The ending of Halo 3. Literally: Spartans didn't die. They just MIA.
The Covenant of Halo. When I read about them over at Halopedia, he just thought of the species divide as a form of state-sponsored racism that only depended on how had they been absorbed into the Covenant, with some influences from theocracies. After having read a few articles on Medieval Society and Culture, and suddenly having discovered the similarities with them and the Covenant (the social castes of religion, combat, and manual labor — Including the fact that Knights tended to view commoners as unimportant, bringers of neither shame or glory when killed), it made me admire Bungie's storytelling even more.
If you want something a bit clearer as a parallel, check out ancient India. The castes line up much better there than Europe, particularly since there was no changing your caste there. Europe could more accurately be called classes rather than castes. A person was capable of changing their class, up or down, though this would be quite rare. Joining the clergy would be the easiest class change. Becoming a noble would probably require a revolution, though.
One may imagine that the concept of the ODST shares a bit of similarity to HALO jumpers (a high-altitude aerial insertion; to say the physical requirements are strenuous might be understating it a bit: see the article on That Other Wiki for details). Halo... HALO. Whoa.
I doubt that the word connection was intentional, but HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening) jumps, as the article should show, would definitely be similar to the ODSTs' orbital drops in terms of both being dangerous means of deployment and usually involving only a small team of special operations personnel.
In all of the Halo games, human vehicles are sandy/snowy, depending on locale, while the Covenant vehicles are all...purplish. Why would the Covenant make their main methods of transportation so visible? To them, it's the color of fear. Why? Elite blood is purple.
Less fear than agression, it's likely them "Seeing Purple" is like to us "Seeing Red".
Perhaps. According to lore, Elites have a particular reverence of blood, and spilling it outside of combat is dishonorable, hence little-no Elite medics. According to some sources, it has gotten to the point where "blood" is a bad word, so when they say "on the blood of our fathers, on the blood of our sons", they mean it. The connection could made, but it could go either way
Or it could be symbolic of the oath they took "on the blood of our fathers, on the blood of our sons"; the whole Covenant infrastructure is full of reminders of it... which makes them repainting their stuff green to team up with the humans all the more poignant.
A lot of the weaponry and vehicles of the UNSC look drastically underpowered and unprotected compared to modern versions. For example, compare the UNSC's Warthog to today's Humvee, or the Falcon to a Chinook helicopter. Halo's vehicles feel like a step backward, until you consider how powerful Covenant weaponry is. A Humvee's door may protect from bullets, but plasma weapons will just boil right through them. The added protection isn't worth it, thus the same budget that could build one Humvee is instead used to build four Warthogs, paying the price of less protection in exchange for increased firepower. Seems callous, but this is the same UNSC that authorized the SPARTAN program. Also keep in mind that, by the later parts of the series, we're seeing the end results of a twenty-seven year-long war of attrition; Halo Wars shows that the UNSC had a lot of really kickass, high-end weaponry in 2525, whereas by 2552 they're down to a scant few colonies, Reach, and Earth. This is showing in their limited armory.
Those Warthogs are also much better at all-terrain driving than a Humvee would be and are probably more maneuverable. Being easily deployable via aerial insertion is a definite plus. As for aviation, you've got your comparisons mixed up. The Falcon's functional equivalent would be a UH-60 Blackhawk or UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) in terms of transport and an AH-1 Cobra or AH-64 Apache in terms of firepower. The CH-47 Chinook would find its Halo equivalent in the Pelican, though the original design for the V-22 Osprey might be a bit closer to the Pelican in terms of combat capabilities.
Halo 4 is going to justify the multiplayer as a kind of Holodeck-style training simulation. This means that the multiplayer may in fact be canon for all the Halo games so far, except maybe ODST. Now, one should remember that most Spartans are trained from before they hit puberty, and you have what may be one of the funniest jokes in video game history.
Halo 4 features Promethean Vision, a Predator-esque vision mode that highlights most anything trying to kill you in bright red. Promethean Vision also highlights all grenades in red, including your own, as a reminder that Mr. Grenade is Not Your Friend.
