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(Redirected to Cortana Moments/Gravemind Moments article)

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Through the Halo 3 campaign, there are "moments," when either Cortana or the Gravemind telepathically address the Master Chief. During these moments, the player's movements will slow drastically, as will their ability to turn and face another direction. A screen effect will alter the display of the game.

For Cortana, this includes herself, as well as distorting the screen blue. Her voice will sound with a slight echo and her image will "jump" around the screen a lot. During a Cortana moment there will be a noise sounding vaguely similar to the noise heard if you place a seashell to your ear (the sound of the sea).

For the Gravemind, it changes the player's view, distorts the screen green, and tentacles can be seen at the edge of the screen, as well as the screen shaking violently depending on Gravemind's voice. The screen will shake far more violently if Gravemind is screaming or yelling in anger at John-117.

The Cortana moments depict her descent into rampancy, while the Gravemind moments are used to convey the point of view of the Flood. Checkpoints are usually attained after these moments. The player is almost never in any danger of damage while the Moments occur, which is fortunate, as you cannot move fast. It is possible in co-op mode for one player to trigger the Moment while the other player is behind fighting enemies that the first one skipped.



Cortana, in a Cortana Moment.


  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "They let me pick, did I ever tell you that? ...choose whichever Spartan I wanted."
  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "You know me. I did my research. Watched as you became the soldier we needed you to be."
  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "Like the others, you were strong and swift and brave. A natural leader."
  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "But you had something they didn't. Something no one saw..."
  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "...but me."
  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "Can you guess?"
  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "Luck."
  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "Was I wrong?"
  • (Cortana Moment): "Don't make a girl a promise...if you know you can't keep it."

These moments happen during a cinematic and Cortana's face is not seen except for the last one listed.

Sierra 117

  • (Cortana Moment): "Could you sacrifice me to complete your mission? Could you watch me die?" (repeated quote from Dr. Halsey)

This and the last Arrival Moment are the only times any NPC's notice them.

Crows Nest

  • (Cortana Moment): "You have been called upon to serve." (repeated quote from Dr Halsey)
  • (Cortana Moment): "You will be the protector of Earth and all her colonies." (repeated quote from Dr Halsey)
  • (Cortana Moment): "There will be a great deal of hardship on the road ahead." (repeated quote from Dr Halsey)
  • (Cortana Moment): "You will become the best we can make you." (repeated quote from Dr Halsey)
  • (Cortana Moment): "This place will become your home." (repeated quote from Dr Halsey)
  • (Cortana Moment): "This place will become your tomb." (The screen turns black and Cortana's face is not seen.)

The Storm

  • (Cortana Moment): "I have defied gods and demons..."
  • (Cortana Moment): "I am your shield... I am your sword." (Presumably a reference to Dr. Halsey's quote of how the Shield worlds were the Forerunner's "shields" and the Halo Installations were their "swords")
  • Cortana {Voice Only}: "This is the way the world ends..." (This moment happens during a cinematic and Cortana's face very briefly seen just before the screen goes black.)


  • (Cortana Moment): "Chief. {background mumbling} I can't tell you's not safe. The Gravemind... it knows I'm in the system..." {background mumbling}
  • (Gravemind moment): "Do not be afraid. I am peace... I am salvation."
  • (Gravemind moment): "I am a timeless chorus... join your voice with mine and sing victory everlasting!"

The Covenant

  • (Cortana Moment): "It asked, and I answered. (Her tone turns bitter) For a moment of safety, I loosed damnation on the stars."
  • (Cortana Moment): "I'm a thief... but I keep what I steal."


