We came to the conclusion that TheMelissa is a Spy AI. We came to that conclusion using these facts:
TheMelissa's favourite game is Hide and Seek.
She decrypted an enemy transmission/message of some sort
She is behind enemy lines (it would appear)
She is worried about still being behind enemy lines after crashing
She is constantly talking about not being found, about hiding or be stealthy.
She appeared to be onboard a ONI ship, which is a Naval intelligence ship.
TheMelissa had a very odd relationship (AI and Human...) with a stowaway. Now, the stowaway could be a spy, trying to get information out of TheMelissa, or just a random person distributing boueys. Next, why would he be releasing bouys in enemy territory? It seems fishy, but we'll have to wait to find out.
Could the stowaway be a "Trojan Horse"? Maybe he infected TheMelissa? Or perhaps the Bouys were decoys so the Covenant could find Troy? ThePiousFlea maybe was inserted into TheMelissa by the stowaway? Ideas... -[Lukstr]
[Speculation] Could there be some connection between ThePiousFlea's footprint text being from Robinson Crusoe and the presence of a 'Castaway' in the stories? there are certainly parallels with that story here (one person, shipwrecked and alone in an alien world). --UserGinGa 06:11, 29 Jul 2004 (PDT)
TheMelissa talks about being a weapon. Perhaps she is just relating her large amount of information as being dangerous, or perhaps she has a second function that we don't know about yet.
I think this is just refering to the fact that she was originally a starship AI. A starship (like a modern naval vessel) is many things, but it is primarily a weapon. Crew, life support, computers, AI, all of these things are geared toward making the ship a more capable, efficient, and effective weapon. TheMelissa just seems to be philosophizing her role a bit when she talks about degrading. She may be a mere shell of her former self, but her basic function has not changed, she is still a weapon. --UserPaulG
The ship TheMelissa "operated" was most likely an ONI scout/stealth vessel. Therefore, after intercepting and decrypting the enemy message, learning that Troy was to be destroyed, the crew decided to sacrifice TheONI for the sake of their mission (and possibly Mankind: Earth).
SPEC: This seems to be supported by the following lines describing her ship in the MaydayTextOrganized:
length: 120 meters crew: 40 cover: pleasure yachtSpec: "cover" seems to imply that the ship is operating covertly. However, it seems unlikely that a ship disguised as a pleasure yacht would be used to infiltrate the covenant, as they would likely shoot down any human ship, regardless of whether it was civilian or military. Was this ship spying on other humans? --UserPaulG 07:39, 29 Jul 2004 (PDT)
Well, I believe I read somewhere that TheONI used civilian vessels, and cloaked them. I also don't think they were actually "behind" enemy lines as much as they say, because they seem to be relatively near Troy. It is also very unlikely the covenent would be able to find them. We also sepculated weather or not TheONI vessel was spying on other humans, like I first thought. However, it seems to make much more sense that it would be the Covenent who would "glass" a planet. --UserLukstr 12:24 PM, 29 Jul 2004 (EST)
Credit to frolet on the Unfiction Haunted Apiary forum for this:
From The Library: "The Circumference was an ONI stealth ship disguised as a private yacht. It was docked in an orbital shipdock above Reach and had no had time to properly erase it's navigation data. Since it could not be destroyed with certainty of total data loss, SPARTAN-117 was tasked to take a team to erase the data.
Other ONI stealth ships include the Lark, the Athens, and the Applebee."--UserKlobbermeister 10:07, 29 Jul 2004 (PDT)
The Applebee has the "bee" reference, but the Circumference is described in The Fall Of Reach (according to The Ouroboros in Unforum) as having a circle instead of a name. Which struck me... "Dial O for Operator"? --jellyfish_green 9 Aug 2004 (Of course, the Circumference was boarded by a striketeam (including the MC) and the database destroyed to prevent it falling into the hands of the enemy. Which would require a plot twist to get her moving again.)
The Spartan code
Also, readers of the book know that "Hide and Seek" is related to a secret form of communications between Spartans, using the term "Olly Olly Oxen Free", and series of 6 tones. TheMelissa's favourite game is Hide and Seek. Perhaps she knows the Spartans, or responds to the term "Olly Olly Oxen Free." Tones can be heard when listening to the bee buzzing .wav on ilovebees.com, perhaps they are Spartan code? Deja is the only AI (along with Cortana I believe) that knows the Spartan code, that we know of.
Why hasn't she died?
TheMelissa appears to follow the path of Rampancy (even though Smart AIs cannot have the typical dumb-AI style rampancy), but at other times she does seem fairly sane. She is over 7 years old though, which implies she is, at least, unstable. Why hasn't she died?
I thought it was ThePiousFlea who was over 7 years old. Or rather, whoever is in the KillerJpg exchange. Reading through it, it's not clear exactly who or what is 7 years old. Thought: TheSleepingPrincess might be more than 7 years old and still not rampant; after all, she's asleep. --UserKhaim 18:25, 28 Jul 2004 (PDT)
Have we established that TheSleepingPrincess was an A.I.? Either way, a 7 year old A.I. should be rampant, unless (I think, the following may be incorrect) it's a smart A.I., like Cortana...? --UserLukstr
TheMelissa is a "smart" AI, so you're correct that she should think herself to death after seven years. Maybe she would have if she was in a proper network. It may be that TheMelissa has gone rampant, but it still alive because she is trapped in DanaAwbrey's computer.
