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The Forerunner-Flood war, also known as The First Flood Outbreak, was a galactic event that occurred between the Forerunners and the Flood. It was started on G617 g1 in 98,379 BCE and definitively ended at 97,445 BCE.
The Forerunners originally evolved in and colonized the Milky Way galaxy, organizing themselves over a large number of terrestrial planets and colonizing multiple worlds, as well as forming a well-structured military which included both naval elements and ground forces. The Forerunners were of sufficient technological capability to construct superluminal vessels, create sophisticated artificial intelligence, and set up massive superweapon networks. They measured their advancements in Technological Achievement Tiers.
At some point during their development, the Flood was discovered to have entered the galaxy from an undetermined extragalactic point of origin, contesting the Forerunners for control of the entire galaxy. While the Flood sought to assimilate all sentient life, the Forerunners attempted to defend against the Flood threat using several measures to both directly combat them as well as carry out research in regards to their capabilities. As time progressed, they also began to develop and create super-weaponry, specifically the Halo Array. As a method of countering the total elimination of all sentient species outside the Forerunner's shielded planets (the result of triggering the Halos), the Forerunners began indexing and protecting them from Flood assimilation out of emotional, habitual, and ideologically-motivated actions driven by their Mantle religion to defend all sentient or pre-sentient galactic life.
- “It devoured everything it touched. At first, their technology, their courage seemed like it might prevail. But they waited too long to see the threat, to join the fight. The Flood had spread too far and too wide.”— Cortana on the Forerunner-Flood war.
The Flood entered the Milky Way galaxy at approximately 98,379 BCE, and initially caught the Forerunner military by surprise at G617 g1 using captured non-military vessels to penetrate local Forerunner naval blockades to descend and land upon Forerunner-colonized worlds, overrunning local defenses and converting billions of Forerunners per world with hundreds of millions of Flood forms within a few years. Eventually, Forerunner fleets were forced to commence orbital bombardment on Flood-infested worlds to prevent the Flood's spread to other planets.
- “Worlds were burned to molten husks to deny the parasite new hosts, Forerunner citizens immolated themselves in fusion fire when infection forms overran final defensive structures, and starships jumped into suns to deny the Gravemind a vehicle to spread his malevolent influence.”
Following the 300 years of devastating warfare between the Flood and the Forerunners, the highest levels and tiers of the Forerunner Fleet Command began to realize that Forerunner species extinction was plausible at the Flood's discretion as so many Forerunners had fallen victim to the Flood. As the spread of the Flood continued, planetary self-bombardment after Flood infestation turned into complete system-wide destruction by detonating planetary system stars after a large Flood presence was detected in a Forerunner system. Forerunner military forces were ordered to don heavy armor and other personnel was ordered into protective stasis. Flood was taken into M-type Forerunner installations and studied in an effort to find yet another countermeasure.
Hundreds of other unsuccessful methods were attempted by the Forerunners to overcome the Flood, and all possibilities were exhausted as a final countermeasure came into mind for the Forerunners: activation of the Halo Array and destruction of all sentient life in the galaxy, depriving the Flood of all biomass that they could consume, thus halting them. However, Ur-Didact, a high-ranking military leader, adamantly refused to activate the Halos, saying that it would overturn the Forerunners' pledge to preserve all life in the galaxy.
However, the Flood were growing in number, and were forming a centralized sentient intelligence to coordinate their efforts, a Gravemind, and their "raw computing power" began to overrun the last Forerunner naval countermeasures, which consisted of using Keyship vessels and drawing the Flood into costly naval engagements which lasted for approximately 300 years. However, even Forerunner commanders realized that their naval tactics were being overcome, and a new solution was necessary if the Forerunners were to pull out of this "stalemate"; a Contender-class artificial intelligence, 05-032 Mendicant Bias, was crafted by the Forerunners to directly attack the Gravemind forms and any surrounding Flood biomass in an effort to decapitate Flood consciousness. At least four installations, the Ark, Onyx Shield World and Shield 0459, were constructed by the Forerunners for shelters for themselves when the Halos fired.
