WARNING: UNMARKED SPOILERS BELOW. CONTINUE?
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SUBJECT: COVENANT CORE SPECIES
- Main index
- UNSC (Miscellaneous Personnel)
- The Covenant
- The Banished
- UEG Civilians
- Other Factions
- "None will be left behind when our Great Journey begins! That is the Prophets' age-old promise, and it shall be fulfilled!"
A collection of alien races who worship the Forerunners and believe that the Halo Array was used to propel the Forerunners on "the Great Journey", where they ascended to godhood.
- Aliens Are Bastards: To over simplify it, the Covenants standard introduction to a new species often involves forcibly occupying their planet and orbit, giving the inhabitants the offer of joining their ranks or being destroyed (or in the case of the Unggoy, outright enslaved on the spot), and then begin excavating the planet dry for any Forerunner technology they originally came to recover. If a species refuses to join the Covenant, a war will commence until the uninitiated species either surrenders or are rendered extinct, often ravaging the planet through 'glassing' their surface from orbit to render it inhospitable.
- They took this up a notch through their encounter with humanity, where not long after the first contact, the High Prophets deemed the species to be unforgivable heretics that must be exterminated. This led to a long, costly war that lasted 28 years, rendered roughly 23 billion humans killed and razed countless planets to glass (including much of Earth), and overall pushed humanity to the verge of extinction.
- Aliens Speaking English: Zig-zagged in all sorts of ways. In most of the games, some (though not all) of the Covenant species will converse in English, while in a few entries (such as Halo: Reach and Halo 4), none of them speak any English. Even the actual reasoning for this tends to shift depending on the specific media; it's either that many Covenant soldiers learned how to speak English in order to monitor communications and taunt humanity directly, or UNSC/Covenant translation software being able to translate Covenant languages to English in real time.
- Alien Invasion: Their second favorite thing to do after uncovering Forerunner artifacts is to invade planets and wipe out as many combatants as they need or want to, usually in the name of finding the aforementioned artifacts.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Their political infighting, omnipresent civil wars, religious fanaticism, worship of divine monarchs, huge number of sub-factions from commando units to research ministries, ceremonial manners of war, caste system, Fantastic Racism, policy of killing entire planetary populations with Orbital Bombardment, hard divide between Cannon Fodder infantry and elite power-armored troops (said troops being monastic feudal warriors primarily armed with handguns and swords), and the fact that much of their tech base is both poorly understood and based on knock-offs of tech that came from a long dead civilization that they revere, all bring to mind a fun-sized version of the Imperium of Man. As a touch of Irony, though, their general design aesthetics are actually more reminiscent of the T'au Empire.
- Artificial Brilliance: Quirky behavior and blunders that can happen in gameplay aside, each Covenant species has a battle plan and follows their role in the hierarchy accordingly. Best seen in the Grunt/Jackal/Elite trio thats been in play ever since the first game, with the Grunts trying to surround the player with a hailstorm of plasma from multiple angles, Jackals slowly push ahead with their shields to apply forward pressure, and Elites alternating between hanging back to take safe shots and rushing in to ruin the player in CQC, adjusting their strategy accordingly depending on their shield strength and what the player is doing in turn.
- Artificial Stupidity: That said, its not all that uncommon to be fighting the Covenant and see a trigger happy alien with a fuel rod cannon or brute shot blow up their own allies, stick the alien right in front of them with a plasma grenade or just whiff a grenade throw so badly that the live bomb lands right next to them after hitting some scenery.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: In just about every species except the Lekgolo and San 'Shyuum, the higher ranks they can reach means they're able to dish out and receive more pain than their lower ranked counterparts. This is especially present in the Brutes and Elites, whose highest ranks have some of the best armor the Covenant can provide and lug around some of the strongest weapons around, and can easily destroy any careless players they can catch. Even the lowly Grunts and fragile Drones get tougher armor and shields and wield better guns when they reach the rank of Ultra, overshadowing their Minor counterparts.
- Badass Army: Covenant naval forces are in general far more powerful than their UNSC counterparts, even though their ground troops are more evenly matched on a unit to unit basis. This is balanced out by the fact that the Covenant's military, political, and theocratic leadership is (generally) all utterly incompetent, punching way below their weight class.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: Their blind adherence to their religion holds them back in many ways, such as preventing them from innovating or improving on their technology. Most notably, however, the central tenet of their religion is that the Forerunners are gods who ascended to a higher plane of existence by activating the Halo Array, when in fact the Halos were weapons of last resort created to starve the Flood by killing all sentient life in the galaxy. Many Covenant, even when presented with indisputable evidence, will still stubbornly cling to these beliefs.
- Cargo Cult: In addition to worshiping the Forerunners as literal gods, the Covenant hold all technology created by them as holy.
- Church Militant: Their entire society is geared towards the acquisition of "holy" Forerunner technology, by any means necessary.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Covenant vehicles, equipment and weaponry tend to be painted in shining shades of purple, blue and sometimes gold to contrast the UNSC's more grounded green/gray/desert color schemes.
- In 3, the newly turned Elites supporting the UNSC have repainted their Phantoms bright green as opposed to the standard Covenant purple.
- A Covenant combatants rank and overall toughness can be determined by the color of their armor, which varies between species wildly. For example, an Elite wearing blue is about as low as they can get, while one in gold/bright yellow are as lethal as they are sturdy.
- Common Tongue: While different species prefer to use their native languages, the Sangheili language dominants most aspects of the Covenant, since Elites were one of the two founding species and run the military, and thus most species. As such, Covenant species need to know at least a little Sangheili to function under their dominance.
- Creative Sterility: The Covenant are noted to be imitative rather than innovative in their technology, having derived most of it from Forerunner artifacts. To make things worse, their religious doctrines seem to consider most efforts to even better understand, much less improve upon, Forerunner technology to be "blasphemy", resulting in their knock-offs being distinctly inferior to the Forerunner originals. Additionally, most of the Covenant aren't even allowed to do any real R&D to begin with. A notable exception are the Brutes; as the newest member species of the Covenant core, they still utilize much of their own native technology.
- Subverted by many post-Covenant states. While they've generally lost the means to construct some of the Covenant's most advanced technology, the removal of High Charity's technologically conservative bureaucracy has led to quite a few post-Covenant manufacturers actually making notable improvements to a lot of Covenant technology.
- Decadent Court: Politics in the Covenant capital of High Charity are incredibly dirty, with assassinations and blackmail just two of the many obstacles an average official there has to deal with. That said, while Covenant government has always been pretty corrupt, there have been periods where the worst of it was kept in check.
- Defeat Means Friendship: For a given value of "friendship", anyways; it's tradition for the Covenant to allow defeated foes to join their ranks. By that way their military is getting greater by each conquest. The Grunts, the Hunters and the Drones are examples of species who had been in war against the Covenant, lost and joined their ranks as an alternative for being burnt to extinction. It's the reason why the Elites are confused about why the Prophets don't let the Humans join the Covenant as well. That said, Join or Die is a far more accurate description of this policy, even if the victims grow to appreciate the perks of Covenant rule.
- Deflector Shields: Standard issue on their ships and elite infantry.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Their war with the United Nations Space Command has more than a few parallels to The Crusades, with them in the role of the various bickering European Christian powers and the UNSC as the native Islamic Caliphates of the Middle East.
- Drop Ship: Phantoms serve as the Covenant's primary means of rapidly deploying troops and vehicles straight into a warzone. In addition to this, they also come with cannons and gunner seats for it to provide firing support once it's deployed all its passengers.
- The Spirit is another drop ship used by the Covenant, albeit with much more armor, making it capable of surviving attacks that would normally blow up a Phantom. As a consequence however, its long, unwieldy and awkward design made it hard to maneuver, and the inconvenience of the ship made the switch to Phantoms as troop transports necessary.
- The Empire: One spanning a good chunk of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. However...
- Vestigial Empire: Even at the height of their power, the Covenant was extremely fragile, fractured, and unstable. Civil war was a daily occurrence, as was political murder, some planets were never fully integrated even after centuries (Warfleet gives the Jackal homeworld and most of their colonies as examples), and factions seldom actually coordinated their efforts in wars. In the end, the strain of fighting even a comparatively small power taxed the empire to its limits and led to a political coup that itself led to the collapse of the whole rotten structure. The Covenant were more like hundreds of feuding fiefdoms that could be aimed vaguely in the same direction than they were a true empire. Warfleet also mentions that, though the Covenant nominally consisted of a thousand worlds, entire worlds or even sub-domains could simply vanish from High Charity's records and not be contacted again for decades.
- Enemy Civil War: What ultimately causes the Covenant to collapse, with the war partially spawned from the already-existing Interservice Rivalry between the Elites and Brutes. Basically, due to the Prophet of Truth preferring the blind obedience of the Brutes, he systematically begins to fill traditionally Elite-held positions with Brute personnel, and eventually orders the complete extermination of the Elites. This ends up splitting the Covenant, with the Loyalists consisting of the Prophets, Brutes, Jackals, Drones, some Hunters, and many Grunts, and the Separatists consisting of the Elites, many Hunters, and many Grunts. Even after the original Loyalists are defeated, major fighting among the former Covenant races continues, encompassing various different inter- and intra-species conflicts (with the Elites and Brutes themselves each suffering from multi-sided civil wars even as they continue to fight against each other).
- Numerous EU tidbits indicate that the Covenant was essentially always in a civil war; there were sixteen Grunt rebellions in just the past fifty years, for instance. Another example in Waypoint summarizes the career of a single mid-ranking military officernote and reveals he led dozens of wars against rebels that saw entire planets burned to cinders. The UNSC-Covenant War just put enough strain on the rotten state that its internal issues led to it collapsing (which is notable, because the UNSC was an industrial midget compared to the Covenant to begin with). Halo Wars 2 is (in part) centered around this concept, as the main antagonists are Atriox's Banished which had been a consistent thorn in the Covenant's side for years.
- Enemy Mine: Ironically, several Covenant remnant factions have found good friends in the form of some surviving Insurrection cells against both the UNSC and Swords of Sangheilos. For example, a mercenary band of former Covenant soldiers led by Vata 'Gajat found the Insurrectionist "New Colonial Alliance" to be their best clients.
- The Enemy Weapons Are Better: Far and wide in the Human-Covenant War, which is why humanity starts innovating with their designs to improve their own kinetic weaponry.
- Played with in the actual game balancing however, as Covenant plasma weapons are excellent at sapping shields but struggle a bit to kill a player who's now sporting raw health, while human bullets can reliably cleave through HP but aren't as efficient at removing shields. In multiplayer, this gives Covenant weapons like the Plasma Rifle and Plasma Pistol more of a specialized role of quickly popping shields with plasma fire and leaving the enemy player open for a headshot or a pummeling, compared to the more universally useful (and human designed) weapons.
- Evil Is Bigger: On top of all of the species making up the Covenant being larger than humans,note their warships are absurdly huge. The standard Covenant cruiser, the 91 million ton CCS-class battlecruiser, is literally ten times more massive than the standard UNSC cruisers, the Halcyon-class and Marathon-class- and the latter are considered large capital ships by UNSC standards (most of their ships are frigates and destroyers that less than 1% the mass of a CCS-class), while the CCS-class is noted in some sources to be the most common Covenant warship type. Then you have the 5.3 kilometer long, 2.7 billion ton CAS-class carriers, which are larger than the UNSC's mobile space stations, much less any of their actual ships. Even Covenant corvettes (e.g. the 1-km long, 8 million ton SDV-class) are about as large and heavily armed as UNSC heavy cruisers!
- Faceless Goons: A lot of the higher ranking Covenant from Reach onwards wear face-concealing helmets.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: To really oversimplify it all, their general societal structure (especially in how, in practice, they're more like a loose theocratic confederacy of independent states) bears similarities to the Holy Roman Empire, though their fight against the UNSC paints them as the various European Catholic powers during the Levantine Crusades against the Saracens in the Holy Land.
- Fantastic Caste System: With Prophets and Elites on top, Grunts on the bottom, and everyone else somewhere in-between; a lot of tension is caused when the Brutes start to ascend the ranks.
- Fantastic Racism: As a whole, the various species of the Covenant can barely tolerate each other even on the best of days:
- The rest of the Covenant consider the Grunts to be good for nothing other than being cheap labor and expendable cannon fodder; even the Kig-Yar, who are literally only one rung higher in the Covenant hierarchy, regularly take the chance to abuse them. For their own part, many Grunts have grown to despise the other Covenant races, with these feelings often erupting into vicious rebellions.
- As one of the Covenant's two founding races, the Elites generally regard themselves as far superior to all other species besides the Prophets, and hold a particularly strong dislike for the Brutes, whom they see as unwanted rivals for the position of "military elite"; unsurprisingly, other species tend to regard the Elites as arrogant assholes, with the Brutes holding a particularly deep enmity. That said, the Brutes themselves aren't that different from the Elites when it comes to their views towards the rest of the Covenant, with their rapid rise through the Covenant hierarchy causing them to believe that they were the true right hand of the Prophets. Ultimately, the bad blood between the Elites and Brutes is so bad that it ends up being the immediate cause of the Covenant's collapse, with the two species continuing to duke it out even after the original reason for their rivalry had become defunct.
- The Kig-Yar care little for the rest of the Covenant, but hold an especially strong dislike of the Unggoy, since the two species generally have to compete for resources and living space; when the Grunts inadvertently trampled many Kig-Yar nests on High Charity, a group of Kig-Yar attempted to sterilize them (which ended up leading to the Unggoy Rebellion of 2462).
- Save for a martial respect for the Sangheili, Lekgolo hold no respect for the other species they work with. This ranges from blank apathy to violent contempt, where Hunters are observed to trample or outright bludgeon any smaller species, mostly Unggoy and Kig-Yar, that gets in their way. At least part of this attitude is somewhat of an act, as the species would much rather be left alone and be seen as too mysterious to be worth dealing with, having lost their initial war against the Covenant on their own homeworld.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: With the exception of the Jackals, Covenant soldiers generally wear brightly colored armor. The Elites, Brutes, and (to a lesser degree) Skirmishers top it off by wearing increasingly ornate armor as they advance in rank.
- Homing Projectile: The Needler is a Covenant sidearm that fires an overwhelming amount of pink crystals/spikes that automatically seek out targets within its range and plugs themselves into them. It's pretty weak up until enough needles are shot into an enemy to achieve a supercombine chain reaction that causes a pink explosion inside the target, killing all but the toughest of enemies instantly.
- Galactic Superpower: They were the undisputed superpower in the galaxy at their height... just don't expect them to get much done with all that power. Several of their successor states qualify as great powers themselves.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: A minor case in 3, in which the Great Schism divided a great deal of Covenant species and equipment, and it's been said that many Elites, Grunts and Hunters defected to humanity's side when the civil war kicked off. However, only Elites, their carrier ships and their repainted Phantoms show up in the game proper as allies.
- The novels of the franchise goes into grotesque detail over the effects of getting hit by plasma fire, with the projectiles being so intensely hot that it sears right through most armor and kills most humans in a short burst, getting blasted at close range being enough to burn limbs off completely and even missed shots being enough to injure their victims with the sheer heat of the projectile whizzing past them. This also extends to the normally weak and ineffective Needler, whose projectiles are described as absurdly deadly when even one crystal lodging itself inside a living thing being enough to instantly maim when it bursts and releases shrapnel inside the victim, which doesn't even account for supercombined explosions. Obviously, the deadliness of Covenant weapons is downplayed in actual gameplay, allowing Chief and the Marines to soak up enough plasma to become hotter than the sun and be no worse for wear until their HP runs dry.
- Glass Cannon: Covenant warships appear to the UNSC as Lightning Bruisers, due to all of them above a certain tonnage being able to No-Sell anything short of spinal MACs or nuclear bombs detonated in relatively close proximity (and they can still usually take one to a few hits from the former due to their energy shields). However, they are actually this to each other. Throughout the novels, Covenant shielding consistently falls to very few hits from their own (spammable) weapons. Even very big ships aren't as well-protected as you'd think.
- In The Fall of Reach, specifically during the famous Keyes Loop, two plasma torpedoes fired by frigates annihilate a Covenant destroyer; the first depletes its shields, and the second wrecks the unshielded metal behind it. Note that, unlike the human use of the term, a "destroyer" to the Covenant is a mile-long capital ship of comparable or greater tonnage to a battlecruiser.
- In First Strike, the three kilometer long supercarrier Ascendant Justice has its shields depleted by two or three plasma torpedoes launched by cruisers, leaving a fourth to melt a big hole in its hull.
