Episode 9: Halo – The Fall of Reach Part 4

In this episode we wrap up our coverage of Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund

Kevin Erhard 0:01
Hey there, everybody. Welcome back to pixel lit. My name is Kevin with me as always is Phil. Hey, buddy. And today, we are continuing on our journey to find out what the heck actually happens to the planet reach because what's going on with what's going on with reach? We got this book called The Fall of reach that evokes the fall of the Roman Empire. Right? So let's, let's dig into it and find it. Find out what happened. Where we last left off, we had just finished section three of the book and now we are in Section four aptly titled, mule near or as the audio book would say Milner you couldn't couldn't couldn't let him go. couldn't let it

Phil 0:51
go. So we're on chapter 25.

Kevin Erhard 0:56
Section five, Section four chapter 25. It is a doctor halsy section

Phil 1:03
love love the Doctor halsy sections by the way.

Kevin Erhard 1:06
Yeah, this is like Dr. halls. These sections are like the this is going to be Lord dump slash What the hell is going on sessions?

Phil 1:16
Yeah, exactly. It's like I like to call them So talk to me mom episode.

Kevin Erhard 1:23
My, my room. The first half of the chapter is just kind of like a backdrop of Dr. halsy being upset that she can't have dasia active while she is reading sensitive material.

Phil 1:37
Right? Yeah. Because because it's just too easy to hack. It's too easy for you know that stuff to get out somewhere. Everyone's just like before everyone's really paranoid. Yeah. And they want to especially now that the Spartan project is now a hit like it has been given, you know, project. I almost called IT project Magellan. Project Mjolnir has been given the green light. And like, so hulsey is is even more important than before. She was pretty important before. So yeah, they're not taking any chances. So J.

Kevin Erhard 2:11
Emotion she she she was offered a promotion that she turned down because she wanted to remain in charge of the project. Exactly.

Phil 2:19
Yeah. And that's just like, she's, it's the it's the pure. I'm not in it for the money kind of thing. You know, like,

Kevin Erhard 2:25
I mean, she's in a funeral love.

Phil 2:26
Yeah. Yeah. She's in it for being mom. She wants to these are her children. Yes. She Spartan mommy is certain mommy. She's, she's, she's someone we can look up to. But then they talk a little bit about how after 20 years of study, they still have no idea what the covenant is all about. Yeah, they they and I point out here that they have done a pretty good job of keeping the covenant kind of shrouded in mystery. I think I think most writers at this point, even if it was just a throwaway chapter would have given us a chapter where it was like, from the point of view of someone in the covenant. Yeah. You know, and he has not done that at all. No,

Kevin Erhard 3:13
I agree. I actually hate those chapters, nine times out of 10, when we're supposed to get something written from the point of view of like, an unknowable force. Right, right.

Phil 3:29
Yeah, it's it you don't need, you know, me and my fiance just went into a quiet place to, and they did do a, they did a good job of like expanding a little bit on the universe in the first movie. But we both agreed they didn't explain most things. And we both agreed that's probably fine. Yeah, we don't we we're in the overexposed age of entertainment, where you need everyone to Michael Myers needs his backstory, told,

Kevin Erhard 3:59
you know, every detail every TV trope ification of storytelling.

Phil 4:07
Yeah, it's too much and it's not and it's almost never necessary. Every now and then you do get something that's interesting. And kind of like this book, for example. Yeah. You know, this book gives us background on on masterchief that we wouldn't have had otherwise. And it's done in a in a clever and interesting way. But he still keeps his cards close to his chest. They're still things that they're still mysteries to unlock, basically. So the fact that not only does the you know, the human population have no idea what covenants about neither do we is the reader and that's pretty cool. That's good stuff. And that's,

Kevin Erhard 4:47
that's fine. That's totally fine. I remember having this debate with that. Did you play control?

Phil 4:55
No, no. Yeah.

Kevin Erhard 4:57
It's basically kind of like x files meats, Twin Peaks. kind of game.

Phil 5:05
It's it's got it based around that. That one creepy pasta thing. What do they call that though? SCPs?

Kevin Erhard 5:11
Yes, yeah, yeah, it's it's kind of like an SCP game set in the Alan Wake universe. Okay. Okay. It's made by the same company, same director and all that stuff. There is in, in during the course of control, there are a lot of things that are brought up and never really explained. They just, they just are like, there's there is this this extra dimensional force? called the hiss that they just are? They are the the main villain. There is these, these other extra dimensional forces, there's this thing called the board. And they defy explanation. They just are. And I remember getting into a debate with a few people that well, control doesn't explain anything. Right. And my counter was like, it doesn't need to like it. Sometimes things can just be weird or unknowable. Yeah, ineffable. Basically. Right.

Phil 6:20
Right. Which we don't prefer,

Kevin Erhard 6:22
for no reason other than, yeah, you. You can't know what it is. Because there is no way to know what it is. It just sometimes

Phil 6:31
sometimes the monster is a representation of creeping dread in a communist society. And sometimes the monster is just something to chase you screaming down the hole.

Kevin Erhard 6:44
Exactly. There is there's they're both

Phil 6:46
equally good. If they're done well.

Kevin Erhard 6:49
They're both equally good if they're done well. And not to spend too much time on it. But another example is the the creature or the entity or whatever you want to call it. The thing from the thing?

Phil 7:03
Oh, hell yes.

Kevin Erhard 7:03
I'm serious. There's it? Is there a true form to it? Is it is there? Is there an original form of it? What's are its intentions? Yeah. The keeping it completely shrouded in mystery. Through the course of the john Carpenter film, The 1982, john Carter film actually increases the tension and terror and dread of it, because our characters, we the audience are in the same boat as our characters that we are following. In not understanding what is going on. And when you have somebody something like the covenants, it's imperative that if you're going to keep your characters in a state of mild panic, and confusion, and tension towards this enemy that they just can't scrutinize in any meaningful way. You have to keep the audience in the same position, or else that veil of mystery just falls away.

Phil 8:17
Right? the audience's awareness of the threat really shouldn't go much further than the protagonist in a situation like this. Yep. Or just kind of throws it away. But yeah, so long story short, they don't know much about covenant. We don't know much about covenant. And that's okay.

Kevin Erhard 8:37
That's fine. You can tell I've thought a lot about this. Oh, God, yeah, no

Phil 8:41
way to give you guys an idea. Kevin and I met in grad school for film studies. So there you go. Yeah, that tells you a lot about what you need to know here. So, as the the chapter continues on, we meet a very important character that we haven't met yet you meet, we meet the best girl, the best girl, friggin lover, we meet Cortana I love her. You love her. We all love her. She's adorable. And so unlike basically anyone in this book she did, she takes a level of smart activeness to the very serious military stuff that makes up most of this book and I it it is a breath of fresh air. It is wonderful to have that. Basically, they explain that she She is also a AI but she is what they call smart AI as opposed to Beowulf for dasia and they, you know, they're, they're, they would you would see as kind of, they refer to him as dumb AI, where they have a huge amount of information at their fingertips, but they lack a certain level of independence or a soul if you will. Right? When it comes to that and and through some You know, managing Cortana is this level of AI that can grow and has opinions on things and, and is more human, if you will. And they even say that the problem with that kind of AI, is they slowly kind of start to they start to become too self aware. And they didn't go into details or like what happens then. But I think we all know, you gotta you got to shut them down at a certain point.

