Literature: Halo: Silentium
is the third novel in The Forerunner Saga
set in the Halo
universe. It follows the Catalog, a Forerunner of the Juridical rate made up of many "evidence-gathering agents"
, as he receives testimonies from the Librarian, the IsoDidact, and the Ur-Didact, while the Forerunners wage all-out war on the Flood and prepare for the inevitable activation of the Halo Array.
A forty minute narrative read by Greg Bear
entitled "Rebirth" acts as an epilogue, and can be found here
Contains Examples Of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Domain appears to be coming alive... and it is not happy. Subverted. All this time it was actually a Precursor construct.
- The Flood use something referred to as the "logic plague", which is capable of converting almost every AI to their cause via an endless stream of logical arguments that eventually overwhelms the AI and convinces it that the Flood is right. Only a few notable AI avoid this.
- And I Must Scream / Go Mad from the Isolation: When the Librarian sealed her husband in Requiem, she expected he'd at least still have access to the Domain. But the Halos unexpectedly destroyed it, resulting in him being alone inside his Cryptum for over a hundred millennia.
- Apocalyptic Log: The whole book, really, but especially the parts not attributed to particular characters.
The logic plague is now pandemic. It is no longer limited to direct Gravemind communication
...estimated two out of three remaining battle fleets destroyed or parasitized
...Catalog is NOT IMMUNE to the Flood/Gravemind logic plague. There is peace in subjugation
- Back from the Dead: Both the Ur-Didact and Faber were thought to be dead, but are back for the war.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The Senior Juridical in the opening chapter. He asks for forbidden information in the Domain. The Domain eventually grants a "testimony"... and whatever it shows him overwhelms him.
- Bittersweet Ending / Doomed by Canon: It's been known since the beginning of the Halo canon that the Forerunners are rendered extinct by their defeat of the Flood. But this book brings light to the specifics, namely: The Greater Ark sheltering most of the last Forerunners is completely destroyed, the Ur-Didact is driven mad by the Gravemind and imprisoned by his wife, the Librarian herself is left on Earth as the Halos are fired, and Guilty Spark listens as communications across the galaxy - including an undiscovered (read: not indexed by the Librarian) alien civilization that has just begun transmitting messages into space - go silent. However, the Librarian's indexed populations on the Lesser Ark are preserved and reseeded, including Riser and Vinnerva, and humans and the few surviving Forerunners are able to stand with each other as friends, with Riser getting to say goodbye to the IsoDidact.
- Blatant Lies: Pretty much half of Faber's testimony. Besides denying anything having to do with dropping the Ur-Didact and company in the Burn, he also claims to have done much to combat the Flood with his forces; the Master Juridical mentions their rate of defeat and retreat was five times greater than that of nearby Forerunner forces.
- Call Forward: In Halo: Combat Evolved, Guilty Spark mentions that someone asked him if he would fire the rings. In Silentium, we actually hear the IsoDidact ask that question.
- Came Back Wrong: The Flood are the remains of Precursors made aberrant by being subjected to a Time Abyss.
- Cosmic Horror Story: It's safe to say that Silentium finally has Halo cross this line. The sheer impossible might of the Precursors is truly a sight to imagine, and the devastation they bring by merely passing through a system unparalleled (the page image for this trope is actually very similar to what Precursor star roads do to planets). They even throw in some nice mind rape simply by talking to you. Add in being older than the universe several times over, and it makes one wonder just what hope in high heaven any of us mere mortals have in future stories.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Any battle involving the indestructible, massive Precursor star roads. Of particular note, the Battle of Kan Pakko begins with a Forerunner fleet obstructed from using slipspace, unable to use their weapons, their ships' shields disabled, and facing off against star roads and thousands of Flood ships.
- Doomed by Canon: The Halos will be fired. The Forerunners and the Flood will both be wiped out. The Ur-Didact will become a Well-Intentioned Extremist and be sealed inside Requiem.
- Dirty Business/I Did What I Had to Do: As the Iso-Didact prepares to fire the Halos:
Didact: Forgive us.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: The Precursors have decided that this time, no one will inherit the Mantle; instead they will merely wipe out anyone who resists and enslave the rest. Their perfect world will be one where the Precursors can create and destroy as they wish.
Our urge to create is immutable; we must create. But the beings we create shall never again reach out in strength against us. All that is created will suffer. All will be born in suffering, endless greyness shall be their lot. All creation will tailor to failure and pain, and never again shall the offspring of the eternal Fount rise up against their creators. No more will. No more freedom. Nothing new but agonizing death and never good shall come of it. We are the last of those who gave you breath and shape and form, millions of years ago. We are the last of those your kind defied and ruthlessly destroyed. We are the last Precursors. And now we are legion.
- The Librarian realizes when she arrives at Requiem that the Gravemind's Mind Rape of her husband has made him adopt the same mentality. Endurance-Of-Will undergoes a Heel-Face Turn when the Librarian makes her realize that his plan wipe out and or enslave and potential threat to the Forerunners is identical to the Timeless One's plot to control all non-Precursor life.