- Also in First Strike, Cortana cuts through several Covenant ships like paper in the space of a few seconds with just one of the Ascendant Justice's plasma turrets.
- All of the above instances are particularly notable after Warfleet established that thermal shock and radiation (the primary damage mechanism of the Covenant's plasma weaponry) is much less effective against Covenant shielding than concentrated kinetic impacts, hence the UNSC building Casaba Howitzers late in the war to complement their regular nukes.note
- Hegemonic Empire: The Covenant is surprisingly decentralized outside of its core (mostly because its navigation and communication technology demand it), as noted elsewhere on this page, and it even maintains a fringe of protectorates who pay some kind of tribute but otherwise do not really participate in the empire (the only known members of it so far are the Yohnet homeworld and some independent Jackal colonies).
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: The Covenant goes from a galaxy-spanning empire poised to commit a catastrophic strike on Humanity and its colonies during the last months of the war to Flood-controlled and utterly decimated and divided due to the poor decision of its leaders and infighting by the day the war ended. Even the capital, High Charity becomes a desolate and devastated ruin due to being glassed to prevent a Flood infestation, a far cry from the opulent and majestic city during 2.
- Interservice Rivalry: The administration of both the Covenant's bureaucracy and military is divided between a number of ministries which all compete with each other for power and prestige. And by "compete with each other", we mean "sabotage and literally wage war against each other".
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien: Played with. Early sources heavily hinted that the Covenant weren't very advanced on their own and only leap-frogged above other races due to (poorly) reverse-engineering Forerunner technology and conveniently finding a large population of Engineers to maintain it. For example, First Strike mentions that their comprehension of Maxwell's equations are inferior to that of humanity, and Cortana is able to massively improve the performance of a Covenant ship's weapons just by applying some relatively basic algorithms. That said, subsequent lore established that even before adopting Forerunner technology, several of the Covenant's core species (like the Sangheili and the Kig-Yar) already had technology advanced enough to establish space colonies while humanity was still primarily fighting with spears and bows. In fact, the implication is that while the Covenant might have technologically uplifted its member species, it ironically forced them to surrender their actual scientific capabilities to religious dogma in the process.
- Halo: The Thursday War fully confirms it and takes it Up to Eleven. The Covenant had absolutely no idea how any of their technology worked. Or at least, the high-end stuff. The Elites, the second highest race in the whole empire, find themselves unable to maintain their ships and space stations with the Engineers missing in action, and the other races are if anything worse-off. Human characters make note of how the Covenants' remnants can produce essentially none of what the Covenant itself could. Apparently the Engineers handled absolutely everything. The Covenant are basically the equivalent of a Stone Age tribe that stumbled upon an old cache of modern small arms, gave said small arms pseudo-religious nicknames, and then started shooting other tribes with them.
- While the Kilo-Five series depicted most of the Covenant's non-Huragok species (particularly the Sangheili) as having little to no engineering or scientific knowledge of any kind, subsequent lore has established that while Covenant successor states have lost the means to construct or maintain more esoteric and advanced technology like Covenant-era warships (the CAS-class assault carriers is cited as a specific example), they still have enough native technological know-how to reproduce and actively improve less advanced technology like small arms and terrestrial vehicles, and even upgrade what ships they do still have left.
- Join or Die: The modus operandi for bringing in new species to the Covenant. If you accept the Forerunners as gods, you would be subsumed without much of a fuss. If you refused, they would bombard your planets until you surrendered or died, in which case they would subsume the survivors and/or just move on. It raised quite a few eyebrows amongst the upper echelon when humanity was solely given the "Die" option, though it was quelled by claiming they were "heretics".
- Kill All Humans: Its main goal during the Human-Covenant War. Even after the Covenant dissolves, many remnant factions are still trying to finish the job.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority:
- In the Bungie-made games, how strong an individual Covenant soldier is, as well as their specific combat role, can in large part be determined by what color their armor/shield/exoskeleton is.
- Zig-zagged in the main 343 games; while gold and maroon are still reserved for the highest-ranking Elites, the other ranks are no longer each restricted to a single color.
- Mirroring Factions: To the very Forerunners they worship, surprisingly enough; Just like the Forerunners during the height of their power, the Covenant are the most technologically advanced force in the galaxy, have a Fantastic Caste System, make use of their Precursors' technology without actually understanding it, and follow a religious creed that causes them to come into conflict with humanity, with said creed proved to be based off an enormous lie and ultimately leading to them suffering through a complete societal collapse.
- Mobile City: The Covenant capital city of High Charity is an chunk of the Prophets' old homeworld that was pulled into orbit and turned into a mobile space station. Relying on an ancient Forerunner ship for mobility and power, it is capable of traveling all over the galaxy while housing thousands to millions of Covenant citizens and troops.
- Mook Mobile:
- In contrast to their extremely powerful space force, most of their ground and atmospheric air vehicles are pretty poor. In several scripted scenes such as the opening level of Halo: Reach you can see single light UNSC gunships shooting down several Banshees without trouble, and practically every game will have a set piece sequence where the player gets into a Scorpion tank and plows their way through dozens of Ghosts, Wraiths, Revenants, Banshees, and so on, effectively having a grand shooting gallery to partake in. Most notable are the Wraiths; going by their designations as assault guns and the projectiles they fire, they were never meant to be used in the up front roll that the Covenant frequently forces them into, with predictable results. In Halo: The Flood, a Wraith's rear armor is shown to be penetrable by a machine gun mounted on a technical, even.
- On a space combat level: CRS-class light cruisers and SDV-class heavy corvettes. For the former, while still a threat to most UNSC warships on part of them being glass cannons, the CRS-class is overall Made of Plasticine compared to most other Covenant ship varieties and is routinely seen wasted by the truckload in cutscenes in the Reclaimer trilogy. Notable examples include several CRS-classes getting ganked by autocannons and SAMs in Halo 4 (weapons normally only reserved for anti-fighter work) and one getting contemptuously one-shotted by a subsonic conventional missile in Spartan Ops. In-universe, the CRS-class is essentially the Covenant equivalent of Coast Guard cutter with modern ordnance bolted on it; it was never meant for heavy combat, but was pressed into that role by many Covenant successor states who were short on 'modern' naval forces in the aftermath of the empire's destructive collapse. As for the SDV-class, it's much bigger than the CRS and is actually a dedicated warship, but if anything it has even worse showings; one gets crippled by Noble Six in a Broadsword fighter in Reach and another is taken down by a salvo of conventional cruise missiles in the same, despite fighters and (non-nuclear) missiles usually being purely within No-Sell territory for Covenant warships.note Both the CRS-class and SDV-class are fairly lightly armed by Covenant standards (the SDV-class doesn't even have the otherwise omnipresent plasma torpedo and energy projector systems) and seem incapable of true orbital bombardment, rather having to get into the atmosphere and within a few kilometers of their targets whenever they're ordered to conduct bombardment operations.
- Oh, Crap!: Sticking any of the species with a plasma or spike grenade gets very panicked and desperate roaring or babbling, the soldier in question (understandably) breaking formation to flail around. With Grunts and Jackals, them running aimlessly will often get the rest of their squad killed because they ran right at them for help. More often than not for Brutes and Elites though, they'll often charge right at the player to get them caught in the blast in their last moments.
- Orbital Bombardment: Glassing, that is, bombarding a planet from orbit until its surface is burned to glass. Later sources clarify that to do this requires hundreds of ships and days of bombardment, and even then they don't literally reduce the entire surface to glass (as that would require dumping petatons of energy into the planet and effectively blowing its atmosphere into space, leaving it completely uninhabitable). Planets like Kholo, Reach, Minab, New Llanelli, Bliss, and Meridian still had standing structures, vegetation, megafauna, and breathable atmospheres after 'glassing', and were quickly terraformed into being fully livable again, though the bombardment was still severe enough to eradicate nearly all sapient life on the affected planets, and in some cases to cause nuclear winters. In short, more like a global nuclear exchange at the height of the Cold War than a Class 5 extinction.
- Plasma Cannon: The majority of their weapons, excluding Brute technology, which uses solid projectiles like spikes and grenades to deadly effect.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Comes with the slavery and species-based caste system.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Outside of the genuinely zealous and loyal members, the Elites, Brutes, Prophets and arguably Drones, a good chunk of the Covenant military fight in the Human-Covenant fight because they don't have much of a choice in the matter.
- The Grunts are enslaved and forced to fight, if it were up to them the species would likely opt out of the war, or even the Covenant entirely.
- Jackals are largely mercenaries and pirates on a payroll from the Covenant, and despite having the reputation as vicious marauders even when not at war, many of them gladly conduct trade business with both the Covenant and humanity (primarily human Insurrectionists).
- Hunters/the Lekgolo initially fought back against the Covenant upon first contact, but were beaten into submission and assimilated to its ranks. Like the Grunts, they'd likely opt to leave the Covenant if there wasn't the risk of extermination. When the Great Schism began, a large portion of them did in fact abandon the Covenant alongside the Elites, with the few remaining believing that the Covenant would get their revenge by trying to render their kind extinct.
- The Engineers are complete pacifists, working for the Covenant mainly because they were the first to recover a large population of them first. They sport no ill-will towards humanity whatsoever, and once the war concluded they gladly worked under human control.
- Puppet State: Outside of the core species featured on this page, there's also a "Covenant Fringe", a collection of species too weak to be considered full members, but still useful enough to be used as subservient allies.
- The Remnant: Though the Covenant is no more, many of its former members still continue to war against humanity.
- Reporting Name: You're much more likely to hear the various Covenant species and vehicles referred to with humanity's callsigns for them than their actual names. In the Bungie-made games, even Covenant characters use these reporting names, likely in an effort to avoid confusing players who don't follow the expanded universe.
- Right Hand Versus Left Hand:
- The Covenant suffers badly from this, so much so that they don't even have a unified military, just a diverse array of martial organizations. The Ministries controlling these groups often wage bloody internal wars against each other. In fact, of the three ministries involved in the war against humanity, one of those (the Ministry of Tranquility) would consistently take advantage of the chaos to steal Forerunner relics from the other two.
- Even in the highest echelon of command this was evident. Truth was fully willing to keep several of his schemes and operations an utter secret from even both Regret and Mercy, most notably in The Cole Protocol where he gave the Jackal Reth the orders to work with the Rubble to suss out more colony worlds by any means necessary and in First Strike where he gave orders to assemble a massive fleet to attack Earth having learned its location but not revealing his hand to the other Prophets. Both of these had consequences when Regret ended up screwing things over in some form; in the former situation Regret learned of the modified (and trackable) plasma guns Reth was using to trade and smuggle to colony worlds and sent Thel 'Vadamee and his Zealot comrades on a mission to kill Reth and all associated with him for blasphemy, and in the latter situation Regret didn't know the coordinates of the world that had the key to the Ark was in fact the human homeworld, which is why he invaded with such a small fleet in Halo 2.
- Roar Before Beating: Nearly every species is fond of doing this in some games upon spotting the player, usually as a taunt. The Brutes, Elites and Hunters are especially prone to it.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Aside from maybe the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica (2003) and humanity in Warhammer 40,000, the Covenant are probably the most famous example of the "Aliens as Religious Fundamentalists" subtype of this trope in the history of fiction. In the Covenant, often just being accused of "heresy" means a death sentence (and a particularly nasty one, at that).
- Short-Range Shotgun: The Mauler, a Brute-designed sidearm and a full-fledged shotgun by human standards, puts an extra emphasis on the 'short' part as it can deal a crippling amount of damage at point blank capable of killing shielded targets in roughly two blasts, but pretty much shoots hot air past that distance. The general strategy is to use its shot to sap the shields off of the enemy and then punch them dead while they're vulnerable to save ammo.
- Single-Precept Religion: The Covenant religion consists of three principles: worship the Forerunners, show respect to their relics, and seek the holy rings to replicate the Forerunners Great Journey. If they have any spiritual beliefs more than one degree of separation past those three principles, they havent been mentioned.
- Slave Mooks: They're prone to making extensive use of these thanks to their Join or Die policy. The Unggoy, Huragok and arguably the Lekgolo are the biggest examples of this in their forces, with particular emphasis on Unggoy.
- Sticky Bomb: The Type-1 Antipersonnel Grenade, shortened to the Plasma Grenade for convenience, is the Covenant's grenade of choice for infantry. If thrown and it hits a living thing or vehicle, itll stick itself to the target and explode in a destructive blue burst of plasma, probably killing anything its stuck to instantly and leaving most vehicles in critical condition. As a trade off though, its got a longer fuse time than the UNSC frag grenades and a somewhat shorter blast radius, making it less effective as an actual grenade made to flush enemies out of cover. You also run the risk of sticking an enemy or player and them using their last seconds alive to ram into you with the primed grenade counting down.
- In 3, Brutes introduced the Spike Grenade, which functions a lot like the Plasma Grenade but with some key differences. It has next to no blast radius, its damage comes from a conical blast of spikes when it blows, and it wont bounce at all when thrown on most surfaces thanks to relying on sharp spikes to stick to people. Using a spike grenade outdoors and not sticking someone with it is laughably ineffective, using one indoors however can unleash a flurry of red hot spikes that bounce around and maim or outright kill anyone in the same room the grenade went off in. It also allows for some creative use of its quirks, like purposely missing an enemy to stick it to a wall facing them so the blast of spikes come out like a shotgun blast to blow them away instead.
- Theme Naming: Covenant vehicles are colloquially named after paranormal entities and creatures of myth by humanity. Ghosts, Revenants, Wraiths, Spectres, Banshees, Phantoms, and Goblins to name a few. Brute-designed vehicles break out of this trend by naming their two vehicles Choppers and Prowlers.
- Mobile weapon platforms are named after Earthly insects with ties to mythology, such as the Locust and the Scarab.
- The Theocracy: Their rulers are even referred to as "Prophets".
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: Played straight in Combat Evolved, where some of their more exotic guns and equipment like the fuel rod cannons and energy swords self destruct after their wielder dies, making them unusable for humans. Later averted when the games eased up on this, and outright defied when it's shown humans can have absolutely no trouble even flying their Phantoms when properly trained, or in a pinch.
- The Usual Adversaries: The Covenant, whether the original hegemony or some of its remnants, have been enemies in every single game so far. The various other enemy factions like human Insurrectionists, Forerunner automatons, and the Flood come and go, but the core Covenant enemy roster is so intrinsic to the franchise's game and art design that they never seem to leave.
- Vehicle Title: Like the UNSC, the Covenant are fond of giving their battleships and space stations some pretty extravagant names. Truth and Reconciliation, Shadow of Intent, High Charity, Indulgence of Conviction and Day of Jubilation , to name some.
- Vestigial Empire: The events of Halo 2 and 3 have caused the Covenant to split apart into multiple warring factions. Easily the most powerful and noteworthy Covenant successor states are the (relatively) peaceable Elite-dominated Swords of Sanghelios, the hostile Brute-dominated Banished, and the hostile Elite-dominated Covenant remnants under the command of Jul 'Mdama. Note that because of how huge the Covenant was in their prime, even these successor states (and possibly others) easily qualify as galactic great powers.
- Villainous Legacy: The Covenant and its goals are gone and defunct, but the impact the Human/Covenant War left on the galaxy is still felt, with Covenant Remnants, racial tensions between species and especially between humans/elites/brutes, espionage, sabotage and trickery enacted in revenge plots being only the tip of the iceberg for a post-Covenant galaxy.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Even before the Great Schism, the Covenant was essentially always in some form of Civil War and could barely get anything done in a unified faction.
- We Have Reserves: The Covenant's main strength is that they're orders of magnitude larger than humanity in terms of both population and economic power. As a result, it doesn't matter how many soldiers, vehicles, warships, space stations, or even entire moons and planets they lose: they just keeping coming. They lost hundreds of ships at the Battle of Reach, some of which would have outmassed the entire UNSC Navy on their own,note and it barely slowed them down. Their resources are far from infinite (the loss of 300 warships in First Strike set back their war against the humans significantly, and Regret comments in Halo Wars that they don't have enough power to quickly crush the humans without leaving themselves vulnerable to internal threats in the process), but compared to the UNSC, they may as well be.
Covenant Special Warfare Group
The Covenant military organization responsible for all specialized operations, divided into two divisions: Fleet Security and Special Operations.
- Airborne Mook: Fleet Security's Elite Rangers, equipped with either thruster or anti-gravity packs.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Spec Ops Elites and Grunts can be identified by their distinct black armor.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Most of the Arbiter's missions in Halo 2 have you fighting alongside Spec-Ops units.