Kevin Erhard 10:27
Yeah. Cortana would effectively die after an operational life of seven years. Yeah, they just, there's too much too much information. And I think the word that Eric nylund uses is creativity is one of the things that Cortana can do. And that's basically it's like synthesis, right? Yeah. Cortana can take multiple sets of data and synthesize something new and have an opinion on it. Whereas the other AI's are like, this is what you do. This is the best option at have out of this data, like Cortana might be able to come up with something different.

Phil 11:07
Yeah, there. Yeah, there's a level of that creativity that spark there. Yeah. And so basically, the idea is that Cortana was designed by Jose and is all see in a way and, and yeah, Kevin, you you kind of hinted at this in the last episode. I hadn't gotten this far yet. Right? And you basically implied exactly this, that Cortana is basically a younger holsey

Kevin Erhard 11:30
core designer. What is Oh, so they, Dr. halsy, cloned her brain, and then scanned it and that was Cortana.

Phil 11:40
And except that Cortana isn't held back by military mores and social mores. And so she basically just She's like a spunky er version of Halsey who would say whatever the heck she wanted, if she could. Yeah, and she does. Indeed she does. She's lacking Guile and filter. Right, right. And if you're going to lack filter, thank God, you're like Guile that is it. So basically, the idea is that Cortana is going to be a carrier, she's gonna have a carrier, she's one of the Spartans is going to have her in their new mule near armor. And this has never been done before having an AI at their fingertips like that. At any point in anyone's play. The Halo game knows basically how this goes. You know, it's having an AI a guide with you, no matter what. And that's, that is a indispensable tool. And Cortana seems to have a bit of a crush on john. She's it's kind of adorable, and it's and I was expected because, you know, last episode, we joked around about how I interpreted. Hall sees intentions as more of a romantic gait, and you interpretive, it's more of a motherly gait. And, and I ended up agreeing with you. I was like, Oh, shit, you're right. Yeah, that makes sense. But then when this happened, I started to think oh, I was right after all. But I will say it's kind of like it's it. There's something very innocent and sweet about it. It's not it's not a look at that. honka man like yeah, she's just kind of she she wants him to be our carrier. You get a very Tinkerbell and Peter Pan kind of vibe. Yeah.

Kevin Erhard 13:30
It could be very Tinkerbell on pant. And Peter Pan.

Phil 13:35
There was a section here where she's asking about him and and Hall sees basically kind of making sure that she has the right intentions on this and she says she turned to Cortana and stared into her odd translucent eyes. You read CSV? I'm reading it again right now. Then, you know he is neither the smartest nor the fastest nor the strongest of the Spartans, but he is the bravest, and quite possibly the luckiest, and in my opinion, he is the best. Yes Cortana whispered I concur with your analysis doctor. And then it gets into I didn't expect this. Read it. She says could you sacrifice him if you had to? If it meant completing the mission? Could you watch him die? And and Cortana makes it very clear that you know the mission comes first and she absolutely could do that. If she had to you know the the mission is always paramount. It that's a that's a very interesting place for it to go like

Kevin Erhard 14:35
yeah, Judy is still above all, no matter how much of a mother hen she seems to be with the Spartans. They have this like interaction and then they move on to other business which is selecting the new base ship for the Spartans.

Phil 14:50
Oh, yes, baby. We're getting the band back together

Kevin Erhard 14:53
or getting the band back together. And we're Oh, yes. Now like if if you've played the first Halo game, We're getting some things that you can recognize right off the bat. So they end up choosing basically the smallest of the cruiser class called the pillar of autumn. Pilcher is super old. It's it's been in service for it's been around for 43 years, which is a pretty long time for a spaceship and they pick it out because there's there's a bunch of like reasons they get into because it wouldn't stand out too much. It's kind of it's kind of good for a stealth ship because it's so old. Nobody would have any expectations of it.

Phil 15:40
Yeah, they wouldn't assume that some of the most important people in the entire army are on this hunkajunk Yeah, right.

Kevin Erhard 15:47
But because of the way because it was it was really expensive to produce because of the way it was built. It is actually virtually indestructible.

Phil 15:57
I love it. I love it.

Kevin Erhard 16:00
So the reason why nobody use them is because they were too expensive. Right Capra capitalism

Phil 16:07
it's just too beautiful. So she essentially chooses the pillar of autumn we get we're getting masterchief Cortana and keys all together and it's finally happening nerds it's finally happening.

Kevin Erhard 16:22
You had a potato to that some some garlic some onions you get a stool baby

Phil 16:27
gonna stew you got a Masters do a Masters do a Masters do masters do reporting for duty. No. Give me your master's degree You're so delicious and nourishing. Here even better when it's cold outside I feel so configured by your masters to just it's just a mess. After a while it's just it's just plate armor and and just like whatever leftover bits of carrot that

Kevin Erhard 16:57
nobody wants that carrot that I know he cares a carrot is fine. And the carrot is fine in the beginning but then at the end it's just like, just moshiri you're eating carrot and it's like I can't tell this is potato or rice is a sweet potato or carrot any.

Phil 17:13
I'm very grateful master stew but some parts of you I don't need I'm good. I'm full. Anyway,

Kevin Erhard 17:22
that skid was brought to you by Halo the fall of reach available on odd.

Phil 17:27
That's got to be our first t shirt. Oh, Master

schefter 26.

Kevin Erhard 17:43
It's it's more talking about the covenant. I mean, we've we've been talking about the covenant a lot. Chapter 26 is more like the Spartans are getting more lowdown on what the covenant is. There is they are breaking down the races that are in the covenant. There's the grunts, there's the jackals. Everybody knows them. There's the elites. And then there's the there's the scientists, which is the ones that john recorded on signac tennis for and then there, then there's the there's also the big boys. The premise, I believe they're called is that is that what they're called? I can't remember they actually don't say it in this chapter. I think that the behemoths. Yeah. behemoths. And then Oh, and I is it hypothesizes that there's two more. And this is kind of where this is setting the direction for the rest of the plot. Is that Oh, and I thinks that there are two more casts, there's another warrior group. And then there is the leadership cast, basically, the plan. And at the end of this master chief says, You sent a bitch I'm in.

Phil 18:55
Right, right. Yeah. And their plan is, by the way, their plan, it's, they're gonna capture a covenant ship. They're gonna hack the CPU to find the covenant Homeworld. They're gonna go there, and they're gonna capture leadership. It's really just that simple.

Kevin Erhard 19:10
It's just that simple.

Phil 19:12
Is that all like, Oh, of course, of course. I

Kevin Erhard 19:15
didn't really think of that before.

Phil 19:16
Yeah, I really feel like we should have had that done earlier. My God, man. And so but and they want to kidnap the leadership, because, you know, they figure they can broker some sort of peace treaty with a covenant if they have the leadership, and that gets kind of existential all over. JOHN, because he gets into and this is something they talk about a lot in Warhammer 40k a lot in the fiction with these super soldiers, these men that literally all they were they were trained to do. They were literally bred genetically to be the greatest warriors in the galaxy. And when you get the piece that theoretically, you're aiming for, what the hell do you do, right? What do you do with this guy? What does he become? armor like how does that work? Yeah, farmer, the farmer john one is one seven, I think. 117 Farms

Kevin Erhard 20:09
117 Farms who remembers?

