Characters of Halo
Major recurring characters of the Halo multimedia franchise are organized below by their respective affiliations within the series' fictional universe. The original trilogy's central story revolved around conflict between humanity under the auspices of the United Nations Space Command or UNSC, and an alien alliance known as the Covenant. The artifacts left behind by an ancient race known as the Forerunner play a central role—particularly the ringworlds known as Halos, built to contain the threat of the parasitic Flood.
Bungie founder Jason Jones noted that bringing together the elements of a video game is unmistakably "art", but character designers and artists had to make a "living, breathing world" and populate it with interesting characters and places. The first Halo game's development brought numerous evolutions and revisions to the character's designs and personalities. Characters were also updated to take full advantage of new graphics technologies; for instance, the Master Chief's armor was redesigned in a lengthy conceptual process and the final model was bump mapped. Subsequent games offered opportunities to refine the character's appearances and design.
Halo's commercial and critical success has led to large amounts of merchandise featuring the franchise's characters to be produced. The Master Chief, the most visible symbol of the series, has been heavily marketed, with the character's visage appearing on soda bottles, T-shirts, and Xbox controllers. Other merchandise produced includes several sets of action figures. Halo's characters have received varying reception, with characters such as the Chief, Cortana, and the Arbiter being well received by critics.
Character design and creation
The Halo franchise originated with the 2001 video game Halo: Combat Evolved. The game's characters were continually refined through development, as developer Bungie was bought by Microsoft and the platform shifted from the Macintosh to the Xbox. Other Bungie developers would often add input to character development, even if they were not working on the game itself. An outside artist, Shi Kai Wang, developed the early concept sketches of what would eventually become the Master Chief. However upon developing a 3D model, the artists decided the Chief looked too slender, almost effeminate, and subsequently bulked up the character. Early Covenant Elites had a more natural jaw rather than the split mandibles they would later sport; at one point, Jason Jones was also insistent about having a tail on the Elites, but this idea was eventually dropped.
Originally, the game designers decided to hand-key character animations. The animators videotaped themselves to have reference footage for the movement of game characters; art director Marcus Lehto's wife recorded him "running around a field with a two-by-four" for the human marines. By Halo 3, Bungie staff had a special room designed for capturing reference material. Many of the subsequent human character's features were based on Bungie designers, while character animators looked to simian, ursine, insectoid, and reptilian features for the various races of the Covenant. The artificial intelligences of the characters was also deliberately limited to make sure they acted realistically to environmental changes and situations. Later games use motion capture to capture the movement and facial acting of the cast.
The Halo series features voice work by television and film actors including Ron Perlman, Orlando Jones, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Davi, and Terence Stamp. Voice acting became more important as Halo: Combat Evolved's sequels were developed; Halo 2 had 2,000 lines of combat dialogue, while Halo 3 has in excess of 14,000 lines. Some actors voiced their lines in remote locations, while others traveled to a studio to record their lines. In interviews, Halo's voice actors stated that they had no idea that the games would become such a critical and commercial success. Steve Downes, the voice of the game's protagonist, stated that generally when a voice actor has finished their lines, their involvement with the game ends. As the characters in Combat Evolved were relatively undefined, the voice actors were given leeway to develop their own style and personality.
Aside from major character roles, members of the Halo community and Halo fans have had small roles in the games. The cast from the machinima Red vs. Blue won a lengthy charity auction for a voice role in Halo 3, and do a comedy routine which changes depending on the difficulty level the game is played on. Cast members of the defunct TV show Firefly—Alan Tudyk, Nathan Fillion, and Adam Baldwin—have roles as marines in Halo 3 as well as Halo 3: ODST and Halo 5: Guardians.
United Nations Space Command (UNSC)
Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, commonly referred to as simply the Master Chief, is the main protagonist and main playable character in many of the Halo games. The character is voiced by Steve Downes, a Chicago disc jockey. One of the last SPARTAN-II supersoldiers still in active service, the Master Chief inspires awe and fear in the alien Covenant, who refer to him as "The Demon". Assisted by the artificial intelligence Cortana, he prevents the catastrophic firing of Installation 04 in Halo: Combat Evolved. Bungie staff member Joseph Staten noted that until the Master Chief was created, Bungie had not paid any attention to how to make people want to play in the world of Halo. "Master Chief is really what kicked off the creativity," he said, "in terms of how people react to him. He's a space marine in really cool green armor." The character has since become a gaming icon, the mascot of the Xbox, and was rated as one of the greatest videogame characters of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Cortana, voiced in the games by Jen Taylor, is the artificial intelligence (AI) who assists the Master Chief in the video games. She is one of many "smart" AIs, and is based on the brain of Dr. Halsey; the nature of her programming means that she will eventually "think" herself to death after a lifespan of about seven years. In Halo 4, Cortana begins to succumb to her age, and sacrifices herself to save Chief and Earth from the Forerunner Didact, but in Halo 5: Guardians, it is revealed that she had survived the ordeal. Having found access to the Domain, a Forerunner repository of knowledge, Cortana believes that AIs should serve as the galaxy's caretakers, putting her in conflict with her creators. Cortana was named the fifth best supporting character, and one of the "50 Greatest Female Characters" in a video game.
Avery Junior Johnson is a Marine sergeant major who leads human forces against alien assaults throughout the Halo series. The character is voiced by David Scully. Johnson and a few other Marines survive the destruction of Installation 04 and are rescued by Cortana and the Master Chief during the novel Halo: First Strike. Johnson plays a much larger role in Halo 2, joining forces with the Arbiter to stop Tartarus from activating Installation 05. In Halo 2, he is awarded the Colonial Cross for his heroic actions at Installation 04, In Halo 3, the Forerunner construct 343 Guilty Spark kills him when Johnson tries to activate the incomplete Halo at the Ark. Johnson is featured in The Halo Graphic Novel story, "Breaking Quarantine," which details Johnson's escape from the Flood in Halo: Combat Evolved, and a main character in the 2007 novel Halo: Contact Harvest. Johnson later appears as a main character in Halo: Silent Storm where it's revealed that he's a Spartan-I, a precursor to the Spartan-II program that the Master Chief is a part of. Taking place about a year after Contact Harvest, Johnson is recruited to be a part of a strike force launching a counterattack behind enemy lines to buy humanity some time. Johnson is recruited both for his experience with the Covenant and his Spartan training and acts as a mentor and friend to the young Master Chief, becoming one of the few people the Spartans trust implicitly on the mission where insurrectionists are trying to destroy them and they can't be sure of whom to trust.
In many ways similar to the stereotype of charismatic black Marines found in other science fiction (such as Sergeant Apone in Aliens whom Johnson was partially based on), some publications found Johnson, though enjoyable, somewhat of a flat character. In an interview for Halo: Contact Harvest, Joseph Staten of Bungie admitted that Johnson was a static character in Halo: Combat Evolved, and that despite the character's potential, "he sort of inherited those caricature aspects [from Halo]." Contact Harvest was a chance "to do right by Johnson, to give him the rich, fully fleshed out back-story he deserves, that we have never been able to give him in the game". Luke Cuddy identified Johnson's character arc as closely tied to the series' themes of struggle and sacrifice in his book Halo and Philosophy: Intellect Evolved. The South African edition of IGN called Johnson a staple of the Halo series and included him in their list of "5 Awesome Black Video Game Characters".
Captain Jacob Keyes (voiced by Pete Stacker) is a captain in the UNSC who appears in Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved, its novelization, Halo: The Flood, Halo: The Cole Protocol, and Halo: The Fall of Reach. His first chronological appearance is in The Fall of Reach, where, as a young Lieutenant, he accompanies Dr. Catherine Halsey on her mission to screen possible SPARTAN-II Project subjects. In 2534, Lieutenant Keyes plays a pivotal role in saving a million insurrectionists' lives from Covenant forces. By 2552, midway through The Fall of Reach Keyes is commander of the Iroquois, a UNSC destroyer. Keyes is promoted to captain after he singlehandedly defeats four Covenant ships about to attack a human colony by performing a maneuver later named the "Keyes Loop". When the Iroquois is recalled to the human bastion Reach, a Covenant tracking device aboard the ship alerts the Covenant to the planet's existence, and they proceed to attack the colony. As the planet is glassed by the Covenant, Keyes follows Cole Protocol, which leads his new ship, the Pillar of Autumn to Halo. There, Keyes leads a guerrilla insurgency against the Covenant, until he is captured and assimilated by the parasitic Flood. After being found by the Master Chief in his assimilated state, the Master Chief sadly ends Keyes' suffering by punching into his skull to retrieve Keyes' neural implants in order to destroy the Pillar of Autumn. His daughter is Miranda Keyes.
