Hi all. On the subject of the Halo and Marathon Timelines, they appear to exclude each other on the surface. However, on closer inspection one might find that evidence exists for a common universe for these games to coexist in. Being the fanatical diehard that I am (and filling time waiting for some expected company to show up), I have combined and commented on the timelines as follows:
Marathon's Timeline (with Halo Backstory added)
Dis- Taken from "Marathon's Timeline" at The Marathon Story Page and from the Microsoft XBox Halo page (as quoted at halo.bungie.org). Attributed sources are from "Marathon's Timeline". Unattibuted timelines are from Halo. Since we don't know how much of the Halo
backstory is due to Microsoft spin rather than Bungie detailing, all this may be subject to change. Thanks in advance for your indulgence on this one, Hamish. :-)
A chronology of events related to Pathways Into Darkness, Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, Marathon Infinity & Halo.
1996 11/05 PiD The Jjaro arrive on Earth to take more permanent measures against the buried stunned dreaming God.
Dis- No MENTION of dispensation of technology to Earth.
c. 2070 M Rampancy first appears on the Earth-net.
2164: INTERPLANETARY WAR
UN-sponsored military forces begin a pattern of massive buildups, culminating in the first real interplanetary war. After the successful Marine deployment on Mars, recruitment drives and propaganda tactics strongly bolster UNSC (UN Space Command) forces. UN forces defeat Koslovic (supporters of rabid Communist hard-liner Vladimir Koslov) and Frieden (a resurgence of fascism) forces on Earth, then begin a systematic and dedicated drive to crush their remnants on the various planets they hold throughout the system. At the conclusion, Frieden and Koslovic forces are defeated, in the face of a massive, unified and very powerful UN military.
The next 120 years is characterized by a period of restructuring as a unified Earth government is formed. Now, the victors must deal with a less-obvious, but equally serious threat: overpopulation and a massive military with no enemy to fight. In the postwar period, there are massive population surges and the overpopulation, coupled with the destruction and famine bred by the Rain Forest Wars, becomes threatening.
2194 M+LNP War between the Independent Asteroid Government of Icarus and its neighbor, the Republic of Thermopylae on the asteroid of Onicis 492. Dead soldiers recycled as Battleroids. Battleroids get onto both asteroids and kill almost everyone
2206 M Crash of Traxus IV. Complete shut down of Martian Planetary Net.
2208 M Damage to the Martian network caused by Traxus IV finally rooted out.
2214 M United Interplanetary League sets up rules for the appropriate use and storage of Battleroids.
2291: FASTER THAN LIGHT
A secret team of researchers, physicists and mathematicians develop the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine, a practical means of propelling spacecraft across vast interstellar distances.
2310 M CRIST (Cargo and Resources In-System Transports) Sol orbiter construction ceases.
Dis- Perhaps Sol orbiters' construction has ceased since those in the know anticipate FTL implementation and, as seen below, the use of teleporters.
2310: FIRST WAVE
The Earth government unveils the first in a line of colony ships; given conditions on Earth are deteriorating in the face of overpopulation, hitching a ride out to a colony becomes a highly attractive option. Additionally, the Earth government plans to attach military personnel to each colony, to help better utilize the massive (and expensive) standing fleets.
Because FTL travel is still fairly new and expensive, colonists and military personnel face a stringent regimen of physical and mental testing. In theory, only the best-qualified citizens and soldiers are allowed to colonize "nearby" worlds. This is the birth of the Inner Colonies; typically Inner Colonials are-later in the timeline-considered the elite, the best and brightest.
Dis- Perhaps THIS line of colony ships refers to fully artificial, constructed ships (as opposed to what would become the Marathon later). Since FTL is new and expensive, alternative approaches to moving a colony might not be ruled out; what is to become the Marathon being an example.
c. 2319 M Teleporters begin to be used in Sol system.
2320 M James B. Miller publishes his work 'Life and Death of Intelligence'.
2362: THE ODYSSEY
The Odyssey is launched January 1, 2362. The lead ship in the colony vessels, the Odyssey-laden with troops and terra forming gear-spearheads the colonization of a new world. This sparks the first wave of human colonization.
Dis- This is the first FTL & terraforming colony ship.
2390: INNER COLONIES
Colonization of the Inner Colonies is fully underway with 210 human-occupied worlds in various stages of terra forming.
Dis- It appears that ALL FTL colony ships are used to reach systems with NON-terran worlds; thus the need to carry terraforming technologies and materials. These ships each allow the carrying out of two main objectives. First, getting to the destination quickly. Second, commencing terraforming. We are not told how much time the terraforming processes require. It is interesting that no mention of dealing with worlds determined to be TERRAN is made.