Ever wondered why the human Shaw-Fujikawa slipspace drive is so inefficient and inconsistent? It's because there is little to no compensation for galactic/universal drift. Depending on what direction a ship is facing, it may end up taking longer to get there, or land hundreds or thousands of kilometers off-target. For insance, if a ship enters slipspace in the same direction in which the Milky Way is drifting from the center of the universe, the time it takes for the ship to reach its destination will increase dramatically, as the ship is covering ground (heh, "ground") at a substantially slower rate due to the galaxy also moving in the same direction. Inversely, traveling towards the center of the galaxy will cut down on travel time as the galaxy itself does half the work for you. Seems like one hell of a detail for humans and AI alike to overlook in regards to their sole method of fast-travel between the stars but, well, if the shoe fits...
One for Halo Wars: Some people accused Ander's willingness to go with Ripa to protect Forge as unprofessional, the threat of her surrendering information to the Covenant most glaring. However, it actually serves as a massive piece of Fridge Brilliance. She wanted to know what the Covenant were up to. An extremely high-ranking Elite was sent specifically to capture her, an unusual occurrence to put it lightly. She would also know the Spirit of Fire would be able to track her. So she allowed herself to be captured, not just to save Forge, but to allow the Spirit of Fire to find out what exactly the Covenant was looking for. Genius.
Two for the Prophet of Regret in Halo Wars.
His fears that the war would leave the Covenant colonies defenseless seems kinda baseless considering such a UNSC counterattack never occurred and Covenant ships wipe the floor with human ones anyway. But Halo: The Cole Protocol reveals that Regret rightly suspected the Prophet of Truth planned to kill him once he was no longer useful. Perhaps he was so eager to capture those Forerunner ships because human counterattack wasn't the only thing was worried about.
Ascendant Justice pointed this one out: why didn't Regret, who survived the destruction of the Shield World, reveal the existence of the Flood to the rest of the Covenant? How come the rest of the fleet there never recorded it? Likely Regret may have chosen to keep it a secret, either because he thought the Flood were all destroyed, because he didn't want admit he wasted thousands of warriors trying to suicidally retrieve treasure from a monster, or because he wanted to to concentrate on defeating humanity first before turning their attention to another threat.
What makes you think the Covenant didn't know about the Flood?
This letter, written by one Prophet to another just before Halo 2.
At first, I was kind of miffed at how the Promethean Knights in Halo 4 were nowhere as powerful as the baseline Forerunner weapons systems demonstrated in Cryptum and Primordium, where even the low-grade infantry units could level mountains. Compared with that, the Prometheans are like rock-wielding cavemen. Then I realized: Requiem is the Didact's prison, and the Didact could take control of the Prometheans instantly when released. The Librarian placed guardians there that were advanced enough that they could repel (most) intruders, but at the same time, were dramatically weaker than the Forerunner standard-issue, so that if the Didact escaped, the only things he would have available to him would be rock-wielding cavemen.
And the Composer. But yes, this is true. If you notice the Terminal videos, the Promethean warriors are all wielding powerful weapons that look like Binary Rifles and Incineration Cannons, and are probably more powerful and versatile than the in-game ones. Nowhere are the weaker weapons ever seen. Even the mechanized Prometheans, at their height, were wielding these weapons, and a single Knight could defeat a ship full of Flood. Now the Knights in-game have been massively nerfed, with weapons like Suppressors and LightRifles that are vastly less effective, shields that can be brought down by regular 7.62x51mm bullets, and apart from their translocation armor-ability, pretty darn slow movement - all likely the Librarian's doing after the Didact was imprisoned. Perhaps the closest you could get to those pre-nerf Prometheans would be to turn on the Mythic, Tough Luck and Thunderstorm skulls and play on Legendary. (Also talked about here) Interestingly, the ancient Humans from the Terminals seen guarding the Lord of Admirals appear to be equipped with technology that oddly parallels that of the UNSC's GUNGNIR project, such as a shouldered energy weapon with targeting lasers, and a visorless fully-plated helmet with vision provided purely through cameras.
