Blogs

Contains all Halo Archive blogs posted from most recent to less recent. Including all blogs (DilDev, Beacons, Hurrying Candy, and more)
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Halo Wars 2 Awakening The Nightmare Soundtrack released!

Halo Wars 2 Awakening The Nightmare Soundtrack released!

Halo Wars 2 Awakening The Nightmare Soundtrack released!

HW2: Awakening The Nightmare Soundtrack Cover

HW2: Awakening The Nightmare Soundtrack Cover

Accompanying the new DLC to Halo Wars 2 (Which you should really play) is a brand new expansion to the soundtrack as well. Composer Gordy Haab returns to make more music together with Brian Triffon and Brian Lee White from Finishing Move Inc.

 

Tracklist:

Do Not Disturb – 1:12

Tread Softly – 1:41

Mindfulness – 2:34

Diseased Darkness – 0:55

Fevered Dread – 4:08

No Retreat – 2:22

No Surrender – 3:11

That Old Life – 2:18

Blood Oath – 2:16

Corroded – 2:55

Ossified – 4:30

Uncharitable – 3:06

The music released Sep 26th and is available in digitally format only in stores like Amazon, iTunes and Sumthing.com

 

HurryingCandy – @Twitter

 

Posted by HurryingCandy in Blogs, News, 0 comments
Halo Sheet Music: Scores of Halo – Halo 4 Volume 2

Halo Sheet Music: Scores of Halo – Halo 4 Volume 2

Halo Sheet Music: Scores of Halo – Halo 4 Volume 2


Halo 4 Volume 2 Original Soundtrack

Halo 4 Original Soundtrack Volume 2

Halo 4 Original Soundtrack Volume 2 Cover

The soundtrack of Halo 4 (Vol.2) officially released on the 9th of April 2013. Adding to the first volume more of the in game music. In the first post of Halo Sheet Music: Scores of Halo about Halo 4 you can find more detail on the history surrounding the soundtrack and music of Halo 4 (Here)

 

This updated adds Halo 4 Volume 2 to the collection. While the soundtrack offers some great music, In terms of transcribable music it was sadly lacking. Atonement, Wreckage, Lasky’s Theme and Never Forget (Midnight Version) are great tracks to play on piano (or any instrument) But for a soundtrack of 20 tracks there is little that doesn’t require very specific synthesizer sounds and off key pitches to recreate the music.

 

The following tracks were added

01 – Atonement

02 – Wreckage

03 – Lasky’s Theme

04 – Never Forget (Midnight Version)

Atonement and Wreckage carried a lot of emotion in the music. Lasky’s Theme is tricky. Because it invokes the musicians to end large and grand while it’s design to be kept within certain bounds. Never Forget speaks for itself right ? if it doesn’t you need to play Halo 2 and 3 right now.


Up Next!

You may think hurray ! time for Halo 5 you are a bit too soon.

Up next is the (self named) Digital Soundtrack Collection. We are gonna pick the best tracks from the soundtracks made for Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Spartan Assault, Spartan Strike and Halo The Fall of Reach Animated. These are filled with beautiful music yet they get little attention. Only released trough platforms like iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, in other words, Digital Only.

If you say “Now normally you guys work by release date, Halo 5 released before The Fall Of Reach soundtrack released” You are right. however in terms of efficiency, style, and the fact the Spartan top-down games and TFoR share the same composer. The wonderful Tom Salta. We though it more practical to do the so far Digital Soundtracks in 1 package and then start Halo 5 as a brand new project.

So while we are laying the groundwork to turn Halo 5’s majestic music into notes on paper for you all to use. We first would like to offer you this.

Before the Digital Collection is added there most likely is gonna be a very special announcement. Soon…  (I love how 343 has turned the word ‘soon’ into something that makes Halo fans ticklish)

 

Copyright Hurrying Candy©

 

 


As always you can find the Sheet Music Here

You can find the Official Halo 4 Soundtrack store at Halo4soundtrack.com Other stores like Amazon or Itunes also offer most music.

This post reflects my personal opinion and not that of the Halo Archive in general.

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

– HurryingCandy

@HURRYINGCANDY ON TWITTER

HURRYINGCANDY ON THE HALO ARCHIVE FORUMS

Posted by HurryingCandy in Blogs, Community Creations, Sheet Music, 0 comments
Halo Wars 2 Vinyl Soundtrack Release!

Halo Wars 2 Vinyl Soundtrack Release!

Halo Wars 2 Vinyl Soundtrack Release!

Sumthing Else Music Works Announced Halo Wars 2 Vinyl !

Following the official press release

New York (September 18, 2017) – Today, Sumthing Else Music Works, the award-winning record label dedicated to licensing and distributing video game soundtracks, announced that the “Halo Wars 2 Original Soundtrack” will be released as a limited edition red marbled double LP on September 22 (pre-order here).

The deluxe gatefold package features new artwork for the vinyl release and includes a free digital download card. Also announced today, the soundtrack to the game’s expansion “Halo Wars 2: Awakening The Nightmare” will be released via Sumthing Else Music Works on digital and streaming platforms on September 26.

Featuring the original scores by composing team Gordy Haab, Brian Trifon and Brian Lee White, the soundtracks for Halo Wars 2 build on the legendary legacy of Halo music by Martin O’Donnell, Michael Salvatori and other great composers.

Developed by 343 Industries and Creative Assembly and published by Microsoft Studios, “Halo Wars 2” is an action-packed RTS for everyone on the biggest Halo battlefield ever, and is the long-awaited sequel to the best-selling console real-time strategy (RTS) of all time, “Halo Wars.” In “Halo Wars 2,” players lead armies of Spartans and other Halo fighting forces like Warthogs, Scorpions, and exciting new units in a brutal war against a terrifying new enemy, The Banished.

“Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare” is a brand-new full expansion coming to Halo Wars 2, featuring a new campaign, two new multiplayer leaders, two new multiplayer maps, and Terminus Firefight – a unique new cooperative mode where players build both bases and armies to defend and survive against an onslaught of enemy forces. “Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare” will be available September 26 exclusively on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.

For more information on “Halo Wars 2,” visit http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/halo-wars-2

For more information on Sumthing Else Music Works and its complete catalog of video game soundtracks, visit www.sumthing.com, like us at Facebook.com/SumthingElseMusicWorks and follow us on Twitter @SumthingDigital.


Red Marble Vinyl


Beautiful, Beautiful Vinyl

Following the tradition of Vinyl releases since Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary ( Honestly I was getting nervous it wouldn’t come anymore) Halo Wars will now get it’s own vinyl. This will be the 5th soundtrack available on vinyl with Halo CEA, 4, 2A and 5 already having theirs.

According to the product details it’s a Limited edition. However it does not specify the number of copies it’s limited to. CEA was limited to 2000 If memory serves me right and Halo 4 had a limitation of 5000 signed copies (while the supply kept going but without a sig from Neil Davidge). Halo 5 has a Limited clear vinyl edition limited to a 1000 copies and only available in the US being sold by Hastings (who is unfortunately out of business now)

Unlike Halo 5 and 2 Anniversary and more like Halo 4 and CEA The Halo Wars Vinyl is colored in Atriox red and has majestic concept art from the game.

Halo Wars 2 "Spirit of Fire" Concept Art

Halo Wars 2 “Spirit of Fire” Concept Art

 

 

 

HurryingCandy – @Twitter

About Sumthing Else Music Works: 
Since its creation in the late 1990s by the world-renowned songwriter, musician and record producer, Nile Rodgers, Sumthing Else Music Works has become the acknowledged industry leader in licensing and distributing video game soundtracks. Possessing full in-house services worldwide, from retail marketing and sales through physical and digital distribution, Sumthing is partnered with the world’s leading video
game developers and publishers including BioWare, Bungie, Capcom, Crystal Dynamics, Crytek, Deep Silver, Double Fine, Eidos-Montreal, Epic Games, Gearbox Software, Konami, Microsoft, Sega, Sony, Square-Enix and Ubisoft. Their catalog of titles includes the best-selling video game soundtrack of all time, Halo 2: Volume One, as well as many award-winning and critically acclaimed titles including: ARK: Survival Evolved, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Eagle Flight, Gears of War 4, Assassin’s Creed series, WildStar, TRON RUN/r, Far Cry Primal, The Division, Grim Fandango, Broken Age, Bloodborne, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Fantasia: Music Evolved, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Infamous: Second Son, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Dead Rising 3, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Company of Heroes 2, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Dragon’s Dogma, Jet Set Radio, Journey, Borderlands 2, Darksiders II, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Gears of War 3, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Alan Wake, Halo: Reach, Fable III, God of War III, Uncharted 2, Halo 3: ODST, Dark Void, Borderlands, InFamous, Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV, Halo Wars, Halo Trilogy, Gears of War 2, Fable II, Crysis, Advent Rising, Fable, Gears of War, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Volume Two, Halo 3, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman: Contracts, Jade Empire, Kameo: Elements of Power, Mass Effect, Red Steel, Freedom Fighters and many others. Sumthing Else Music Works and Sumthing Distribution logos are copyright of their respective companies. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
About the Halo Franchise: 
Exclusively published by Microsoft Studios and developed by 343 Industries, the Halo franchise is an award-winning collection of properties, more than $5 billion in worldwide sales to date, that has transcended video games and grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original “Halo: Combat Evolved” (2001) to the record-breaking launch of “Halo 5: Guardians” (2015), the critically acclaimed and record-shattering series of games has reinvented how people think about video games and has since built a fan base of millions worldwide and inspired multiple New York Times best-selling novels, a live-action digital series, comic books, action figures, apparel and more.
Exclusively published by Microsoft Studios, the Halo franchise of games have sold more than 70 million copies worldwide, driving nearly more than 6 billion hours of gameplay by fans connected to Xbox Live.
About 343 Industries: 
343 Industries is the developer of the blockbuster “Halo” series of video games and, as part of Microsoft Studios, oversees the “Halo” franchise, including games, original programming, novels, comics, licensed collectibles, apparel and more. The studio most recently launched “Halo 5: Guardians” in 2015 and is currently developing “Halo Wars 2” for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, while continuing to transform entertainment experiences across the “Halo” universe with groundbreaking projects, such as the upcoming Steven Spielberg produced television series.
About Creative Assembly: 
Founded in 1987 and based in Horsham, West Sussex, Creative Assembly is one of the UK’s most successful and established game studios. Creator of the multi award-winning Total War strategy series, the studio has received numerous press, industry and consumer accolades, including BAFTA and the Develop Industry Excellence awards. With over 400 highly talented developers and counting, the studio is still expanding with new triple-A console, PC and mobile projects. Creative Assembly’s website is located at www.creative-assembly.com
Posted by HurryingCandy in Blogs, News, 1 comment
Halo Sheet Music: Scores of Halo – Halo 4 Volume 1

Halo Sheet Music: Scores of Halo – Halo 4 Volume 1

Halo Sheet Music: Scores of Halo – Halo 4 Volume 1


Halo 4 Volume 1 Original Soundtrack

Halo 4 Volume 1 Original Soundtrack

Halo 4 Volume 1 Original Soundtrack

The soundtrack of Halo 4 (Vol.1) officially released on the 22nd of October back in 2012. Now the release and different versions available for purchase got a bit more hectic then previous releases. Halo 4 being a big deal for the fans as well as 343 Industries was a reason for going all out it seem, which also started a nice tradition of Limited Editions Soundtracks.