A Gravemind moment
  • (Gravemind Moment): "Child of my enemy, why have you come? I offer no forgiveness; a father's sins passed to his son."
  • (Cortana Moment): (A strange mix of cries of agony and manic laughter)
  • (Gravemind Moment): "Of course, you came for her... We exist together now. Two corpses in one grave."
  • (Cortana Moment): "A collection of lies; that's all I am! Stolen thoughts and memories!"
  • (Gravemind Moment): "And yet, perhaps a part of her remains?"
  • (Cortana Moment): (laughter, in response to the Gravemind)
  • (Gravemind Moment): (angry) "Time has taught me patience! But basking in new freedom, I will know all that I possess!"
  • (Cortana Moment): "May I speak with you, please?... What's your name? It's very nice to meet you!... You like games? So do I." (repeated quote from Dr Halsey)
  • (Cortana Moment): "It was the coin's fault! I wanted to make you strong; keep you safe. I'm sorry, I can't." (reference to Dr Halsey)
  • (Cortana Moment): I'm just my mother's shadow. Don't look at me, don't listen! I'm not what I used to be..."
  • (Cortana Moment): (panicking) "I have walked the edge of the abyss. I have seen your future. And I have learned!" (Repeated quote from the Cortana Letters)
  • (Gravemind Moment): (angry) "Submit! End her torment and my own!"
  • (Cortana Moment): (panicking) "There will be no more sadness, no more anger, no more envy!" (Referencing rampancy and quoting the Cortana Letters)
  • (Gravemind Moment): (angry) "You will show me what she hides, or I shall feast upon your bones!"
  • (Cortana Moment): (speaking in a flat, monotone voice as though brainwashed. Her image is green.) "This is UNSC AI Serial Number CTN0452-9. I am a monument to all your sins." (Quoting the Gravemind)
  • (Gravemind Moment): (roars) "At last, I see! Her secret is revealed!"


  • (Gravemind Moment): (taunting, angry) "Did you think me defeated?!"
  • (Gravemind Moment): "Do I take life, or give it? Who is victim... and who is foe?"
  • (Gravemind Moment): (enraged) "I have beaten fleets of thousands! Consumed a galaxy of flesh and mind and bone!"
  • (Gravemind Moment): (sadly, defeated) "Resignation is my water I ebb and flow. Defeat is simply an addition of time to a sentence I never deserved, but you imposed."