Why is EvanPhillips so good at solving Sangheili Arum's? Because they are based on Forerunner tech and the Librarian planted an understanding of how to use that tech in humanity.
In Halo 4, Covvie ships go down really easy; when previously the UNSC could only win when they had numerical superiority or a really talented Captain at the helm. Cortana notes that the ships attacking the Dawn are unshielded and one gets taken out by half a frigate (when in 3, Keyes established that the Dawn lacked the tonnage to get in a protracted battle), the Infinity manages to take out one with fire from its secondary weapons while crashed (and we don't see the Covvie Ship fire its main "Glass a planet" beam), and when it later plows through a CCS-class battlecruiser, we don't even see that ship's shields flare. But the Covvies are lacking the infrastructure and support they once had; the Engineers are no longer with them. Its likely that the ships orbiting Requiem for three years haven't seen any real maintenance since that time; of course their systems are failing.
while you are technically correct, not all of the ships have fallen into disrepair. When infinity smashes through that battlecruiser you can watch its shields pop much like they do in the Deliver Hope Trailer. The reason their ships are in such disrepair that UNSC frigates can go toe to toe with them (besides the huge leap in tech for the UNSC in peace time) is that there are no longer any Engineers aboard their ships, and Engineers were the only ones who knew how the technology really worked.
Some people have wondered why a human-produced AI like Cortana would be able to be inserted into alien computer systems. Well, we do know that the Librarian put a whole bunch of inheritable genetic commands within humanity's DNA; what if one of those commands was for humans to create AIs that are compatible with Forerunner systems? It would also explain why Cortana also is able to easily access Covenant systems; they're nothing more than reverse-engineered Forerunner technology with some purple paint splashed on.
That, and the fact that Cortana was specifically designed to be able to do so by the galaxy's leading Forerunner expert.
Even more so when you consider that UNSC A.I.s were created by digitally mapping the minds of significant human beings; Cortana, being created from the mind of Catherine Halsey likely inherited her ability to interact with Forerunner systems directly from her.
From Halo 3, we know that Mendicant Bias betrays the Forerunners and sides with the Flood, thanks in part to Gravemind's argument that the Forerunners are stifling evolution/life via the Mantle. To this point, the Forerunners have always been viewed as as noble protectors of the Galaxy - and since Gravemind was successful in turning Mendicant rampant, it makes him all the more sinister. And then The Forerunner Saga reveals that the Forerunners defeated ancient humanity in a war, and forcibly 'devolved' them. Doubles as Fridge Horror since Gravemind's argument had an element of [highly twisted] truth to it.
District 9 was made from the ashes of the Halo film, and in there the alien weapons are unusable by humans, since they require alien DNA to be activated. I wondered why the Covenant didn't implement a similar system into their own weapons before I realized: Covenant weapons are reverse-engineered Forerunner tech. They may have indeed programmed in such a barrier, only for humans to unknowingly bypass them because the weapons were recognizing them as Reclaimers.
Even though the Covenant are more than willing to reverse engineer the technology found in Forerunner artifacts, the Sangheili believe to alter it is heresy in the same vein as rewriting a holy book would be to humans. There's one case where Cortana merely adjusting the power level with the built-in controls is enough to make an Elite cry foul, since that's not how they found the device.
Majestic Team from Spartan Ops wear blue-colored armor. They're Unknown Rivals to Crimson Team, the squad made up of the players. In other words, it's a case of Red vs. Blue.
How did Jul 'Mdama know already know Halsey's information? Dr. Glassman must have given to him.
Likewise, how did Fireteam Majestic know where to go to rescue Catherine Halsey? Again, the rescued Glassman must have told them where 'Mdama's base was.
There's a bit of a clever parallel between Catherine Halsey and Catherine "Kat"-B320. Both are involved in the Spartan program, both were child prodigies, both are excellent hackers and technicians, are too curious and a security risk, and both lose an arm.
The Gravemind refers to itself as "a monument to all your sins". A lot of people were wondering what that actually means. 343 Guilty Spark says that Master Chief and Humanity are, as successors, Forerunner. In the expanded universe, the Flood were created as a last-ditch effort by the Precursors during a war against the Forerunners. He said this because he recognized MC as a "new Forerunner".