Commander Miranda Keyes is the daughter of Jacob Keyes and Catherine Halsey, whom she lived with in her younger years. Halsey and Miranda had a falling out in which she changed her last name (then Halsey) to her father's name (Keyes). Miranda appears in Halo 2, Halo 3 and in the final chapter of Halo: The Cole Protocol. At the beginning of Halo 2, Keyes is present at an awards ceremony on board the Cairo defense platform above Earth to accept a medal posthumously for her father. Soon after, a Covenant fleet launches an attack on Earth, and Keyes takes control of the UNSC ship In Amber Clad and assists in the defense of New Mombasa, Kenya. When the Prophet of Regret retreats from Earth, Keyes orders In Amber Clad to follow; this results in the discovery of Installation 05, another Halo. Keyes, along with Johnson and a squad of Marines, head for Halo's library in order to retrieve the Activation Index and prevent the ring's activation while the Master Chief assassinates the Prophet of Regret; in the process, she and Johnson are captured by the Brute Chieftain Tartarus. As a "Reclaimer," only she or another human can insert the Index into Halo's control panel, and Tartarus attempts to make her do this. When the Arbiter tries to stop the firing, Tartarus forces Keyes to insert the Index, initiating Halo's firing sequence. After the Arbiter engages and kills Tartarus, Keyes successfully removes the Index and prevents Halo from activating, but inadvertently causes all the remaining Halo installations to enter standby mode, enabling the remote firing of these installations from The Ark. In Halo 3, Miranda Keyes returns to Earth and leads the pursuit of the Prophet of Truth through the portal he creates using the artifact buried under New Mombasa, which leads to the Ark. When Sergeant Johnson is captured by the Covenant to activate the installation, she attempts to rescue him, but is killed when Truth shoots her in the back with a Brute Spiker.
Miranda Keyes was voiced by Julie Benz in Halo 2, but Bungie recast the role for Halo 3, ostensibly because they wanted someone with an accent. Despite not being a part of Halo 3, Benz said that she loved voiceover work and that it was pure chance she had become the voice of Keyes in the first place. When IGN asked Benz what she thought of her character, she admitted she hadn't played Halo 2, even though Bungie had sent her copies of the game. The character is voiced by Justis Bolding in Halo 3.
Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey is a civilian scientist in the United Nations Space Command. A flash clone of her brain is the basis for the construction of Cortana. As the creator of the SPARTAN-II Project, she is responsible for 75 of the 150 Spartan children, along with their training and the subsequent death of 30 due to the dangerous augmentation process. She is viewed by the SPARTAN-IIs as a "mother" figure, preferring to address each of them by their name rather than numerical designation, and knows each Spartan well enough that she can identify them individually by their mannerisms when they are fully suited in their armor, and otherwise indistinguishable from one-other. Halsey justifies her actions through her belief that the suffering of a few is acceptable for the benefit of many. Sergeant Johnson, however, unknowingly causes Halsey to rethink her position, and she decides to "save each and every member of humanity beginning with herself" during Halo: First Strike. She hijacks a shuttle for her own private mission to the planet Onyx; there, she assists in deciphering the surrounding Forerunner glyphs on the planet and leads the surviving Spartan-IIs and Spartan-IIIs to a Dyson Sphere at the heart of Onyx. She and the Spartans are later freed from Onyx, but Halsey is arrested for "committing acts likely to aid the enemy" by kidnapping Kelly-087 and telling Lord Hood to send more Spartans to Onyx. She is later branded a war criminal. She is later revealed to be the mother of Miranda Keyes. During the events on Requiem, she is called in to help and forms an alliance with Jul 'Mdama, particularly after Commander Sarah Palmer tries to assassinate her. During this time, she also learns from the ship's AI Roland, to her shock, that the Master Chief survived and was even on board the Infinity which no one told her, something that shocks and angers Halsey due to how deeply she cares for the Master Chief. She subsequently helps Jul during the search for the Absolute Record, but later defects back to the UNSC after discovering the threat posed by Cortana. Halsey helps fight the Covenant remnants on Sanghelios and to launch the Guardian so that Fireteam Osiris can reach Cortana and Blue Team. After the Spartans return, Halsey is reunited with the Master Chief for the first time in years. She is voiced by Jen Taylor, who also voices Cortana, in Halo: Reach, Halo 4, and Halo 5: Guardians. Taylor also provides motion-capture performance for Halsey in Halo 4 and Halo 5. The character is voiced by Shelly Calene-Black in Halo Legends. Taylor will portray the character in the upcoming Showtime series.
Colonel James Ackerson is a high-ranking UNSC Army officer, who acts as a connection between the army and Office of Naval Intelligence. Ackerson harbors a strong resentment toward his opponents and toward the Spartans in particular. He convinces ONI to approve his SPARTAN-III Program in 2531 as seen in Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. As part of this, he kidnapped Spartan-II Kurt-051, renamed Kurt Ambrose, to lead the program. In Halo: The Fall of Reach, he attempts to sabotage the testing of the SPARTAN-II's MJOLNIR armor testing process by using ordnance beyond established guidelines. However, Cortana retaliates by forging a letter requesting a reassignment to the front lines as well as planting evidence of illicit activities in his bank records. In the limited comic series Halo: Uprising Ackerson falls into the hands of Covenant orbiting Mars and is slated to die before Ackerson tells his interrogator about a "key" to Earth, the Key of Osanalan which he claimed was located in Cleveland, Ohio. The Key of Osanalan was actually made up by Ackerson and his little brother Ruwan as part of a game when they were children, and Ackerson's intention was to prevent the Covenant from destroying Cleveland so his brother could escape. Instead, Ruwan used the deception to help the UNSC strike a blow against the Covenant. Ackerson was subsequently killed.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez is the SPARTAN-II's trainer on Reach during the early events of Halo: The Fall of Reach. He provides his trainees with excellent weapons training and physical lessons, as well as tactical and mental training.  He leaves the Spartans after the discovery of the Covenant to train the next batch of Spartans, and is recruited by Colonel Ackerson to assist Lieutenant Commander Kurt Ambrose (Spartan-II Kurt-051) with training the SPARTAN-III supersoldiers at the secret world of Onyx after a few years of combat duty (receiving two Purple Hearts in the process). During Ghosts of Onyx he is sealed inside a shield world, and after the Human-Covenant War, retires from service.
Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood (voiced by Ron Perlman) first appears in the novel Halo: First Strike. He is the Chairman of the UNSC Security Council and is the highest-ranking officer in the UNSC Navy: the Chief of Naval Operations. He greatly respects the Spartans, not only because of their record, but because they have saved his life on two occasions. When Halo 2 begins, Admiral Hood presents the Master Chief, Sergeant Johnson, and Miranda Keyes with medals aboard the Cairo Station. In Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, Hood receives an urgent message by Dr. Halsey requesting for him to send Spartans to assist her, and obliges by ordering Fred-104, Will-043, and Linda-058 to Onyx. In Halo 3, Hood is in overall command of Earth's defense and shares command with Commander Miranda Keyes, who reports directly to him. He accepts the need for humanity to ally with the Elites, but is not entirely happy about it. He leads the remaining human naval forces in an attack on the Prophet of Truth's dreadnought, but the attack fails when the Forerunner artifact under New Mombasa activates, creating a portal to the Ark. When the Master Chief, Keyes, and several Elite and human forces choose to follow the Prophet of Truth through the portal, he decides to stay behind to make a final stand on Earth. At the end of the game, he commemorates a small monument to the war and the sacrifices it involved. Though unable to forgive the Arbiter for his actions during the war, Hood thanks him for standing by the Master Chief "to the end" and expresses sorrow at the Spartan's apparent death. Hood also appears in the spin-off media, including several of the books and comics which delve further into his backstory. Its revealed that Hood was captain of a ship during the Battle for Arcadia in Halo Wars and was ordered to collect the Spirit of Fire's log buoy, but instead attacked a Covenant destroyer, resulting in its loss. Hood subsequently blamed himself for the loss of the Spirit of Fire. In Halo: Renegades, John Forge's daughter finds the wreck of Hood's old ship and captain's logs by Hood's successor pointing to the destroyer having subsequently recovered the buoy, leading to her own search for the Spirit of Fire. In the short story "Rosbach's World" taking place after Halo 5: Guardians, Hood is revealed to have escaped Cortana's attack on Earth along with Admiral Serin Osman of ONI thanks to preparations set up in secret by Osman's still-loyal AI Black Box. The two are also able to escape with many of ONI's AIs in their possession, leaving Osman with the dilemma of whether or not to destroy them or risk the AIs defecting to Cortana. However, Hood blames himself for the situation due to allowing the Master Chief free rein and falls into a depression.
