Discussion Board

Topic: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Chronarch
Location: England
Date: 08/22/2011

Greg Bear,

I don't think I can thank you enough for the wonderful work you've done on Halo Cryptum. It was so refreshing to read a Halo novel through the eyes of a character, it made the story feel much more personal. The development was brilliant and the story was top-notch.

But most of all, I was intrigued by the Timeless One and the grand mystery that surrounds him. I think there is a very close connection between the Timeless One and the Gravemind.

Gravemind states in Human Weakeness that he has consumed many AIs but spared one who joined him long ago, obviously referring to Mendicant Bias. Mendicant Bias is the one who frees the Timeless One and later attacks the Capital saying he serves a new master.

Primordium's description states that humans call the Prisoner "The Primordial", this is the same name Major John Smith uses to describe the Flood in The Mona Lisa.

The Prisoner is known as "the Timeless One", Gravemind describes himself as a "timeless chorus".

Gravemind states he has "listened - through rock and metal and time", the Prisoner listened to the humans and San'Shyuum at Charum Hakkor in his prison for a very long time.

The last words of the Gravemind are: "Resignation is my virtue; like water I ebb, and flow. Defeat is simply the addition of time to a sentence I never deserved... but you imposed." The latter part is referring to imprisonment, a sentence he never deserved. The Prisoner of Charum Hakkor was locked away (currently) for unknown reasons.

"Child of my enemy," is seemingly a reference to Ancient Humanity - the first foe the Flood fought and lost against. The Gravemind speaks as if he is an anceint entity, so it's not possible he was "conceived" on Installation 05 when the Flood broke out 200 years prior to Halo 2.

In the Bestiarum, they have the Spartans labled as "Unclassified. You can tell they mean Spartans because they list them as "homo sapiens augeous". You can tell from the "augeous" they mean augmentations. Another curious thing to note is that they label them as Reclaimers. Anyways, even though they're labeled as a separate people it still says "Ties with group - Human".

However if you check out the Gravemind which is separate from the Flood like the Spartans, it doesn't say "Ties with group - Flood". He remains his own separate species.

In fact, in a physical sense, I don't think the Prisoner was ever physically present, but rather using the Gravemind as a conduit for his mouth (akin to the Mouth of Sauron from LOTR). The giant venus fly trap we see in Halo 2 got completely obliterated twice, once in the Forerunner era and once in the contemporary era, yet the Gravemind still survived.

Three things: Firstly, the Proto-Graveminds are a physical entity that requires much more substantial amounts of biomass to be created then what was present at 05. Second, when the Proto-GM dies, everything in the local Flood hive else dies, and it can be killed by conventional means, which the real GM cannot. Third, he speaks as if he's extremely old and has experienced all things the Flood did 100,000 years ago and even before then.

The venus flytrap is a mouth organ, for him to speak verbally to the Chief and Arbiter. That was "destroyed" in Halo 3 during the High Charity explosion, yet GM survived again and begun rebuilding itself on the Ring.

All of this indicates the Prisoner/Gravemind might not truly have ever been present, and that he was somewhere else, a long way from possibly even the galaxy, projecting his mind into the Flood.

Its this case with the Bestiarum that originally lead me to believe that the Gravemind was not actually present at Installation 05, High Charity or 04B, but rather the Prisoner was somehow psychically projecting his consciousness, or a part of it as the GM can apparently do so with individual Flood, to converse with Cortana.

This would also explain why he seems to exist as a non-corporeal entity.

But listen to me telling you the details of your own story like a fool. Just some observations I've made and I wonder if you could shed any light on the validity of what I've said.

Keep up the fantastic work, I can't wait for Primordium.

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 09/25/2011

Terrific analysis and synopsis, Chronarch! Have you inside information? Are you in fact... a Gravemind?

Best wishes!

