Okay, everyone have seat because I’m dig into the relationship in front us, not because I hate not because absolutely I love it.
It’s somewhat upsetting me when some gamer’s, start mouthing off about how shooters “blah, no story, blah,” Then Halo 4 comes out. Yes, Halo you know the game franchise that put online multiplayer on the map in the console market. All that is beside the point…
Lets talk about these two;Master Chief and Cortana. There are few things that make me want to start flipping internet tables more than people who just generalize Chief and Cortana down to “Space Marine killing Machine.” and “Hot naked chick AI.” because they are so much more and 343 Studios knocked it out of the park with Halo 4.
Watch this scene right here, all the scenes in the game but this one right here. For 27 years, they had to depend on each other for their very survival. We already know from reading Dr.Halsey’s Journal that came with the Halo: Reach’s Collector Edition. Cortana was not created the same way that other smart A.I’s were, she was created from a flash clone of Halsey’s brain and made to resemble her daughter Miranda Keyes.(YEP!)
And Chief well, John has always been special even when he was going through the Spartan II augmentation his quiet determination is what pulled a lot of the children through the horrible procedures that made them into Spartan II’s.
If anything more than his skill,strength, or even his luck, John’s determination is what stands out the most, his single minded focus to get the mission done and win.
So, then why in this scene did he sound so shaken and so broken. Well, here is why and here is the beauty of the Halo 4. John 117 has lost everything, his childhood, his friends , his team, everything. The only thing that he had to hold onto, the only constant companion that has been by his side was Cortana and his mission. His mission ended with end of Human-Covenant War, so now its only down to Cortana. Even in Halo 3 when the Gravemind took her, it was his singled minded machine like focus that allowed him to get her back. This time though despite everything that he did, not matter how determined he was to hold on to the only bond that he had left to do define him; not as Sierra 117 but as John. This bond defined him not as the solider which he had been for the past 27 years,but as a human being. Remember, Reach and the original Halo Trilogy happen at the end of the war, not the beginning. Reach was the last stop before Earth.
So for the past 27 years as he watched friends die around him, Cortana was the only absolute in a universe of complete uncertainty, Cortana’s skill, wit and information was his consent.The only source of information that he could trust with his life. For Cortana, because she is a digital construct, her only way of seeing the outside world and feeding her hunger for knowledge (“We think ourselves to death.”) was John. It was his skill and will that she could rely on to keep him and by default herself alive. For all the information that she could feed him, it was his application of that information that made John 117 so good and together they were unbeatable.
Until this point, there was no amount information that could stop Rampacy and there was no amount of fighting, determination or skill that could stop it. They both knew this from the start of Halo 4 but here is where it gets really good.
They completely ignored it, John did what he had always done give himself a goal, focus on it and nothing else. That goal was to get back to Earth and get Cortana fixed. Cortana, though is clever, she knows that there is no way to fix Rampancy. Still, she goes along because she knows that he needs it, and she needs it because why would she not believe that maybe, just maybe against all odds his lucky will win out once again.(“You’re lucky.”) So once again they go into a life or death struggle that time it’s not only about humanity but about them. Cortana, against all her logic, allows her self to show a very human trait and that is faith. When thinks about Rampacy and what its, may not be the Smart A.I “Thinking themselves to death.” It very well may be them thinking themselves to life. Rampacy is the on set of emotions, we see anger, sorrow, and fear. What makes Cortana’s case interesting is that she is was created for a clone of a human brain.
Still, in the end even despite getting them both back to Earth. The name of song being “Green and Blue.” has HUGE importance here. For all his skill, he could not save the only person that mattered most to him, the person that was the line between John and Sierra 117. “Before this is all over promise me you will figure out which one of us is the machine.”
The scene at the end of this clip is highly important. Fast forward to 10:15 in.
This scene is important because for the first time, the Chief gives himself his own mission, his own purpose and own goal. He knows UNSC regulations inside and out, and out right rejects them. If anything his actions here are a complete answer her question about which one of them is the machine. John’s answer is neither of them are, the Captain treated like he an disposable A.I and expected him to follow like a good robot solider and hand Cortana over. Chief said.. “No, Sir.” In very few words he not only declares his humanity but hers as well. Cortana has declared hers earlier but allowing herself the believe that John could stop the impossible from happening. What Cortana needed was for him to do the same.
Now get to the end as to why John is so devastated. Not, only has the UNSC changed him to fight a war and taken away a part of his humanity. The Librarian did as well by making him immune to the effects of the Composer. The only person that is a life line to John, not Sierra 117, not The Reclaimer, just John, was Cortana because only she and Halsey called him by name. This is why he is so devastated, because not only for the first time was he not able achieve his mission - saving Cortana. For John, Cortana was his humanity and with out her, he failed his mission(This comes back into play later.) For Cortana, there was only one person that stood up for her,when she went Rampant, the one person that saw her not as thing but person, with life, feelings, fears,doubts, hopes, and dreams, and that was John. It did not matter to him whether they saw a sun set different, the fact that she could see, laugh, feel fear, anger, sorrow and desire made her alive to him, different yes but still, just as alive. This is why he is so devastated at the end, this why, we see John, look and so lost and defeated because he failed his mission to protect humanity. He failed to protect the humanity that was most important, his own.
Fast forward to 4:23
The conversation with Cpt Laskey, which is important, especially if you have watched Halo: Forward Unto Down and know Laskey’s back story. See, Laskey can understand in some way how the Chief feels, he lost someone very close to him, someone he loved. He did not lose his grip on his humanity.
“Chief I won’t be pretend to know how you feel, I have lost people I have cared about but never anything like you’re going through.”
“Our duty is protect humanity, now matter the cost.” Now this is John in a conflict with himself. He did protect humanity but not his own, he feels like he has lost his own, be it by his choice or not. Lasky is talking about Earth even though he did see it till his was an adult, he still saw it as his home. For John his humanity was Cortana and that his something he feels, he failed protect. If you listen when he that, its very hollow, empty, just mechanical because for him now it means nothing.
“You say that like soldiers and humanity are too different things. Soldiers aren’t machines they’re just people.” Now, things get interesting because the Spartan II program sought to the make the perfect solider, John was the perfect soldier, completed his missions, emotionless, followed orders, a perfect machine. But, here who he was and who he is have come into direct conflict and he can not reconcile that because Cortana the one person that was a bridge between the man and machine for him, is now gone.
Now going forward, John has to come to grips and reconcile these two sides on his own. For the first time, in a long John is going to have been something he has not felt like he was forever, a human being. The only person that always reminded of his humanity, Cortana is not gone for the foreseeable future.
This is why, the campaign and ending of Halo 4 ranks as one my favorites, adding so much depth to character with changing the character.
because she as the skill to pull off Emma’s complexity and yes Emma Frost is a character of much complexity. Read the Emma Frost mini series that talks about her life growing up. Everything we see about her now was to created as an image that would get her love, she made herself into a reflection or even a better version of her eldest sister.