Halo – Hunt the Truth – Recap: Episode 09 – Phantoms

Written by James T. George


Halo’s fictional universe is vast and detailed, with stories filling in the gaps between the games and more. In the build up for the series’ next release, Halo 5: Guardians, Microsoft and 343 Industries has once again taken to viral advertising to fill in more of these gaps. This time, using audio diaries and images, we are invited to join fictional reporter Benjamin Giraud as he recounts the history of Halo’s hero: The Master Chief. Join us as we examine Benjamin’s Hunt for the Truth.

Past Recaps:

Part 0: Primer
Episode 1: A Hairline Fracture
Episode 2: Bad Records
Episode 3: Critical Condition
Episode 4: Crossing the Black
Episode 5: Out of Time
Episode 6: Boxing Story
E pisode 7: Who’s Listening
Episode 8: Drip, Drip, Drip

– Spoiler Warning –

In order to properly frame the details of the Hunt the Truth campaign, I will have to divulge details that have been established in all aspects of the Halo Universe that have been revealed up to this point. I will try my best to limit what I discuss to the content of currently released games, but some of the back story revealed in some of the other expanded fiction may still need covered or explained.  If you don’t want the games, books, movies, and other side stories spoiled, I recommend you don’t scroll down any further. You have been warned.

A memorial to Richard Sekibo

A memorial to Richard Sekibo

The first image posted between episodes this week showcases a flower memorial for Richard Sekibo. Memorials like this are common across all human colonies, but this one seems to have stuck with Benjamin.


Unrest begins, thanks in part to the story Ben was posting

This image depicts the unrest currently going on in the outer colonies, most of which Ben was oblivious to due to him operating incognito. More on that during today’s episode.

The episode begins with Benjamin setting up a recording for Anthony Petrosky, who was going to accuse ONI of human rights violations. Before they start, Petrosky muses on the incident involving the Master Chief. He found the potential traitorous actions of the Spartan humorous. Most of the colonies seemed to find it acceptable, while the core world citizens found it abhorrent. Either way, the Chief was the most wanted man in human space.

Time was short, however, so the pair moved into the recording. In a clear succinct statement, Petrosky introduced himself and explained how he observed the Chief during his service and how easily identifiable the evidence of childhood augmentations were, and how ONI instructed all soldiers aware of the Spartans to not disclose the truth. Ben remarked on how much Petrosky seemed to be enjoying the statement. He was getting back at a government that had left him in the cold when he stopped serving.

Following the recording, Ben contemplated what else needed to be done before the big UEG meeting with ONI. He first needed to talk to Mashak to corroborate more data for evidence. The irony of using a conspiracy theorist to bring down a government entity like ONI was not lost to Ben, but he had little time to second guess himself. Unfortunately, Mashak was once again tough to get ahold of.

When a message finally arrived, he was surprised that it was not Mashak but Catrina (the childhood friend of John 117’s from earlier episodes) who got in touch with him. She wanted to know what kind of feedback the outer colonies were giving him as his story continued. After securing the connection, she spoke about how crazy the reactions were around her. People were going to great lengths to stay off the grid (or out of ONI’s monitoring capabilities, as it were) and how a group called the “Colonial Alliance” had risen up in the wake of everything. All sorts of seditious moves were in play for this alliance. Reports of UEG offices shutting down were numerous. She felt the need to get off her colony in case things escalated to violence, and she believed someone was targeting her for assisting Ben in his story. She was frightened, and wanted Ben to inform her on how to protect herself. Unfortunately, the message was cut off before their conversation ended.

Moments later, Mashak finally got in touch with him. The documents he prepared were finally ready, and showcased the data Mashak found that outlined the pattern of child abductions ONI undertook for the Spartan program. As explained earlier, ONI clearly only targeted outer colonists for these actions, suggesting they found these citizens expendable. The flash clone death reports were also included in this data.

