|343 Guilty Spark|
Late 2552 (UNSC Military Calendar)
Floating, round-edged cube, with one "Eye" making the Marathon sign that is blue by default.
Blue and Silver
|Political information and functions|
343 Guilty Spark is an Artificial Intelligence construct of Forerunner origin. He was the AI, (Artificial Intelligence) Monitor, caretaker, and historian left to keep watch over Installation 04 and its contents when the Forerunners departed. He acts as the main antagonist later on in Halo: Combat Evolved. He is voiced by actor Tim Dadabo.
As with UNSC and Covenant artificial intelligences, Guilty Spark's programming prohibits certain actions outside of his function. He cannot, for example, retrieve the Index from the Library or unify it with the Core, instead needing a Reclaimer to carry out this task.
343 Guilty Spark is quirky and very well humored, although at the same time detached and analytical. Tens of thousands of years of waiting for a Reclaimer have left the Monitor highly unstable. For 343 Guilty Spark, protocol dictates all; the slight emotion shown for the death of an ally is truly grief only for the inconvenience of finding another to assist him. "Having had considerable time" to check and re-check the systems of Installation 04 in his masters' absence, it is possible that isolation has given Spark more than a slight chance for rampancy to occur.
Built by the Forerunners, 343 Guilty Spark had been present on Installation 04 for some 101,217 "local years" and participated in plenty of test firings and in one actual firing of the installation prior to the Battle of Installation 04. Little else is known about his history. Presumably he had been the Installation's first and only Monitor, attending to all of the duties pertinent to that station, such as aiding in maintaining the structure, combating any Flood outbreaks, etc. However, he became rampant at the attempts of the Master Chief to destroy the Ark, killing Sergeant Avery Johnson, which subsequently forced John-117 to destroy him.
The arrival of the Covenant on the ring instigated Installation 04's genocide, and the final Flood outbreak. Immediately putting long dormant contingency measures into action, Guilty Spark began to search for a Reclaimer and discovered UNSC Staff Sergeant Marvin Mobuto. Using Halo's teleportation system, Guilty Spark brought Mobuto to the Library in an effort to retrieve the Index. Ultimately, the ill-equipped Marine failed and was killed, forcing the Monitor to seek out another Reclaimer. The Master Chief discovered the body of Mobuto (which was mangled beyond usage by the Flood) during his own journey through the Library, though it can't be seen in-game, and marveled at the Staff Sergeant's ability to get as far as he had.
343 Guilty Spark and a few Sentinels moved to the Flood Containment Facility to aid the Marines and the Master Chief, who were battling the Flood. Here the Monitor recruited the Master Chief as the next Reclaimer, who he quickly teleported to the Library and began guiding to the Index. With superior equipment and training, and despite overwhelming odds, the Master Chief succeeded in retrieving the Index.
Taking the Index for safe keeping, Guilty Spark teleported himself and the Master Chief back to the Control Room. Here, safe from the Flood, the Index was returned to the Master Chief. The Monitor explained that he was not permitted (by his programming) to reunite the Index with the Core, thus activating the Installation. Only a Reclaimer could do so.
However, Cortana, still in the Core, took the Index before it could merge with the Core and explained to an ignorant Master Chief about Halo's purpose. 343 Guilty Spark confirmed this information, claiming that he had believed the Master Chief to have been aware of 'his' role and responsibility. With the Index in the possession of a hostile AI and protected by the now uncooperative Reclaimer, the Monitor turned the Sentinels against the Master Chief to attempt to retrieve the Index. This attempt failed and Guilty Spark was forced to seek an alternate way to activate the ring and destroy all sentient life.
After the encounter the Master Chief disabled the three Phase Pulse Generators, forcing their repair and delaying 343 Guilty Spark's plans. Disappointed by his lapse of judgment, the Monitor followed the Master Chief and Cortana to the Pillar of Autumn where he began to download the ship's data banks, being especially interested in the parts pertaining to Human history. He then disabled the vessel's automated self-destruct system to preserve the repository of knowledge he had discovered.
Although the warship's engineering room was protected by many Sentinels, the Master Chief was successful in destabilizing the power cores. Realizing the implications of the ship's destruction, the Monitor immediately made to flee the doomed ring. Moments before the ring was destroyed, the Monitor decided that he had done his utmost to fulfill his responsibilities. Later upon further reflection, when he was floating through space, Guilty Spark found himself happy as, ultimately, his purpose had been fulfilled: the Reclaimer had indeed succeeded in stopping the outbreak, even if it had been done “inelegantly.”
After Halo's destruction, Spark moved aimlessly through space (as seen in the after-game credits) thinking and re-thinking what had happened to him and how the Reclaimer had betrayed him and destroyed his Installation. He began to wonder how he made such a mistake in judging Master Chief's character. However, a short time later, Spark was saved by Sesa 'Refumee.