At the end of Ghosts of Onyx, Kurt sees his dead comrades giving him the all-clear. Now look at the title again: they are the ghosts of onyx. Literally.
Just recently I questioned why Covenant ships didn't always utterly curbstomp human fleets as no matter what, they're supposed to be using Forerunner tech. But then it hit me, the Covenant capital ships are good at glassing planets. The ships that the Covenant are using are after-battle clean up ships, designed to completely eradicate a flood infestation after a real battle. And to the response of 'but they don't really glass the planets, just render them inhospitable by convection', they don't always have to glass the entire planet, as in Halo 3 with half of Africa, but if it really becomes necessary, just throw more ships at the problem.
I had always been annoyed by how the Marines address the Master Chief as 'Sir' and salute him, doubly so since the only branch that salutes in doors is the Army. Then it occurred to me that the Master Chief is the single most dangerous human being in the universe. He's taken out more Covenant troops in an afternoon than entire platoons have in a month. And to top it all off, the ending cutscene of Halo 3 shows that he was promoted to Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (The highest enlisted rank in the Navy). With a record like that under his belt, the Master Chief must have recieved at least one Medal of Honor.
Confirmed; canonically Master Chief has earned every UNSC medal except the Prisoner of War medallion. This does raise some questions about branch-specific medals, but he's at least earned almost every medal available to him.
In Halo 3's terminals, we read about a Forerunner defense array that is translated for human readers as the "Maginot Line". At first the comparison only seemed to be solely because both of them were enormous fortified borders, but Halo: Silentium shows the comparison goes further: it was a complete failure of a defense, being based on outdated tactics and failed at holding off the Flood for long.
Why is Cortana so insistent about John making promises that can't be kept? Not because she'd be let down, but because of what he'd do to himself. She knows him on an emotional level far better than he knows himself, and is trying to protect him on more than just a physical level.
Which gets mer thinking even more... At the end of Halo 4, is she sad because she's dying... or because she left the one she loved and protected behind? She even realizes it's magnitudes worse for him because he's a soldier who was raised as a child to know nothing but war; he literally has no idea how to process his emotions or cope with such a personal loss, and she regrets that she can't protect him from the subsequent emotional trauma. Note how she chokes up when delivering the line "We were supposed to protect each other... And we did." But she didn't. She may have saved his life, but she couldn't save him from the bitter loneliness and despair her absence would bring him. Fridge Tear Jerker, anyone?
Some fans complained that the Librarian◊ looked older in Halo 4 than they had imagined. I noticed that in Spartan Ops, she looks younger◊ than in her first appearance. In one of the books, she was described with the words "Whenever you look inward and see an ideal female... whether it be goddess, anima, mother, sister, or lover... For a brief, barely sensible instant, you will see the face and feel the spirit of the Librarian." The Librarian looks like the ideal woman to the person seeing her. The Master Chief's initial priority in Halo 4 was getting Cortana to Dr. Halsey, an older woman. He would see the ideal female not as an example of beauty, but as someone trustworthy and knowledgeable.
I was playing Reach today and suddenly realized the reason why the Covenant you fight in the first one are so much easier than the other games (I mean in-universe;the obvious real reason is the first Halo was a Xbox launch title with extremely limited technology). The Covenant in Combat Evolved and Reach were part of the same group, Particular Justice. The Covenant thought Reach was humanity's homeworld and sent their best soldiers and most useful equipment onto the field, most of which were killed/destroyed or left behind when Vadamee followed the Pillar of Autumn "with all the ships in [his] command."(Halo 2)...in other words most of the enemies you fight in Combat Evolved were reserve forces or fucking ship security guards!
The "best soldiers dead or left behind in the middle of battle" theory would actually explain a lot, like why you never fight brutes or elite ultras(the two toughest common enemies in Reach) in Combat Evolved and only run across a dozen or so zealots (whereas in Reach you can get them out of a vending machine).
