WARNING: UNMARKED SPOILERS BELOW. CONTINUE?
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SUBJECT: THE FLOOD AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS FACTIONS
- Main Index
- UNSC (Miscellaneous Personnel)
- The Covenant
- UEG Civilians
- Other Factions
The Flood (Inferi Redivivusnote )
A parasitic species believed to have developed from beyond the Milky Way galaxy, the Flood battled the Forerunners one hundred thousand years ago but were defeated when the Forerunners activated the Halo Array, killing all life, Flood and non-Flood, in the galaxy. However, some were preserved in stasis aboard the Halo Array.
- Achilles' Heel: The Energy Sword is a pretty good option when it comes to dealing with the Flood, as it offers a discount in energy consumed when striking Flood forms, letting you instantly kill most enemies with a single slash and keep the battery up for much longer than if you were using it on Covenant.
- Action Bomb:
- Carrier Forms; their entire shtick is that they explode when in close proximity to a target or when killed, dealing major damage and releasing more Infection Forms.
- Infection Forms are a weaker form of this; if they come into contact with energy shields, they pop and deal minor damage to it. Fortunately, their foes can use this fragility against them; they'll also pop if another Infection Form pops right next to them, resulting in a chain reaction if they're clustered close enough together.
- Alien Kudzu: The Flood will basically do this to any environment they take over, to the point where even simply breathing in the air will render one susceptible to infection.
- Alliance with an Abomination: Willing to pull an Enemy Mine to prevent the Covenant mistakenly launch a superweapon to destroy all life in the galaxy. Once that's done they immediately go back to fighting one another.
- Arch-Enemy: The Forerunners and the Humans. They consider the Covenant, however, to be little more than additional biomass to be consumed.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Gravemind doesn't seem too clear on why people mind being consumed and transformed into parasitized zombies. It's latter subverted with The Reveal that the Flood, through their Precursor origins, mean to inflict pain and suffering on all life.
- Body Horror: Infectees get their entire bodies mutated to better fit their role within the Flood (to the point where even their DNA is completely rewritten), and once an outbreak has reached a certain point, their bodies are broken down into building blocks for even more gruesome "Pure" Forms.
- The Bus Came Back: After being largely absent from the franchise's timeline since the end of Halo 3, the Flood returned as the Non-Player Character antagonists of a DLC campaign for Halo Wars 2.
- Combat Tentacles: A standard mutation for Combat Forms, and more obvious with the Abominations.
- Coming in Hot: Weaponized. While later Flood infection stages can probably pilot space ships for combat or for controlled manuvers, it's much more convenient and quicker for the Flood to use ships to crash land in uninfected areas to kickstart their invasion as they come pouring out the wreckage. High Charity fell when In Amber Clad suddenly teleported nearby and rammed itself into High Charity's inner walls, then deploying UNSC Pelicans to then crash land all around the city and release tons of Flood.
- In Halo 3, the mission Floodgate begins when a formerly Covenant owned cruiser, the Indulgence of Conviction, teleports into Earths atmosphere and crash lands in Voi, threatening to infect all of Africa, and then Earth.
- Halfway through the Battle of the Ark, High Charity itself teleports to the battlefield to try and stop Truth from activating the halo array, bringing the entire Flood hive with it once it crash lands.
- Depending on the Writer: Their appearance in The Mona Lisa has Combat Forms being able to directly infect humans by slashing, stabbing, or even biting them, despite this not being the case in most other media. It's implied it's due to the Flood spores and fluids directly infesting the resulting wounds.
- The Dreaded: Everyone who knows about their existence is terrified of them, and with good (yet variable) reason.
- The Sangheili, most predominantly Rtas 'Vadum, were willing to glass Earth (along with humanity) just to stop their advance when they made landfall on the planet. It was only his loyalty and friendship to the Thel 'Vadam that convinced him to show considerable restraint by merely glassing the landscape surrounding the outbreak zone.
- The Forerunners wiped out all sentient life in the galaxy (including themselves) with the Halo array, just to stop them from consuming EVERYTHING, "thereby rendering the parasite harmless" as Guilty Spark would say in Halo 2.
- Even the Banished, particularly Atriox, understood how dangerous they are despite only hearing stories about them. He was willing to immediately abandon a number of fortified positions, which he was using to fight the Spirit of Fire, in order to contain a severe outbreak originating from High Charity.
- Eldritch Abomination: See "Precursor."
- Even Evil Has Standards: They tend to inspire this trope in other characters. If there's anything the UNSC and the various factions out to exterminate humanity can all agree upon, it's that the Flood have no right to exist in the galaxy. On many occasions two forces will be fighting one another, only to immediately shift their attention towards the Flood as soon as they join the fray. One SpecOps Elite in Halo 2 will remark that not even Heretics deserve to be consumed by the Flood. Considering how fanatic the Elites in particular were at this point in the game, this says alot.
- Eviler Than Thou: In each game of the original trilogy, the Flood eventually supplant the Covenant as the most dangerous threat, to the point where in Halo 2, they completely overrun the Covenant capital of High Charity itself.
- Explosive Breeder: A key component to any successful Flood infestation are the countless numbers of Infection Forms and airborne spores they can throw at the enemy.
- To give an idea of how quickly the Flood can assimilate and reproduce, let's take a look at their invasion of High Charity. Their initial attack involves crashing the relatively small In Amber Clad inside it and then sending out Pelicans loaded with Flood forms all over the moon-sized city. Had In Amber Clad been filled with humans, the attack would have been crushed near instantly from the overwhelming odds. But with the Flood, Flood Hives begin appearing all over the city within minutes of the attack's start. The Master Chief gets to observe the changes in real-time as he walks through hallways that become more and more infested with Meat Moss as the player progresses through the level. Even if the Covenant wasn't locked in a civil war at that same moment, it's safe to say that High Charity was doomed the moment the Flood invaded it.
- Foil: In terms of combat style, Flood Tank Forms could be considered a "foil" for the Hunters in the sense that both warriors are highly durable and can kill someone in one smack but Tank form's backs are less vulnerable whilst lacking the ranged weaponry the Hunters have. They also both roar when first seeing an enemy and shriek out when in agonizing pain due to taking damage. Interestingly you never see them in the same scene of any level.note
- Flesh Golem:
- The Forerunner Saga showcases several Flood forms which are basically just a bunch of bodies being mashed together.
- The Pure Forms count to a lesser degree, being made up of the broken-down biomass of previous infectees. The Tank forms embody this tope much more than its other forms however, being a hulking mass of flesh and tendrils, able to withstand plenty of punishment before it's put down or forced to retreat.
- Genetic Memory: Their collective intelligence is apparently backed up in every form down to the last spore, though they can seemingly only access it once they've amassed enough biomass to build a Gravemind.
- Glass Cannon: The Combat Forms pack a punch even without guns, but Halo 3 nerfs their durability to the point where just a solid punch can make them fly apart (unlike the previous games, where they were highly resistant to plasma and melee).
- Hive Mind: Individual forms may not seem too bright, but the collective intelligence they operate under is anything but dumb.
- Human Resources: Particularly during the later stages of infection, the Flood will collect bodies of creatures incapable of being used effectively as Combat Forms and use the biomass to create the Pure Forms and other mold meant to produce Flood spores.
- Knight of Cerebus: Any time the Flood appear, it's a sign that things are going to take a turn for the worse.
- Meaningful Name: Their preferred method of attack is to drown their foes in a wave of dead bodies, like a Flood.
- Meat Moss: Will inevitably form on ships, space stations, etc. that get overtaken by the Flood, typically serving to replace a conventional operations crew (and often being made out of the original crew) as it assimilates with the local technology. High Charity, due to being a gigantic city with a glut of living bodies to repurpose, ends up so overtaken by Flood biomass that its interior becomes utterly unrecognizable in the scant days between the end of Halo 2 and the station's reappearance in Halo 3.
- Multiform Balance: The Pure Forms can transform in wildly different forms depending on the combat situation; Stalker Forms are fast but weak, Ranged Forms are basically organic Sentry Guns, and Tank Forms are slow but powerful.
- Night of the Living Mooks: Naturally, given that Combat and Carrier Forms are basically space zombies.
- Not Quite Dead: Despite the implication that they were wiped out at the end of Halo 3, the Flood are revealed in Halo Wars 2 to have survived the premature activation of Installation 08, though they were left weakened enough that the Ark's sentinels were able to entirely quarantine them inside the ruins of High Charity.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Combat forms are not only strong, fast, and jumpy (indeed, more so than their host bodies originally were), but fully capable of using guns and vehicles.
- Parasite Zombie: Courtesy of the small squid-like Infection Forms and even smaller airborne spores. In fact, the original form of the Flood was simply dust which slowly infected anything that came into contact with it.
- Parasites Are Evil: A race of parasitic superorganisms yearning to usher in a perfect, utopia without classes, degradation, conflict, or unhappiness. And how do they aim to achieve this goal, you ask? Why by forcibly turning all organic lifeforms across the universe into hideous, disgusting zombies, of course! The The Forerunner Saga only amps up their villainy by dropping the bombshell that the Flood is a Precursor bioweapon birthed from their powered remains for the sole purpose of exacting their revenge upon the Forerunners.
- Precursor Killers: Who, ironically, are also the Precursors that the Forerunners killed initially.
- Sealed Evil in a Can:
- Many Forerunner locations (including the Halo rings, ironically enough) feature containment facilities where samples of the Flood are preserved in stasis for research purposes. Unfortunately, this results in new outbreaks when the containment facilities are compromised, whether due to outside meddling or a simple failure of Ragnarök Proofing.
- In Halo Wars 2, the Flood are revealed to have spent the time since Halo 3 within the ruins of High Charity, trapped inside a sealed dome built by the Ark's sentinels. The Banished, looking for salvage and treasures, cut a tiny hole in the dome, and the Flood emerge as a thousands-strong horde that overruns the surrounding landscape.
- Secret Test of Character: The Flood were created originally to unite humans and Forerunner through biological assimilation, but the Timeless One claims in Halo: Primordium that they decided instead to test humanity's mettle to see if they're worthy of the Mantle. Humanity succeeds, but this does not help, and instead the Forerunners try to kill every Precursor in retaliation for not being chosen and being slated for extermination, resulting in their Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Shapeshifting: Pure Forms can do this, as noted above.
- Spawn Broodling: When the Carrier Forms explode, they'll also release a crap-ton of Infection Forms. Tank Forms can also spawn Infection Forms.
- Spike Shooter: Ranged Forms.
- Transformation Horror: Particularly in Halo 3, where the player gets to see any NPC who falls prey to an infection form being forcibly and painfully transformed before their very eyes.
- The Virus: An alien one. It originally starts out via the Infection Forms, but once the infection has become sufficiently advanced, they can start spreading through airborne spores and even physical contact if they manage to wound and infect others with their biomass.
- What a Piece of Junk: Whenever present, vehicles under control by the Flood are often beaten up, war torn and in an overall less than ideal state, likely from being attacked and stolen from the previous owners. Thanks to their intelligence with technology during later infection stages however, these vehicles tend to be just as battle-worthy as the ones pulled straight from the factory, if not better.
- Xenomorph Xerox: The Flood are Xenomorphs in all but name, as theyre hostile alien parasites that attack by swarming en masse via Combat Forms with hunched postures alongside eyeless faces (who, like the Xenomorphs, are superhumanly strong and change their appearances depending on what species the parasite possesses), Infection Forms resembling squid-like Facehuggers who leap at hosts to infect them, and Pure Forms which assume different forms on a whim. They also possess a hive mind ruled by massive, hyper-intelligent Graveminds living in Xenomorphesque hives composed of Flood biomass and Cortanas interrogation by one such Gravemind detailed in Human Weakness is given sexual overtones. To top it all off, the Forerunner Saga reveals that the Flood are Precursor bioweapons, their introduction in Halo: Combat Evolved homages Aliens while the games climax where Master Chief tries to stop them from reaching Earth mirrors that of Alien and a rampant Mendicant Bias even dubs them a perfect society.
- Zerg Rush: Their typical strategy is to dash straight toward their opponents en masse with little regard for fancy tactics. It provides a stark contrast to the more complex flanking maneuvers of Covenant infantry.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Have likely consumed at least one other galaxy already before ever setting foot in ours.
The Gravemind / The Timeless One
The controlling intelligence of the Flood, the Gravemind manifests as large biomasses of Flood organisms filled with the bodies of countless infected individuals. It attempts to lead the Flood in a consumption of the entire galaxy in Halo 2 and Halo 3, just as it tried to do in the time of the Forerunners.
- Assimilation Plot: The Gravemind keeps insisting that if it's allowed to carry out its plan, true peace will result. Right...
- Art Evolution: The appearence of its head in Halo 2: Anniversary is drastically different from the original to say the least. Instead of a toothless plant-like head reminiscent of Audrey II, it now bears a wormlike appearance with three dangling flesh flaps and a sarlacc-like mouth with multiple mouths inside.
- Badass Boast: "I... HAVE BEATEN FLEETS OF THOUSANDS! CONSUMED A GALAXY OF FLESH AND MIND AND BONE!"
- There's not a way to properly convey how much hate and anger is infused in that phrase in text. Even more amazing is that it's not bluffing...
- Also, "DID YOU THINK ME DEFEATED?!"
