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.
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
– 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.
Starting off the extra content this week was is an image of the citation Ben received for his “disturbance” on the shuttle home from Earth. Cited for a “In-Flight Incident,” Ben was fined 50,000 credits. The bar code on the image seems like a hidden invitation to dig deeper into this ad campaign, but don’t bother scanning it. It only leads back to the Hunt the Truth Tumblr page. Disappointing.
The second image Ben uploaded was a shot suggesting his home was broken into. This damage was assuming done by ONI following his uploading of the story to the public rather than turning it into them. The doorframe was destroyed and there’s a large boot print on the door. I would hope at this point that Ben is expecting this sort of thing.
This episode starts with a number of voice messages being played from Ben’s inbox. Some are from believers, encouraging him to continue his hunt for the truth. Others are upset he would even suggest that the Master Chief’s legacy is anything but pristine. With the exception of Sullivan’s message (more on that in a moment) all of these messages were submissions by Halo fans, who took it upon themselves to do a little acting and send 343i their recordings. You can actually listen to them individually here. Really great fan service by 343 here.
Ben did explain how before those messages started coming in, things were quiet. He spoke to Petra and Ray following his return trip to relay some details of the in-flight incident, and avoided calls from Sullivan. Just prior to him uploading the start of his story to the public, however, he got a message from Sullivan suspiciously talking about missing deadlines and getting an extension on the due date. It was a one-time deal. Ben, nervous but determined, ignored it, and uploaded the non-propaganda work he had to the cloud.
Referring to the flow of responses again, Ben was very interested in the numerous theories and opinions he received. A lot of what he heard seemed to corroborate Ellie’s story about there being no insurrectionist campaign during John’s youth, no boxing, and John’s young death. Others echoed Sullivan’s “bad records on glassed planets” point. Despite all of this, Ben was very confident that ONI was covering up the truth. What exactly they were covering up and why was still a mystery.
Perhaps the biggest lie he’d been trying to figure out was Deon Govender. While it was clear that his story about John was a lie, he got plenty of messages confirming Govender was a real person and some were upset that Ben was accusing him of wrongdoing. Ben started to wonder if the man was real but ONI somehow convinced him to play their game. He turned again to his friend Ray Curzig for more help.
Ray arrived at Ben’s place and found Ben pretty worked up, trying to talk through a number of theories about John’s true story and how it conflicted with Deon’s and Admiral Dvořák’s. After allowing Ben to ramble theories for a few minutes, he interrupted him, explaining that he had no further help to offer. He explained that he only knew about Jacob Walker’s military history, which seemed to line up with the story Walker told Ben. Despite Ben’s insistence that Walker (and by extension, ONI) was lying to them, Ray only reiterated that he could not discredit Walker or Admiral Dvořák’s stories.
At that time, Ben’s door was smashed by Petra, who came into his place infuriated that Ben recorded their conversation on Earth. Ben insisted he didn’t even think about recording it, but she wasn’t having any of his excuses. Turns out, Ben was recording everything, including their current interaction, which only angered her even more. Ray, now realizing he was also part of these recordings, voiced his displeasure too.
Petra, continuing her fury, explained that a recording could be used to destroy a person’s credibility and, in some ways, ruin their life. Comparing it to a weapon, she pulled out a gun saying she may have to use similar tactics. It was not a serious threat, but she no longer wanted to be involved in the story, and she did threaten him if she was ever brought back into it.
Ben tried calming her down, explaining that things were ok and they were not in danger. He explained that Mashak had taught him how to secure his communications and that they were not in any danger of being implicated. Petra dismissed this, claiming that Mashak was probably listening in the whole time.
He was, shyly saying hello to the group through the communication pad. Ben was not happy.
Before Ray and Petra could leave, Ben asked them to stick around while Mashak was questioned on the extent of his activities spying on Ben. Mashak claimed to have hacked ONI and orchestrated Ben’s in-flight meeting with Walker. Petra was impressed that Mashak could pull such a thing off, inquiring about who exactly he was working for. When Mashak explained he was working with someone codenamed “FERO”, Petra re-iterated her desire to get away from the whole story, saying that Ben could still get out too.
Ray also wanted out, but informed the group that he had more info on Deon. He was real, but according to Ray, Deon died seven years ago. The group was stunned. Who was the person Ben talked to if the real Deon died years earlier?
Ray and Petra left while Ben pondered this revelation, but they allowed him to keep the recording of their meeting. At that point Ben knew he had to talk to whoever “FERO” was, and asked Mashak how to do it. Mashak informed him that he didn’t have to do anything, because “FERO” was about to contact him…
Here is this week’s Reddit post covering this episode more in-depth.
I didn’t add anything to the data dump this week, seeing as it was mostly a meeting of Ben and his cohorts talking about all the story’s inconsistencies. Plenty of stuff to read up on though, so don’t hesitate to click below.
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.
- Ellie Bloom
- Ray Curzig
- Vice Admiral Gabriella Dvořák
- Benjamin Giraud
- Deon Govender
- Petra Janecek
- John-117 / The Master Chief
- Katrina (no last name)
- Mashak Maradi
- Senior Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez
- Anthony Petrosky
- Michael Sullivan
- Jacob Walker
- Thomas Wu
- Corbulo Academy of Military Science
- Elysium City
- Eridanus II
- Outer Colonies
- Battle of Mombasa
- Insurrectionist Movement
- Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
- Slipstream Space
- Spartan II Program
- Spartan III Program
- UNSC Army
- UNSC Navy
- Waypoint (Communication System/Device)
(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