There's something very appropriate about Dr. Halsey saying she chose John for his luck. Namely, another famous Halsey, Fleet Admiral William Jr , commanded the task force centred on the Enterprise (CV-6), the luckiest of America's WW2 aircraft carriers.
The cutscene in Halo 2 where Master Chief grabs onto the Covenant bomb and drops with it off of Cairo station has bothered me a bit for years; if both Master Chief and the bomb were being pulled downwards by Earth's gravity, the bomb wouldn't have hovered in the middle of the Covenant capital ship before it exploded when Master Chief pushed off of it; it would have continued accelerating with the Chief. Then I realized that the real reason it's falling is actually because it was being pushed out by the atmosphere of the cargo bay of Cairo Station when it depressurized. Since Cairo station is in geosynchronous orbit, the bomb doesn't gain additional acceleration as it falls towards Earth after leaving the station. When Master Chief re-activates the bomb and pushes off, he gives it just enough of a push (no doubt with help from Cortana's calculations) to halt the motion of the bomb relative to the carrier, and thanks to Newton's Third Law, buys himself extra speed to escape the blast.
In Halo:Reach, Jorge is seen talking to the local citizens attacked by the Covenant. This isn't simply because Jorge is a softie. It's because Jorge was born on Reach himself.
In Halo 5 It's relieved that the Swords of Sanghilos have female soldiers integrated into their forces, at first it seemed like just random exposition but then it hit me, during the events of halo 2 and 3 The arbiter had seen women in the UNSC military hold their own against the Covenant and the flood, It was Miranda Keyes who stopped the halo from firing and who commanded the human force at the assault on the ark's control room, from these experiences Arbiter probably came to the conclusion that like the great journey, that the tradition of forbidding women from becoming warriors was another thing that was a lie passed down.
Humanity has a generally easy time operating Covenant technology, in fact many times in the novels, Spartans who interact with Covie tech, even stuff they're unfamiliar with, are able to get it working after a short time. One reason is because of humanity's status as Reclaimers chosen to uphold the Mantle, but there's a more mundane explanation that probably plays just as big a role. If the Covenant is going to field technology for common use across almost half a dozen species that have pretty big differences in anatomy and physiology, then it's no surprise their standard-issue equipment is stuff that's intuitively simple to operate and able to fit a large number of different species' body shapes.
The Field Marshall from Reach is everything that a Sanghelli is not: a coward. Back in "Winter Contingency", instead of staying to fight NOBLE Team, he hightailed it out of Visegrad Relay, leaving his Zealot subordinates to fight, and ultimately die, in his stead. At the end of "New Alexandria", he shoots Kat from range in a surprise sniping attack, only retreating when the rest of NOBLE Team fire at him. Finally, in "The Pillar of Autumn", he doesn't face down Noble Six in solo combat, unlike Zuka 'Zukamee or Thel 'Lodamee, choosing to sacrifice a horde of Grunts and some more Zealots to slow the Spartan down.
This little detail in 343 Guilty Spark.◊ It may be hinted that a couple of stranded marines and jackals were frightened enough drop their differences to try and hold off the flood together, with predictable results
Halo. Specifically, the Human-Covenant war. The casualties are never really covered in the games... but Bungie have released statistics. Remember when Miranda Keyes says "casualties from the initial bombardment were... extreme" in Halo 3, referring to Truth's bombardment of Earth? Well, it turns out that this bombardment meant that there were only 200 million humans left on Earth by the end. Less than the population of America. And Earth wasn't even fully glassed - whereas around 70 planets were, many of them major colonies like Reach. You know what this means? Dozens of billions of humans have been killed in the Halo universe. Soldiers, civilians, children. All mercilessly eradicated by a beam from space so powerful, it turns the surface of the planet to glass. It reminds me of pouring water into an ant's nest, in the most horrifying way possible... doubly so when you realise that's what we must seem like to the xenophobic captains of the Covenant ships. At the end of the war, we - people like you and me - may very well be on the verge of extinction.
This last entry provides its own supply of fridge horror. Fridge horror is something that happens after the fact - so you're saying, at first, the slaughter of trillions of people didn't seem like such a big deal?
