The ecumene is the translated name for the Forerunner empire, an ancient race of sentient beings, which ceased existence over 100,000 years before the events of the Halo video game series began.. It stretched across the galaxy and consisted of three million habitable planets. The political center of this empire was known as the capital, a massive structure containing multiple cities.
They are known for their advanced technologies, enabling them to build mega-structures like the Halo installations, The Ark and the Shield Worlds. All that is known about the Forerunners was learned from the various artifacts of their creation, found on the planets Reach, Earth, Sigma Octanus IV, Harvest, Arcadia, Sanghelios, Kholo, and Janjur Qom. The Forerunners only ruled the galaxy for 20,000 years before they disappeared. They were preceded by another extinct race known as Precursors. While they took the responsibility of preserving every life form in the galaxy, they were ultimately threatened by the parasitic Flood. Through the use of the Halo weapons array, they were able to all but defeat the Flood, seemingly at the cost of their own existence and much of the life in the ancient Milky Way galaxy.
The Forerunners were an advanced civilization which came into existence after overthrowing another race known to them as Precursors, who were believed to be responsible for their creation. Only one Precursor known as The Timeless One survived and was locked in a time bolt on Charum Hakkor. After becoming the dominant species in the galaxy, their empire spanned over three million fertilized and inhabited worlds. The fact that the Halos were scattered all over the galaxy hints that the Forerunner Empire covered most, if not all, of the galaxy.
The Forerunners originated from the planet Ghibalb in the Orion complex. Their civilization was based on the Mantle, a belief that it was their responsibility to protect all life in the galaxy. They presumably monitored the evolution of all other species in the galaxy, intervening in their evolution when necessary to make sure that they followed paths of peace, free of conflict. One such interference was the devolution of the original human race, due to it being considered a violent species. The Forerunners themselves were a race without conflict and at a point in their history where they had reached disarmament. This disarmament was the main factor that weakened the Forerunners against the Flood attack.
The Forerunners battled against humanity's interstellar empire in response to a perceived invasion of new colony worlds. Afterwards, the actual reason for the war was determined to be the Flood. To find replacements for Flood infected planets, humanity had encroached upon Forerunner controlled parts of the galaxy. The Forerunners saw humanity as a threat to their principle of Mantle and after defeating them, the Forerunners devolved humanity and exiled it to its home world Erde-Tyrene (Earth).
After the war with humanity, the Forerunners realized that the Flood could return and so created an array of galaxy-sterilizing super weapons as the ultimate defense against such a threat. The Forerunners also created Shield Worlds and The Ark to save information regarding all the species in the galaxy so that if a situation were to arise and the array fired, the galaxy could be reseeded with the samples of DNA stored upon The Ark. Thus, the Library Project plan was implemented, resulting in the creation of twelve massive ring-shaped mega structures collectively known as Halo-Array and The Ark.
The Warrior-servant class which supported the plans for the Shield World were removed and went nearly extinct, leaving the Forerunners ill-prepared for the upcoming Flood-Forerunner war.
Flood-Forerunner War and Firing of Halo-Array
Later they came in contact with the extragalactic parasite known as the Flood on the planet G 167 G. Details of this first contact are unavailable. The Forerunner immediately recognized the parasite as a threat to the entire galaxy and moved to contain them. Believing the Flood to be a mere parasite, a non-sentient disease, the Forerunner approached the situation from a biohazard containment perspective. What they found, however, was that the Flood was intelligent, adaptable, and calculating.
After being unable to contain the Flood outbreak, the galaxy broke out into a state of war. Through 300 years of conflict, the Forerunners realized that their conventional naval tactics were ineffective against the Flood. New weapons and tactics were developed to combat them, "Sentinels" deployed as a means of maintaining the Flood through surgical strikes. However, these tactics proved effective only in slowing the expansion of the Flood, and soon the Forerunner leadership realized the only way to stop the Flood was to deprive it of any and all hosts, thus eliminating its potential to grow.
To stop this the Forerunners developed the massive Halo installations, which were designed to starve the Flood to death by killing all sentient life with enough biomass to sustain them, as mentioned by 343 Guilty Spark. There was debate as to whether to use the Halo Array or not resulting in civil war. It was decided that using the Array was the only option of stopping the Flood. Hence they did not start the war until it was too late.
The Gravemind managed to convince the Contender-class AI, 05-032 Mendicant Bias, to unite with the Flood and led an attack of Forerunners. At last, the Forerunners activated the Halo array, killing all sentient life of sufficient biomass in the Milky Way, with the exception of specimens safely placed on the The Ark, including Humans and Forerunners.
Before their disappearance from the galaxy, the Forerunners would name humanity their successors, identifying them with the title "Reclaimer".
The Forerunner civilization was mainly divided into six categories. their society was built upon a scale that regulated who was capable of what. The scale ran under job description of importance rather than hardest or most complex.
The Builders were the highest rate of the Forerunners, considered to be the most powerful in terms of intelligence, wealth, and political power. As such, they were responsible for designing and creating most of the Forerunners' megastructures, including the Halo Array and Onyx. The chief of the Builder rate and all its guilds was known as the Master Builder. The Master Builder was often considered the most powerful Forerunner in the empire.
The Miners were the second-highest rate in Forerunner society. They were responsible for obtaining the materials required for the work of the Builders.
The Lifeworkers were the third-highest rate in Forerunner society. They specialized in biology and medicine, especially with the experimentation of various forms of life. Even though the Lifeworkers were the lowest in the society they received the most respect because of what they did. It was not uncommon for Lifeworkers to receive their own planets for experimentation. The highest possible rank achievable by a Lifeworker was Lifeshaper, which is technically considered the highest rate in respect rather than importance.