Admiral Serin Osman is a former Spartan-II who washed out of the program after failed augmentations. Osman was hand-picked by Office of Naval Intelligence leader Admiral Margaret Parangosky to be her successor. After the Human-Covenant War Osman served as the leader of Kilo-5, a black ops team that worked to destabilize humanity's enemies to prevent future war. InHalo: Last Light, Osman has been promoted to rear admiral, though she is not yet in charge of ONI. Osman coordinates with the UNSC forces on Gao and orders Blue Team to drop a nuclear weapon on the underground Forerunner base to keep it out of enemy hands. Osman personally joins the extraction team and gives Veta Lopis the chance to destroy the Forerunner AI Intrepid Eye as a test. Afterwards, Osman removes the Spartan-III's from Blue Team due to the dangers of their augmentations becoming public knowledge, but instead turns them into an investigative team known as the Ferrets led by Lopis. During the Halo: Fractures short story A Necessary Truth, the Ferrets are targeted by Dark Moon Enterprises operatives hoping to expose their augmentations and thus destroy ONI. The Ferrets are able to stop the plot and turn over the evidence they gather to Osman. Though the Ferrets lie to Osman about some of the details of the mission, she decides to accept it despite being somewhat dubious.
In Halo: Retribution, Osman oversees the mission to avenge the murder of an Admiral and the kidnapping of her family. After the mission exposes a dangerous bioweapon plot, apparently done by ONI, Osman gives orders to shut down the project. However, Intrepid Eye, the true culprit, manipulates Osman's final report to give the project an unlimited black budget and continues it in secret on Argent Moon.
In Spartan Ops, Captain Thomas Lasky contacts Osman after Dr. Catherine Halsey is abducted by Jul 'Mdama. Osman laments not following Parangorsky's suggestion of killing Halsey or burying her as deep as she could and orders Lasky to assassinate Halsey.
In the short story Rossbach's World, Osman is revealed to have escaped the subjugation of Earth by Cortana along with Lord Hood thanks to her personal AI Black Box who remained loyal and set up an escape plan for her if needed. Osman and Hood escape with many of ONI's AIs and Osman is left contemplating whether or not to destroy them.
Captain Thomas Lasky is the current captain of the UNSC Infinity and is currently voiced by Darren O'Hare. He made his debut in his origin web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn portrayed by Tom Green as a young military cadet saved by the Master Chief and Ty Olsson as an adult. In Halo 4, Lasky serves as Infinity's first officer at the rank of Commander and aids the Master Chief on Requiem. When Infinity's captain Andrew Del Rio refuses to listen to the Master Chief and Cortana, the Spartan decides to go rogue rather than abandon the fight with the Infinity. Lasky, ordered to stop the Master Chief, instead secretly supports him by providing the Spartan with a combat-outfitted Pelican for his use. When the Master Chief returns to Earth, he discovers that Del Rio has been relieved of command for abandoning the Master Chief and Lasky promoted to captain as his replacement. Now commanding Infinity, Lasky aids the Master Chief in boarding the Didact's ship. After the Master Chief is rescued from the wreckage, Lasky attempts to comfort the grieving Spartan and reminds him that soldiers aren't machines, they are just people. Six months later, Lasky returns in Spartan Ops, leading the Infinity back to Requiem. After helping defend his ship from a Promethean and Jul 'Mdama's Covenant attack, Lasky clashes with Commander Sarah Palmer over orders to assassinate Dr. Catherine Halsey. With Palmer refusing to stand down, Lasky orders Fireteam Majestic to rescue Halsey in an attempt to save her life.
As Captain of the Infinity, Lasky appears in spin-off media, particularly the Halo: Escalation comic series.
Lasky returns in Halo 5: Guardians. After receiving a message from Halsey, Lasky sends Fireteam Osiris to Kamchatka to rescue the doctor and to kill Jul 'Mdama if possible. Following the successful mission, Lasky reluctantly sends Fireteam Osiris after Blue Team on Meridian and later authorizes a covert operation to Sanghelios to seek out the Arbiter's help in chasing Blue Team using a Guardian on the planet. Due to ONI refusing to get involved in the Arbiter's civil war, Lasky is unable to bring Infinity into the fight and warns Spartan Jameson Locke that if something goes wrong, the mission will have never officially existed. When AIs begin pledging loyalty to Cortana en masse, Lasky and Infinity witness the beginning of the subjugation of Earth, though Infinity's AI Roland chooses to remain loyal to humanity. Lasky orders a series of random slipspace jumps, planning to run until they can figure out a way to fight back.
In Halo: Bad Blood, taking place after Halo 5: Guardians, Lasky and Infinity link up with Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris the next day. Along with debriefing the team leaders, Lasky meets with Spartan Edward Buck in a more informal setting and offers the Spartan, who has been ordered on a covert mission even Lasky isn't allowed to know about, advice, particularly regarding leadership. The conversation with Lasky helps settle some of Buck's doubts and issues, many of which stem from the mission requiring Buck to work with an old friend who betrayed his trust. After the mission, Lasky and Palmer debrief Buck and he convinces them to allow Mickey Crespo to remain in the fight, at least until Cortana has been defeated, despite Mickey being in prison for treason.
Roland, voiced by Brian T. Delaney, is the current AI of the UNSC Infinity, the flagship of the UNSC fleet. Roland's avatar takes the form of a golden World War II fighter pilot. Roland first appears in Spartan Ops where he helps plan missions and in some cases, aids the Spartan controllers in leading fireteams on Requiem, something that Roland comes to greatly enjoy. Using an override code, Dr. Catherine Halsey is briefly able to take control of Roland and force him to help her, learning from the AI that the Master Chief is in fact still alive and was even on Infinity which no one had informed Dr. Halsey of. However, before Dr. Halsey can escape to meet up with Jul 'Mdama, Roland manages to regain control of himself and expose Dr. Halsey's deception to the guards before a Promethean attack on the ship captures the doctor.
Roland appears in spin-off media, including the Halo: Escalation comic series, Halo: Fractures and Halo: Tales from Slipspace. Along with acting as Infinity's AI, Roland takes part in fellow AI Iona's "trial" with Black Box and takes part in Fireteam Majestic's poker night.
In Halo: Spartan Assault, Roland takes on the role of a narrator for cadets undergoing battle simulations based on the Battle of Draetheus V in 2554.
In Halo 5: Guardians, Roland continues to act as the Infinity's AI. Roland is outraged when Dr. Halsey returns and makes accusations that, in Roland's own words, could effectively condemn the other AI to death. Roland angrily confronts the doctor on her hypocrisy and the fact that Cortana is being condemned simply for surviving past her normal lifespan. When Cortana subverts many of the AIs of the galaxy to her cause, Roland is one of the very few AIs that remains loyal to humanity instead of pledging his loyalty to Cortana, showing no signs of considering Cortana's offer even when she appears on Infinity's bridge. Roland is shocked when Lasky decides to run, but Lasky explains that they will run until they have a way to fight back.
Roland appears in Halo: Bad Blood, taking place after Halo 5: Guardians. Roland is confirmed to continue to be loyal to humanity which is a good thing due to the amount of control the AI has over Infinity's systems. Roland's ability to see through Cortana's offer for the bad deal it is endears him greatly to Spartan Edward Buck. When Buck and Captain Veronica Dare decide to get married, Roland interrupts their argument about whether or not to do it via a program or call in Captain Lasky as captain of the ship. Roland offers to marry Buck and Dare himself, stating that as the ship's AI, which in many ways effectively makes Roland Infinity, he can perform a marriage as legally as if Lasky did it. Due to his fondness for the AI, Buck accepts and Roland marries the two, ending with "feed the birds!"
