**Spoiler Alert** There are major spoilers in this article concerning the Halo storyline.
Here’s a quick recap of the story so far. The Covenant have discovered the human race, and they’ve decided to kill us all. They’ve steadily moved from our Outer Colony worlds and are now setting their sights on the Inner Colonies; they’re destroying everything at a rapid pace. The planet Reach, the UNSC’s most important naval base aside from Earth, has just been glassed (read: destroyed) and Cortana, Master Chief, Captain Keyes, and the crew have just slipspace jumped (read: teleported) away from the dying planet. Cortana went to a certain set of coordinates, looking for something that she had a hunch about. Well, she found it. What is it?
“It” is a Halo ring.
At this point, Cortana and the rest of the crew really don’t know what they’ve stumbled upon; they know practically nothing about this huge, metallic ring. They know it has some sort of significance (as gigantic, planet sized rings tend to have) but they don’t quite know what that significance is yet. Alas, they don’t get to spend much time contemplating what this gigantic ring does, because Covenant troops attack the ship. Master Chief sticks Cortana’s chip into his helmet and their ship, The Pillar of Autumn, crashlands onto the ring’s inner surface.
The immediate issue after the crashlanding is to search for survivors. Master Chief searches the island, killing off the Covenant troops who have made their way to the Halo’s surface as they go. It becomes apparent that Captain Keyes has been captured, so Master Chief is soon tasked with rescuing Keyes from a Covenant ship where he is being held as a prisoner. This takes place in the third level of the game, and it’s where the player gets their first bit of real information as to what this Halo ring is. In fact, after Captain Keyes has been rescued, only then do you learn that it is even called a “Halo.” He tells Master Chief and Cortana that he overheard some Elite guards talking about the Halo ring, and Cortana confirms this by accessing the ship’s data network. She adds to Keyes’ statement by saying that the Covenant believe the Halo ring is some sort of weapon with “vast, unimaginable power,” as Cortana says. Apparently, some Covenant scouts are looking for the control room with the “big, red, button,” so to speak that will detonate the weapon, whatever the weapon is or does. With this new intel, the Chief is tasked with finding that control room before the Covenant do; in case they decide to set it off. Meanwhile, Captain Keyes goes off to look for a weapons cache he heard about.
Master Chief goes searching for clues. An interesting thing to note is that although this ring was made by sentient beings, you’d never really know it. The ring itself is made of metal, but it’s been covered with terrain; forests, water, mountains, and other landforms. The only indications that this “ring world” is not a natural planetary object are that 1) when you look up, you can see a ring spiraling above your head (gravity keeps you pinned to the inner surface of the ring, like a hamster wheel, rather than on the outside of the ring, like log rolling) and 2) the ring is somewhat hollow and there are structures in the hollow. Cortana says that the “Halo is honeycombed with deep tunnels – which circle the whole ring.” Open hatches allow for things to get in or out of the hollow center, but this isn’t done easily because the ring is planet sized; it’s gigantic.
It’s probably easy to see how Master Chief and the gang were perplexed by the ring’s being. How did it get here? What built it? Why was it built? How was it possible to build something this large with its own gravity? How can it house, or be in itself, a weapon? Why are the Covenant here? Is it important to them? Yeah, there were a lot of questions that they had no answers to; finding the control room was as much about keeping the weapon from going off as it was about learning about the ring’s existence.
With all that being said, it becomes apparent to Cortana that the control room for the “weapon” will be located on the inside of the hollow ring; underground, so to speak. To give you a sense of scale, it’s entirely possible (and very easy) for spaceships to fly around inside the ring; entire cities could be built inside the ring. For that reason, they did just that; flew a ship inside the hollow ring.
Master Chief fights his way to the control room, and he inserts Cortana’s data chip into the control room terminal. It’s really cool that he can do this; basically, he plugs Cortana in, and her software allows her to crack almost any code, burst through firewalls, etc. She then gains access to all the Covenant information stored in the terminal and all information that passes through the terminal wirelessly, such as COM signals. This goes for just about any technological interface.
