Mark Levin write:
I took a much closer look at the various messages that appear on halo.bungie.com's main page, and I created the attached diagram. There are some interesting conclusions that can be drawn from this.
Cortana, an AI Class III (BW could be a classification of Cortana by "model" or function), owns the ship SCS Pillar of Autumn. The final S stands from "Ship", from the existence of ALLCH (SC). ALLCH is identified as "Exalted", although this has a question mark attached, therefore the Pillar of Autumn belongs to the ALLCH navy. The SCS Hermes is owned by an AI Class II, which we assume to be inferior to Cortana since the number is smaller and doesn't seem worthy of as much attention as Cortana. ESP 8 Reach doesn't seem to be a ship at all, as it has an odd owner string: Pr Govern via Reach PSN Node 21. I interpret this as a transmission to a remote entity, Pr Govern (government?), along an external communications network named Reach. The C ships (C most likely stands for Covenant) have no identifiers, whether sending or recieving, leading me to conclude that we are reading this conversation from an SC control ship which oversees all transmissions.
The time codes don't quite conform to Marathon's format since there are 4 numbers instead of 5, and even if we assume that the hour and minute numbers have been combined, the time codes indicate that this conversation is played out over a period of months from and there's one message (Cortana transmitting to Undetermined) which has no "year" number. However, if we reduce the scale so that the numbers are "hour.minute.second.1/10,000 second" then it plays out over a space of 20 minutes, from 04.1.7.0317 to 04.21.7.0801.
When placed in chronological order, the conversation goes like this:
(Reverence to PoA):
'You slave, toil, bleed and sweat for your food. And we shall eat it.'
(1 minute later) (Esteem to PoA):
'You will not know where we have struck until you have fallen.'
(5 minutes later) (Truth and Reconciliation to PoA):
'What you have begun in anger you shall end in shame.'
(.03 seconds later) (T&R to PoA):
'None will exist to say whether you were defeated by valor or cruelty.'
(1 minute later) (Sacred Promise to PoA):
'Our conviction is like an arrow already in flight. Your life will only last until it reaches you.'
(1 minute later) (PoA to SP):
'"... He says I came not to send Peace but a Sword ..."'
(2 minutes later) (T&R to PoA):
'You have brought nothing to this world, and we will ensure you bring nothing out.'
(3 minutes later) (Contrition to Hermes):
'Through war we will teach your heresy.
Through battle we will teach your frailty.
Through death we will teach your fate.'
(1 minute later) (Penance to ESP Reach):
'You live without discipline and will die without honor.'
(.0004 seconds later) (Purity of Spirit to ESP Reach):
'It is said remorse is the pain of sin. We feel no remorse.'
(5 minutes later) (PoA to PoA):
'"These are the tygers of wrath."'
(1 minute later) (PoS to PoA):
'This world will be ruled in blood.'
(.0001 seconds later) (T&R to ALLCh (SC):
'When no single human brick lies atop another, then will we be satisfied with your destruction.'
There is also Cortana's message to Undetermined, which has no Hour stamp. the message from the CCS Sacred Promise to the SCS Pillar of Autumn is marked as REDIRECTED, but in the absence of other information we can draw no conclusions from this.
We can see that there is the Covenant fleet, apparently alone, speaking to Cortana and the Hermes, who are representing a large but distant coalition. Combined with the comments from a preview about "taking instructions from a sentient computer in orbit", I see the situation as this: the SCS Pillar of Autumn is a large "mothership", possibly another hollowed-out asteroid, carrying a whole army, escorted by the smaller cruiser SCS Hermes. Cortana is instructed (unless he's masterminded the whole thing) to deploy a single large army on the Halo and remain in orbit as commander. The Covenant, however, have decided not to put all their eggs in one basket and have sent a number of smaller ships, which will deploy smaller groups around the Halo and try to take it all at once. If the Convenant fleet and the Pillar of Autumn enter the same orbit around Jonesworld as the Halo itself, then they'll be able to hover there indefinitely (after compensating for the gravity of the Halo) and watch/command the ground troops.
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