|This article, Labyrinth Array, is currently under active construction.|
- "The city of the gods lies forgotten; awaiting those who can reclaim it. The Labyrinth is the key. The One that is Legion that is One shall awaken; the New Wild City shall tremble and the sky itself shall burn; the silent sentinels that watched shall be cast down; the angels that served the Gods in their passing shall make war upon one another; and the Shining Warriors shall light your darkest hour. A Journey shall be revealed for what it truly is; and a decadent empire long overdue for collapse shall shatter. So sayeth the true prophet of the Forerunners: Tana 'Satsunar."
- ―Excerpt from The 'Satsunaran Prophecies, 306th Scroll
In the final decades of the Flood-Forerunner War, the Forerunners placed all their hopes upon the success of the Halo Array. Few expected to survive the suicidal effort to save the universe from the menace the Flood posed, but they were determined to ensure that others did, transporting billions of species to sanctuaries safe from the Halo Effect - the millions of Shield Worlds they build, the Ark, and so on. They had intended to follow, perhaps helping the sentient creatures to reestablish themselves, and learn from their mistakes - unfortunately, the betrayal of Mendicant Bias, their greatest AI creation, proved their undoing, forcing them to activate the Array early, dooming themselves but saving all else. In the centuries that followed, the Constructs they left behind did the work their makers had intended to do themselves, returning the survivors to their homeworlds, and helping them re-aclimatize themselves. Of course, that was the official plan. What the Forerunners did not take into account was the earlier attempts by The Architect, an early Flood researcher who had advocated a campaign of total obliteration early on. As Forerunner bureoucracy hindered his efforts, he realised that his superiors were unwilling to take any action of significance, failing to see their enemy as anything other than a minor annoyance, to be studied and then wiped out at leisure. Seeing that he was getting nowhere, The Architect withdrew, and nothing else is known for certain, at least from Forerunner sources.
Over the millenia, however, references keep cropping up, mentioning an Array. The majority are minor facilities and relics, usually automated, and for a long time the Covenant believed them to refer to the Halo Array. Ancient Kaaranese researchers held a different belief, that it referred to a second Array, an alternate to the Halo's. The Keltash Empire seers Thoth 'Keltam and Tana 'Satsunar, both skilled researchers in matters Forerunner, transcribed numerous glyphs that referred to the Array in detail, recording them in their private journals for later generations - the destruction of the Keltam region also saw the destruction of these relics, but their contents survived, detailing a City of the Gods, a Labyrinth, a guarding legion, and a forgotten demon. These Kaaranese sources have since been used to refer to the Labyrinth Array, and though this is not their true name, it is the only one available to studiers.
For centuries, the Labyrinth remained a mystery, even as human and Covenant forces began to explore a select number of Labyrinth facilities and worlds. Though described in many Covenant texts, there existed no clear or concise description of exactly what the Labyrinth is. Some texts claim that it is a Forerunner weapons cache, while others maintain it is a metaphor for the complexities of life. Certain Kaaranese Sangheili fringe sects of the past once believed that the Labyrinth was a prison for demons, but their extermination by the Prophets after the Writ of Union saw their beliefs die with them. It was only during the Second Great War, as the Governors of Contrition began to activate the few remaining Labyrinth relics available to them, that the true nature of the Labyrinth was discovered. One Labyrinth World, Minorca, was colonised by humanity during the great age of colonial expansion without its inhabitants ever discovering its true nature, and was destroyed after a year-long military campaign in 2552 after military forces discovered that it was an object of great importance to the Covenant, and were forced to withdraw, denying it to the enemy by detonating a NOVA bomb. A second Labyrinth World was also colonised, its inhabitants culled by local Sentinel forced to prevent a Flood outbreak during the 2530s and later the site of a six-way battle between UNSC, Sangheili, Brute, Flood and two rival Sentinel factions, again destroyed by a NOVA bomb that same year. Concurrently, a third Labyrinth World, Mandorla, would be fought over between allied Sangheili and UNSC forces, Brute occupiers, newly-arrived Acolytes of Devotion, and the local Flood and Sentinel forces, though this would remain intact after the courageous efforts of allied warriors to prevent Flood escape, withdrawing back through a one-way slipspace portal to Earth. The results of these would not eventuate until a decade later, when the Governors of Contrition returned to these sites, hoping to find clues to the nature of the Labyrinth. Setting off beacons which launched realspace FTL probes, the Governors would trace these artefacts to the Nexus, followed by an alliance of Sangheili, UNSC, and New Covenant forces, who would follow the Governors again as they were accelerated to superluminal velocities. Arriving in another galaxy, at a recieving end known as the Noumenon, they discovered the Governor fleet in tatters and a fleet of ships of Forerunner design bearing down upon them. Managing a diplomatic detente, they were returned to the Milky Way, though a small Sovereign force had already arrived in the galaxy decades before, subtly influencing events to activate this facility.
