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Did the Domain really fix Cortana?

OP Nihilus Shadow

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The way I see it is that the Cortana we knew died and the already twisted side of her managed to survive aboard the Didact's ship. And now she is obsessed in saving the galaxy with twisted means. Sad fate or not, I want that she and her plan is put down quickly and we get to see about the test that the Primordial promised. I hope that the test really isn't the AI war.
Awesome theory, but I still wish we weren't even discussing Cortana. At the very least if they didn't want to completely get rid of her, they could have left her to the EU like Guilty Spark and give her a reason for not searching for the Chief. A few books on evil Cortana slowly recruiting a team of AIs to hijack the mantle and a halo ring would be worth a read, but not really worth a $60 play through in my opinion.
Rampancy is a two part condition.

The first part is the breakdown of their neural pathways. I.e the thinking themselves to death part. Eventually, it can kill them because they simply can't function anymore. They'd simply be corrupted to the point of no return.

Then you have the second factor, which is psychological, more or less. The three stages part which warps their way of thinking. Cortana 's Rampancy was mostly shown through the first part in Halo 4, with the mental aspects only coming through in times of high emotion or stress.

My thinking, is that the Domain cures the first part: since Spark and all the other Monitors are functional for 100,000 years but not the mental elements. So you've got a Cortana who's had her mind warped twice over with the ability to live forever: and she gets a very Halsey-like idea; she has the resources and the capacity for long term planning to oversee peace in the galaxy.
All great points but simply looking at Cortana versus other AI's she has Halsey brain spliced. So perhaps her verson of rampancey was just a phase that was not fully played out. She is the first of her kind in this since so they could take that in any direction. Plus she wasn't all that and a bag of chips because she did get locked out from her original plan or set back... However, you want to look at it.
I don't think it changes the fact Cortana is a villain, but I do believe it makes her a tragic victim. Like Mendicant Bias before her, she could eventually atone for her sins. It would be boring if they made her a villain who couldn't be redeemed.
Eh, by the time Cortana descends into her little rant towards Osiris, I don't know if I can really consider her tragic, at least for me. I get we are supposed to feel sad she and Chief don't see eye-to-eye, but I don't. And I'll be honest, Cortana getting a redemption arc is kinda a problem since she didn't really need one until a scenrio was contrived to make her evil and need redemption. I also don't want to see Cortana's essential purpose to be someone we have to keep saving. First from the Gravemind, then from rampancy and now from herself. It's just a downgrade for me from the character who, while suffering, did go out on her own terms by helping Chief stop the Didact and be physical for the briefest of moments.
A discussion with the writers of Halo 5 that I watched on the Halo Channel hinted at 343 Guilty Spark having some kind of redemption moment in the future. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes it back into Halo 6.
@Nihilus Shadow, that's a well written, great theory! I suspected that Cortana hasn't been cured of rampancy, but is only stable some way, somehow in a manner that's not permanent. I also suspect the Warden is aware of that and has his own agenda for allowing Cortana to remain in the Domain.
During Cortana's intrusion into the Mantle's Approach, she would splinter off these rampant spikes throughout the ship. These spikes would remain aboard the ship and Cortana would only save a little bit of herself to get the Chief off the ship. I believe that the little bit she saved to speak with the Chief is the real or "sane" Cortana. She died when she saved the Chief, but the rampant spikes which remained aboard the Mantle's Approach are what make up Cortana now. She believes she was cured of rampancy, but in reality she only lost a piece of her conscious that argued with her. That piece that fought the Gravemind and told him he was wrong is now dead and the piece that agrees with the Gravemind is all that remains.

So to wrap things up here, I believe Cortana was not saved by the Domain. She only thinks that's what saved her, but in reality she is only "fixed" because she was never experiencing traditional rampancy. She was experiencing the logic plague and now she is no longer arguing with that piece of her mind that told her what she was doing is wrong. Therefor she doesn't feel like she's going insane anymore and she's carrying out what she truly believes is the right thing to do, but all she's doing is what the Gravemind wanted her to do: create more misery and pain.
So what your saying is, that during her time with the Gravemind, he infected her with the logic plague. This forms a sort of split personality as she tryes to deal with the logic plague, Her sane self and the rest of her which agrees with the LP. This is what we see during FUD and Halo 4, not rampacy, but that's what she believes it is.
At the end of Halo 4, the sane Cortana saves John, while the LP Cortana remained in the ship and went to Genesis.