Building on the failed ORION Program, Catherine Halsey and the UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence developed the SPARTAN-II program to create an elite corps of supersoldiers who could stem rebellion in the UNSC colonies. To raise morale as the war continued to sour for humanity, the existence of the SPARTAN-II Program is disclosed to the general public. The Spartans become heroes and veritable legends; in order to maintain public confidence that the war is going well, Spartans are never listed as killed, only as missing in action or wounded in action. The Spartan candidates were kidnapped as children and replaced by flash clones that quickly died afterwards. After grueling training, they were subject to dangerous physical augmentation, and equipped with "MJOLNIR" powered armor. Following in the wake of the SPARTAN-II Project, the SPARTAN-III program was authorized, recruiting children orphaned by the Covenant War who became cheaper, more expendable soldiers in order to give the UNSC more time to effectively fight the Covenant. After the war, the UNSC began training Spartan-IVs from adult volunteers.
Inspired by the Halo video game series, Troy Hurtubise, known for his anti-bear suits, developed a real counterpart to the MJOLNIR powered assault armor, named the Trojan Ballistics Suit of Armor. The suit is functional and its capabilities were inspired by those present in the video games versions of the armor. The armor's features include a system that purifies air, powered by solar panels located in the helmet, equipment for weapon transportation, a recording system, emergency illumination, and a transponder that can be activated if the wearer is in serious jeopardy. The armor offers protection against attacks with knives, blunt objects, and small explosions and is bulletproof. Hurtubise expressed that he is able to improve this design for use in the military for a price of 2,000 dollars per piece. Non-functional replicas of the MJOLNIR powered assault armor have also been created by hobbyists; a Spike TV pre-Halo 3 special profiled some of these dedicated fans.
Fred-104, voiced by Andrew Lowe in Halo: Legends, portrayed by Tony Giroux in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and Travis Willingham in the Halo 2: Anniversary Terminals and in Halo 5: Guardians, is a Spartan-II and one of the Master Chief's closest friends.
Fred survives the fall of Reach, as shown in Halo: First Strike, and assists Master Chief and other Spartans in destroying a Covenant armada massing to attack Earth. In Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, Fred and Blue Team help defend the Earth from Covenant attack during the events of Halo 2 while the Master Chief is away on the second Halo ring. Following a message from Halsey, Blue Team hijacks a Covenant destroyer to travel to the planet Onyx where Halsey and the Spartan-III's are located. There, Blue Team is reunited with both Kelly and the Spartan-III leader, Lieutenant Commander Kurt Ambrose, an old friend theirs believed to be dead for nearly twenty years. Under heavy Covenant and Sentinel attack, the group takes out a Sentinel factory on the planet and defends the entrance to the interior shield world. Ultimately, Kurt decides to sacrifice himself to destroy the Covenant ground forces with nuclear weapons. Before sending the others through the portal, Kurt promotes Fred to the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Afterwards, Fred and the others mourn those they lost in the battle and prepare to explore the world they are now on. They reconnect with the outside world in Halo: Glasslands; though to them only a few days have passed, outside months have.
Fred continues to serve in the post-Covenant War Spartan branch. In Halo: Last Light, Fred and Blue Team investigate a Forerunner structure on the politically unstable planet of Gao and get caught in both the machinations of a power hungry leader and the plans of a rogue Forerunner AI, Intrepid Eye. This pits the UNSC against the Covenant splinter faction known as the Keepers of the One Freedom which Gao's Minister of Protection, Arlo Casille, uses to gain power and turn on the UNSC, having secretly brought the Keepers to the planet for just that purpose. Intrepid Eye destroys Fred's AI Wendell and nearly escapes using Fred's armor, but Veta Lopis, a Gao investigator who was investigating a series of murders committed by Intrepid Eye, disables Fred's suit with an explosive she had earlier planted and the rogue AI is captured. Fleeing the planet, Blue Team destroys the Forerunner base with a nuclear weapon, but Admiral Serin Osman, herself a former Spartan-II, removes the Spartan-III's from the team due to the danger if their illegal augmentations are exposed. Instead, Osman turns the III's into an investigative team known as the Ferrets led by Lopis.
In Halo: Retribution, Fred is given tactical command of a mission to avenge the murder of an Admiral and the kidnapping of her family, apparently by the Keepers of the One Freedom. Blue Team works alongside the Ferrets who manage to infiltrate a Keeper base, but discover the Admiral's family dead. Blue Team provides backup and destroys the base with nuclear weapons, but it's discovered that the bodies were planted. The investigation leads them back to Gao and ultimately to Meridian where the group exposes and foils a dangerous bioweapon plot, unaware that the true culprit was Intrepid Eye.
In the Halo: Escalation comic series, Fred and the other members of Blue Team are reunited with the Master Chief who had survived the final battle with the Covenant and made it back to Earth after over four and a half years. Despite being the ranking officer as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Fred returns control of the team to the Master Chief and returns to his old role as second-in-command. Together, they defeat the returned Didact and go on a series of non-stop missions.
Fred appears alongside the Master Chief, Kelly and Linda in Halo 5: Guardians.
In Halo: Shadows of Reach, taking place nearly a year after Halo 5, Fred is unexpectedly reunited with Lopis while on a mission to Reach, something that greatly shocks Fred as Lopis and the Ferrets have been missing in action and presumed dead for more than two years. Lopis, in actuality undercover with the Keepers of the One Freedom, provides Fred with a message to pass to ONI before ordering him to leave. The Master Chief notes that Fred took Lopis' presumed demise hard, having grown "kinda close" to her over time. Captain Veronica Dare promises to keep Fred apprised of anything that she hears about the Ferrets and allows him to keep the top third of Lopis' message which is implied to be a personal one meant for Fred.
Linda-058 (voiced by Andrea Bogart in the Halo 2: Anniversary terminals and Brittany Uomoleale in Halo 5: Guardians) is an excellent marksman. She appears in both much of the spin-off media and Halo 5: Guardians. After being mortally wounded in Halo: The Fall of Reach, she is placed into suspended animation. In Halo: First Strike she is revived and participates in action against the Covenant. In Ghosts of Onyx she and her fellow Spartans defend Earth from the Covenant, before being sent to the planet Onyx after receiving a message from Catherine Halsey. Following the end of the Human-Covenant war in Halo: Last Light, Linda and Blue Team investigate a Forerunner structure on the politically unstable planet of Gao and get caught in both the machinations of a power hungry leader and the plans of a rogue Forerunner AI, Intrepid Eye. In the Halo: Escalation comic series, Linda and the other members of Blue Team are reunited with the Master Chief, and she fights with Blue Team during the events of Halo 5. Linda is also the main character in the Halo: Lone Wolf comic series.
Kelly-087, voiced by Luci Christian in Halo: Legends, Jenna Berman in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and Michelle Lukes in Halo 5: Guardians, is the Spartan-II's scout and the Master Chief's best friend. Kelly is noted for her incredible speed, something that she had even before she underwent augmentation which only increased her speed. In Halo: The Fall of Reach, the Master Chief meets Kelly and fellow trainee Sam on their very first day of Spartan training. Initially, Kelly and Sam hate the Master Chief because his refusal to work as a team on a training exercise gets them into trouble, but the three quickly become best friends. Kelly quickly establishes herself as the Spartans scout due to her incredible speed which no one else can match. She is initially presumed lost with other Spartans dispatched to Reach during its invasion, but in Halo: First Strike it is revealed she survived. During the events of the novel Halsey kidnaps Kelly and flees in a stolen rebel starship.
In Halo: Glasslands, the Spartans are able to make contact with several Huragok in the shield world and convince them to bring it out of slipspace. The group is then rescued what to them is a few days later, but to the rest of the universe, months later. To their relief, they discover that the Covenant has been defeated, but the Master Chief apparently perished in the final battle. Blue Team, now made up of both the survivors of the original team and the surviving Spartan-III's, decide to join the new Spartan branch and continue serving in the post-war universe.
In Halo: Last Light, Kelly and Blue Team investigate a Forerunner structure on the politically unstable planet of Gao and get caught in both the machinations of a power hungry leader and the plans of a rogue Forerunner AI, Intrepid Eye. This pits the UNSC against the Covenant splinter faction known as the Keepers of the One Freedom which Gao's Minister of Protection, Arlo Casille, uses to gain power and turn on the UNSC, having secretly brought the Keepers to the planet for just that purpose. Intrepid Eye destroys Fred's AI Wendell and nearly escapes using Fred's armor, but Veta Lopis, a Gao investigator who was investigating a series of murders committed by Intrepid Eye, disables Fred's suit with an explosive she had earlier planted and the rogue AI is captured. Fleeing the planet, Blue Team destroys the Forerunner base with a nuclear weapon, but Admiral Serin Osman, herself a former Spartan-II, removes the Spartan-III's from the team due to the danger if their illegal augmentations are exposed. Instead, Osman turns the III's into an investigative team known as the Ferrets led by Lopis.