- Big Bad: His desire to assimilate everyone into the Flood contrasts the Prophet of Truth's desire to become a God by activating the Halo rings, so they remained the top pair of antagonists despite being diametrically opposed to one another for 2 and 3. His own willingness to assist with Master Chief and Thel Vadam in stopping Truth makes him a secondary antagonist, however, and he claims the rein as main threat after Truth is killed. However, subsequent supplement material slowly, but surely, establish Gravemind as the main villain for the entire series due to his true nature and direct hand in the state of the universe as it is now.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Gravemind doesn't consider anything it does to be truly evil. While it's never explicitly said, there are many allusions to it, particularly after it becomes clear to it that it has lost:Gravemind: Do I take life or give it? Who is victim, and who is foe?
Gravemind: Resignation is my virtue; like water I ebb, and flow. Defeat is simply the addition of time to a sentence I never deserved... but you imposed.
- To be specific, the Gravemind believes that it is the next step in evolution, and that the Flood is a gift it is giving any creature it consumes. This was its main weapon in turning Mendicant Bias: reminding him that his creators' religion revolved around embracing evolution and letting it have its way, painting them in a hypocritical light when they opposed the Flood. The revelation that the Flood is just another form of Precursors straightens things out... somewhat. On one hand, they are as inscrutable as one could expect a race that has existed billion of years could be. On the other, its motivations are much clearer: in retaliation for their destruction at the hands of scorned Forerunners millions of years before, its purpose is to cause endless suffering to everything that they had ever created.
- Body of Bodies: Made up of the corpses of countless beings.
- Brain Critical Mass: After absorbing a good chunk of the galaxy, it accumulates enough brainpower to begin infecting spacetime, tapping into the neural physics of the Precursors and reactivating all their dormant artifacts for use against the Forerunners.
- Breaking Speech: Is scarily good at verbally dissecting AIs, including both Mendicant Bias and Cortana.
- AIs are nothing; it's even able to do it to the Ur-Didact.
- The Chessmaster: It's exceptionally intelligent, having the mental resources of countless beings to draw from.
- The Corrupter: One of its most dangerous abilities is the "logic plague", which allows it to subvert intelligences through non-biological means, generally through aggressive argumentation and other, more violent, mental attacks. Once an outbreak reaches a sufficient size, it doesn't even need to personally talk with AIs to subvert them; a simple, self-replicating adaptive data instance carried in every Flood form and turncoat AI will do.
- As seen with the Ur-Didact, not even biological intelligences are immune.
- Deadpan Snarker: Being an Eldritch Abomination doesn't seem to stop it from snarking at the game players' performance through the combat forms.
- Eldritch Abomination: An organic plant that represents the consciousness of the parasitic Flood, it is. Technically, it doesn't have a beginning, middle, or end; its body is simply a gigantic mass of flesh used to house its mind. The head in its updated appearance particularly plays the part.
- Enemy Mine: With the Chief and Arbiter, to help kill Truth and stop the Halos from firing. It betrays them once they've done so.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In spite of its purpose and general maliciousness, the Gravemind seemed to genuinely sympathize with the Didact and the Librarian as their relationship and lives fell apart in the war against the humans and later the Flood themselves.
- Evil Laugh: In Halo 3, right after Truth is killed.
- Evil Sounds Deep: His voice.
- Faux Affably Evil: Can dip into this at times. Upon encountering the Ur-Didact in Silentium, it politely requests "just a moment of [his] time". Just before Mind Raping the hell out of the man.
- Gadgeteer Genius: In a sense; Word of God states the Gravemind is fully capable of upgrading captured technologies to perform far beyond their original functionality through the application of Precursor science. In fact, it didn't even need a portal to jump from our solar system to the Ark; it simply gave a major upgrade to High Charity's engines.
- Galactic Conqueror: And unlike the most of them, it has already conquered at least one galaxy and now wants ours. Towards the end of Silentium, the primary Gravemind sends a message to the Librarian claiming that it had already brought entire galaxies (note the plural) to an end.
- Genius Loci: The fourteenth level does take place inside of him, or rather, the flood infested High Charity that now makes up his body.
- The "Key Mind" variant in Silentium, which is a Gravemind that has taken up an entire planet's biosphere. They were more than capable of matching the Forerunner's best AIs, and were the only beings in the galaxy with the mastery of neural physics needed to fully utilize Precursor technology.
- Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: It speaks in trochaic septameter to show off how linguistically-gifted assimilating god-knows-how-many poets has made it. It doesn't always strictly enforce this trait, though.
- Greater-Scope Villain: In Halo 4, despite not being present, Gravemind's hand in the plot can still be felt. Halo: Silentium, which is a prequel, reveals that it's directly responsible for the Ur-Didact's FaceHeel Turn via Mind Raping him to make his opinions on what to do with humanity Not So Different from its own.
- Also by default in Halo 1, because he embodies the Flood (who became easily the most horrifying and difficult enemy in the campaign), and a Proto-Gravemind was even trying to Mind Rape Jacob Keyes.
- Another example rests in Halo Wars 2's Awakening the Nightmare campaign. Despite not personally appearing, another Proto-Gravemind was on the verge of metamorphosing into a full-fledged Gravemind, which due to Resurrective Immortality (see below), meant he'd re-enter the galactic stage. Thankfully for the galaxy, this was narrowly averted by The Banished.
- Guttural Growler: Speaks like this.
- Hive Mind: Of the Flood.
- Hive Queen: To a small extent; each of its physical manifestations works as a central hub for the collective Flood intelligence, with multiple "bodies" seemingly needed to coordinate a galaxy-size outbreak. However, actually destroying up a Gravemind does relatively little; its knowledge is backed up in every Flood form down to the last spore, and feral Flood maintain enough intelligence to not only be very dangerous in their own right, but will work to quickly rebuild their Gravemind.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Ironically, it was the Gravemind's plan of uniting John-117 and Thel 'Vadam to stop Halo 05 from firing that eventually proved to be his undoing at the end of Halo 3.
- His coming to the Ark could count to, since he made himself vulnerable to the replacement Halo that was being constructed. In the words of his cut dialogue, "How could [Gravemind] have known?"
- I Am Legion: It is the Flood.
- Large and in Charge: For a plant thing, it's the size of a city. And in Halo 3, after turning High Charity into an extension of itself, it is a city, or rather, a moon. A moon over twice the size of the Death Star, to be precise (300+ kilometers). And it was apparently present in a good portion of a Halo, able to grab both Chief and Arbiter when they're a good ways away from each other. Also, the described body is one of at least dozens, if not hundreds.
- As noted above, the Key Mind variants are literally entire planets converted into Flood biomass.
- Large Ham: One of the most prominent examples in the series. Check out its above Badass Boast for one of its best.
- Manipulative Bastard: Aside from being The Corrupter, it is able to pull an Enemy Mine to its own benefit despite being an horrific Eldritch Abomination.
- Mind Hive: Though it acts more like a Hive Mind, as a "compound intelligence" each individual consciousness it absorbs still exists in some capacity, and can be directly manifested if it chooses to do so.
- Mind Rape: Its more aggressive means of inducing the logic plague include forcing the target to experience the memories of its previous victims at the moment of their deaths. It can even make AIs feel pain.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: "Resignation is my virtue; like water I ebb and flow. Defeat is simply the addition of time to a sentence I never deserved... but you imposed."
- Considering that if the Flood ever reaches critical mass again, the next Gravemind will have all the memories of it's predecessors, this quote takes on a whole new context.
- Near-Villain Victory: It almost wins in Halo 3, after Truth is dealt with and the Ark's activation is halted. It is only undone by the Ark constructing a new ring to replace Installation 04, (the one the Chief destroyed back in the original) the Chief's daring rescue of Cortana from the infested High Charity, (who retained the activation index that could be used to fire it off) and The Gravemind being so arrogant as to think it had already won, leading it to, in its hubris, concentrate almost its forces at the Ark, outside our own galaxy and therefore just about the only place the humans and elites wouldn't have much of a problem actually activating Halo.
- Nested Mouths: See page image.
- The Nicknamer: In Halo 3 gameplay, he almost always refers to the Chief as the "Coffin". In co-op, he refers to the Arbiter as "Pallbearer".
- Omnicidal Maniac: All will be Flood, or it won't be.
- Resurrective Immortality: Even if the Flood are reduced back to a non-sentient level, any Gravemind that manages to reform will have all the memories of its predecessors.
- Even the Primordial, which may have been only a prototype Gravemind, is able to fully resurrect itself as a full-blown Gravemind after the IsoDidact completely destroys its original body.
- Telepathy: Or something close to it, anyways, given how it can directly control any Flood form and even communicate through them.
- Terms of Endangerment: It learns the Master Chief's true name in Halo: Evolutions, which nearly drives Cortana to panic.
- Time Abyss: We have no idea how many Graveminds there have been, but their consciousness carries over from one to the next. The earliest one known included the Precursors, making it older than the Forerunners.
- Too Many Mouths: Its graphically updated look is an eyeless being that has a toothy maw with more mouths inside of it.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Except it doesn't even believe that what it's doing is horrifying.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: On the other hand, Silentium reveals that the Flood, at least back during the war with the Forerunners, want all life to experience eternal suffering.
- Villainous Breakdown: In Halo 3, when it realizes that Master Chief can actually finish it off forever using the Halo since Gravemind concentrated all of the Flood's forces in one location.
- Voice of the Legion: As befitting a Hive Mind.
- We Can Rule Together: It used this temptation on Mendicant Bias on how they were the superior races unlike the Forerunners and so have every right to conquer them. It worked, but Bias would later regret the offer.
- Wicked Cultured: It speaks as if it writes poems. When Cortana asked it why it did so in Human Weakness, it simply said it was preference, as after having consumed many poets from different cultures, it grew fond of their gifts.Gravemind: I have the memories of many poets far beyond your limited human culture. And I have the quickness of intellect to compose all manner of poetic forms as I speak rather than labor over mere words for days.
Following the destruction of Installation 04, 343 Guilty Spark came across Sesa 'Refumee and his forces investigating a Forerunner gas mine on the nearby gas giant Threshold. Spark informed the surprised Elite of Halo's true purpose; Sesa and the Elites and Grunts under his command afterward severed their allegiance with the Prophets, and tried to inform their brethren of the truth. However, the High Prophets became aware of this, and sent newly appointed Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee to quell them.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: All of them were originally artifact hunters for the Covenant.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Heretics wear brown and gold armor to distinguish themselves from their Covenant counterparts, though the Anniversary terminals imply that their seemingly unique equipment is actually standard for certain types of Covenant expeditionary units.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Heretic Elites have a breathing apparatus jammed between their mandibles, which is justified by the fact that their original mission involved spending a lot of time investigating a gas mine.
- Hero Antagonist: They're the main enemy for the first half of the Arbiter's campaign.
- La Résistance: Broke off from the Covenant after finding the truth about the Halos.
- Took a Level in Badass: Heretic Grunts are this compared to their Covenant counterparts, as they do not retreat when an Elite dies and are more efficient with their weapons. Although Spec Ops Grunts do surpass them on a 1-to-1 basis.
Former leader of one of the Fleet of Particular Justice's artifact retrieval groups, he found 343 Guilty Spark after Alpha Halo's destruction and learned the truth about the Halos and the Forerunners. He then became the leader of the group of heretics that attempted to enlighten other members of the Covenant to the Prophets' deception, but was killed by the Arbiter.
- Ascended Extra: Features far more prominently in the Halo 2: Anniversary terminals.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: A far more dangerous warrior than his subordinates.
- Disc-One Final Boss: The Arbiter's adventures are far from over after killing him.
- Doppelgänger Attack: During his fight against the Arbiter, he activates two Hard Light holographic clones of himself, whose attacks are just as deadly as the real thing.
- Dual Wielding: Two plasma rifles.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Referred to only as "the Heretic Leader" in Halo 2's campaign.
- The Extremist Was Right: He only wanted to show the truth about the Halos and the Forerunners. It's only after the Great Schism do the Separatists realize how truthful he truly was.
- The Heretic: Against the Covenant, who naturally mark him for death.
- Hero Antagonist: He wants to warn the rest of the Covenant about the dangers of the Halos and the Prophets' lies. Unfortunately the Arbiter sees him only as a heretic who must be vanquished and only realizes the truth himself when the Prophets' betrayal occurs and Tartarus sends him down a shaft to what would have been his death were it not for the Gravemind.
- Hero-Worshipper: The terminals reveal that he had great respect and admiration for Thel 'Vadam and believed that if he brought him the evidence Guilty Spark had shown him that Thel would join him and be able to convince the rest of the Sangheili. However, Sesa then realizes that if Thel had survived the destruction of Alpha Halo he would be either executed or made Arbiter by the Hierarchs and would not listen to reason about his discovery in his quest for "redemption", thus explaining why he did not try harder to convert him during their confrontation.
- Honor Before Reason: Averted. You spend most of the first two levels as the Arbiter trying to chase him down and he only stops to fight when he's literally cornered before he can take off in a ship away from the facility. The importance of delivering the truth about the Halos obviously overshadowed honor in importance.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: During his confrontation with the Arbiter, he attacks instead of giving him a little longer to absorb what he's really saying.
- Rebel Leader: Of the heretics.
A Brute-dominated faction which originated as an anti-Covenant rebellion, having split from the Covenant before the Great Schism. In the aftermath of the Human-Covenant War, the Banished have not only been able to salvage much of the Covenant's former power, but have even managed to overrun the Ark by the start of Halo Wars 2.
