Literature / Halo: Contact Harvest

Halo: Contact Harvest is a 2007 Halo book. It details the events surrounding Humanity's First Contact with the Covenant and the beginning of the Human-Covenant War, and gives backstory for several characters from the original FPS trilogy. It was written by Joseph Staten, one of the main writers of the Halo games themselves.

As the United Nations Space Command sends Staff Sergeant Avery J. Johnson to the distant colony of Harvest to help train its Colonial Militia to battle the Insurrection, a Covenant scout ship discovers the planet, with their scans indicating that Harvest is full of Forerunner artifacts. As the UNSC tries to deal with the possibility of an alien invasion, two Covenant Prophets plan to use the relics' discovery to inaugurate a new Age of Reclamation with themselves as Hierarchs. But what they discover will end up radically changing the course of both civilizations.

Contact Harvest provides examples of:

  • Aggressive Negotiations: A Grunt named Yull does this on Osmo and starts the whole Human-Covenant War. Nice going.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The Ascension of the Minster of Fortitude, the Vice Minister of Tranquility, and the Philologist as the High Prophets of Truth, Regret, and Mercy.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Fist of Rukt.
  • Badass Preacher: Dadab, a simple Unggoy Deacon. Having the courage to attack Tartarus was ballsy, even though he knew it would get him killed.
  • The Brute: While he is a Brute, Vorenus is huge among the rest of the Jiralhanae pack on Rapid Conversion.
  • Challenging the Chief: How Maccabeus originally got the position of Chieftain from his father. And how Tartarus gets the position from Maccabeus.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Sif, the shipping control AI.
  • Doomed Hometown: Everyone on Harvest.
  • The Dragon: Tartarus, serving as the security chief to his Uncle Maccabeus.
  • First Contact: It does not go well, as one might expect from this being the beginning of the Human-Covenant War.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Lighter Than Some's efforts to create peace fail and the Human-Convenant War kicks off, Harvest falls, Tartarus supplants Maccabeus and gains the Fist of Rukt (and survives Harvest). On a happier note, you know going in that Johnson and Jenkins are guaranteed to survive.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Lighter Than Some suffers one when he kills Henry Gibson to save Dadab.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Tartarus kills Captain Ponder. Those bayonets on the Spiker Rifles are not for show.
  • Ironic Nickname: While it was initially established in Halo 2, the names of Prophets being ironic is taken to the extreme: the Prophetess of Obligation neglects some of her duties due to her pregnancy, the Vice Minister of Tranquility (the future Prophet of Regret) is extremely combative, and the Prophet of Restraint knocks up a lover when he's legally forbidden from breeding. Though averted with the Prophet of Tolerance who is described as having improved relations between the Covenant's different species.
  • Just Following Orders: Johnson's attitude to the torture and execution of prisoners. It doesn't make him feel better though.
  • Madness Mantra: Mack's accusations of "Liar! Liar! Liar! against Loki.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Governor Thune. Also the Prophets.
  • The Reveal: When the Minister of Fortitude and the Vice-Minister of Tranquility go to the Philologist to affirm on their behalf, entering the data on Harvest causes the Oracle, Mendicant Bias, to reactivate, and inform the three Prophets that what they think are relics for "Reclamation" are actually "Reclaimers", the humans of Harvest he identifies as his makers. Fortitude concludes that the humans are living Forerunner left behind when the rest used the Halo Array to transcend. While they stop Mendicant Bias from launching the Dreadnought, Fortitude and Tranquility decide to eradicate the humans, least this knowledge go public and tear the Covenant apart, especially since they had, by then, started to kill humans, which would be considered sacrilege. Fortitude and Tranquility induct the Philologist into their scheme and ascend as the High Prophets of Truth, Regret, and Mercy, beginning the Human-Covenant War.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Played straight with Captain Ponder and Sergeant Johnson, who enjoy a few Sweet Williams cigars. Subverted with the Minister of Fortitude, who uses some tobacco designed to keep one awake during a long meeting, and suffers a terrible headache afterward.
  • Space Pirates: Kig-yar/Jackals live off this.
  • Tsundere: Sif is Type B, and finds it frustrating how Mack is able to so efficiently push her buttons. One example of such is when he mentions a William Shakespeare quote and jokes about her not knowing what it is, and she's so irritated by it that she replies with the complete works of Shakespeare in several different languages. He just finds this overreaction amusing.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The UNSC torturing and summarily executing some Innie prisoners. It's implied that this is legal as well.