Human and Forerunner History
Bear detailed a lot of Forerunner and human history in his books, which almost feel like The Lord of the Rings of Halo, with ancient conflicts played out across a giant landscape that has almost as much personality as the characters. Because of the people living there under the auspices of the Forerunners, Installation 07 is actually one of the oldest sites of human habitation in the universe.
The Halo universe’s humans originated on Earth but have a history rather different from our own. In Halo lore, humanity is 150,000 years old and achieved spaceflight well before what we consider prehistory. They spread out to other solar systems but wound up in a war with the Forerunners. The humans lost that war (after humanity allied with the San’Shyuum) and were literally blasted back to the Stone Age, with history on Earth effectively restarting until it led to the far-future story that plays out in the games.
But some humans were also allowed to live on Installation 07, which was part of a Conservation Measure created by the Forerunners to index all sapient species in the galaxy before and as an answer to the spreading Flood. Bear’s novel Halo: Primordium follows humans living on Installation 07 and shows how Forerunners subjected humans to grotesque experiments to test their immunity to the parasite.
Installation 07 was fired twice, once by Mendicant Bias against the San’Shyuum, which are referred to in the Halo games as Prophets, the species that formed the Covenant, and the second time as part of a larger plan to fire all seven Halo rings to destroy the Flood. As you already know if you’ve played the games, the second firing wiped out all species in the galaxy for millennia. Fortunately, the few remaining Forerunners left alive managed to “reseed” (or repopulate) the galaxy with what species they’d “saved” with the Conservation Measure.
The events of The Forerunner Trilogy connect to the main villain of the recent Halo games, the Didact, a Forerunner political leader and military commander who resumed his war against humanity in Halo 4 after a near eternity in stasis. With him also comes the Mantle of Responsibility, a philosophical viewpoint that steered the entire Forerunner culture. It’s also a nationalistic flag of military and technological superiority, so the conflict over who holds the Mantle has been a major source of plot in 343’s Halo trilogy. By the end of Halo 5, Master Chief’s AI companion Cortana has technically assumed the Mantle by naming herself head of an AI faction and gaining control of the Guardians, robots built by the Forerunners to protect the Mantle.
If that sounds a bit vague and overwrought, well, it is. Halo 4‘s lore was busy and convoluted, either immersive or all shaky scaffolding depending on how you look at it. But it does explain why Installation 07 is a suitable choice for the end of a trilogy that began with the Forerunners taking revenge for something no human alive knew had happened.
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