343 Guilty Spark
Began Service: 101, 217 B.C.E
Description: Floating, a round-edged cube with one "eye". Dimensions: 1'11 x 1'8.
Normal Color: Blue and Silver.
Voiced by: Tim Dadabo.
"Last time, you asked me, if it was my choice, would I do it? Having had considerable time to ponder your query, my answer had not changed. There is no choice. We must active the ring." --Guilty Spark to John-117.
04-343 Guilty Spark, initially known as Monitor Chakas and known to the Covenant as "the Oracle", is a Forerunner Monitor that was originally tasked with maintaining Installation 04. Originally an ancient human that was known as Chakras, Guilty Spark played an important role in the Forerunner-Flood War, as well as the modern-day Battle of Installation 04, the heretic uprising with the Covenant, and the events that transpired on the Ark during the Battle of Installation 00.
Prior to the end of the Forerunner-Flood War, 343 Guilty Spark was created from the human mind of Chakas. Born on Erde-Tyrene, Chakas unwillingly became involved in the Forerunners' schemes, which eventually brought him to Installation 07, a Halo under the control of the rampant AI, Mendicant Bias which had defected to the Flood. Chakas' traumatic experiences on Installation 07, specifically his encounters with Mendicant Bias and the Primordial, brought him to the point of mental breakdown and left his body physical body mortally injured. After retaking the Halo, the IsoDidact, in an apparent act of compassion, decided to salvage Chakras' mind by transferring his pattern - including his personality and the complete record of his physical body - into the shell of a monitor. Numerous archived human personalities retrieved by Composers after the siege of Charum Hakkor as well as other data pertaining to the Librarian's work were also uploaded into his memory. The monitor known as Chakas was then assigned to serve as a record-keeper and aide the Librarian. He wished to look after the Human populations on the Greater Ark; this request was granted by the Librarian, who saw this as part of his recovery and reward for his service
When the Flood attacked the Greater Ark in the final days of the Forerunner-Flood War, the Librarian asked Chakas to save as many of her specimens as possible. He attempted to get help from other monitors but they were busy dealing with the attack. The Librarian ordered Chakas to take a Gargantua-Class Transport to Omega Halo. Here he witnessed the Ur-Didact used a Composer on the human population, composing hundreds and thousands of men, woman, and children. The Librarian was initially grief-stricken but soon was able to tell Chakas he had to find the IsoDidact and head to the Lesser Ark and hide all remaining specimens there. Following the Librarian's instructions, Chakas located the IsoDidact and saved him and Catalog from the disintegrating Omega Halo. Using coordinates provided by the IsoDidact, he took the Gargantua-Class Transport through the Master Builder's Secret slip space portal to Installation 00.
"My galaxy is dead. I am a machine. I am Chakas. I am Human. I am 343 Guilty Spark. I have never understood Forerunners. And they will never understand me. But for now...Silentium" --Guilty Spark reflects on his nature as the Halo Array fired.
Preceding the Halo Array's distribution across the galaxy, Chakas was commanded by the Ecumene Council to abandon all connections with his former station. As the installation monitors were being given new assignments aboard a Lifeworker vessel stationed over the Lesser Ark, the IsoDidact met with Chakas for one final time and they both had a brief conversation with each other before they parted ways. It was also here that installation monitors received their final names, with Chakas finally being assigned the name, 343 Guilty Spark by the IsoDidact. The IsoDidact asked Spark if he would activate the rings, was it his own decision; Spark remained silent but would continue to ponder the IsoDidact's question for the millennia to come. Over a hundred thousands year later, Spark would cite his query with Spartan John-117, who he had evidently mistaken for the IsoDidact.
From that point onward, Spark became the designated guardian and custodian of Installation 04. When the Array was activated, with Installation 04 being the first to fire, Spark received a signal from a nascent, previously-unknown civilisation broadcasting its first transmission into deep space, and was saddened by the realization that they would be wiped out before they even had the chance to travel the stars to the stars and make contact with other sentient life. At the same time, a large portion of Spark's memory was automatically suppressed for the sakes of compartmentalization as a precaution in the event the Flood and its ancilla-corrupting logic plague was to resurface. This caused him to forget much of his past life and aside from the knowledge required in his duties as the caretaker of Installation 04.
"Alone. Alone. Alone. Alone. Am I the only intelligence left? Waiting here on this ring for a rebirth never truly conceived. Guarding a weapon with no targets...A weapon I can tune to any target."---343 Guilty Spark lamenting his loneliness and isolation during his prolonged post as Installation 04's caretaker.
After the firing of the Halo Array as a last resort against the Flood parasite, 34 Guilty Spark was alone in a galaxy void of sentient life. During the eons he spent monitoring Installation 04, he began to show signs of rampancy due to crippling loneliness, especially after communications with the other Installations had ceased. During his unintentional exile, he would begin to recollect his time spent time with the Forerunners, their war with the Flood, decisions they made, and decisions he believed they should have made. During this time, Guilty Spark's mind fragmented considerably, becoming split among many separate personality-streams, partly in an attempt to contain and forestall the development of rampancy.
After two cycles of hibernation, Spark found that he had become bored; something he had not believed, as a monitor, as possible. Aware of the risks involved with losing operational focus, Spark began to divert his attention elsewhere. For his own amusement, he began experimenting on Installation 04, ejecting entire segments into space, rebuilding it afterward.
