Be advised this entry does contain Halo spoilers. You have been warned.
I've lately been playing through Halo, again, and paid particular attention to 343 Guilty Spark, that annoying blue floating thing that dragged you through the Library, or more accurately known as the some what quirky caretaker, or "Monitor" in his words, of "installation 04" aka Halo.
I'm sure so many players, myself included, simply dismissed Spark as being a completely insane AI that had lost it, the fact he seems bent on protocol, seems to think he knows us for some reason, always calls himself a genius and giggles like I don't know what would give most people the impression that he is totally nuts and should be ignored.
However, after actually sitting down and thinking about what he's said, both in the game and in the book I reached a rather interesting conclusion.
Your first encounter with 343 Guilty Spark is at the end of 343 Guilty Spark funnily enough:
"Greetings. I am the Monitor of installation 04. I am 343 Guilty Spark. Someone has released the Flood. My function is to prevent it from leaving this installation. But I require your assistance."
This tells us that he's been around since the Forerunner (the people who built Halo), he was built to monitor over the installation, an installation designed to contain the Flood.
He transports us over to The Library where most of the dialogue with 343 Guilty Spark takes place:
"Speaking of you, who the hell are you, and what's your function?"
"I am 343 Guilty Spark," the machine said pedantically. "I am the Monitor, or more precisely, a self-repairing artificial intelligence charged with maintaining and operating this facility. But you are the Reclaimer--so you know that already."
The Master Chief didn't know anything of the kind but it seem wise to play along, so he did "well refresh my memory... how long has it been since you were left in charge?"
"Exactly 101,217 local years" the Monitor replied cheerfully, "many of which were quite boring. But not anymore! Hee, hee, hee."
He seems to know the Master Chief, and seems to believe the Master Chief knows what is going on. Also the 101,217 figure would seem to fit in with the time frame the Forerunners vanished.
"I would conjecture that the other species currently on the installation is responsible for releasing the Flood. They seem most persistent in their attempts to access restricted areas."
He refers to the Covenant as the "other species" this is interesting as it seems to indicate that he is unaware of who they are as he simply calls them "other", yet he seems to think he knows who the Master Chief is.
"Why naturally the Flood is simply too dangerous to release, and mass sterilization protocols may again need to be enacted. Of course, samples were kept here after the last catastrophic outbreak... for study. It seems... that decision may have been an error."
Seems to indicate the ring was activated before, the Flood destroyed and possibly the Forerunners, but some samples of the Flood have been kept locked up within Halo, which the Covenant - most likely accidently released.
"The installation was specifically built to study and contain the Flood - their survival as a race was dependant on it. I am grateful to see that some of them have survived to reproduce."
Now this is a very intesting line from the game, and can mean several things. On first read he seems to be talking about the Flood depending on Halo for their survival, but this obviously isn't right, as Halo is designed to contain and eradicate the Flood. So who is he really talking about?
"The installation (Halo) was specifically built to study and contain the Flood - their survival (the Forerunners) as a race was dependant on it (containing the Flood). I am grateful to see that some of them have survived to reproduce."
Who's he talking about here? He seems to be talking about the Master Chief as being Forerunner, perhaps he's just getting his armour mixed up, after all it's sheild technology is based on that of the Covenant, and the Covenant aren't believed to be innovative, only imitative, it seems a large portion of their technology is really just Forerunner technology. Guilty Spark getting mixed up here, quite possible.
"Mobuto, Marvin, Staff Sergeant".
If you cast your minds back to the Library level, you may remember a dead marine about half way through. In the books there is some detail on this.
"Ah," 343 Guilty Spark said, peering down over the Spartan's shoulder. "The other Reclaimer. His combat skin proved even less suitable than yours."
The soldier looked up over his shoulder. "What do you mean?"
"Is this a test, Reclaimer?" the Monitor seemed genuinely puzzled. "I found him wandering through a structure on the other side of the ring, and brought him to the same point where you started."
So here we go, Guilty Spark isn't only recognizing the Master Chief as the Reclaimer, a Forerunner, it's not just his armour, he sees all humans as being potential Reclaimers, all humans as being Forerunner.
Past the Library and onto Two Betrayals:
"Why would you hesitate to do what you have already done?"
Meaning we, the Forerunner had already activated Halo before?
"Last time, you asked me, if it was my choice, would I do it? Having considerable time to ponder your query, my answer has not changed."
What's he talking about here? It seems the previous Reclaimer (the one back 100,000 years ago) asked him this question, but why? Surely the former Reclaimer would be aware of the correct protocols, perhaps the last doubts of someone about to commit mass genocide and destroy their race in order to save the galaxy from the Flood?
Now onto The Maw:
"You can't imagine how exciting this is! To have a record of all of our lost time! Human history, is it? Fascinating."
He says this when he's tapping into the computers on the Pillar of Autumn, "lost time" to me sounds like he refers to the time we have been separated, from the destruction of the Forerunner, to the arrival of their survivors on Halo some 100,000 years later.
There are just so many odd things about Guilty Spark, even the name "Guilty Spark" why's he guilty? Hopefully we'll run into him again in Halo 2.
Well that's it for today. Hopefully it'll give you something to think about.