The Halo 4 Soundtrack release timeline:

  • Halo 4 Original Soundtrack Volume 1 released on the 22nd of October 2012.  (Physical Release and Digital)

 

  • Halo 4 Original Soundtrack Volume 1 Special Limited Edition. Released on the 4th of November. It included (next to the standard OST) a bonus OST remix CD which includes artists like DJ Skee & THX, Gui Boratto, Sander Van Doorn & Julian Jordan, Apocalyptica, Caspa and some more great folks. Along with that also a Vinyl of the remix album with gorgeous art of Chief and Cortana on either side. A bonus DVD of the Making of Halo 4 Music and a book that feature behind the scenes photos and footage from the Abbey Road sessions, and Neil Davidge’s production and composition notes as well as a few words by Kazuma Jinnouchi and Sotaro Tojima. Plus a signed Halo 4 art print by Neil.

 

  • Halo 4 Original Soundtrack Remixes (The one included in the Special Limited Edition) Released digitally only on the 15th of November.

 

  • Halo 4 Original Soundtrack Volume 2 released on the 9th of April 2013. While it’s unknown why this released so much later and only digital. It’s a nice addition. It gave some more of the music that happen in game next to the grander pieces included in the first volume. More info at the bottom of this post.

 

A New Story, Creator, Composer.

Halo 4 Art Key 1

343 Industries had big shoes to fill with Halo 4. The soundtrack side of things was no different. Sotaro ‘Tajeen’ Tojima (Audio Director 343 Industries) and Ken Kato (Executive Audio Producer 343 Industries) had to find a composer who would do justice to the Halo franchise. With Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori being gone and leaving fans more then a bit biased on how a Halo soundtrack should sound like. They didn’t have an easy job.

They gave us Neil Davidge, and man it was a good choice. The album debuted the No. 50 on the billboard 200 chart in the United States, making it the highest-charting game soundtrack ever.

Neil Davidge didn’t do it alone however. While maybe from a marketing perspective it’s better to put his name solely on all material. Neil talks a lot about Andrew ‘Drew’ Morgan who helped him tremendously writing the score and Jeremy Holland Smith who arranged a lot of the music together with Matt Dunkley who also did the orchestration. (Recommend everyone to watch the Making Of Halo 4’s Music video. You get to really understand the team effort it took to make this soundtrack)

That doesn’t dismiss the brilliance Neil put into the music. After arranging the soundtrack to sheet music and having had to listen to it more carefully then people normally would (need to?), I can safely say that it was a brilliant beautiful soundtrack with a unique vibe custom tailored to the Halo 4 story. It honestly fits no where else as good as with the Halo 4 in game vistas and art.

It’s been stated by 343 that Halo 4 was the first attempt to turn Master Chief, from the empty shell Bungie let the player glide into, into a fully formed character. While this mixed with the absence of the original Halo theme first heard in Halo: Combat Evolved made a lot of fans uneasy at first. Because it was simply not what they were used to, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good or (maybe more important) necessary.

But this piece is not meant to debate the quality of Halo 4 compared to other installments of the franchise. I personally do wanna make the comment when the soundtrack first released along with the game the reception was mixed but also overshadowed by the fact everything was new and took getting used to.


 

Halo 4 Art Key 2


 

The Process, Takes, Time (A Quick Word If I/We May?)

It’s quite normal for our releases to have some time between them. ranging from 7 to 10 months. We are now however almost a year after our last update. I thought it be good to give some explanation. With Halo Legends done and saying goodbye to Martin O’Donnells work.

With Opening 343’s can of music and finding ourselves immersed once more in a new musical landscape we had a feeling we could not let this pass. I could not let this pass. I’ve been arranging Halo Sheet Music since 2007/2008 now and it’s become a huge part of my life. My musical stance is completely orientated around the fact I use my equipment mostly for arranging Halo music. Its become very personal and I wanted to find a way to convey that to all of you who enjoy the music and sheet music. But I also wanted to inspire and support the people making this possible for me. The Artists and Composers and Producers and Grims (Insert another 800 Job descriptions) In short. 343 Industries. So while we did make you all wait a long time rest assured it wasn’t because we were getting lazy. Because !

We decided to do this.

Copyright Hurrying Candy©

 

As the banner states – Coming soon! (Really soon)

More info about the project, wonderful people and details are coming soon in a Special Edition of Scores of Halo!


To Arrive or Revive.

Now back to Halo 4. With volume 1 only having 15 tracks we had an easier task of choosing which tracks to Arranged. The criteria were kept simple. It needed to sound on piano, On anything really without exterior help. After putting the soundtrack trough that test this became the final selection

01 – Awakening
02 – Belly Of The Beast
03 – Requiem
04 – Nemesis
05 – Haven
06 – Solace
07 – To Galaxy
08 – 117 (Composed by Kazuma Jinnouchi)
09 – Arrival
10 – Green and Blue

These 10 tracks reflecting the heart of the Halo 4 Soundtrack while also being playable on an instrument.

Awakening was the first piece we heard and although it went trough a large amount of changes before we as fans got the final version. It has been called the Halo 4 theme. While Belly of the Beast, Requiem, Haven and Solace are more mission specific tracks as they each have their own voice. The somewhat grander pieces like Arrival and Nemesis are the battle pieces. And To Galaxy and 117 heed the call of the Space Opera role a Halo soundtrack demands.

Last but not least the most emotional track I’ve ever heard in a video game, Green and Blue. It was a real challenge to arrange this. Mostly cos I dreamt away while transcribing. It’s so full of emotion and soul. With a very spesific purpose. Representing the relation between Master Chief and Cortana. It has been masterly done and while I greatly adore the work Kazuma Jinnouchi is making for Halo. I really want Neil to come back one day, just once, Please?

 


Up Next ! – Halo 4 Volume 2

Halo 4 Volume 2 Original Soundtrack

Halo 4 Volume 2 Original Soundtrack

When the Halo 4 soundtrack first released the only hint we got at a second volume was within the book that came with the Special Limited Edition. Within this book the soundtrack was called Volume 1. Funny side note in the book Neil Davidge mentioned this.

“Everyone has their favorite piece and wanted it in the album. Tajeen / 343 send various track orders over, non of them within the time margin (78Min) I think if Tajeen had his way we’d have ended up with a 4 CD set!”

Which honestly, who would have said no to that ? Luckily 343 released a second volume (As mentioned before and next to the popular remix album) Sadly they only released digitally but they are available in Flac, which makes it OK I guess (Looks over at Tom Salta) Anyway, it has beautiful pieces on it, and contrary to the first volume, the mix is a little bit more balanced between Neil’s work and Kazuma. 11 tracks by Neil Davidge and 8 by Kazuma Jinnouchi. (An link to the soundtrack store is at the bottom of this post.)

We are finishing up work on the sheet music of the second volume as we speak and hope to share it with you soon. You all deserve a gift after the long wait!


As always you can find the Sheet Music Here

You can find the Official Halo 4 Soundtrack store at Halo4soundtrack.com Other stores like Amazon or Itunes also offer most music.

This post reflects my personal opinion and not that of the Halo Archive in general.

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

– HurryingCandy

@HURRYINGCANDY ON TWITTER

HURRYINGCANDY ON THE HALO ARCHIVE FORUMS

Posted by HurryingCandy in Blogs, Community Creations, Sheet Music, 2 comments
Leggo My Lek– Wait. . . – Archive Beacon – April, 2017

Leggo My Lek– Wait. . . – Archive Beacon – April, 2017

Light the Beacon


Introduction

Where are my Lekgolo fans here? Anyone? Any love for our criminally underused worms that are so interesting when you get to know more about them? Huh? Cmoooon, Leggo My Lekgolo. 

Joking aside, welcome to a new Archive Beacon, it’s your usual suspects and bond brothers Jones and HaruspexOfHell here again, hope you’ve got enough worms in the dirt because we are visiting a Colony– I mean, Colony. Watch those pronouns.


Main Section

Strange and inscrutable, the Hunter pair who identifies as “Colony” is believed to be either a representative for Lekgolo allied to the Banished or a specialised command form of the alien eel-worms. Colony defers only to Atriox and is charged with directing all Banished Lekgolo activities on the Ark, including creation and expansion of Lekgolo clusters for use in vehicles and other specialised applications. Though it cooperates with the Banished, Colony appears to have its own plans for the Ark. Most of its attention is currently focused on the activities near the resting place of the Forerunner keyships; missions undertaken outside the knowledge of other Banished leaders.

Finally, our beloved worms are getting the attention they deserve, in the newly released Colony update for Halo Wars 2 from actually hearing their voices for the first time in game to new units that we’ve never seen or heard of before all in this update! Let’s take a quick overview over Colony’s units and abilities shall we?

ALL UNITS– LOCAL UNITS

Here are some of the units confirmed to be part of Colony’s arsenal!

  • Goliath – The Goliath is what you get when both groups of a Lekgolo colony occupy a single, massive suit of armour. This gigantic, melee-focused unit excels at laying waste to enemy structures, can pull enemies towards him, and has a shoulder-charge ability to quickly annihilate groups of weaker foes.
  • Engineer Swarm – Colony can summon a swarm of Huragok Engineers to the battlefield to heal allied units in the area for a limited time. An Engineer Swarm provides strong healing and is more cost-effective than UNSC Restoration Drones but are vulnerable to being showdown by anti-air units if deployed too close to enemy threats.
  • Enduring Locust – The Enduring Locust has the range and multi-purpose usage as its basic brethren but gets a substantial bump in effectiveness thanks to its “Last Stand” ability, which deploys a number of infantry troops to fight on after the unit has been destroyed.
  • Scarred Hunter – This pair of sturdy Veteran Hunters come equipped with an upgraded Beam Weapon to deal more damage than their basic counterparts.
  • Skitterer Mob – These small mechanical units are considered “little brothers” of the Locust and what they lack in toughness they more than make up for in sheer numbers and symbiotic impact.
  • Hunter Captain – Hero unit in Colony’s forces is the intimidating, hulking Hunter Captain. This legendary unit is extremely slow but extremely resilient, making it an excellent front-line tank. With its Taunt ability. The Hunter Captain will force nearby enemies to attack him, providing excellent support for weaker, ranged units on the secondary line. To provide extra survivability, the Captain can syphon health from enemy units to heal himself and utilise Shock to debuff enemy troops and significantly reduce their armour.