He also had some information about one of the abducted children (now a teenager) who had somehow returned home. In what appeared as a home invasion, the teenager returned to his childhood home only to find his own clone. The police report of the incident suggested that after running into the clone, the teenage Spartan fled the scene, only to be found dead later due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The key point of the police report was that the officer who found the body was also the officer who responded to the home invasion. He was shocked to discover that the dead body and the child at the residence were identical. He believed it was a case of identical twins, but obviously that is not the case.

This story was not fleshed out enough to be used during the upcoming UEG/ONI meeting he was going to hijack, but he was still as determined as ever to get going. Before Mashak signed off, he suggested getting back onto the open network to observe the real scope of the fallout following the Chief’s rampage. Before he could get too detailed, FERO contacted Ben, cutting off his connection to Mashak.

The time had arrived. She was already fully hacked into the meeting, and now Ben’s moment was about to begin. When patched in he had a good of the chamber, filled with 12 senators from the armed forces committee, as well as a few ONI operatives. To his surprise, Sullivan was one of the ONI reps in the meeting.

He had no time to dwell on Sullivan being there. He had to begin, so he did. As he laid out his findings, he started to get the sense that things were working. The UEG reps were listening, and it only encouraged him to continue. Once he started the playback of Petrosky’s testimony, he received a message from Sullivan insisting Ben stop the transmission. Ben responded defiantly, claiming he could not continue to be a part of ONI’s lies. He ended with “I’m done.”

Sullivan’s response was cold. “Yes. You are.”

FERO informed that Ben’s time was short, as ONI was getting close to countering her hack. Ben quickly tried to wrap up by bringing up the child augmentations and mentioned all the evidence he’s gathered. A few seconds later, they were cut off. It was over.

“The revolution has started Ben.” FERO said, ominously, “From now on you are under our protection.”

Her transmission ended after that.

Ben, still euphoric after the experience, saw a message from his bank cross his terminal. His accounts had been terminated. He called back and discovered that the government was investigating him, freezing his assets. All of his assets were frozen in every account he had. He was financially ruined.

He then received a message from Mashak, who no longer sounded upbeat as he usually did. He insisted they meet up to talk about what was happening, and instructed Ben not to talk to anybody until they met. Ben tried to call him back, but it would not go through. Evidence from local chatternet suggested that local communication buoys had been taken offline.

Ben received another message from Catrina. It was garbled, but what did come through suggested she was panicking over the communication breakdown. It was clear that the outer colonies had been completely cut off from the inner colonies.

Ben ended the episode by revealing that he never again heard from Mashak.

My Thoughts


The implications of this episode are staggering. Mashak is most likely in ONI custody now, or perhaps even dead at their hand. The outer colonies are quickly approaching the point where a civil war will break out. The newly formed Colonial Alliance points to the possibility, and with ONI seemingly cutting off the entirety of the outer colonies, it’s practically inevitable.

Benjamin did get the UEG to listen to the atrocities of ONI, though, so hopefully in the coming episodes we learn the fallout from that. At this point, though, I’m starting to think Ben will be captured or killed as a result of his actions.  He’s done too much damage at this point to be allowed to walk free, and ONI will no doubt go to great lengths to stop him from going any further.

Additionally, the truth behind the Master Chief’s alleged treason still seems to be in flux to me. Ben spoke to the validity of the evidence making it crystal clear, but Petrosky brought up some going points. Was the Chief capable of working with the Covenant (or what remains of it, for that matter) against fellow humans? It seems unlikely to me.

For now, we have to wait for the next episode to discover what happens next.

Data Dump

Nothing to add this week, but keep reading up on things!

Please note that these links may lead to articles that are more updated than this post may be, and may contain spoilers as a result.

Other Information:

(Bold entries indicate new data for this week)

Keep an eye on LevelSave for coverage of upcoming episodes, and feel free to theorize further (or correct me) in the comments.

About the author

James T. George

Jim, a proud native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, enjoys a variety of things other than games, movies, music, sports, and technology, but usually falls prey to character limits when filling out

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