Literature / Halo: Ghosts of Onyx

Ghosts of Onyx is the fourth Halo novel, written by Eric Nylund. It tells the story of the SPARTAN-III super soldiers, the successors of the SPARTAN-II program, and their training on the classified planet Onyx, which is also where the story culminates.

Contains Examples Of:

  • A Father to His Men: Kurt.
  • All of Them:
    "We've got incoming," Fred's static-filled voice crackled over the COM. "Sentinels."
    "How many?"
    "Sir, all of them."
  • Badass Boast: Vice Admiral Whitcomb delivers one (posthumously) through a recording in a NOVA Bomb:
    "This is the prototype NOVA Bomb, nine fusion warheads encased in lithium triteride armor. When detonated, it compresses its fissionable material to neutron-star density, boosting the thermonuclear yield a hundredfold. I am Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb, temporarily in command of the UNSC military base Reach. To the Covenant uglies that might be listening, you have a few seconds to pray to your damned heathen gods. You all have a nice day in hell..."
  • Badass Crew: Blue Team and Team Sabre. Both are Spartan teams, so it's a given.
  • Badass Normal: Mendez is back, and as badass as ever.
  • Book Ends: The story boths begins and ends with Kurt saving the lives of the rest of the Spartans in his team, and Kelly telling a fresh and unproven Spartan that "they're going to make a great team."
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Invoked as the difference between Kurt and Mendez:
    Kurt: Chief, I'm sorry that order had to come from you.
    Mendez: I understand, sir. You're the CO. You have to inspire and command their respect. I'm their drill instructor. I get to be their worst nightmare.
    • Later when the Sentinels start to attack, the Spartans wonder if they're hearing artillery strikes. They conclude that while Kurt wouldn't use artillery against them, there's a good chance that Mendez would.
  • Commanding Coolness: Kurt, at the end.
  • Determinator: Spartans, natch.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Kelly demonstrates that dodging bullets is for sissies, by dodging a laser blast. She then flips off the sentinel that fired it.
  • Double Meaning Title: Does "Ghosts of Onyx" refer to the sentinels that were nicknamed as such? Or to Kurt's Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane vision of his dead teammates?
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Mendez again.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Kurt.
    • Will should get mention too. He killed a Hunter with his bare hands.
  • Dyson Sphere: Onyx turns out to house one.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Onyx isn't really a planet in the traditional sense, but it does disintegrate into billions of Sentinels.
  • Field Promotion: At the end of the book, Kurt promotes Fred to Lieutenant.
  • Forbidden Zone: Zone 67.
  • Five-Man Band: Saber Team:
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: The loss of almost all of Beta Company on Pegasi Delta causes Lucy to have one, resulting in her not speaking ever again. Or, and least, not for many years. Ash has one when Holly is killed. He shakes it off pretty fast though, as they still have a battle to fight.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Holly to save Kelly.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Kelly cuts an Elite in half, Kurt is almost cut in half.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ash comes up with the idea to use the Sentinels to destroy the generators for the Sentinel production facility.
  • Hope Spot / Diabolus ex Machina: Admiral Patterson is down to one carrier and three destroyers, facing two damaged Covenant destroyers. One is taken out, leaving a single Covenant ship utterly defenseless. And then a Covenant fleet 32 ships strong comes out of slipspace between the lone destroyer and the four UNSC ships, and promptly annihilates the human vessels.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: Cortana's message to the UNSC advises NOVA-bombing Installation 05 to contain the Flood infestation.
  • Laser-Guided Tykebomb: Unlike their predecessors, the Spartan-III super soldiers were made to be expendable.
  • Made of Iron: The fact that Will was even able to take a few steps before keeling over and dying after taking an unshielded blast to the midsection point-blank from a Hunter's cannon is testament to his toughness.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Before Kurt dies, he sees all of his deceased friends giving him the all clear to detonate the nuclear warheads on Onyx. It does not specify whether or not he was actually seeing their ghosts or if he was hallucinating but either way this moment can double as a Tear Jerker.
  • Mook Chivalry: Various Elites just stand back and watch as Will fights the Hunters. Justified though, as it's said that the sight of someone fighting two Hunters in hand-to-hand combat has left them to stunned to move. Furthermore, their sense of honor would probably prevent them from intervening anyway. The Spartans fortunately don't feel this way, and promptly shoot the Elites.
    • There is another possible reason for them holding back- in "Fall of Reach," it shows that Hunters do not care about other Covenant soldiers, even going so far as to step on them if they are in the way. Forward Unto Dawn, showed that other covenant soldiers were willing to evacuate an area to stay out of the way of Hunters. It's possible they just didn't want to get squished.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner / See You in Hell:
    "One last fight, demon. You will die and we shall reopen the silver path."
    "Die?" Kurt laughed. "Didn't you know?" he told the Elite. " Spartans never die."
  • The Reveal: Played with. Lucy is obviously taken aback and awestruck when Kurt reveals his MJOLNIR armor from back when he was still an active SPARTAN-II to her. Since a sharp reader will notice that Kurt says he has not worn the armor since his first day training alpha company, and Lucy and Tom are both from beta company, this seems to heavily imply Tom, Lucy, and the rest of Beta and Gamma company never knew Kurt was a SPARTAN-II. Of course, the reader already knew that. And amusingly enough, Lucy can't tell anyone.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The first edition of the book was full of glaring typos, such as the Spartans sneaking past Grunt "salves" and trying to escape Covenant "persuaders."
  • Sacrificial Lion: Kurt and Will.
  • Taking You with Me: Kurt detonates nuclear warheads in Onyx's core room, taking all Covenant forces on the planet with him.
  • That's No Moon!: The entire planet of Onyx is revealed to be made up of Sentinels, unknown to the humans who have established a base there.
  • Theme Naming: The known teams of Gamma Company, are all named after blades: Sabre, Katana, and Gladius.
  • The Speechless: Lucy apparently loses her ability to speak as a result of being traumatized from the outcome of Operation TORPEDO.
  • Title Drop:Some recruits claim to have seen a "Ghost of onyx". It's later reveled they are sentinels. It's also meaningful because just before he performs his Heroic Sacrifice, Kurt sees his dead friends join him on the battlefield for one last time: Literally, the Ghosts Of Onyx.
  • Trapped in Another World: In the end, the main characters get trapped in a Shield World inside Onyx, with no apparent means to return home.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Kurt holds off Covenant forces long enough for the Slipspace portal on Onyx to close thus saving the other Spartans and Dr. Halsey.