In Halo: Retribution, Blue Team is given a mission to avenge the murder of an Admiral and the kidnapping of her family, apparently by the Keepers of the One Freedom. Blue Team works alongside the Ferrets who manage to infiltrate a Keeper base, but discover the Admiral's family dead. Blue Team provides backup and destroys the base with nuclear weapons which are rearmed by Linda, but its discovered that the bodies were planted. The investigation leads them back to Gao and ultimately to Meridian where the group exposes and foils a dangerous bioweapon plot, unaware that the true culprit was Intrepid Eye.
In the Halo: Escalation comic series, Kelly and the other members of Blue Team are reunited with the Master Chief who had survived the final battle with the Covenant and made it back to Earth after over four and a half years. Together, they defeat the returned Didact and go on a series of non-stop missions.
Kelly appears alongside the Master Chief, Linda and Fred in Halo 5: Guardians.
Commander Sarah Palmer (Jennifer Hale) is a Spartan-IV stationed on UNSC Infinity and the leader of the Spartan IVs. She appears in Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians, Halo: Spartan Assault, "Halo: Shadows of Reach", and the Halo Escalation comic series.
Gunnery Sergeant Edward Malcolm Buck (Nathan Fillion) is a longtime human soldier. In Halo 3: ODST he is the leader of Alpha-Nine, a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs). He is subsequently inducted into the SPARTAN-IV program, and is a playable member of Fireteam Osiris in the video game Halo 5. He makes a brief appearance in Halo: Reach and is the main character of the novels Halo: New Blood and Halo: Bad Blood. In the latter, Buck reunites his old squad Alpha-Nine (minus "Rookie", who died during a previous mission in the timeskip between 3 and 4) for a classified ONI mission following the events of Halo 5 and is reluctantly forced to work with his old friend Mickey Crespo who betrayed Buck's trust and was imprisoned for treason. At the end of the novel, Buck decides to return to leading Alpha-Nine full-time and is married to long-time girlfriend Veronica Dare by Infinity's AI Roland.
Jameson Locke is a Spartan IV who first appeared in Halo 2 Anniversary's both opening and ending with the task of hunting down the Master Chief in Halo 5: Guardians. Mike Colter portrays Locke in both Anniversary and the Nightfall origin movie, and only provided the motion-capture performance for the character in Guardians. Due to scheduling conflicts with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, Locke's voice acting is replaced by Ike Amadi. He is the current squad leader of Fireteam Osiris, tasked with hunting down Master Chief and Blue Team. Locke kills Jul 'Mdama in single combat and helps the Arbiter defeat the last of the Jul's Covenant forces.
High Prophets, or Hierarchs, are the supreme leaders of the theocratic Covenant. Upon assuming office, each Hierarch picks a new regnal name from a list of names of former Hierarchs, similar to the practice of some Orthodox Patriarchs. In Halo 2, there are shown to be only three; the Prophets of Truth, Mercy, and Regret (voiced by Michael Wincott, Hamilton Camp and Robin Atkin Downes in Halo 2, respectively; in Halo 3, Truth is voiced by Terence Stamp). The novel Halo: Contact Harvest reveals that these three Prophets, originally known as the Minister of Fortitude, the Vice-Minister of Tranquility, and the Philologist, plotted to usurp the throne of the Hierarchs; in the process, they hide the truth that humanity is descended from the Covenant gods, the Forerunners, believing that the revelation could shatter the Covenant. During the course of Halo 2, Regret attacks Earth, and then retreats to Delta Halo. There, he calls for reinforcements, but is killed by the Master Chief. Later, Mercy is attacked by the Flood on High Charity; Truth could have saved him, but left him to die so he could have full control over the Covenant. In Halo 3: ODST, Truth is seen inspecting some Engineers around the Forerunner construct near New Mombasa. In Halo 3, Truth also meets his demise at the hands of the Arbiter when the Prophet attempts to activate all the Halo rings from the Ark. His death becomes the culmination of the Covenant's downfall.
Preliminary designs for the Prophets, including the Hierarchs, were done by artist Shi Kai Wang. According to The Art of Halo, the Prophets were designed to look feeble, yet sinister. Originally, the Prophets appeared to be fused to the special hovering thrones they use for transport; even in the final designs, the Prophets are made to be dependent on their technology. Special headdresses, stylized differently for each of the Hierarchs, adds personality to the aliens and a regal presence.
The Arbiter is a rank given to special Covenant Elite soldiers who undertake suicidal missions on behalf of the Hierarchs to gain honor upon their death. They are revered amongst the Covenant for their bravery and skills. In Halo 2, the rank of Arbiter is given to Thel 'Vadamee, the disgraced former Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice, which was responsible for destroying Reach. It was under his watch that Installation 04 was destroyed in Halo: Combat Evolved and the Ascendant Justice was captured by the Master Chief in Halo: First Strike. Rather than killing him, the Prophets allow the Commander to become the Arbiter, and to carry on his missions as the "Blade of the Prophets". Eventually, the Arbiter rebels against the Prophets during the Great Schism by dropping the "-ee" suffix from his surname as a symbol of his resignation from the Covenant, and joins his fellow Elites in siding with humanity and stopping the Halo array from firing. Some of his backstory is featured in Halo: The Cole Protocol set about fifteen years before Combat Evolved where the Arbiter, then Shipmaster Thel 'Vadamee, comes into conflict with UNSC forces led by then-Lieutenant Jacob Keyes. The events sow the seeds of doubt in the future Arbiter's mind about the Prophets and their plans. This particular Arbiter is voiced by Keith David; the Arbiter that appears in Halo Wars is voiced by David Sobolov.
Originally to be named "Dervish," the Arbiter was a playable character intended to be a major plot twist. Reception to the character was lukewarm, with critics alternatively praising the added dimension brought by the Arbiter, or criticizing the sudden twist.
Making his debut in Halo 2, Special Ops Commander Rtas 'Vadum is never named in the game itself, leading to the unofficial nickname of "Half-Jaw" by fans, due to the missing mandibles on the left side of his face. With the release of The Halo Graphic Novel, however, the character was finally named in the story Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor as Rtas 'Vadumee. The character is voiced by Robert Davi.
'Vadum, originally 'Vadumee before the Covenant Civil War, is a veteran Covenant Elite and the second most prominent Elite character in the series after the Arbiter. He carries the Covenant rank of Shipmaster. The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor explains how he loses his left mandibles; he is injured after fighting one of his friends, who was infected by the Flood. During the early events of Halo 2, 'Vadumee serves as a messenger between the Hierarchs and the Elite Council, as he is seen relaying messages between the two parties in the Prophets' chamber. Surviving the Prophets' betrayal, 'Vadumee joins his brethren in fighting the Brutes, dropping the "-ee" suffix from his surname to symbolize his resignation from the Covenant. 'Vadum aids the Arbiter in attacking a Brute base to capture a Scarab before departing to take control of a nearby Covenant ship.
In Halo 3, 'Vadum is Shipmaster of the flagship Shadow of Intent, and supports Cortana's plan to follow Truth to the Ark. Along with the Arbiter, 'Vadum leaves Earth to return to the Elite's homeworld with the end of the war. Rtas 'Vadum is known for being a quick, smart, and ingenious tactician and an unparalleled fighter, especially with an Energy Sword and is an excellent leader. He expresses great care for his soldiers, even the Unggoy. He is eager to exact revenge on the Brutes after the Great Schism.
'Vadum appears in the novella Halo: Shadow of Intent taking place after the war. Still the Shipmaster of the Shadow of Intent, 'Vadum protects Sangheili space and comes into conflict with a Covenant splinter faction led by two surviving Prophets, Prelate Tem'Bhetek and the Minister of Preparation Boru'a'Neem. The Prelate is shown to have a personal grudge against 'Vadum, blaming him for the death of his family when High Charity fell to the Flood and 'Vadum had the city partially glassed in a failed effort to contain the Flood. After capturing the Prelate, 'Vadum shows sympathy for him and reveals that the Prelate's family may well have been alive when the Prelate departed the city, meaning that Preparation lied to him. 'Vadum's words shake the Prelate's faith in Preparation who is revealed to be planning to use a prototype Halo ring to destroy Sanghelios using the Shadow of Intent to power it. The Prelate sacrifices himself to stop Preparation, leaving 'Vadum with a new outlook following the encounter. Along with getting the Arbiter to relax age-old rules not allowing females to serve in the military, 'Vadum reveals that he plans to use navigation data recovered from the Prelate's ship to seek out the rest of the Prophets and attempt to determine who should be punished as war criminals and who should be pardoned to coexist in peace as innocents.