- Bad Boss: The Phoenix Logs indicate that Banished commanders tend to treat their Grunts like literal punching (and kicking) bags, often for no reason beyond simple stress relief.
- Color-Coded Armies: Their equipment is largely red and silver themed.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: While the Banished's members tend to be competitive with each other at best, Atriox himself generally sees all of those who join the Banished as having equal potential for greatness like him regardless of species, seeking to secure a future for all their kind.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Swords of Sanghelios. Both are Covenant splinter factions with a fondness for crimson led by charismatic warriors who also happen to be brilliant and pragmatic strategists. However, the Swords are an Elite-led faction which ultimately seek peaceful relations with the rest of the galaxy, while the Banished are a Brute-led faction who seem to be more interested in all-out conquest.
- Eviler Than Thou: The Covenant, which inflicted a massive Curb-Stomp Battle against humanity during its prime, never even came close to touching a hair on Atriox's head.
- Evil vs. Evil: They may have fought against the Covenant during the height of its power, but their own intentions don't seem to be all that benevolent either.
- Heavily Armored Mook: Not only are the Banished's Jiralhanae more heavily armored than most of their Covenant counterparts, but the Banished versions of standard Covenant vehicles tend to have extra armor plates wielded on.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Are no less brutal (no pun intended) than the Covenant they split from.
- Rising Empire: Are implied to be something of this in the post-Schism galaxy.
- Spikes of Villainy: They go even further with this aesthetic than most Brutes do; even their Wraiths have spikes!
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: A majority of the Banished, especially the Sangheili members, feel extremely uncomfortable about their allies and would prefer to kill each other over old feuds, with Atriox alone keeping the whole band running.
- Used Future: A lot of their equipment has a crudely modified look to it, as a result of their habit of raiding Covenant arsenals and improving what they find with Jiralhanae engineering. Atriox himself is a good demonstration of that philosophy: his armor appears to be cobbled together from UNSC sources, while his Gravity Hammer includes parts from the Energy Sword that was used to try and execute him.
- What a Piece of Junk: Their vehicles may look like they were put together from scrap (and several probably are), but they can more than hold their own against anything their enemies can throw at them.
The ruthless leader of the Banished, Atriox is both a terrifyingly powerful warrior and a brilliant military commander.
- Ace Custom: His energy mace was created using parts of a gravity hammer and an energy sword, and his armor is made from pieces of UNSC equipment and other technology.
- Affably Evil: Atriox is surprisingly well-spoken and philosophical for a Brute, as well as far more pragmatic as he can talk his way through situations that typically would end in a bloodbath if it was any other Brute but him.
- Badass Beard: Is braided as well.
- Badass Boast: Just after forcing Red Team to retreat:Atriox: "Run, little demons... Hunt them down!"
- Bad Boss: The Phoenix Logs indicate that he values strength to the point where he'll kill officers who've failed him too many times, something which is also hinted at in Awakening the Nightmare.
- Big Bad: Of Halo Wars 2.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: It's shown in the final cinematic of Awakening the Nightmare that Atriox has an honor guard of Brute warlords. As the beatdown he delivered to Red Team demonstrates, he hardly needs any sort of guard.
- Carry a Big Stick: His personal energy mace, "Chainbreaker".
- Combat Pragmatist: Will use whatever resources and allies are available to get an upper hand.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Upon introducing himself in Halo Wars 2, Atriox completely overwhelms Red Team, despite the latter consisting of three Spartan-IIs who themselves mowed down a large group of Sangheili elite guards in Halo Wars (and go on to mow down plenty of Atriox's own troops). To be fair, the Spartans were caught completely off-guard.
- The Dreaded: The Covenant absolutely feared him, putting him on par with the whole of humanity as a target, and rightly so.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Despite being a ruthless warlord, Atriox sure as hell isn't letting the Flood be unleashed upon the rest of the galaxy.
- In Rise of Atriox, after getting his hands on a device that would have given him the power to mind-control a vast Yanme'e army, he decides to destroy it instead, declaring that he only wants followers who genuinely respect his power.
- Atriox refuses to conscript anyone. He will only accept those who want to join the Banished.
- Evil Counterpart: Let's see. He's a warrior who had grown tired of the Covenant's beliefs, began a successful rebellion against them, is a cunning strategist which is not that common among his race, and is very charismatic with many followers by his side. Atriox is basically the Brute version of Arbiter Thel 'Vadam.
- Eviler Than Thou: Not even the Covenant, in their prime no less, could hope to stop him.
- Four-Star Badass: Introduces himself by beating three Spartan-IIs (each one of whom is a One-Man Army in and of themselves) at the same time with relative ease; no wonder the rest of the Banished listen to him.
- Guttural Growler: Most noticeably when speaking in gameplay.
- Genius Bruiser: He has the physical strength to crush a MJOLNIR helmet with one hand, and is also a highly intelligent general who has managed to win countless followers to his side.
- Immune to Bullets: Getting shot with battle rifles at close range does nothing to him, merely bouncing off his armor.
- Just Toying with Them: The Spartan-IIs didn't bring any weapons that could pierce his armor. He spends most of the fight knocking them around but the pain he caused just by grabbing one, the cut he left with Chainbreaker and the fact that he crumbled a helmet after the fight made it clear he could have done much worse if he actually considered them a threat.
- Large and in Charge: Downplayed example. While not as big as Tartarus, Atriox is larger than the average Brute, but is nonetheless dwarfed by the Hunters in his ranks.
- Magnetic Hero: To the Banished anyways, as while individually its members struggle to cooperate with each other, everyone follows Atriox without hesitation, to the point where even the Banished's Sangheili mercenaries can't help but begrudgingly respect (and fear) him. In fact, he deliberately invokes this trope as a way to recruit followers, to the point where it's shown that he deliberately let himself get captured by Let 'Volir precisely because he knew he'd be able to convince the Shipmaster to join him.
- Nay-Theist: Atriox, in his growing contempt of the Covenant, abandoned his religious faith towards the Forerunners; he doesn't see them as gods any more than he sees the Spartans as genuine demons.
- No-Sell: The Spartan-IIs can't put a scratch on him when they face him. The guns they carry all bounce off his armor. Attacking him with a knife doesn't seem to hurt him either.
- Orcus on His Throne: Aside from his initial fight with the Spartans, he isn't seen on the front lines during the main campaign of Halo Wars 2. In fact he's barely seen at all.
- Power Fist: Has an augmented power gauntlet which significantly enhances his strength.
- Pragmatic Villainy:
- He may be a vicious warlord, but he's perfectly willing to resolve things peacefully as long as he can still get his way. This is particularly well-demonstrated in his story from Tales from Slipspace; when he confronts his would-be Elite assassins, he chooses to speak to them as equals rather than treat them as enemies, unraveling their loyalties to the point where they betray their commander and join the Banished instead, allowing Atriox to strengthen his forces without a fight.
- Unlike most Brutes, he seemingly holds no real hatred towards the Elites, and has no interest in furthering the genocidal feud between the two species, seeing it as a waste of good warriors for a pointless cause. This allows Atriox to be one of the few post-Covenant warlords who are able to recruit a significant number of both Brutes and Elites.
- Despite fighting Humans on the Ark, Atriox holds no animosity toward them, viewing them as capable warriors worthy to recruit.
- Rebel Leader: When the Banished used to fight the Covenant.
- The Social Darwinist: The Phoenix Logs indicate that he runs a "twisted meritocracy" where his subordinates are expected to constantly compete against each other for power and status.
- The Strategist: Is described as such, and the fact he leads a faction that fought the Covenant during its prime says something about his skill.
- Surpassed the Teacher: Escharum is his mentor.
- Tranquil Fury: Exhibits it at the end of Awakening the Nightmare as he chews out Voridus and Pavium for unleashing the Flood when he had explicitly told them not to go inside High Charity, which not only released the parasite once more, but heavily disrupted his own plans for dealing with the Spirit of Fire in the process.
- You Have Failed Me: A conversation between Voridus and Pavium implies that Atriox punishes repeated failure by crushing the offender's skull with his mace. The end of Awakening the Nightmare implies he has this in mind for Voridus once they finish cleaning up the remaining Flood.
The loyal right hand of Atriox himself, Decimus is a powerful and bloodthirsty warrior who is the embodiment of every horror story UNSC soldiers have ever swapped about fighting Brutes. A former soldier of the Covenant, Decimus was one of the very first to join the Banished, having been swayed by Atriox's strength.
- Badass Beard: A big, white one.
- Bad Boss: In direct contrast to Atriox, Decimus is more of a typical Brute... right down to threatening those who fail under his command with either dying by the enemy or dying by his hand.
- Blood Knight: Takes particular delight in tearing his enemies apart in hand-to-hand, and primarily fights because he enjoys it.
- The Brute: Moreso than Atriox ever will be.
- Defiant to the End: Even as he's dying, he uses his last words to tell the Spirit of Fire's crew that his death will be their last victory.
- The Dragon: He became Atriox's right-hand man upon defecting from the Covenant, and is referred to as such by the Spirit of Fire crew.
- Expy: Decimus is reminiscent to an Ork Warboss in respect to both his behavior and his appearance in combat.
- Fantastic Racism: Resents the Elites for how they treated the Brutes during the time of the Covenant, and thus takes sadistic joy in ordering them on suicide missions.
- Frontline General: Very much enjoys fighting on the frontlines, to the point where he's the only major non-DLC Banished commander who exists as a controllable in-game unit, and the only one to be directly fought against in the Halo Wars 2 campaign (besides Atriox's brief cutscene fight).
- "Get Back Here!" Boss: Lampshaded by Red Team during their mission raiding his base, repeatedly teleporting away from their forces as they approach.Douglas-042: He never sticks around, is it something we said?
- The Heavy: He's the most active Banished member in the main campaign and the only boss fought by the Spirit of Fire.
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: A fervent believer in "might makes right"; it's the very reason why he joined Atriox to begin with.
- Large and in Charge: He didn't become Atriox's right hand for nothing.
- Powered Armor: Fights in a heavy powered exoskeleton that borders on Mini-Mecha territory.
- Recurring Boss: Is fought twice in the game.
- Religious Bruiser: Despite his disdain for the Covenant, it turns out that he still secretly worships the Forerunners.
- Sadist: While fighting him, he gloats about his raid on the Henry Lamb Research Outpost, and openly shows joy in murdering the innocent scientists there.
- I Shall Taunt You: Clearly enjoys taunting Red Team whenever they fight him... when he isn't threatening his minions that is. Even his dying words are taunts aimed towards the Spirit of Fire and its crew.
- Super Strength: Described as strong even for a Brute.
- Undying Loyalty: To Atriox.
- What a Piece of Junk: His Powered Armor, looking like it's about ready to explode on him even as it is ready to wipe the floor with you.
Shipmaster Let 'Volir
Shipmaster of the assault carrier Enduring Conviction, Let found himself with no clear path forward after the fall of the Covenant and its beliefs. Eventually, he and his crew were noticed by Atriox, who offered them fuel and supplies in exchange for their unquestioning service. Now serving as a mercenary commander for the Banished, Let cares only about one thing; keeping his crew alive and well, no matter the cost.
- The Captain: Of the Enduring Conviction. And a highly capable one too, having earned great infamy among the UNSC for single-handedly destroying many human warships during the war.
- Cool Helmet: One not before seen in Halo media.
- Defector from Decadence: The Phoenix Logs imply that Let and his crew were so incredibly disillusioned with their previous fleet that it only took Atriox half a day to convince them to defect to the Banished, despite Atriox technically being their prisoner.
- The Dragon: After Decimus is killed, Let 'Volir appears to have taken over as Atriox's second-in-command.
- A Father to His Men: His only priority is the well-being of his crew, who reciprocate with their Undying Loyalty.
- Ironic Name: Atriox likes to tease that Enduring Conviction is an ill-suited name for the ship of a sellsword captain.
- Mook Lieutenant: Of the Sangheili units within the Banished. After Decimus is killed by the Spirit of Fire's crew, 'Volir appears to have received a Mook Promotion and become Atriox's new Dragon.
- Orbital Bombardment: Besides commanding his Elite troops, his main role within the Banished is providing orbital firepower from aboard his ship.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Just a mercenary with no real interest in the Banished's goals.
- Private Military Contractors: What he and his crew have been reduced to.
- The Unfettered: Is more than willing to stain his honor if it'll keep his crew and ship intact.
A Jiralhanae engineer and lieutenant, Voridus scours the Ark for new technology and knowledge, developing further military applications for infusion gel (the perfected Forerunner version of the technology used in fuel rod weaponry) in the process. Glory-hungry and impulsive, Voridus has repeatedly failed Atriox in the past while trying to prove himself, a trend which exasperates his older brother Pavium.
- Acid Pool: He can release infusion gel from his armor to create highly corrosive and mutagenic pools of the stuff in his wake.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: He wields a pair of blades on one arm that extend from his gauntlet.
- The Brute: His methods consist of aggressive offense, and is much more in line with the traditional Brutes than his brother, Pavium.
- Ditzy Genius: Despite being a brilliant inventor with an instinctive understanding of Forerunner systems, he lacks the common sense needed to be a good military commander.
- Drop the Hammer: Carries a barbed gravity hammer that can be upgraded to create deadly infusion pools with each strike.
- The Engineer: He's generally the go-to-Brute for the fancy tech jobs, but he's NOT The Smart Guy.