The Swarm Remembers

Now, onto the abilities shall we?

  • Vehicle Symbiotes – This area-of-effect buff calls forth Lekgolo worms to swarm over targeted vehicles and buildings, increasing their armour and range. Unlike most other buffs, the positive effects of the Symbiotes is permanent, lasting until the affected unit is destroyed.
  • Living Barrier – Colony can summon a wall of Lekgolo worms that act as barricades to block enemy ground vehicles, fortify chokepoints and protect friendly structures. Skilful Barrier deployments can also be used on top of enemy armies in mid-battle to divide and separate advancing forces.
  • Hunters Brand – A relatively cheap Tier 3 ability that is similar to a Glassing Beam but is cheaper to deploy and thus can be more frequently used. Three beams converge on a target, dealing damage and briefly slowing affected units.
  • Colony Drop – A Tier 3 ability that drops in a pair of Veteran Goliaths providing a quick strike team packing serious muscle.
  • Devastating Host – This Ultimate ability is a powerful, large-scale Spirit drop that summons Hunters and vehicles buffed with Vehicle Symbiotes. The entire landing zone is buffed so any additional vehicles or structures in the area will also be affected.
  • Combat Repairs – An Ultimate ability that provides a slow, healing-over-time effect to all structures and units for the remainder of the game!

This is very much all that has been brought by the new leader – Colony! As well as two Achievements that I will list below, however, you can get it now for Xbox One or Windows 10 for $5.99!

Procuring Legends

And as the last note for today, Halo: Envoy has released on Digital and Physical copies, you can get it now! You can also discuss it freely on our forums clicking right here! Be sure to keep spoilers moderate outside of free spoiler zones, not everyone has read it yet, but you can discuss it freely on that very thread!


On-Topic

Off-Topic


Announcements

Well, thanks to a series of unfortunate…well maybe fortunate…events, we are now in the works of remodelling our main website and pages pertaining to it. It will be a work in progress, but in its final form, it will be a glorious piece of art.

Also along is still our forums, now possible, new rendition. Still in a small debate to look into a new host or stick with it here. We are creating a Patreon so then you, the members, can at least see the progress in a more accurate forecast. Plus for your security and ours. We hope the rewards are nice for you all and those of you who are already Reclaimers will stay and maybe some new Reclaimers will join too!

But that is our main focus now.

 

Doesn’t mean we will stop production of other events! Speaking of here is the latest and greatest! Our interview with Dr. David Brin (www.davidbrin.com)


Maturations

ManChid  – Lifeworker

SPARTAN-BlueBuilder


Featured

From your usual suspects, come quite a list of things that you may or may not have missed!

Haruspis

HaruspexOfHell

 

Synth SamuraiFull Circle

 

Podcast Evolved

 

Halo Canon

Indirect

Halo Team Assemble

Termacious Trickocity

HiddenXperia


Staff-Comments

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately, as some of you know I’ve got a new job that’s been taking up most of my time. But fear not, me and a few others have been silently working behind the scenes on some thing for you all… it will be announced in due time, but I believe it will be worth the wait.

-Gob

 

I didn’t forget to comment like last time, SAD!

I hope you’re all doing well. Discussions have been mostly clean; keep it up.

Oh, don’t forget to join the Discord. It’s pretty lit.

-Wannabe Mall Cop Preston


Conclusion

And that officially brings this post to an end! Short but sweet, mostly a test in the new UI of which if you have any complaints or suggestions please direct them to either one of us or straight to the Archive Beacon Feedback thread! We really need your feedback to make up a better experience reading these for you and for us, so don’t be shy we don’t bite at the sight of Feedback!

Now, that brings this one to a close, remember to go to our forums, engage in discussions, etc! You’ll most certainly be sure to find a friend and a good time around the forums.

If you do not have an account for the forums, yet, you can create one right here!

– HaruspexOfHell  and Adv Jones, the two goofs who quite honestly want your feedback on the beacons. (Pretty pleaseeee?)

Posted by HaruspexOfHell in Archive Beacons, Blogs, 0 comments
Analysis of Halo: Fracture’s “Oasis,” the Prequel to Halo: Envoy

Analysis of Halo: Fracture’s “Oasis,” the Prequel to Halo: Envoy

Author’s note: this essay was written before Halo: Envoy’s release and published before I read it, which is why the section discussing “Oasis” as a groundwork for the novel is so very short.


Jat’s was the worst death in all of Halo. It was a coldly cynical death. Empty and brutal.

And it was narratively perfect.

On three separate levels.

To begin with, I must accentuate the fact that Jat’s death is consistent within the confines of the short story “Oasis” itself. While the manner in which this simple act both follows up on threads and lays groundwork for future fiction is impressive, those are both secondary. As discussed in my last article, moments in stories need to work first in their own context before operating on a different layer, such as a reference, callback, cameo, etc. (Smoke and Shadow). Oasis” was not marketed as the opening chapter to Envoy or as part of a series. It was released in Halo: Fractures as a standalone short story. Therefore, Jat’s death needs to make sense without referring to outside media. And it does.


Solidifying a Theme

The main theme of “Oasis” is survival.

It opens with Dahlia surviving the dangerous fever, it continues with Dahlia recalling the times she and her family survived the Covenant assaults, and its main conflict is Dahlia fighting to ensure that her family survives.

The introduction of the Sangheili Jat at first appears to derail this theme. Up until his appearance, Dahlia has been entirely motivated by survival (of her or her family), but her act to save Jat’s was born out of righteousness.

This couldn’t be right, Dahlia thought. Even among the aliens, there was some kind of law, honor. You couldn’t just execute someone right there in the sand. (Fractures, p 372)

Dahlia’s choice to save Jat seems to be in direct contrast to the theme of survival. It draws attention from an enemy. It puts her life, and by extension, the lives of her family, at risk.

What Jat’s inclusion does is provide a cost to the theme of survival. Up until he enters the story, survival is something to be achieved by any means necessary, but Jat establishes that there is a price Dahlia is not willing to pay. She is not willing to be merciless.

Artwork by The Chronothaur – used with permission

Jat – both as a character and as a narrative function – continues to push Dahlia towards these choices that challenge her outlook on life and her initial stance on survival. He takes the initial theme and begins to shape it, which in turn, shapes Dahlia. The subthemes present in “Oasis” are numerous and complex, but the one that Jat’s death hammers home is change.

Joining the ranks of Benti and Olympia Vale in the category of “young women learning life lessons from Sangheili,” Dahlia goes from someone who unquestioningly hates Sangheili, especially Jat’s leader Rojka, to someone who cradles his head in death. The contrast between her and the militia who came to her rescue and murdered Jat is stark. She is told that she wouldn’t consider the Sangheili a friend if she had seen what had happened to the Outer Colonies during the Human-Covenant War.

But of course, she did come from the Outer Colonies. She did know what horrors were wrought in the war. But she changed. She changed because of Jat, and because of Jat, she lived.

And moving forward, Dahlia will survive because she is willing to change.


Groundwork

The second narrative level on which Jat’s death works is as a groundwork for future fiction.

From the novel’s title and summary, it’s clear that “Oasis” from Fractures is a set up for Envoy. We know that tensions between Sangheili and humans on Carrow are high. We know that there is are larger players at work on the alien side – Thars and Rojka – and that Sandholm will likely be targeted soon. All of this establishes that “Oasis” does not exist in a vacuum; it’s laying the groundwork for a larger story that is on its way.

 Halo Envoy cover

These all set the societal groundwork for Envoy, but Jat’s death sets the emotional stage.

Jat’s death at the hands of the colonists ensures that we know going into Envoy that the tension between Sangheili and humans is real. While there’s hope from in the likes of Dahlia, the carelessness with which Jat is dispatched escalates that conflict into which Envoy’s protagonist, Melody Azikiwe, is stepping. Even more telling than Jat’s execution is the dismissal of his death and Dahlia’s grief. It establishes that the larger community is going to reject an offer of peace, even if the offer is as great as the protection of a child. This establishes exactly what sort of stakes Azikiwe is going to be facing in Envoy.


Symbols and Metaphors

The final narrative level on which Jat and his death work is on the broader scale of the universe as a whole, as a metaphor for one part of the spectrum of human-Sangheili relations. When Halo: Fractures was first released, Archive member Grizzlei made this observation:

One of the lingering thoughts I have for Fractures is three different stories showcased three entirely unique experiences of Human-Sangheili cohabitation.

Within Trevelyan, tensions between the volunteers and their families from Earth and Sangheilos are the typical kinda strained as expected for late 2553 but the air is filled with optimism—that it could be a better place. On Carrow, absolutely nothing is ideal. Sangheili settlers have begun to forcibly colonize a Human world, constantly encroaching on O.C.’ers territory. Well-armed, motivated, and objective militias defend both sides, and both are more than willing to utilize them for the most petty reasons. Neither Human or Sangheili colonists have the backing of their homeworlds. Lastly, on Venezia, it’s literally business as usual. Human, Sangheili—you name it—they’re on Venezia, finding peace wherever they can all for the sake of starting anew, free of any national or religious allegiances.

This is science fiction at its best highlighting no one single way of life. Post-war civilizations now prominently encourage narratives to deliver more diverse circumstances. In conclusion, here’s a wonderful monologue from Stargate SG-1, episode 200:

“Science fiction is an existential metaphor. It allows us to tell stories about the human condition. Isaac Asmiov once said, ‘Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction—its essence—has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all.’” (Archive)

The different characters and reactions that she is describing here is could be considered examples of “ficelle characters.”

Blackwell Reference Online specifically defines the ficelle as a “character whose role within the novel is to elicit information, which is conveyed to the reader without narratorial intervention” (BRO). Probably the most famous type of a ficelle is the “foil,” a character created specifically to contrast and highlight certain aspects of the protagonist. In his essay “The Human Context,” W. J. Harvey gives the ficelle its broadest definition yet: a character that “exists in the novel primarily to serve some function. Unlike the protagonist, he is ultimately the means to an end rather than an end in himself” (p 237).

Harvey goes onto list a multitude of functions that the ficelle can serve in the story before settling into the description of one in particular, which I will likewise be focusing on here. A ficelle, or rather a collection of ficelle characters can be used to function as a means to relate and propagate the effects of an epiphany throughout the story.

While Harvey uses the word “epiphany” to specifically describe a commonality in modern fiction around 1965, it can also be viewed in broader terms, as a critical moment of enlightenment, and thus change, in a story.

In order for an epiphany to carry an impact to the story’s conclusion, we must see “its effects radiating throughout time,” which “requires that the [epiphany] diffuses itself through many characters and many relationships” (p 245). In short, we must see the epiphany affecting characters other than the protagonist, and affecting them in different ways.