- BFG: Spec-Ops Grunts have a particular fondness for heavy weaponry (they were the only enemies to carry Fuel Rod Guns in Halo: Combat Evolved).
- Elite Mooks: Spec-Ops Elites especially are among the tougher enemies you face in the Bungie games, and even Spec-Ops Grunts are no slouches. The Silent Shadow (the ones first seen in Headhunters) are a particular elite Spec-Ops division capable of getting the drop on even Spartan stealth specialists.
- Faceless Goons:
- Spec-Ops units in Halo: Reach and Silent Shadow operatives wear face-concealing helmets; the Spec-Ops Elites in 3 also conceal their faces, but they're allies by the time you meet them.
- Given that they're trained to fight in space, Rangers also wear face-concealing helmets. While their visors are slightly translucent from Reach onward, you still won't see their face unless you're looking really closely.
- In Halo: Reach and Halo 2 Anniversary, Spec-Ops Grunts wear full face-concealing masks, rather than the simpler breathing masks worn by low-ranking Grunts.
- Invisibility Cloak: Standard issue for Spec-Ops units and Fleet Security's Stealth Elites.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: While standard Silent Shadow troops have blue visors, First Blades have red ones instead.
- One-Way Visor: Silent Shadow operatives have glowing visors. Thanks to active camo, it doesn't get in the way of being sneaky.
- Stealth Expert: Spec-Ops units and Fleet Security's Stealth Elites are the Covenant's go-to infiltrators. In particular, the Ossoona are a Stealth Elite subclass specializing in espionage who, unusually for Elites, are supposed to avoid all combat.
Honor Guard of the Covenant
An honorary position reflecting the Elites' promise to keep the Prophets safe "whilst [they] find the Path". Honor Guards are extremely proficient warriors and all carry energy staves, although they usually switch to more practical weapons in combat. After the Prophet of Regret's assassination, the Elite Honor Guard is replaced with an all-Brute one.
- Blade on a Stick: Energy Staves, though only in cutscenes. In-game, they use Plasma Rifles, Carbines, Energy Swords, and Brute Shots.
- Bling of War: True, the position is more ceremonial, but Honor Guards are still expected to be able to fight in full regalia◊.
- Driven to Suicide: Some Honor Guards committed suicide after the Prophet's betrayal and learning the truth about the Halos.
- Former Regime Personnel: After the fall of the Covenant, a number of former Elite Honor Guards have become mercenaries, with some even having to resort to working for Brute-led factions like the Banished.
- Informed Ability: Their status as elite warriors doesn't particularly show in Halo 2, with Honor Guard Elites being basically equal to regular red Elite Majors, except they tend to fight in pairs and often carry highly-deadly energy swords (that said, Honor Guard Brutes are indeed much more dangerous than regular Brutes, largely because they're immune to headshots). This is averted in the Halo Wars subseries, where they're fairly powerful anti-infantry units, with Halo Wars 2 upgrading them to a literal Hero Unit.
- No-Sell: Honor Guard Brutes are immune to headshots, as their Honor Guard helmets cannot be shot off, unlike regular Brute helmetsnote . This is slightly offset by the fact they have slightly less health than a regular Halo 2 Brute (about 440 health compared to about 500 for a regular Brute and about 570 for a Brute Captain).
- Praetorian Guard: In the Covenant, they were the main bodyguards of the Prophets. The ones serving in the Banished are instead bodyguards to Shipmaster Let 'Volir.
- Still Wearing the Old Colors: During the Covenant Civil War on High Charity, some Elites can be seen in Honor Guard armor, despite the changing of the guard from the Elites to the Brutes having already occurred some time ago.
- See the Sangheili's page.
The San 'Shyuum (Prophets) (Perfidia Vermisnote )
One of the two founding races of the Covenant, the San'Shyuum are the scientists and religious leaders of the alien coalition. Described as "slippery" and deceitful, and not well built for combat, they were once a proud race of Green Skinned Space Babes before disaster, and the resulting inbreeding and societal reforms, turned them into a race of decrepit Sleazy Politicians. After the events of Halo 2 and Halo 3, it is highly likely they will go extinct.
- Always Chaotic Evil: No Prophet with sympathetic motives has been shown in the games.
- Subverted by Halo: Cryptum, which had the Prophets as the allies of the technologically advanced ancient human civilization. Additionally, the later books have included several sympathetic and even heroic Covenant Prophets.
- The Minister of Discovery in Wages of Sin did evil things, but regretted them and committed suicide.
- There's also the Prelate from Halo: Shadow of Intent, who eventually sees that he's been manipulated and performs a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: The Covenant was founded by the descendants of the Reformists, San'Shyuum who left their homeworld because religious conservatives (the Stoics) were impeding technological progress. Ironically, the Covenant's own religious doctrines turned out to be a major obstacle to technological advancement.
- Classic Villain: They represent jealousy; the Forerunners chose humanity to carry the Mantle and the Prophets would rather burn the galaxy to ashes than acknowledge this.
- Cool Chair: Gravity thrones. The higher you ascend in the Covenant hierarchy, the cooler your chair gets. High end gravity thrones, like the one used by Regret in Halo 2, can fly, teleport, deflect nearly anything with its shields, and have twin laser beams mounted on it. Lesser prophets, however, have less powerful thrones, and the lowest ranking make do with simple anti-gravity belts.
- Creative Sterility: The Prophets not only enforce this upon the rest of the Covenant, but suffer from this themselves due to their small population and religious dogmatism.
- The San'Shyuum who stayed behind on Janjur Qom take this to ridiculous levels; even over 1000 years after the Stoic-Reformist conflict, their technology, which was only somewhere in between that of the 21st-century's and the early UNSC's during said war, had barely advanced at all, which is implied to be because they felt that further advancement would bring the wrath of their gods.
- Depopulation Bomb:
- With the destruction of High Charity and sterilization of infected ships at Delta Halo, only a handful remain. However, the Halo 3 Bestiarum implies that the Prophets' claim that their homeworld was destroyed by a stellar collapse might be false, since they seem very shy about saying where it was. Broken Circle reveals, however, that a number of San'Shyuum astronomers did truly believe that Janjur Qom's sun was on the brink of becoming unstable, though we still don't know whether that actually happened.
- Halo: Cryptum reveals that they suffered a previous one at the hands of the Forerunners even before the entire Halo Array was activated; long story short, they attempted a short-lived rebellion against the Forerunners which resulted in the Master Builder firing a Halo near their homeworld. The devastation was so traumatic that even 100,000 years later, the San'Shyuum have retained a mythologized memory of their near-extinction at the hands of the Forerunners.
- Dying Race: Even before the dissolution of the Covenant, the Covenant's San'Shyuum were never numerous, and the Bestiarum estimates that the first of the above-mentioned Depopulation Bomb entries left less than a thousand of them still alive.
- Dysfunction Junction: Part and parcel of their politics, with Truth and Regret in particular not getting along at all. Ironically, Halo: The Cole Protocol indicates that to even suggest this is heresy.
- Emperor Scientist: Besides running the Covenant government, the Prophets also officially have sole responsibility for researching and reverse-engineering Forerunner technology. In practice, they let the Engineers do a lot of the hard work.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: When their voices are computer translated into human English, they sound like the megalomaniacal lunatics they are. In their native tongue, however, their speech sounds like a Gregorian choir (Halo 2 indicates that the Halo theme itself is actually a Prophet speaking). It serves as a subtle indicator that these apparent lunatics actually do possess the charisma they would need to lead a group like the Covenant.
- Fantastic Caste System: Apart from the one they imposed on the Covenant, the San'Shyuum themselves are divided by caste.
- The Fundamentalist: At least in public, anyways.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Of Halo: Reach and Halo 1. Truth convinced the other Prophets to legitimize the invasion and destruction of Humanity to cover up the truth of the Reclaimers, and they subsequently armed Thel 'Vadam, then the Supreme Commander of the Covenant to invade Reach as well as Installation 04.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Their hat 100,000 years ago. They were so beautiful, it was said they could seduce almost any other species. The only species that seemed to be able to even somewhat resist their charms were humans and Forerunners.
- The Hedonist: Around 110,000 years ago, they were renowned throughout the galaxy as seekers of pleasure above all else. Then the Forerunners quarantined them and their society took some steps backward in that regard.
- Irony: Cryptum reveals that the San'Shyuum used to be a close ally of humanity and were even brutally punished for it by the Forerunners after the defeat of the Human-SanShyuum alliance. In the future, some of their descendants worshiped their old enemy as gods and started a genocidal campaign against the descendants of their old ally.
- Ironic Nickname: Seems to be a trait. Truth is a complete liar and psychopath, Mercy is a merciless bastard, and Regret didn't regret anything he did even after he was dead. With Truth at least it was intentional, as he chose the name to remind of himself of his own lies and hypocrisy.
- Junkie Prophet: While they haven't been seen yet using them to create visions, quite a lot of the Prophets are addicted to native hookah and tobacco.
- Long-Lived: Thanks to advanced medical technology, a quarter of the Covenant's San'Shyuum are super-bicentenarians. Regret, the youngest of the current Hierarchs, was in his early 90s by the time of his death and still looked youthful, while Mercy, the oldest of them and looked it, was over 200.
- They had even longer lives during the time of the Forerunners, with the First Prophet living to be over 9,000 years old.
- The Masquerade: The High Prophets incited the Human-Covenant War to prevent other Covenant from learning humans were supposed to succeed the Forerunners, which would undermine the Covenant power structure.
- Meaningful Name: The Bestiarum gives their scientific name as "Perfidia Vermis," meaning "Treacherous Worm".
- The Mothership: High Charity, built around a loose chunk of their homeworld.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Many are this in general, particularly to the Sangheili commanders they oversee; for example, though Thel 'Vadam was blamed for allowing the Chief to destroy Installation 04, it was the Prophet of Stewardship who probably bears the greatest responsibility for that disaster.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The more devout among them can tend towards this.
- Planet of Hats: They're devious and slippery. Back in the day of the Forerunners, their hat was this combined with being Green Skinned Space Babes.
- Population Control: Due to their small population, the Prophets have very strict requirements on who can have children, with those not allowed to breed placed on a "Roll of Celibates". However, they're still allowed to have sex, as long as they abort any resulting offspring.
- Schizo Tech: The Stoics' descendants may still be using gas engines and projectile rifles, and haven't even colonized their own moon yet, but their biotech is insanely advanced, to the point where their forests can generate plant steeds for their warriors, which is ironically due to their ignorance of Forerunner bioengineering.
- Sleazy Politician: The logical result of their main hat. Even the nobler San'Shyuum from back during the era of the Forerunners had a reputation for being manipulative.
- Super Soldier: The Prelates, genetically modified San'Shyuum who were the Covenant's most dangerous soldiers, to the point where they could potentially match Spartans in a direct fight. However, extended combat will quickly wear down their bodies, making them effective in only short bursts.
- Tribe of Priests: The religious leaders of the Covenant, as evidenced by their race's name.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Most of the Prophets were killed during the Great Schism, but after the war most of the survivors simply disappeared, with no hint as to their whereabouts. Rumors abounded that they did indeed go on the Great Journey, but no one knows for sure where they are.
- Catalog has confirmed that both humans and the ex-Covenant races are still occasionally encountering scattered survivors as late as 2558, while Halo: Shadow of Intent reveals that at least a few are still actively plotting against the Sangheili.
- Furthermore, Halo: Shadow of Intent claimed that an entire flotilla of ships evacuated several hundred thousand Prophets from High Charity during the Great Schism, with their intended destination being a Forerunner shield world called Cloister, from which they could ride out the firing of the Halos and/or plot their next move for galactic conquest. Whether this flotilla ever made it there has become a Riddle for the Ages.
The Prophet of Truth (born Ord Casto)
The leader of the Hierarchs (the High Prophets of the Covenant), born Ord Casto and formerly holding the position of Minister of Fortitude. Approached by the Vice-Minister of Tranquility to use the supposed reliquary on Harvest to ascend to Hierarch, he beheld the revelation that the humans were the true Reclaimers of the Forerunners' legacy, and concluded that they were living Forerunners who were left behind when the rest transcended. Deciding they must all be destroyed so that the Covenant does not lose faith, Casto became the High Prophet of Truth, and became the lead proponent of the Human-Covenant War.
- A God Am I: In Halo 3, he vows this after the Halos have been activated.
- Awful Truth: He learns from "the Oracle" in the Forerunner Dreadnought that humanity is meant to inherit the Forerunners' legacy. Fearing the Covenant will lose faith from learning these "reclaimers" did not Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence like the Forerunners should have, he decides to keep this a secret with the other Hierarchs and cover up the truth by exterminating humanity.
- Also, he KNEW that the Halo rings weren't religious artifacts that would deliver the Covenant to salvation, but were actually weapons designed to eliminate the galaxy of all life. And he still upholds the charade to the very end.
- Ax-Crazy: He supposedly lost major traces of his sanity in between Halo 2 and Halo 3.
- Badass Bureaucrat: As evil as he is, he had a well-earned reputation as an effective administrator before becoming High Prophet:
- As a junior staffer in the Ministry of Concert, he uncovered a vast Kig-Yar conspiracy that had secretly sterilized much of High Charity's Unggoy population.
- As Minister of Fortitude, he played a major role in successfully defusing various grievances in the wake of the Unggoy Rebellion though his effective redistribution of Forerunner technology.
- Bad Boss: At least most evil bosses will only execute you for failure; Truth will often execute you for being successful, simply so he can eliminate any risk of you even accidentally spilling the beans.
- Berserk Button: There's one moment in Halo 2 where he loses his cool, and it's when the Master Chief teleports into the same room as him and points a Needler at him.Truth: Kill the Demon!
- Big Bad Ensemble: He quickly becomes the primary antagonist in Halo 2 and Halo 3, because he's driven towards activating the Halo rings (even the Flood would rather form an Enemy Mine than to see that). Nevertheless, Gravemind (who embodies the Flood) remains the most powerful and threatening presence in the series, so they share the status of main villain together in both games despite being separately aligned.
- Body Horror: Moments before his death, the Gravemind starts talking through him and a Flood tentacle bursts out of his cheek, not to mention a few growths on the back of his head emerge from his brain as well. The implication is that he was infected when the Flood rushed the area, but it's entirely possible he became infected ever so slightly on High Charity, which could have attributed to his growing insanity.
- Characterization Marches On: The Truth in Halo 2 is not the same Truth in Halo 3. In his debut, he's much calmer, to the point of stone-faced, and distinctly secular, contrasting the dogmatic Regret (who wants to burn a path into the divine beyond) and the moderate Mercy (who notably basks in awe of Halo and expresses sorrow at 04's destruction, much unlike Truth). His general lack of religious reverence, combined with his calculating and manipulative persona, gave the impression he knew the Great Journey was false (which was confirmed in subsequent material), but kept up appearances so the Covenant would remain under his control (and even started the war with Earth purely to keep the aforementioned Awful Truth from spilling out). All told, he cared much more about playing politics, culling dissent, and empowering himself even more than his rank would already allow in Halo 2. In Halo 3, however, he suddenly and inexplicably turned into a bombastic, narcissistic megalomaniac who's just as fanatical over the Great Journey as his fellow Prophets. To compound the confusion, every piece of expanded universe media that he appears in, even those released well after Halo 3, portray him much more in line with his Halo 2 personality, with only a very passing Hand Wave that he's "likely insane" despite his behavior stating otherwise. One popular theory is that he was driven mad by both Guilty Spark's full confirmation of the falseness of the entire Covenant religion, and the Covenant completely splintering despite dedicating his career to keeping it intact. Another is that he was infected by the Flood at High Charity, and it slowly drove him mad over the course of Halo 3 up until his death.
- The Chessmaster: A smart and politically-savvy villain.
- Create Your Own Hero: Truth's decision to replace the Sangheili Honor Guards with Jiralhanae, as well as betraying Thel 'Vadam and the Sangheili, ended up creating a second faction for the Covenant to fight which leads to his eventual defeat.
- Cutscene Boss: "Boss" is putting it very broadly; he has no fight scene, and gets killed in a cutscene. A very awesome cutscene, at that.
- Death by Irony: Starts the Human-Covenant War to prevent the Covenant from falling apart (and the San'Shyuum from losing their power in the process) if they ever discovered humanity's relationship to the Forerunners. Said war starts a chain of events which leads to the dissolution of the Covenant and the near-extinction of the San'Shyuum, resulting in his own death. Even better, it's revealed in Halo: The Cole Protocol that he was the one who chose to spare Thel 'Vadam's life after he killed his fellow Sangheili and best friend Zhar, who attempted to kill both Truth and Regret after thinking they were planning to order their execution after their failure on a mission, and promoted him to be a captain in the Fleet of Particular Justice. Thel would go on to become the new Arbiter and eventually finish what his friend started.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Truth's death marks the end of the Covenant and the war, but the Gravemind quickly reminds everyone that it's still a threat to the galaxy by taking his place as the Big Bad for the final missions.