As to how she got back to our time, there was a Forerunner artifact introduced in The Fall of Reach (the first novel) and explained in First Strike (the third one). There are crystals buried deep underground in planets across the galaxy. The crystals sometimes have starmaps written on them, and have unknown properties that warp time and space. Furthermore, the crystals seem to have a mind of there own, and do it at times that would be the most helpful to the humans who control them, such as the Pillar of Autumn reaching Halo in an impossibly small period of time. (Not sure whether or not it works for the Covenant as well.) It's possible that her ship was found by the Covenant (they were apparently working on breaking Covenant encryptions and came upon a crystal) and shot down. It's entirely possible that the crystal warped Melissa and the other programs (which explains the presence of TheSleepingPrincess, ThePiousFlea who Melissa is surprised to see there, and TheSPDR) to a network (and time) where the Covenant could not find them to protect the location of Earth. --UserTankRamp 07:09, 29 Jul 2004 (PDT)
Such as the Pillar of Autumn reaching Halo in an impossibly small period of time. Where's the eveidence for that happening? - Lutzie, 29/07/04, 15:10 BST
It would seem the most reasonable explanation is that TheMelissa did indeed run across a Forerunner crystal. However, I have not read the books and would also like to know how/if the Pillar of Autumn used a crystal. The subject is still a little foggy for me. --UserLukstr 12:26, 29 Jul 2004 (EST)
The way it was explained in the books, the events surrounding the Pilliar of Autumn and Spartan 117 (and the rest) had to occur in the exact timeline that they did (the time it took to get from Reach to Halo and back again took less time than it should have because John and the rest of the crew were SUPPOSED to meet up with the crystal, so the crystal altered space/time to make sure that their timelines would cross). So, with the gravity, Slipspace, and time-altering properties of the Forerunner artifacts, it is highly probable that time travel would be possible (basically, if something needs to happen, the artifacts will alter space/time to make sure that the events happen). -UserDarkmoonz
I modified a line or two, because I think many people are confusing "Smart AI operating past 7 years" with "Rampancy". Please, look at An anaysis of rampancy, the third terminal of Defend This, and an article I wrote about rampancy a while back.
It looks like TheMelissa is from the future (Around the time of the events surrounding and including Halo/Halo 2). How she got to our time is still unexplained. Any theories could be discussed here.
A friend and I have a theory that it isn't time travel, per se. The universe is supposedly infinite after all, so we think that perhaps there is another "Earth" a good few million lightyears away, that could easily follow its own timeline. That way, Melissa may have ended up on Dana's computer remembering things that we think happened hundreds of years in the future, because they're not in the future, but in the past. ... I don't think that makes sense... Basically, that she's travelled through space, not time, and what she thinks could be the year 22whatever could perhaps be equivalent to our last year.
Or maybe we're just thinking too much into it (always too possible). -Kachi
the Cortana letters
Anyone care to explain how the Cortana letters factors into the equation regarding time travel? That is to say, if the speculation is agreed upon that TheMelissa has, indeed, somehow traveled back to our time, likely due to the crystal, then would communication with Cortana back during the Cortana letters have been accomplished through the same means? In opposition to this, one could simply say that the circumstances are different, resulting in different reasons.
On another note, if I recall correctly, in the third Halo novel, First Strike, the crystal is (usually) activated when they are about to use their slipstream engines. Instead of normal slipstream, of course, the crystal 'warps' them into a different kind of slipstream. And Halsey took the remaining piece(s) after it was shattered.
Is it not possible that the crystal can be something else other than the Forerunner crystal? Why not a data crystal? Needless to say, I disagree with this notion myself, but I thought it best to bring it up.
Also, didn't some Bungie member(s) say, during the Cortana Letters incident, that Marathon and Halo are, indeed, connected, but they are not in the same universe, and surely not the same. There is no doubt that there exist many similarities and connections. This could be interpreted as to mean that Marathon should, at best, serve simply as a guide, and not as the law, so to speak, when it comes to the Halo-verse. That is, everything that happens in Marathon, including characteristics and attributes of particular items and constructs and beings, should not be purely referenced as authority. In the end, what I am saying is that a few people are basing some things (namely AI rampancy with regards, if any, to the Halo-verse) too strictly on a source that could be second to Halo. If we are to interpret anything using Marathon and Halo as sources, I believe it would be best or perhaps more accurate to cite Halo first, then Marathon, and see if the two do not clash. In other words, AI rampancy (Marathon) and death (Halo), I believe, are conflicting. We have still to see, however, since Rampancy, if it even exists in Halo, would certainly have nothing to do with the 7-year lifespan, which many people have taken to be the beginning of Rampancy, unfortunately. (just adding to what you were saying.) Correct me if I'm wrong on anything. - grantakeru, 06:15 , 01 Aug 2004