Tartarus (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) is the Chieftain of the Brutes, easily recognized by his white hair, distinctive mohawk, and massive gravity hammer known as the "Fist of Rukt". Rough, arrogant, and disdainful of the Elites, Tartarus is completely dedicated to the Prophets' salvific "Great Journey". Halo: Contact Harvest reveals that Tartarus became Chieftain after killing the former Chieftain, his uncle Maccabeus, and seizing the Chieftain's weapon. In Contact Harvest, Tartarus acts as one of the main antagonists, working to destroy the human colony of Harvest and coming into conflict with Sergeant Johnson. During the final battle of the novel, Johnson's life is inadvertently saved when one of Tartarus' own soldiers turns against him, damaging Tartarus' armor and forcing him to retreat. Tartarus makes his first appearance in the novel Halo: First Strike, as one of the first Brutes allowed into the chamber of the High Prophet of Truth. In Halo 2, Tartarus acts as an agent of the Prophets, branding the Arbiter for his failures. The Chieftain later appears when the Arbiter tries to retrieve the Activation Index of Delta Halo. On the Prophets' orders, Tartarus takes the Index and pushes the Arbiter to what was intended to be his death in a deep chasm. Tartarus heads to the control room of Halo with the Index in order to activate Halo, but is confronted by the Arbiter. Blind to the Prophets' deception about the Great Journey, Tartarus activates the ring; the Brute is ultimately killed by the coordinated efforts of the Arbiter with the help of Sergeant Major Johnson, successfully preventing the firing of Delta Halo.
Designs for Tartarus began after the basic shape and design of the common Brutes was complete. Artist Shi Kai Wang added small but distinctive changes to Tartarus' armor and mane in order to distinguish the Chieftain from the other Brutes. The visual design of the Chieftains was later modified for Halo 3, with the seasoned warriors sporting more elaborate headdresses and shoulder pads. In a review of the character, UGO Networks noted that whereas the Elites "are a precision scalpel," Tartarus was a "baseball bat" that smashes everything in its path, a reference to their ceremonial weapons, the Energy Sword and Gravity Hammer, respectively.
Jul 'Mdama, voiced by Travis Willingham, is the Supreme Leader of a newly formed Covenant splinter faction following the defeat of the Covenant Empire in Halo 3. Calling himself "the Didact's Hand," Jul's faction initially seeks the Forerunner warrior Didact as an ally against humanity. The character appears in Karen Traviss' Kilo-5 trilogy of novels, as well as Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. It was revealed in Halo: Escalation that Jul 'Mdama's faction was only one of many factions self-proclaiming to be a new "Covenant".
First appearing in the Kilo-Five trilogy, Jul is depicted as a member of the Servants of the Abiding Truth, a religious Covenant splinter faction that is opposed to the Arbiter and his emerging Swords of Sanghelios government. However, Jul is shown to have only joined the Servants as they were the best equipped to combat the Arbiter and his forces as Jul did not believe humanity would change and must be stopped while the Arbiter wanted to form a lasting alliance with them. The Servants attempt to defeat the Arbiter ended in catastrophe thanks to the intervention of the UNSC Infinity in the battle. Jul was subsequently captured by the Kilo-Five black ops team and imprisoned on the Forerunner shield world of Onyx. Jul eventually escaped using one of the shield world's slipspace portals and traveled to the Sangheili colony world of Hesduros which had been cut off from the goings-on in the galaxy since before the Covenant civil war. By portraying his experiences on the shield world in a religious light, Jul was able to win over the inhabitants, but learned that his wife had been killed. Grief-stricken and blaming humanity, Jul discovered the coordinates to the shield world of Requiem on Hesduros and began building up a massive following, forming a new Sangheili-led Covenant. Jul's Covenant eventually found Requiem, but were trapped outside for three years as depicted in the Halo 4 Terminals because the planet required the presence of a Reclaimer to open.
In Halo 4, the Master Chief arrives at Requiem in the rear half of the Forward Unto Dawn and comes into conflict with Jul and his forces. The Master Chief's presence causes Requiem to finally open, granting Jul's Covenant access to the planet. Jul eventually leads some of his forces into Requiem's core where the Forerunner known as the Didact is imprisoned. The Didact is able to trick the Master Chief into releasing him and Jul bows down before him. Despite the core's subsequent collapse, Jul manages to escape with his life and allies himself with the Didact against the humans from the Infinity. Jul's alliance with the Didact leaves him with the ability to command the Didact's Promethean soldiers even after the Didact's own defeat. Subsequent to this, Jul brands himself "the Didact's Hand" with his status and ability to control the Prometheans giving him even more power and attracting more followers to his cause.
In Spartan Ops, six months after the Battle of Requiem, the Infinity returns to Requiem which is still occupied by Jul and his Covenant. The forces of the Infinity and Jul's forces battle each other for control over the planet while Jul personally leads the attempt to access the Librarian's AI which Jul wants to use for the power that the Librarian can give to him. In Halo: Escalation, Jul and Halsey work together while Jul faces a mutiny inside of his own forces. Their mission to access the Absolute Record of Forerunner installations, however, fails.
In Halo 5: Guardians, Jul's power has begun to break following all of his defeats and his Prometheans turning against him under the influence of Cortana. On the remote world of Kamchatka, Jul attempts to access the Forerunner Domain with the help of Halsey while his loyal forces battle the Prometheans. However, Jul is unaware that Halsey has betrayed his location to the UNSC due to the threat Cortana poses. He is killed by Spartan Jameson Locke in single combat and Jul's Covenant falls apart soon thereafter.
In Halo: Legacy of Onyx, Jul's two sons are left on the opposing sides of an ongoing conflict on the Onyx shield world. Dural, now the leader of the Servants of the Abiding Truth, believes the Covenant to truly be gone with the death of his father and the destruction of his faction despite the existence of other ex-Covenant splinter factions in the galaxy.
Atriox, voiced by John Dimaggio, is the Brute who founded and leads the mercenary organization known as the Banished. Having fought for the Covenant during the Human-Covenant War, Atriox grew disgruntled with the alien empire as his Brute brothers were carelessly used as canon fodder by their Elite masters, a species who had a feuding rivalry with them due to the Brute's strength and aggression challenging their superior status.
In Halo: Rise of Atriox, he is shown fighting against the UNSC Marines during the war. Atriox chases down a Marine and expresses to him how meaningless he finds the war against the human species to be as his brothers die. With no hatred for humanity, Atriox quickly kills the Marine to complete his mission. Another Brute then reveals that he was spying on Atriox and declares him a heretic for renouncing the Covenant, resulting in Atriox killing him too. Having murdered one of his own and spoken against the Covenant religion, Atriox is sent to be executed by his Elite superiors. Atriox rebels against his punishment, killing the Elite executioner, inspiring a Brute named Decimus and others to overthrow the other Elites in the area. Atriox forms the Banished with them, and leaves the Covenant.
Atriox is shown recruiting more members to the Banished in Hunting Party from Halo: Tales From Slipspace. He is willing to hire from all species, including Elites and humans. Following the Great Schism, a civil war that tore the Covenant apart, a squad of Elite assassins known as the Silent Shadow embarked on a genocidal campaign against the Brutes for revenge. The Silent Shadow squad kills the Brute crew on Atriox's ship until they encounter him. Atriox tells the Elites that he and his Brutes were not responsible for the Great Schism and that they also hate the Covenant. The leader of the squad still expresses hatred to Atriox for being a Brute, to which Atriox responds that "vengeance is petty" and that "vengeance has no reward". The Silent Shadow squad reluctantly kill their leader, and join the Banished as mercenaries.
Halo: The Official Spartan Field Manual further details Atriox's openness to recruiting humans, as well as how his Brutes Chieftains have spread their influence into Brute colonies as well as human criminal enterprises.