No. It's Fridge Horror because you never find out the death toll in the games. When you do look it up, you look again at the games, in a different light - and they seem that much scarier. Is that not the definition of Fridge Horror?
That's not the closest we've got. In real life, when the Toba supervolcano erupted, humanity was slapped down to 10,000 - less than the population of a small town. And yet look at us now - six billion people. I'm pretty sure humanity would be able to fight back from extinction... but the killcount's still horrible.
Let's not forget the fact that the portal on Earth allowed the Covenant to get to the Ark, so of course they had to go to Earth first... so how do you think High Charity got there?
Word of God has started the human death told is around 20 billion; the remaining human population by the time of the war is 80-100 billion.
Chief was on ice for four years, right? And when he woke up, Cortana was 8. That means when he went under, she was only 4 years old. She used up half her lifespan waiting for her best friend to wake up, all alone inside a dark ship, with her distress beacon repeating on an endless loop. And by the time she got out, she had a few days left to live, at most. It's surprising she didn't go into rampancy sooner.
Remember that above Brilliance point about the UNSC sacrificing protection on its vehicles in exchange for greater numbers and increased firepower? It started with 800 colonies, the majority of which have got to be producing as much as they can. And it's not enough. The Covenant must be huge to keep winning against that.
The Covenant isn't covered by the Geneva convention or the Hague, meaning humanity can use prohibited weapons like poison gas and hollow point bullets. Again, it's still not enough.
Spartan-III Alpha and Beta Companies each numbered 300-strong. Additionally, an unknown number of the most talented trainees were reassigned to more elite units like Noble Team and Headhunters. These 600+ Spartan-IIIs are sent on high-stakes suicide missions where they are all but completely annihilated, and their sacrifice only nets a brief delay in the Covenant advance.
Really, nothing is enough until the Elites realize that humanity isn't the enemy and ally themselves with the UNSC. It's really a moment of both fridge brilliance and horror. Humanity at its best is doing little against the Covenant. Then after the events of Halo 2, the Elites, the biggest and the best the Covenant has to offer, come to the realization that the Prophets are leading everyone to slaughter and the humans, who've they've been conditioned to hate for 30 years, are actually similar to them and they have no reason to continue fighting them. And as such, the human-Elite alliance forms, and pretty soon the Covenant is all but annihilated. Hell, by the end of Halo 3, the Arbiter and the Chief, each the best of their respective race, are practically best friends, to the point of the Arbiter risking his own life to save a man who, a couple weeks ago, he was trying to kill, jumping into the Flood-infested High Charity with a flamethrower and fending off hordes of Flood to ensure the Chief gets out of there safely. One could argue it was because he knew the knowledge Cortana contained was far greater than his own life, but I believe it was The Power of Friendship. I guess this should probably be in the CMOA section, but whatever.
Hey, you know that awesome, deep baritone Sangheili who kicks ass and takes names, Arbiter Thel 'Vadam? Guess who ordered Reach to be glassed!
There's nothing fridge about that, it was made clear in the first cutscene he appeared in.
It certainly hits harder after playing Halo: Reach.
The Composer in Halo 4 turns humans into the A.I.s that run the Prometheans. The UNSC makes A.I.s via Cognitive Model Impressioning, which destroys the brain of the original subject. The Forerunners just weaponized the process.
Except the brain is usually cloned before the UNSC creates the AI. Otherwise, Cortana wouldn't exist, or Halsey would be dead.
Nope, Cortana is an exception not the rule. Most AI are created using the recently deceased. Flash cloned brains are apparently touchy and most won't work for creating an AI.
Halsey had to clone her brain 17 times before she managed to actually create Cortana
There's no time period specified between a human being composed and when a Promethean is manufactured from said human. The Prometheans onboard the Didact's ship in the final mission very well could have been the UNSC personnel from Ivanoff Research Station as a bit of horrific irony on the Didact's part.