The [epiphany] itself must be gradually connected with the disparate and commonplace concerns of everyday life, through a careful gradation of characters from those who are able in greater or lesser degree to comprehend [the protagonist’s experience] to those who, all unknowing, are brushed by the events [leading to the epiphany] (p 245).

This gradation of characters is the collection of ficelles. Characters who are affected by the protagonist’s epiphany, and who respond in a multitude of ways in order to provide depth and understanding to the reader.

Of course, in a franchise as broadly spread as Halo, ficelles to one story may also be protagonists for another. In this essay, the terms are not mutually exclusive.

Jat is one of many ficelle characters that are an exploration of the effects of Halo’s first big epiphany.

 

Now we must ask ourselves: when was the first big epiphany of the Halo Universe? Not in terms of canon chronology – as ho boy, that’s an argument for the ages – but in terms of canon publication?

If you have followed me on Halo-related social media for any stretch of time, it shouldn’t surprise you that my answer is not the Flood/Halo reveal in Combat Evolved, but Thel ‘Vadamee becoming Thel ‘Vadam in Halo 2.

This is more than wild fangirl speculation; all the reveals in the canon leading up to Halo 2 were still consistent with the environment of the Human-Covenant War. Child soldiers? Horrendous and shocking but appropriate for the environment. Reach falling? Earth being found by the Covenant? All appropriate for the environment.

Even the Flood and Halo in Combat Evolved do nothing more than escalate the current environment. There are no alliances forged between human and alien to combat the new menace; it’s “merely” a new player on the field. The Halo ring’s threat of mutually-assured destruction doesn’t cause the combatants to back down, it’s “merely” a new asset to take or deny the other party’s taking.

Halo 2, on the other hand, breaks the environment of the Human-Covenant War. This is the story that takes Halo from a very clear “us vs. them” battle into a fight for mutual peace. And the person on which this epiphany is centered is Thel.

Strangely enough, Thel is rather passive in his Journey up until his grand epiphany. He doesn’t actively pursue the truth until the very end, and his first alliance with humanity was based on necessity and was not his idea. But once the epiphany lands, in the control room of Delta Halo, it sticks, and then goes onto create the new environment that would define the Haloverse until the events of Halo 5.

With few exceptions – Henry and Benti from “The Mona Lisa” come to mind – every human-Sangheili relationship has been defined by and birthed from Thel’s choice in the control room of Delta Halo. Some of these are hopeful, as seen in Hunters in the Dark. Others are cynical, such as those displayed in the Kilo-Five trilogy or “The Return.”

As a ficelle, Jat becomes the embodiment of both the conflict on Carrow and the one propagated by ONI’s Parangosky. A Sangheili believes cooperation is the only way to survive, but humans just want the hingeheads dead. Richard Sekibo in Hunt the Truth is a similar ficelle to Jat, his human counterpart in many ways.

 

I would just like Noah Eichen to personally understand that I am still mourning this man.

Through the ficelle characters of Jat and Sekibo, we can see the effects of a cynical take on Thel’s epiphany. Before we go further, we must first establish what exactly Thel’s epiphany is, and for that, I turn to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth.

The Classical Monomyth is summarized by Campbell in the following description:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. (Campbell. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 1956, p. 30).

Thel’s epiphany happens when he takes his step across the threshold between “the world of the common day” and into “the region of supernatural wonder.”

The normal world [of common day] is that which the protagonist occupies before the start of their journey.  It is often a place of comfort and safety or at least familiarity. However, there is something inherently wrong within this world (Campbell, 1956, p. 37).  The hidden world [of supernatural wonder] is a realm beyond what the protagonist initially experiences.  It is full of new wisdom and dangers, and most importantly, the power which can fix the wrong within the normal world. Thel’s normal world is the Covenant, more specifically the battlefield.  The hidden realm is diplomacy and peace, and the power from this realm is the ability to destroy the Covenant. …Not just the establishment as a whole, but the ideals which it represents [hierarchical oppression].  (Hero’s Journey of Thel ‘Vadam: Introduction)

For a further discussion of Thel’s monomythic Journey, visit ArbiterAnalysis on Tumblr.

The “region of supernatural wonder,” i.e. diplomacy and peace, is Thel’s epiphany. It’s the realization that ongoing destruction, and social/galactic elevation through destruction, is not what will bring about salvation. Cooperation will.

A critical line in Halo: Escalation hammers this home:

“Finding a way to pacify the Brutes and get access to their resources is in the UNSC’s best interests. And the Arbiter knows it’s in his best interest… He’s not happy about it, but as leader of the Sangheili, he knows it’s what’s best for his people.” – Admiral Hood, Escalation Issue #1.

Even when he isn’t happy with the idea of cooperation, Thel knows it’s the right thing and acts accordingly. And, as rest of the Escalation arc shows, he commits everything to it, regardless of his personal feelings.

A perfect ficelle to Thel, Serin Osman stares at almost the exact same situation, thinks the exact same thoughts – duty over emotion – and comes to the exact opposite conclusion:

She wondered if she was telling herself that [Hood’s and Thel’s peace treaty] was a meaningless exchange simply to justify what ONI was doing. If the Arbiter really could deliver peace, then she was doing everything in her power to stoke a revolt that would remove him. But she couldn’t gamble Earth’s future on the goodwill of one individual. What was that line the Parangosky never let her forget?
It’s not the enemy’s intentions that you have to consider. It’s their capability.
Osman was going to have those damn words tattooed on her arm one day (Glasslands, p 360)

Osman, Parangosky, Sapien Sunrise, and Jat’s murderers are all on the gradation of characters that “are able in greater or lesser degree to comprehend” Thel’s epiphany in a cynical light. They look at diplomacy and cooperation, and instead of embracing it, they try to destroy it. Osman and Parangosky have yet to be fully successful – and there is still a potential for Osman’s view to change – but Sapien Sunrise and the militia on Carrow brought this interpretation of Thel’s epiphany to a brutal conclusion.

And because Halo’s story is not yet complete, Jat… and the likes of Sekibo, Osman, Rhu ‘Vrath, and perhaps Melody Azikiwe, all of them, for better or for worse, are symbols of what the galaxy could one day become.


W.J. Harvey’s “The Human Context” was originally published in the book Character and The Novel in 1965. All citations here are from its reprint in the essay collection The Theory of the Novel in 1967.


DilDev has a WORDPRESS and a HALO-FOCUSED TUMBLR. She also is on PATREON for Halo and other video-game analyses.



Posted by Dildev in Blogs, Halo Meta, 0 comments
Fire Withstanding – Archive Beacon – March 26th, 2017

Fire Withstanding – Archive Beacon – March 26th, 2017

Light the Beacon


Introduction

A new day, a new Beacon arrives at our doorstep! A very fiery one to be precise. Hello again from your beloved – or hated – kinda usual typist here; HaruspexOfHell a much more seasoned new guy here, now and as always I only hope that this issue is of the best quality for you all as I hope you have been enjoying my presence here as much as I have been enjoying typing all of these out! Though, without further a due, let’s begin! And let the fires be ever, withstanding.


Main Section

Lieutenant Colonel, Morgan Kinsano, leader of Firestorm Battlegroup and possible head of the Hellbringers, she’s a ruthless leader specialising in fire equipment, she’ll burn whatever steps in front of her and go out the other way unscathed like a vixen on the fire. She’ll bring down hell upon her enemies like a goddess of fire.

She’ll bring down the skies and burn down the forests of the Ark with her ways, the former Insurrectionists turned her sights from other humans only to land face first towards an enemy that humanity had never seen before. But the tip of her flamethrower would always be ready and leaking fuel and fire as her steps are heavy. 

This is who we’re dealing with here. One of the new leaders incoming for Halo Wars 2! Sorry for all the fanfare, but I had to write out something that would be fitting after that video, and I hope it encapsulated everything that she is, perfectly! Though, without more delay, we shall get to the good stuff. . . The details!

And, I shall start with the Lore. As expected to some, not so expected to others, haha.

 

Lore:

 

Kinsano’s Phoenix Log:
Insurrectionist firebrand turned UNSC leader.
Kinsano specializes in flame—based attacks, with an emphasis on destruction
and area denial. Her arsenal includes a Flame Cyclops suit that she can use as a
Hero in the field, and a specially—adapted Warthog equipped with a white—
burning anti—armor flamer.
Morgan Kinsano was a key insurrectionist leader in the outer colonies when the
Covenant attacked, sparking the Human-Covenant war, and she saw fellow
fighters and family members alike cut down by the unstoppable Covenant war
machine.
The Covenant war scattered the insurrection movement and she signed up to
join the UNSC, realizing that if the Covenant killed everyone she wouldn’t have
an insurrection to come back to. Her politics and approach to combat might be
unusual for the UNSC, but her ruthless fighting style and unorthodox tactics
have saved many lives.

So, from what we can see here, she is not just you average UNSC jockey, she’s an innie, outer colony. It’ll interesting to see what kind of repercussions her presence would bring or how her relationship with anything UNSC is, of course, in other posts it has been noted that she cares about the crew of the Spirit of Fire so it remains to be seen, one thing is for certain, though, her presence in Operation: SPEARBREAKER is certainly welcome and I am excited to see what kind of combat dialogue she has, the Innie bravado is grand and for an innie leader, I am highly interested to see what her reactions may be in the future as the NCA could still be out there.

Will she choose duty, or will she choose to go against the machine once more? Hopefully, in the future, something like this is tackled upon.

 

Gameplay:

So, what can we expect from Kinsano in the game? Well, her new units, abilities, etc! And her new units are as follows!

  • Kinsano’s Cyclops – Her very own, modified cyclops without a covered cockpit or glass. The arms are modified to hold two M7057/Defoliant Projectors. It also has the special ability called flamewall which does as much as the name suggests, creates a wall of fire, incinerating everything in its path and wreaking havoc around it. 
  • Flame Warthog – This AMG Transports Dynamics’ M12 Force Application Vehicle, better known as the ‘Warthog’ has been retrofitted with a flamethrower instead of an M46 LAAG or ‘Vulcan’, and it will wreak havoc amongst even the bravest Covenant soldiers. This version of the warthog also holds twice the strength of a standard M12 FAV and specialises in close range rather than long.
  • Veteran Flame ‘Hog – This version of the Flame Warthog is a slightly more expensive one, which changes the flamethrower that the Flame ‘Hog holds for a grenade launcher, with ready-to-fire incendiary rounds.
  • Veteran Hellbringers – These units are more resilient, tougher and stronger than their counterpart, they will deal with anything and everything on the field.

Now, that’ll be all for the new units, though, now we move on to the good stuff! Abilities.