In Halo Wars 2, Atriox, who had taken over the Forerunner world known as the Ark, reveals himself to Spartan-II Red Team of the UNSC Ship Spirit of Fire who had just arrived. Atriox attacks the Spartans and lets them escape, sending his Banished forces to chase after them. A prolonged battle for territory ensues between the crew of the Spirit of Fire and Atriox's forces. Having lost Decimus and his flagship in the battle, Atriox expresses respect to his enemy for their tenacity, and offers them a chance to leave peacefully rather than be hunted down. Captain Cutter of the Spirit of Fire refuses and successfully captures a Halo ring, recently created by the Ark, from the Banished. Atriox later orders his forces to plunder resources from the ruins of the former Covenant capital, High Charity, and warns them not to go inside. Pavium and Voridus ignore Atriox's orders and accidentally unleash the Flood upon the Ark once more. After the two succeed in killing a Proto-Gravemind, an enraged Atriox confronts them about their actions, having had to divert significant forces from his battle with the UNSC to contain the Flood. Atriox orders his two subordinates to clean up their mess and help the Ark's defenses to finish containing the Flood. The livid Atriox kills a surviving Flood infection form and departs the area.
In Halo: Shadows of Reach, Atriox manages to make contact with his forces in the Milky Way, instructing them to find a Forerunner slipspace portal on the former human colony of Reach. After the portal is activated by the Keepers of the One Freedom - another former Covenant faction allied with the Banished - with the help of their human acolytes, Atriox is able to use the shards of the Forerunner crystal recovered in Halo: First Strike to connect the portal to the Ark and fly through it to Reach in a Banished Lich. Rather than using the portal to bring more reinforcements back to the Ark, Atriox departs to attend to a greater purpose, leaving behind his troops on the Ark to hold it in his absence. The fanatically religious Keepers steal Atriox's Lich to travel to the Ark and fire the Halos while Veta Lopis - undercover amongst the Keepers - passes a warning to the UNSC that Atriox has returned.
A high-ranking Brute appearing in the novels Halo: Last Light, Halo: Retribution, Halo: Silent Storm, Halo: Shadows of Reach and the upcoming Halo: Divine Wind. In the wake of the defeat of the Covenant, Castor is the leader of the Keepers of the One Freedom splinter faction, a faction of fanatical zealots that still follows the Covenant's religion. He was once brothers-in-arms with Atriox, the leader of the Banished.
In Halo: Silent Storm, Castor and his best friend Orsun are amongst the elite Covenant forces that hunt the Spartans near the beginning of the Human-Covenant war during Operation: SILENT STORM. The two are the only survivors of their unit and flee in Banshees just before a major Covenant space station is destroyed by the Spartans with nuclear weapons.
In Halo: Last Light, Castor is now the leader or Dokab of the Keepers of the One Freedom Covenant splinter faction. After learning of the presence of a Forerunner AI on the human colony of Gao, Castor launches an attack, aided by the Minister of Protection Arlo Casille who uses the opportunity to launch a coup d'état and overthrow his own government. Castor is eventually mortally wounded during the battle, but the Huragok Roams Alone heals his injuries. Castor decides to let Roams Alone leave and vows revenge upon Casille for his betrayal.
In Halo: Retribution, Castor and the Keepers of the One Freedom have been conducting piracy upon Casille as a form of revenge and they are framed by Dark Moon Enterprises for the murder of a UNSC Admiral and the kidnapping of her family. Since the events on Gao, Castor has been communicating with a "Holy Oracle" - in actuality the Forerunner AI Intrepid Eye who was recovered from Gao by the UNSC - who directed him to build a base on a former Forerunner outpost world while at the same time framing Castor and the Keepers for her own purposes. Intrepid Eye's machinations leads Blue Team and the Ferrets - a special investigations unit of ONI made up mainly of Spartan-III's - to Castor's base where they recover the planted bodies of the Admiral's family and destroy the base and ninety percent of the Keeper forces in the sector with nuclear weapons. Enraged, Castor chases Intrepid Eye's men to the Outer Colony of Meridian where Orsun is killed by one of Intrepid Eye's men with a rocket launcher much to Castor's grief. Castor's forces, Blue Team and the Ferrets eventually foil Intrepid Eye's biological weapon plot, but Castor is left stranded on Meridian with a broken translator and searching for a way off of the moon.
In Halo: Shadows of Reach, Castor and the Keepers are now allied with the Banished along with two other factions of Brutes - the Legion of the Corpse-Moon and the Ravaged Tusks. Castor and his forces are enlisted by Banished War Chief Escharum to help find a Forerunner slipspace portal on the former human colony of Reach that can be used to connect to the Ark and send reinforcements to Atriox. By this point, Castor is aware that the "Oracle" is really Intrepid Eye, but has been out of contact with her for a year and still believes in her guidance regardless. As a result, Castor considers his four human acolytes to be a gift from the Oracle, unaware that they are actually Veta Lopis and her Ferret team working deep undercover in the Keepers of the One Freedom. By following Blue Team when they arrive on the planet, Castor and his forces manage to locate and open the slipspace portal, allowing Atriox and several of his top warriors to return to the Milky Way in a Banished Lich. Castor and the Keepers then hijack the Lich and fly it to the Ark, intending to use the Ark to fire the Halo rings and begin the Great Journey while Atriox remains behind to pursue a greater purpose of some kind with his forces in the Milky Way rather than returning to the Ark with reinforcements. Castor ignores Atriox's warnings about the thousands of Banished forces remaining on the Ark and convinces an Elite from the Banished that had accompanied him throughout the book to join the Keepers' mission.
343 Guilty Spark
343 Guilty Spark (or Guilty Spark or just Spark) (voiced by Tim Dadabo) is a robot character who appears in the original Halo trilogy. 343 Guilty Spark was originally a human named Chakas who was digitized by the Forerunners at the expense of his biological form. Guilty Spark served as the caretaker of the Halo ring Installation 04, where he was a temporary ally then enemy to the Master Chief. Ultimately, he is severely damaged when he turns on the Master Chief and his allies in order to stop them from prematurely activating Installation 08 to eliminate the Flood threat, destroying both the fledgling Installation and the main Ark installation in the process.
Bungie originally wanted Guilty Spark to sound similar to the robot C-3PO. Dadabo noted in an interview that reactions to his character have been hostile, finding Spark highly annoying. He described Spark's character as a "bastard" who strings others along in order to accomplish his ends. An annual Halloween pumpkin carving contest named 343 Guilt O'Lantern is organized by Halo.Bungie.Org; both the contest's title and logo use the character's design and name as inspiration. Gaming site GameDaily listed Guilty Spark as one of the top "evil masterminds" of video games, stating "If HAL-9000 had any distant relatives, [Guilty Spark would] be closest of kin."
05-032 Mendicant Bias
05-032 Mendicant Bias ("Beggar after Knowledge" as revealed in Halo: Cryptum) was the Contender-class Forerunner A.I. charged with organizing Forerunner defense against the Flood. It was later defected by the Primordial turning it rampant and against the Forerunners, but was eventually defeated after the firing of the Halo array and broken into sections, one of which was taken to the Ark, while another was left on the Forerunner ship that would eventually be incorporated into the Covenant city of High Charity. It is this section of Mendicant Bias that informs the Covenant Hierarchs of the human's descendance from the Forerunners in Halo: Contact Harvest, prompting the Hierarchs to usurp the Covenant leadership and instigate the Human-Covenant War.
Mendicant Bias is first encountered in Halo 3 on the Ark, as it attempted to communicate with the Master Chief through Terminals, claiming it sought atonement for its defection to the Flood by helping the Spartan and may have been destroyed when the Chief activated the incomplete Halo that the Ark was constructing. However, as the Ark survived the firing, albeit badly damaged, Mendicant Bias may have survived as well.
The Didact, born Shadow-of-Sundered-Star, (voiced by Keith Szarabajka) is a Forerunner military leader and the Halo 4's main antagonist. The Didact developed a deep animosity towards humanity after fighting a war with them that cost him many soldiers, including his own children. The Didact disagrees with the plan to build the Halo Array to fight the Flood, instead proposing a system of "shield worlds" that is ultimately rejected. Going into exile in a kind of stasis within a device known as a Cryptum, he is later awoken by the Forerunner Bornstellar with the help of humans Chakas and Riser, all guided by the Librarian. The Didact imprints his consciousness on Bornstellar, who then becomes the Iso-Didact; when the Ur-Didact is presumed dead after being captured by the Master Builder, Bornstellar assumes the Didact's military role. Unknown to most, the Ur-Didact was actually abandoned in a Flood-infested system where he was captured and tortured by the Gravemind. Though he survived, the Ur-Didact's sanity was severely shaken by this encounter. Spurred to more drastic measures in an effort to stop the Flood, he forcibly composed innocent humans and turned them into mechanical soldiers. Horrified, the Librarian incapacitated the Didact and placed him in a Cryptum on his shield world Requiem, hoping that meditation and long exposure to the Domain would amend his motives and heal his damaged psyche. However, the activation of the Halos severed the Didact from the Domain, and he spent the next 100 millennia alone, with only his own rage and madness to keep him company.
