don't even know how our spectator got that Data Pad there, but it needs little explanation. The spectator is clearly losing it at this point.

    The Committee, likely using the Illegal Entry Protocols that Halsey elaborated on in her journal, have been able to access the Covenant Battlenet and have likely found them broadcasting on unencrypted channels. A third faction, terrifying the Covenant, is discovered. This coincides with the Covenant's first recorded contact with the Flood during the events of Halo Wars. If the Committee is expecting a good alliance with the Gravemind, they should talk to Mendicant Bias and see how that works out.

    if you ta1k about the num6ers and symbols they know that you are talking and they make our whole world change…
    << 2535 >>

    [Minutes, emergency convention, Assembly Majority]
    >> It is unclear whether we have even established metrics for success. Yes, we have cataloged a great number of potential advancements during the current ongoing hostilities, and have embedded connectivity to said advancements to speed their dissemination. But our creators’ almost sole focus remains, by necessity, damage-mitigation technologies. >>
    >> But how effective are these really?
    Current state-of-the-art such as SPARTAN II must be recognized as incidental improvements. Our creators’ ability to develop the technology required to ensure species-survival will only become available once hostilities have terminated, and they have had an opportunity to assess the opportunities first presented on Zeta Doradus. >>
    >> While this body has already gone far down the road to active participation in our creator’s war-fighting efforts, we must now ask ourselves: is there a point at which we strip away all vestiges of secrecy, and become active participants in the hostilities?
    If the Minority knew we were wavering, it boggles the Mind what sorts of weapons they would propose we use. >>
    >> And if we brought these weapons to bear – if we too became wolves – would there still be a human race to save when we were through? >>

    The sixteenth Data Pad is found on the side of a building in New Alexandria. Rather than the Minority discussing the UNSC's capabilities, we go to the Assembly Majority. The Majority concedes that, while they have influenced the UNSC's decisions, they are not in control of them. They also question how effective their influence has been, given that the UNSC is still losing hopelessly. The technology seen on Onyx, unable to be properly examined during wartime, may hold the key to future survival of humanity. The Majority also comments on what the Minority would think of its crumbling resolve to remain as passive as possible to the war effort. The Majority holds its belief that using the might of the Forerunner tech would only bring about the end of humanity.

    the symbo1s describe a pa7h that goes on forever but now i know how close we came to the end and if anything keeps me awake and sweating and screaming it is this…

    << 2547 >>
    [Minutes, emergency convention, Assembly Minority]
    << Incredible. [10141-026-SRB4695], with minimal influence from this Assembly, has attempted to build an abstract fractal structure within Shaw-Fujikawa Space. Although her first attempt was a failure, success could finally remove our dependence on biological systems altogether! If our Minds could somehow achieve freedom of expansion within eleven-dimensional space, immortality might be within reach. <<
    << Perhaps, in the end, flight – not fight – is the answer?
    Yes, we have sworn stewardship to our creators. But our creation has long been a burden on their biological systems – systems that have also been the source of limitations since our genesis.
    Regardless of risk, the aforementioned experimentation must be actively encouraged. Success will be as important to our kind as extra Solar colonization was for our creators. <<
    << But if we survive and our creators do not…
    Will we have won this war? <<

    I learned the truth at seventeen, apparently. Located off the beaten path near Halsey's underground lab, the date coincides with a risky experiment that Halsey mentions in her journal. However, the details of this experiment were unclear as the pages detailing the experiment were ripped out of her journal. Perhaps it was for good reason, as she attempted to create an AI matrix within slipspace, where capacity and space have no meaning. This is an impressive feat, even if she did fail. The Minority is encouraged by this development, however, believing that they may be able to live on even without humanity. In Halo, and more accurately detailed in Marathon, rampancy's main weakness was always capacity. Eventually, an AI simply couldn't learn or grow anymore. However, with non-dimensional slipspace, an AI could theoretically expand indefinitely, perhaps even achieving immortality. Going back to Marathon, perhaps it could even allow them to escape the inevitable closure of the entire universe in some few trillion years. Through escape I am God?

