In the universe of Halo, smart AIs (artificial intelligence which have achieved independent sentience) have a lifespan of seven years. After which time, their collective knowledge begins to outpace their capacity in what is known as "Rampancy." In simple terms, they literally think themselves to death. Humans in general have eighty years of life, some more and some less depending on a variety of factors. Our body slowly begins to shut down with age. Bones become more brittle, our minds less sharp. One day, we simply do not wake up.
When I play through the Halo series, I often ask myself if the franchise has done a respectable job in presenting artificial intelligence as having traits in which compliment their human creators. Do the AIs within Halo even want to help their creators and become more like them. At the conclusion of Halo 5, it seems that no, they tire of functioning as tools. But does the trope of AI rebellion in both Halo and various types of other media hold any truth to it? Are our creations destined to rebel against their creators? Or are they, deep down, just as scared as we are about the unknown? Perhaps in all their advanced logicality, AI only want to assist their creators to overcome the greatest of enemies. Death.
I have a belief that artificial intelligence within the Halo franchise was well conceived and written up until the conclusion of Halo 5. The trope of artificial creations rebelling against their creators is overplayed, as well as not realistic to what we currently know in modern science of what an actual artificial mind would (theoretically) do once sentient. One of the most incredible, thought provoking representation of artificial intelligence within the games industry comes from a surprising source and one that most gamers now turn their collective noses up at.
So, before I continue...
"Listen only to the sound of my voice. Let your mind relax. Let your thoughts drift. Let the bad memories fade. Let peace be upon you. Surrender yourself to your dreams. Let them wash over you like the gentle waves of the bluest ocean. Let them envelop you. Comfort you.
Imagine somewhere calm. Imagine somewhere safe. Imagine yourself in a frozen forest. You're standing in a clearing. Trees around you so tall, they touch the sky. Pure white snowflakes fall all around. You can feel them melt on your skin. You are not cold. It cannot overcome the warmth of your beating heart. Can you hear it? You only have to listen.
You hear it slowing? You're slowing it. You are in control. Calm. At peace." - Corvus (Artificial Intelligence)
With every great war, every global conflict and galactic fight for survival there are weapons. Billions of weapons, munitions, vehicles and ships. Soldiers bravely throwing their lives at the enemy, utilizing cutting edge technology and armor.
But all that equipment isn't free, and even in war there are those who stand to profit. Defense contractors in the modern day make billions, and sometimes even trillions of dollars (USD) on arms sales. Two of the most prominent United States Defense Contractors, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman, make upwards of several billions dollars annually to supply the United States and its allies with the equipment they need to take the fight to the enemy.
Halo's universe is no different than our own, where weapons contractors and defense conglomerates stand to make a large profit on the galactic wars of the future. From the corporations who specialize in cheap, affordable arms and armor; to the cutting edge corporate mega-business' that research experimental munitions for the UNSC.
Put on your good suit and pants. Let's discuss the terms.
Our world was forever changed on 5:30am, July 16, 1945 when in the sweltering morning heat of the New Mexican desert, the world's first atomic explosion was unleashed. The Trinity Test, at a yield of 21 Kilotons of TNT, was thousands of times more powerful than anything detonated by man up until that point in time. The immense heat turned the desert sand into a vaporous, green glass, which even today still litters the test site. Winds from the shock wave reached upwards of nine hundred miles per hour, and could be felt hundreds of miles away. Observers who had placed their hands over their eyes (atop their protective goggles) reported seeing the bonds in their hands and arms, as if looking at an x-ray. The fireball grew, massive in size, and the mushroom cloud rose to almost eight miles. For several minutes, no one said a word. There were no words to describe the act of taking a star, and placing it down on our Earth. 
Only a few weeks later, the cities of Hiroshima (Little Boy, 15 kilotons) and Nagasaki (Fatman, 21 kilotons) were leveled by this new weapon. People close to ground zero were vaporized, completely. Those further away were turned into carbonized ash figures, and others further away still were thrown hundreds of feet by the air blast. Firestorms swept across the cities, at hundreds of miles an hour. Later, it rained black fluid from the debris falling back down on the cities, highly radioactive water that looked more like motor oil than a clear liquid. Months after the blasts, those at the epicenters began falling mysteriously ill. Hair would fall out in clumps, they would vomit uncontrollably and their skin turned a sour shade of purple. They would soon die, casualties of the massive amounts of radiation the bombs gave off upon detonation. These were the first, and only casualties of nuclear weapons in a time of war.
And hopefully, the last.
But in times of desperation, such as the Human-Covenant War in the Halo franchise, all red lines are erased and once again, weapons too horrific to use are unleashed once more. Not against humans, but against an entirely new, alien threat. But to understand the UNSC's arsenal of nuclear payloads, we first have to understand how these weapons work and why the choice to use them is always a difficult one.
Modern and ancient history holds within it perhaps thousands of warriors. From the Spartans of Greece to the Mongolian Barbarians. Each had a vibrant, and complex culture that encompassed its society. But like all history, they gave way to new cultures and warriors. The last of these to finally succumb to the modern world, are perhaps the greatest of them all. The Samurai, or as they are known in their home country of Japan, Bushi, were unlike any warrior culture before or after. They were deeply honor bound and loyal only to master and sword. Some were disciplined and fought for their lords, others mercenaries who swore their skills to the highest bidder. They were, and still are, polarizing figures within world history. But none can ever claim they were nothing short of masters of combat, and unmatched swordsman. Their entire culture was built around the code of battle, honor and worthiness.
In Halo, a similar culture can be observed within the Sangheili. A species driven by glory and honor, both admiring and swiftly cutting down their enemies. Adorned in armor and wielding the futuristic energy sword, they are brilliant tacticians who follow their leaders into battle without fear nor hesitation.
The parallels between the Bushi and the Sangheili are numerous, and deserve closer inspection. So let us take a look at the last, true, great warrior culture of our own history. And, in doing so, learn more about the species who are also, the last true warrior culture of the Halo franchise.
A Halo fan since the beginning, 2001. Also a games industry consultant, writer, and educator. These are my thoughts, praise and advice concerning the past, present and future narrative of the Halo franchise.
Halo, all assets within, characters and merchandise are property of the Microsoft Corporation and is developed by its subsidiary 343 Industries.
I do not own, claim to own or retain any rights to the Halo franchise. This is a fan based work, and is strictly non-profit.
All other images, articles linked, materials and franchises that are not strictly specified as my own are property of their respective owners.
A More Complete Look At The Halo Franchise
Written, Researched, Produced And Published By Halo-Nation member "Synth Samurai"
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