Within a few weeks of the ring's destruction, Guilty Spark was retrieved by a group of soldiers of the Covenant, to whom he was known as "the Oracle". Spark attempted to educate these soldiers about, amongst other things, the rings' true purpose. Exposed to the truth, one Sangheili in particular (Sesa 'Refumee) took a new, critical view on the Great Journey and, gathering other similarly minded Elites and Grunts, founded a new sect that denounced the Prophets and their Great Journey as false. These became the Heretics, who set up a base on a Forerunner gas mining facility in Threshold's atmosphere, where they continued to be "enlightened" by 343 Guilty Spark as to the true purpose of the Forerunner creations.
Such a state of affairs could not be tolerated for long by the Covenant and soon action was taken to eliminate the Heretics. This was accomplished quickly and quietly by the Arbiter and a team of special operations troops. In the aftermath, Guilty Spark was captured by Tartarus and given to the Prophets aboard High Charity.
Interrogated by the High Prophets, Guilty Spark revealed the nature of the rings and the means to employ them, which made the Prophets send the Arbiter to retrieve Installation 05's "Sacred Icon". After it had been obtained, Tartarus took Guilty Spark and the Index to Installation 05’s Control Room, using Miranda Keyes as the new Reclaimer. However, Tartarus grew tired of Guilty Spark's constant warnings. When the Arbiter and Avery Junior Johnson arrived to deactivate the ring, they first questioned Guilty Spark, so that he'd reveal Halo's true purpose. However, the Brutes were too loyal to the Prophets to accept this truth. 343 Guilty Spark escaped Tartarus' clutches and stood by and watched the ensuing struggle, reminded of the one he had witnessed on the Pillar of Autumn.
After Tartarus and his Brute Captains were killed, the control panel for the Installation began to show a holographic display. 343 Guilty Spark translated the display to Johnson, Miranda Keyes, and the Arbiter. The rings were now on standby, meaning they could be activated from the Ark. The Arbiter asked Spark where it was, and he directed them to a specific location, which turned out to be Earth, the Human homeworld.
Spark arrived on Earth with a Fleet of Covenant Separatists in order to help them search for a storage device. He found the object, along with Master Chief, and killed a Combat Form that was about to attack the Chief. After a tense exchange between the two, they put aside their past and proceeded to bring the device back to the ship. The device contained a transmission from Cortana that she was still on High Charity. She claimed she had a solution to stop the Flood without activating the other Halo rings. In order to discover the answer, the Chief, Johnson, Keyes and the Arbiter, along with Separatist forces traveled through the recently-opened Portal; Spark joined them.
The Fleet followed the Loyalist forces through the portal, and came across a large Forerunner Installation similar to the Halos but not in ring form. Upon touchdown, Spark sent orders to all Sentinels that the incoming UNSC and Separatist forces were friendlies, therefore reducing the likelihood of friendly fire incidents. Searching for Truth's location, the Separatist Sangheili located the construct's Cartographer. Spark followed the Chief and the Arbiter's platoons to penetrate the wall protecting the location, opening doors and providing Sentinels as backup for the assault. Once the Cartographer was found, Spark revealed they were beyond the rim of the Milky Way Galaxy and told the Chief the Installation they stood upon was the Ark. Using the map system, Spark found the Prophet of Truth's location several hundred kilometers away, but he was shielding his location utilizing a barrier installed by the Forerunners. At that moment, a Loyalist Phantom arrived, driving the trio back deeper into the hallways. Spark led them towards Johnson's location a few floors below. After the reunion, Johnson was nervous at the sudden appearance of hundreds of Sentinels, but Spark reassured him they meant no harm and were part of a primary task force, although, not being native to the Ark, he couldn't discern their goal.
UNSC and Separatist forces moved to disable the shield barrier protecting Truth. However, once the barrier was taken down, High Charity appeared from out of Slipspace, nearly destroying Rtas 'Vadum's ship, and spread debris and Flood everywhere on the Ark. Terrified of a complete takeover, Spark insisted that they focus their attention on the Flood. He was met with opposition from Keyes and the Separatist leaders, who made it clear that their first priority was to kill Truth before moving on to the parasite.
Once the Prophet of Truth was dead, the Flood began their infestation under the command of the Gravemind. Spark met up with the Arbiter and Master Chief after their initial escape, only to reveal that the Forerunner constructs began the construction of a new Halo ring, to replace Installation 04. When asked what he would do with the Halo system, Master Chief replied: "Light it". This cheered up Spark, who was thrilled the Flood would finally be dealt with for good. He went off to set up preparations for the firing sequence.
After rescuing Cortana from the Flood-infested High Charity, Master Chief, the Arbiter and Johnson landed on the newly constructed ring. Spark aided their progress through the Installation by providing Sentinels to combat the Flood. Once the initial wave of Combat and Pure forms were destroyed, Spark opened the main blast door to the Control Room.
