Although most may deny it due to their skewed sense of masculinity, fans far and wide spent the credits of Halo 4 with steaming tears trickling down their cheeks. That was because Halo 4 ended with the loss of one of the most cherished characters in the entire story: Cortana. That was a loss not many could bare, leaving so many gamers truly naked to the blue feelings of sadness, grief, and hopelessness.
However, things are not always as they seem. Because even though 343 has stated several times that Cortana is indeed dead, such statements can be interpreted in many ways…depending on how one looks at it. Anyway, the matter at hand happens to be if Cortana both survived the destruction of Mantle’s Approach, and if she became a human.
Promise me, before this is over, that you’ll find out which of us is the machine?
—Cortana, Halo 4
Look at the Composer. The Composer, as we learned from the Librarian, harvests the conscious of a living body and transmits it into digital form. The Forerunners, during the height of their Honda Civicalization, attempted to use the Composer to convert themselves into digital form, and then putting themselves back into a new, youthful organic body. Unfortunately, they sucked at using the Composer, and their attempts to convert digital essences back into organic form ended with both insanity and malformation for the victims—or, as the Librarian put it, “Abominations.”
On the other hand, look at Cortana. She went rampant, literally became an abomination. If Cortana, before Chief blew up the nuke, uploaded herself into the Composer, she would have escaped. Where the Composer’s attempts to restore a formerly organic digital conscious to an organic form resulted in insanity, the Composer could have a reverse effect on Cortana—a rampant artificial intelligent. Basically, the Composer would both give her a physical human form, but reverse her rampancy.
Then again, we also have 343 constantly telling us that Cortana died. However, the use of “died” could have easily been a typo, or simply writers misspeaking. Likewise, 343 could have also just been bullshitting so that they could help Microsoft sell Xbox Ones.