- Double Think: A textbook case. He knew Halo would destroy the universe rather than ascend people to a higher plane of existence. Yet, he wished to activate the Halo rings because he still thought it would turn himself into a god.
- Establishing Character Moment: His first appearance at Thel's trial shows him to be smart enough to know prioritizing dealing with the Flood is more important than trying to kill some humans, politically minded enough to denounce Thel as a heretic anyway to satisfy the High Council, and cunning enough to dance around the issue so that his hypocrisy isn't apparent. Add in that Regret clearly considers him a superior and the general lack of reverence towards the Covenant faith he shows and you have his character in a nutshell.
- Faux Affably Evil: His smooth talk and voice give the impression of a calm and reasonable leader, especially when compared to the Hot-Blooded Regret and the dramatic Mercy. His conversations with Thel during Halo 2 are extremely polite and come across as a leader tired of the political intrigue he must go through daily while also sympathetic to Thel's situation and offering him the best choice left to him. In reality, he's The Chessmaster with a god complex who instigated the war with humanity to preserve his own power, ordered the violent purge of Thel's race when they proved no longer useful, and really couldn't give a shit about anyone aside from himself.
- Godhood Seeker: He initially believes that the function of the Halo rings is to enable the worthy (in which category he naturally includes himself) to become gods. When he learns they're actually superweapons designed to obliterate all life in the galaxy, he plans to fire them anyway (having taken refuge outside the firing range with his most loyal followers), believing that doing so will qualify him as a god.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Learning Humanity's status as the true Reclaimers, and later the true goal of the Halo Rings from which the entire Covenant religion was established unhinged the already-villainous Truth to new depths.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: This is how the Arbiter gets his revenge, by running Truth through with his energy sword.
- Ironic Nickname: He's a complete liar and a psychopath to boot, but chose his title as a personal reminder of his hypocrisy (see also Meaningful Name, below).
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: He initially justifies to himself that all his nefarious plotting is being done for the good of the Covenant, but it's clear by the time of the original trilogy that the only thing he's grown to care about is his own power.
- Karmic Death: He has one of the most poetically humiliating and fitting deaths ever recorded. In his last moments, Truth, the master manipulator, gets destroyed in mind (Gravemind possesses and ravages his sanity), body (death from impalement), and soul (Forced to Watch Chief, the Covenant's Antichrist, halting the firing of the Halo rings), murdered by the warrior whose rank was turned into a mark of shame for speaking out against the Prophets' proclamations. Furthermore, he gets stabbed in the back (after killing Miranda by shooting her in the back and betraying the Sangheili, no less) by the Elite whom he promoted to Arbiter... and whose first job given was to kill a group of Heretics who learned the truth of Halo. It was richly deserved.
- Kick the Dog: Does this to Johnson after murdering Miranda Keyes.Truth: I see now why they left you behind. You were weak... and gods must be strong.
- Large Ham: Not so much in Halo 2, where he's more of a Cold Ham in his announcements during the levels set on High Charity, but he becomes a magnificently large one in Halo 3.
- Manipulative Bastard: The one thing consistent about him is that he knows how to play everyone to his advantage.
- Mask of Sanity: To hide his Ax-Crazy nature. But in the gap of Halo 2 and Halo 3, this all but vanishes.
- Meaningful Name: At the outset of the war, he took the title of "Truth" to remind himself of all the lies he'd have to tell to keep going. Specifically, he's fully aware that humanity are the true reclaimers of the Forerunners' legacy and, by Halo 3, of what the Halo network really does. He intends to fire it anyway and ride out the tide of galactic destruction in the Ark, so he can rebuild life in the galaxy to be more to his liking.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: His betrayal of the Elites ends up forcing a large portion of the Covenant to ally with the humans, which comes back to bite him hard.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: His one notable good deed, sparing Thel 'Vadamee and giving him the position of Supreme Commander of the entire Covenant starts a chain of events that will lead to his death at the hands of 'Vadamee.
- Non-Action Big Bad: A Grunt could probably beat him in a straight fight.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Omnicidal Maniac. Unlike the rest of the Covenant, he knows firing Halo will kill everyone, not make them gods. He considers becoming king of the ashes to be close enough.
- Pet the Dog:
- A small one, but in Halo: The Cole Protocol he spares future Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee's life after the Sangheili kills his friend Zhar to prevent the latter from killing Truth and Regret after their mission to obtain the coordinates to Earth in the Insurrectionist base of the Rubble ended in failure. He was even given command of one of the ships in the Fleet of Particular Justice. Of course, this just adds extra irony to Truth's eventual death.
- As a junior staffer, he genuinely did his best to get justice for the Unggoy who had been sterilized by Kig-Yar saboteurs.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He spares Thel from a public execution as the Council wanted because he knows that Thel is still loyal to the Covenant cause and far too valuable a soldier to waste, so he reassigns Thel as the Arbiter to undergo dangerous but essential missions repeatedly until they've squeezed every last bit of usefulness out of him. This proves to be a very bad move in the long run since Thel learns the truth of the Halos and leads the Elites against him in retaliation.
- Psychotic Smirk: Gives one when he found the portal in ODST.
- The Stoic: In Halo 2, he never showed any form of emotion, even with the facts of Halo 04's destruction and the discovery of Halo 05 but...
- Not So Stoic: ...in Halo 3, it's revealed that his stoic personality was just a façade to hide his psychopathic, sadistic personality and extremely high temper. Prior to that, he had a small moment in Halo 2 where he practically seethes at his guards to kill the Master Chief after he showed up.
- Smug Snake: He has his moments of cleverness, like withdrawing Regret's reinforcements and leaving him to be killed by the Master Chief, but ultimately he's not as smart as he thinks he is. The Covenant half of Halo 2 is basically him sowing the seeds of his defeat in Halo 3 by making two very bad choices: sparing Thel to be the Arbiter which exposes him to the truth of the Halos, and trying to rid the Elites in favor of the Brutes which gives humanity a much needed ally while also fragmenting the Covenant.
- Villainous Breakdown: Experiences this in his final moments as he's cornered by the Master Chief, the Arbiter, and the Flood. The Master Chief shuts down the Halos right before his eyes, the Gravemind infects him and tells him he's nothing more than a liar and food for him, and when Truth refuses to accept his loss and screams that he will be a god, the Arbiter just tells him to shut up and shoves an energy sword in his back to end his villainy.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His initial decision to exterminate humanity came about not out of malice or zealotry, but because he feared that if the truth ever came out about Humans being the inheritors of the Forerunners, the Covenant would collapse into civil war.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: This would later veer into this kind of territory when it's revealed that he was also doing it to keep the San'Shyuum in power over the Covenant, not to mention that he was still willing to activate the Halo rings just to see if he would become a god as a result. In this regard, a civil war would be far less costly than destruction of all life in the galaxy.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Has a habit of doing this to any subordinate or ally, no matter how loyal or capable, the moment they stop being immediately useful; on multiple occasions, he's ordered the executions of countless loyal followers simply because they knew too much. In particular, he does this to Regret, who he denies help for because Regret's death will help his plans, Mercy, who he lets die so he doesn't have to share power anymore, and the Elites, which turns out to be a big mistake for Truth.
The Prophet of Mercy (born Hod Rumnt)
The eldest of the Hierarchs, born Hod Rumnt and later the Philologist, leader of the Ascetic Priests who studied the Oracle of the Dreadnought in High Charity. He was brought into Fortitude and Tranquility's conspiracy upon learning of the Oracle's revelation about humanity being the true Reclaimers.
- Alas, Poor Villain: While the Master Chief definitely doesn't give a second thought to him, the story still frames Truth's betrayal of Mercy as a cruel Kick the Dog moment, especially since Mercy had been nothing but honest and loyal in his dealings with his compatriots.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: He's zealous and violent, but also a genuine believer in the Covenant's cause, and relatively lenient even with those who have failed him (he convinced Truth to spare Regret a public castigation and possibly execution). He's also the only one of the ruling triumvirate who gets along with the other two. In contrast, Truth is an amoral sociopath who knows the Great Journey is a lie but is willing to both kill billions and have his own kinsmen killed solely for the sake of preserving his own power.
- Ambiguous Innocence: Well, he partook in the genocide of humanity for decades, so maybe not "innocence", but it's never made clear how much he knew about Truth's plan to massacre the Elites, if at all.
- Defiant to the End: Credit where credit's due, he's able to hold out for a while against a Flood infection form that already had its tendrils speared through his neck, and even still has the strength of will to throw out a few last words of defiance to the Master Chief when the latter shows up. Not bad considering that the San'Shyuum's atrophied bodies are almost hilariously weak.
- The Fundamentalist: The most genuinely religious of the three Hierarchs, to the point that when Mendicant Bias tried to launch the Dreadnought from High Charity (an act which would have destroyed the city), he was initially cheering it on in spiritual awe.
- Ironic Nickname: For the most part, Mercy is a merciless bastard, outright telling The Arbiter that his tasks will eventually kill him and vowing that none of humanity would be left behind after Truth was done. He did stick his neck out for Regret during Halo 2, not that it did much good for Regret.
- Mercy Kill: On the receiving end; John-117 pulls out his throat to prevent his infection by the Flood.
- Morality Chain: May have been one for Truth, as the latter becomes much more psychotic after his death.
- Odd Name Out: While Truth is an explicit liar and Regret hot-headed and impulsive, Mercy is never shown to be particularly merciless; indeed, he seems far less punitive than the other two.
- Satellite Character: His only actual function was to show that Truth was a Manipulative Bastard. His office was literally earned by being at the right place at the right time, and his earlier position was fraudulent and In Name Only (he "communicated" with the Dreadnought's Oracle, who was inert until Truth came there in order to become High Prophet.)
- Secret-Keeper: Along with Truth and Regret, he knows that the humans are the Forerunners' inheritors.
- Team Dad: Surprisingly, yes. His younger compatriots, Regret and Truth, both despise each other but get along reasonably well with him, and Truth clearly goes off the deep end when he allows him to be killed by the Flood, suggesting Mercy was a calming influence on the two.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Truth leaves him to die after a horde of Flood attacks him.
The Prophet of Regret (born Lod Mron)
The youngest of the Hierarchs, born Lod Mron and formerly known as the Vice-Minister of Tranquility. He brought the discovery of the reliquary on Harvest to the Minister of Fortitude, and proposed the plan to use them to ascend as Hierarchs. He was present for the Oracle's revelation about humanity being the true Reclaimers of the Forerunners' legacy. He closely associated himself with the Sangheili, often accompanying their fleets on conquests of human colonies.
- Body Horror: He ends up partially absorbed into one of the Gravemind's tentacles.
- Disc-One Final Boss: His forces make up all of the Chief's enemies in the first five human missions in Halo 2, and four of those involve chasing him down before he activates a Halo, but taking him out was only a small portion of the game's plot.
- Flunky Boss: He's backed up by his respawning Elite Honor Guard. He'd be a pushover if it wasn't for them since his only attack is an easy to dodge (though still very powerful) laser. He distracts you while his guards kill you, or vice-versa.
- General Failure: Despite his close relationship with the Elites, he did not seem to pick up much tactical savvy from them.
- Glass Cannon: He's fairly weak by himself, but the cannon on his gravity chair is almost always a one hit kill.
- Greater-Scope Villain: In Halo Wars. He gave Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee his position and is his superior, but doesn't act as a direct antagonist.
- Hot-Blooded: Something Truth was blaming him for when he attacked Earth, and it later had big consequences for his life and for Truth's plans. It's suspected he caught it from working with the Elites.
- Ignored Epiphany: Seems genuinely horrified at Truth's suggestion to wipe out the humans...but of course he goes along with it after minimal discussion.
- I Regret Nothing: The irony of his Ironic Nickname, as noted below.
- Ironic Nickname: If he regrets anything, up to and including what he had for breakfast, he didn't show it even after being assimilated into the Flood.
- His title before becoming a hierarch was the "Vice Minister of Tranquility". He's known for being more confrontational and Hot-Blooded than most others of his race, and enjoys the company of Elites, traveling with their fleets to watch their work firsthand.
- Large Ham: "I shall light this holy ring, release its cleansing flame, and burn a path into the DIVINE BEYOND!" We're not kidding; this is how he normally speaks. Heck, that's the translated version. In whatever language he was talking in, it was a calm, steady hymn (and a worded version of the first game's theme).
- Made of Iron: Prophets are notoriously frail beings, but that doesn't stop Regret from taking several punches from the Master Chief, a spartan whose punch can easily smash through high-tech body armor to kill Brutes and Elites in a few blows, and still be in enough shape to keep fighting. Perhaps justified through Gameplay and Story Segregation, so as not to make his boss battle a comically quick KO when reached.
- Manipulative Bastard: Regret rose to power by manipulating and blackmailing those around him.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He unknowingly discovers Earth, referred to as "Erde-Tyrene" by the Forerunners, and is quick to launch an assault on the planet, unaware not just of the fact that it was humanity's homeworld but also that Truth had already discovered its location by his own means; this was information withheld from Regret in the events leading up to his initial assault on Earth. Regret does not consult with his cohorts before attacking, and while he does bloody the UNSC's defenses and discover the Portal's location on the surface, his own fleet is decimated and he ends up leading the Master Chief and his allies to Delta Halo where he ultimately meets his end.
- Oh, Crap!: As Cortana susses out by analyzing Covenant communications, Regret and his fleet had no idea that the portal to the Ark was located on the human homeworld, and as a result was much better defended than they anticipated.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Somewhat subverted. It seems he genuinely doesn't know what the Halo rings do.
- Properly Paranoid: Concerning Truth; Regret is fully aware that Truth is plotting against him, but is ultimately unable to prevent Truth from successfully orchestrating his death.
- Puzzle Boss: The energy shield on his gravity throne is impervious to pretty much anything you can throw at it. Except mounting his throne and punching him in the face, which does him in very quickly.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Annoyed with his troops' inability to stop the Master Chief, he chooses to fight him himself. In Halo Wars's campaign, he's a Non-Action Big Bad, but he's playable in the multiplayer and is not shy about the firepower he'll send on enemies.
- Smug Snake: An arrogant bastard who regrets nothing and lacks the finesse to be a true Magnificent Bastard.
- Spanner in the Works: A milder form of this to Truth, having accidentally foiled Truth's own plans against Earth on at least two occasions.
- The Starscream: A mild and self-preservational example towards Truth, who he thought would ditch him as soon as he was no longer useful. He was right.
- Unique Enemy: He's the only Prophet ever fought in gameplay in the entire series.
- Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: The youngest Hierarch, Regret often accidentally screws over Truth's plans, leading the latter to view him as this.
The Prophet of Inner Conviction (born Mken 'Scre'ah'ben)
A San'Shyuum born before the formation of the Covenant, Mken 'Scre'ah'ben dreamed about becoming a relic historian and setting foot on Janjur Qom, but earned his title for his sermons emphasizing inner purity. He served as a commander in the San'Shyuum-Sangheili War, before eventually becoming Minister of Relic Safety in the newly formed Covenant.
- Action Survivor: Not a warrior in the least bit, but he's survived his fair share of danger over the years, particularly during the war with the Sangheili.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Was the High Lord of Sacred Relics pre-Covenant, and thus had to venture into his fair share of war zones in order to investigate Forerunner relics. Even after settling into a more bureaucratic position as the Minister of Relic Safety, he's still capable of doing field work in highly hostile environments.
- Blue Blood: A high caste San'Shyuum.
- Crisis of Faith: Begins to have strong doubts about the validity of the "Great Journey", though the discovery of the Luminary does convince him of at least the Forerunners' holiness.
- Forced into Evil: R'Noh Custo forces him to recruit females from Janjur Qom (while given them something less than the truth) by threatening to put him on the Roll of Celibates, which would mean that his wife would have her pregnancy forcibly terminated.
- Friend or Idol Decision: Given the choice between saving Burenn or the Luminary leading to the location of the Halos, he ultimately chooses the former, despite having to sacrifice his lifelong dream to do so.
- Frontline General: Preferred to oversee battles from the front during the San'Shyuum-Sangheili War.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Being one of the nicest Prophets doesn't prevent him from being a capable commander, or being well aware of how Covenant politics works.