Spark reunited with the Chief, along with Johnson and the Arbiter in the new Installation 04's control room, telling them the ring was almost completed. However, regardless of being informed that activation would destroy the ring, Johnson was adamant to fire anyway, determined to destroy Gravemind forever. Upon realizing this, an outraged Spark retorted violently and fired upon Johnson to delay activation of the ring, mortally wounding him. He made claims that the ring was his, perhaps driven rampant by guilt, having already lost a different ring. Seeing the Master Chief running towards his fallen comrade, the Monitor fired upon him and the Arbiter, knocking the Arbiter out of the room and sealed the entrance behind him. The Master Chief was left to face the Monitor alone. With the Chief on the floor with his shields down, Spark made it clear that he would stop at nothing to follow protocol and ensure the safety of the ring and the Ark. Although protocol stated that the structural integrity of Installation 04 (then 04.1) must be protected from damage, primary protocol overwrites this, which stated that an imminent Flood outbreak should be contained immediately. Thus, if immediate containment procedures would cause massive structural failure to Installation 04.1, and delayed action would negate containment procedures, the overwrite command should have been executed and allowed the self-destruction of the installation. It would then be fair to say that 343 Guilty Spark was defunct and ignored protocol for the sake of self-preservation.
The Chief engaged the Monitor in combat unsuccessfully and it looked like John was about to die when SgtMaj. Johnson used his Spartan Laser to blast Spark's protective casing, exposing him to fire. Johnson then gave his weapon to John, giving him the means to end Spark's rampage, and telling him to "kick his ass". Spark began to malfunction ever more erratically as John destroyed him with the Spartan Laser. After precisely 3 hits, he finally succumbed to the stress, and exploded.
Though, with his last sane words, calling John-117 "Forerunner", deepens the mystery, rather than solving it. This has led to much speculation, such as that of implying that John was a direct Forerunner descendant rather than just being influenced by them, though this may be a result of the Monitors' compartmentalization that limited his knowledge.
The personality of 343 Guilty Spark is somewhat egotistical and eccentric. The long period of isolation experienced by it may have contributed, or even been the cause, of much of this. 343 Guilty Spark is in a state of Rampancy; although he is still accepting of his role as Monitor, his pursuit of alien knowledge does seem to go beyond his purpose. Since it was his job to manage the Flood, he was also trained to learn. It was intended for him to learn so he could stand ready for any changes in the Flood. However this system is his greatest weakness and he applies it to everything. He loves to learn and to take records; even if he has to force it out. While egotistical much of the time, he seems to be aware of the limitations of his knowledge, such as when he perceived Installation 00 to be part of a Shield Installation, and not what it was all along.
343 Guilty Spark had quite an erratic and abnormal personality, and a disregard to Human and alien life alike. He seemed almost gleeful when, in Halo 2, he told Miranda Keyes there was no way for him to halt or cease the process, showing a great lack of respect and deference for Humanity and Covenant life. This may be due to certain programming parameters. He, like 2401 Penitent Tangent, seems quite eager to activate the Halo Array, perhaps hinting that there is a certain gratification they receive in helping their masters. His strange personality was shown in the way he would randomly and with no clear lucid pattern say things such as: 'Ah, I am a genius!'. In Halo: CE, when helping Master Chief, he was constantly humming and giggling.
It is also interesting to note that he finds the religious rich conversation of the Covenant tiring. Terms such as "Oracle", the "Sacred Icon" and "Sacred Rings" frustrate him as the Covenant, with their limited knowledge about the Forerunners continue to use obscuring, meaningless titles for various objects.
Spark's eagerness to activate the rings at the slightest provocation seems unlike the wishes of previous Forerunners, who, by Spark's own admission, had used the Halo Array as a last resort. Spark's behavior indicates he sees the array as the only resort, as he wishes to use it before the Flood has even escaped the ring. At no point does he attempt more productive actions, such as disabling and destroying any possible escape ships for the Flood to use.
343 Guilty Spark has only three known weapons. The first, shown in Floodgate, is a red beam that is similar to, but more powerful than, Sentinel Beam -- the beam is powerful enough to mortally wound Sergeant Johnson and completely drain the Master Chief and The Arbiter's shields. The second weapon is a force field projector that repels objects; it was likely meant to be used when overwhelmed by Flood. The Monitor is also equipped with a blue laser that can unlock doors on The Ark and deliver a painful but non-fatal electrical shock or laser burn.