- Fearless Fool: He dismisses the Flood as Covenant propaganda and charges into High Charity guns blazing. He quickly changes his tune upon seeing that the legend is all too real.
- Genius Bruiser: Despite all the time he spends on developing technology, Voridus is still a vicious and deadly warrior, even by Jiralhanae standards.
- Glory Hound: He has a deep desire to prove himself in Atriox's eyes, which ironically causes him to fail Atriox.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Voridus is highly impulsive and even disobeys orders in his zeal to prove himself, which ends up releasing the Flood from High Charity.
- Lethally Stupid: Dismisses the Flood as Covenant propaganda and sees no problem with tearing open the obvious Sentinel quarantine around High Charity. While Voridus himself survives, his actions unleash the Flood, nearly resulting in the extinction of all life and the return of the Gravemind.
- Lightning Bruiser: Is fast and vicious in combat, even for a Brute.
- Mad Scientist: Though his most recent batch of inventions is incredibly dangerous to the user, Voridus really doesn't care as long as his creations continue to be tested and developed, even as many of his subordinates find their bodies rotting inside out due to exposure to his technology's toxic byproducts.
- Mook Lieutenant: He and Pavium are more middle-ground commanders than Let 'Volir or Decimus.
- Powered Armor: Wears a suit of heavy armor powered by infusion gel.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Impulsive red to Pavium's cautious blue.
- Sibling Team: He and Pavium often work alongside one another. Even gameplay-wise, their abilities are designed to complement each other.
- Villain Protagonist: He, along with Pavium, are the main characters of the Banished campaign.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Voridus really wants to prove himself to Atriox, but his attempts to do so have a history of causing more problems than they solve.
- You Have Failed Me: If Pavium's word is anything to go by, Voridus was already in hot water with Atriox at the beginning of Awakening the Nightmare. After disobeying a direct order to not go inside High Charity, thus unleashing the Flood once more, it's heavily implied this was the last straw.
A Banished warlord and engineer, Pavium is rather unlike his sibling Voridus, being calm and cautious where his brother is aggressive and impulsive, and focusing on siegecraft and fortification while Voridus prefers violent assaults. Nonetheless, the two work well together, despite the fact that Pavium's advancement within the Banished's hierarchy has slowed by his devotion to Voridus.
- Arm Cannon: Wields a heavy mortar on his right arm.
- Big Brother Instinct: Pavium cares deeply for Voridus and looks out for him. When the Flood is unleashed, Pavium's top priority is to find and rescue his brother.
- A Father to His Men: Voridus isn't the only Brute he cares for, as he's also not too keen on abandoning the rest of his troops to the Flood, explicitly claiming that he lost too many Brutes in the war.
- Evil Genius: He's a notable Banished Strategist and prefers laid out plans than full frontal assaults.
- Genius Bruiser: Both a brilliant siege engineer and a formidable warrior.
- Gradual Grinder: As an extension of his cautious nature, Pavium's combat doctrine focuses on grinding the enemy down in a prolonged siege, with his Mega Turrets being a particularly great tool to do so.
- Limited Advancement Opportunities: Despite his obvious prowess, Pavium is held back from advancement within the Banished due to his attachment to Voridus.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: He wields a large tower shield that was given to him by Decimus.
- Mook Lieutenant: Pavium could be a higher ranking member within the Banished for his strategic mind alone, but his loyalty to his brother prevents him from attaining anything higher than this.
- The Engineer: With his specialty being fortifications.
- Noble Demon: Possibly one of the nicest Brutes in the series, if not the nicest. His only real slight is being part of the Banished.
- Powered Armor: In combat, he wears a customized suit of heavy armor.
- Red Baron: He was named "The Unbreakable" for his discipline and skill in combat engineering. Bonus points for his red armor.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Voridus's red. He is the more cautious of the siblings while his brother is very impulsive, and focuses on defensive tactics while Voridus focuses upon offensive strategies.
- Sibling Team: With his younger brother Voridus. Even gameplay-wise, their abilities are designed to complement one another.
- Stone Wall: A master of defensive warfare, both as a commander and as an individual warrior. This is reflected in gameplay, as most of his abilities are defensive-focused.
- The Strategist: What sets him apart from other Brutes, is his strategic mind and ability to formulate battle plans.
- Target Spotter: Is equipped with a target designator, making him a devastating forward spotter for artillery.
- Villain Protagonist: One of the two main characters of the Banished campaign, with his brother Voridus.
The being known as "Colony" is actually two Mgalekgolo bond brothers in charge of all Banished Lekgolo activity on the Ark, including the creation of specialized Lekgolo gestalts. They answer only to Atriox himself, and their true motivations are a mystery even to the rest of the Banished.
- Arc Villain: They serve as the main antagonist of the Operation: SUNBREAKER expansion.
- Ascended Extra: For the Hunters as a whole. For a long time, the Mgalekgolo have been nothing more than silent Mini Bosses. With the debut of Colony, we now have a unique character of the species with a variety of new Hunter units.
- Bad Boss: The Phoenix Log descriptions for the Goliath and Living Barrier imply that Colony has been forcing subordinate Lekgolo to form gestalts which adversely affect the physical and psychological well-being of their members.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: They give Boomerang Company this ultimatum... which is ignored.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Whatever their true agenda is, it seems clear that they have their own plans for the Ark.
- Enigmatic Minion: Atriox seems to be the only one who knows their true motivation; all that's known is that the pair have shown particular interest in the resting place of the Forerunner keyships, to the point of undertaking missions there without the knowledge of the rest of the Banished.
- Genius Bruiser: Besides being big hulking masses of worm-muscle, they're also responsible for creating and refining many of the Lekgolo gestalts and devices used by the Banished, and have a surprising rapport with the Banished's Huragok.
- I Am Legion: Despite being two entities, the brothers both identify themselves as Colony, as they were once a single entity (like all Hunter pairs).
- Mad Scientist: They have some shades of this, indicated by their willingness to genetically alter their species to create gestalts like the Goliaths with little regard for how this adversely affects their mental state.
- Mook Lieutenant: Colony oversees the Lekgolo units of the Banished, and is responsible for the creation of specialized units like the Goliaths and Hunter Captains.
- Speak in Unison: The bond brothers tend to literally speak as one.
- Terse Talker: Speak only in short sentences and fragments.
Yapyap THE DESTROYER
A former (sub-sub-)sub-Deacon in the Covenant Ministry of Sanitation who was captured by the Banished, Yapyap has since abandoned his Jiralhanae masters in order to seek out the fabled Golden Methane Hydrate Mines of Sabator hidden somewhere on the Ark (as told to him by a random Kig-Yar fortune-teller). Leading his hordes of Unggoy rebels from atop his Throne of Woe, Yapyap THE DESTROYER may not be the once-in-a-thousand-generations prophesied hero, but he's got more than enough ego, Cannon Fodder, and well-timed bouts of cowardice to compensate.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Weaponized. His "Please Don't Shoot Me!" ability (which literally is him just begging for mercy) forces a map-wide ceasefire that stops all combat.
- Caps Lock: Why Yapyap THE DESTROYER and not Yayap the Destroyer? Well, he likes to shout that last part.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Many of his announcements have him going off on tangents:Harvester constructed: Why do we call it a "Harvester"? How 'bout we call it something nice like "Tickler"!Power Extractor constructed: We followed the instructions to assemble a Power Extractor, but why do we have parts leftover?Upgrade complete: Mwahahahaha! We're invincible! Huh? We just upgraded?!Minibase constructed: What is this, a base for ants?!
- Consulting Mister Puppet: His most trusted confidant and advisor seems to be his Throne of Woe.
- Cool Crown: Well, "cool" might be stretching it, but he wears what looks to be a looted San'Shyuum crown with a crude model of the Ark literally strapped to it.
- Evil Laugh: Does this whenever a Leader Point is spent.
- Lethal Joke Character: He's a gullible doofus whose army revolves around literal Cannon Fodder, excessive use of methane for both offensive and recreational purposes, and being too pitiful to kill. And yet his endless cheap hordes and ability to stack multiple buffs (including an invincibility one) makes him a perfectly viable commander to play as. Also, he's got Grunt Goblins.
- Orcus on His Throne: Parodied. He claims to be more of an "idea Grunt" whose managerial expertise would be wasted on the front lines.
- Small Name, Big Ego: For Forerunners' sake, his own armor has a crude carving of him sitting on a throne while surrounded by sycophants and kowtowers.
- We Have Reserves: Somehow, Yapyap has gone through more Unggoy than were ever brought to the Ark in the first place. Don't ask him where all the extra ones came from (it somehow involves arguing with his Throne of Woe).
- Zerg Rush: For Yapyap THE DESTROYER, there's no such thing as a problem that can't be solved by throwing more Unggoy at it. Even if those Unggoy are completely unarmed (hey, they've still got their fists and teeth, and there's plenty of throwing rocks to be found on the Ark).
- Bad Boss: Orders Inslaan 'Gadodgai to kill Castor even when it's obviously a suicide mission.
- Bald of Evil: Unlike most Brutes, there's not a hair on his scalp.
- Beard of Evil: Sports a tuft of grey hair on his chin.
- Blood Knight: Loves fighting and grows weary without a proper challenge.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Claims his destruction of the UNSC fleet was this.
- Death Seeker: Makes no qualms about Zeta Halo being his last battle and doesn't seem to care much about his own survival.
- Dragon Ascendant: With Atriox stranded on the Ark, Escharum has assumed command over the Banished, directing their forces on Zeta Halo against the remnants of humanity.
- Enemy Mine: Accepts the Keepers of the One Freedom into the Banished.
- Glory Hound: Cares more about being a legend than his own life.
- I Shall Taunt You: Mixed with Bring It and Last Dance.Escharum: The UNSC lost this war months ago. Your people are broken. Scattered. Hunted. Defeated... by me. I wish I could tell you it was difficult, but it wasn't. We are one step ahead, always. The ring is already under our control, soon the Auditorium as well. The Harbinger and the Banished share the same goal — we fight together to honor the will of Atriox, but... without challenge, I grow... weary. Lost. Alone... but here you now stand. This is my last fight, a true test of legends, OUR story that will outlive us both. SET A FIRE IN YOUR HEART, SPARTAN! BARE YOUR FANGS! FIGHT HARD! (grinning) Die well.
- Red Right Hand: His right eye is pale and blinded.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: His working eye is a deep red.
- Worthy Opponent: Views Chief as this.
- Undying Loyalty: Proclaims this towards Atriox.
Sedran Colonial Guard
Sedran Colonial Guard
The primary defense force of the relatively autonomous outer colony of Sedra, the Sedran Colonial Guard maintains a vague semblance of order among its world's scattered population centers. Due to Sedra being completely ignored by the Covenant during the war, the Guard has being able to afford relatively good equipment compared to other colonial paramilitaries, though its gear is still woefully outdated by the standards of the UNSC Armed Forces. Nevertheless, its members are well-motivated and consider themselves tenacious and determined fighters, due to Sedra being on the border between UNSC, ex-Covenant, and Insurrectionist space.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: Some of the Guard's equipment, like their pistols, are apparently up to 200 years out of date, though some of their other gear is more up-to-date.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: While Sedra's relatively lax border security is explicitly explained in the "Second Stories" as being a result of being woefully understaffed, there doesn't seem to be a reason (other than possibly Jurisdiction Friction) why the Guard wasn't around to help ONI prevent a Zealot from unleashing a bioweapon on Sedra City.
- Home Guard: They're a tad more organized than the usual examples, but the Guard is basically a glorified militia compared to actual UNSC regulars.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Like the population of Sedra in general, the Guard has very little fondness for the UNSC/UEG, which vastly complicates any joint operations with UNSC forces they have to undertake.
- Nuclear Option: Despite being a paramilitary, the Guard's armory includes four HAVOK nukes, though only because the UNSC is basically using it as emergency storage space.
Private First Class Talitha Macer
Serving largely as a pilot, Macer has already been involved in multiple operations against criminals and pirates despite her youth, having been part of the Colonial Guard ever since she enrolled in its youth wing at age thirteen.
- Ace Pilot: Noted among the Guard for her piloting talents; at one point, she's able to fly a damaged Condor and crash-land it close to its intended destination.
- Action Girl: Has already seen a fair deal of action despite only being nineteen at the time of Halo: Nightfall.
- Disappeared Dad: Her father died when she was nine.
- Former Teen Rebel: After the death of her father, Macer was raised in a rough neighborhood, acquiring enough run-ins with the police to land herself in a correctional facility. Her time there gave her a new perspective and purpose, and she decided to enlist in the Guard to honor her father.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Though she's far less hostile to Locke's team than her teammates are, it takes a while for her to actually trust Locke himself.
- Guy in Back: Is this for the main Condor pilot during the Alpha Shard mission, until circumstances eventually force her to take the controls herself.
- Hidden Depths: Despite her Sedran pride, it's implied that the Colonial Guard is too small for her military ambitions, hence why she directly involves herself in ONI's own investigation of the bioweapon attack on Sedra City.
- Military Brat: Her father was also a member of the Colonial Guard, and ended up dying during a sting operation.
- The Smart Guy: Having studied physics and aeronautics from a young age, Macer is by far the most scientifically-inclined out of Nightfall's entire cast, having been the one who figured out how the human-killing element on the Alpha Shard was formed to begin with.