- Happily Married: With his wife, Cresanda.
- Ironic Nickname: Played more positively than most examples in the franchise; he has his inner doubts about the validity of the Great Journey, but is self-aware enough to chide himself for it.Mken: "Prophet of Inner Conviction" indeed—what irony! Find your own inner conviction!
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: He strongly dislikes the worst aspects of Covenant politics and society, and unlike most of his peers, he enjoys exercising his legs by standing and even walking while in private.
- Nerves of Steel: Not much of a fighter, but not one given to panic even when his weapons are disabled.
- Nice Guy: Not just for a high-ranking San'Shyuum, but in general is quite a nice person.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: His interactions with Custo and the Prophet of Excellent Redolence are full of verbal sparring covered only by a thin veneer of politeness.
- The Rival: With R'Noh Custo, who has not forgiven Mken for foiling his initial plot to forcibly kidnap Janjur Qom's females.
- Self-Deprecation: Sometimes indulges in this among subordinates to lighten the mood.
- The Stoic: Generally very good at keeping his emotions locked up in public, even when dealing with people he hates, which is part of how he earned his title. It also helps him survive the Covenant's various political perils.
- Not So Stoic: He's more emotive in private with his wife, or when he needs to get someone to do something fast.
- Token Good Teammate: The only San'Shyuum who has doubts about the mission to eradicate Ussa 'Xellus's faction. When Enduring Bias breaks apart Shield World 0673 to make it seem like the Ussans died in the illusionary explosion, Mken has his suspicions about the ruse, but decides to play along, letting them live their own lives.
- Worthy Opponent: Respected the Sangheili even before the formation of the Covenant, and holds a particular regard for his old foe Ussa 'Xellus.
The Prophet of Clarity (born Zo Resken)
A San'Shyuum born in the waning days of the Covenant, Zo Resken is the Secondary Administrator to the Prophet of Truth, but has strong doubts about his superior's plans. A descendant of Mken 'Scre'ah'ben, Zo has inherited not just many of his ancestor's unpublished writings, but also a strong respect for the Sangheili and an intense interest in history, having written a secret document called Notes on the History of the Covenant.
- Action Survivor: Survives the opening salvos of the Great Schism and subsequent Flood infection of High Charity, albeit only thanks to his Elite comrades. He also oversaw Elite combat units on Installation 04, and got his troops off the ring before it exploded.
- Authority in Name Only: Bitterly notes at one point that his title of "Secondary Administrator", for all its high claim, is more or less just a fancy name for his role as an assistant to Truth.
- The Cracker: He has some skill, having begun his career as a communications officer, and used it to plant a bug in Truth's throne so he could potentially glean incriminating evidence to advance his own position. He ends up learning about Truth's plan for the extermination of the Elites and nearly gets killed for it after he goes out his way to tell his Sangheili allies.
- Driven by Envy: He wants to eventually become Hierarch himself, and is quite bitter about Truth giving him the job of a glorified desk jockey and doorkeeper, which is why he bugs Truth's throne. To Zo's credit, he quickly realizes there's far bigger things at stake than his own ambitions.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: He eventually gets to live out the rest of life in peace among the Ussans on Shield World 0673.
- He Knows Too Much: He finds out about Truth's plan to replace the Elites with the Brutes and warns some of his Sangheili comrades. This, along with refusing to kill several Elite Councilors as a means to test his loyalty, has him marked for death.
- Interspecies Friendship: With Sangheili High Councilor Torg 'Gransamee and Field Commander G'torik 'Klemmee. In general, he's well-known for his genuine rapport with the Sangheili.
- Meaningful Name: He chose his title because he always sought understanding (i.e. clarity) about knowledge and truth. Ironically, in his desire for the truth, he finds himself growing more and more doubtful about the validity of the genocidal war with the humans, especially considering the Covenant's history of at least attempting to assimilate other races.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Like his ancestor, he strongly dislikes the worst aspects of Covenant politics and society. While he's not above the desire to scheme his way to power, he also still has standards he won't cross.
- Nice Guy: While he may have his rougher edges, he's still a pretty friendly guy for a Prophet.
- Token Good Teammate: He's the only one of Truth's aides to have concerns about the Brutes beginning to replace the Elites, Truth's own scheming, and even the wisdom of trying to annihilate the humans rather than accept them into the Covenant. He also refuses to partake in the Cold-Blooded Torture that the Prophet of Exquisite Devotion inflicts on the captured Elite Councillors.
- Token Heroic Orc: He's the only San'Shyuum to date shown to have sided with the Separatists.
The Prophet of Exquisite Devotion (Born I'ra Be'Ar)
A San'Shyuum councilor who acted as one of the High Prophet of Truth's closest allies in the events surrounding the Great Schism.
- Bad Boss: As Zo's overseer, he's clearly contemptuous and cruel even before the Schism makes them into enemies.
- Batman Gambit: He reveals incomplete information about the plan to replace the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae to Zo, in order to obtain proof that Zo is sympathetic to the Sangheili once that information leaks to the Elites.
- Co-Dragons: What Tartarus is for Truth in military matters, Exquisite is in politics.
- Disc-One Final Boss: He's the main face of Truth's allies in Broken Circle, and the only one that the protagonists confront, but he is killed during Zo's escape from High Charity, leaving 'Kinsa and his minions at the Refuge as the final threat of the book.
- Gravity Master: He devises a way to weaponize High Charity's artificial gravity, using it to brutally excecute several Sangheili councilors as part of Zo's interrogation. He plans on using the same system to execute Zo, but Zo is saved before that can happen.
- Hate Sink: Even moreso than Truth, Exquisite is a clear example of the most repugnant depths the San'Shyuum can go to. He exists pretty much entirely to give the anti-Sangheili coup a face in the book that can be brutally killed off, since Truth and Tartarus are Doomed by Canon to die away from the events of the novel.
- Smug Snake: He's perfectly confident that his powerful hover-chair and hunter bodyguards make him immune to all threats, and as such goes personally to hunt down and taunt Zo and his allies when they try to escape. It does not end well for him, as exploding machinery leaves him helpless against G'torik's energy sword.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: He plays a very similar role in Zo's life as R'Noh Custo played in Mken's.
The Minister of Discovery
A San'Shyuum governor stationed on High Charity, the Covenant's capital city. As the Flood invaded the city, he locked himself in his room and wrote a confession about all the misdeeds the Prophets had performed during the Human-Covenant War.
- Death Equals Redemption/Driven to Suicide: Atones for his crimes by opening the doors of his room and letting the Flood pour in and kill him.
- For Science!: He led an expedition on one of the rings to study Flood specimens. This did not go well.
- He was also in charge of reverse-engineering Forerunner technology, and many of his advancements led to more terrifying weapons for the war. Not only that, but he also tried to advance the Covenant's comprehension and understanding of the science behind the artifacts in order to master the technology, something that few ever bother with.
- Heel Realization: One of the very few San'Shyuum able to realize it.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He knew the Great Journey was a lie to keep the Prophets at the top of the pyramid, and feels this Flood invasion is their punishment.
- Villainous BSoD: Leading to him becoming Driven to Suicide.
The Minister of Etiology
A Minor Prophet serving as the Legate aboard the Infinite Succor, a support ship attached to the Fleet of Particular Justice during the events of Halo: Combat Evolved.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Ends up being infected by the Flood and absorbed into a proto-Gravemind.
- Dirty Coward: To the point where his Special Orders in Halo: Fleet Battles revolve around being this; "Prepare My Transport" gives him a chance to flee to any allied ship if his own is destroyed, and "Protect the Minister!" allows him to use any member of his own battle group as a sacrificial shield."Prepare My Transport" description: The Minister of Etiology is never without an escape plan.
- It's All About Me: It's clear from his introduction that he cares only about himself, to the point where he considers ensuring his own well-being to be at least as important as stopping the Flood; heck, his main objection to Rtas's plan to destroy the Infinite Succor is that he feels it doesn't leave himself with enough bodyguards.
- Mouth of Sauron: After being absorbed into the proto-Gravemind, the Flood hivemind uses him as a mouthpiece to taunt Rtas.
- Mr. Exposition: His main role in The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor (besides being an obstructive bastard) is to explain the Flood's capabilities and plans to Rtas. After all, etiology is the study of the causes and origins of disease.
- No Name Given: His original name has not yet been revealed.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Manages to be this to Rtas 'Vadumee's forces in the middle of a Flood infestation; he locks the Infinite Succor's systems out of fear that Rtas's troops are infected, forces them fight their way through the Flood again just to get to the medical bay to prove they're not infected, then all the way to the hydroponics deck, wasting time and getting men killed. When he starts protesting Rtas's plan to self-destruct the ship, Rtas gets fed up with him and orders him to cooperate or be left for dead.
- This is even incorporated into Fleet Battles gameplay; his unique ability allows him to change a single friendly Covenant dice roll to be any result during the order dice phase.
- Sole Survivor: The only member of the Infinite Succor's crew to survive the initial Flood assault.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Along with every example listed in Obstructive Bureaucrat above, it was also the Minister's plan to send an artifact retrieval team to investigate the Forerunner facilities on Threshold, leading directly to the rise of Halo 2's Heretic faction.
The Jiralhanae (Brutes) (Servus Feroxnote )
The Brutes are a race of huge, ape-like bipeds. Savage, feral monsters to the core, they had once achieved space-age technology, but, due to their wild nature and inability to work towards a common goal, they fell back into civil fighting and were rediscovering simple technology by the time the Prophets found them. Impressed by their ferocity and obedience to superiors, the High Prophets of the 9th Age of Reclamation replaced the Elites with them, a decision they would come to regret. After the Human-Covenant war, the Brutes are in disarray: without the Prophets to guide them, some still fight for power, some seek refuge on hidden multi-species colonies, some have become mercenaries, and some even still serve under Elite masters.
- Achilles' Heel: In Reach and 2, Needlers and Needle Rifles are good choices when it comes to killing a Brute quickly thanks to their lack of shields and huge center of mass, easily plugging enough needles needed to blow them up. If you're a good enough shot the Carbine and Battle Rifle can pop their helmets off and put them down with a few quick headshots as well.
- In 3, their new Powered Armor makes them as vulnerable to overcharged Plasma Pistol shots as their Elite counterparts, but unlike Elites their shields wont be coming back. One hit will leave most Brutes at the mercy of an incoming headshot, and even Chieftains are left reeling from the hit.
- Brute Chieftains can take nearly your whole ammo reserve to take out if you don't have a sniper rifle to double-tap them, and precious rocket launcher or fuel rod cannon ammo can be hard to come by, not to mention that you can't stick them with grenades when they're close. Firebombs, however, will quickly burn them alive in seconds provided they're not packing an invincibility equipment, and even then you would have forced them to use it much quicker than trying to kill them normally. What's especially notable is how said grenades are complete overkill or impossible to use on say, Grunts or lesser Brute ranks.
- Airborne Mook: Brute Jumpers, who can be distinguished by their Jump Jet Packs.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Initially, though later works began to subvert this:
- The Brute Commander on Harvest had apparently gained respect for humanity's courage and appreciation for their differences (ironically, his Sangheili counterpart is a raving whirlwind of violence who doesn't care for honor or pride. Go figure). Also, backstory tells of how said Commander once tore two hapless Unggoy apart because his thorn-beast meal was overcooked, so calling him a subversion is relative.
- Maccabeus (the Brute Chieftain from Halo: Contact Harvest) also seemed to genuinely worship the Forerunners without blindly following orders. His nephew Tartarus has some words with him about that...
- Chieftain Lydus and his pack from Halo: Escalation also seem to be a relatively reasonable bunch (enough to try for peace with the Arbiter, anyways).
- Much like every other species, Brutes become incredibly serene and peaceful when located near the Lake of Transcendence, showing that Brute violence is probably cultural rather than a biological imperative.
- Art Evolution: Brutes are notable for rarely having consistency with their appearances in the games they appear in.
- During their debut in Halo 2, Brutes have patches of unkempt fur across their body and a prominent snout. Members outside the Honor Guard also lack armor in most places, going to battle with their raw endurance, a bullet-proof helmet and ammo bandoliers.
- The Anniversary release condenses their facial structure and snout into a more 'flat' shape and covers their entire bodies in tons of fur rather than patches of it. They also developed a set of snaggleteeth, rather than a neatly arranged set of teeth like their original versions.
- In Halo 3, Brutes are shaved of most of their hair save for a small beard patch, presumably so they can comfortably wear their new Powered Armor, exposing much of their skin underneath their skin-tight suit layered under said armor.
- In Reach, Brutes are completely bald despite most of them not wearing any Powered Armor, their skull structure is aligned to be more boney and angular and their unshielded battle armor now covers more of their body. Their skin is a pale gray with what appears to tribal tattoos or warpaint patterned over it.
- Halo Wars 2 acts as something of a compromise between Brute designs, shaving most of their body fur save for their heads and face, which is styled or shaved to each Brutes liking. For example, Atriox has grown out a braided beard that connects around his balding head and face. Said faces are also flatter and more condensed like their Halo 2 Anniversary designs.
- The upcoming Halo Infinite design gives the Brutes a rounder head, a prominent neck and their facial structure is very human-like in design, save for their nostrils and lack of pronounced lips. Most members have also shaved most, if not all of their fur.
- During their debut in Halo 2, Brutes have patches of unkempt fur across their body and a prominent snout. Members outside the Honor Guard also lack armor in most places, going to battle with their raw endurance, a bullet-proof helmet and ammo bandoliers.
- Apocalypse How: When the Covenant discovered them, they were still recovering from a nuclear holocaust they waged on each other.
- Suffered one yet again in Infinite with Cortana destroying Doisac altogether due to their refusal to join her cause, which understandably pissed them all off.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: See Klingon Promotion.
- When a Brute pack is given a selection of equipment, the Chieftain in charge of the pack will generally distribute the equipment by letting the pack members fight over it, with the most successful ones getting first pick of the gear.
- Bad Boss: They're shown to be even harsher taskmasters than the Sangheili; they stick bombs on seemingly ''all' their Huragok, to say nothing of their even worse treatment of the Unggoy (who are often used as emergency rations).
- Bayonet Ya: Brute weaponry lives off this. Every native Brute weapon is armed with bayonets. Even the Gravity Hammers are bladed. Crosses over into Boring Yet Practical, as they do almost as much damage as energy swords but have infinite uses, making them much more useful in long battles and a devastating tool against Flood.
- Berserk Button: Never make eye contact with a Brute. They consider it a challenge, and react violently as a near-instinctual assertion of dominance.
- The Berserker: Destroy their armor and they start rampaging, an act which is actually called "berserking". In Halo 2 the last Brute in a pack will do this.
- Bilingual Bonus: In Korean, jiralhanae is a dismissive statement that means "you're being ridiculous" or "you're talking shit."
- Bling of War: Like the Elites, they get increasingly ornate armor as they advance in rank; here's a Minor◊, here's a Chieftain◊.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The Chieftains. They take a ton of damage and wield either heavy weaponry (plasma turrets or fuel rod guns) or Gravity Hammers that kill you instantly on most settings, and also use invulnerability power-ups at the start of fight. To top it all off, they're always encountered in confined areas where they can't be picked off easily from a distance.
- Boring, but Practical: For the most part, they tend to favour overwhelming force and soaking up damage as opposed to the more complex flanking manoeuvres employed by the Marines or Sangheili.
- The Brute: The Trope Namer in fact. Strong, mean, often stupid fighters.
- Challenging the Chief: If a Brute want to become the new chieftain of the pack, he challenges the reigning chieftain to a mortal duel. If the chieftain wins, he reaffirms his superiority over the rest of the pack. If the challenger wins, then the previous chieftain obviously didn't deserve the top spot.
- Combat Pragmatist: Although the Jiralhanae have some honour attached to their Klingon-like principles, its not nearly as obsessively-rule based or constraining as the Sangheili, which can give them a tactical advantage in the war.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Brute Chieftain armor protects against Needler and plasma grenade sticks (both projectiles simply slide off it), and requires significantly more hits to knock off the helmet and leave them vulnerable to a headshot.
- The Clan: The primary form of organization in their society is the pack. Above packs are master-packs, which comprise multiple packs unified by blood.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Played straight in most cases, apart from certain higher-ranking Brutes.
- Drop the Hammer: Gravity Hammers. Like the energy sword, it's based off of a traditional ceremonial weapon.
- Dumb Muscle: For the most part they're either idiots, or too blindly loyal and bloodthirsty for their own good. This is especially apparent in the Battle of the Ark, where an Elite-Human alliance was able to wipe them out, despite being outnumbered three to one.