After Cortana gets plugged in, she starts learning everything she can about the ring. Very soon, she becomes quite worried. The weapons cache that Captain Keyes is looking for isn’t a weapons cache after all; it’s actually a containment unit for the Covenant’s worst enemy; the only thing that really scares them. Considering the Covenant has looked like a completely unstoppable force up to this point, whatever is inside that containment area must be horrendous in order to scare them. Cortana rushes the Chief out of the control room, forcing him to leave her behind to gather more information. He takes off in search for Captain Keyes before he has the chance to accidentally unleash this great threat in the containment unit.
Master Chief exits the control room and heads to a swamp where the supposed weapons cache/containment unit is located. Unsurprisingly, something else goes wrong; Keyes has been captured by enemy forces, so Master Chief’s mission becomes a combination of finding Keyes and locating the containment unit so nobody can open it. Things get even worse from there; as Master Chief is walking through the swamp, he’s noticing some things that aren’t quite right. Human radio signals are getting cut short as they scream in terror; they seem to have met a fate different from what the Covenant usually brings, but the Chief can’t tell what it is before the signal cuts out and static comes in. Grunts and Jackals are running away, fleeing from some danger; they run right past Master Chief without even taking notice of him.
It doesn’t take long for Master Chief to learn what’s killing both his men and the Covenant’s. He finds a building that he walks into; presumably, it’s the weapons cache/containment unit that he was warned about. As he walks in, he finds the helmet camera from a dead Marine; he watches the footage, and long story short, this poor Marine got massacred by the unknown threat. A squad of Marines was tasked with opening the door before they knew it housed a dangerous enemy, and when they opened it, the enemy poured out and killed nearly every Marine, including the sap who was wearing the helmet MC is watching. The open containment unit explains the terrified Grunts, dying humans, and awful recording.
It doesn’t take much walking into the building for Master Chief to start getting attacked by these small, squid/spider/fungus type creatures and some other beings that look like discolored, disfigured Elites. When they’re shot, they explode into dust and sickly green goo. These disgusting creatures are the terrible threat that has been ravaging both human and Covenant forces; they don’t seem so bad until they start coming at Master Chief in larger numbers. Much like zombies, these “things” don’t have much of a thought process. They charge and kill by swinging punches, swarming the Chief and jumping on him. Their only primal instinct is to kill, even if it means total kamikaze.
Master Chief exits the containment compound, as his mission has been compromised. Obviously because he can’t protect the place from being opened since it has already been opened. When he exits, he finds some surviving Marines desperately fighting off these bizarre creatures. He joins the fight, and before long, so do some flying, metallic objects. These flying objects are basically big lasers with the ability to fly around and shoot this strange threat. It seems to be their only function, as they do not shoot Master Chief and the Marines; only the zombie-like enemy. The leader of the “flying lasers” is shaped more like an orb with a blue light inside; he hovers over to Master Chief and envelops him in light. Next thing you know, Master Chief is on top of a nearby tower; somehow, this orb has teleported him there.
Then, if things weren’t strange enough already, the orb speaks to Master Chief and says:
Greetings. I am the Monitor of Installation 04. I am 343 Guilty Spark. Someone has released the Flood. My function is to prevent it from leaving this installation. But I require your assistance. Come. This way.
Another flash of light, and Master chief is gone again. Confused? You should be. What is a Monitor? What is the Flood, and how did it get there? Why is it there? What assistance could Master Chief give? How does this play into the rest of the story so far? Basically, what the heck is going on?
Well, you’ll just have to come back next time to find out the answers to those questions! Things will definitely become a lot clearer after an explanation; both you and Master Chief will unlock some new information before long. Stay tuned for the next chapter! Leave a like or a follow if you’ve enjoyed (or if you hate cliffhangers) and follow me @OpinionAsAGamer if you would like. Then, check the “Links” tab for LP channels.