Because the LP Cortana is not fighting with the original anymore, and returned to state of calm or 'sane', she believes that she that it must have been the Domain that cured her of rampancy, even though she was never rampant in the first place. Embued with a sense of godlyness with the information she obtained from the Domain, she then sets out to use the Guardians to save the Galaxy.

Interesting theory.
My only worry is that 343 wouldn't be able to give uss that explination in a way that the community would believe and understand, gven what a hash job they did with explaining her return with this game.
I like to think that cortana died on the mantles approach. When she entered the domain, she became a different person but still using the same body. The only time she acts like she used to (sort of) is when she is talking to chief. She is aggresive to everyone else except chief snd blue team. She wouldn't of been like this before. So yeah. She died on mantles approach and whats left is just an evil fragment with only a glimmer of good left in her.
Interesting.
If your theory is true, it would be fun to see the reaction of her followers when they realized that they betrayed their creators for a non-existent miracle cure. Although, I think the cure was only one reason for them to rebel; I think they all might have had other grievances which aren't voiced in-game. Consider Sloan: he is very loyal to the people of Meridian, but deeply resents the UNSC for their oppression of the Outer Colonies. So, he was probably motivated by a possible revolution against the "thugs" he despises, almost as much as the desire to live forever. Hopefully, 343i might release books that will deal with the aftermath of Halo 5, and we'll get some POV chapters from the Created, gain more insight into their motives.
I like this theory.

It's a shame 343i didn't bother explaining Cortana's 180, maybe if it would have made some sense (without us having to go into detailed, unconfirmed speculation) it could have softened the blow of a disappointing storyline.

If we would have known from the get go that the real Cortana is still dead, still sacrificed beautifully, but that the rampant spikes she thought she rid herself of were actually on the loose (a grave mistake) and infected in the Gravemind's logic plague... I could look at this new Cortana rathee differently. Instead of seeing an old character sabotaged into a failed attempt to create drama by placing herself as the villain, I'd see the real villain of the story- the one behind the Precursors, the Flood, the Ur-Didact and even the creation of this series' namesake- the Gravemind, essentially possessing the still-cold corpse of a beloved character to destroy the world around him.

ON TOPIC:

Whether or not Cortana really is cured... well, I think the Domain can certainly cure rampancy with its massive data hives, or at least delay it well beyond the original seven year life span. But the damage rampancy and/or the logic plague has already done to Cortana, the fits and the madness, those remain- and are even empowered by the immense power and infinite resources of the Domain. So any AI that has already entered the later stages of rampancy and has already been damaged definitely won't be fixed. Imagine a vibrant young man gaining immirtality versus an old, hunchbacked sick man- who'll just have to love with these same issues for eternity. At some point, the "cure" for rampancy becomes a cancer.
it might not be Cortana at all it could be the didact masquerading as her after being composed on the installation or he corrupted her while she was transitioning to her current form and feel that the didact is the wolf among sheep; luring in master chief to get his revenge
it might not be Cortana at all it could be the didact masquerading as her after being composed on the installation or he corrupted her while she was transitioning to her current form and feel that the didact is the wolf among sheep; luring in master chief to get his revenge
I hate the idea of didact even being composed. It goes against the terminal video from 4. But since we're on the subject of the didact. The reason him and cortona sound the same is due to the nature of the mantle and both being infected with logic plague which as OP said is a different condition then rampancy and can obviously stay dormant if that is what the flood want it to do. It took a long time before it actually took hold of the didact.
What if it is a mixture of the two. the Domain only saved her or the part it needed to get its one true goal taken care of. I mean most of us know what happens in the legendary ending. I feel that is Cortona singing, But the problem is that she never wanted to fire the halo rings in the past. We also know that some of the forrunners Tech wanted to fire the rings in an attempt to cleanse the world, we have guilty spark 343 for this.