Abilities

  • Helldrop – The Helldrop takes the classic ODST drop to the next level as drop pods rain down from the sky, explode in a blast of fire and unleash a squad of flame-throwing Hellbringers to burn down any enemies left standing.
  • Hellcharge – Kinsano is fierce and ruthless on the front lines and when the need arises, can inspire her troops to new heights with special abilities such as the Hellcharge. When activated, this ability provides a status buff to friendly units to briefly increase their speed, damage output and cause them to explode if they die while under its effect.
  • Napalm Missiles – Sometimes a more direct approach is needed to deal with serious threats and when Kinsano’s units or friendly buffs won’t do, she can call down a Napalm Missile strike to annihilate anything caught in its path.
  • Inferno – Kinsano can call upon her ultimate offensive power – the Inferno. This ability is expensive to use but unleashes a massive blast of fire leaving behind a long-lasting burning effect to anything caught in its large radius.
  • Redline  – A Tier 2 ability that provides a speed and damage boost to newly-spawned units for a limited time.
  • Heat of Battle – This Tier 3 ability offers a unique ally buff that empowers friendly units with increased damage resistance and damage output whenever they gain a kill.
  • Flame Warthog Drop – A mid-priced, Tier 3 ability that deploys three Veteran Flame Hogs to the battlefield.
  • Firestorm Battlegroup – An expensive, ultimate ability that calls down a squad of Hellbringers, a Scorpion and two Hornets while also buffing the drop zone with max-level Hellcharge.

And that’ll be all for this one, as not a lot of news are out there spiralling about this time sadly! Though, of course, as you may have seen she’s already out so I hope to see you all on the battlefield, and testing out all these abilities in amazing ways. Makes sure to call hell down on bases as well, they deserve it.

UNSC. Today, Tomorrow, Forever!


On-Topic

Off-Topic


Announcements

I apologise for not getting this Beacon out any sooner. Jones here for more announcements to be said from the Archive!

Not much has been going on overall, mostly just an “off” time for us all with this time of the semester/year. But things are in the works.

Just as an easy recap for you all on what we have planned and currently in the works, I will list each separately.

IN-PROGRESS:

 Pictorial Hand – This new project of ours will be another blog! But not another blog about the lore in Halo. But more about the art, the fan art. The Pictorial Hand will showcase all works of art, whether it be writing, drawing, or music, that come from the Halo community. More on this project will be told to the public before release, but if you have any questions on it, feel free to ask me or HaruspexofHell.

Badges – We have a few new badges already in place and some coming up! Some new ones already in place are the Community Leader badge, which is given to those who served as a Juridical or Community Manager but have stepped down for any number of reasons. Another badge, that will tie in with Pictorial Hand, is the Artist badge. Made by our member lizking a while back. Will be given to those who are featured in the Pictorial Hand.

Some badges that are coming up, either during this beacon or after are the (long awaited for) Discord badge, we have a discord for use when the site is down or for just small talk and gamedays with SheSangheili for Cards Against Halo (Humanity). The badge will be given to those who are on our discord server. The second and final badge (so far) is the Indirect Achievement badge. To “tip our hat” to a special member and Ambassador of ours, Indirect. His channel on YouTube is filled with the best “Top Ten” videos on almost any game possible for it. Especially Halo. So if you are ever featured in one or more of his videos, you will be awarded with this badge.

Gamedays – So these things are going on still. Keep en eye out for our twitter and our club on Xbox for notifications on our gamedays!

 

That is the majority of what has been going on so far in the Archive. More of course behind curtains, but not ready for the world to see, just yet.

Last but not least. We are still looking for Constructors and Content Writers!

Constructors are the backbone of the site, they help keep it running in all forms. But currently we have very few who are able to help out, but we thank them nonetheless for their service. Want to out your CS skills to good use? Join the Constructors and help build, improve and construct the Halo Archive.

Content Writers are those who work on our blog(s). Like this one! Or even ones like DilDevs, CloneBoyOllie, HurryingCandy, HaruspexofHell and others!

If you are interested in either position above please PM me, Adv Jones, saying your interest as well as a small portfolio of what your plan to do as well as past work.


Maturations

000 Tragic Solitude – Builder

Captain Ruse – Miner

Cybermat47 – Lifeworker

Dances Through Air – Builder

Dismantler – Builder

Il Nin – Builder


Featured

This week in our featured, from our very talented friends will be the following! – although with the usual.. plug of my own. wink wink, nudge nudge. 

First, from our dearest and closest Haruspis!

From your very own, HaruspexOfHell

 

Synth SamuraiFull Circle

Desperate Decade – A Breakdown Of Halo’s Narrative Cohesion

 

Podcast Evolved

Episode 116 – Banished Loot Crate

 

Halo Canon

 

Indirect

 

Halo Team Assemble

 

Termacious Trickocity

 

HiddenXperia


Staff-Comments

“With new games, stories, and events around us and on the horizon, things are looking good for the Archive!”

– Cognitive Bias

 

“Memes are like pizza. They’re not healthy in large quantities. Sometimes they burn you and you get those bubbles on the roof of mouth and then they pop and you have those little bits of skin hanging down and it’s all raw and nasty. Or the crust is too hard and it stabs your mouth. Sometimes they get ruined by adding weird content like pineapple & green pepper, like, at the same time, who the hell does that? But if they’re done just right, at the perfect temperature, subject matter, toppings (extra mozzarella), punch line spot on, and consumed in moderation, they can be goddamn delightful. I’m hungry.

Also, thanks for hanging out on Halo Archive with us.”

– Mr Martini

 

 

I implore all of you to post about the lack of staff comments on the Beacons, here. Be sure to tag those accountable 😉


Conclusion

And that is all everyone, we apologise for the delay for this one and hope that you all pardon our dust. Between in real-life situations and a small lack of information our work became mostly halted, we promise the next one will be right on schedule like always! – hopefully at least. . . – anyhow, be sure to check out our forums, create an account, pass through the countless posts and engage in discussions! You’ll be sure to find good friends and a good time!

Also, if you feel like you have what it takes – which of course you all do, we’re all wonderful, talented people on this platform that we choose to call home! – and you want to join the Content Team or help the blogs thrive more, be sure to go towards any and all staff members of the Archive and they’ll point you in the right direction! Everyone is welcome!

HaruspexOfHell and Adv Jones, the two hooligans who WANT YOUR FEEDBACK ON THESE BEACONS! (too blunt?).

Posted by HaruspexOfHell in Archive Beacons, Blogs, 0 comments
We’ve Got Contacts Incoming! – Archive Beacon – February 24th, 2017

We’ve Got Contacts Incoming! – Archive Beacon – February 24th, 2017

Light the Beacon


Introduction

Welcome to another issue of the Archive Beacon guys! Yes, this is me, HaruspexOfHell again! Hold out your cheers – or potential booing. – we’ve got ourselves a packed Beacon transmission on this day, this time coming directly from the Ark systems, so hold on to your seats and remain calm, we’ve got contacts incoming, and lots of ’em!


Main Section

By now, I’m sure most of you have gotten your hands on Halo Wars 2, especially since it released properly for all 3 days ago! If so, I hope you’re enjoying every aspect of it, the Phoenix Logs, the Campaign, Cutscenes, Skirmish, whatever your cup of tea may be, this one is a game to be cherished that will continue on longer than just what we got at vanilla.

Yes, we’re talking about the update details and the season pass’ today! And more, of course.

With Halo Wars 2 released, comes the goodies. And here’s what you can expect from the following months! First of all, I will get the fact that Welcome to the Ark is a connecting asset so that you can unlock the upcoming DLC, as per described by Grim. “There is no “Ark DLC”, that item is just an entitlement piece to help connect with DLC content overall”, I will also remind you all that if you participated in the Twitter DM game about a few months ago, keep the code you obtained handy and cash that bad boy in!

As for the Season Pass, you can expect it to bring you everything, from Campaign DLC to new Leaders. And from what we can see from recent data tampering of the game files, there’ll be seven new leaders! – At least from those that are already planned – Two of which we already know of, Morgan Kinsano and Sergeant. John Forge, John is available as Pre-Order Content, Kinsano – A Pyrotechnical Operator, Hellbringer Commander possibly, – will be part of the first month’s new content.

What we can expect from Kinsano is a lot of fire, as her abilities consist of such things, both named Flamewall and Inferno. There’s not much else known at the moment besides that.

Something else we might have to keep our eyes open to is the ability to obtain the beloved Sergeant Major. Avery Junior Johnson as teased in an early ViDoc with a suit that resembles an HRUNTING/YGGDRASIL Mark I ADS, possibly a concurrent design, Mark II, perhaps.

It should also be noted that the return of dead characters does not mean they’re still alive in-canon, we might get canonical new leaders that are present in the Ark right now, but there’ll be those like John Forge and Johnson that are not canon.

As for the new content, we can expect new content to be released every third Wednesday of a month, every month, in that we can expect to get new maps and leaders every single month, Maps will be free for everyone, regardless of whether you own the Season Pass or not; as for the new leaders and Campaign DLC, you’d have to own the Season Pass to obtain this content. We can expect to have new Campaign missions to be part of Operation: SPEARBREAKER, which would be the concurrent Operation at the Ark, and from the same tampering of the in-game files we’ve discovered that we have a ‘Banished Campaign’ coming in soon as well as a ‘UNSC Mini Campaign’, we have no more news regarding the rest of the Campaign DLCs or whether or not there’ll be more after this.

As for some of the discrepancies in the Phoenix Logs, they will be fixed and cleared up anytime soon.


On-Topic

Off-Topic


Announcements

Hello there all! Adv Jones, here. The Archive is always going through changes either in staff or even the site. Only a few years, I think maybe 2 at most, we only had this new forum area. But due to recent attacks on WordPress sites, 1.5 million to be exact. We got caught in the crossfire. Our entire site went down, literally everything. If any of you even tried to get to this site it was seen with some juicy info on where stuff is stored, but quickly our Constructors were able to get it all handled and under control. (We are still open for new Constructors, we can never have too many at this point in time).

And that brings up the first, actual, announcement! We plan to move the forums! No not due to the recent attack, but instead due to the services we are provided currently. We want to find a more reliable host along with the price point we need. To help with this we plan to do some possible fundraisers soon, but feel free to donate anytime you want, of course.

Second on the announcements is the Halo Wars 2 Story Contest we had going on had ended the day the Ultimate Edition released. The winner was our member StellarStateLogic! Out of the 4 submissions from her, TR-8R, She Sangheili and Ghost of War. All of the stories were fantastic. Stellar even went so far ahead to make a nice, enjoyable, readable PDF version for you all to read!

 

Halo Archives 2017_HaloWars2ReciprocalTales (0221)

 

DOWNLOAD LINK

From those stories, the authors would like to share their thoughts and inspiration to their creations.