Phil 20:12
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And just say it's a it's it's a pretty good question. And we certainly not a question has ever been answered in our history books. With what happens with those guys, when there's nothing left to fight, they find things, they find things basically, spoiler alert, they find things to find things to do. Oh, yes, and but most importantly, with this mission allsey has basically told the top brass she says, We are not going to order anyone to do this mission because it is basically a suicide mission. So we need volunteers and all of those volunteer, they all stand up immediately. Say I am Spartacus. And we're rolling.

Kevin Erhard 20:59
to chapter 27.

I love it too. It's, it's very action packed. In this is another one of those chapters where you are better off you the listener, if you have any, any intention of do of recording, not recording, what am I saying, of reading this book. If you have any intention of reading this book, Chapter 27 is one of the chapters that you want to really dig into it because it is so good. It is such good action, but the broad strokes, john, john arrives, he's on reach, he arrives at one of the many buildings bases on reach, who cares, they're all the same. And he is getting his mark to mule near armour that has Cortana able to download into it. And yes, and kind of merge it basically live in his brain. And they can kind of talk to each other because Cortana is in the suit. Now his reaction time is even faster now.

Phil 22:14
Yeah. Yeah. And she and she offers tactical advice. And she can she can look up very specific bits of information that he wouldn't normally have access to. You know, it's it's having a supercomputer in your armor. And on top of that, this armor has shields similar to the ones that the covenant has shown. Yes. So it is not only tougher, it's smarter. It's got, it's just fully loaded. It's fantastic. And it's, you're going to recognize a lot of it if you play the first game, the the the the shields, the whole thing. It's It's fantastic. And finally we have our smart ass member of the team locked and loaded and ready to go. Cortana immediately just starts. The first thing I think she says when she basically enters his head, and she says there's not a lot of room and it's just like some kind of read immediately right off the bat. But then it gets to my favorite part. And this is this is this is how it all starts off. And I knew we were in for some great shit. But this was hilarious to me. Let's say there's a moment where they're all there. He's wearing the armor. Halsey tells him basically that the brass the Oh and I brass have arranged a test for you. And the new mule near system. Dr. Halsey said, there are some that believe you too, are not up to our proposed mission. Ma'am, the Master Chief snapped to attention. I'm up for it, ma'am. I know you are Master Chief. Others require proof. And this feels to me like a band like a big arena band that shows up in Pittsburgh. And they're like, Oh, well, we were over in Philly yesterday. And a bunch of them told us the people in Pittsburgh didn't know how to party. And everyone in Pittsburgh goes Fuck you. Fuck Philly. We can learn? I don't know. Let me I know that that shear wasn't quite. You know, in Philly, they were really cheering that's exactly what it feels like. masterchief someone told me that you didn't know how to rock. He's like, Ma'am, I

Kevin Erhard 24:30
know how to rock ma'am. masterchief I was just in Cleveland. Cleveland said that Kelly knows how to rock harder.

Phil 24:48
He just said he like going every time he's every every bullet. He dodges every shot he takes you can just see him running foot Cleveland just just beautiful. So yeah, that was that's how they starts. Like the test obviously hasn't begun yet. But it starts when they're basically going. Wow, these guys these guys don't think you can you can hang masterchief I don't know, man. And so the test begins and he's going up against those. What are the combigan

Kevin Erhard 25:21
st guys?

Phil 25:22
Yeah these these young feet first into hell hardcore Marines and they are out for blood like they have been they're using live rounds they've basically been told tried to kill him Go Go ahead kill him. Yeah, trying to kill them and and and masterchief makes it human it kind of makes a point and he's not going to kill the reins Oh, he he means them terribly. But he basically says to himself that, you know, we need as many soldiers as we can get in this war. I'm not going to kill any of these guys. And in Cortana you know, she says basically questions what he's doing. And he says, you know my, my mission stated that I had to neutralize neutral not necessarily kill him. So that's what I'm doing. And I just love that he had to like that, please please don't be a psycho I suppose wasn't given in the orders. He was just like, I'm following the general rule 659 Don't be a fucking psychopath very threatening. Oh, okay. Really goes by the book.

Kevin Erhard 26:28
semantics. Cortana replied, she sounded amused. I can't argue with the results, though.

Phil 26:34
Yeah, I'm telling she's got a crush on him. It's adorable. It's adorable. It really is. And she does use Cortana a lot throughout the training. And basically, they're a terrific team. And it and it draws parallels to earlier in the book, when he was first doing his when he was a kid. And he ran and rang the bell before his team did. And and he had to learn about teamwork. And basically he learns about teamwork. And this again, we're not going to go into all the specifics. You really ought to read this chapter. It's great. But basically, after the Marines leave, they throw minds at him. And they bring in an entire Air Force down on his ass.

Kevin Erhard 27:14
Yeah. Yeah, it gets a little over the top. But

Phil 27:21
basically,

Kevin Erhard 27:24
like, but I don't think masterchief necessarily realizes that this was not supposed to be part of the part of the the test.

Phil 27:37
No, and he doesn't because he's still absolutely trusts in the higher ups and everything has a reason and just because he doesn't fully understand it, but they get through it. They get through the testing.

Unknown Speaker 27:52
You know, bleeding and bruised, but alive. He tears his Achilles tendon, by the way, yeah,

Phil 27:59
and keeps running and keeps running. And I remember I remember thinking, Oh, write the armor because to me that was like, I mean, it doesn't matter how awesome you are. It doesn't matter what a super soldier you're physically speaking you cannot run without your Achilles tent

Kevin Erhard 28:15
and it's that makes the whole bottom half your legwork.

Phil 28:18
Right and and so but then you're like, Oh, right, the armor he basically thinks his way to running. Yeah. So yeah, it's a pretty intense chapter. But then he gets through it and proves that they have placed the armor and Cortana in the right hands. Indeed.

Kevin Erhard 28:42
And then chapter 28 is just the it's it's just the gravy on top of that delicious meal. Because

Phil 28:53
you've heard that revenge is a dish best served cold. Yes. No, it's a dish best served digitally.

Kevin Erhard 29:04
Because Cortana is petty as hell

Phil 29:12
yes, because so Cortana is on the pillar Ivana and she's bored. That's basically like she doesn't sleep. You know, she's she's an AI and so she's bored. And so her first thing that she does is decide the brass that just put them through hell like that. The guy that was in charge of all of it, Ackerman he's gonna get a look. Oh, yeah, yeah, she's gonna get a little payback. And, and she and she agrees with the with the Master Chief's assessment that we need all the people we can get. So she isn't like gunning for him to be hanged, you know, or something like that. But she basically puts enough scandal under his name, that he's going to get dropped into a fight because he had been a higher up when it To like he had been seeing a lot of battles he'd seen right war. And then he went into the Oh, and I started doing intelligence work, right. And he and he basically was playing politics. And it was it was more of a self serving thing for him at that point. And so she sends, like, fake receipts from a whorehouse to his wife just did it just to make it clear that he's taking advantage of certain things and that he'd get in trouble and basically get bumped back down to being a battlefield commander again. Yep. And it's just it should just take such Glee in the whole thing. It's, it's wonderful. But she isn't done after that. Now, she's not know she, she decides she's gonna keep looking and she she ends up through a lot of chicanery and hacking and that kind of thing. Q I'm in GE if I'm in, I'm in it, she she slips past Beowulf, which I love.

Kevin Erhard 31:05
Like, I love the description of that. She knew Beowulf and Beowulf knew her and knew not to let her in.