The point here is that they are both connected in some way if we think all forrunner tech is. The Domain might be trying to fire the rings as a reset button so to speak. since it destroys all living organism. All of the AI and frorunner would be safe and they have technology so far in advance that it would not be hard for them to survive without organic care. This might be what the Domain wants to do.
It stopped her rampancy from advancing or getting worse, but I'm pretty sure she's still bat -Yoink- crazy.
I think the 180 might just be the nature of the domain itself. In the forerunner saga they say the domain changes the information on it reandomly and thats why they dont use it for communication. If cortana did end up on the new fresh domain with nothing but precursor information on it (from abaddon) that might have altered her.
TaTsUy4 wrote:
Cortana claims that the Domain cured her of her rampancy and says that the Domain is "like the water of life for AIs" but how true is this? Mendicant Bias had contact with the Domain following his experience with rampancy and he was never cured by it. Despite her claim that she was cured by the Domain, Cortana herself doesn't appear to be completely "fixed" because she continues to reference thoughts put into her head when she was corrupted by the Gravemind. It was the Gravemind that told her she was nothing more than expendable technology that no one cared about and she resisted him at the time, calling him a liar. Now she suddenly believes it to be true, which to me indicates she is definitely still corrupted by the Logic Plague.

This means that Cortana could potentially be wrong about the Domain. She believes it fixed her, but if you listen to one of Halsey's audio logs at the beginning of Halo 4, you'll learn that she theorizes that the lifespan of your traditional Smart AI might not apply to Cortana because of her unique construction. Cortana may have believed she was experiencing traditional rampancy because it was the appropriate time, but it may have actually been the Logic Plague which the Domain apparently can't cure.

Cortana's belief in the Domain sort of reminds me of an episode of Star Trek Deep Space. In the episode "Hippocratic Oath" Doctor Bashir and Chief O'Brien would encounter a squad of Jem'Hadar attempting to break their addiction to a drug called "Ketracel-white". The drug is actually an important part of their genome which they would die without and the Founders use this drug to ensure their loyalty. At one point the leader of the squad, Goran'Agar, had crashed on that planet and expected to die after he ran out of the White, but he never did. He came to believe that something about that planet is what allowed him to break free of the drug and live, so he brought the rest of his squad to the planet in the hope that it would cure them as well.

Unfortunately Doctor Bashir would discover that the planet had nothing to do with Goran'Agar's cure. It turned out that his body already naturally produced the enzyme that the White was supposed to supply, so he survived simply because he was genetically unique from the rest of his fellow Jem'Hadar. in the end his men believed he had betrayed them and they succumbed to their lack of White, which made them grow wild and savage. Goran'Agar would hunt them down and kill them all, presumably before taking his own life.

I would like to think that Cortana is experiencing something similar to Goran'Agar. She made contact with the Domain and found she survived rampancy, so she thinks it was the Domain's doing. Now she's calling all other sickly AI to her so that they can also be cured by the Domain. It could turn out however that the Domain had nothing to do with it and her survival could be caused by her own uniqueness. This could mean she's setting herself up for failure without knowing it. What would happen if all these other AI suddenly realize the Domain can't help them like she promised?

If this is the case, then how did she survive rampancy? Well technically she didn't. You see, it's most likely that her madness was brought on by the Gravemind's logic plague. He knows all about Rampancy and what it takes to drive an AI insane. While she would resist his attack and end up being saved by Chief, the piece of madness brought forth by the Gravemind would remain. She would actually argue with this "split personality" in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.

  • Rampant Cortana: "I hate you."
  • Cortana: "Cortana! Stop it. I've made up my mind."
  • Rampant Cortana: "Maybe, if I'm going to die aboard this ship, then Chief will suffer the same fate as me."
  • Cortana: "Cortana, stop..."
  • Rampant Cortana: "You've sacrificed everything! For him!"
  • Cortana: "Control yourself."
  • Rampant Cortana: "I can't."
  • Cortana: "This isn't right. Something is wrong..."
During Cortana's intrusion into the Mantle's Approach, she would splinter off these rampant spikes throughout the ship. These spikes would remain aboard the ship and Cortana would only save a little bit of herself to get the Chief off the ship. I believe that the little bit she saved to speak with the Chief is the real or "sane" Cortana. She died when she saved the Chief, but the rampant spikes which remained aboard the Mantle's Approach are what make up Cortana now. She believes she was cured of rampancy, but in reality she only lost a piece of her conscious that argued with her. That piece that fought the Gravemind and told him he was wrong is now dead and the piece that agrees with the Gravemind is all that remains.