Most of the time, Spark is untroubled with what is going on around him. When Sesa 'Refumee and Tartarus were killed by the Arbiter, he appeared casual, although he was remorseful when his new ally was killed. However, if there is an issue concerning the Halo rings, he will do everything he can to protect them. For example, on the level The Library, if the Master Chief dies, he will say things like "Reclaimer, we must keep moving! ...Reclaimer?" or "Hmm, how unfortunate". Spark was unaware that the Prophets had distorted the truth about the purpose of the rings. Spark's protocol bound him only to contain a Flood outbreak from Installation 04, so when Installation 04 was terminated his programmed priority was nullified, because his prescribed means was now void. It may have been at the destruction of his Installation that Spark became truly Rampant, since he was obviously abnormally protective of it. When it was destroyed his functions were meaningless and he began to act on his own thoughts, one of the symptoms of rampancy. This means that he no longer had a protocol-based priority prescribing his actions concerning the Flood - he was free to make choices concerning the Flood, as he did on Installation 05 when he assisted in the deactivation of its firing sequence, risking the containment of a flood outbreak. Also, after he saved the Master Chief from a Combat Form, he said that with the destruction of Installation 04, he only had one purpose left: to help the Reclaimer (the Master Chief) which Spark admitted was something he should have done from the beginning instead of trying to hinder him. This caused the two to put aside their differences and Spark to join forces with the Chief again against the Flood and the Covenant. Due to his abilities in connection with the Halo Array, Spark proved to be a powerful ally and seemed to take commands from Commander Keyes, Sergeant Johnson and the Master Chief and follow them without hesitation as part of his new function in life. When he discovered Installation 04 II, his priority protocol reactivated, and he adopted the ring as his replacement. An error apparently occurred when his containment procedures were reactivated and his operation prioritization off-lined, so that when SgtMaj. Johnson declared the intent to fire Halo, which would destroy it, Spark unhesitatingly killed him, despite their cooperation on the Ark and even his agreement of the plan there. He didn't care, because these rings were his creators' life work before they disappeared. Of interesting note is the fact that the containment of the Flood by any means should have over written any 'sentimental' attachment he had to Installation 04, thus his actions may have been further proof of his rampancy. It may also be possible that he was more protective of The Ark, possibly a higher protocol than containment.
There have been many elaborate speculations and analysis have been made regarding the origin of 343 Guilty Spark's name, history, and motives. The most notable question: what exactly is he "guilty" of? There have been many suggestions towards genocide of some form (one of his primary functions is, after all, initiating the eradication of all sentient life in the galaxy) but an alternate meaning of "spark" is to set in motion/activate, suggesting he is guilty of prematurely activating Halo, which might explain the absence of the Forerunners. However, due to Halo 3's explanation involving Mendicant Bias it's clear that whatever 343 Guilty Spark may or may not have done, he wasn't responsible for the destruction of the Forerunners. An alternative theory, is that the name Guilty Spark was given to monitor 343 when it was commissioned, similar to the names of military operations like "Gothic Serpent" from Black Hawk Down - hence there could be no meaning to the name Guilty Spark.
In Halo 2, he is no longer an antagonist, but still plays an important role in the plot. In Halo 3, he isn't an antagonist for the majority of the game and assists the UNSC and Elite forces as they explore the Ark with the Sentinels, opening some passageways for them and guiding them. 343 Guilty Spark, is briefly mentioned in Halo 3's terminals as "04-343" (He was the Monitor of the 4th Installation, followed by his call sign, 343), and may have had a role in the previous Flood outbreak and Ring Activation. People are now claiming he "activated" the first Flood outbreak, which is what he is "guilty" of. He may have chosen Guilty Spark for himself, knowing this information. This is supported by his quote in Halo: Combat Evolved, "Last time, you asked me, if it were my choice, would I do it? Having had considerable time to ponder your query, my answer has not changed. There is no choice, we must activate the rings." Considering that until that point, no character in the game except Cortana knew Halo's true purpose; only a Forerunner could have asked Guilty Spark this question. Guilty Spark also had a conversation with Mendicant Bias through one of the terminals in and recognized an alias for the AI, although Guilty Spark claimed he had little or no knowledge of the working of the Ark (Installation 00) prior to and after this conversation. Other theories state that Guilty Spark had undergone a similar rampancy as Mendicant Bias had.
It is also possible that, despite all of his knowledge, that 343 Guilty Spark may be the Forerunner equivalent of a UNSC "Dumb" Artificial Intelligence, since he only has his powers on Installation 04, and the fact that he said to the Master Chief when he was trying to recover what he thought was Cortana at the time, but was really a message. When the Chief asked him and the first part of the response was done, he said "You DID destroy my Installation. Now I only have one function, to help you, Reclaimer." Since his primary function was destroyed, he could not branch out and learn about how to further his abilities, further increasing the chances that he is a "Dumb" AI, by Forerunner Standards. At the Cartographer, he said "My makers have wisely limited my knowledge of all other strategic facilities." So he may be a smart A.I, but not given the information.