Phil 31:12
Right? You say no, no, no, absolutely not. And she had Jeep tricks him gets around them and she basically finds out all about Master Chief's childhood kidnapping, and everything that happened and she has a like, kind of an ethical quandary. Yeah, you know, she, she, she considers that like on one hand, this is a horrible thing that they did to a child. It's insanely unethical. But on the other hand, he just might be the the person that's going to save the entire human race. And I

Kevin Erhard 31:46
think what that the thing I thought was really interesting, and they don't really go into it that much. It's like Master Chief actually died once before. Right. Right. It was like he was just, you know, he's like, he he died on a black op and was flashed clothed? Like what's

Phil 32:05
thrown in there? Like Western? Okay, okay. Okay. Cool. Like, it's just like Sunday through there's like, just in case I need to do a pre prequal make a little extra cash gotta pay for this car. In the end, she basically vows that she's going to protect him and and goes out the door herself goes into this kind of mom mode. with him. Nothing is gonna have that to him. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, she's she truly is Dr. Halsey in her own way. So it's a really, she goes from petty to really sweet in a quick amount of time. It's just it's one of those chapters that on its face might seem unnecessary, if you want to get if you want to get really nitpicky about it, but I totally disagree because it it tells us about her. And it shows us a bunch of sides that are and it's just good writing like an island is it's good writing just because it didn't have a bunch of bullets and bloodshed. It's still really solid. Yeah. And that brings us to chapter 29. And the pillar of autumn.

Kevin Erhard 33:19
Yeah, this is the this is kind of a shit has hit the fan chapter. Now the first part of it, but by the end of it, the chapter 29 is basically Captain keys giving his his pre pre leave inspection of the pillar of autumn. He's flying around it in a in a shuttle just kind of like looking at the outside, kicking the the metaphorical tires. Right? So the shape, if you will, noticing that there's like, there's guns that are hidden in spots that people wouldn't expect on it. All that kind of cool. Cool, neat stuff.

Phil 34:00
Yeah. All the kind of stuff that you as the captain of a ship would actually be quite giddy to find out about.

Kevin Erhard 34:06
And the ship actually has to AI Cortana obviously, then because Cortana is is interchangeable into masterchief suit. There's a secondary AI that handles the cannon fire. But

Phil 34:24
yeah, it and you get to see Sorry, go ahead.

Kevin Erhard 34:27
Yeah, no, it's neat. Just like kind of going through like, here's all the cool shit.

Phil 34:32
Yeah, yeah, it's more tech porn. Yeah, it really is. It's more it's more tech porn, more weapons porn for the ship. Very cool stuff. And you also get to see Cortana has interaction with keys, which I thought was really funny. Because when it came to hanging out with masterchief, she is a, you know, a total smartass. But when she is on the bridge, with keys and the whole crew of the pillars and autumn pillar of autumn. She is She's a total Pro. Yeah. It's really funny. Like there's nary a smartass remark coming from her. You know, it's, it's, it's pretty cool.

Kevin Erhard 35:10
Yeah. Later in the book, she puts a little a little, just a little twist on some of her phrasings. But

Phil 35:18
yeah, she puts a little stank on it later on. But for the time being, she's she's a pro. Yeah, we also get a really interesting glimpse into keys his head because as long as we're, as long as we're talking about Master Chief's kidnapping in the previous, you know, Chapter keys, finds out that the Spartans are on board. And and we get a little glimpse into his head that he's still haunted by his part in kidnapping those kids.

Kevin Erhard 35:49
Yeah, yeah. And I assume that he kidnapped most of them.

Phil 35:53
Yeah, I think so. I think you would. And it's funny, because you do kind of forget, at this point that he had that sort of that he had had kind of a scummy background. Yeah. Yeah. See, at this point, he is a hero with a capital H. And it's, it's, it's kind of a neat little reminder, right? It's,

Kevin Erhard 36:14
it's because when you think about keys his past, and maybe it's the guilt from the kidnappings that kind of fueled him into becoming a better person. Sure. And, and, and that's something. And that's something both Phil and I believe is that you can't let you you can always feel guilty over things that you have done in your past. But as long as you're feeling it to make yourself better, then it can be a good thing. But in this case, for keys, the thing that things in his past were previously refusing to testify against the superior officer who rightfully deserved the court marshaling. Right, for killing a bunch of people and also kidnapping, like 100 children. Yes.

Phil 37:04
I think Kevin's being a little too broad here. When he what he's not saying is that I kidnapped a bunch of kids several years ago, and have moved past it. And I'm not a bad person anymore.

Kevin Erhard 37:15
Yeah, no, that's

Phil 37:18
and and Kevin doesn't think I'm a bad person. And and he's correct. I agree. I agree. Yeah. Yeah. So. So we get we get all that. And then, as Kevin mentioned, before, we get the shit hits the fan notification that another fleet is being attacked by the covenant.

Kevin Erhard 37:40
Yeah. Basically, they were. They were about to leave off on their mission. They were like, they were ready. They were just about to jump into slipstream space.

Phil 37:52
And they might come nation,

Kevin Erhard 37:54
Lieutenant Dominic on comms gets the notification.

Phil 37:58
Yeah. And so it's like, Well, shit, I kind of have to make some changes to the whole situation there. And that actually brings us to section five. Yeah, and these last two sections are a little shorter than the other ones. And I don't know Kevin, do you want to let's make a finale out of this thing.

Kevin Erhard 38:17
Let's let's make a finale. Welcome to the finale of Halo. The finale

Phil 38:21
of Halo. The follow breach. Welcome.

Kevin Erhard 38:24
Welcome. Centrify their reach. There's like an entire chapter just dedicated to the message that they were so yeah.

Phil 38:33
Oh, no. Jesus. Bless you. Emotional human. Thank you. I'm getting emotional about fall a breach. Oh, she's, oh, no, no. Oh, no. Oh, cheese. So yeah, but the first chapter is just an entire chapter dedicated to today.

Kevin Erhard 38:52
Yeah. It's Oh, you know, so basically, this message is, there's a ship that is it's undergoing some stuff. And it has it has the basically was the coal protocol. They like because it's undergoing certain repairs, it can't be accessed remotely or something like that to detonate, right? So it's just this message, you know, like, pay it no mind chapter. Yeah. Chapter 31 have no impact on anything at all.

Phil 39:25
whatsoever, don't you kids worry.

Kevin Erhard 39:29
Oh, boy.

Phil 39:30
So in chapter 31, we get a new character.

Kevin Erhard 39:33
Yeah. Chief Petty Officer MC Rob

Phil 39:35
MC Rob. And he's basically one of the defenders of reach.

Kevin Erhard 39:39
Yeah, he's he's one of the the people who is he's on a What is it? He's on a sensing station. Yeah. Yeah. And they're there to basically make, just monitor the situation around reach.

Phil 39:53
Right. And then make a point of saying that, you know, this is a really important position. And job but they also happen to believe that no one would be stupid enough to hit reach a but guess guess guess guess guess what happens is Guess what?

Kevin Erhard 40:15
The covenants here, covenants here.

Unknown Speaker 40:17
Oh boy

Phil 40:19
Knock Knock bitches. Yeah, the covenant shows up.

Kevin Erhard 40:23
Big Bird gift Big Bird kicking the door.