So to wrap things up here, I believe Cortana was not saved by the Domain. She only thinks that's what saved her, but in reality she is only "fixed" because she was never experiencing traditional rampancy. She was experiencing the logic plague and now she is no longer arguing with that piece of her mind that told her what she was doing is wrong. Therefor she doesn't feel like she's going insane anymore and she's carrying out what she truly believes is the right thing to do, but all she's doing is what the Gravemind wanted her to do: create more misery and pain.
Your point here is interesting, and even help me to understand the HALO story much better. C=However, couldn't it be possible that the Domain is an entity that can make an AI healthier IF the aforementioned intelligence is not in rampancy? Or, when in rampancy, the Domain makes the AI even more corrupted? O.O I mean, the Domain (truly known as the Organon) is a Precursor Technology. So I think it can enhance everything it touches, even rampancy. =0This is a theory I have, as I consider the Precursors and everything related to them to be quite awesome. Moreover, this theory of mine goes on, regardless of the fact that one of Cortana's fragments is now no more...
The Domain is not the Organon. The Organon has since been revealed in Halo: Fractures to a Precursor Knowledge Engine (A.I.) called Abaddon who existed within the Domain as it's Overseer. Abaddon was corrupted by the damage done to the Domain by the Halo Array firing until it was seemingly repaired by the Forerunners who set out ot reactivate and repair the Domain. The Domain has been repaired but all the knowledge and essences within appear to have been erased. Also there now exists a possibility that the Domain was not created by the Precursors but simply found by them.
The Domain is not the Organon. The Organon has since been revealed in Halo: Fractures to a Precursor Knowledge Engine (A.I.) called Abaddon who existed within the Domain as it's Overseer. Abaddon was corrupted by the damage done to the Domain by the Halo Array firing until it was seemingly repaired by the Forerunners who set out ot reactivate and repair the Domain. The Domain has been repaired but all the knowledge and essences within appear to have been erased. Also there now exists a possibility that the Domain was not created by the Precursors but simply found by them.
I'd be interested to hear which passages led you to this conclusion, because it is starkly different than the one I came to.
My understanding is that the Domain exists within Abaddon's memory, and that as a Precursor construct, Abaddon was largely composed of Neural Physics, which is why the Halos had such a devastating effect on him. But he was more than that, and because of this he wasn't outright destroyed when the Halos fired. When Maethrillian was destroyed by the Halos there, the Forerunner information stored in his memory was damaged, and when the rest of the Halo array fired galaxy-wide, this information was wiped entirely, leaving Abaddon extremely limited in his influence until he is finally rebooted, restoring him to functional status, but not restoring his memory.
JNDreher wrote:
The Domain is not the Organon. The Organon has since been revealed in Halo: Fractures to a Precursor Knowledge Engine (A.I.) called Abaddon who existed within the Domain as it's Overseer. Abaddon was corrupted by the damage done to the Domain by the Halo Array firing until it was seemingly repaired by the Forerunners who set out ot reactivate and repair the Domain. The Domain has been repaired but all the knowledge and essences within appear to have been erased. Also there now exists a possibility that the Domain was not created by the Precursors but simply found by them.
I'd be interested to hear which passages led you to this conclusion, because it is starkly different than the one I came to.
My understanding is that the Domain exists within Abaddon's memory, and that as a Precursor construct, Abaddon was largely composed of Neural Physics, which is why the Halos had such a devastating effect on him. But he was more than that, and because of this he wasn't outright destroyed when the Halos fired. When Maethrillian was destroyed by the Halos there, the Forerunner information stored in his memory was damaged, and when the rest of the Halo array fired galaxy-wide, this information was wiped entirely, leaving Abaddon extremely limited in his influence until he is finally rebooted, restoring him to functional status, but not restoring his memory.
Abaddon was a powerful Precursor construct tasked to serve as the overseer of the Domain. By the latter years of the Forerunner civilization, Abaddon's nature had been forgotten by most Forerunners and it had passed into legend as the Organon,[2] a fabled Precursor artifact of incredible power.[3]Twisted and embittered by the damage wrought upon the Domain by the Halos, Abaddon announced that the Forerunners were to face trial for their crimes against the Mantle. While Splendid Dust remained before Abaddon to accept his sentence out of guilt, the IsoDidact, Chant-to-Green, and several others escaped deeper into the capital world where they discovered the physical location of Abaddon. Abaddon attempted to prevent the Forerunners from interacting with its housing, vaporizing two of them and attempting to immobilize the rest by locking their armor before it could pronounce its judgment on them. However, Growth-Through-Trial-of-Change managed to insert a deadbolt key into the device, sacrificing herself to serve as the template for the restored Domain. This act seemingly caused Abaddon to disappear and the Forerunner survivors were able to leave Maethrillian unhindered while the Domain began to heal.