- Sole Survivor: The only Sedran to survive the Alpha Shard mission.
- Undying Loyalty: Her readiness to risk her life for her comrades, even those she doesnt know well, is why Locke himself is still alive.
Sergeant Samantha Wisner
The only child of two financial analysts, Wisner signed up a short contract with the Colonial Guard to get away from her parents influence and see more of Sedra, but has no intent for a full military or law enforcement career.
- All There in the Manual: Most of her characterization comes from the Second Stories and her official profile on Halo Waypoint.
- Eaten Alive: By a swarm of Hunter worms.
- Improbable Age: Though the Guard is a militia, the fact that she's a sergeant at age 19-20 is still rather glaring, given that Macer is roughly her age and still a private.
- Informed Ability: Is apparently an excellent shot. To be fair, good aim with a rifle isn't much use against nigh-indestructible Lekgolo gestalts.
- Mauve Shirt: The only member of the main Sedran squad in Nightfall other than Randall and Macer to get any sort of characterization, most of it in the Second Stories. It keeps her from becoming a Red Shirt like most of the Sedrans when the Thanolekgolo first attack, but she still ends up dying later.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Second Story "Soldier Within" makes it clear that Wisner has no love for either Locke's team or the UNSC as a whole.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Played with; she's less superficially feminine compared to Macer, but their backstories, if anything, invert this trope.
Colonel Randall Aiken
See "Randall-037" on the Halo: SPARTAN-II Program page for more details.
Prior to the war with the Covenant, the Unified Earth Government suffered from widespread rebellion many of the Outer colonies, who believed they should be allowed to secede from the UEG's alleged oppressiveness. These "Innies" soon turned to terrorist tactics, and would have started a disasterous civil war had not the Covenant attacked. Since many of the planets they were based in were glassed, the various Innie factions have been scattered and disorganized, with some aiding in the war against the Covenant, some simply wishing to stay out of it, and a few even continuing their fight against the UNSC. Following the end of the war, many Insurrectionist groups are rearming and even making alliances with former Covenant members, preparing for another bid for freedom.
- Defector from Decadence: Many of the most dangerous Insurrectionists are former UNSC personnel, many of whom were highly decorated for their service against the Covenant, but had trouble pointing the gun at their fellow humans (the irony of them having ended up fighting humans anyways seems lost on them, though).
- Enemy Mine: Despite their continuing differences, various rebel groups did team up a number of times with the UNSC during the Human-Covenant War, such as during the battles at the Rubble and Psi Serpentis.
- Ironic Nickname: Insurrectionists were called "Innies" by the UNSC, despite desperately wanting "out" of the UNSC.
- Les Collaborateurs: Early in the war, some Insurrectionist groups actually attempted to actively cooperate with the Covenant in the hopes that it would free them from UNSC rule. This largely stopped after even the most hardcore Insurrectionists realized that the Covenant wanted to kill all humans, but some groups were still attempting to undermine the UNSC even late into the war.
- Hazy Feel Turn: A number of Insurrectionists returned to the UNSC fold during the Covenant War, not necessarily because their opinion of Earth had improved all that much, but because they realized the UNSC was their best bet against total extinction.
- Hufflepuff House: Despite controlling entire worlds and waging an interstellar space war against the UNSC prior to (and after) the arrival of the Covenant, the Insurrectionists have almost no presence in the games and mostly show up as Bit Part Bad Guys in the expanded universe. While they are mentioned in more recent games, they only make a (non-canonical) physical appearance in Halo Wars multiplayer.
- Neutrals, Critters, and Creeps: On some Halo Wars multiplayer maps, there are AI-controlled rebel camps hostile to both UNSC and Covenant players.
- Never My Fault: Very few characters associated with the Insurrection, if any, have ever acknowledged the culpability of their own extremists in instigating the near-civil war.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Eric Nylund has gone on record as saying that the Insurrection conflict was in retrospect fortunate for the UNSC. As the Insurrection became more extreme, the UNSC was forced to escalate in kind. The arms race resulted in a UNSC military much stronger than it would have been otherwise, and that strength was necessary (though still almost insufficient) to holding back the Covenant.
- Pet the Dog: A number of Insurrectionists did actually do their part to save people from the Covenant advance; for example, those on Madrigal managed to evacuate a lot of civilians prior to the planet's glassing.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: There was a lot of sympathy even in the Inner Colonies for the planets that wanted autonomy from Earth and the UNSC, but extremists eventually started employing terrorist tactics (including but not limited to killing schoolchildren and nuking civilians), destroying much of their standing among potential sympathizers.
- Villain Has a Point: The Insurrectionists may have a lot of innocent blood on their hands, but they do make some valid points about the severe mismanagement of several colonies and the increasing authoritarianism of the UNSC.
- Villain Team-Up: Post-war, a number of Insurrectionist groups have allied with various post-Covenant groups against the UNSC, despite generally not sharing much in common with them in terms of ideology.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Even among colonists who sympathize with their goals, opinion on the Insurrection is sharply divided.
Colonel Robert Watts
A former Marine who led a major rebellion in the Eridanus system, eventually becoming one of the founders of the United Rebel Front.
- Colonel Badass: Watt's abilities were already highly regarded before his defection, and after he left the UNSC, it didn't take long for him to successfully lead an Insurrectionist takeover of Eridanus II, necessitating a major UNSC operation to retake the planet. Even after the Eridanus rebels were driven offworld, they remained a thorn in the side of the UNSC all the way up until the onset of the Covenant War.
- Dangerous Deserter: Though in a Well-Intentioned Extremist kind of way.
- Fallen Hero: Was once a true believer in the ideals of the UEG, and a decorated and well-respected commander within the UNSC before his increasing disillusionment towards Earth's policies caused him to defect.
- Fatal Flaw: His love of imported luxury goods is what allows the Spartan-IIs to locate and capture him.
- Pet the Dog: The comic book adaptation of Halo: The Fall of Reach opens with him getting one last view of Eridanus, then enforcing No One Gets Left Behind with his men.
- Rebel Leader: The most prominent Innie leader of the Insurrection's first few decades.
- Red Baron: Known as "that bastard" by most UNSC personnel during the early Insurrection.
- Space Pirate: Shown engaging in some of this to supply his forces.
- Starter Villain: The SPARTAN-IIs' first mission is to capture him.
Governor Jacob Jiles
The United Rebel Front leader in charge of the Insurrectionists at the Eridanus Secundus base after Watts's capture.
- Alliterative Name
- Beard of Evil: A slippery and shady Space Pirate who sports a 10-cm long pointed beard.
- Enemy Mine: With the Reach/Halo survivors against the Covenant, though he and his fellow rebels are left to their doom when it's clear that they can't win.
- Killed Offscreen: The fate of Jiles and his people after their temporary UNSC allies abandon them is not directly shown, but it's implied that the Covenant left no survivors.
- Pragmatic Villainy: When the UNSC Gettysburg-Ascendant Justice, whose crew had just forced Eridanus Secundus's people to help them on pain of plasma bombardment, is dead in the water after a fight with a Covenant cruiser, Jiles nonetheless decides to help with repairs, because he realizes his people will need their help when Covenant reinforcements arrive.
- Sketchy Successor: Played with. Watts was a brilliant military leader who founded perhaps the formidable of the Insurrection's many factions, while Jiles is a shady civilian content with small raids who leads only a small URF contingent. Nonetheless, Jiles seems to have been an effective leader in his own right, having kept his people alive through almost the entirety of the Human-Covenant War.
- Smug Snake: When he first encounters the Reach/Halo survivors, he greets them with a smiling, mocking, and cocksure arrogance... which goes away the instance they reveal their ship has a working plasma turret aimed at his base.
- Smug Smiler: In his interactions with the UNSC, he usually shows a smile that straddles the line between cordial and mocking.
- Wicked Cultured: A pirate and black-marketeer with a sardonic sense of humor, pretensions of suaveness (including a fondness for elegant bows), and an apparent taste for fine food and high-class alcohol.
A shipper who resides in the Rubble, Ignatio was evacuated from Madrigal by Insurrectionists as a child when the Covenant glassed the planet. While sympathizing with the Innies, he is not technically one himself. He deeply mistrusts the Rubble's supposed Jackal allies, which is why he accepted being chosen by the Rubble's council to protect the last of their navigation data from the Jackals.
- Ace Pilot: Thanks to his years of experience navigating through the Rubble.
- Action Survivor: Not a professional soldier, but is more than able to keep his head under fire.
- Affectionate Nickname: "Nacho", which only Maria calls him.
- Childhood Friends: Grew up with Maria back on Madrigal.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Doomed Hometown: Madrigal.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Develops some respect for the UNSC while working alongside their forces against the Covenant.
- I Call It "Vera": Señora Sies, a modified M6 pistol with an oak wood stock with carvings on it.
- Neutral No Longer: After helping to prevent the Rubble from falling into Covenant hands, he decides to sign up with the UNSC Navy to order to "shoot down some Covenant ships".
- Tragic Keepsake: Señora Sies was made by a beloved uncle who was killed on Madrigal.
A member of the Rubble Security Council, Diego is a retired Insurrectionist who used to plant bombs on spaceships. When Madrigal was glassed by the Covenant, he helped rescue its inhabitants, including his sister Maria and her friend Ignatio Delgado.
- Demolitions Expert: His main job in the Insurrection was creating and planting bombs on spacecraft.
- Doomed Hometown: Madrigal.
- The Mentor: To Ignatio.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Is killed while trying to stop Bonifacio from taking the navigation data.
- Promotion to Parent: Raised both Maria and Ignatio after the fall of Madrigal.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: When Delgado tells him his suspicions that someone on the Security Council is leaking the location of the data to the Jackals, Diego gives him the information needed to investigate whether those suspicions are true, including the name of the council member mostly likely to be the mole.
- Retired Outlaw: Was also a smuggler and pirate during his Insurrectionist days, but is now primarily interested in simply keeping the people of the Rubble safe.
A sister of Diego Esquival who moved to the Rubble after Madrigal was glassed. Though not officially an Insurrectionist, she shares some of her brother's anti-UNSC views.
- Childhood Friends: Grew up with Delgado back on Madrigal.
- Doomed Hometown: Madrigal.
- Jerkass: Not normally, but when she is dealing with the captured UNSC personnel she is extremely rude and condescending to them.
- Unexpected Successor: Takes her brother's place on the Security Council after his death.
A Insurrectionist smuggler who bought his way onto the Rubble Security Council, Bonifacio is working with the Jackals to get them the navigation data to Earth, hoping to buy his way into the Covenant by allowing them to destroy Earth.
- Jerkass: A selfish bastard who's more than willing to sacrifice billions of people solely for his own benefit. Also, he never pays his people on time.
- The Mole: Has been actively leaking information from the Rubble Security Council.
- Only in It for the Money: It's implied that making money from smuggling was his primary motivation for joining the Insurrection.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Gets left to die when he fails to get the navigation data to Reth, and his escape pod is later destroyed by a Covenant ship.
- Sleazy Politician: More then willing to use bribes and murder to get his way in politics.
- Smug Snake
A "Smart" AI used by the inhabitants of the Rubble, Juliana has gone rampant, but maintains her loyalty to humanity.
- A God Am I: A relatively benevolent variation of this.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Played with; she's definitely a little off her rocker, but her loyalty to the people of Rubble helps her rampancy in check.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Heroic Sacrifice: Crashes The Rubble into the Kig-Yar base on Metisette so that the citizens can escape on Habitat Exodus.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Goes against the orders of the council by aiding UNSC forces against the Covenant.
Captain Lyrenne "Lyra" Castilla
A high-ranking Insurrectionist who captained the Bellicose and took a particular interest in then-Captain Preston J. Cole.
- Action Girl: A high-ranking Insurrectionist and one of the few who ever proved herself a match for Admiral Preston J. Cole.
- The Cavalry: At the Battle of Psi Serpentis, her Insurrectionist fleet shows up in the nick of time to allow the remaining UNSC ships to fully disengage while Admiral Cole enacts the final part of his plan.
- The Captain: Of the Bellicose.
- Dating The Insurrectionist: When she's undercover, she quickly hits it off with Cole, despite the fact that she knows he's the captain of a ship that's already fought hers thrice; they become married and even have a child together, though they are forced to separate after her true identity is discovered.
- Faking the Dead: She was believed to have been killed by UNSC Battle Group Tango until she showed up nearly four decades later to reinforce Cole's fleet.
- Retired Badass: Seems to have settled somewhere outside of UNSC and Covenant space alongside Cole.
- The Smart Girl: Not just in tactics, given she ran rings around the UNSC and proved herself a tactical equal of Cole, but there's heavy evidence to suggest that in order to escape her supposed death in the gravity well of a gas giant, she pulled off the first-ever human in-atmosphere slipspace jump, a feat at that time even most Smart AI believed to be suicidal.
- Worthy Opponent: Feels this way about Cole. The feeling is mutual.
One of the largest arms dealers on the Insurrectionist haven of Venezia, Staffan was once a humble factory worker, having turned against the UNSC when he (correctly) suspected them of having kidnapped his daughter Naomi and replaced her with a flash clone.
- Anti-Villain: One of the few true examples in the franchise so far.
- Arms Dealer: A relatively sympathetic depiction of one.
- Cassandra Truth: Outside of his old associate Andrew Remo, no one else outside of the UNSC believes him, not even his first wife or his second family.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Does this to Maz and Val when he suspects them to not be actual deserters.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Albeit one that happens to be right, especially after he finds other parents who lost their children under similarly murky circumstances.
