The last episode of Forward Unto Dawn (FUD), the Halo 4 prequel series, was fantastic. If anyone ever questions whether or not a Halo movie could work, look no further than this little YouTube series.
So it is with a sense of trepidation that I have to ask what’s up with humanity in the Halo universe. It occurred to me, while watching the last episode of FUD, that we have yet to see a complete family in any of the Halo… anything. I can’t really speak for all the books, but from what I read of the first 3-4, they are straight military science fiction.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but I just can’t help but wondering where all the normal people are. Take FUD, for example. Thomas Lasky is the central character around which events transpire. Where is his family?
And during the course of the series his girlfriend also dies. So go the horrors of war. But we have never seen an actual family on screen during this series. Captain Jacob Keyes and Lt. Commander Miranda Keyes were never actually in the same place at the same time. She was more of a replacement for the previous captain, even going so far as to have her own tragic/heroic death.
Why are there no families in this series? What are these people fighting for? Are there even civilians?
That might be a fair question. Are there actual civilians in the Halo universe? I understand that they are known to exist. Some of the comics show regular folks and ODST hinted at people that didn’t work for UNSC, but we don’t actually see those people. They are implied.
This leads me to a weird conclusion
Everyone probably works for the UNSC or some contracting subsidiary of the military industrial-complex. Every single person might just be an employee of the state because all industry is geared towards maintaining control of the colonies and, later, fighting the Covenant. At the time we first see Master Chief (Halo: Combat Evolved) we’ve been losing the war for better than 20 years. Every single job might be going to the state, who’s only job is now to keep humanity from going extinct.
Families aren’t the point. No one ever talks about what they’re gonna do after the war or who they left back home because the war and, by extension, duty to the state is the point. Normally I would give a combat shooter some wiggle room here because it’s not an RPG. You’re not supposed to build a home, have kids, or go all Hearthfire with your character.
But Halo has been lauded for its amazing story.
The only reason these people fight is because they are honor-bound to do it for humanity and, again by extension, the state. A state that constantly lies and keeps secrets from its own people. A state that doesn’t seem to have any democratic institutions, even though we’ve been told it does. Instead what we see is a big-ass military making decisions in space.
I’m a student of political science and I have to say it isn’t often that socialism and fascism come together in so perfect a union.
Take Master Chief, for example. The iconic, faceless hero of four games as of November 6th. He is featured in Forward Unto Dawn, which takes place at the beginning of the Covenant war. And a few of the books put him in combat before first contact with the aliens as well. So we know he’s been fighting since before the beginning of the war.
A war that ran from 2525 to 2553! That’s a full 28 years! That doesn’t include the time he spent fighting insurrections. What kind of life is that? What does this guy fight for? Why hasn’t he retired yet? Has he ever had a girlfriend? Has he ever gotten laid? Does he aspire to do anything other than murder?
But John! He’s an exception! He was made to be the perfect soldier. Normal soldiers probably get to have kids and a house and junk!
Maybe. At some point Captain Keyes found time to have a kid. But that’s just never seen. FUD was the first Halo thing (though TJ says ODST had some) where two people engage in any romance. And I’m certain it’s the first Halo anything outside the expanded universe where people kiss.
What kind of life is this? Working under the heel of an oppressive government with an intelligence arm that will black bag you for looking at the wrong youtube video? You know what we didn’t see once Halo 3 was over.
It was the end of the greatest threat to humanity. EVER. No kissing? No baby boom? No white picket fence or WoW addiction?
Again, I have to ask. What the hell are these people fighting for?