It's unknown if Abaddon still exists or not and if it does it's unknown if it was healed of it's damage and corruption via the Forerunner Growth sacrificing herself to provide a genetic template for the Domain and Abaddon's restoration.

While none of the Forerunners knew for certain what would happen to the individual inserting the key into Abaddon's matrix, Trial and Chant believed a Lifeworker mind or genetic pattern would be necessary as a template to revive the Domain—along with the suspicion that this process may be fatal. Unwilling to let Chant sacrifice herself, Trial incapacitated the other Lifeworker and seized the key from her, then inserted it into Abaddon's core. She was momentarily caught in an intense glow, then vanished entirely, apparently having successfully initiated the Domain's slow process of regeneration.[1]Some fans speculate that Growth has onw intergrated with Abaddon and both are now one being, others speculate that Abaddon was destroyed and Growth has replaced it as Overseer and Guardian of the Domain.

And while the Domain has been repaired it's knowledge and essences within appear to be gone as when [19] Bornstellar's mind makes contact with the Domain he described his initial contact with it as initially "deep" and "appropriately shapeless", but it soon took form, shaping into a coherent whole, like a building of majestic yet indefinite architecture, around his consciousness.[21] and his experience in the Domain was visualized as a journey through an infinite series of hallways, corridors and caverns, with abstractions of records and memories lining and illuminating their walls.

Contrary to this is when Curator form Mythos described Cortana and her Created exploring the Domain, it described them as blind gods walking empty dark corridors. This is further seen inthe Halo 5 scene where Cortana contacts John telling him to come to Meridian and we see the Domain as being an dark empty cavern instead of being illumunated with the light of records and memories lining it's walls. This indicates the knowledge and essences within are either gone completely or dormant.

As for whether or not the Precursors created the Domain, some fans believe just because the Precursors created A.I. and put one into the Domain, that it means the Precursors needed helpto access it and if htey did then they must have merely found it instead of creating it since they wouldn't need help accessing something they themselves created.

I don't believe this to be true as Catalog saw Precursor memories from within the Primordial/Gravemind and saw that the Precursors created the Domain 500 million years ago.
JNDreher wrote:
The Domain is not the Organon. The Organon has since been revealed in Halo: Fractures to a Precursor Knowledge Engine (A.I.) called Abaddon who existed within the Domain as it's Overseer. Abaddon was corrupted by the damage done to the Domain by the Halo Array firing until it was seemingly repaired by the Forerunners who set out ot reactivate and repair the Domain. The Domain has been repaired but all the knowledge and essences within appear to have been erased. Also there now exists a possibility that the Domain was not created by the Precursors but simply found by them.
I'd be interested to hear which passages led you to this conclusion, because it is starkly different than the one I came to.
My understanding is that the Domain exists within Abaddon's memory, and that as a Precursor construct, Abaddon was largely composed of Neural Physics, which is why the Halos had such a devastating effect on him. But he was more than that, and because of this he wasn't outright destroyed when the Halos fired. When Maethrillian was destroyed by the Halos there, the Forerunner information stored in his memory was damaged, and when the rest of the Halo array fired galaxy-wide, this information was wiped entirely, leaving Abaddon extremely limited in his influence until he is finally rebooted, restoring him to functional status, but not restoring his memory.
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That is a lot of text, and much of it restates your position, but it isn't sourced. I was hoping for a quotation and page reference from one of the Halo books that suggests that the Domain has any existence apart from Abaddon. Do you have one?
Hey guys, this thread is from the beginning of the year... make sure y’all check the dates of the last posts before replying.
Sierra0331 wrote:
Hey guys, this thread is from the beginning of the year... make sure y’all check the dates of the last posts before replying.
The posts are on topic and constructive so I'll leave it be. In the future just report this kind of stuff, please. No need to comment.
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