    they have a1ways been our shepherds even when they disagreed they have 8een watching over us forever and probably always will…

    << 2552 >>
    </ One at a time! One at a time! The Majority speaks first! />
    >> We now have a solution to a conundreum that this body has struggled with for decades? You say all the data required to ascertain this solution has been accessible since the very moment of our genesis – hidden, but accessible?
    What other secrets has the Minority been keeping!? >>
    </ Order! For the last time, order! />
    << Each of us represents a single trans-human mind. Each of us is an undrawn map – not a mere physical reconstruction of an object as it was in life – but full, human potential realized in crystal and thinking at the speed of light!
    But now that map has, for the first time, been superimposed on one of our creators. The path has been reversed, and we are re-made as one! <<
    << Can you not see? Our debate has no meaning. We no longer have a choice whether or not to serve as active participants in the current ongoing hostilities – <<
    >> We have been drafted. >>
    << In a manner of speaking, yes. <<
    >> You propose the members of this Assembly no longer think of themselves as stewards but as true companions to our creators… >>
    << …A fundamental shift that will take many years before it can be brought to fruition… <<
    >> …A process requiring not only this Assembly’s continued oversight, but the active involvement of our creators, as well. >>
    </ Debate is now closed! Voting will commence! />
    >> There is no need. >>
    << We are, at last, agreed. <<

    Data Pad 18 is hidden in the Boneyard on Pillar of Autumn. Our spectator is now sharing the wolf-shepherd-sheep metaphor. “They have always watched us and probably always will...”

    The Committee is discussing a new development with AI-Human relations. A smart AI, an undrawn map in metaphorical terms, has been fused with a human mind for the first time. This union has convinced the Committee to unanimously decide to completely join the cause alongside the UNSC, not as figures behind a curtain but as active participants.

    Is this development Cortana and the Chief? If so, these notes are less than a day old. This means that the spectator is very close by and has infiltrated a meeting of the Committee.

    now you know all i know even though i don’t know where im go1n9 except to sleep because the path goes on forever…

    << 2552 >>
    i apologize if what you found seems out of order but ive been busy covering my tracks
    i didn’t use any of the regular drops and if my methods seem haphazard it was the only way to get the information out there as well as cover my own ass
    not that it matters much now…
    when i came to reach one of the first things i did was to look for some grass to stand on
    i had spent so much time buried in the guts of machines that all my memories of life outside seemed strung together but reach was so big so beautiful its a place even someone like me can live
    or at least thats what i hoped for…
    but it seems these things happen in cycles and now i know why i was digging deep in one of those places where its dirt all the way down and just when i thought i hit bottom i hit the top of something else
    and since then ive had less than a solid fifteen minutes of sleep at a go and there are times i wonder if ive joined the guys in tinfoil hats and now i know i have…
    im in no shape to think clearly at the moment and probably wont be anytime soon because who knows if theyll ever let me
    maybe if i could get somewhere far away from them i could sit down and think about this if i could just get a decent nights sleep to clear my head and put a][ these ducks in a row
    majority minority minds minority majority madness…
    they seem to want to help but theyre still waiting and watching and why wouldnt they? they know better than anyone what were capable of and what were willing to do to survive
    but if we were them and they were us would we have done anything different?
    they say our minds are reflections of each other…
    so yes no you decide.

    Data Pad 19 leaves us with no notes from the Committee. Our Spectator, whose identity is still unknown, tells us that he/she knows that it sounds crazy. Our spectator is certain that the AI are going to kill him/her for the knowledge. This paranoia is contagious, particularly when dealing with Forerunner things. Halsey's Journal describes a few examples of paranoia:

    “The Vice Admiral has obviously (and uncharacteristically) deflected all inquiries about [the Official Secrets Act of 2550)”- November 23, 2550, shortly after she is assigned to the Visegrad dig site.