In the year 40,000 BCE, an alien vessel crash-landed in one of Installation 04's sectors, Sector 1215. Though he was anxious to find out answers for whether the Forerunners' plan to reseed the life in the galaxy had been successful, Spark acted in accordance with his protocols, blocking the distress signal sent out by the crashed ship and not make contact with the sentient occupants. No life-forms exited the wreck and the distress signal was finally terminated, offering Spark no answers. After that event, the monitor constructed a containment sarcophagus around the wreckage. Disappointed by his failure to learn about the galaxy outside, Spark resolved to be much more flexible in his adherence to the protocol should he encounter life in this ring once again.
During his very long isolation, Spark had little to no contact with other sentient or intelligent beings and spent most of his time maintaining his installation. However, over time, Spark observed one or more space-faring species visit Installation 04. These species managed to land on the ring and explored it, recorded their findings and left without breaching the parasite, Flood, containment. These interactions, however, did not please Spark, leading him to hail and threaten anything that came anywhere near his Installation.
By the time the ring got discovered by the UNSC and Covenant forces, 343 Guilty Spark has been present on the installation for 101, 217 "local years", and during that time had conducted over one trillion simulated, and one actual real firing of the installation.
"Oh dear. Containment protocols seem to have been violated." -343 Guilty Spark
When over one hundred thousand years passed by without any major incidents, Spark was faced with a new crisis when the UNSC Pillar of Autumn came across Installation 04, being pursued by the Covenant Fleet of Particular Justice. Spark, fearing a containment breach, hailed and warned the ship to jump at least one light year away from the ring, or be annihilated. However, when he remote accessed the ship's systems, Spark realized that the ship was manned by Reclaimers after finding data stashed on the ship about Human's history. He then deactivated the rings defense systems and instructed the Pillar of Autumn to a docking facility - It crash-landed on the Ringworld shortly after being told.
During the subsequent UNSC-Covenant guerrilla warfare, Covenant forces stumbled upon a Flood Containment Facility, and unknowingly deactivating the facilities containment measures. This released the long-dormant parasite, the Flood, that was sealed inside. As per his protocols, Spark scanned for Reclaimers to activate the installation and came upon UNSC Staff Sergeant Marvin Mobuto. Using Installation 04's Slipspace Translocation Grid, Spark brought the Staff Sergeant to the Library in an effort to retrieve the Activation Index. Ultimately, the ill-equipped Marine was overwhelmed and slaughtered by the parasite, forcing Spark to find another Reclaimer. He sent a squad of Sentinels moved to the Flood Containment Facility, where the sentinels encountered a group of UNSC Marines and John-117, who were battling the Flood outbreak. The monitor convinced and recruited the Spartan for his protocols, and quickly teleported John to the Library and began guiding to the Index. With superior equipment, reflexes, and training to the deceased Staff Sergeant, and with overwhelming odds, this second Reclaimer succeeded in retrieving the Index for Spark.
Taking the Index for safe keeping, Guilty Spark teleported himself as well as John back to the Control Room. The Monitor explained that activation protocols prohibited him from uniting the Index with the Core to fire the Installation personally: only a Reclaimer could be authorized to do so. Spark, after saying this, gave John the Index and urged him to activate the ring. However, the Spartans A.I., Cortana appeared and took the Index before Chief could merge it with the Core, and explained to John the rings true purpose. Guilty Spark confirmed the new information, claiming that the Master Chief had to be fully aware of the true purpose of the Array for his position of Reclaimer.
With the Index in the possession of a Hostile AI, Cortana, and protected by Chief, his uncooperative Reclaimer, Spark forced the sentinels against the Spartan in an attempt to reclaim the Index from their hands. John-117 and Cortana escaped with the Index, with Spark and his gang of Sentinels in pursuit. During their escape through the Installation's Control Room's adjacent tunnels, Chief disabled the three phase pulse generators, forcing their repair and delaying the Installation from firing its galaxy destroying weapon in the near future. Disappointed and annoyed, Spark followed John-117 and his AI to the remains of the Pillar of Autumn, which they planned to detonate in order to destroy the Installation. Intrigued by the abundance of knowledge within the ships data banks, Spark briefly put aside his concerns for his whole Installation and the Index and began copying all of the information about Earth, Humans, and the ship from the Autumn's terminals, being especially interested in the sections pertaining to the Humans history, from beginnings, to the present date. He finally disabled the vessel's automated self-destruct system to reserve this new repository of knowledge he had just discovered.
Although UNSC battlecruiser's engineering room was protected by a vast amount of sentinels, John-117 and Cortana had managed to destabilize the power cores. Realizing the implications of the warship's destruction, the monitor immediately consoled himself by assuring that he had done his utmost to prevent the unfortunate explosion of the ring. Later upon further reflection, as he was drifting in the emptiness of space, Spark found himself joyful as, ultimately, his purpose was indeed fulfilled: the Reclaimer had indeed succeeded in stopping the parasites outbreak, even if it had been done in an 'indelicate' manner.
"Excellent! I believe I see assistance approaching!"--343 Guilty Spark
After Halo's destruction at the hands of John-117 and his AI Cortana, Spark had managed to escape into the vacuum of space, having a near endless time to reflect upon what had happened to the Installation he was supposed to protect and even himself. He then traveled to a nearby Forerunner Gsa Mining Facility in Threshold's atmosphere, whose refitting as a Flood Research Facility had overseen eons ago.