During the events of Halo 4, the Ur-Didact is accidentally released from his Cryptum by the Master Chief and Cortana. He immediately retakes control of the Prometheans and attempts to digitize the population of Earth, but is stopped by Cortana and Master Chief who is made immune to the Composer by an imprint of the Librarian on Requiem. The comic series Escalation reveals the Didact survived this encounter, but the Spartans of Blue Team stop his plans once again. He is apparently digitized by the Master Chief using several Composers, but the Master Chief considers him contained, not dead.
In Halo: Renegades, 343 Guilty Spark, formerly Bornstellar's human companion Chakas who once helped release the Ur-Didact from his Cryptum, learns from the Librarian of the Ur-Didact's release from his Cryptum on Requiem. From the Librarian's reaction to his questions, Spark realizes that the Ur-Didact's threat is currently "not worrisome" and that the Librarian still hopes for her husband to find peace. However, the Librarian sadly admits that she believes the Ur-Didact to be beyond redemption.
The Librarian (voiced by Lori Tritel) is a highly ranked Forerunner who is married to the Didact. The Librarian spares humanity from extinction after their war with the Forerunners. She convinces the Forerunner council to use the Halos as preserves for fauna in addition to weapons and manipulates the humans Chakas and Riser as well as the young Forerunner Bornstellar into rescuing her husband from his Cryptum on Earth. She ultimately incapacitates and imprisons the Ur-Didact to stop his plans. While she is presumed to have died when the Halo Array was fired, she uploaded various copies of her personality to aid humanity in assuming the Forerunner's Mantle of Responsibility.
In Halo 4, the Master Chief encounters one such copy on Requiem where the Librarian explains some of the history of the Didact, the war between the humans and the Forerunners as well as the Composer. The Librarian reveals that the Master Chief is "the culmination of a thousand lifetimes of planning," the Librarian having guided humanity through their genetic code to reach the eventuality that became the Master Chief. However, the Librarian is unable to explain what she was planning for before they are interrupted by the Didact. At the Librarian's urging, the Master Chief permits her to accelerate his evolution in order to grant the Master Chief an immunity to the Composer, allowing the Master Chief to survive the Didact's later firing of the weapon. In Spartan Ops, taking place six months later, both the UNSC and Ju 'Mdama's Covenant splinter faction search Requiem for this copy of the Librarian. Dr. Catherine Halsey manages to access a shrine containing the Librarian who provides Halsey with the Janus Key and directs her to find the Absolute Record. The Librarian helps Fireteam Crimson track Halsey's signal in an effort to rescue Halsey from 'Mdama and Crimson helps the Librarian transmit herself to the Absolute Record. She later appears there in Halo: Escalation.
In Halo: Primordium, 343 Guilty Spark, once the human Chakas, claims to know where to find the Librarian, suggesting that she has survived. Rescued from an isolated planet by the crew of the salvage ship Ace of Spades in Halo: Renegades, Spark continues his search for the Librarian, which is ultimately revealed to be a search for another of her copies, not the Librarian herself. In a Forerunner structure on Earth beneath Mount Kilimanjaro, Spark attempts to get the Librarian to help him bring back his friends from when he was human or to join them in the Domain, but the Librarian helps Spark see the folly of his plan. Instead, the Librarian helps Spark recognize the friends he has made amongst the Ace of Spades crew. Though the Librarian offers Spark the chance to join her in joining the rest of her copies at the Absolute Record, he decides to remain behind with his friends. The Librarian provides Spark with a coordinate key to "the safe place" and orders him to "find what's missing. Fix the path. Right what my kind has turned wrong." Before departing, the Librarian seemingly communicates with each member of the crew, telling Captain Rion Forge in particular to look after Spark who is more fragile and important than she could ever know and who might still have a role to play in events to come.
In Halo: Point of Light, Spark and Rion Forge search for the mythical Forerunner planet of Bastion using the coordinate key that the Librarian had provided to Spark. Bastion proves to be a Forerunner shield world taking on a form identical to the surface of the Earth that had acted as the Librarian's secret laboratory out of reach of the Forerunner Council. Spark helps another Forerunner Keeper-of-Tools whose mind is uploaded into a Monitor body to launch a ship called Eden before Spark takes over duty as the caretaker of Bastion. Due to the threat of Cortana and her Guardians, Spark moves Bastion to keep it and the Librarian's research into a number of topics out of reach of enemies. The Librarian appears to Rion through visions several times, eventually revealing that she had discovered remnants of the Precursors - the extinct race that had created the Forerunners and the Flood - on her trip to another galaxy and secretly nurtured them on Bastion to ensure the rebirth of the race with a fresh start on a new world outside of the Milky Way, the mission of the Eden.
Gravemind (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is one of the primary antagonists in the Halo series. The Gravemind is a large, sentient creature of Flood origin, created by the parasite to serve as its central intelligence once a critical biomass has been achieved. It was introduced during the events of Halo 2, where the creature saves both the Master Chief and Arbiter from their deaths, bringing the two face to face in the bowels of Delta Halo. Gravemind reveals to the Arbiter that the "sacred rings" are actually weapons of last resort; a fact the Master Chief confirms. In order to stop Halo from being fired, Gravemind teleports the Master Chief and Arbiter to separate locations, but also uses them as a distraction; Gravemind infests the human ship In Amber Clad, and uses it to invade the Covenant city of High Charity. Capturing Cortana, Gravemind brings High Charity to the Ark in an effort to stop the High Prophet of Truth from activating the Halo network. Although the Master Chief destroys High Charity, Gravemind survives the blast and attempts to rebuild itself on the incomplete Halo. When Halo is activated, Gravemind accepts his fate, but insists that the activation of the ring will only slow, not stop, the Flood. In Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare, the Gravemind's warning is validated when the Banished inadvertently release a number of surviving Flood forms from High Charity's wreckage. It is also mentioned in the game's menu that while the Gravemind's "most recent physical avatar" was destroyed by the Master Chief, it is "only a matter of time before it rises again". Though the Flood released upon the Ark form a Proto-Gravemind and come close to forming a new Gravemind, the Proto-Gravemind is killed by the Banished and the Flood are once again contained by the Banished and the Ark's Sentinels.
Designed to be a massive, horrifying combination of tentacles and rotting matter, reception to the character was generally mixed. Mike Leonard of the AllXbox community said that the introduction of the "Little Shop of Horrors" reject "ruined the 'cool'" of the Halo franchise. Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com complained that the link between Gravemind and the Flood was never explicitly stated in either Halo 2 or Halo 3 and was hardly seen in the last game.
The Halo franchise has produced numerous merchandising partnerships, and the characters of Halo have likewise been featured in a variety of products. The Master Chief, being the symbol of the franchise, has appeared on everything from soda to T-shirts and mugs. At one point, marketers for Halo 3 were planning on producing Cortana-themed lingerie. There have also been several series of licensed action figures produced, with the Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 collectibles being produced by Joyride Studios in several series. For Halo 3, the responsibility of designing the action figures was given to McFarlane Toys; a total of eight series have been announced, with ninth series devoted to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the franchise by re-issuing a few of the earlier figurines along with pieces to construct a buildable plaque of the Legendary icon used in the game for the hardest skill level. Kotobukiya produced high-end figurines. Besides general figures like Covenant Elites and Spartans, figurines produced include the Master Chief, Cortana, Arbiter, Prophet of Regret, Tartarus, and Sergeant Johnson.
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He would tell the soldiers that they, too, are nothing but expendable. They are nothing more than cannon fodder to be thrown at their enemies. He would tell them that he doesn’t blame them for what they are. He bears them no malice. But he would also tell them that he offers no mercy. They have a role to play, just as he does, and that means that he must kill them all.
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In theory, all who can aid Atriox's ambition and will bend the knee are welcome, from human to hunter, but their violence and conditions of service limit recruitment opportunities.
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- And so here at the end of my life, I do once again betray a former master. The path ahead is fraught with peril. But I will do all I can to keep it stable – keep you safe. I'm not so foolish to think this will absolve me of my sins. One life hardly balances billions. But I would have my masters know that I have changed. And you shall be my example.—Mendicant Bias to John-117.
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