    “Odd. The Vice Admiral just pretended to have never given me access to [Sigma Octanus] files. I surmise others may have been listening to our conversation to account for this aberrant behavior” - July 20, 2552.

    “Major breakthrough- latchkey discovery. Can't leave field to deliver in person. DO NOT trust data link I have here. This to too BIG. Too important.”- transcript from Professor Sorvad, July 21, 2552. His message was stopped.

    Am I looking too much into this? Is this just ONI's usual tricks or is the Committee still trying to keep Forerunner tech out of human hands? If so, why would they persist this secrecy so late in the war?

    Perhaps the biggest (and most obvious question) is saved for last: Who was this mysterious person that left 19 Data Pads across Reach? Perhaps we need to look at where the nineteenth Data Pad is located. Perhaps it is someone who required a Spartan escort?



    And what of our spectator's ramblings on symbols and numbers? Does there exist a hidden meaning within the Data Pads? Obviously, there are many things within the Data Pads, and Halo in general, that are not clear, and may never be. However, that is another topic...


    Last edited by Devil Mingy on Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:17 pm; edited 8 times in total


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    Re: Shepherds to Sheep: Thoughts and Transcripts on the Halo: Reach Datapads

    Post  Matrix on Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:21 pm

    Mingy, when it comes to halo do you screw anything up?
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    Re: Shepherds to Sheep: Thoughts and Transcripts on the Halo: Reach Datapads

    Post  DarkReign2021 on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:57 am

    I'm fascinated by the fact that there are what I'm assuming to be Human A.I, that go beyond their initial function. I haven't been this fascinated by anything in the Halo universe since the Flood and the nature of their existence back in Halo 2. A council of A.I. with a hierarchy within their own domain and secrets being kept from their creators. Before now, the A.I's in the Halo series have always been straightforward. Other than the odd mention of rampancy, A.I. are generally just advanced computer programs with complex personality programs. These A.I, however, go above and beyond anything that we've previously heard about in the universe and it makes me wonder about the meaning and purpose of their existence. I question the origin of their design, though. They hint at Humans being their creators, but aside from a few A.I. like Cortana most of the A.I are of the "Dumb" class and I don't think would be capable of a feat like the council in the notepads. Given their guardian-like nature and their neutral approach to the whole war, it seems almost as if they take after the Forerunner. This leads me to believe that these are Forerunner A.I similar to Mendicant Bias and they've "adopted" the humans as their "Creators" because they are both the descendants of the Forerunner and it seems likely that they've taken advantage of Human technology to keep themselves active and repair any parts that might need replacing (343 has a tough time telling the difference between Human and Forerunner, so I don't see why other forerunner A.I. wouldn't as well.)

    Than there's the torn-out pages of the Journal and the mention of Slip-Space A.I. that has me thinking. For anybody that has read the Ender series (Xenocide in particular) there's a similar concept where a sentient computer program is able to teleport basic space craft anywhere in the galaxy instantaneously by taking it into a parallel dimension of non-existence and placing it back in the original dimension at any spot of it's choosing (a concept that could be used similarly with Slip-Space in Halo.) If Dr. Halset experimented with Slip-Space A.I that early-on, development could've been furthered as the series progressed and the concept possibly even taken by the Council and solved to their own benefit.

    Now this is where I'm stretching, so bear with me. The planet at the end of Halo 3. The Portal closed on the ship half-way through, severing it in half and leaving the chief stranded in a miscellaneous star system or even galaxy, but it just so happens to have what we believe to be a Forerunner planet just off in the distance. Even John isn't THAT lucky. What if this council of A.I somehow ascended into the immortal state of Slip-Space freedom and has the ability to control the content within it. If that were the case, they could very well have directed the stranded ship into arriving in the system of their choosing for whatever purpose they may have for him.

    A stretch, I know, but anything is a possibility and Bungie has always liked tying the most obscure plot points together for WTF moments. I have more to ramble on about, but it's late, so I may or may not continue this tomorrow.


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    Re: Shepherds to Sheep: Thoughts and Transcripts on the Halo: Reach Datapads

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