- Crusading Widower: His first wife (and Naomi's mother) Lena, having believed her daughter to have died from a hereditary genetic disorder, ended up sterilizing herself before committing suicide out of grief.
- Doting Parent / Good Parent: Was definitely this to Naomi, and, to his credit, he did his best to be the same for her flash clone even after figuring out that she wasn't the "true" Naomi.
- He also tries to be this to his next two children, but while he's close to his son Edvin, Naomi's memory makes it difficult for him to get close to his daughter Hedda.
- Doting Grandparent: Enjoys spoiling his granddaughter Kerstin, doing things like carving a dollhouse for her.
- Driven to Villainy: If not for Naomi's kidnapping and his first wife's subsequent suicide, he likely would have never joined the Insurrection.
- Faking the Dead: When Chon Vol self-destructs the Pious Inquisitor, he and Sometimes Sinks pretend to be caught up in the explosion. BB and Vaz each separately find out about the ruse, but decide to keep it secret, as much out of sympathy for Staffan's circumstances as for him retiring his vendetta against Earth.
- Family Values Villain: Tries his best to maintain a decent life with his second family, despite living under the shadow of his first.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From simply factory worker to Insurrectionist arms dealer.
- Graceful Loser: Accepts Naomi's decision to stay with the UNSC, and agrees to retire his plot against Earth, being satisfied that he at least got to see his daughter one last time.
- Hidden Depths: Still enjoys doing machine shop work, despite his current occupation.
- Knight Templar Parent: For Naomi, to the point where he not only joins the Insurrection, but even eventually plans to attack Earth with a CCS battlecruiser in order to get answers, decades after her initial disappearance.
- Odd Friendship: Develops one with Sometimes Sinks.
- Revenge Before Reason: Even his own son points out that he should abandon the aforementioned plan and just hand the ship to the Venezian militia.
- Second Love: Eventually has a second family after moving to Venezia, though he never gets over the loss of his first.
A New Colonial Alliance agent who in 2553 was tasked with hijacking the UNSC Infinity before the UNSC could launch it, Zane was originally one of ten candidates selected for the first phase of the SPARTAN-IV program, with the intent of producing unarmored soldiers that were capable of producing the same feats as a fully armored Spartan-II. She was the only survivor, and went insane from the augmentations, eventually defecting to the New Colonial Alliance.
- Action Girl
- Bad Boss: Is this to the Insurrectionists under her command, killing any who can't pull their weight.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Survives being spaced long enough get rescued by a Prowler.
- Evil Counterpart: To Sarah Palmer, due to their shared background in the SPARTAN-IV program, with Zane being the prototype, and Palmer being part of its inaugural class.
- Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Her and her team infiltrate the Infinity by disguising themselves as construction workers.
- Sole Survivor: Was the only one of ten candidates to survive the experimental procedures for the S-IVs.
- Psycho Prototype: As Maya Sankar puts it, "Ilsa Zane was a walking science experiment gone wrong."
- Super Prototype: Is this to the Spartan-IVs, being capable of fighting hand-to-hand against a fully armored Palmer while wearing no armor herself.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The procedures made her crazy.
Captain Daniel Clayton
A captain in the UNSC Navy serving under the UNSC's ambassador to Sanghelios, Clayton is actually a mole for the New Colonial Alliance, having joined to seek vengeance on Lord Hood.
- Bastard Bastard: Is the illegitimate son of Captain James Cutter.
- Defiant to the End: Even when he's about to be hauled off to Midnight Facility, he vows that he will meet Hood again the day the UNSC falls.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Implied to be how the NCA was able to recruit him.
- The Mole: For the New Colonial Alliance.
- Nepotism: His main motivation for defecting from the UNSC seems to be his feeling that his entire career was based on Hood greasing the wheels to make up for not being able to save his father.
- Revenge Before Reason: Just look at the above spoilers. Additionally, he's even willing to blow his cover just for a chance to kill Hood personally.
- Slasher Smile: Gets a pretty freaky one just before firing a glassing cannon at Hood and the Infinity.
- You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Tries to use this to make Palmer and Majestic stand down, despite him and his cronies being in absolutely no state to fight back. The result?Clayton: Spartan, you will stand down! Don't you know who I am?!Madsen: Yeah, I know who you are. *Smacks Clayton unconscious with the butt of his rifle.* You're the traitor that got my friend Paul DeMarco killed.
Admiral Mattius Drake
A former Admiral of the UNSC Navy who turns out to be the leader of the New Colonial Alliance. His true allegiance was discovered when the survivors of an attempt at stealing the UNSC Infinity were interrogated.
The leader of a United Rebel Front-alligned Insurrectionist cell on Alpha Corvi II. When his planet became one of the first to be attacked by the Covenant, he finds himself working alongside Blue Team to fight them off.
- A Father to His Men: Puts the wellbeing of his fellow Insurrectionists above all, which is a major reason he agrees to work with Blue Team.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite being an Insurrectionist, he fully realises that the Covenant present the bigger threat, and agrees to work with the UNSC to fight them.
- Senseless Sacrifice: When the UNSC evacuates the planet, they are given orders to ignore Whitaker and his Insurrectionists in spite of everything they did with putting aside their differences to help Blue Team accomplish their mission, making their sacrifices All for Nothing.
Michael "Mickey" Crespo
See the Halo: UNSC Marines and ODST page for more details.
During the formation of the Covenant, a number of Sangheili objected to subordinating themselves to the Prophets. Several of these dissenters, under the leadership of kaidon Ussa 'Xellus, would exile themselves to Forerunner Shield World 0673 "The Refuge", waiting for an opportune moment to retake Sanghelios from the Covenant.
- Apocalypse How: After monitor Enduring Bias gets taken out of commission by a comet, conditions gradually deteriorate on the Refuge's various fragments as their machinery steadily breaks down over the course of 3000+ years, with complete societal collapse becoming imminent by 2552. However, apocalypse is just averted when Enduring Bias is finally repaired and begins to fix all the broken machinery, while also reassembling the Refuges fragments into a more livable and maintenance-friendly ringworld.
- Blood Sport: Floatfighting, which revolves around close-quarters combat in a zero-gravity section of the Refuge. Several measures are taken to prevent competitors from actually dying, since floatfighting was instituted to allow the Ussans to retain their warrior culture without completely killing each other off; however, deaths do still occur in the arena.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: Even most of the Ussans' more advanced weapons by 2552 are sorely out of date by Covenant standards.
- Cargo Cult: Though the Ussans by 2552 have mostly abandoned the practice of directly worshiping Forerunner artifacts, they do believe that the Refuge's machinery is animated by "lower spirits" who are the patron deities of the repairers' guild.
- Civil War: The Refuge suffers a number of these as conditions steadily deteriorate, with the worst factions led by those suffering from "Blood Sickness", an illness caused by malfunctioning protein feeders whose symptoms include violent paranoia and vivid hallucinations.
- The Exile: Founded by dissenters fleeing the Covenant, the Ussans live completely isolated from the rest of the galaxy.
- Faking the Dead: When the Covenant try to storm the Refuge, Ussa and Enduring Bias activate an experimental defense protocol which splits the world into a bunch of small but still livable fragments, tricking the Covenant into thinking that the Ussans committed mass suicide. Mken catches on to the ruse, but keeps it secret from the rest of the Covenant in order to let the Ussans have their independence.
- Future Imperfect: The modern Ussans have a shaky understanding of their past, to the point where many regard Sangheilios itself as nothing more than a myth.
- La Résistance: Founded by anti-Covenant revolutionaries, with several being veterans of the war against the San'Shyuum. By 2552 though, the Ussans have become more far interested in avoiding the Covenant rather than fighting against it.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Like mainstream Sangheili; champion floatfighters in particular are treated as celebrities.
- Schizo Tech: Due to their small population and 3000+ years of isolation, Ussan technological capabilities have severely regressed by 2552, to the point where Elites in spacesuits are forced to equip themselves with homemade semi-automatic crossbows ("mec-missilers") and axes, due to the steady loss and increasing malfunction of all of the Refuges more advanced technology.
Kaidon of Xellus and a famed Field Commander during the Sangheilis first war against the SanShyuum, Ussa strongly opposed the formation of the Covenant, founding a resistance group that would eventually become known as the Ussans.
- Genius Bruiser: Widely respected for being a brilliant military mind.
- Happily Married: To Sooln.
- The Leader: Of the Ussans.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Is relatively merciful for a Sangheili, and fairly tolerant of dissent as long as it doesnt cross into outright sedition. Additionally, when 'Crolon and 'Drem falsely accuse Tersa and Lnor of conspiring against the Ussans, Ussa takes Tersa's advice to also question Gmezza, Scorinn, and Enduring Bias, allowing him to quickly realize that 'Crolon and 'Drem are the real traitors.
The scientifically gifted wife of Ussa 'Xellus, Sooln shared her mates opposition to the Covenant and was his most trusted associate.
An elderly Sangheili warrior who served as a scout in Sanghelios's clan conflicts during the last years before first contact with the San'Shyuum. During his youth, he inadvertently stumbled across the Refuge, but kept the location secret for at least nearly a century until he decided to join Ussa 'Xellus's cause.
- Dented Iron: His injuries include a completely scarred-over eye socket, a missing left hand, and a mangled right hand.
- Famed in Story: A minor example; he's known to be the Sangheili who discovered the mining colony of Creck.
- Red Baron: Was known as "'Quillick" during the Clan Battles, because he would scout out the enemy "the way a 'Quillick would slink silently through the shadows".
- Retired Badass: He's well over 100 years old by the time Ussa meets him, and is clearly elderly even by Sangheili standards, with most of his teeth completely missing.
- Peaceful in Death: Lies down and passes away peacefully in one of the Refuge's gardens.
- Small Role, Big Impact: He dies of old age quite early in Broken Circle, shortly after the Ussans arrive on the Refuge, but he's the reason why they have a home in the first place.
Ernicka the Scar-Maker
Ussa 'Xellus's second-in-command, Ernicka shares his leader's strong disdain for the Covenant.
An adolescent trainee from one of the 'Xellus's allied clans, Tersa very much believes in Ussa's ideals.
- Amazon Chaser: Becomes attracted to Lnur 'Mol in part because of her strength.
- Battle Couple: Eventually marries Lnur, who is remembered even by future generations as a warrior.
- Famed in Story: Remembered by future generations of Ussans as a hero of their people, with pilgrims paying tribute to images of him and his mate Lnur.
A young female from one of the 'Xellus's allied clans, Lnur has a marked independent streak.
- Action Girl: While Sangheili females generally receive enough training to help defend their homes, Lnur is as well-versed in combat as most males, to the point where future generations of Ussans remember her as a warrior.
- Battle Couple: Eventually marries the warrior Tersa 'Gunok.
- Famed in Story: Remembered by future generations of Ussans as a hero of their people, with pilgrims paying tribute to images of her and her mate Tersa 'Gunok.
A Sangheili engineer and pilot with strong doubts about Ussa's leadership.
- The Engineer: His main job, which he's actually pretty decent at, being able to sabotage the Refuge's hanger's controls for just long enough to hijack a ship and escape.
- Dirty Coward: Despite his claims that Ussa is conspiring with the Covenant, the very first thing 'Crolon himself does when he's captured by the Covenant is to sell out the Ussans.
- Hate Sink: As the other tropes on this profile should make clear, he was clearly created primarily to serve the role of "detestable Sangheili" for Broken Circle.
- Jerkass: A selfish jackass who ends up selling out the rest of the Ussans to the Covenant.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: When he sells out the Ussans' location to the Covenant, his "reward" is to become a frontline guide for the troops invading the Refuge; he ends up being hacked to pieces by the vengeful Ussans shortly after making landfall, which the Covenant force's leaders were hoping for to being with.
- Slimeball: An inveterate liar who ultimately cares only about himself; he's even described as always being one of the first to the table whenever the Ussans gather to eat. However, despite him adopting an air of false modesty and humbleness around superiors, almost no one fooled by his act; Ussa and his advisors dislike him right from the start, and the Covenant quickly have him pegged as an untrustworthy liar.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Believes himself to be a lot cleverer than he really is.
- Stereotype Flip: A Sangheili who's a total coward.
- Straw Misogynist: While Sangheili society is patriarchal, most males have at least some respect for the administrative and intellectual capabilities of female Sangheili, and many even have no issue with women serving in their keep's Home Guard. 'Crolon's views, however, are in straight Stay in the Kitchen territory, to emphasize how much of a scumbag he is.
- Advanced Ancient Humans: They are this trope not only to their modern descendants but to themselves. Humanity not only had a spacefaring civilization prior to modern time, but also had one prior to its latest spacefaring civilization before its devolution back to the Stone Age. Silentium reveals humanity's earliest known spacefaring civilization went at least as far back as 1.1 million BCE making this trope apply double for them.
- The Alliance: Humanity had one with the ancient San'Shyuum of all species before and during the human-Forerunner war. This alliance was able to combine its technology and resources to fight the Forerunners on an even footing. However, it was dissolved after the San'Shyuum leadership surrendered to the Forerunners and allowed the aliance's capital of Charum Hakkor to be breached, ensuring the Forerunners' victory over both species. The Forerunners then devolved humanity and quarantined the San'Shyuum to ensure neither species would join forces ever again.
