Halo – Hunt the Truth – Recap: Episode 04 – Crossing the Black

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

– 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.

ODSTs don't normally care for Spartans

ODSTs don’t normally care for Spartans

This week the only thing we got between episodes was an image of UNSC recruitment posters that used an image of the Master Chief to push the “join and serve” message that all military entities push, even today. The images were tagged with graffiti, however. It would appear on the surface that ODSTs were responsible, claiming they were real soldiers and that the Chief was/is a traitor and a freak.

ODSTs, as I mentioned last week, never much liked the Spartans once their existence became known throughout the ranks, but it is important to note that many ODSTs joined the Spartan-IV program after the end of the war. Recent literature in the Halo universe even covers the famed squad from Halo 3: ODST, which showcased the group joining the program.

The episode begins with a portion of the last episode replayed, showcasing a blown interview with insurrectionist captor/survivor Thomas Wu. The purpose of the interview was to straighten out some facts on the Eridanus II siege by the rebel movement, which Ben got conflicting reports about it ever even occurring. Wu mentioned briefly that he only wanted his family to be left alone, and reiterated the “leave us alone” remark before disconnecting.

Unfortunately for Ben, this call occurred on Waypoint, the government-run communication and information network. Essentially this century’s equivalent to the unencrypted internet, Waypoint is monitored by ONI and isn’t exactly the place to be if you want to be anonymous. For that, you’d have to turn to ChatterNet, which Ben had not done, to his dismay. He was very concerned his conversation with Wu was flagged due to the subject matter of their brief conversation.

Waypoint exists in the real world too. It's the name of all of Halo's web presence and an app on the 360.

Waypoint exists in the real world too. It’s the name of all of Halo’s web presence and an app on the 360.

He proceeds to recap exactly why he was so upset at himself. The conversation with Wu essentially led to Wu admitting he lied about the insurrectionist kidnapping he claimed to survive, which implicates the government as part of this lie. ONI was not the sort of organization you want to get on the bad side of, and his talk with Wu was just the sort of thing to get him in hot water.

After his typical intro speech for the Hunt the Truth campaign, Ben jumps to another conversation with Mashak Maradi, our loveable conspiracy theorist. Ben was sure to check that their talk was secure before even starting. Maradi starts talking about what is essentially a budding upheaval within the UNSC. From tales of drunk soldiers, graffiti (see the image above), and general discontent among the various branches of the military, it would appear that the peaceful post-war environment the UNSC And ONI was attempting to push was not actually a thing. Unhappy soldiers, it seemed, were prone to voicing their discontent without hesitation.

Maradi called the leak of this information “the slush”, which Ben explains is a huge amount of legitimate data flooding public networks that is so huge in scope that few are able to actually sort through it all. People like Maradi seemed to live for the slush, and had a talent for decoding it for details. Maradi did just that, and discovered that the military’s uproar revolved around the Master Chief. His motivation and allegiance was called into question among the ranks and accusations of treason had been thrown around. Ben had a hard time believing that Humanity’s greatest hero was capable of treason. Maradi then lays down some ideas about the Chief having too much power for an individual and the pressure of being responsible for the entire galaxy’s future.

The Halo universe uses a real-world theory called Slipstream Traversal to travel the galaxy quickly.

The Halo universe uses a real-world theory called Slipstream Traversal to travel the galaxy quickly.

In what may be the most interesting part of this entire episode, Maradi turns away from the subject of the Chief for some strange rumors about other occurrences in deep space. All sorts of science-related phenomena were being reported ranging from slipspace disruptions to data corruption on a wide scale. Somehow whatever was happening had effects that ripped across the territory. It was ominous and mysterious, lacking real detail, but Maradi admitted to being scared by the whole thing, and Ben had a hard time understanding what Maradi was getting at.

Unfortunately, the conversation had to be cut short when he received a calendar appointment from Sullivan on Earth. He was to report to ONI’s headquarters on Earth. His flight was scheduled to depart only three hours later. The reality of the situation hit Ben hard, putting him in a bad place the rest of the episode, fearing the repercussions of his flagged conversation.

When he got to Earth, he first planned to meet with a former colleague of his, Petra Janecek, in order to try and talk through his predicament. Fans of the novel First Strike might remember her. She was also at New Mombassa alongside Ben during the Master Chief’s heroics. Unlike Ben’s moves away from Earth (to be an ONI puppet, it would seem) she continued her role as an investigative reporter, a fact that she seemed to enjoy teasing Ben about when they finally met. While she seemed to want to focus on light banter, he pushed the conversation to his problem, mentioning that Sully asked him to come to Boston. As soon as he started to go into details of his conflicting source information and his Waypoint call with Wu, she interrupted him and broke into nonsensical speeches about trips to the beach.

It took a moment for Ben to understand what was happening. ONI monitors everything in public places like where he met Jacecek. Cameras were everywhere, with microphones recording everything. Computer power was at a level where body language, volume, and audio flags could alert them to anything they were trying to monitor closely, and Jacecek was clearly more aware of this danger than he was. She was spamming the system with nonsense, trying to make their conversation less conspicuous.

Once it was deemed safe to continue talking, she tried to calm him down saying that they didn’t have much on him, and that he’d be fine. The worst case, she argued, would be them pulling him from the story. Before parting ways, she did encourage him to back up all files on the story somewhere… Just in case. He took action doing just that after saying goodbye, sending what he could to Ray Curzig.

ONI Facilities, like this one in Mombassa, all have black as their primary color. Telling.

ONI Facilities, like this one in Mombassa, all have black as their primary color. Telling.

As he approached the ONI campus, he mentions that things seem a little off. Civilians seemed to steer clear of the building’s grounds despite there being no physical barriers. They avoided the black half of the sidewalk that hugged the exterior, which he found odd. Nobody seemed to want to be anywhere near the ONI complex. Another thing he realized as he strolled was that there was no noise near the building. No singing birds or chirping of insects. Even the air seemed silent. Very ominous indeed.

He ends the episode by taking the risky step toward the entrance, leaving us guessing as to what will happen inside until next week.

Data Dump

Here is this week’s Reddit post covering this episode more in-depth.

More stuff added to the dump this week, picked from context of the episode. Like before, some stuff may not yet have official links on the Halo Wiki yet, but I tried to keep it prepared for when they are created.

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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