 

When the contest was first announced, I figured writing as Serina would be a good choice in exploring some of the hidden information implied within the Tales from Slipspace. Prior to this contest, I’ve built some knowledge and headcanons on the possible effects to synthetic neural systems of the Flood from academic literature on neurology and psychology as I was writing my Forerunner stories. Also, from personal experience, I have a way in writing characters with mental disabilities and so writing a Smart-AI slowly going rampant (who is not Cortana) is something I’ve always wanted to try out. Once that’s set, I’ve then taken a few more weeks researching on the lore of Halo Wars and UNSC AI techs to try to make sure that I would be able to write as one.

Writing isn’t a linear process for me and I don’t normally start writing from the beginning. For “The Mouser and The Sea”, I began with a sketch of the final paragraph to set down the overall tone of the story and worked closely with canonical information and facts to put the pieces together and make it lore-coherent. I took visual inspirations from the cutscenes of Halo Wars and turned them into something more symbolic. Such as the beginning of every paragraph where Serina said “The other night…” was mainly because she was always shown to be standing in dimmed spaces. After her rampancy began to show, she began the recounts with “The other day…”, this is because, from canonical reference, we can be confident to say that AIs and Ancillae can experience a stage similar to “enlightenment”, a concept similar to attaining higher spirituality and transcendence where light is used a strong visual element, which is why I used it as an indicator. What gets ironic is that AIs are objectively thinking to their own death as they are subjectively experiencing this exponential omniscience. In the end of the story, it’s implied that Serina has become something sentient beyond her AI core and has treated the entire Spirit of Fire as her body (ref: \/skeleton\/) which is also an element of irony because figuratively she has become a “phoenix” (as implied by the SoF emblem and ship name) yet would choose to terminate herself and never to be reborn.

Another subject that was on my focus was the that one Flood infection form that has managed to hide around enough. I took logical evidence and inspiration from Roland, Black Box, and EDI from Mass Effect — all powerful AIs and/or managing over a vessel, and figured that it was very unlikely for such AIs to leave a stone unturned. I suppose Serina would most certainly notice the Flood Infection Form, and there left a space for my creativity to explore the “Why hasn’t she done something prematurely when she already knew that Flood is off-limits”. The answer to this question is provided in the piece written, where I’ve hypothesized that the Infection Form could be influencing her perception, or her rampancy has been working towards its advantages.

The title, “The Mouser and the Sea”, is a reference to Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”. Also, for the casual fun of RNG, my current forum signature is complementary to the story. ;)

Lastly, I promise some love from a no-man’s land somewhere outside the Milky Way galaxy will be delivered to Adv Jones‘s door for hosting the contest cos I heard that’s what a particular space quantum biologist has promised to us a few millennia ago.

– StellarStateLogic

 

My motivation was just the sudden changes in the units and the appearance of the characters. It was initially going to be a serious piece, you can probably tell by the whole ensign having a marine girlfriend that got infected with the flood bit, but then the jokes started popping into my head and yeah…

Also part of my reasoning was the fact that there seems to be a lack of humorous pieces when it comes to Halo, which I get, it’s supposed to be a universe that is engulfed in war, but there is always room for humor, as Marvel has taught me.

– TR-8R

 

I love the Halo universe and feel that any and every story can be scrutinized and fleshed out in full detail, no matter how simple it may seem. The Haloverse is so vast and filled to the brim with stories and lore that you can pull from anything and get something juicy and tender to sink your teeth into, one such story is Halo Wars. For many, Halo Wars is a story of the Spirit of Fire fighting , but for me, Halo Wars is a story about two opposing sides, the Covenant and Humanity, and in Halo Wars 2 this changes to The Banished and The Spirit of Fire.

I chose to tackle the foremost in it’s ending battle, the ultimate resolution to the first story in which the Flood, UNSC and Covenant were all at odds fighting in one space, everything was at stake and they had everything to lose. I wanted to try a dual perspective with this story, blending both sides together at points and contrasting them at others. For all intents and purposes, the warriors of the Covenant and the soldiers of the UNSC are one in the same, fighting for their beliefs and for their own lives. In The Doorbell, (Which was named as a cheek-in-tongue reference to an achievement from the 15th mission) I wanted to have two soldiers on opposing sides doing what you did best in Halo Wars, fighting all out with two groups until only one is left standing. Other than names, you won’t get back-story from these soldiers, they are dime-a-dozen members of an overall battle that are simply doing their part in the overall scheme, and this story is only one of the hundreds from just that battle alone.

I wanted to showcase the grit of the quick and dirty skirmishes featured in the game, what would be a five minute encounter between units on a more grounded and in-the-action perspective. In Halo Wars, you will always see your units from the sky, but in this story I wanted to be right there next to them, right in the thick of it. It’s short, sweet and to the point, and hopefully will provide a quick and exciting feast for your eyes as you read through it. I enjoyed tackling a story in the Halo Universe that was smaller in scale and scope, but allowed just enough room for detail, and am thankful for the competition that took place that gave me the opportunity to do so!

– Ghost of War

 

I just put it on repeat. Though I watched the music video as well and it spoke to me in a strange way as there were people praying and dancing which went from jerky to other extreme of close and intimate dancing. And from there it slowly built up into an idea.

I was going to stop after the fight with the humans but it spiraled into what I wrote when I tried to stop the song was in sync with my thoughts about stopping as there would be a lyric that would spark another idea in my head or the song would restart again sparking an idea in my head. The song starts in that “mournful” tone as how the song starts with her trying to come to terms with everything. I wanted to focus on the whole idea of her having a crisis of faith but I already have a few shorts between her and Ripa and so like how the song changes into a faster pace that spark lit that inferno of an idea.

The second half when she starts dancing is when I couldn’t stop myself from occasionally getting up from my laptop and start dancing around my room. As the beat of the song picks up and goes from mournful sounding to the lighter beat. Which fits with the music video as when the beat picks up the dancing becomes closer which is around the time in the story when Ripa shows up. The lyric of a Different kind of Danger that’s repeated quite frequently really helped the idea evolve the story from just Re’gish having a crisis of faith to it being a crisis of her realizing that she’s been flirting back with a madman. Which leads to the dancing as I just have a headcanon, which can also be seen in many of my shorts involving Sangheili, of it being part of their evolution as many animals have display rituals and maybe they lost the other parts that helped during that display ritual but dancing is something that is important to the Sangheili.

I feel like this was the story I originally wanted to write. But I was missing the song and well I was reluctant to write a short that danced that edge of smut for a contest. But I’m glad I stuck to my guns of what I like to write xD

– She Sangheili

Last but not least, is our gamedays. We have been trying to get them in a consistent time frame so then everyone has the ability to join in on with a week day or weekend day. So if you are on during Wednesday and Friday at 5 PM EST or after and see either I (GT: Adv Jones), Preston Cole (GT: HA PrestonCole) or Logan (GT: Sith Venator) online, send us a message and we will get you in as soon as possible. We tend to play customs, but open to branch out into others along with other Halo games. Join us tonight and next week for some gameday fun!


Maturations

Timeless OneBuilder


Featured

This week coming straight from our affiliates and colleagues we’ve got these awesome things!

I’ll start with the posts, like last time, our dear friend Chronarch has written these two posts that are quite amazing reads.

Haruspis

HaruspexOfHell

As some of you may know, I have been writing a story about the UNSC Roman Blue, that is being hosted right here in the Archive! A multi-chapter story called A Roman In Blue.

The rest of the chapters shall come in due time! Remember to check this blog post out for updates on my work!

 

Indirect

 

Halo Team Assemble

 

343i Community

 

Termacious Trickocity


Staff-Comments

 

I guess I am the only one doing a comment…you all should PM the rest of Staff and tell them how horrible they are for not making a comment for this Beacon.

– Adv Jones


Conclusion

And that will be it for this issue, and now, the time has arrived to bring this one to a close, I know, I know, I probably missed something, I perhaps didn’t! Hopefully, you’ve found this one to be quite appetizing and filled to the brim with delicious information to keep you going! As always, though, remember to go to the forums, create an account, engage in discussions, you’ll be sure to find good friends and surely you’ll find a discussion just as good!

And as a tiny reminder, we still need writers to help us keep the site lively and filled with all the amazing content we may bring, you can always send any and all staff a private message regarding the Content Team! Knocking on the door is not entering, but I can assure you, you’ll have some fun!

And that brings it to a close! Hope you all are doing good, and that you have a good weekend! Oh and play a lot of Halo Wars 2!

HaruspexOfHell and Adv Jones, the two hooligans who seem to blow up the site with every Beacon.

Posted by HaruspexOfHell in Archive Beacons, Blogs, 0 comments
Halo’s Place in Science Fiction – Smoke and Shadow

Halo’s Place in Science Fiction – Smoke and Shadow

Usually my reading journals are split into three sections: the style of the novel, its place in the science fiction genre, and how it connects to the expanded universe of Halo. Any deviation from that format is usually when one section is so broad and deep that it overwhelms the others, such as the discussion of AI personhood for Saint’s Testimony or human trafficking for Mortal Dictata.

Smoke and Shadow by Kelly Gay, however, is a different case. There will be no division between style, genre, and EU because this book makes it impossible to discuss one without the other; it’s all connected under the umbrella of fanservice.

Fanservice is the inclusion of material in a story with the intent to please the fanbase. When it is usually talked of, fanservice refers to the framing of a character in a manner that objectifies and sexualizes them with the purpose of titillation. This subset of fanservice has my contempt and will not be talked about further in this piece.

The fanservice I wish to discuss is that of intertextual references, in appealing to fan knowledge of the content. Every piece of Halo fiction has this sort of fanservice, but none abides in it as fully as Smoke and Shadow. Even more impressive: Smoke and Shadow avoids many of the major pitfalls that can happen when a story relies on fanservice.

One pitfall of fanservice use is that it may end up making the universe seem smaller than it is. Too many people know each other; there’s not enough mystery left to the universe.  Film critic Steven D. Greydanus calls this the “Shrinking World Syndrome” (Decent Films):

“As a franchise plays out, very often, the more the mythology expands, the smaller the universe gets. Previously unconnected characters and events that gave the fictional universe a certain expansiveness are increasingly tied together for dramatic effect, until the whole story is about a small group of closely connected individuals.”

This is not inherently a bad thing. Darwyn Cooke “shrinks” the world of the DC universe in the Eisner-winning The New Frontier by moving J’onn J’onzz from his initial origins in Middletown to Gotham, where he encounters Batman on a number of occasions. This allows for the two detectives to play off each other and highlight the flaws in the world they occupy.


Fun fact: This version of J’onn was voiced by Sesa ‘Refumee.

However, when it is done poorly, aspects of the universe begin feeling contrived. Yoda going to Kashyyyk at the end of the Clone Wars was no issue. Yoda having a friendship with Chewbacca was a stretch. It had no narrative echo from the originals, and it didn’t give another layer of meaning to either character. It simply made the grand scale feel smaller. If it was an attempt to “ground” the film, then Yoda was the wrong choice of character for that connection. Both Yoda and Chewbacca are too large a part of the Skywalker legacy, and in radically different ways, that tying them together feels forced.

