A long time ago, I was a living, breathing human being. I went mad. I served my enemies. They became my only friends.
Since then, I've traveled back and forth across this galaxy, and out to the spaces between galaxies--a greater reach than any human before me.
You have asked me to tell you about that time. Since you are the last true Reclaimer, I must obey. Are you recording? Good. Because my memory is failing rapidly. I doubt I'll be able to finish the story.
Once, on my birth-world, a world I knew as Erde-Tyrene, and which now is called Earth, my name was Chakas...
In the wake of apparent self-destruction of the Forerunner empire, two humans--Chakas and Riser--are like flotsam washed up on very strange shores indeed.
Captured by the Master Builder, misplaced during a furious battle in space, they now find themselves on an inverted world where horizons rise into the sky, and where humans of all kinds are trapped in a perilous cycle of horror and neglect. For they have become both research animals and strategic pawns in a cosmic game whose madness knows no end--a game of ancient vengeance between the powers who seeded the galaxy with life, and the Forerunners who expect to inherit their sacred Mantle of duty to all living things.
In the company of a young girl and an old man, Chakas begins an epic journey across a lost and damaged Halo in search of a way home, an explanation for the warrior spirits rising up within, and for the Librarian's tampering with human destiny.
This journey will take them into the Palace of Pain, the domain of a powerful and monstrous intelligence who claims to be the Last Precursor, and who now has control of both this Halo and the fate of Forerunners and Humans alike.
Called the Captive by Forerunners, and the Primordial by ancient human warriors, this intelligence has taken charge of, and retasked, the Master Builder's cruel researches into the Flood--which it may have itself unleashed on the galaxy more than ten thousand years before.
Bornstellar is marked to become a great Builder just like his father.
But this Manipular has other plans.
He is obsessed with lost treasures of the past. His reckless passion to seek out the marvelous artifacts left behind by the Precursors--long-vanished superbeings of unknowable power and intent---forces his father's hand.
Bornstellar is sent to live among the Miners, where he must come to terms with where his duty truly lies.
But powerful forces are at play. Forerunner society is at a major crux. Past threats are once again proving relentless. Dire solutions--machines and strategies never before contemplated--are being called up, and fissures in Forerunner power are leading to chaos.
On a Lifeworker's experimental planet, Bornstellar's rebellious course crosses the paths of two humans, and the long lifeline of a great military leader, forever changing Bornstellar's destiny ...and the fate of the entire galaxy.
Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear is a tale of life, death, intergalactic horror, exile, and maturity. It is a story of overwhelming change--and of human origins. For the Mantle may not lie upon the shoulders of Forerunners forever.
Tobias S. Buckell
B. K. Evenson
When humanity expanded beyond the safety of Earth to new stars and horizons, they never dreamed what dangers they would encounter there. When the alien juggernaut known as the Covenant declared holy war upon the fragile human empire, millions of lives were lost—but, millions of heroes rose to the challenge. In such a far-reaching conflict, not many of the stories of these heroes, both human and alien, have a chance to become legend. This collection holds eleven stories that dive into the depths of the vast Halo universe, not only from the perspective of those who fought and died to save humanity, but also those who vowed to wipe humanity out of existence.
Included in this volume you'll find the stories of:
* A Spartan II washout who was most dangerous when he was told he could not serve with his fellow warriors.
* An ONI intelligence officer who falls captive to a ravenous pack of Brutes
* A dying man standing between The Covenant and the location of Earth, with only a compromised AI to aid him
* The confession of an ODST who tried to get more out of the war than just victory
* A select unit of Spartan IIIs put on a mission to succeed against against a never-before-seen Elite force
* The impossible life and possible death of Admiral Preston J. Cole
* And new to this volume, a glimpse into Forerunner life in "Soma the Painter"