- Quoth the Halo 3 Bestiary: "Jiralhanae are the only species on record who achieved space, reduced themselves through internecine war to a preindustrial condition, clawed their way back to their former state, and learned nothing from the experience."
- Elite Mooks: Like the Elites, the Brutes as a whole serve as this for the Covenant and many of its successor factions. That said, there are Brutes who are elite even among their own kind, with the Chieftains in particular standing out with heavy armor and powerful weaponry. Just below them are Brute Stalkers and Jump Jet Brutes, the former of whom like to carry Maulers, Fire Bombs and active camp to deal devastating damage up close, and the latter coming with jet packs to take huge leaps and alternate between fighting up close and backing off to take potshots at the enemy.
- Enemy Civil War: In the post-war era, the Brutes have spent at least as much time fighting against each other as they have against other species. Notably, with the exception of Atriox's Banished (who were around prior to the Schism), they haven't managed to form reduced but still powerful empires out of the Covenant's ashes like Jul's Covenant or Thel's Swords of Sanghelios, being reduced to clans.
- The Enemy Weapons Are Better: Brutes apparently hold this view strong enough to pilfer human kinetic weapons when possible. In Halo 2, you find a storeroom where Brutes stashed a whole bunch of UNSC equipment like shotguns, rocket launchers and grenades, and Brutes can be found brandishing shotguns rather than Covenant issued weapons.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Elites, both being physically-adept warrior races. Even many of their units mirror each other; to just name a few:
- Elite Rangers —> Brute Jumpers
- Stealth Elites —> Brute Stalkers
- Elite Zealots —> Brute Chieftains
- Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity: They wield crude gas-powered rifles similar to human ones if not for all the blades and spikes, alongside crushing hammers.
- Fantastic Racism: Not only are they subject to this from the Sangheili (and vice-versa), but the Jiralhanae themselves tend to look down upon most other species.
- Full-Frontal Assault: It's not uncommon for Brutes go into battle almost completely naked; due to their natural durability, even a naked Brute is capable of withstanding gunfire long enough to kill the shooter with their bare hands. Their fur covers up everything; this is also a mark of difference between different packs, as some packs will groom themselves and wear clothing, while others will not groom themselves and go with minimal armor.
- Gag Dub: As something of a Running Gag in 3, activating IWHBYD gives a lot of their banter to each other a homoerotic twist, up to them sometimes rarely speaking in a stereotypically effeminate voice for some serious Vocal Dissonance.(Defense order) Stay here, huddle close! No inappropriate touching.(Fellow Brute is killed) He was my lover!(Player killed) He's dead, now we cuddle!
- Genius Bruiser: Some chieftains and warlords have brains to go along with the brawn, particularly the big names like Tartarus and Lydus. Additionally, the Brutes do design plenty of their own technology (Prowlers, Choppers and the like).
- Grenade Launcher: The Brute Shot, a grenade launcher with a huge bayonet on it. That says all you need to know about Brute combat mentality.
- Heavyworlder: According to the Bestiarum, their homeworld of Doisac has a gravity of 2.1 G, which is reflected in how strongly built they are.
- Honor Before Reason: In the Halo 3 level The Ark, the final stretch has you chase a Chieftan into a ship landing pad. When you reach him, he's arranged a one on one duel with the Master Chief while his pack of Brute Rangers form a circle to roar and howl over the fight. Killing the Chieftan, or shooting the spectators will enrage the rest of the pack into attacking all at one, however.
- Interservice Rivalry: With the Elites. They were already slated to rise up in the Covenant military thanks to being loyal soldiers, and they inevitably butted heads against the Elites, who've traditionally held dominance in the military for centuries and did not appreciate a supposed lesser and barbaric species giving them some competition.
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien: Unlike the other Covenant species, the Brutes have only been a part of the empire for for one generation by the time the Human-Covenant War begins. Prior to that, they were at a roughly 20th century Earth level of technology. As a result, while well-educated specialists exist among them, the Brutes as a whole have not become used to the tech base that the Covenant uplifted them with. After the empire collapses they don't seemed to have retained much institutional knowledge either, in contrast to the Elites. While the Elites built interstellar empires and try to get some industry back up, most of the Brutes are still scrounging for ships and other resources in the Covenant's rubble.
- Killer Space Monkey/Ursine Aliens: Described as an unholy blend of gorillas and bears, with a bit of rhino thrown in for good measure.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The only race in the Covenant to favor using ballistic weaponry, to the point where they are perfectly happy to loot human weapons, shotguns in particular.
- Klingon Promotion: Brute society runs on a more... psychotic version of this Trope. A Brute killing his own Chieftain makes him the Chieftain of his tribe (or race, in the case of Tartarus). Often when this happens, however, the tribe as a whole end up fighting over the right to lead.
- Large Ham: Like the Elites, being loud and dramatic is a hat for them.
- Lightning Bruiser: Especially with the Halo 2 Brutes. Once they go berserk, you often don't realize it before they are all over you.
- Made of Iron: Spartans and Sangheli take as much punishment as they do because of their energy shields. Brutes in all incarnations take it without them, as their Power Armor only adds minimal protection while being light enough to maintain their agility. It's most prominent in Halo 2, where they're veritable DamageSpongeBosses and even come with helmets so you take at least two headshots to kill them. This is to say nothing of Chieftains, who can achieve invincibility through equipment or Armor Lock, and especially Tartarus, who's completely invincible unless his energy shield is dropped by four shots from a beam rifle.
- Meaningful Name: Jiralhanae who have reach maturity add "us" to the end of their name, though those affiliated with the Rh'tol skein sometimes add "um" instead.
- Mirroring Factions: The Warfleet book reveals that Humans and Brutes are alike in an unexpected way: whereas Elite fighter pilots see their Seraphs as disposable tools to be used in their quest for glory and see being stuck in the air as almost disgraceful, Brute pilots - like humans - grow attached to their fighters, to the point of naming them, and they tend to form very tight-knit groups with each other.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Sometimes, after killing some, a survivor will shout "You killed my packmate! I will have you!"
- Nail 'Em:
- The Brute Spiker, a rifle which shoots heated spikes at its opponents.
- The Skewer, which is basically a 'rocket launcher' that shoots a giant spike, acting more like a giant harpoon gun than anything else.
- Neck Lift: They're prone to doing this often to any prey they're toying with. Put especially on display in Reach and Halo 3, where Brutes are seen lifting full grown marines and civilians with one hand, and will beat them to death or crush and slam them against the floor or wall if you don't save them in time.
- Nerf: Gameplay-wise, the Brutes have gotten hit with this in one way or another in each subsequent appearance, the most notable being the downgrade of their bullet-sponginess between 2 and 3 (though the addition of weak energy shields somewhat compensated for this), since in the former they weren't encountered till very late in the game and in the latter they appear throughout the game to take up roles the Elites formerly did, so they had to get toned down since they were appearing as early as the first levelnote . At least the main nerf applied between 3 and Reach (the removal of energy shields from all Brutes except Chieftains, whose own shields were weaker than that of similarly high-ranking Elites) was justified, as the latter predates the widespread issuance of Power Armor to the Brutes. In compensation, the Reach Brutes received several buffs; their Spikers packed more punch, their health was increased so their overall durability is still almost on par with their Power Armor-wearing incarnation, and even Captains could carry Gravity Hammers.
- Power Armor: Only used widely after the outbreak of the Great Schism; it comes with relatively weak recharging energy shields, but provides no boost to strength or speed, and (with the exception of Chieftain armor) generally falls apart if the shields are fully depleted due to plasma leakage.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: A particularly psychotic type, they're not too hung up on the honor of a kill or for a reason why they'll fight - if it bothers them or looks appetizing enough, they'll gladly work themselves into a bloodlust and go for the slaughter, and then gloat about the meal they just caught to their kin.
- Religious Bruiser: Physically stronger than Elites, and even more fanatical about their faith, to the point that Boru'a'Neem noted they believed in the Great Journey more than any other Covenant race. Most have abandoned it after the fall of the Covenant, however, though some still cling to it.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When the members of a Brute pack are killed, the remaining ones sometimes go nuts and try to physically beat you to death with their hands, especially if they're the last surviving member.
- In Halo 3, destroying the Powered Armor off of a Brute can sometimes achieve the same effect as above. This leaves them open to easy headshots while they're roaring, unlike 2.
- Same Character, but Different: While other enemy types have generally been consistent throughout all the Halo games, the Brutes are notable for being radically different in each installment in which they appear. In Halo 2 they're incredibly tanky bullet sponges who berserk when demoralized and are only vulnerable to headshots or explosives, in Halo 3 and Halo ODST they're basically Elites with Powered Armor instead of shields (they can take a similar amount of damage initially, but unlike shields, the armor doesn't regenerate), and in Halo Reach they're simply tougher-than-average unshielded infantry who aren't as dangerous individually as an Elite, but fight in squads rather than one or two at a time like Elites usually do. Halo Infinite has the standard Brutes being largely akin to their Halo: Reach depiction, with higher ranking specialists possessing shielded Power Armor making them akin to the Halo 3 versions, and heavily armored melee-focused Berserkers reminescent of their Halo 2 depiction.
- Sapient Eat Sapient: Will gladly eat anything living, from human prisoners to their fellow Covenant. One of their victory quotes in combat is saying that they will gladly eat the Master Chief, and the opening cutscene to Halo 2's "The Arbiter" has one Brute expressing a desire to eat Thel 'Vadamee after he was burnt and electricuted on public display.
- Screaming Warrior: Sufficiently pissed off Brutes tend to bellow and shout warcries while they dash around and beat things to death.
- Slobs vs. Snobs:
- While one might wonder at what would pass for a snob in Brute culture, this is the main cultural difference between the two main divisions in Brute society, the more primitive Rh'tol and the more sophisticated Vheiloth. Their rivalry was what sparked the conflict which led to their nuclear holocaust, and even the Covenant's leadership was only able to just control the tension between the two, with the Vheiloth worshiping the Forerunners far less grudgingly than the Rh'tol (though it's worth noting that the genuinely devout Tartarus was a Rh'tol himself).
- On a species-wide scale, they're the slobs to the Elites' snobs, being much more savage in combat and lacking the finesse and refinement Sangheili seem to have.
- Space Orcs: They're towering aliens resembling huge apes with tusks and claws, and are savage, violent and antisocial barbarians to the last. They commonly eat other sapient races (they openly discuss eating an Elite in one of the first cutscenes of Halo 2), and are the most directly violent of the races of the Covenant; the other member species have at least some pretenses at honor and righteousness, are alien and enigmatic in their motives or are slaves or Hired Guns, but the Brutes seem to just like killing people. They actually built a complex technological society at one point, but their warlike nature led them to bomb themselves back to the stone age. The Covenant rediscovered them after this, at which point the Prophets decided they'd make fine Mooks and recruited them as frontline shock troops and heavy hitters for their armies.
- Spikes of Doom: Brutes love to weaponize spikes. Their signature weapons after the Gravity Hammer and Brute Shot are Spiker Rifles, which shoot burning spikes at an opponent, and the spike grenade, a grenade which to humans appears the size of a club and shoots ricocheting spikes in every direction upon exploding. Halo Infinite sees them add the Skewer to their arsenal, a projectile launcher that shoots a giant spike.
- Super Strength: Can match or surpass a Spartan, even with their Power Armor. In Halo Wars 2 we observe one snapping an Elites' neck one-handed as if ringing a chicken, showing the enormous disparity in strength between a Brute and even the strongest non-Brute humanoids (well, unless you count Hunters).
- Super Toughness: Their muscles and bones are incredibly dense, and their pain resistance is very high, especially when enraged. Because of this, Brutes can absorb a huge amount of punishment before expiring.
- To Serve Man: One of the reasons they love fighting humanity: humans taste delicious.
- Unknown Rival: The Brutes had been bucking for the Elites' role within the Covenant for a while. That the Elites never really saw them as a threat to their position only made the Brutes even more encouraged to drag them down.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Needlers (and Needle Rifles in Reach) are particularly effective against them, since their shields (if they even have any) tend to be weaker than the Elites', and their massive size makes them an easy target to plug needles into. What's especially notable is how using the Needler against another species is either overkill or less-than-ideal.
- You Can't Go Home Again: It's revealed that Cortana destroyed Doisac in the interim between Halo 5 and Halo Infinite, due to Atrioxthe current figurehead of the Brute peoplerefusing to join her cause; killing tens of billions in the process and leaving the Brutes an endangered species as a whole. They all took this sudden development... rather well.
Tartarus, Chieftain of the Brutes
The Chieftain of the most powerful Brute clan, having won control of the clan by killing his uncle, and thus his species' representative in the Covenant. Tartarus is the most trusted servant of Truth and hates the Elites, and is more than willing to follow Truth's orders to purge them from the Covenant.
- Ancestral Weapon: The gravity hammer "Fist of Rukt".
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Comes with being a Brute Chieftain.
- Badass Baritone: Has a very deep voice, took out his formidable uncle in his youth, and is badass enough to be Thel Vadamee's primary rival.
- Bad Boss: Halo: Contact Harvest shows that he's an absolute asshole to non-Brute subordinates; he even executes a Grunt for simply being too injured to fight.
- Bullfight Boss: Trying to use anything other than hit and run tactics will get you smashed by his gravity hammer.
- Challenging the Chief: As shown in Halo: Contact Harvest, he won the title Chieftain by slaying his uncle Maccabeus.
- Deflector Shields: Notably possesses a unique personal energy shield that seems to be one of the most powerful ones seen in the series; it's impervious to everything save multiple consecutive shots from a Covenant beam rifle, and recharges within seconds.
- The Dragon: To Truth during Halo 2, and originally to his uncle Maccabeus.
- Drop the Hammer: He wields the "Fist of Rukt", a ceremonial hammer that can trace its origins back to before the Jiralhanae joined the Covenant and is wielded by Chieftain who can claim leadership of the entire race. Tartarus took it off his uncle's body and later had it outfitted to become a proper Gravity Hammer.
- Final Boss: For Halo 2.
- Flunky Boss: Has a few squads of brutes backing him up, though it hardly makes a difference since you have a bunch of Elites backing you up, so you're free to ignore them and just focus on Tartarus.
- Full-Frontal Assault: And is still one of the most durable enemies in the series, though his nigh-impenetrable energy shield helps.
- The Fundamentalist: Has absolute faith in the Great Journey, and nothing not even one of the Forerunner's "oracles" itself could dissuade him from that faith.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In a cutscene Johnson is able to successfully threaten him into silence with a beam rifle. In the game proper, it takes several shots from a beam rifle to even get through his shield (though granted, he didn't have the shield on while he was being threatened), and more to actually start hurting him.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Subverted. He gets all berserk when the Arbiter and 343 Guilty Spark tell him the truth of the Halos, but he refuses to believe it. It's a good hint that his rage was born from denial.
- The Heavy: For Halo 2, as while the Hierarchs are the main villains he is the one who drives the plot.
- I Reject Your Reality: He's told in no uncertain terms that the Halos are weapons by a Forerunner construct responsible for overseeing them, but continues to believe in the Great Journey despite that.
- Large and in Charge: Even other Brutes look small next to him, as he stands at 276.7 cm, or 9'1".
- Lightning Bruiser: While much larger than the other Brutes, he's still just as fast.
- Meaningful Name: Tartarus was the deepest pit of the underworld in Greek mythology, where the worst enemies of the gods were sent. Tartarus is introduced in the games overseeing Thel's punishment for a religious offense.
- The Nose Knows: Implied, when taking Miranda Keyes to activate the Halo ring, he pauses to start sniffing the air for a good few seconds with suspicion before giving up and moving on, possibly catching the Arbiter's scent (who's not that far behind).
- Pet the Dog:
- In Contact Harvest. After his dropship crashes, a young Tartarus tries to save the pilot's life, as the pilot was trapped inside the cockpit. Unfortunately, he burns to death before the future-chieftain could save him.
- In Halo 2, he moves to try and save Mercy from a Flood Infection Form, and even when Truth tells him to abandon him he still hesitates for a moment or two.
- The Rival: To Thel 'Vadam, as both of them are amongst the highest-ranked representatives of two species who are known for their Interservice Rivalry in the Covenant. Tartarus clearly gets a lot a mileage out of watching Thel's shaming, performing the punishment himself, and finally trying to kill him after informing him of the Elites' termination from the Covenant.
- The Starscream: To his uncle Maccabeus, per Brute tradition.