In Smoke and Shadow, it’s precisely because of Gay’s choice of characters that the novel is able to inhabit this grey area of connective tissue between Spartan Ops, Escalation, Kilo-Five, and Halo Wars. As the main cast is a group of scavengers, they can go multiple places and connect with a variety of individuals. There is more than simple or contrived coincidence bringing these characters together; there are internal motivations driving each of them.

It also helps that many of the characters Rion connects with are secondary players in the other stories: Sav Fel’s wife, Hood’s successor, Jul’s second-in-command. They are important people that we’ve seen before, but Gay avoids placing her new characters in competition with the sort of grand scale we find in the games. She is trying to tell a small, personal story and so selects her supporting cast appropriately.

As a result, the one connection to a major character is allowed to be given significant weight, and here’s where Gay’s fanservice utterly shines. She takes small moments scattered throughout Halo Wars and its guidebook and gives them meaning, adding emotional weight to John Forge’s words and actions that we’ve already had in front of us for years.

His flip comment to Professor Anders about “one for the scrapbook” suddenly has a sweet quality about it. He’s sincere about collecting memorabilia for his daughter. The ace on his shoulder is a way of carrying his daughter with him throughout the war. And his altercation with the superior officer…


The Forges have luck in spades.

This is a point in John Forge’s history that has been reiterated thrice over before Smoke and Shadow, a single panel mention in Genesis and two different accounts in the guidebook. This act of defending a woman from unwanted advances already is a positive aspect to his character, but secondhand accounts do little justice to the perspective of Rion and the vision of Forge appearing like an “avenging angel” to protect his family.

This scene is also a testament to how much thought Gay put into Smoke and Shadow. She took two somewhat conflicting stories: Forge defending his daughter in an officer’s bar, and a grown woman being assaulted by said officer. After all John Forge being 29 gives little wiggle room in terms of his daughter’s age. What Gay does then is crafts a scene that completes both accounts into one whole:

I was wondering if anyone would bring up the guide… that took some rethinking to merge conflicting accounts about the bar fight, Rion’s age, and the assault, so enter Jillian, the “woman,” and assault and Rion still being there.
…Love the guides, too. Really tried to reconcile things in a way that wouldn’t make any previous accounts wrong, just perhaps incomplete in terms of details.
…And this way we still get the physical assault (as well as a verbal toss at Rion) and one p-ssed off daddy.
(Kelly Gay’s “Tweets and replies,” 30th November 2016, minor edits for readability from Twitter-speak (I have more than 140 characters to work with here))

Gay may rely on fan knowledge for the reveal of Rion’s last name to carry the appropriate shock value, but she doesn’t rely on the love that fans already had for John Forge to carry the heartbeat of the father-daughter relationship. She put in the work herself, and as a result, she has converted a number of Halo fans, myself included, who hadn’t found John Forge to be an engaging character into fans who were invested in the legacy he left behind.

I say none of this to thumb my nose at Halo Wars; I hold it to be one of my top four, if not top three, Halo games in terms of story. It did a phenomenal job of creating memorable characters. But this is what an expanded universe can do: expand the characters, the setting, the universe. Gay certainly seizes upon that opportunity.

It’s not just Forge that gets fleshed out, but Gay’s selected supporting cast does as well. We see what happened to Sav Fel’s wife after Kilo-Five’s stint on Venezia, and we get to see what sort of personality she has beyond a shrieking Kig-Yar matriarch. We get the backstory behind Gek’s scar and a glimpse of what he was doing before Requiem. Even Hood gets a small treatment as we learn what sort of discipline he faced after losing The Spirit of Fire.


Sadmiral Hood

We also get a poignant expansion on the Mgalekgolo. In The Flood, we learned that the pairs they always come in are bonded, and when one is lost, the other is overwhelmed with grief. In The Ghosts of Onyx, we learn that the Hunters can communicate with the other races, but it’s on a different level, in which their intentions and words are more felt than heard. When Rion is cornered by the lone Hunter on the Covenant ship, the moments from both of those novels tie into the Hunter sharing its grief with her through those subsonic vibrations.

No matter whether it’s a character or a race, Gay wastes not a single moment to draw from or add to the existing universe.

Smoke and Shadow’s original characters are hardly given the short end of the stick either, and that’s another way that Gay dodges a pitfall: a reliance on fanservice to carry the story.

This is ultimately what held back the Star Trek novel Provenance of Shadows, which is halfway to being a masterpiece. In the portions of the story that diverge from the main timeline, the story and characters sing like the best that science fiction has to offer. In the portion that adheres to the main timeline, it feels like the author is just listing off events, hoping that our familiarity with the episode or movie will carry the emotional punch for us. As a result, moments as poignant as Spock’s sacrifice during Wrath of Kahn are treated as dull rote.

Another way this pitfall can occur is a reliance on aesthetic. One of the complaints I saw leveled against Forward Unto Dawn while it was still airing was the fact that we had to spend the greater portion of it following the cadets about, and it wasn’t until the final part that it truly “felt” like Halo. Now this I will thumb my nose at. While Halo is a very action-heavy franchise, it’s not the action that makes Halo. Halo is at its best when it shows meaningful connections between characters, and those connections are what make the action meaningful. Forward Unto Dawn would have been a far lesser movie if it chose to accentuate the Halo aesthetic over the character development. By choosing the reversal and saving the fanservice (in all its “spray and pray” glory) for the final part, Forward Unto Dawn made the fanservice mean something. Not just to long term fans, but to newcomers, and especially to the characters we had been following for the entire movie.


You either die a lovable cadet, or live long enough to see yourself become an insufferable ONI man.

The cast of Smoke and Shadow get the same treatment that Forward Unto Dawn gave to the Hastati cadets. Each one of them is given distinct personalities and motivations, both small and large. Kip has his mission from ONI. Cade, like Rion, is running from loss. Lessa and Niko have their own, smaller, more personal motives: Lessa wants to be parented; Niko wants a raise. All these internal desires play off each other, crafting a dynamic that is unique to these characters.

Of course, this set-up of a crew of scavengers is going to garner comparisons to Firefly, but such comparisons are not inaccurate. What made the crew of the Serenity feel like family were the small scenes between the action and plot points. The small breaths of characters connecting. The Ace of Spades’ crew is no different. Whether it’s Lessa internally struggling on how to open up to Rion, Cade and Rion having multiple heart-to-hearts, or a moment of playfulness between Rion, Cade, and the siblings, Smoke and Shadow gives a heart to this crew the same way Forward Unto Dawn did for the cadets.

As Smoke and Shadow is far more embedded in what we known of the Halo Universe than Forward Unto Dawn, Gay does not have to wait to the final act to let swing wide ye fanservicey gates. In addition to all the characters she brings in, there are little threads here and there across the book, referencing both common and obscure knowledge in the lore.


Glassed planets. They’re known for one thing…

And even with all these little pieces, she avoids yet a third pitfall: fanservice pulling the audience out of the story.

In Star Wars, Obi-Wan disarms an assailant in a seedy bar. This scene in Attack of the Clones is an homage to A New Hope, but even though it’s a little on the nose, it’s not distracting. It doesn’t force the viewer out of the moment because A New Hope doesn’t need to exist for the scene to make sense in Attack of the Clones. It lives in its own context and then operates on a different layer as fanservice. Other moments in Star Wars work less well, such as Finn activating the chess set on the Falcon or C-3P0 and R2’s cameo in Rouge One. These moments serve little else other than to remind the viewer of that one thing that happened that one time in canon.

Like Obi-Wan and his bar fights, Smoke and Shadow’s moments of fanservice are clear but not distracting, because they make sense as story pieces first and as fanservice second.

  • “Boren’s Syndrome,” which was first established in First Strike is the ailment that causes the death of Rion’s grandfather, which leaves her an orphan and gives her the impetus she needs to head for the stars.
  • As the crew gets frustrated digging for information, Rion explains their problems by blaming the records of glassed planets, though Ben Giraud could have told them as much.
  • The ace of spades that John Forge carries with him, as I mentioned before, also provides meaning to the name of Rion’s ship.
  • Kip’s origins as an ONI man comes from the bioweapon attack on Sedra in Nightfall, and as someone who had a hard time distinguishing between Locke’s three subordinates in the first two episodes, the description of the ONI recruiters as “three identical men” certainly got a chuckle from me.
  • The Banished get a shout out as well, in Rion’s recall of the other salvagers, pirates, and worse that she’s come across over the years.
  • And in my favorite callback moment, Rion interacts with Forerunner technology in the exact same manner that John-117 did back in The Flood by William C. Dietz.


Buttons! I love buttons!

The Flood was written long before the franchise had established the Librarian-imparted geas, but the way Dietz wrote that moment –

He stopped at the source of the light, a pair of small, glowing orbs hung suspended above a roughly rectangular frame of blue matte metal. Floating within the frame were a series of pulsing, shifting displays – semitransparent, like Cortana’s holographic appearance, though there was no visible projection device. The display’s shimmering geometric patterns nagged at him, as if he should recognize them somehow. Even with his enhanced memory, he couldn’t place where he’d seen them before. They just seemed…familiar.

He reached a finger to one of the symbols, a blue-green circle. The Spartan expected his finger to pass through nothing more than air. He was surprised when his finger met resistance – and the panel lights began to pulse more quickly.

“What did you do?’ Cortana asked, her voice alarmed. “I’m detecting an energy spike.”

“I… don’t know,” the Spartan admitted. He wasn’t sure why he touched the “button” on display. He just knew it felt right.

[Cortana asked], “How did you know what control to push?”

“I didn’t. Let’s get the hell out of here.” (The Flood, pg 84-85)

– still holds up as an accurate model of how a character unfamiliar with the geas present in all humans might interpret its effects. And Rion, who has been entirely removed from the in-canon reveals of the Forerunner legacy, apes John’s reaction with an added touch of Ellen Anders to boot:

The room was smaller than she imagined, a circular space with a massive central column and two corridors leading off into darkness on either side. But it was the console that drew her. It was clearly made for a being taller than the average human. The display contained more strange symbols and shapes, pulsing blue and oddly hypnotizing.

Her attention snagged on a domed pad with the outline of what looked like a hand. Her fingers twitched. She reached up.

Cade grabbed her wrist. “What are you doing?”

His grip was firm and unyielding. For just the briefest of moments, she wanted to fight him, to jerk her arm away and slap her hand on that pad. “I don’t know.” What was she doing? The sensation passed, leaving her curious and a little shaken. She searched Cade’s face, trying to ascertain if he was similarly affected. “You don’t want to touch it?” (Smoke and Shadow, pp 1712-1713 on Kindle)

There are countless more connections, many which I left off this list for the sake of space, and very likely many that I missed. And as much as each piece of fanservice enriches the story, Smoke and Shadow stands on its own, to the point that it easily feels like the start to a new series.

