If you are one of the many Halo fans who fell in love with Dr Halsey’s Journal (bundled with Halo: Reach’s LE) back in 2010, you’ll be very familiar with an intriguing aspect of the book – two leaves torn out of the middle with little explanation as to what they contained.
It’s been over five years since the journal was first available and not a word has been spoken about those pages, with fans left curious about what secrets Halsey could have deemed so serious they had to be removed from her own journal. We all knew they had to have existed at some point in its production, as there were fragments of words visible on every tear edge, playfully teasing fans with knowledge they may never have seen.
Thankfully, those days of longingly speculating are behind us. In a wonderful curveball from the fine folks at 343 Industries, the missing pages have been released as a little extra in the latest Canon Fodder, a fascinating series of articles on Halo Waypoint delving deeper into the secrets of Halo fiction. Whilst I’d absolutely urge you to read the full article and check out past and upcoming posts, a direct link to the missing pages can be found here.
The content of the pages themselves are actually rather cryptic, seeming to reference a completely unsanctioned experiment Halsey conducted in 2547. As the journal entry details, Halsey took interest in making use of the soon to be decommissioned FTL (Faster-Than-Light) drive of the UNSC Tripping Light. It appears that she attempted to manipulate the technology within the FTL drive in order to directly observe the effects of entering Slipspace unshielded, using some form of manual probe and an AI construct.
In brief, a UNSC FTL drive (or Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine) generates and manipulates a microscopic black hole into a rupture – briefly bridging normal space and Slipstream Space (Slipspace). Slipspace is, to put it simply, a messy ball of dimensions beyond our physical three dimensions which, due to the massively different laws of physics it operates within, can be used as a shortcut of sorts for space travel. Whilst in slipspace, time elapses in a completely different scale to that of normal space, whereby a three year journey through slipspace may only appear to have taken 10 days to those in normal space. In fact, due to varying factors affecting travel such as gravity wells and “currents”, the same journey taken by two different ships could vary in length by days, weeks, months or even longer. Given this information, it’s not unreasonable to say slipspace travel is just a teensy bit unpredictable, in terms of both length and exit coordinates.
With all this in mind, slipspace is extremely foreign territory to humanity, especially at the time of this experiment in 2547, which took place years before a whole host of discoveries leading to advancements in slipspace travel like the advanced engines installed in the UNSC Infinity. In Halsey’s notes, she documents synesthetic effects (experiencing a particular sense as if it has been experienced by one of more other senses, i.e. being able to smell colours) on her arm and neck, a momentary loss of awareness and, most interestingly, loss of time. That is, where a period of time elapsed whilst she was conscious, but she woke up later having no recollection of what took place in this “lost time” period, only knowing that it certainly took place. She saw that she had recorded observations during this “lost time” period, without having memory of writing said notes down, and then noticed later on that the same thing had taken place again, but didn’t remember writing her observations of lost time.
Furthermore, the AI construct she used in the experiment apparently exhibited beyond-exponential growth, almost instantaneous in fact and with no reports of any rampancy indicators. The AI also sends back communication bursts with “disturbing” comments on humanity, the Covenant and “other intellects in the mist”, plus an array of nonsensical equations. The experiment is then terminated with all evidence destroyed, with the pages then ripped out as a final deniability measure.
Nothing more appears to come out of this experiment, but it’s certainly very interesting stuff. With the end of Halo 5 showing the Created now taking a firm stand in the galaxy as holders of the Mantle, AI technology will be a serious talking point in Halo moving forwards. The experiment appears to show AI surpassing their seven-year lifespan, effectively “curing” rampancy by interfacing with slipspace, which may begin to explain exactly how Cortana beat rampancy and claims to be able to do the same for all other Created.
Are you pleased to see these pages emerge? What do you think of the experiment?
Let us know in the comments or on our subreddit!