- Super Toughness: Even for a Brute and even without his shields he's INCREDIBLY durable, especially on the higher difficultiesnote . As for said shields, only a particle beam rifle (read: "Covenant sniper rifle") can drop it after four shots. One can even sneak a Banshee into the boss fight, and still have a hard time defeating him!
- When All You Have is a Hammer : Fits the trope to a "T", only using the Fist of Rukt, though its gravity control capabilities allow him to use it as a ranged weapon (not that we see this outside of cutscenes).
A highly-regarded Jiralhanae Chieftain who served under the Prophet of Regret and Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee during the early years of the Human-Covenant War.
- All There in the Manual: His nickname was revealed in a Halo Waypoint post.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: As per usual for a high-ranking Brute, he earned his position by kicking lots of ass.
- Berserk Button: Messing up his favorite dish; he once tore two Grunts into chunks for serving it improperly.
- Drop the Hammer: He wields a personalized gravity hammer, but it's more like the normal variant than the Fist of Rukt.
- Foil: To Ripa 'Moramee. At their core, they are Stereotype Flips of their species; the normally honorable Elite is actually an Ax-Crazy Combat Pragmatist with a severe case of Fantastic Racism towards humanity, and is so large that he dwarfs even a Brute. Thrallslayer is noted to be short for his species, and a Genius Bruiser who sees humanity as a Worthy Opponent. As such, they are rivals.
- Genius Bruiser: Both a cunning tactician and violent in nature.
- Gravity Master: His hammer can pull enemies towards him. Also, he can create a vortex that tears apart anything in its path.
- The Napoleon: Is short by Brute standards, but is infamous for his violent ferocity.
- No Name Given: Referred to only as the Brute Army Commander in Halo Wars.
- One-Man Army: As a leader-class unit, he's easily capable of decimating legions on his own.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Only his nickname of "Thrallslayer" has been revealed.
- Red Baron: His nickname was regarded with both fear and reverence by all he encountered.
- The Rival: To Ripa 'Moramee, given their opposing personalities.
- Stereotype Flip: He's a Genius Bruiser who believes humanity to be a Worthy Opponent.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Thorn beast cooked rare, which he considers both an appetizer and a dessert.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His final fate has yet to be revealed; it's only known that he was not present at Halo Wars's final battle, having been sent away by Ripa beforehand.
- Worthy Opponent: Respects humanity for their savagery and courage in battle, and believes that dying at their hands would be a sufficiently honorable way to go out.
Chieftain of a prominent clan on Doisac and one of the first Brute converts to the Covenant, Maccabeus was Shipmaster of the Rapid Conversion, making him one of the few Brute Shipmasters prior to the Human-Covenant War. The uncle of Tartarus, he oversaw the Covenant's first official contact with the UNSC on Harvest.
- Ancestral Weapon: The Fist of Rukt.
- Bling of War: Wore golden armor, indicating that he was a War Chieftain.
- Challenging the Chief: How he obtained the rank of Chieftain, by killing his father in a ritual duel. And how Tartarus succeeds him.
- A Father to His Men: While you anger him at your own peril, Maccabeus does genuinely care about his pack, going out of his way to save Licinus's life after the latter is gravely wounded.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Maccabeus genuinely believes in the Great Journey, and he recruits his pack based primarily on the strength of their faith. His religious devotion even outweighs his obedience to the Prophets, to the point where he actively defies the Vice-Minister of Tranquility and attempts to retrieve the supposed Oracle on Harvest, even though it doesn't exist.
- Religious Bruiser: As mentioned above.
A Jiralhanae Chieftain who loyally followed the Prophet of Truth during the days of the Covenant, Hekabe seeks vengeance against the Sangheili for their acts against his kind and for the deaths of many of his clan during the Battle of the Ark. Uncovering a powerful Forerunner artifact upon the Ark during the battle, Hekabe fled with his prize back to the Milky Way galaxy and to the planet of Carrow, intent on using it to secure the future of the Brutes in the post-Covenant galaxy once and for all.
- Bad Boss: Has little concern for the Grunts under his command, though he justifies it by saying they can barely feed their own Brutes and their deaths mean nothing in the long run for their prize. As he starts to grow crazier from the control of the Sharquoi, even his fellow Brutes aren't safe.
- Boom, Headshot!: Adriana blows a hole through his head with a sniper rifle, but his Cool Helmet keeps him alive by inserting his pieces into his brain to replace the lost parts. When Governor Gass rips the helmet off, he starts to quickly succumb to the injury.
- Cool Helmet: The Forerunner artifact that he took from the Ark takes the form of a large helmet, which when worn allows him to act as the Hive Queen of the Sharquoi.
- Dragon with an Agenda: He only allies with the traitorous Sangheili Thars in his overthrow of Rojka because he needed an excuse to get down to the planet's surface and start excavating (this alone still forced him to kill plenty of Brutes who thought him weak and a traitor for backing an Elite in any form). When Thars seems to defeat Rojka faster than he expected, Hekabe drops the pretense and orders his ships to attack Thars while he speeds up the excavation, killing large amounts of his own Grunts.
- Drop the Hammer: He wields the "Oath of Fury", a gravity hammer that belonged to a Brute chieftain loyal to the Banished known as Odanostos.
- Freudian Excuse: His actions are fueled by his desire for vengeance on the Elites, both for the centuries of discrimination he feels they put them during their membership in the Covenant (and thus considering the Elites' fall from grace and subsequent attempted genocide to be Laser-Guided Karma) and for the deaths of many in his clan (including his children) during the Battle for the Ark by Sangheili hands. It makes him very similar to Rojka 'Kassan and Governor Ellis Gass.
- No Body Left Behind: Governor Gass uses the Forerunner artifact to force the Sharquoi to throw him into a pool of lava, incinerating him.
- Sanity Slippage: The longer he uses the Forerunner artifact, the more out of touch he becomes with reality. Getting shot in the head and having pieces of the helmet stab into his brain to replace lost tissue also didn't do him any favors.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He believes what he's doing is the only way to ensure the Brutes will survive and thrive a post-Covenant galaxy, noting that between the civil war rampant on their home planet of Dosiac and their battles with the Elites and humans, they are in danger of dying out as a species.
The Chieftain of the crew of the Valorous Salvation. During the Fall of Reach he chickened out and ordered his pack to flee, where they settled on the minor colony Beta Gabriel and killed and ate the humans found there. Pleased with his luck, he and his pack stayed on the planet to live in safety away from the Covenant, but some of his crew began to have misgivings.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Not by real fighting skill, though, merely through brute force. And he's pretty bad at asserting his authority anyway.
- Character Death: Connor Brien tranquilizes him, and if one of the prisoners firing several Spiker rounds into his face didn't kill him, either the ensuing melee or the incoming UNSC reinforcements afterwards likely did.
- Decapitated Army: Once he's down, the pack explodes into chaos.
- Dirty Coward: He was intimidated by the human fleet defending Reach and thinks it has wiped out the Covenant for good. Rather than fight, he's content to stay on Beta Gabriel forever.
- Dumb Muscle: One of the largest Brutes in the clan, and protected by his own dumb muscle guards. This impedes Ceretus's plans to overthrow him, because Parabum can easily tear apart any challenger.
- Fat Slob: And noticeably very hairy too and wears little armor. He's implied to be a Rh'tol.
- In-Series Nickname: Dasc Gevadim, a human prisoner and false prophet, refers to him "Big Boy".
- Large and in Charge: He's the biggest of his Brute pack.
- Miles Gloriosus: Believes himself to be an incredible leader and hunter, when really his pack has little respect for him and he is so bad at hunting that the meat often spoils by the time he returns.
- Stupid Evil: Evil, but not all that bright.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Being the strongest of his clan, the cleverer Brutes who challenge Parabum are unable to defeat him to take his place.
- Unwitting Pawn: Of his own human prisoners.
A captain in Parabum's clan, Ceretus's resentment of his Chieftain goes back to before the Brutes joined the Covenant, as their pack is made up of two clans that warred against each other in the Brutes' great civil war. Recognizing Parabum as a lazy coward, he plots for a way to overthrow him and return to the Covenant while emerging alive.
- Berserk Button: He's unable to keep quiet when Parabum says the gods do not care about them. Immediately he screams "Blasphemy!!" at his chieftain, and that earns him a swift gravity hammer to the face.
- Character Death: Killed by Parabum.
- The Chessmaster: Since he's not strong enough to face Parabum in combat, he tries to think of another way to defeat him. He eventually settles on having Facius speak to Parabum about returning while his brother Hammadus attends. If Facius is killed, Hammadus, who is big enough to fight Parabum, will be angry enough to challenge him.
- The Dandy: He keeps himself well groomed and shaved, in order to distance himself from his unkempt chieftain. He's implied to be a Vheiloth.
- In-Series Nickname: Connor Brien, a captured ONI researcher, refers to him as "Six".
- It's Personal: As noted above, his hatred of Parabum's clan goes back more than a century. More recently, Parabum killed Ceretus's brother Maladus when he complained about staying on Beta Gabriel.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The human prisoners noticed his scheming and used the pack tension forming to create a plan to hit him and Parabum with tranq darts at the critical moment. Once they're both down, the entire clan bursts into chaos.
- The Smart Guy: It runs in the family, as his clan worked the hardest to restore their species' technology after the great civil war that sent Brutes back to the stone age.
- The Starscream: To Parabum.
- To Serve Man: Loves eating humans, so it annoys him that their chieftain prefers to keep them alive for long periods.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Another thing he hates about Parabum? How dismissive he is of the Covenant's religion.
- Religious Bruiser: Perhaps the most devout to the Great Journey of their clan.
- Unwitting Pawn: While he manipulates Facius and Hammadus, he doesn't realize that several of the human prisoners are secretly counting on his rebellion, which they hope will create chaos in the clan so they can escape.
- Villain Protagonist: Of Stomping on the Heels of a Fuss.
Ceretus' right-hand man. He is closer to Chieftain Parabum, but has some misgivings about his leadership too.
- Character Death: Accidentally takes the tranq dart meant for Ceretus, then is killed either in the pack melee that follows, or by incoming UNSC reinforcements afterwards.
- The Dragon: Of Ceretus, but not as far as to challenge their Chieftain openly.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Has a strong bond with his brother Hammadus.
- In-Series Nickname: Connor Brien refers to him as "Butch".
- Religious Bruiser: Fear of being left behind on the Great Journey is what convinces him to go along with Ceretus's plan.
- The Starscream: Knows better than to openly defy Parabum, but isn't above bending his rules while he's away.
- Unwitting Pawn: Of Ceretus, even though he thinks he's part of his plan.
Facius's brother, and the clan's biggest Brute. But his loyalty lies directly with their chieftain and he's too scared to push his weight around.
- The Big Guy: Even bigger than Parabum.
- Character Death: If he wasn't killed in the pack melee post-Parabum's death, he most certainly was once an ONI evacuation ship arrived to gun down the remaining Brutes.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loyal to his brother Facius. Ceretus hopes to exploit this so that he'll attack Parabum if he kills his brother.
- Gentle Giant: He's still a warrior and man-eater, so not as far as most examples. Still, he has a very timid personality in contrast to his enormous size and for the Brutes, that's saying a lot.
- In-Series Nickname: Connor Brien refers to him as "Ludo", though he's not sure why.
- Religious Bruiser: Fear of being left being on the Great Journey is what gets him to go along with Ceretus's plan.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ceretus orchestrates a Batman Gambit that should get this reaction from Hammadus if he sees his brother be killed. However, said gambit gets interrupted.
- Token Good Teammate: The least evil of the group of Brutes.
- Unwitting Pawn: Of Ceretus, even though he thinks he's part of his plan.
- Yes-Man: To Parabum, when he's the only one that could overpower him in combat.
A Jiralhanae Chieftain pursuing peace with Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and his forces in the year 2558.
- Ambadassador: Despite going to Ealen IV to negotiate, he is fully armed. When the prospect of fighting Covenant remnant forces in a redoubt occurs, Lydus is the first to want in on some of the "honor", which Thel 'Vadam agrees with.
- Cool Crown: Wears an impressive headdress which also doubles as a Cool Helmet.
- Full-Frontal Assault: It's not uncommon for Jiralhanae to just let their fur cover them, but it's particularly jarring because his bodyguards and the rest of his pack do wear full armor.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: One of the few Jiralhanae willing to end violence against the Sangheili through peaceful means, though he's still very suspicious of both them and humanity.
- Tattoo as Character Type: Has large, orange V-shaped tattoos on his face, upper arms, chest and torso, implied to be tribal in nature.
See the Halo: The Banished page for more details.
See the Halo: The Banished page for more details.
See the Halo: The Banished page for more details.
See the Halo: The Banished page for more details.
See the Halo: The Banished page for more details.
See the Halo: The Banished page for more details.
The Unggoy (Grunts) (Monachus Frigusnote )
Biped, methane-breathing arthropods from the planet Balaho, the Unggoy are the most common enemies faced in the games. Unskilled as soldiers and used mostly as cannon fodder, most Grunts wish to be left alone, but are unable to oppose their much more powerful masters (although, as seen during the Grunt Rebellion, they can be quite an effective force when motivated and not brutalized). Recognizable by their squat forms and large breathing tanks, one is sure to mow down hundreds in a playthrough of most Halo games.
- Achilles' Heel: Thanks to their slow movements, large heads, lack of reliable protection/shields and generally poor weapons to fight back with, any common weapon capable of headshots can easily kill them in droves in a single shot per Grunt with excellent ammo efficiency, like the battle rifle, needle rifle, magnum, etc. While it seems obvious that shooting an enemy in the head will generally kill them, it's worth noting that other enemies have energy shields (Elites, Brutes, Jackals), bullet-proof helmets (Brutes), no head to speak of (Hunters), speed (Skirmishers, Drones), or the privilege of having an entourage protecting them (Engineers, Jackal Snipers) to prevent them from dying instantly, Grunts have none of these and are killed in one shot to the head where other races easily take a magazine to take down. It's telling that in Reach, the only major difference in a Grunt Ultra's style is a bullet-proof helmet to cover this glaring weakness, albeit only once before it falls off.
- Action Bomb: If all local leaders have been killed, Grunts may decide to pull out two primed Plasma Grenades and charge at the player for what's likely an instant kill if it connects. Some Grunts are explicitly trained and commanded as suicide units, in other cases.
- Airborne Mook: Grunt Rangers.
- Aliens Speaking English: In the first game, they are the only mooks you understand (since theirs was the only Covenant language to be fully translated).
- Aliens Steal Cable: They often run Covenant communications, and many of them have learned human languages by listening to their transmissions. According to Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, there is a thriving Grunt black market based around human television shows.
- Art Evolution: Between the Bungie-era and 343-era series of games, their design has changed considerably. Through the Bungie games, Grunts are characterized with cone-shaped methane packs, gas masks that cover their face and a dark exoskeleton with plenty of thorns and protrusions. In the 343 games, mainly Halo 4, their methane pack has smoothed out considerably into a drum shape, their gas masks has advanced into a helmet that connects to their nostrils and their exoskeleton can now appear in light shades and appear with smoother 'skin' with what appears to be scales dotted around them, with less emphasis on a bumpy and thorny exoskeleton. Their eyes and mouths also went from appearing sunken-in and rather small to more prominent and bulging.
- Halo 5 changed the Grunt design once more to replicate the look of Bungie Grunts, now sporting plenty of thorns on their exoskeleton and an overall wider frame.
- Artificial Stupidity: While most other species have a degree of cunning to their fighting styles, Grunts tend to make pretty dire mistakes regularly. Where a Jackal has enough sense to overcharge their plasma pistol to leave a Spartan vulnerable, Grunts will rarely decide to so. Where basically anyone else will cautiously turn the corner or peek out of cover to return fire, Grunts tend to just walk into the open during a firefight or turn the corner into a waiting gun barrel. Whenever they flee and flail around for their lives when terrified, they dont even account if theyre running right into someone's waiting fist or a enemy soldier ready to kill them. Tactically speaking, Grunts only have sheer numbers and sometimes heavy weapons going for them, and the Covenant would probably want it no other way.
- Apocalypse How: They once had a civilization advanced enough to go into space, but environmental collapse caused by over-industrialization (as well as the concurrent firing of the Halos) sent them straight back to the stone age; the Unggoy had only managed to redevelop a nascent industrial civilization when the Covenant found them almost 100,000 years afterwards.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Tied to The Dog Bites Back. Grunts are comically juvenile in their voices and dialogue, tend to panic easily and have some of the series Black Comedy tied to killing them. But sometimes when they've had enough, they can start massive rebellions that force the Covenant to take drastic action to stop them, most infamously the 2462 Grunt Rebellion, proving they're a force to be reckoned with when inspired and angry.