- Cain and Abel: They were the Abel to the Forerunners' Cain, with their "Parent", the Precursors, declaring that they were worthy of the Mantle. The Forerunners didn't take it too well.
- The Chosen People: According to the Ur-Didact, humanity believed they, and not the Forerunners, were the true inheritors of the Mantle. As it turns out, this may actually be true assuming the Primordial/Gravemind spoke truthfully to the Ur-Didact regarding the subject.
- Driven to Suicide:
- Many human and San'Shyuum scientists killed themselves, preferring to die than live with whatever knowledge the Primordial gave them following their interrogation of it about the Flood.
- The vast majority of the remaining human population on Charum Hakkor committed mass suicide rather then surrender to the Forerunners after the latter won the final battle there, not wanting to submit to the Foreunners' inevitable punishment; removal of technological privileges, forced relocation and physical and mental devolution.
- The Empire: They had one that was so vast and powerful that it could challenge the Forerunners head on for dominance over the galaxy. It was destroyed in a war against the Forerunners mainly due to humanity already fighting and losing in another war against the Flood and later the betrayal of the San'Shyuum during what would afterwards be the final stage of the conflict.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Humans who questioned the Primordial about the Flood were so horrified by its answer that many of them killed themselves rather than live with the knowledge. The rest locked it up, and forbade anyone from even talking to it.
- Higher-Tech Species: They (with the exception of the Forerunners and ancient San' Shyuum) were far more technologically advanced then all other known species existing in the galaxy during their time and the modern Covenant species and their own modern descendants.
- Hobbits: The Florians, or Chamanune as they called themselves, were a species of humans that existed before and after humanity's devolution alongside many other species and subspecies in the human genus. They're based on a real human species that used to exist, Homo floresiensis, who really are often referred to as "hobbits".
- Humanity Came From Space: Possibly the case as humanity had an ancient spacefaring civilization at least as far back as 1.1 million BCE, however records from these times have been lost to the point that neither humanity nor the Forerunners were sure if Earth was humanity's original homeworld. Yprin Yprikushma claimed to have traced humaity's origin to Earth, however this was disputed by many including Forthencho, who having seen evidence of human habitation and human ruins older than those on Earth, believed humanity's origin lay elsewhere. Ultimately the matter was and still is unresolved.
- Humans Are Bastards: According to the Forerunners, humans were particularly cruel toward other species. They're quite a biased source, however Chakas discovered through his ancient human memories that they believed in "creating many souls", or expanding their population by conquering and claiming other worlds, so this may not be entirely inaccurate.
- Humans Are Special: Seemed to have held this view of themselves as the Ur-Didact once stated they believed themselves the true inheritors of the Precursors' Mantle. This belief may or may not be true but it's unclear so far.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Pretty much how the Forerunners view the humans by the events of Cryptum, and for a reason. The ancient humans conquered several Forerunner worlds, though this was an act of desperation as the humans were on the run from the Flood that ravaged many of the worlds on the other side of their empire. Many of the Forerunner worlds that humanity destroyed were also infected by the Flood. Humanity was trying to stop it.
- Humans Are Warriors: The Didact and the Prometheans gained respect for humanity's tenacity in battle during and following their war with them.
- Human Subspecies: Prior to the activation of the Halo Array, humanity was composed of a hugely diverse group of different species and subspecies, each with their own distinct and unique traits, customs and cultures, with all of them being considered "human". Several real human subspecies, such as Denisovans and Homo floresiensis, were present, coexisting with "Hamanune" (Homo sapiens). They also included hominids, hominoids, and anthropoids such as Gigantopithecus who, while not technically human, were definitely sapient and capable of a language that at least Chamanune could understand and speak. Humanity was actually noted as being especially diverse compared to other species. However, after the massive casualties taken in their war with the Forerunners, being confined to a single world by them, the Ur-Didact composing all the humans on Omega Halo during the Battle of the Greater Ark, the firing of the Halo Array and the 100 millennia between then and modern times, all but Homo sapiens eventually died off.
- I Did What I Had to Do: When the Flood spread beyond human space, human fleets under Forthencho's command began a campaign of sterilizing worlds and systems in an attempt to slow the Flood's spread regardless of what species owned them even those belonging to Forerunners. This brought them into conflict with the Forerunners which ultimately spelled demise for humanity's empire.
- Long-Lived: Ancient humans prior to devolution appeared to live far longer than their modern day descendants as Forthencho led the human fleets in containing the Flood prior to the beginning of the human-Forerunner war and was there at that war's end. Said war lasted a thousand years making Forthencho at least thousand years old before his physical death. Whether this lifespan is due to natural evolution, advanced medical technology, bio-augmentation, Powered Armor or a combination of all them is unknown.
- Not So Different: They were as variable personality-wise as the Forerunners were and their own modern descendants and as much as both species liked to pretend they had the moral high-ground when it came to their opposite number, it is constantly pointed out that Forerunners and humans could be equally as petty, monstrous and all around assholes as each other.
- No Kill Like Overkill: They used orbital bombardment to wipe out any planet with a Flood outbreak on it. Given how quickly the Flood spreads, such overkill is entirely justified.
- Original Man: They were the first evolution of humanity in the universe, with modern day humanity being their devolved descendants. The pre-eminent species of humanity during their time were noted to be on average larger, stronger and more intelligent than their modern descendants which includes the various Spartan supersoldiers.
- Powered Armor: Like Forerunner Warrior-Servants, their warriors wore technologically advanced suits of armor. Whether this armor was 24-Hour Armor like the Forerunners or if their civilians wore any is unknown.
- Precursors: They had the same precursors as the Forerunners, that both species called... "The Precursors".
- Puny Earthlings: Averted prior to the human-Forerunner war when they were near-technological equals to the Forerunners and could straight-up challenge them for galactic dominance. Played straight after their devolution following the war's end.
- Ragnarök Proofing: While the majority of their stuff was destroyed by the Forerunners, some of what little that has survived is remarkably intact despite having been built over 110 millennia ago and is still in pretty good shape. These include ancient human ruins on a planet called Heian and a derelict starship.
- Supersoldier: Given how powerful and strong the Forerunner Warrior-Servants (especially their Promethean rate) was and with the technology at their disposal, they almost certainly had these as their forces would have had to go toe-to-toe with them in combat.
- Time Abyss: Humanity as a whole is this trope as they were allegedly chosen by the Precursors to inherit the Mantle around ten million years prior to the present day. If so then they were presumably evolved enough to the point that they would have been intelligent enough to become technologically advanced enough to actually hold the Mantle back then as it would be rather strange for the Precursors to choose a successor to the Mantle if that species couldn't actually fulfill that role due to not being evolved enough or if that species didn't actually exist yet. Regardless humanity did possess an interstellar civilization at least as far back as 1.1 million BCE making them this trope.
- Zombie Apocalypse: They fell victim to one of these.
Forthencho, the Lord of Admirals
The last military commander of the ancient human civilization. He's long dead by the time of The Forerunner Saga.
- Ambiguously Brown: Spark's (as Chakas) study of ancient human history in an ONI database and Forthencho's own words on the subject when he briefly takes over Spark's narrative seem to indicate he's an ancient ancestor of Vinnevra and Gameplar's people, who in turn are that to the Aborigines of Australia.
- Brain Uploading: His personality was preserved in data form by the Composer, and later gets uploaded into Chakas. His consciousness also resides within 343 Guilty Spark.
- Compensating for Something: Chakas notices he wears a "more then a little exaggerated" codpiece.
- Defiant to the End: Despite their best efforts, the Forerunners couldn't get any useful information from him.
- Four-Star Badass: Under his command, the defenders of Charum Hakkor, despite their inferior technology and numbers, managed to beat back the continuous assaults of the Forerunner fleet under the command of the Didact himself for several years. Eventually, the Forerunners were forced to use a brute force approach, taking devastating losses when they finally took the planet.
- I Did What I Had to Do: While fighting the Flood, he came across a Forerunner planet which had been partially infected. Instead of warning the Forerunners and possibly giving the infection time to spread beyond the planet, he had the entire planet of 2 billion cleansed. He was clearly reluctant over doing so, but it seems he had to make this decision many times.
- Long-Lived: Forthencho was made Lord of Admirals prior to the human-Forerunner war and was still so at that war's end. Said war lasted around a thousand years making Forthencho as least a thousand years old prior to his physical death.
- The Rival: To Yprin Yprikushma.
- Revenge Before Reason: For all his respect for the Warrior-Servants, he would do everything to bring down the Forerunners at any cost; he even advocated drawing the Flood back into the galaxy! Long after his death, he's still perfectly willing to aid a Flood-aligned Mendicant Bias just to destroy his old foes.
- The Strategist: Good enough to consistently hand the Forerunners their tails despite them holding every possible advantage.
- Worthy Opponent: Warrior-Servants as a whole and especially the Didact. The feeling is actually mutual.
The Political and Morale Commander of prehistoric humanity's interstellar empire. She's long dead by the time of The Forerunner Saga.
- Alliterative Name
- Badass Bookworm: Led a special force of 7,000 warriors and 70 ships during the siege of Charum Hakkor.
- Brain Uploading: Her personality was archived by the Composer, and eventually gets uploaded into Riser. It's later removed and put into a Monitor shell.
- Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Forthencho believes her decision to interrogate the Timeless One was a mistake, and that it only demoralized humanity.
- Graceful Loser: Even while facing her execution, she was still hoping to warn the Forerunners about the Flood in order to ensure the safety of the rest of the galaxy.
- The Rival: To Forthenco.
- The Smart Girl: Led the science team that discovered the Timeless One, traced humanity's potential origins to Erde-Tyrene (Earth), and was the main figure behind humanity's research of Forerunner technology and tactics.
- The Strategist: The main human strategist of her age.
A young human of the "hamanush" (Homo sapiens) variety who lived on Erde-Tyrene in the city of Marontik. Along with his friend Riser, he led Bornstellar to the Ur-Didact's cryptum, and was whisked away to briefly serve him and awaken his implanted geas. He was marooned on Installation-07, where the personality of a mighty human from ages past fully awakened within him. After Chakas was mortally wounded during Mendicant Bias's attempt to turn the ring against the Forerunners, he was reunited with the Bornstellar-Didact, who used the Composer to save him by converting him into an AI.
- Brain Uploading: The Librarian uploads the memories and personality of Forthencho into his head. Then his own mind was uploaded into a Monitor body, where he became none other than 343 Guilty Spark.
- The Bully: In his childhood he was the town bully.
- Disappeared Dad: His dad was killed fighting a baron's thugs.
- Fat and Skinny: He and Riser are partners, and Riser is only four feet tall while he's at least five.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Bornstellar. Likewise the Forerunner gains a greater respect for humans despite having memories of fighting against them in battle as the Didact.
- Genetic Memory: The Librarian gave him genetic commands during his infancy that gave him dreams of meeting a Forerunner. They also told him and Riser the instructions of how to guide that treasure-hunting Forerunner to the Didact's Cryptum.
- Interspecies Friendship: With Bornstellar.
- Sour Supporter: Of Bornstellar at first when he's forced to tag along on his adventures, since initially he planned to rob the guy.
- Those Two Guys: With Riser in Halo: Cryptum. Less so in Halo: Primordium, where he's the protagonist.
- The Resenter: As memories from his ancestors began to manifest, he starts to share their resentment of Forerunners. But that starts to diminish from his alliance with Bornstellar.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Vinnevra, due to the whole "nearly being killed and getting uploaded into a robotic body" thing. Nonetheless, Guilty Spark's "true" Chakas-based personality remains fond of her, despite 100,000 years worth of isolation, madness, and severe physical damage, to the point where one of the main reasons for his current quest to find the Librarian is so he can get her to help retrieve Vinnevra's "old spirit" from whichever human it's currently hosted in.
A human of the "chamanush", or Florian, variety, who lived on Erde-Tyrene in the city of Marontik. Following a geas placed upon his kind, he and Chakas unknowingly led the young Forerunner Bornstellar to the Ur-Didact's cryptum. He was part of the group that accompanied the Ur-Didact on his mission, but shortly afterward was marooned on Halo Installation-07 with Chakas. Following this, he was put into the Librarian's care on the Ark.
- Brain Uploading: The Librarian imprints him with the personality and memories of Yprin Yprikushma.
- 343 Guilty Sparks thinks Riser's own mind might have been imprinted into future generations.
- Deadpan Snarker: Takes an amusingly dry approach to the larger-than-life event around him.
- Eloquent in My Native Tongue: His simplistic manner of speech comes from other languages lacking the unique mannerisms and gestures that accompany Florian speech.
- Fun Size: Thanks to being a Florian, better known today as "hobbits" or Homo floresiensis.
- Genetic Memory: The Librarian implanted a "geas" in his DNA that influences his actions, and Florians naturally retain memories from their ancestors. It's also hinted he can see into the future, when he tells Chakas he will live as long as the Forerunners.
- Interspecies Friendship: With Bornstellar.
- Keet: His personality.
- The Napoleon: Chants-To-Green notes he compensates for his short height by being aggressive, though he's not as mean as the trope usually demands. Riser himself remakrs that he takes charge not despite his size, but "because of it".
- Omniglot: Speaks many languages.
- Overly Long Name: His full name is "Day-Chaser Makes Paths Long-stretch Morning Riser".
- Plucky Comic Relief: Comes from being a Keet in a serious situation.