- Fire-Forged Friends: In the end, after both races have faced mutual loss due to the Flood, Forerunners and humans are able to come together in peace and something resembling friendship.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: The mythical Organon that Forerunner treasure hunters believed could activate all Precursor artifacts turns out to have been the Domain.
- Hope Spot: One chapter (String) consists of five "fragments" called "Battle Tactics of the Warrior Circle". The first fragment describes a masterful strategy used by the Forerunner commander Falchion to combat overwhelming Flood forces. The whole battle proceeds entirely in the Forerunners' favor ... then the last paragraph mentions that the key last step to the strategy cannot be carried out due to key Forerunner AI being converted to the Flood cause. The next four fragments describe how despite such strategies, all but a few Forerunner worlds are overrun, a "pandemic" is spreading through all AI causing them to defect, only one Forerunner fleet is left, and finally, the network used to record this information itself is becoming infected by the Flood.
- Hypocrite: The Catalog interviewing the Librarian and the IsoDidact was formerly a Warrior-Servant, and the IsoDidact is surprised that he would abandon his rate. Catalog notes that this is hypocritical as the IsoDidact is Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting, a Builder by birth.
- Love Triangle: When she arrives on Requiem, the Librarian is greeted by Endurance-of-Will, a female Warrior-Servant that once had a relationship with the Ur-Didact. She notes that his feelings for Endurance never went away entirely after the two of them were married, leading to her offering him the chance to leave their union and be with her if he so chose, which he never took. (Curiously, there's nothing unusual noted about the Master Builder having multiple wives, though it seems likely that those were political, rather than romantic, marriages.)
- Aversion in that, although the two Didacts both love the Librarian, the Librarian mentions the only complication in them both being her husband is that they are in effect the same person. Forerunner marital practices appear to be very complicated.
- Meaningful Echo: According to Endurance, the Ur-Didact intended that "never again would [the galaxy] rise up against Forerunners", a phrase eerily similar to the Precursor's promise that they would never again be the subject of rebellion by their creations.
- Mind Rape: Contact with the Gravemind is what changes the Ur-Didact from a benevolent warrior into a genocidal monster bent on enslaving all non-Forerunners in the galaxy
- The Obi-Wan: Bitterness-of-the-Vanquished, an ancient female Forerunner who was Didact's predecessor and his main teacher, plays a role in the war.
- Oh, Crap: This is the Librarian's reaction when she learns that the Domain is a Precursor creation, which means that it will be destroyed by Halo; not only does this mean that the Forerunners' legacy will be mostly lost, but this also ruins her plan for the Ur-Didact's meditation (see Go Mad from the Isolation above).
- One-Winged Angel: Precursors are discovered to be able to take a multitude of forms, "flesh and spirit, primitive and advanced", of which the Flood is only the latest.
- No Endor Holocaust: Averted. The firing of the Halo Array would result in dead bodies all over the galaxy, and that would risk poisoning ecosystems. To avert this, the Lifeworkers have seeded the atmospheres of targeted planets with solute, which causes corpses to instantly disintegrate.
- The Reveal: The powder found by humanity that mutated into the Flood was mummified Precursors.
- The Domain is the mythical Organon that could activate all Precursor artifacts.
- The Ur-Didact is the Didact that was sealed inside Requiem. His plan to subjugate the galaxy via the Composer in Halo 4 was inspired by the Gravemind subjecting him to Mind Rape to put him into the same mentality as the Flood/Precursors. Furthermore, due to the logic plague, his justification that Artificial Intelligence is The Immune to infection is actually a case of Believing Their Own Lies.
- Riding into the Sunset: Riser watches as Bornstellar, and Forerunners as a whole, do this, departing Earth never to return.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: As it turns out, the whole Flood war is this for the Precursors in retaliation for their genocide by the Forerunners.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Precursors were much more powerful and ancient than anyone believed, with their stellar engineering devices still perfectly intact 10 million years later and able to provide pivotal help to their deformed descendants, the Flood in their war against the Forerunner.
- Time Abyss: The Precursors are certainly this. We knew they were really old, but how old? The Domain is their creation, and contains the sum total of Precursor knowledge (and consciousness) over 100 BILLION YEARS! They were around before the Universe existed!
- The Forerunners themselves are this, to a lesser extent. They existed in a hyper-advanced technological state more than ten million years ago, not to mention however many thousands of years it took for their species to evolve and develop technology for the first time.
- Title Drop: 343 Guilty Spark drops it at the end, describing the state of stillness and death that lies over the galaxy after the Halos fire.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Ur-Didact's opinion of the leading Forerunners' decision to use strategies proven ineffective thousands of years before he was born to fight the Flood.
- Wham Episode: Artificial Intelligence is not immune to the Flood as previously thought. Also, the Flood and the powder that makes the Flood? Precursors.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Catalog is awed by the Librarian's beauty, but notes that physically her face does have flaws and she is not perfect in appearance. Rather it's more of a spiritual beauty emanating from her.
- X Meets Y: Because it turned Halo into a dark Cosmic Horror Story, some have taken to calling it "HP Lovecraft meets Warhammer 40,000".