Phil 40:28
Yeah, that's really it. It's It's It's a shit ton of them. And some like Rob immediately demands a purge of records, they've got to get rid of all their information because everything all the locations of every human planet, including the soul system are on board there. And so they need to purge immediately. But that data, as Kevin mentioned is offline due to repairs. Yep. And I don't think that's a coincidence. I'm sure that the covenant figure that out is the best time to show up. Yep. Yeah. And it becomes clear that they're going to be overtaken by the covenant. Yeah. So he it's it's fairly grim, sad moment that he initiates self destruct sequence and blows them all to hell, because everyone on the ship anyway on the Yeah. Because the if they get taken, then the entire species as they know it is gone. Yep. Yeah, that's really sad.

Kevin Erhard 41:33
Yeah. So it's, it's what about the astrophysics data? They're still trying to end the diagnostic cycle. But that could take a few minutes. And then MC Rob, basically, there's a there's an officer who is just standing at the self destruct and Mick Rob, basically, has the officer stand down and says it's already Lieutenant we've done the best we could we've done our duty, there's nothing more to worry about. And he sets his palm print on the control station, that chief he locks out the reactor safer, safety saturated the fusion chamber, and then the grabs last words are just one last order to carry out.

Phil 42:10
Yeah. And and that line about, there's nothing more to worry about, is that one hit me I'm not gonna lie. That one hit me really hard. Because you think about the fact that these soldiers and naval officers and everybody else, they are on a constant state of alert because of this massive war the entire it's not about nations anymore. It's about entire species. And he basically says, Well, at least we don't have to fight anymore. Yep. You know, you're not gonna have to fight anymore. You're not gonna have to worry about this anymore, because we're gonna be fucking star gust. And so

Kevin Erhard 42:47
it's over for us. So

Phil 42:49
right. And it is and he's, and he's right. And there's something like, that's the comfort he is taking. He's like, Oh, thank God, I'm gonna die soon.

Kevin Erhard 42:59
Have you ever seen Have you ever seen the movie? Finding a friend for the end of the world?

Phil 43:05
No, no, there's so many lists.

Kevin Erhard 43:08
Now, I won't get into that. But if it if it's like that, and melancholia, both letting go in the face of inevitable, like, inevitability, you know, just letting go with the fact that like, well, I don't have to worry about this anymore, you know,

Phil 43:28
right. Right. Yeah. And that's definitely what's happening here. And it's, it's grim it is and don't get me wrong. there's been plenty of grim moments in this book so far. I think this one is the one that has kind of stuck with me throughout all of it. It's it's a really sad moment. And it's a good bit of writing because we've just learned about this guy. It's not a long standing character, right. We've been through shit with and I still just absolutely fell for him forum. Now, this brings us to chapter 32.

Kevin Erhard 44:02
Yeah, yeah. And in this chapter, basically, they the it's, it's told from John's point of view, and he realizes that something's wrong right away. Not because he's heard anything but because he can feel the ship turning the nose, they're changing course. They're changing course. They were about to enter slipstream space and now they are knots. And basically, keys comes down to address the address Master Chief and basically the Spartans directly because Master Chief point savvy like well, they can hear you.

Phil 44:38
Right? Yeah, they can hear you man like Yeah, he just wants it first. It's just Master Chief because we'll just say, you know, they can all hear you on the intercom here. So you might as well alright, cool, fine. Everyone's listening. Great. Yeah, we're all gonna die. Basically.

Kevin Erhard 44:54
It's basically the we're all gonna die and

Phil 45:00
Sound less?

Kevin Erhard 45:02
Yeah, yeah. So basically they're the the pillar of autumn is trying to regroup to rally point Zulu and the Rally Point Zulu will come up several times because that is that's like the final. That's like that's like, you know, custers last stand. That is the Alamo basically for for the UN sc.

Phil 45:24
Yeah. And and if you know anything about Shaka Zulu and the story there, I talk about history nerd stuff again, I don't think that's a coincidence. Right. So he basically gives the it gives him a lowdown, there are over 100 covenant ships that they know of, that are approaching reach, and they got to change plans to defend, reach and, and, and for the first time ever masterchief kind of contradicts a superior officer, he says, I don't think we need to change our mission. Because in the long run, what we're going to what we what you want us to do, this could still work. So they kind of alter things and the Spartans are going to basically attempt to take a covenant ship and continue their original mission at very least,

Kevin Erhard 46:15
yeah, because the covenant ships are here now. So we don't need to go somewhere else to get one. They're here.

Phil 46:20
Right? Exactly. They're here. Let's just do it, you know. And that brings us to chapter 33. Like I said, you're basically

Kevin Erhard 46:28
jumps jumps forward right into the action, like, right is like is, like, shit hit the fan already for the pillar of autumn. Prior to this chapter starting like in between chapter 32 and 33. They have engaged now with the government.

Phil 46:44
Yeah, they go straight into it. They're like, Look, we've got like, 50 pages left. Let's just

Kevin Erhard 46:48
get straight into it. The sheriff? Yeah, the S.T.A.R.S. of ships are firing at them. And there's a cruiser base. This gets right back into, you know, maybe 510 chapters ago when we had the battle outside of sigma octane is the really hardcore space flight battle, the dogfighting the and they

Phil 47:15
talk, and they make comparisons to it constantly. Yeah, yeah, this is a similar situation.

Kevin Erhard 47:21
And keys keys does more fancy shit. Basically,

Phil 47:27
he does he does some really cool moves. The covenants got a brand new energy weapon that they've never seen before. That is that's basically like a sniper rifle for spaceships. Yeah, and narrow beam.

Kevin Erhard 47:41
It's like a mini it's like a mini Death Star laser. Basically.

Phil 47:45
That's exactly that's exactly what I thought of it like to Yeah, it's a little Death Star. And it's bringing down destroyers left and right.

Kevin Erhard 47:54
Yeah, they talked about the Minotaur, which is one of the largest un SC ships. Yeah, this beam just slices through it. It's, it's like, you know, blast of Death Star. It's like a it's like a ship shooting at a lightsaber. It just, it just, it just slices right through the minutes or, like cuts it in half. And it's like, it's like when in in a in a samurai movie when the guy has been cut in half. But he doesn't realize it yet. And he takes like another step. And then he goes he likes he like falls apart. That's basically what happens. slides in half. That's basically what happens to the minutes are

Phil 48:33
exactly exactly sit and basically the the covenant ships, they're losing a ton of ships. But they're still moving forward. And they're basically killing their way to the Supermax emplacements which defend reach. Yeah. Which are the things that were the reason that they were so certain that reach, would it be fine to use the Superman placements?

Kevin Erhard 48:55
The Mac guns are, are basically the weakness of the covenant ship?

Phil 49:03
Yes, yes, it and they've realized that and they put a lot of money and weapons into that. And they're bringing down lots of Covenant ships, but not before they start to notice that there are drop ships that are making their way to the surface of reach. So it does have a direct parallel to our last giant naval battle. Yep, they are. They are not. They are they? They're turning around. A lot of them are turning around, but because they need to, they're going to be dropping their shoulders off onto the ground.

Kevin Erhard 49:37
Yep. And then and then this is where Cortana adds a little, adds a little flavor editorializing at the end of the chapter. Captain keys and picking up another distress signal. It's from the reach space stack AI and you think if you think this is bad, wait until you hear this. It brush worse.

Phil 50:00
That's the end of the chapter. Like, thank you Cortana you, you're a beam of comfort and otherwise uncaring we're.