Given the humanoid nature of the Sovereigns and Paladins, the advanced Forerunner technology they use, and the fact that discoveries of Labyrinth facilities seem to be cumulative, there are some facts that can be gleaned. Evidently, the Architect sent some human survivors outside of this galaxy to preserve them from the Flood should the Halo Array fail - whether these were actual Earth-born humans or Forerunners remains unknown, and likely will forever, or until the nature of the Forerunners can be known. Both seem to regard themselves as, if not the Forerunners' descendants, their successors, especially the Sovereigns who take their approach to the Mantle to the extreme xenophobic end of the spectrum. The Labyrinth Worlds themselves seem to have been multipurpose facilities, designed to research the nature of the Flood as well as other ways with which the Forerunners could combat their enemy, developing technologies advanced even by Forerunner standards; they also possessed communications facilities either on or near them, allowing them to remain linked to a central hub, the Noumenon, in a similar fashion to the Ark's relationship to the Halo Array. These beacons were designed to launch FTL probes to the nearest Nexus, which was meant as a transit hub between Labyrinth Worlds in various sectors of the galaxy (presumably meaning that other Nexi elsewhere controlled different Labyrinth Worlds). Each Nexus would then lead whoever accessed them through a superluminal "tunnel" of warped realspace to the Noumenon, the terminus of the Labyrinth network, in the home galaxy of the Sovereigns - presumably expecting humanity to make contact with their long-lost siblings, or allowing the Paladins to return to the Milky Way galaxy should they wish to. Though the vast majority chose to remain in their own galaxy, content with what they have, a select few vounteered to return to the Milky Way to establish a fledgling colony to restart the "Forerunner" civilisation again, though in a state of self-imposed isolation until the other races of the galaxy could advance sufficiently, learning from the mistakes made by their predecessors.
Exactly how the Architect managed to build such a monumental network of installations on his own, and in such a short amount of time, remains a mystery even his "Children" are uncomfortable answering. Hints gleaned from the Minorca and Ares Labyrinth Worlds indicate that he may have made use of much older worlds to base his network on, using places and methods already used by a much older race, the Precursors - the presence of an apparent Precursor artefact on Minorca may indicate that it was inspired by Precursor designs or Forerunner legends about their spiritual forebears. With the deactivation of the Noumenon, little else is likely to ever be discovered about the array, or just how extensive it was, though the UNSC, Sangheili and various Covenant races remain intent on finding other Labyrinth Worlds in order to study them more thoroughly - in the case of humanity, these installations may regard them as the rightful "inheritors" of the facilities.
- Labyrinth Facilities - Purpose ambiguous. Primary sources. These facilities seem to be scattered across a wide area of space, with no discernable pattern of distribution, and with ambiguous motivations - partly they seem to be research facilities, and partly they seem to be part of the Halo Array, despite the latter having no data on them whatsoever. Encountered on Minorca and Ares IV, suspected presences in eight other known star systems. Classified: SECRET.
- Labyrinth Beacons - Purpose ambiguous. These appear to be star chart facilities, containing navigational data leading to various assorted Forerunner locations, although hints exist that some have more direct means of navigation. The artefact on Harvest's northern hemisphere may have been a Labyrinth Beacon. Likewise, Kaaranese myths may indicate the presence of a similar installation on Ketesh. Primary knowledge. Classified: SECRET
- Nexus Facilities - Purpose unknown. Secondary sources. Derived from accounts in arcane Covenant lore, with dubious accuracy, based on Sangheili legends, suspected to be a focal point either of energy or as a destination. May be entirely nonexistent, a fabrication of myth. Classified: SECRET.
- The Noumenon - Purpose unknown. Tertiary sources. Classified: TOP SECRET.
- Additional: The Hypokeimenon - purpose unknown. Tertiary sources. Classified: TOP SECRET.
- "For a long time, the Journals of Thoth 'Keltam were deemed as heretical by the Prophets. Ironic, isn't it, that it is heresy that they turned to in their desperation for false transcendence?"
- "I saw a little of the Minorca Labyrinth. Not much to say. Standard Forerunner architecture and scale, typical layout and security, and of course it was infested with the Flood. Not too different to other Forerunner facilities."
- "So...there is no Labyrinth? The whole thing is the Labyrinth? So what's the Noumenon? Okay, and I thought the Halo's were confusing!"
- ""They" say the Labyrinth is a map. "They" are wrong. Its a key."
07/306: Insufficiend Data Available. Labyrinth Network Breach Detected - Noumenon Alerted. The Labyrinth Awakens - Please Remain Calm During The Duration of This Emergency.
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