Greg

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Johnathan bullis
Location: america
Date: 12/29/2011

Hey I love the book. I heard somewhere that chief was chakas ancestor? IDK if it was fake or not probably was. But if not, maybe gravemind/precursor literally means: child of my enemy

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/20/2012

No knowledge of that...

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Chronarch
Location: England
Date: 01/20/2012

Oooooh, looks like I was right [to a degree] after all. :P

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/20/2012

To the best of my knowledge, Chakas admits to no offspring. And no offspring are in evidence in either novel. I suspect Riser was more profligate, however.

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 02/22/2012

Thanks! All good thoughts and questions. For the time being, not posting this because there might be three or four readers out there who don't want some surprises spoiled!

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Ben
Location: America
Date: 05/08/2012

Greg,
To start, its people like yourself that propel the Halo series beyond just a video game and make it the immersing universe that it is, for that i thank you. I also have a question about the flood according to your book, which is accepted cannon and very enjoyable. Was the powder that eventually mutated the pherue a biological weapon left over by the precursors as revenge? I also am curious when your next book is scheduled to release? Thank you,
Ben

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/16/2012

All (or most) will be answered in SILENTIUM, so far scheduled for January 2013! Thanks, Ben.

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Rob
Location: America
Date: 05/21/2012

I have one quick question, at the height of the forerunner empire what were there numbers as far as ships go? I read through the books but never found a direct answer, could you... shed some light?

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/22/2012

If I understand your question, Rob, those details are currently in the charge of 343. They will advise me.

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Rob
Location: America
Date: 05/23/2012

Thanks, I was curious... the industrial power of the forerunner empire seems so advanced.. more advanced in fact than even their weapons. Reading some of the speculations of there industrial power made my mind boggle( the calcs were on factpile under the forerunners vs Galactic Empire thread) which as a note, cryptum dramatically changed the direction of. From an author standpoint.. since you've pretty much created this empires massive abilities, the rings were impressive but the empire you've created makes the halos look like nothing, would you consider the forerunner empire one of the most powerful sci-fi races? Its a bit of a personal question but i became curious as to your impression of the race you developed more than anyone else.. for that matter combined.

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Ben
Location: Usa
Date: 05/23/2012

Mr. Bear, I love that you have this feature on this website. Its interesting to see how you as the author meant things compared to how we interpret them. As a side note i was wandering how much creative space you have and how bound you are by 343i. I am also curious as to how powerful the primary weapons on the fortress class cruisers are? I read some rough calculations on factpile based on cannon. But lets simplify it for someone who isn't exactly a math guy.. how powerful are they compared to well lets say little boy.

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/28/2012

Powerful, yes--but we have to look back to Edward E. ("Doc") Smith and his godlike Arisians and Eddorians, which he describes in his Lensmen novels, and who seem to be even more powerful than the Forerunners. Larry Niven's Ringworld Engineers come to mind, as well. And take a look at the intelligences written of by Arthur C. Clarke in CHILDHOOD'S END and CITY AND THE STARS, as well as the beings who mess with our evolution in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. I'm sure there are a great many SF alien races, vanished or otherwise, who might be contenders in this arena!

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/28/2012

Technical details and numbers I leave to the experts. I've had a great time working with 343. They've given me an astonishing amount of freedom, but our jam sessions have been so fruitful that it could be I am being manipulated by their own insidious Gravemind...!

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: David
Location:
Date: 01/15/2013

Dear Greg Bear the forerunner triliogy is awesome so far wish they'd made a spin off game keep up the good work. I was wondering Bungie's original idea for forerunners we're to be human counterpart if i remember correctly ehat made you guys decide to change your mind? And also just curious did you had to take out some stuff to make it cannon or were there ideas that didn't make the cut

Re: The wonderful mysteries of the Forerunner Trilogy.

From: Greg Bear
Date: 02/03/2013

Lots of back and forth between 343's crack team and me during all of these books, and most especially, SILENTIUM. Forerunners and humans do have a lot in common! And not just issues with their parental species...

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