Kevin Erhard 50:12
And now we kind of like we basically get to that little mini chapter at the beginning, where he was talking about, there's a ship on, on one of the space docks that they, they can't get to. They can't do any remote access to. And chapter 34 starts with the mission had just encountered another snag, and if we know anything about snags, it's that masterchief hates them.

Phil 50:41
He hates snags, it's like Garfield with Mondays. He hates snags because they can't, I can't plan for snag

Kevin Erhard 50:51
I need I need art of masterchief like in the golf in Garfield's bed, like all curled up,

Phil 50:59
and just like snacks. We're covering a lot of good t shirt ideas.

Kevin Erhard 51:07
They're all good t shirt ideas

Phil 51:09
are all good. Vote, get on Twitter and vote for your favorite Halo t shirt. Winner will have their design made.

Kevin Erhard 51:17
So they get this Captain keys gets a message. And I liked it. The public key for the message is Red Rover Red Rover. I was like come on guys. Such Jesus. Are people still playing Red Rover? Well, there's clearly

Phil 51:32
there's Yeah. That's true. That's true. So I would I would assume Yeah, that. I mean, Red Rover is just a slightly more organized version of King of the Hill.

Kevin Erhard 51:43
Yeah,

Phil 51:44
yeah. So basically, at this point, the Spartans have decided that they're going to split Yes, they're going to in chapter 234, they've decided that they're going to split one, one group is going to go and get the nav data.

Kevin Erhard 51:59
There's a ship called the the, basically the covenant wants a ship called those circumference, which is on the reach space dock for repairs. And they they need and basically they they think covenant is targeting their circumference to plunder the nap database.

Phil 52:19
Yes, exactly. So one half of the Spartans need to go and defend that data and get it so that before they can get it and the other team is going to go and join the ground forces Yeah. On the on the surface of reach to defend the the area down there and john is going to lead the nav data up and he has this wonderful little moment of pride with his Spartans you know these this kind of Captain America they're damn good soldiers. Yeah, kind of thing. Yeah. Which means they're all gonna die. They're all gonna die. Let's face facts you know?

Kevin Erhard 52:59
It's a moment at the end of Mass Effect three where you say goodbye to like all your all your all your friends because it's like, this is probably it.

Phil 53:09
Yeah, yeah, it's like author damn good soldiers. So proud to have worked with you. We're you're all gonna die. You're not gonna die. We all know that's gonna happen. We all know that this is so so after they have this little moment and masterchief leaves with his team in a pelican and immediately runs into a covenant ship immediately. Like it means it's almost comical the way they described. They're like, okay, we're getting out of here and all fuck.

Kevin Erhard 53:38
So it felt the covenant frigging materialized a kilometer from the dropships nose. And like, that's the thing is like is like kilometers a pretty good distance, like, Well, no, in space, a kilometer is basically like, that's like no distance at all.

Phil 53:53
Right? The fuck there? Yeah.

Kevin Erhard 53:58
So it is it is there it is in front of them. So masterchief and this is where the book basically it's like an ant. It's like a it's like a boulder rolling downhill at this point. Oh, yeah. You were in chapter 35. And, and masterchief is like basically like,

Phil 54:17
Oh, well.

Kevin Erhard 54:18
I'm going to shoot a rocket and then he realizes he should not shoot the rocket. Yeah, it's like that fencer. It's different. In the back of my head. I think of the fencer films GI Joe cartoon, where you have the guy saying, Give him the steak, don't give him the steak.

Unknown Speaker 54:39
I will

Kevin Erhard 54:41
send it to

Phil 54:44
me this. Well, we will. For those of you listening we will we will share this on Twitter, at pink slip pod on Twitter if you don't if you also don't know what the fuck Kevin's talking about right now. I will share it. We'll share

Kevin Erhard 54:57
it so you can see it. Take this moment. Pause the podcast and watch out 30 minutes of the fencer films GI Joe pshs. And then come back.

Phil 55:06
Yeah, come back and join us. Again back. And we'll post that we'll post it on Twitter. We'll post that on the website. See? Cuz I need to see it.

Kevin Erhard 55:15
So they decided the best thing to do is to crash into the station.

Phil 55:21
Right, right. They, yeah, they just drop it well, because the Yeah, because the giant ship that's right in front of them ignores them, right, which is the reason that he doesn't he doesn't give them the stick. Because they, they assume that it's a dead ship, right? Because they've turned the power off. And so they're just kind of ignoring them. So he takes advantage of that. And they just they just crash into the stage. Flight, Launchpad mclamb. They don't know how to land. They've just got it. Everybody.

Kevin Erhard 55:48
Everybody gets like, tumbled about and yeah, they crash into the station, and they just go about their mission after. Right, right they

Phil 55:57
end up on the set now they're getting and they end up getting pursued by these elite aliens. One of the one of the casts that they haven't experienced before these big they're a head taller than john they've got a big mouthful of Chompy teeth. And, and and during a space battle and I do a really good job describing the battle because they are in you know space. They're in zero gravity. So even the slightest you know, kick in one direction or another can just send you spiraling off course. Yep. And sadly, that's exactly what happens to the Spartan James.

Kevin Erhard 56:37
Yeah, he James had already lost his arm at one point in an earlier chapter. He He does not, he has zero luck, he gets hit by a need lawyer, the kneedler blows up one of the tank of his thruster harness. And he basically just gets spun out into space.

Phil 56:59
Yeah. And and john wonders if he's dead if the enabler killed him. And I don't think he actually ever says this, but you kind of you kind of get the impression that he's like, Well, I hope he's dead then. He's just gonna be twirling around in space, slowly suffocating and starving to death. So I hope that Nadler did it. That's that's what I assumed he said again, but like,

Kevin Erhard 57:24
I really hope he dies a lot sooner right then.

Phil 57:27
Right? What a terrible way to go. Yeah. So again, because you figure their enhanced physiognomy, you know, and all that stuff. If they can probably go a lot longer without food, they can probably go a lot longer. They don't get into it, but you probably go a lot longer on smaller amounts of air. So it's just it's just gonna prolong how long it takes this poor guy to die up in space. This guy, he's just he he's just just he just he's doing his job man. He does his job and and he just gets shit on it sucks.

Kevin Erhard 58:01
So they continue on so now it's what is it? It's just Linda and the Master Chief now?

Phil 58:07
Yes, that was that was the it was Linda and James and Master Chief

Kevin Erhard 58:10
on this mission. He has a three person team and now they are

Phil 58:13
Kelly and Kelly and the rest went down to the ground forces.

Kevin Erhard 58:17
Yeah, Benny in the Jets went down, down down to the planet side.

Phil 58:21
Exactly. They took their electric suit, electric boats and mohair suits down to reach. That's just that's just what happened. So that's that's them. That's all it's left and at one point masterchief he takes on this elite alien one on one and after a long extended battle to calf's in fisticuffs just just just punching back and forth and tangling with a pistol you know the whole the whole pistols pointing you know the pistols pointing at me all that shit goes down. And, and and He notes that the alien is just as strong as he is. Yeah, just in his natural state which sucks. It's not fun information to have

Kevin Erhard 59:04
that is not fun information like like john has had. He's He's in this this battle suit. He is augmented he was the best of the best even before that, and the elite isn't even match for him. Right is like that's, it's crazy talk.