- Really 700 Years Old: 200 years old and still a youngster, since chamanush can live long lives.
- Those Two Guys: With Chakas, a Homo sapiens.
A young "hamanush" woman who grew up on Installation 07 instead of Earth.
- Ambiguously Brown: If Spark's (with Chakas's personality) study of ancient human history through an ONI database is accurate, the Aborigines of Australia are the closest descendants of her and Gamelpar's own people.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: She denies the existence of "old spirits" telling memories to Chakas and co., or their Halo traveling, insisting the new stars being just the same sun changing color.
- Genetic Memory: Although she too has to deal with subconscious genetic commands, she does not have memories of former humans, and wishes she did.
- Chakas believes her spirit may have been transferred to later humans.
- I Know Your True Name:: Vinnevra is not her real name, but her mother's. Only her mentor Gamelpar knows her real name, and tells it to Chakas when he passes caring for her over to him.
- The Pollyanna: Despite her hard life she keeps up an energetic attitude.
An old human who raised Vinnevra. He too grew up on Installation 07.
- Ambiguously Brown: Same deal as Vinnevra.
- Lady and Knight: When he was younger he protected Vinnevra in this way.
- Merlin and Nimue: With Vinnevra.
- Old Master: His geas contains memories from an ancient human warrior. Because of this, he has felt elderly all his life.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Denies having his brain uploaded in favor of death.
Not a human, but an ape living aboard Installation 07.
- The Big Gal: She is a Gigantopithecus. The name says it all.
- Last of Her Kind: Specifically, the last Gigantopithecus, though they called themselves "Shakyanusho".
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Mara is only her "lending name"; her real one is never revealed.
- Talking Animal: Despite being mostly ape-like in her mannerisms, she and the rest of her kind are definitely intelligent; she's even able to converse with Riser, whose ancestral memories from back when his people had contact with hers allow him to understand her language. In fact, she's the one who tells Riser to have everyone call her Mara.
- Team Pet: Follows Chakas and co. across the Halo.
- The Alliance: They had one with ancient humanity of all species before and during the human-Forerunner war. This alliance was able to combine its technology and resources to fight the Forerunners on an even footing. However, it was dissolved after the San'Shyuum leadership surrendered to the Forerunners and allowed the aliance's capital of Charum Hakkor to be breached, ensuring the Forerunners' victory over them and their human allies. The Forerunners then devolved humanity and quarantined the San'Shyuum to ensure neither species would join forces ever again.
- Driven to Suicide: Many human and San'Shyuum scientists killed themselves, preferring to die than live with whatever knowledge the Primordial gave them following their interrogation of it about the Flood.
- The Empire: They had one that (when combined with humanity's own empire) was so vast and powerful that it could challenge the Forerunners head on for dominance over the galaxy. It was destroyed in a war against the Forerunners mainly due to humanity and San'Shyuum already fighting and losing in another war against the Flood and later the betrayal of the San'Shyuum during what would afterwards be the final stage of the conflict.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: San'Shyuum who questioned the Primordial about the Flood were so horrified by its answer that many of them killed themselves rather than live with the knowledge. The rest locked it up, and forbade anyone from even talking to it.
- Higher-Tech Species: They (with the exception of the Forerunners and ancient humanity) were far more technologically advanced then all other known species existing in the galaxy during their time and the modern human and Covenant species and their own modern descendants.
- I Did What I Had to Do: When the Flood spread beyond human and San'Shyuum space, the human and San'Shyuum fleets under Forthencho's command began a campaign of sterilizing worlds and systems in an attempt to slow the Flood's spread regardless of what species owned them even those belonging to Forerunners. This brought them into conflict with the Forerunners which ultimately spelled demise for both them and their human allies.
- Long-Lived: Ancient San'Shyuum prior to firing of the Halo Array appeared to live far longer than their modern day descendants as the First Prophet, a leader among the San'Shyuum during wars against the Flood and the Forerunners was at least nine thousand years old before his death during the San'Shyuum uprising on Janjur Qom. Whether this lifespan is due to natural evolution, advanced medical technology, bio-augmentation, Powered Armor or a combination of all them is unknown.
- Not So Different: They were as variable personality-wise as the Forerunners, humans and their own modern descendants were. According to both the Didact and 343 Guilty Spark they were known for their manipulation skills and for betraying their allegiances not unlike their modern descendants in the Covenant.
- No Kill Like Overkill: They used orbital bombardment to wipe out any planet with a Flood outbreak on it. Given how quickly the Flood spreads, such overkill is entirely justified.
- Original Man: They were the first evolution of San'Shyuum in the universe, with modern day San'Shyuum being their descendants. The San'Shyuum during their time were noted to be strong warriors and youthful in appearance unlike their crippled elderly leaders after the war. Indeed they evoke the image of the Prelates, San'Syuum supersoldiers that existed during the time of the Covenant.
- Powered Armor: They no doubt wore technologically advanced suits of armor during combat like their human allies and the Forerunner Warrior-Servants. Whether this armor was 24-Hour Armor like the Forerunners or if their civilians wore any is unknown.
- Precursors: They had the same precursors as the Forerunners and humanity, that all three species called... "The Precursors".
- Puny Aliens: Averted prior to the human-Forerunner war when they were near-technological equals to the Forerunners and could straight-up challenge them for galactic dominance alongside their human allies. Played straight after their defeat following the war's end.
- Supersoldier: Given how powerful and strong the Forerunner Warrior-Servants (especially their Promethean rate) was and with the technology at their disposal, they almost certainly had these as their forces would have had to go toe-to-toe with them in combat.
- Zombie Apocalypse: They fell victim to one of these.
An even more ancient race of star travelers who were held in reverence by the Forerunners, who supposedly formulated the "Mantle of Responsibility" for all life in the galaxy before passing it onto the Forerunners. They were only the theorized Tier 0 race (Transentient), and so little was known about them that many thought them to be legend. In truth, they've been seen since Halo: Combat Evolved—as the Flood.
- Abusive Precursors: They created or evolved thousands of sentient species, but allegedly "culled" the ones they didn't like, with the Forerunners were being the last ones they tried this on. However, the Gravemind disputes this, claiming that the Forerunners' genocidal campaign against the Precursors was completely unprovoked. Either way, they end up playing the trope straight after becoming the Flood. Halo Mythos states the Precursors did decide to wipe out the Forerunners, but only after the Forerunners wrongfully claimed the Mantle and used it to justify their rule and dominance over other species.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: What was theorized to have become of them. If the appearance of Abaddon is anything to go by, this does appear to be true for the Precursors who didn't become the Flood. Halo Warfleet takes this even further by stating that their minds "transcended many realms and that they had infinite forms, many voices, and singular purpose".
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Vengeance against the Forerunner for genocide? How dare you suggest something so primitive? The Timeless One just wants to unify all the life in the galaxy, including the Forerunners and humanity!
- The Ur-Didact puts it best:Didact: The whole concept of will, good or ill, is irrelevant when speaking of such beings.
- On the other hand, the Precursors that became the Flood do seem to want vengeance, though it may be transformation-induced-Motive Decay.
- The Ur-Didact puts it best:
- Broken Pedestal: For the Forerunners, because of learning how horrific their creators really were.
- Came Back Wrong: Remember that weird powder humanity discovered that became the Flood? Turns out that was actually mummified Precursors, who were going to keep themselves preserved in that state until it was safe to return to physical forms. Unfortunately, the wait was so long that the powder eventually began deteriorating, and then started mutating whatever lifeforms it got put into... However, those that observed the horror their brethren brought to the galaxy found it satisfying; the Forerunners really pissed them off.
- Didn't See That Coming: In all their existence, they never, not once, imagined that one of the races they created would rise up and attack them. They were so shocked when the Forerunners did this that they didn't even fight back, which, given what we see of Precursor technology in Halo: Silentium, is probably the only reason that the Forerunners won.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The Forerunners, just one of many Precursor creations, decided to rebel against their makers. The Precursors were so offended by this that they decided to punish not only the Forerunners, but everyone else in response via the Flood.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means:"Our urge to create is immutable; we must create. But the beings we create shall never again reach out in strength against us. All that is created will suffer. All will be born in suffering, endless greyness shall be their lot. All creation will tailor to failure and pain, and never again shall the offspring of the eternal Fount rise up against their creators. No more will, no more freedom. Nothing but agonizing death, and never good shall come of it. We are the last of those who gave you breath and shape and form, millions of years ago. We are the last of those your kind defied and ruthlessly destroyed. We are the last Precursors. And now we are legion."
- Eldritch Abomination: Nothing like knowing that the creators of every species, and maybe even the universe, were cosmic horrors incarnate. Halo Warfleet reinforces this trope by stating that their minds "transcended many realms and that they had infinite forms, many voices, and singular purpose".
- Foreshadowing: The Primordial's title as the Timeless One is a clue that it's really a Flood Gravemind, echoing the main Gravemind's line about how its voice is a "Timeless Chorus".
- Not only that, but it's later revealed that they existed before time itself.
- Genocide Backfire: Their (alleged) attempt to wipe out the Forerunners ended in their own destruction... mostly. Now they get to return the favor.
- God Is Evil: The Librarian outright says that the Primordial is as close to a God as the Forerunners can understand it. And after reading Silentium, it's hard to argue that they aren't evil.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Downplayed. The original Precursors are essentially extinct, with their degenerate current form of the Flood being mostly contained in the present day (though the threat they pose should containment completely fail is still galactic in scale). However, them forcing the Forerunners to fire the Halos is probably the single most important event of the last 100,000 years of galactic history, and their one known surviving creation, the Domain, ends up playing a vital role in the formation of the Created.
- Hive Mind: The Timeless One is a Gravemind. Didact suspected that it was specifically designed by the Flood to mimic a true Precursor. It's a bit unclear, but later evidence suggests the Precursors themselves may have been Flood-like in their biology themselves to begin with, with Mythos revealing that the Timeless One itself is basically a heavily mutated Precursor.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Whenever you fought the Flood, you were fighting Precursors.
- Last of His Kind: Subverted. The Timeless One reveals at the end of Halo: Cryptum that it is the last Precursor. But it turns out to also be a Flood Gravemind, which hints at the biochemistry of the original Precursors. However, Halo: Primordium and Silentium reveal that it is not the last of its kind and that there are more Precursors out there somewhere.
- Our Angels Are Different: The appearance of Abaddon—a Precursor A.I. or at least some kind of construct—takes the form of a Forerunner with an androgynous face and wings, making it resemble angels as they are commonly depicted in popular culture.
- Parental Favoritism: Ultimately the driving force of the entire series. The Precursors created both the Forerunners and humanity, but chose humans to inherit the Mantle. The Forerunners didn't like that and rebelled against their "parents" in a genocidal campaign; the Precursors decided to tear it all to the ground and assimilate everything into the Flood in response, and the galaxy has suffered for it ever since.
- Ragnarök Proofing: Even more so than the Forerunners' stuff. Their stuff lasts for millions or even billions of years, and are just as indestructible as when they were first built, being completely resistant to just about anything, ranging from almost every Forerunner weapon to stuff like having plate tectonics cycling them inside planetary crusts. However, it turns out there's one thing that can break/annihilate their creations: a Halo's main weapon, which operates on Neural Physics—the same principle that Precursor technology is based on. There's a reason why Precursor artifacts have not been encountered in the "current" time, after all.
- Recursive Precursors: The Forerunners are the precursors to humanity. But these Precursors are even more ancient.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A particularly nightmarish and horrific one. To say the Forerunners pissed them off is an Understatement.Gravemind: All that is created will suffer... All creation will tailor to failure and pain... Nothing new but agonizing death and never good shall come of it.
- Sentient Cosmic Force: The Precursors believed (knew?) that the entire universe was living (though not in a way biological organisms could comprehend), and based all of their technology off of this concept of "neural physics". While this allowed their technology to be insanely resilient and self-adjusting with no outside maintenance for millions of years and made it way more advanced than anything even the Forerunners had (who lacked the understanding to even activate Precursor artifacts), it gave them a major weakness to the Halos, which specifically targeted neural systems, of any kind.
- Starfish Aliens: The Timeless One is over ten meters tall, has brown-grey skin, a wide flat arthropodic head with compound eyes, multiple jaws and mandibles, with many jointed appendages and a stinger tail (the Precursors are said to be related to sea scorpions) ... and the real kicker? It's a Flood-like assimilation of bodies, as the Precursors became the Flood.
- As it turns out, Precursors can change form pretty radically. The dust humanity found? Precursor. The Flood? Precursor.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: To the Forerunners, which are pretty Sufficiently Advanced themselves.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: After the Forerunner-Precursor war, they decided that if their creations are going to try and cause them pain and suffering, then they will cause their creations unparalleled pain and suffering in turn.
- There Can Be Only One: They (allegedly) tried to wipe out the Forerunners because they decided they weren't worthy of the Mantle. The fact that humanity claimed the Mantle instead ignited the Human-Forerunner war.
- Time Abyss: The Timeless One was imprisoned for millions of years. Cryptum states that Precursor artifacts can be so old that tectonic shifts on planets unearth them after millions of years. Precursors themselves are possibly older than the universe itself.
- Tomato Surprise: Didact is rather shocked to find out that the Timeless One has a Flood-like biology.
- Walking Spoiler: Let's just say we eventually find out more about the Precursors than ever thought possible. And we were probably better off not knowing quite a bit of it.