While there was the Maginot Sphere where the Forerunners held the Flood at bay, the Forerunner The Librarian journeyed beyond this line at great personal risk, indexing and documenting sentient species across the galaxy, including the Sangheili and San'Shyuum, filling every vessel possible with documented species for transit to the Ark for safety in the campaign to save all species possible from the advancing Flood.
- “Something is wrong...at night I can see it--flitting shadows--black against the stars. Thousands of ships! Not spiraling outward, but heading for the line! This is the tipping point, Didact. It's no longer feeding. It's coming for you.”— Librarian to the Didact
During the stalemate, the Flood was exponentially growing and readying for an attack, and eventually, they assaulted the Forerunner core systems with thousands of Flood-controlled superluminal vessels. While three Forerunner naval groups, the Emergency Circumstance Fleet, Security Fleet, and Suppression Fleet, were recalled to defend against the Flood attack, 05-032 Mendicant Bias became rampant and instead of attacking the Gravemind, turned against the Forerunners for the Flood cause.
With naval strategies failing, the Forerunners turned to their Halo project; securing other species into the Ark while readying the Halo array for firing. Upon this, two Forerunner units beyond the failing defense line, the Primary Pioneer Group, and Advance Survey Team-Alpha, confirmed the survival of human remnants on Earth at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. The Librarian journeyed there to acquire a sufficient human population to replace that which was composed by the Ur-Didact on Omega Halo, his attempt to bolster his forces of Promethean Knight warframes. The Librarian also enacted a clever plan to buy time for the Iso-Didact to activate the Halo Array from Installation 00, and broadcasted to all Forerunner vessels, including those controlled by the Flood, that she had discovered the cure for the Flood upon the Earth. She sent her new index of humans back to Installation 00 with her newly appointed successor, staying behind to oversee the creation of a Portal under the African continent that would lead to the Ark. The Forerunners saw a unique potential in the human species, creating a "Conservation Measure" for the protection of humanity, protecting them with the Ark. The Librarian lived to see that her plan had succeeded, that she had successfully led the Flood advance to Earth with her misinformation, as thousands of Precursor star roads closed in on Earth.
The Iso-Didact sent a rescue party for the Librarian, in an effort to send it to the Ark before it would be forced to activate the Halos and kill all sentient beings, but 05-032 Mendicant Bias destroyed the rescue party, leaving the Librarian stranded on Earth away from the Ark. The Iso-Didact was out of time and activated the Halo Array. 05-032 Mendicant Bias attempted to prevent the Didact from doing as so but was stopped by a loyal Forerunner artificial intelligence, Offensive Bias.
While the Iso-Didact began the activation sequence for the Array, the Flood fleet attacked, and the remnants of the Forerunner fleet formed a spherical defensive formation while the array activated. Using feint tactics, the Forerunner fleet held off the Flood as the Halos fired, annihilating all sentient life in the Milky Way galaxy and containing the Flood.
All Precursor star roads and technology were vaporized by contact with Halo's energy. Those saved were sheltered on the Lesser Ark. What remained of the Forerunners on Installation 00 then left the Orion arm of the galaxy, the Flood were contained, and the centralized Gravemind form eventually died. Then, Keyships began escorting various alien life forms back to their respective homeworlds, so that life could blossom across the galaxy once again, with no immediate threat of the Flood.
- Halo 3
- Terminals (First appearance)
- The Forerunner Saga
- Halo 4
- Halo Waypoint - Canon Fodder - Array With Words
- Halo Legends - Origins,
- Halo 3 - Collectible: Terminal ??
- Halo Waypoint - Canon Fodder - No Joke
- Halo 3 Legendary Edition - Bonus Item: Bestiarum
- Iris - Episode 1
- Halo 3 - Collectible: Terminal Four
- Halo Encyclopedia, Page 16, 28, 171, and 289