The Warrior-Servants were the fourth-highest rate and primary military caste in Forerunner society. They were responsible for defense and warfare in the Forerunner empire. The highest class of Warrior-Servants was known as the Prometheans. Prometheans once held high social standing and power, serving in various roles in the Forerunner Council. The highest Promethean was the Didact, the Supreme Commander of the Forerunner Forces.
The Huragok or Engineers are biological supercomputers that were created by the Forerunners. They were constructed before the firing of the Halo Array and due to their mechanical nature, survived it. They are the only Forerunner creation to be forced in to the Covenant where they are used to study Forerunner artifacts. They are non-combatants but can be rigged as suicide-bombers.
Lifeshapers are the "highest rated" among their society if that "rate" was ever reached by anyone or machine. Lifeshapers brought peace and stability throughout the Forerunner race by providing protection. Machines usually were the only ones to reach that "rate" due to the complexity, patience and work put into it. It was easily considered the hardest job there was besides the Builders. Characters like the Librarian were Lifeshapers because they can sustain and preserve life. Lifeshapers are given most benefits that others were not but they also received fewer benefits that others did.
Forerunner technology was very advanced. They were one of two civilizations to achieve a Tier 1 technological advancement, the other being prehistoric humanity. The only Tier 0 level civilization was Precursors. They were able to manufacture solidified surfaces out of light by using technology known as hard light. They discovered the ability to use slipspace to teleport between locations almost instantaneously, and create numerous forms of advanced machinery. They developed the ability to initiate pre-mature stellar collapses of stars and create jovian-sized planets in less than a year, along with moving entire solar systems through slipspace. They had mastered the use of various energy fields, including buffer fields which were used to manipulate gravity. They made constraint fields used to restrain individuals, confinement fields to block the movement of entire ships, and the containment and collection fields to harness entire stars for energy production. They had discovered camouflaging technologies, including dazzlers (generated visual and auditory delusions) and bafflers (geometric distortions that could effectively hide a large area not only from plain sight, but also a starship's sensors). The Forerunners were able to alter evolution, and devolve/evolve other species. They also were able to travel to different dimensions, examples being slipspace, a photon-only 'realm' known to the Forerunners as the Glow, Denial-of-Locale, and shunspace. They were also contemplating altering the galaxy's axis.
Forerunner constructs and sentries use a broad variety of weapons, typically high-powered energy beams. The Sentinels wield orange-colored directed energy beams, used primarily for fighting the Flood. Sentinel Majors have a more powerful and accurate version of the beam, which sports superior energy output, at the cost of overheating issues. These more advanced energy beams are colored blue. All variants of these Sentinel Beams can be wielded by Humans and certain Covenant races. The Sentinels of Onyx had more powerful weaponry. It consisted of a sphere surrounded by three floating booms that generated powerful energy shields which would suddenly pop into place in order to deflect objects moving at high velocities. Though sentinels were created mainly to destroy the flood, they will attack a human or covenant too.
The monitors were designed by Forerunners so that they have the ability to defend themselves against the Flood using a focused beam similar to the Sentinel's beam, but much more powerful. 343 Guilty Spark displayed this ability in Floodgate, The Covenant and Halo.
Prometheans are a class of Warrior servants and the primary soldiers/guards of the Didact himself. They are former humans combined with forerunner technology, appearing as orange skeletal figures encased in silvery armor, and are the primary antagonists of Halo 4.
The Forerunner glyphs seem to be based on a series of circular, complex shapes. The glyphs have been inscribed almost everywhere Forerunners were once present, from different areas of Earth, to the Halos. They were known to put these glyphs and symbols onto their weapons, machinery and clothing, something the Covenant also copied, evident with the Forerunner symbols placed on the hilt of the Energy Sword and on the Sangheili Combat Harness.
- ↑ Staten, Joseph; Wu, Louis (2006-08-01). "HBO interview with Staten". Halo.Bungie.Org. http://halosm.bungie.org/story/staten083106.html. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, page 9
- ↑ Bungie (2007). Halo 3 Limited Edition Bestiarum.
- ↑ "The Halo Universe 101". Xbox.com. Microsoft. http://halo.xbox.com/en-us/abouthalo/halo101. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, page 342
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, page 25
- ↑ Halo Encyclopedia, page 172
- ↑ "A Voice from the tomb". http://blog.ascendantjustice.com/halo-3/the-terminals/a-voice-from-the-tomb-i/. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, forward jacket description
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, page 124
- ↑ Miners are rated below Builders, but they are sensible, proud and strong. Miners know the raw, inner ways of worlds. Respect them, and they will treat you well, teach you what they know, and return you to your family with all the discipline and skills a Manipular needs to advance. -Bornstellar's ancilla (Halo: Cryptum, page 15)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Halo Waypoint: Halo: Cryptum Glossary
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, page 59
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, page 304
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, page 243
- ↑ Halo: Cryptum, page 43
- ↑ "Halo: Ghost of Onyx". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo:_Ghosts_of_Onyx. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- ↑ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- ↑ Halo (Halo 3 Level)
- Forerunner on Halopedia: The Halo Wiki
- Forerunner Symbolism
- Greg Bear, ed (2008). Halo: Cryptum. Random House. ISBN 978-0-7615-6072-2.
- "Forerunner - Halo Nation — The Halo encyclopedia". http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Forerunner. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Ecumene" - describes the Earth as known by the classical civilizations of Greece and the Romans. This later became used by Christian denominations to refer to the general "Christian world".