The conclusion does carry a sense of closure – Niko got his raise, Lessa got parented, Rion saw her father’s face for the first time in years – but this also seems like a launch point. The ONI plot was introduced, but hardly concluded, Little Bit was introduced, and while Rion now holds the first solid evidence she ever had with finding her father, it is merely another bread crumb. What’s more is that Gay has proven that these characters stand on their own merit. She used the universe around them not as a means to prop up a weak story, but to embed a good one into the very heartbeat of the franchise. I will gladly step back aboard the Ace of Spades for as long as she’ll fly.


DilDev has a WORDPRESS and a HALO-FOCUSED TUMBLR. She also is on PATREON for Halo and other video-game analyses.



Posted by Dildev in Blogs, The Library, 1 comment
A Roman In Blue; Chapter 3 – A Halo Short Story

A Roman In Blue; Chapter 3 – A Halo Short Story

CHAPTER 3

Above a Home

JULY 15TH, 2531

13:50 HOURS

ARRIVING ON DESTINATION ECTANUS 45

Aiken stood on the bridge, waiting for the captain as he ran a few orders through his subordinates. He was first on the bridge as always, he loved this ship as any captain of a ship would, that is, if he was indeed a captain. So the Lieutenant made sure to have it running and purring like a kitten. He stood in front of the glass panel in the room, staring at the information it gave him.

 

“Turn twenty degrees starboard. I want this ship docking with Station Delta as soon as possible and standing at the ready for the remaining repairs.” Aiken spoke, his arms clasped across his chest as he stepped away from the panel and towards the window.

He looked out into the void black beyond for a few seconds before turning to MeHaffey and McConnel down in the pilot’s area beside him. “Be as gentle as you can with this bird,”

MeHaffey looked up at him with a smile. “Have we ever been rough with her, sir?” She retorted with a snort, getting her attention back to her controls.

Normally the Lt would say something back, to put her in line after her little joke, but these weren’t normal times. The Lt knew this, so he allowed her the levity of the joke as he gave a chuckle. The Captain came through the doors, making his way down the side of the small hall littered with consoles and people working at their posts.

He gave his good mornings and greetings to the crew and stopped right by a coffee machine where he would obtain his favourite morning drink and pour himself a cup from the small dispenser they had set up on the bridge for the sake of commodity and allowance to be right then and there for when duty calls.

 

“Captain has the con!” Aiken called out, looking at the man who quickly approached. “Good morning, sir,”

Aiken said his arms wrapping behind his back as he remained tidy in front of the Captain, Webb was also a very tidy man himself, worn, but the man still found a way to look like he was apt to regulations.

 

“Morning, Lt,” Webb said, a pause to drink his coffee as he stared out into the black. “Status?” Webb asked Aiken as he looked straight at the man beside him.

“All systems are nominal, sir, we’re running a course to Station Delta right now,”

Aiken said, as he looked out the window, the planet, which looked just like a twin of Earth, but a perfect Earth. At least in his eyes, it laid there in front of them getting closer by the second.

 

“We’ve already been greeted by the Halberd-class UNSC Sprint in Flight’s captain, on wide FLEETCOM broadcast, sir.” Webb nodded, his arm behind his back as he stared at the incoming planet.

“Very good,” he said before turning around, looking at the man beside him taking a quick drink from his cup. “I want you to go with a small party to the surface, greet them in person and provide them with the cargo that we carry for them.”

To which Aiken stared at him for a few seconds, he thought it’d be Webb himself going down there, nevertheless, he nodded. “Yes, sir.” He turned his gaze away enough to see the planet, and it wasn’t long before they were docking with Station Delta.

Once docking procedures were done and the ship gave a light rock as it came to a halt and docked with the station, Aiken turned away and headed out of the bridge, straight for the hangar deck-7, on the way recruiting two Marines in basic olive drab cammies and brown kevlar ponchos over their battle fatigues, who followed the Lt immediately towards the hangar bays.

 

“No weapons, just standard issue handguns.” Private Chance and Akintola both acknowledged the order quickly as they came upon the hangar bays, to see an airman waiting straight outside their cab.

The marines would instantly strap themselves with a pair of M6 pistols from the nearest cache to the pelican, yellow jackets would still be loading the last few crates into the bird’s cargo bay and on their way out they would acknowledge their XO with subtle a ‘sir’ before they would head for their next task. The hangar deck was full of life, marines running PT on the sidelines being escorted by their first officers, technicians doing repairs, pelicans being having the care they deserve to offer the fidelity they always showed.

 

The D77-TC Pelican, purring like a kitten already just waiting as per captain’s orders. “Took your time, sir.” the pilot said with an incredibly thick german accent, it was the Second Lieutenant. Fredrick Müller, he was a pain in the ass, but he was the best.

“Have anything better to do, tonight, Fredrick?” He gestured the two marines inside, and he followed suit only to be followed by Fredrick shortly after. “No, sir,” he responded. “Then let’s get to it,”

Fredrick headed into the cockpit picking up his helmet on the way inside that rested on one of the many littered crates inside, hopping on and sitting down on his seat and began preparations for liftoff as Aiken and the marines sat down and strapped in. There were quite a few crates inside, Aiken counted 9 large crates all either labelled with ONI markings, UEG’s or UNSC, a simple cargo run.

 

“You ready?” Fredrick called from the cockpit peeking his head from the pilot’s seat to the cargo hold area and Aiken gave him the ok.

“We’re ready. Do your thing, airman,” Aiken said, albeit jokingly with the Second Lieutenant, he quickly responded with a short laugh and the cargo hold’s ramp began closing as one of the Privates punched the button beside him as he sat on the last seat row.

“Roger that, sir.”

As the ramp slowly began to close shut, there was a light hiss of air as the light was shut out of the pelican’s cargo hold area, leaving only the dim red lights inside it. The engine began to purr louder and louder as Aiken’s stomach twisted at the unnerving feeling of taking off. It threw him off every time as he felt his feet levitate from the ground, but in reality, he didn’t levitate, the vehicle did.

He felt the ship rock to the side as Fredrick began departing from the hangar bay, heading downstairs, once it was safe enough to stand, and he wouldn’t lose his footing and land face first on the thick, titanium plating, Aiken stood and headed directly for the cockpit, making sure to look out the cockpit to the planet below as he supported himself with the corners of the doorway.

 

“Enjoying the view, sir?”

Fredrick said as he shook in his chair, the atmosphere slowly starting to phase the aircraft as they cut through it like a bullet, fire engulfing outside the cockpit as it descended into the planet’s surface, fire that would die out after a few seconds and would allow Aiken to see the planet below in all its beauty.

 

Fredrick corrected their approach and vector towards the base. “Quite so,” Aiken said.

He turned away to approach the console beside the cockpit outside of it and began tapping on the screen, reading diagnostics of the ship, Fredrick was always impressive in his flying, the Pelican was barely suffering.

 

“Akintola, open the ramp.” He ordered the Marine as he turned to see him and gestured at the button beside him. Inside the cockpit, the second lieutenant would instantly sound off the COMs “This is Tango-Two-Three, Camp Guarnere, we’re approaching your vector in less than two mikes,”

“Yes sir,” Akintola replied as he reached the button once again and punched it, the ramp began to lower and the Aiken approached it as he stared out into the horizon as they flew past the ravines and mountains, holding himself with a support on the side of the Pelican.

The Pelican began to slow down, decreasing its thrust as it descended, arriving at their destination, and not long enough, they were touching down on one of the many landing pads in the base> There was a marine in full gear directing the descent with two green glow sticks in his hands directing them to their designated landing area, once the aircraft touched down, the man turned away, enough to let the air wisp by him as the engines lifted all the dirt from the ground

Aiken stepped down the ramp as the pelican began to power down, and an officer in pure black overalls approached him with three marines, the marines walking directly past him to gather up the crates that were brought straight from Reach. Aiken eyed the woman carefully while she approached him, his hand stretched out to shake her own.

 

“Lieutenant Commander. Richards Aiken, ma’am.” the woman in black grabbed the hand and shook it as she stared inside the pelican’s cargo hold to see the crates being lifted and carried out. “Careful!”

She called out to the men, as she then focused back on the man in front of him. “My apologies, Lieutenant, Captain. Maya Rey. Nice to meet you, Lieutenant,” she said as she stared directly into his eyes unwavering almost as if she was testing his resolve just with a look.

“Nice to meet you too, ma’am” The Lt nodded as he looked inside the pelican to see the last few crates being carried out, he then looked back at the officer before him.

 

“Captain Webb would be here himself, but he stayed to monitor the repairs that are left, ma’am.” She nodded and gave a smile to the man, Aiken thought it was incredibly forced, or fake, ONI always was very much a mix of those two things.

“I’m sure there’ll be enough time for us to greet, just focus on protecting this planet and its inhabitants, Lieutenant. It is a home, for research and for all of us.”

Aiken looked at her for a few seconds and proceeded to nod. A home. Certainly looked like it to him. “Will do, Captain.”

 

“Good, now come, we must discuss the safekeeping procedures,” she said turning around and started for the nearest building from the landing marking. Before doing so, he gestured to the Marines to stay put.

She began to head down towards a small headquarter to which Aiken followed, heading inside through an open doorway which inside would reside a holo table and a couple of officers and COM technicians at the ready listening to every transmission in and out to every active unit. Some of which were garbled, others even had gunfire which peaked the Lieutenant’s interest.

 

“We’ve been dealing with Innie uprising ever since a larger contingent of UNSC forces arrived here back in ‘28 replacing what little CMA presence there was. There was a small rebel contingent which has since grown, we’ve been running constant patrols in every city and town on this planet.” She gestured at the holo table, showing a map of the region.

“Outpost Two-One-Alpha, Cape Vernillo, Base Anders and us, we’re all green, they haven’t reached these sectors yet.” She pointed it out on the map, before swiping left and the map moved to the nearest region.

“Outposts Korengal, Riddick, Ancilla and Lasair City, these are hot zones,” she leant back from the table just enough to look at Aiken. “We need the reinforcements that your ship arrived with to help secure these zones.”

He rubbed his chin in thought, a frown visible in his features as he thought to himself that it wasn’t enough to fight an alien aggressor that hoped to kill us all, but we’d also have to fight our own. His train of thought was quickly interrupted by an agonising moan in pain of a man that was issuing artillery orders and was cut off, possibly by enemy fire.

 

“Well, seems you’re gonna be in good hands, ma’am.” He gave a nod. “We’ll protect this home from land and above.”

Pleased by this, the Captain nodded, “Let’s get to it, then, root out these rats.”


CHAPTER 2 ← → Chapter 4

Posted by HaruspexOfHell in Ascendance, Blogs, 2 comments