2395 LNP Purchase of Deimos from Free holders by UESG.
Dis- The UNSC, UIL and the UESG may be governing bodies falling under a broader governing structure, or perhaps subordination one with another is possible.
2402 03/23 16:42 M+LNP Marathon Doors Manual written up.
2405 LNP Marathon project begins pre-construction phase.
2408 LNP Deimos conversion begins.
2442 01/06 M+LNP Misriah Massacre - Three United Earth Government riot troopers open fire on defenseless rioters at the Misriah food distribution center. Over five hundred starving Martians incinerated.
2442 LNP Third Martian War begins.
2444 07/14 M2 Ares Raid - Imperialist forces clash with inserectionists.
2445 M+LNP Third Martian War ends after four years of fighting.
2465 LNP Martians place munitions on board the Marathon.
2466 M+LNP Failed Martian Coup. MIDA controls government for three short months.
2472 M+LNP Marathon completed sixty four years after coversion begins.
2472 11/15 M+LNP Pre-Launch dedication by the President of the Unified Earth Space Council (UESC), Marcus Tiberius Buendia. Bernhard Strauss enters in his log that ten Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs were on board the Marathon.
2472 11/16 LNP Launch of Marathon.
Dis- The need for the existence of the Marathon is problematic. However, if the line of FTL colony ships is intended to allow terraforming efforts to begin as quickly as possible; the Marathon might represent another approach to colonizing worlds determined to be TERRAN in other systems. Resources are conserved (for use in FTL ships) by modifying a large object (like Deimos) and more cost-effective non-FTL propulsion is utilized. This trade-off means that the journey will last for hundreds of years, yet colonization can begin quickly once the terran world is reached. The Marathon is the only known example of this approach. This might suggest that terraforming other worlds is expected to take hundreds of years to complete. As an aside, even though FTL TRAVEL is available, we do not know if FTL COMMUNICATION exists yet. The question remains as to why Earth would not send an FTL ship to a known TERRAN world, unless cost cutting and resource management as just stated are truly important considerations and the goal is to reach as many objectives as possible; making bodies like the Marathon useful in the long run.
2490: THE BIRTH OF THE OUTER COLONIES
Expansion continues at a rapid pace, and by 2490 human space encompasses 800+ worlds throughout the Orion Arm of the Milky Way (ranging from fairly well-tamed planetary strongholds to tiny hinterland settlements). Outward expansion continues, and the Inner Colonies become a political and economic stronghold, though they rely heavily on raw materials supplied by the Outer Colonies.
During this period, the planet Reach (orbiting Epsilon Eridani, literally on Earth's front porch) becomes the primary Naval yard, a major producer of warships and colony vessels, as well as a training ground for covert operatives and Special Forces.
Dis- Perhaps this expansion is both territorial AND technological. It may well be that the terraforming process has been improved and shortened. This is also likely the period wherein FTL technology is improved and its costs reduced.
(This century intentionally left blank, in relation to Marathon)
2530: THE COVENANT WAR BEGINS
On April 3, 2530, contact with the Outer Colony, Harvest, is lost. After failing to re-establish contact with Harvest, the Colonial Military Administration sends a scout ship, the Argo, to investigate. Contact with Argo is subsequently lost after arriving in the Harvest system.
Dis- At this point we know that FTL COMMUNICATION is in use.
The CMA dispatches a battle group to Harvest, consisting of three warships. The lead ship in the battle group, the Heracles, returns to Reach, badly damaged and with heavy casualties. The ship's commander reports that an alien warship with powerful weaponry was present, and had decimated Harvest, exterminating the colonists (and presumably destroying the Argo). The battle group engaged the alien warship, and was thoroughly routed. The Heracles-following the destruction of the other two ships in the group-jumped out of the system, but due to the damage she had sustained, took several weeks to make it back to Reach.
The Earth military goes on full alert, and begins making preparations to move in and retake Harvest. By December, a massive Earth war fleet under Vice Admiral Preston Cole mobilizes, one of the fastest such mobilizations of such a large fleet in the history of humankind.
2531: THE BATTLE OF HARVEST
Cole's war fleet engages the alien warship responsible for the decimation of the colony, scoring a victory (though the battle cost Cole two-thirds of his battle group). Only a last minute tactical inspiration turned the tide of battle.
After returning to Earth, Cole-promoted to Admiral-learns that a number of outlying colonies have been destroyed, leaving behind no survivors. Cole begins to move his fleet around, trying to intercept the invaders. Ground and ship-to-ship battles begin in earnest, raging throughout the Outer Colonies. During one ground engagement, Human forces capture one of the aliens. Before succumbing to his wounds, interrogators learn that the aliens refer to themselves as "the Covenant" (roughly translated).
