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The Cortana Letters Revisited
Posted By: Forensic <>Date: 7/26/99 8:05 a.m.

As more becomes known about Halo, what once seemed like gibberish now becomes clearer.

In retrospect, the Cortana letters were arranged chronologically. They take place during the time of the game, as it progresses. Maybe it was obvious to others from the start, but I only just now realized it.

There's a treasure trove of speculation waiting back at those letters for those who take the initiative, but I'm not quite up to doing a thourough Forensic examination right now. Some quick thoughts:

If you assume that the letters take place during the narrative of the game (and they do, check for yourself), then at the fourth letter Cortana is forced by the "humorless and slavishly loyal" BW-AI to share "cramped space with the circuitry of some hybrid war machine, itself complicated by such useless clutter as a conscience." According to a few game articles, Cortana lives in the human mothership. So I interpret this letter to mean that at some time in the game, the ship (Pillar of Autumn?) might be destroyed and Cortana is forced to download himself into the cyborg-player's head, a la Marathon Infinity. I say "might be destroyed" because Halo is supposed to have an open-ended plot.

Also, assuming a relation between the plot and the letters, the fifth and last letter takes on a new significance. It's just a short excerpt from a poem, the kind of obscure reference that the other four letters are full of. I dismissed it as nothing when I first saw it. But now, that letter might tell what happens at the end of the game. Still doesn't make much sense, though, and it probably won't until someone beats the game.

According to Cortana, we are the devil of the Covenant. Taken literally, this means humanity is being targeted for religious reasons. Definitly lines up with the biblical slant of the messages associated with the aliens. (i.e. "It is said that remorse is the pain of sin. We feel no remorse.")

Ok, that's my two cents. What do you think?

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