**Spoiler Alert** There are major spoilers in this article concerning the Halo storyline.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Story of Halo Series. It’s been a long time since I brought you another chapter, but it’s finally here! When we last left off, Master Chief had landed on a Halo ring; the first ever discovered by man. On this ring, he found an enemy that the Covenant feared more than anything else: The Flood. The Flood takes the form of a zombie-like disease that takes over dead bodies to create a terrible army of mindless warriors. Upon release of the Flood, Master Chief is intercepted and teleported by 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor of the Halo ring. It is his job to keep the ring safe and the Flood at bay; now, he requires Master Chief’s assistance. We pick up as Master Chief is dropped into the Library by 343 Guilty Spark.
One thing to note about Guilty Spark is that he’s an eccentric little orb. He’s been protecting the ring for thousands of years, and he’s gotten a bit loopy. He still does his job, but think of him as the crazy old neighbor who still insists he mows his lawn rather than hiring somebody else to do it, even though he’s approaching 90 years old. In any case, 343 Guilty Spark just drops Master Chief in the Library and basically says “go get the Index.” Sounds helpful, right? Not really. See, Guilty Spark thinks that Master Chief is “The Reclaimer,” but Master Chief thinks otherwise.
The Halo Wiki describes The Reclaimer as such:
A “Reclaimer“…is an individual who, whether by chance or by precedent, has been placed in charge of activating a Halo super-weapon. The individual must journey to retrieve the Halo’s activation key (the Index) from the ring’s Library and then use it to activate the Halo Array. It has been demonstrated that it is the role of a Reclaimer to activate Forerunner technology on installations…The exact qualifications of a Reclaimer are not entirely clear; however, it appears that only a human or Forerunner can be a Reclaimer.
So, basically, Master Chief ends up being an unlucky chump who is chosen to do a job he never wanted to do, or even knew existed. As it turns out, other “Reclaimers” went before him, but failed in their mission to retrieve the Index, and their bodies are scattered throughout the Library. Think of it as princes going to rescue the princess from “the tallest room in the tallest tower,” but none will prevail until Shrek comes along and saves her. In any case, Master Chief begins his ascendance through the Library, and it’s a very trying time (both for Master chief and the player; this is the worst level I’ve played in any game… ever).
The Library is a multi-floored complex, but each floor looks pretty much identical to the one before it. Flood have taken over this complex, so when Master Chief takes the elevator to the next level, he fights through a huge wave of them, then gets on the elevator to do it again… and again… and finally, after the fourth level, Master Chief reaches the Index chamber. Guilty Spark tells him to step forward and retrieve the Index, which Master Chief does. Then, as soon as he obtains the Index, Guilty Spark takes it away from him, saying the Chief’s fleshy body is too vulnerable to the Flood, so he can’t hold it, lest he dies and loses it.
In a nutshell, all Guilty Spark needed the Chief for was to walk over and pick up a key, since apparently he isn’t allowed to do it himself for some reason. Then, the only other thing Master Chief will be needed for is to insert the Index into the control panel and activate it with the press of a button. In any case, the two are teleported out of the Library and taken away, as Guilty Spark states that the Flood is spreading, and they must hurry.
After some work, Master Chief and Guilty Spark take the Index to the Control Room, and they are ready to save the galaxy from the flood… except for the fact that Master Chief has been deceived, and Cortana warns him just in time. In fact, using the Index for it’s intended purpose (activating the Halo’s super-weapon) would save the universe by killing the Flood, but the problem is that it would actually wipe out all life as well. It doesn’t pick and choose; it kills all because the only way to defeat the Flood, so says history, is to take out their food source, which is basically every living animal. If Master Chief would have detonated the ring, it would have set of other rings in a chain reaction and everyone would have died. Luckily, Cortana learned enough during her time in the Halo’s systems to find out the true purpose of the Halos, and she was able to find and warn Master Chief before it’s too late.
Guilty Spark isn’t happy about this. He’s programmed to do his job, and with Cortana stopping Master Chief from firing the weapon, he can’t do that. So, instead, he tries to do it on his own, and Master Chief must do what he can to stop the Monitor and buy himself and Cortana some time. Cortana tells him to destroy three pulse generators on the Halo, and he does so before Cortana teleports him away to where Captain Keyes is being held. If you remember, in the last chapter of SoH, Keyes was taken prisoner by Covenant forces. With knowledge that he is aboard the Covenant ship Truth and Reconciliation, Cortana teleports the Chief to the ship to save Keyes.
Sadly, Keyes is beyond saving. When Master Chief finds the Captain on the ship, he finds that he’s been infected by the Flood, and he’s not your everyday Flood combat form either. Instead, he has been turned into a Proto-Gravemind, or a Brain Form. A Brain Form is a humongous mass of Flood biomass that serves as a giant brain; it only contains the most intelligent individuals, and Keyes was very intelligent. The Brain Form interrogated him for data and is now using his body as a sort of hard drive for information, and with luck, this Proto-Gravemind would become a full-fledged Gravemind, which is a very powerful “Leader” Flood form.
Master Chief knew what he must do; to save the human race, this Keyes/Brain Form must be killed before it can grow into a Gravemind. The Chief does so, and removes the neural imlpants from what is left of Keyes’ head. These implants contain codes which will allow Master Chief and Cortana to override fail safes back on their own ship, the Pillar of Autumn. By using the Pillar’s drives like bombs, Master Chief and Cortana hope to explode the ring and kill the Flood without creating a chain reaction large enough to set off other Halo rings.
After Guilty Spark makes life difficult for them, Master Chief and Cortana are eventually able to destroy three fusion reactors that destabilize the ship and make it a ticking time bomb. Master Chief then grabs a Warthog and drives away from the bomb site as fast as possible, dodging Flood and Covenant on the way. With the clock counting down, Master Chief makes it to a Longsword; a speedy ship that will get them off the Halo in time. As the Halo explodes, Chief looks back and knows that he is the only being-human, Flood, or Covenant alike-that made it off the Halo. But, as Cortana reminds him, with the Flood extinguished, a Covenant armada destroyed, and a wealth of new intel, it was a sacrifice that had to be made. With the explosion of the Halo behind him, Master Chief flies his Longsword away toward Earth.
Well, that’s that. Next time, we’ll explore the events that marked the beginning of Halo 2. What happens upon Chief’s return to Earth? Stay tuned to find out! If you enjoyed, please leave a like or a follow. Check out the LP channels in the “Links” tab, and I’ll see you later.