2535: THE OUTER COLONY MASSACRED
In the course of four short years, Cole's forces are hammered, despite his excellent leadership and tactical brilliance. It is simply a matter of being outgunned; Covenant kill ratios tend to top four to one in ship-to-ship combat.
By 2535, virtually all of the Outer Colony worlds have been destroyed by the Covenant. The "Cole Protocol" is established by military order: all human vessels must ensure that Covenant forces do not find Earth. Human ships must-when forced to withdraw-not move on to an Earth bound vector, even if that means jumping without proper navigational calculations. If blind jumps are not possible, the ship's captain must order self-destruction if capture is imminent. In addition, it is also imperative that the powerful ship A.I. data cores not fall into Covenant hands, so part of this protocol involves either the removal or destruction of the ship's A.I. in extreme situations.
2536: THE SIEGE OF THE INNER COLONIES
Covenant forces begin to swarm into the Inner Colonies. For several years the war falls into a pattern: humans win isolated battles, typically during ground operations, but at a horrible cost. In space combat, the humans are losing at a precipitous rate, and one by one, the colonies fall.
2552 AND BEYOND: HALO
Covenant forces arrive at Reach and obliterate the colony. You (Master Chief) escape aboard the cruiser Pillar of Autumn and are the only survivor of your team.
In accordance with the Cole Protocol, the Pillar of Autumn's captain plots a random, long-distance jump, hoping to lure the Covenant fleet-dangerously near Earth-away from the human homeworld.
After deactivating the drive, the Pillar of Autumn drops into a distant, uncharted system. There is a Covenant fleet in the system as well, near a planet-sized ring-shaped construct, Halo. A brief-and lopsided-battle ensues and the Pillar of Autumn is severely damaged. An escape craft containing the surviving humans crashes on the mysterious alien construct
Dis- At this point, communication with the Marathon is problematic. It may well be that the Marathon's communication technology could not handle the reception or decoding of FTL communications ...
2611 M2 Tycho accuses Durandal of being too sarcastic. Durandal stops speaking to Tycho.
2617 M2 Durandal resumes speaking to Tycho.
2772 M+LNP Bernhard Strauss awakes after 300 years in stasis.
2773 LNP Marathon arrives at Tau Ceti.
2787 LNP Colony on Tau Ceti established.
2791 M Chockisens harass work teams on the fringe of the colony.
2791 M2 Nar attempt to retake Epsilon Euobea from the Pfhor.
2794 07/25 M+LNP Marathon attacked by Pfhor.
2794 10/25 M2 Pfhor arrive at Tau Ceti. Colony destroyed. Tycho falls in with the Pfhor and Leela is captured. Nine Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs destroyed.
2795 M2 Tycho arrives at the Pfhor homeworld.
c. 2797 M2 Pfhor begin to arrive at Lh'owon.
2801 M2 Tycho leaves Pfhor homeworld.
2801 09/14 06:01 LNP Volker Von Müller forced to update Durandal's history files.
Dis- ... unless the events of 2611 through 2787 and also Von Muller's efforts in 2801 are (to some degree) evidences that FTL messages were RECEIVED.
c. 2803 M2 Pfhor begin sending their worst officers to Lh'owon.
c. 2806 M2 Pfhor Battle Group Three (Central Arm) arrives at Lh'owon.
2811 M2 Durandal arrives at Lh'owon.
Dis- Perhaps the motives of Tycho and Durandal include avoiding the Covenant.
c. 2861 M2 Tycho clones help the Pfhor delay their defeat to around this date (over fifty years after the liberation of the S'pht).
2881 M2 Pfhor system sacked by the combined fleets of Earth and the S'pht'Kr.
Dis- The first indication in the Marathon series that Earth may have FTL technology, with or without augmentation by the S'ph'tKr. It would appear that if Halo and the Marathon series in fact do share a common timeline that the Covenant have not prevailed against Earth.
2886 M Leela's light-speed warning message reaches Earth.
Dis- It is interesting that no mention is made of messages being sent to Earth during the Marathon voyage, arrival at Tau Ceti or during the establishment and maintenance of the colony on one of its worlds. This might be evidence that Halo's "Cole Protocol" might apply to radio silence on the part of the Marathon. The only documented transmission to Earth is a warning of the Pfhor threat.
12811 M2 Durandal returns to Earth in a Jjaro dreadnought he calls Manus Celer Dei.
1.52E10 M Durandal's estimate for the closing of the universe.
Dis- Feel free to chew this up. :-)