  • If you use the 3 Player Local Co Op glitch, during the Cortana Moments, the game will freeze because it was not meant for three-player split-screen campaign. Strangely, Gravemind Moments function normally.
  • The moments could be caused from the Chief's CNI, because Cortana would be linked to it, and the Gravemind would be able to control it by projecting Cortana's and Dr. Halsey's memories.
  • If you take a screenshot of a Moment from the Theater, it will appear completely black in the screenshot gallery, adding some mystery to the entire perception.
  • During any of these moments, you are completely immune to damage and will not be attacked even by nearby enemies, causing anyone who goes into a Cortana or Gravemind Moment to be potently invincible for the moments Cortana or Gravemind speaks.
  • Excluding Arrival (where it should still be noted there is a Cortana Moment before choosing your controls) there are 7 levels where the Gravemind and Cortana Moments occur.
  • Excluding the moment in Arrival, there are 28 moments in total -- 7 times 4.
  • If a Moment occurs while you're driving a vehicle, it slows down as well. However, if you are a passenger, then the vehicle goes at normal speed.
  • Moments will not slow down a jump, a melee, or attacking with something such as the Gravity Hammer.
  • The "It was the coin's fault" Moment in the level Cortana is a reference before Master Chief was brought into the Spartan II program. He identified the eagle side of a 21st century quarter that was about to the hit the ground before it did.
  • During the level The Covenant, as you enter the Control Room during the Cortana moment, if you look at the screens that, during the next cutscene, show the Prophet of Truth, you'll find that Cortana also shows up on them.
  • In one of the last Cortana Moments, she appears to be green. This is probably because she is turning rampant. In Halo: Combat Evolved, after spending 12 hours in Installation 04's Control Room, Cortana turns slightly rampant and turns green. This is because Cortana herself states the serial number, but the Gravemind, which have already infiltrated her systems, delivers the "monument to all your sins" part.
  • In the level Cortana, there is a secret terminal in the room where she says, "So you like games? So do I.". When the terminal is accessed, Cortana will completely take over John's HUD (as well as those of any other players, including Elites), mentioning the coin quote.
  • In Halo 3, she repeated lines Dr. Halsey has said before. One such line is, "You will be the protector of Earth and all her colonies.", which Dr. Halsey says to the 6 year old Spartans in Halo: The Fall Of Reach. Cortana also recites a few lines from the Cortana Letters in Halo 3 and in the announcement trailer.
  • In Sierra 117 the medic tells us that during the Cortana and Gravemind Moments, the player's vitals signs hit KIA, which may be the reason you slow down, as the armor functions using the users neural signs instead of muscles, which makes it still possible for the Master Chief to move even if his vital signs have stopped but his brain is intact and functioning.
  • During some of the moments, Gravemind dialogue from Halo 2 is re-used. In a Gravemind Moment, he repeats a line from the Halo 2 level High Charity when he broadcasts himself over High Charity's system in response to Truth, saying: "...we exist together now, two corpses in one grave." Another recycled line is from the cut scene during which the Gravemind introduces himself saying: "I? I am a monument to all of your sins." Since it is Cortana who repeats this line, it is likely that she is corrupted and it is therefore possible that all the "moments" were actually created by the Gravemind, to lure the Chief into a place where he could be killed and assimilated with no chance of escape: the flood-infested wreckage of High Charity.
    • It is also possible that the messages are meant to lure the Chief into areas where the Flood cannot achieve its objective without the bodies left in the wake of the Master Chief's assault. This is supported by the fact that a temporary alliance existed in the desperate moments when the Truth was about to activate the rings thereby ending all sentient life and starving the Flood. Seeing as how a previous Gravemind was capable of warping Mendicant Bias to the will of the Flood, it would not be unreasonable to assume he could damage Cortana and send the messages to the Chief. This would also explain why there is a storage device aboard the Flood-controlled Cruiser on the level Floodgate -- Cortana had no physical means to place such a device on the ship. It can therefore be concluded that the Flood played a large role, if not the entire role in delivering the message which would lure Master Chief to the Ark, and save sentient life for consumption by the Flood.
  • It is theoretically possible that some of the messages may have been made by Mendicant Bias. Specifically, the messages: "I have defied gods and demons" and "I am your shield. I am your sword" may have been made by Mendicant himself, referencing the Forerunners, who are the Gods, and the Flood, who are the Demons. It is important to know that when these messages were made, Mendicant was on the Forerunner Dreadnought, and may have been communicating with the Chief. The first message explains Mendicant's past and the second explains his intentions to help the Master Chief. The first line, however, could also refer to Cortana defying the will of the Forerunners (activating the Halos) and the will of the Flood (assimilating all life in the galaxy).
  • If a player is driving a vehicle while a Cortana/Gravemind moment the vehicle itself will also slow down. This is easier to do on The Storm.
  • After any Cortana/Gravemind moments, there will be vertical lines running down Master Chief's HUD (or visor). Either the armor's helmet automatically refreshes the visor or the Master Chief just want to clean/refresh his visor after the Moments.
  • If there is a background music playing during the gameplay, it will pause during any Cortana/Gravemind moments.
  • In Halo 3, on the level the Covenant, if you force a Warthog into the Prophet's Citadel (using the Wraith) and drive straight for the door, nonstop, you may activate both the Cortana Moment and the preceding cutscene at the same time. During this, the cutscene will have a bluish tint with two extra blue layers. This effect could be what causes screenshots during Cortana Moments to blank out. Although it could also have been a desired side effect of Bungie to prevent all but cutscene screenshots of Cortana from being taken.
  • The fact that the Cortana Moments affect the Arbiter is quite odd, as the Arbiter has no connection to Cortana, and has no CNI that would allow her to communicate to him, as Captain Keyes did to the Chief. Bungie may have overlooked this problem, or intentionally left it so it wouldn't be that only one player would get the Cortana Moments.

See Also


This article uses material from the "Cortana Moments/Gravemind Moments" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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