Phil 59:22
That is that is baby town frolics that is absolute insanity. So but he does manage to kill it. He shoots it in the fucking face. Like we all hoped he would, which is which is how you do, which is how you do so how you do and and he gets a he gets contacted by keys that asks him if he they've been able to succeed in their mission. He's like, No, we haven't even gotten there yet. away.

Kevin Erhard 59:49
It's like, Are you done yet? No,

Phil 59:53
no, fine. Thanks for asking, by the way, as he tells him and so he says Look, if you can't get the information, then we're gonna have to blow it up with the pillar of autumns weaponry. Yeah. So one way or the other, we got to get rid of that fucking information. Yeah.

Kevin Erhard 1:00:12
And that was the reason they didn't do that in the first place is because if the pillar of autumn did it, there is actually no guarantee that it would do the thorough destruction of the NAB database that was needed. Right?

Phil 1:00:26
Right. Right. It's kind of like it's, it's, it's, it's the internet, you know, it's like trying to blow up a computer that has it and there's no guarantee that you can't couldn't find it on another computer or something like that. It's just not as thorough. But if you actually get the naff data in hand and are able to do something with and that's it, that's a different ball of wax, right? This is that, that is a tech talk with Phil clearly knows what the internet is. He knows

Kevin Erhard 1:00:56
what the internet is and how to blow it up.

Phil 1:01:00
Feel the cookie store. I know what the internet is. So that brings us chapter 36. We are back on board the pillar of autumn as they

Unknown Speaker 1:01:13
attempt to destroy as many of the covenant ships as they can keep doing being as fancy as he possibly can.

Phil 1:01:22
Right. And they they know that there's this new weapons being used to snipe all these uncf ships, and they got to destroy it. That's their, that's their new main mission. And just like Kevin said before, he does some fancy dogfighting shit. Yeah. And it's really cool. He basically causes their shield to fall long enough that they could slip a torpedo in there. And, and then the shield goes back up because they're way too close to the ship and the ship blows up. At this point, they will also blow up. But the torpedo slips in under the shield, the shield goes back up, and then explodes taking out the ship. But the ship's shield system protects the pillar of autumn. Yeah, I love that.

Kevin Erhard 1:02:10
I was like, as like that is the coolest like, that was one of the coolest uses of shields in a sci fi setting ever.

Phil 1:02:17
Yeah, it was awesome. It is a great, great scene. It's It's fantastic. A chapter 37. Like I said, these are these things. They're speeding along here at this point. It's all bite size action bits. And we're

Kevin Erhard 1:02:32
jumping back and forth between it's it's at this point, it is just between the two main characters basically our keys and Rajiv?

Phil 1:02:44
Right. And so we come back to master chief and his Spartans, and they find the nav

Kevin Erhard 1:02:52
data. And I just want to say the chapter starts with like, it's got to be a reference to aliens. Because the opening line is multiple signals on the motion tracker master chief said they're all around us,

Phil 1:03:06
right? Oh, yeah. Oh, my God. I don't even think about that. Totally aliens. Yeah, they are.

Kevin Erhard 1:03:11
Yeah, they're surrounded by jackals specifically. They have hundreds of them, and jackals in case you didn't realize they're the ones. For those who have played the game and it's been a while or haven't played the game. They're basically they are what they they say they are they're they're these dog like creatures. And they are instead of a shield on their suit. They hold a physical shield in front of them. Yeah.

Phil 1:03:37
And they are a pain in the ass. Yeah, yeah, they're they they suck. So they're surrounded by hundreds of these guys. They find that the nap data and destroy it. They just they find it. They blow it up. Now they've got to get out alive. Yeah. So they are they they run into a bunch of Marines. And they commandeer a pelican and they're trying to you know, they're just using the onboard guns to just take out as many jackals they possibly can. It's it's if you ever seen Hot Shots part do when they have the the guys doing a Rambo parody and they're just blowing up people and there's this. There's this number bar that's showing you exactly how many people are dying.

Kevin Erhard 1:04:28
That's basically what's happening here. Yeah, the only problem is the CIO earlier in an earlier chapter, they had mentioned that the dockmaster ai had locks that had locked everything down tight in order to to protect the circumference from from basically invasion by the covenant. It it didn't do anything. Obviously the covenant found their way on. But right what happens is they say send a signal sends a signal to the dockmaster ai to open the outer bay doors but the dockmaster is not is not doing it and there is a manual release by the outer door and you you knew I knew it was going to happen as soon as it was said oh come on it is like there's a somebody asked to go out there and it's like the Jurassic Park moment of like,

Phil 1:05:26
yeah, oh, somebody

Kevin Erhard 1:05:27
needs to just go out down the down the road and throw the switch to get the power back on.

Phil 1:05:32
Yeah, no problem. Really easy. Let's have a cigarette with Samuel L. Jackson and celebrate. Everything's fine. Everything's fine. It's fine.

Kevin Erhard 1:05:43
There's nothing that's going to happen to me. Just turning the power back on outside down the road.

Phil 1:05:49
Let's not be silly. You're being paranoid. being paranoid. I'll be fine.

Kevin Erhard 1:05:55
It's going to be fine. Except it wasn't fine for Linda.

Phil 1:05:57
It's she's it she

Kevin Erhard 1:05:58
wasn't the shit killed out of her

Phil 1:06:02
fucking aced which is just one shot after the other she just gets peppered to the point where they pull out the the Pelican, they hop out they load her back in and this is how tough the fucking Spartans are. She's, she's just been perforated. And and she's just like, and she just kind of looks up at it. Did we win? And she's like, no, it's fine. We won. And those are her last words. And it's like it made me think of what was it the walk hard movie where the kid gets chopped in half with a machete and he looks his brother goes Listen, man, this is pretty bad. I'm probably not gonna get I'm probably not gonna live through this. She got killed and she

Kevin Erhard 1:06:53
Yeah, she rolled a net one on a death save. The dm basically said to her, you want it you have any last words?

Phil 1:07:03
Yeah. Do you have any cool last words? That's all I can offer you at this point? Yeah, and so he is the last survivor of that mission. Yep. And they make it back to the the pillar of autumn and mash chief and keys find each other and slow motion hug yeah. Oh yeah, absolutely. Just just it was it's a beautiful moment. And and and Massachusetts to him when are we going to go pick up my other guys the ground because because GIS is like we're getting the fuck out of here. Yeah, man like mission Mission complete. Let's go Yeah, yeah, we're gone. And and, and Massachusetts. When are we going to go get my other Spartans and key says we're not we are not going to be getting them they got overrun. They didn't even make orbit.

Kevin Erhard 1:07:57
They're like they're probably dead.

Phil 1:07:59
Now Yeah, they're gone. And as chiefs like okay, well can we send a search party down there to find him? He goes, No, like absolutely not

Kevin Erhard 1:08:09
covenant one we're going

Phil 1:08:11
right Yeah. Which is basically it like like look the women is that we we got the nav data and and blew that up before they could so so Earth is safe the solar system is safe. Reach is gone. This is this is all we can hope for this is as good of a victory as we can hope for and and it really frustrates masterchief because this is kind of one of the this is one of those first moments for him that there's literally nothing he can do to save his soldiers or to save reach. And he wonders if he's the only Spartan left at this point. Right. And then he we have a brief moment where he recognizes some symbols on the nav but he can't quite you know recognize why he recognizes them. Yeah. And and that's kind of just seated right there.

