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The Ark is a large Forerunner piece of shit used for controlling all of the Hula Hoops in the galaxy. It is out of range of the Hula-Hoop Array, this would have been a very useful feature if the Forerunner weren't so stupid and hid there while they fucked up everyone elses' lives. Instead, they saw fit to spend their time filling it with pretty rocks assumed to be Onyx, which are of no use to anyone even if they did make it to the Ark. They also decided to use their vast intellect and precious time turning it into a big Halo maker, yet did not take the time to even build a Starbucks. This therefore qualifies the Forerunner as the dumbest smart people who ever lived. However some useful features include a giant portal to Earth just in case they needed to pop out for milk (even if the Flood have killed all the cows), a massive shield system to protect you from those pesky door-to-door-to-massive-space-construct salesman, and plenty space to park your UNSC Frigate.
In the event of a massive Covenant Loyalist invasion it is programmed to.......do absolutely nothing. While the construct can automatically build a giant ring of galactic death it is completely unable to do didely-squat about a few covenant cruisers. Talk about a waste of Forerunner tax payer money. Of course in the event of Flood contamination the Ark swings into full containment and purge mode, deploying up to 5 floating targets also known as Sentinels. This can distract up to 2 Combat forms for a full second as the Sentinels fire their pitiful excuses for weapons also known as "Tickelers", if you have some frozen TV dinners on you, these babies can defrost them in under 20 minutes, while burning the outside and leaving the inside perfectly raw. Just the way most mature Jackals like it.
All of these factors combine to make the Ark one of the galaxy's least popular tourist destinations. It is marginally less popular than Jericho IV, a world glassed by the Covenant after the little girls (who claim to be Marines) guarding the planet were routed. They did however manage to give one Grunt a scraped knee. He made a full recovery.
While the Ark may be unpopular it is still a great place for a SPARTAN family picnic, and the site of the grave of one Master Sergeant Junior Avery Johnson. Also found here are the remains of about a billion covenant Loyalists, which when walked on, make a satisfying "CRUNCH!".
UPDATE: The Ark was recently destroyed by a SPARTAN identified only by the rank of Master Chief. Covenant Loyalist witnesses have described him as "ge'ds verum tome" which when translated from the Covenant's official language ("Idiot") means "That tall, green bastard". Alarmingly reports indicate that when they killed him to prevent the Ark's destruction he would simply revert to where he was standing ten seconds ago and proceed to kill them all anyway. Loyalist's received no such advantage. Loyalist forces have complained to the Ark's authority for such matters, the SUPANOVA (Section for Unbiased Practices Against Non-humans On or Very-close-to the Ark). Sadly, no one has worked here for 10,000 years. Go figure.
The only intelligent (and we use the word lightly) creature left as a spokesman for the Ark, a AI calling itself The Lightbulb, is claimed to have told the Master Chief that while the Ark had its problems, he was genius. He continued to insist this and call the Chief a "Reclaimer" until the Chief grew sick of this and shot him with a Spartan Laser. This also may have had something to do with Sgt. Johnson's death and the fate of the galaxy, but mainly the little hovering lightbulb just got annoying, and almost inconsolable after being called Tinkerbell by Sgt. Johnson.
The destruction of the Ark forced several mob bosses to find new places to dump bodies and resulted in a temporary shortage of intergalactic weapons of death. This was however balanced out by an abundance of floating free scrap metal and the downfall of Humanity's greatest enemy. But mainly people cared about the Chief and forgot about the thousands of Marines who died there. However, some made it back to Earth to tell the tale and remind people of the dangers of giant space fortresses of death. Like you could forget.