Being composed into a Promethean in the first place. Your body is stripped away layer by layer in a horrifically painful process, and then you are stored somewhere as data until a Promethean is generated, likely with nothing but the last sensation you had when you were still alive. And as Prometheans drop a golden orb of data when they die, there's no guarantee being killed sets your spirit free.
Just because you're killed and turned into data doesn't mean you are that actual data. Logically, you just die, however painful and horribly. Whatever data is extracted is just data, not actually you.
Theseus Ship bro.
Ok, not quite horror, more like Fridge Gross. In the epilogue, we see Chief go and get his armor removed, accompanied by triumphant music and the stares of awe and admiration of everyone in the room. Then we remember: it's been four years since he's been in there. Four years since he's brushed his teeth, washed behind his ears, cut his hair, trimmed his nails, rinsed his unmentionables...
It's probably not that bad, since he was literally on ice for those four years.
Let's just assume he had a shower whilst he was on the Infinity during the Campaign.
Am I the only one that thinks his armor has got to have self-cleaning functions?
Where would they fit? The interior's established to be pretty snug.
Engineered bacteria stored in the gel layer that cleans the body, built in due to the likely hood of a SPARTAN needing to spend long times away from the machinery necessary to remove his suit and not develop rot. The bacteria's waste is likely engineered to be something else that's at least not damaging the suit or the SPARTAN.
One single word from Silentium. Composers. That's right. The one you destroyed has at least another replacement.
Spartan Ops episode 10. We get a good look at Jul 'Mdama's fleet as they evacuate Requiem. It's huge. The guy literally has dozens of capital-class ships (albeit mostly outdated sub-types like armored cruisers, brigantines, and Blockade Runners), as well as hundreds of light cruisers, corvettes, and support vessels and two multi-billion ton assault carriers. As well as doubtlessly billions of soldiers scattered throughout the worlds he rules. Considering that 'Mdama is a renegade Elitecommanding only part of the former Covenant (tied with the Swords of Sanghelios for the most powerful successor state) and yet he alone has enough firepower to give the pre-war UNSC pause, it really makes you wonder, just how powerful were the original Covenant?
That's nothing. In Halo: First Strike, they lose a fleet of 300 ships and it only delays the invasion of Earth. The force that attacks Installation 05 is hundreds of times the size of the 'hundreds' of ships that attacked Reach. It takes a planet full of reactors and miners to fuel even the local Covenant ships, such that the success of Operation Prometheus managed to actually slow the Covenant juggernaut. Suffice to say, they're a galactic empire.
What else did ONI have to do to cover up the Spartan II program? 75 children collapsed and died for no good reason. Did nobody recognize it as flash clone deterioration? How many doctors/nurses/coroners were eliminated to keep it a secret?
A bit of meta Fridge Horror, Windows 10 has a program called "Cortana", which is Microsoft's answer to Apple's "Siri". Now, lets take in account Halo 5 and Cortana's characterization in it. Microsoft, what are you trying to tell us?
To add to that, if you ask the Windows 10 Cortana the right question, she implies she's the same Cortana as the one in this series.
A note on the Flood. The truly horrifying part of the Gravemind is that he never lied. What he claims all would be true. "...you can surrender and have what you always wanted - infinite life, infinite knowledge, and infinite companionship." By collecting all living organisms into one collective and combining their neural pathways, a victim would indeed never lack companionship. They would all be one organism. Of course, one can argue that the mind that is a part of the Flood collective is not the victim him/herself, instead a recreation much like the composers(another horrifying part of the Forerunners), but what about split brain patients? A mind that has spend an entire life together is split into two, and the two parts operates almost independently. There are instances where the left and right brain would even want to wear different clothes and certainly could not communicated those thoughts with each other. The left side of the brain would try to explain, falsely, why the right brain is doing what it is doing, but the right brain can write down why it wants something and the answer would be completely different than what the left brain had said. In addition to that point, unlike composers, which extract information and leave the biomass of the organism in a disintegrated state, the Flood integrates the biomass of the victim, which means that more likely, the mind that the Flood eats would join them, instead of dying first like what most people believe. They would join together, like a reverse of split brain surgery. And that would fulfill Cortana's dream, being with her family, forever.