Kevin Erhard 1:09:05
Yeah. And and that's so like, the the story proper that is that's the end. We then we move on to the epilogue.

Phil 1:09:16
Yeah, we no onward to the epilogue reaches reaches glassed

Kevin Erhard 1:09:21
though, and reaches gone, and it sets up that masterchief is possibly the only Spartan left. Now, there's been a bajillion Halo games, we know, we know there are Spartans that lived through this. But right at this point, it basically is dovetailing into the beginning of the first Halo game where because one of the questions in the back of my mind is like in the beginning of first Halo game, there's only one Spartan on the ship. That's masterchief there's nobody else like what Yeah, I don't get it. And then we're like, oh, this area is it's like it's like a prequel. You know, where it is a prequel, but it's one of the prequels where it's like, well, I know all these people have to die.

Phil 1:10:06
Right? Right. When you read if you've played Halo, and you and you've read this book, you're like, oh, something's gonna happen.

Kevin Erhard 1:10:13
something's gonna happen. So, yeah, reaches glassed and all other Spartans, including fast girl Kelly are assumed dead,

Phil 1:10:27
assumed dead. But not all hope is lost. In the epilogue, we find out that Cortana basically the the the symbols that masterchief recognize, she basically runs through a billion different processes of what they could be what they could mean. While they're in slipstream. Yeah, and she will not want that while they're in selection. And she, she, she determines basically that there is she figures out a navigational route based on those symbols. And they know that there's something there that a covenant wants.

Kevin Erhard 1:11:05
Yep. And going there and going there would be cold protocol compliant. So

Phil 1:11:12
yep, so they go and and there was it's a really kind of sad moment. Because I hadn't thought about at this point, while they were in slipstream. Cortana kind of wonders if hulsey was on reach. Yeah. And whatever happened to her hope we get out. Does she get off? Is she alive? She did. She has no idea. Right? And so they're going through slipstream? It's unclear at this point, if covenant was able to follow them through the slipstream, but when they get to their coordinates, they see Halo for the first time.

Kevin Erhard 1:11:41
Yep, there it is. The the Halo, the titular halo of the Halo series.

Phil 1:11:48
Yeah. And for those of you who have not played Halo do not know what the heck we're talking about. I think they did a pretty good job of describing and I'll give this a little read. Sure. The objects spun serenely in the heavens. The outer surface was gray metal, reflecting the brilliant star light. From this distance, the surface of the object seemed to be engraved with deep ornate geometric patterns. So it's this massive heavenly object. If that's a halo, it's a ring. Yeah. And it's their first time seeing this. And for the first time, Cortana has no idea what the hell is going on. They Kees asks her, what is that? And she runs through a bunch of different ideas and finally comes up with

Kevin Erhard 1:12:38
I have no idea. She processes the question for three seconds. And if you know anything about AI eyes, three seconds is probably like,

Phil 1:12:47
forever. That was like a long dinner for her with a bottle of wine and a nice, you know, steak trying to ponder What the heck they were looking at. Yeah. Yeah, sorry, I get most of my best ideas done when I'm eating. It's it's why I'm fat and accomplished. And that brings us to the end of Halo the fall of reach. Yeah.

Kevin Erhard 1:13:16
And it is. You said it I think a couple times in the previous episodes for covering Halo. The book has is better than it has any right being

Phil 1:13:28
there's no reason or reason. Because they do set it up and having just finished Halo again. They are setting it up. Like the video game Halo picks up immediately immediately after this epilogue.

Kevin Erhard 1:13:45
The epilogue ends and Halo begins with the covenant ships exiting slipstream. speights.

Phil 1:13:51
Right. And, and, and masterchief coming out of hypersleep it's it's, it's immediate. And I really enjoyed playing Halo. I really enjoyed it. It's you can see why it's as important of a franchise it is as it is just from the first game. The music's incredible the world buildings incredible. It holds up for a lot of different reasons. Yeah. Um, but it's not a complex narrative. No, you know, it's, it's fine. It's, it's, it's cool. And it's interesting. But it's it's James Cameron at best. Now, as the games progressed, they get a little more ambitious and it becomes a little bigger and that kind of thing. But this book, they went to Eric nylund. I don't know what the conversation was. But at some point, someone said, Nah, Fuck this. It's got to be a really good book. Let's just make a good book. You know, it's something more than just, you know, and then we blow up another guy and then he blew up another bracket Exactly. We don't need Halo is not a naval battles game. We didn't need several in Engaging exciting naval battles. And Boeing got them. Well, we got them, but we got them. And I gotta say for the second book we've read on this podcast. I mean, this is this is hands down the best one. So far, so far this

Kevin Erhard 1:15:16
is ranking number one out of two

Phil 1:15:18
out of two out of two and and I would be very interested because you know it kind of like the Resident Evil series where the first one we read that was a novelization of the first game. And the second one is an original story that picks up after that, yeah, this is almost the opposite fall reaches an original story that is before Halo, but the next book, which is called the flood, is also by Eric nylund. And that is a novelization of the first game so be very interested whenever we get

Kevin Erhard 1:15:51
to it and whenever we circle back around to it I'll be in writing how it basically tells the story of the first game

Phil 1:15:59
right I we you know, because Eric nylund had lots of room to just play clearly with this right now. I wonder how he's gonna do when he has somewhat of a more tightened you know, set of rules to work with him. I will be very interested to see how he how he does that. So we'll we'll We will definitely be coming around to this series again, especially if it happens that we get like two or three really shitty books in a row. I imagine one of us is going to look at the other and go can we can we read the next Halo book? That's probably going to be pretty good. Yeah. So but in the meantime it any any video game novelization that you guys read as a kid or read now or or? Or even if there's a video game you love that? You wonder if it has a novelization, hit us up on Twitter and let us know we will we will see what we can do because we want to there's there's a surprisingly large number of these out there. I don't think we're ever going to be without something to read.

Kevin Erhard 1:17:04
Yeah, no, I mean, I'm looking at the there's the end of the book says Don't miss the other thrilling stories in the worlds of Halo, by the way.

Phil 1:17:13
Yeah, I did our

Kevin Erhard 1:17:15
Do you have you counted? How many?

Phil 1:17:18
Yeah, I yeah, I did a quick, you know, just like once a day, you know, that kind of thing. And roughly 812 roughly Halo books refer.

Kevin Erhard 1:17:28
They are infringing on Warhammer, 40 Ks property, their intellectual property of putting out 40 bucks a year.

Phil 1:17:39
It's offensive. It's just absolutely and since I have the first edition paperback here, I do. I will post this online. But it has that on the very last page. directly across from the last page of the book. there's a there's a big picture says you learned the story of Halo soldier. It's time you learned if you can survive Halo Halo Combat Evolved. Microsoft comm backslash games backslash Halo play Halo. So I recommend you guys go out and do that because that was fun. It's it's it's a it's a good book. It's a good game. Why the No, not? Exactly.

Kevin Erhard 1:18:19
I agree. All right, I think I think that about wraps it up. Right, Phil?

Phil 1:18:25
I think so. Thank you guys so much for listening.

Kevin Erhard 1:18:27
Thank you for listening to our second book, recap review. Whatever the hell we're calling what we're doing.

Phil 1:18:35
It's a it's a book book, book thing.

Kevin Erhard 1:18:37
It's a book thing.

Phil 1:18:38
Yeah, it's very clear.

Kevin Erhard 1:18:40
Hey, take care, everyone.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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