- They're also responsible for one of the more deadlier vehicles introduced in the series - the Goblin, a Grunt designed mech that can obliterate infantry, thrash Spartans around and otherwise cleave through most threats with high agility and explosive cannons, with all the rage of its disgruntled Grunt operator.
- BFG: They're prone to wielding some of the bigger and explosive guns Covenant infantry are provided more commonly than their superiors, like Fuel Rod Cannons, Plasma Launchers, Plasma Turrets. Note that they can hold and fire said launchers and cannons one handed.
- Big "NO!": One of their many reactions upon being stuck with a plasma grenade across the games, often cut short by a massive explosion.
- Bilingual Bonus: Their species name is Tagalog for "monkey;" the names for their home star, home world, and one of its moons are also in Tagalog.
- Blown Across the Room: Aiming for their gas tanks can cause them to rupture, jetting the unfortunate little monster around like a rocket pack. In fact, the Halo Wars version of the "Grunt Birthday Party" Skull causes this to always happen.
- Butt-Monkey: They take a lot of abuse, and virtually their entire history in the Covenant has them treated as expendable slaves and Cannon Fodder.
- The Chew Toy: Many of the funniest Easter Eggs are built around abusing them, such as having their bodies explode like grenades, or releasing confetti and children's cheers every time one is headshot.
- Cannon Fodder: While they may put up a half-decent fight against the regular Marines, almost all of them are no match to any Spartans. Especially John.
- Cowardly Mooks: If their leader is killed first, Grunts will usually panic and be easy to kill. However, sometimes this might backfire and instead the Grunts go suicidal.
- Depopulation Bomb: By the end of the Human-Covenant War, due to intense mining for the war effort and previous glassing during the Unggoy Rebellion in 2462, the total population of Balaho had fallen from billions to just 320 million.
- Dirty Coward: Even though games from Halo 3 onwards have made them a lot bolder, they'll usually still panic at the drop of a hat if the fight isn't going their way.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Thanks to their tough exoskeletons (and low position within the Covenant hierarchy), the majority of Unggoy go barefoot.
- Elite Mooks: Grunt Heavies, while still prone to panic, are usually equipped with high powered weaponry like Fuel Rod Guns, Plasma Launchers and can be seen hauling Plasma Turrets around to set up machine gun nests. The Spec Ops Grunts, who are just about as elite as their kind can get in the military, wield their weapons with much more finesse, rarely panic and typically accompany Spec Ops Elites to battle.
- Explosive Breeder: Can go from hundreds to hundreds of thousands in a few short years according to Halo: The Cole Protocol. It's mostly a survival method: the Grunt homeworld Balaho is a planet with two winters and naturally occurring pillars of fire, and they were still at the risk of extinction. Ironically, being forced into the Covenant saved them from extinction, but overpopulation remains a serious problem.
- Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity: They carry short range one-handed weapons like the plasma pistol and needler, which are weak one-on-one but carry more power in groups. Being Slave Mooks, they are typically restricted from more proficient weapons, but sometimes are armed with powerful fuel rod cannons.
- Gag Dub: With IWHBYD activated, Grunts tend to have a lot of Medium Awareness to direct to the player.Every game you try to hide from me! You never do, its like I know where to look! Like I know youre gonna go this way and that way and reload and shoot, but I find you! Always.Our death is at hand! (Double take, as if reading a script.) Oh wait, Im meant to sound kind of sad.(The sole intelligible line sleeping Grunts have in Reach) It's funny, I dream in English
- Gaia's Lament: Balaho, while it was a Death World, is thought to have a thriving ecosystem before the Grunts achieved industry. Afterward, the atmosphere and oceans were badly damaged by pollution, and eight out of ten species were extinct.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Justified, as they breathe methane, so the oxygen everyone else breathes would kill them. In fact, knocking off their gas masks or methane tanks in-game will cause them to suffocate-if they don't get Blown Across the Room by the escaping gas and then explode.
- Glass Cannon: Grunt Specialists can come to battle with Fuel Rod Cannons and Plasma Launchers, letting them unload a barrage of explosive projectiles to blow away even a Spartan. Of course, they're still extremely vulnerable to headshots and aren't all that much tougher than a regular Grunt, so picking them off from a distance is fairly easy.
- The Goomba: In every game, and in-story. The Grunts, despite being the main enemy infantry unit, are extremely pathetic. They're dumb, cowardly, prone to rout or go to sleep in war zones, can't shoot for shit, barely use any sort of tactics, and only carry pistols into battle. Weak ones that don't even have sights. Even the lowliest Red Shirt can slaughter them like nothing unless they have truly overwhelming numbers on their side. SpecOps Grunts are the only exceptions, behaving more professionally, wearing actual armor, and sometimes carrying heavy weapons or plasma rifles.
- Heroic Neutral: The Grunts will protect themselves and their own, but otherwise, they just want to be left alone. During the Covenant Civil War, the Grunts apparently sided with whichever side their immediate commanding officer happened to be on.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Several of them will be killed by you with ease in any given battle, and they tend to not sound very threatening with their broken English either. Combined with being Slave Mooks who are incredibly easy to dishearten, one may find them quite pitiable.
- Inelegant Blubbering: They'll often start crying and screaming loudly when they're panicking and trying to flee.
- Interservice Rivalry: With the Jackals. The Grunt Rebellion was kicked off when Jackals poisoned their supplies of narcotics, causing many of them to become sterile.
- Jump Jet Pack:
- Every Grunt from 4 onward is capable of using their methane pack as a makeshift thruster.
- A more amusing predecessor of this can happen in Reach; hitting their methane packs will sometimes cause them to rocket into the air.
- Lampshade Hanging: Aside from their usual Medium Awareness antics, Grunts in Infinite can be pierced with the grapple shot and allow Chief, a several ton SPARTAN, pull himself to the stunned little alien, with at least one potential dialogue that isnt panic or crying noting the absurdity of this.
- Okay, theres no way I weigh more than you.
- Laughably Evil: For a given value of "evil", the Grunts exaggerated cowardice and taunts that carry the elegance of a middle school bully give the series several lighthearted moments.
- Losing the Team Spirit: "Leader dead! Run away!!"
- Until Halo 3 and subsequent games, where instead of panicking, some of them will draw twin plasma grenades and suicide-rush you.
- Made of Explodium: In Reach, hitting off their methane tanks could sometimes cause an explosion.
- Manchild: They are frequently shown to have childish personalities. They speak with a broken and childish-sounding diction, they're often heard getting excited to go back to a communal "nipple" like they're babies still in the nursing phase, and one Grunt in Halo 2 is shown frantically trying to get a monkey-like stuffed animal back from a taunting Jackal.
- Matriarchy: According to the Halo 3 Bestiarum.
- Meaningful Name: Unggoy, in Tagalog, means "Monkey", which fits how they always flail their arms up high when running away.
- Mini-Mecha: The Goblin, introduced in Halo 5, an Unggoy-designed/piloted mecha equipped with a Needle Cannon, a grenade launcher, a back-mounted Shardstorm launcher, and an anti-vehicle EMP pulse. It's also far more mobile than the UNSC's Mantis, and is even immune to EMP blasts.
- Neck Snap: From Reach and future titles, assassinating a Grunt can have the Spartan grab them by the head and snap their neck from behind.
- Omniglot: Capable of learning many languages quickly, though the Grunts encountered in some games do not speak English.
- Only One Name: Grunts in the old Covenant were not officially allowed to have surnames; however, at least a few Sangheili warlords seem to have to relaxed this restriction after the Great Schism, with even Jul 'Mdama's faction allowing its Grunts to have surnames.
- Population Control: The Covenant strictly regulates their reproduction to prevent overpopulation, except during times of war.
- Punch-Clock Villain: They're just Slave Mooks who are forced to fight the humans. If they were allowed to choose for themselves, they would rather stay out of the war completely.
- Red Shirt: As allies in 2. While allied Elites can handle themselves, allied Grunts have a low chance of making it through a level intact unless you make an active effort to protect them. A run through The Oracle will give a good idea of how difficult it can be to keep these guys alive.
- Sapient Eat Sapient: Though they generally prefer other foods, starved Unggoy are fully capable of chowing down on other sapient species."If hungry, eat Jackal!"
- Slave Mooks: They are at the bottom of the Covenant hierarchy. The Grunts serving in most of the post-war remnant factions do not seem to be much better off either, though the background dialogue and audio logs in Halo 5: Guardians imply that both the Swords of Sanghelios and, to a lesser degree, Jul 'Mdama's faction hold Grunts in somewhat more esteem than the original Covenant ever did; there's even one set of audio logs which detail a Sangheili reminiscing about his Unggoy squad leader.
- Halo: Shadow of Intent reveals that even in the old Covenant, particularly gifted Grunts were allowed to fully command all-Sangheili units.
- Slave Liberation: There have been quite a few Grunt uprisings throughout the history of the Covenant, and Catalog has implied that some Grunts have managed to successfully form their own factions after the collapse of the Covenant.
- The Stoner:
"It's the gas! When I'm on the gas, I don't know what I'm doing half the time!"
- Methane isn't their only gas. Many of them take recreational drugs and foreign gases called Infusions. These include benzene, which they call "lovely lung gold".
- Jul 'Mdama mentions that the Grunt slaves they have post-war should be enough to supply their needs, as long as they aren't allowed to drug themselves into comas.
- Stout Strength: Stronger than they look, judging by the heavy equipment they're sometimes seen carrying and their ability to disembowel humans with their bare hands.
- Taking You with Me: Some of them will attempt to suicide bomb you from 3 onwards; Suicide Grunts are even their own unit in Halo Wars.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- From Halo 3 onwards, where they'll often attempt to suicide bomb the Chief if the fight is going badly, instead of all running away as they did in the former games. Just listen to their new war cries, it's scary.
- They've also been able to drive vehicles since 3, with the culmination of this ability so far being in Halo 5: Guardians's Warzone, where one of the potential boss units is the Grunt-designed/piloted Goblin Mini-Mecha.
- In-universe, this happened during the Grunt Rebellion, where the Grunts showed the Covenant that they were fully capable of fighting off highly trained warriors with sheer numbers and determination. The Elites response to said rebellion? Give them proper training and real weapons.
- Top-Heavy Guy: Grunts sport short, squatted legs holding up a large torso and long and thick arms, having a chimpanzee-like physique and likely comparable strength, given the heavy equipment they lug around and fire one handed with no problem.
- To Serve Man:
- During the Battle of Draco III, they were set loose to devour the prisoners the Covenant had captured.
- Occasionally you may hear some mutter in their sleep: "If hungry, eat Jackal."
- The Usual Adversaries: The Grunts are one of only two species to have been enemies in every single game so far.
- We Have Reserves: Their main role in battle is to drown the enemy in a sea of their bodies, due to how rapidly they can breed.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Admit it, you've felt guilty hearing distraught, terrified Unggoy scream "You killed my brother!".
- Particularly present in Halo 3, where panicking Grunts are way more visceral than before, screaming and crying loudly in terror and pleading their lives while trying to flee/hide. Like before though, they'll usually regain their composure and get back to fighting after it seems like they're too terrified to go on, so you'll have to gun them down anyways.
- Who's Laughing Now?: For centuries the Unggoy have been the Butt-Monkeys of the Haloverse, always pushed around, underestimated, and mowed down in droves. ...Enter the Grunt Goblin, a combat mech "designed by Unggoy, for Unggoy" capable of enormous leaps, lightning-quick movements, and soaking up huge amounts of firepower, armed with both a heavy Needler cannon and a "shardstorm launcher" capable of tearing tanks apart, and even has an immunity to EMP bursts. Some of the things shouted out by the Grunt pilots make it clear that this is sweet revenge...
- You No Take Candle: Whenever their dialogue is translated for the audience, it's usually in broken English. However, their English does get better later on.
- Zerg Rush: Their main strength is sheer force of numbers.
Special Operative Yayap
Previously an Unggoy Major serving on the Fleet of Particular Justice, who gets unwillingly promoted to the personal assistant of Spec-Ops Officer Zuka 'Zamamee.
- The Bait: At one point, Zuka beats him up and puts him next to a destroyed Ghost, letting him be captured by the humans so that he can signal for reinforcements once he sees the Chief at Alpha Base.
- Beleaguered Assistant: To Zuka 'Zamamee, who puts Yayap through a lot of crap.
- Butt-Monkey: Goes through quite a bit of misfortune throughout his time on Alpha Halo, though the fact that he at least survives those incidents puts him above most other Unggoy.
- Face Death with Dignity: His last moment was to turn and see explosions cover the Autumn, and remained facing it.
- Famed in Story: Yayap is apparently legendary among the Grunts, since every so often, one will yell when attacking, "This is for Yayap!" Other IWHBYD lines among Grunts include "You killed Yayap!"
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: To Zuka 'Zamamee, being far more level-headed and intelligent than his Blood Knight boss.
- Lovable Coward: Heck, the reason he saves Zuka's life during the assault on the Pillar of Autumn in the first place was simply to give himself and his buddies an excuse to move away from the fighting. Ironically, it just gets him transferred to a Spec-Ops unit which takes on even more dangerous missions.Yayap: (sincerely) Th-thank you, Commander, but I don't deserve such an honor.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Yayap lies to Zuka about the Chief guarding three Banshees, when in reality, Chief had a three hour nap, a bite to eat, then left to look for Keyes. When an angry Zuka confronts Yayap about it when he sees the three unguarded Banshees, Yayap replies, "You can fly one of these, and I cannot."
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Overlapping with Face Death with Dignity; When he finally decides to desert his unit, he steals a Ghost with a tank of methane and a day's ration of food, and finds a nice shady spot to enjoy one last meal. When the Chief blows up the Autumn, he probably died fat and happy.
- The Smart Guy: By far the smartest Grunt in his unit; even Zuka eventually acknowledges his intelligence.
- Took a Level in Badass: He eventually finds the spine to successfully threaten Zuka into abandoning one of his suicidal plans, and then earns the respect of a unit of Jackals (not renowned for their love of Grunts) for his role in putting down a minor Flood outbreak.
A Grunt Minor running flight security for a Covenant unit during the Fall of Reach. After noticing a flight of Banshees that are not on his flight schedule, he chooses to ignore them for fear that he'd be beaten for interrupting a secret mission. Moments later, Spartan-II Blue Team throws a nuke from those Banshees into a Covenant cruiser and kills everyone in the valley, including Zawaz.
- A Day in the Limelight: Despite being a very minor character, he gets a chapter from his perspective in Halo: First Strike.
- Badass Creed: Inverted, with it being a pretty terrible (though granted, perfectly understandable) creed. Notably, it ends up being his last words.
- Death by Irony: His mantra is to ignore things and live. Ignoring didn't work out so well this time.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: A deconstruction of sorts; the reason why he ignores the suspicious flight of Banshees is because he has genuine cause to fear that his superiors will punish him if his suspicions turn out to be false.
- The Klutz: At one point, he drops an expensive motion scanner, though to his relief it still works.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Just a footsoldier assigned to run the flight schedule that day.
- Slave Mooks: Like the rest of his kind.
- Villain Episode: His chapter is the only glimpse we get of the Covenant's perspective in First Strike until the very end.
A Deacon tasked with communicating with a Huragok named Lighter Than Some aboard the Jackal missionary ship Minor Transgression. He and Lighter Than Some are later recovered by the Brute vessel Rapid Conversion after the Minor Transgression's destruction, and the two end up being caught up in the opening salvos of the Human-Covenant War.
- Badass Preacher: As a Deacon, he's basically the Covenant equivalent of a (low-ranking) chaplain, and is legitimately devout in his faith. As for the "Badass" part, he cuts down the Drones that murdered Lighter Than Some with ease, and having the courage to attack Tartarus was ballsy, even though he knew it would get him killed.
- Cowardly Lion: Is absolutely frightened of virtually everything that's happening around him in Halo: Contact Harvest, and certainly Ain't Too Proud to Beg, but it doesn't stop him from being brave when it counts.
- Feigning Intelligence: A minor example; despite being a Deacon, his education still seems to have been relatively perfunctory, meaning that his sermons can end up referencing words and concepts that he himself doesn't actually understand, like ontology. Nonetheless, those few of the Rapid Conversion's Unggoy who willingly listen to his sermons seem to eat it up.
- Nice Guy: All he cares about is the safety and wellbeing of his fellow Grunts and Lighter Than Some, as well as educating his fellows about the Great Journey. He's disturbed by the orders to exterminate the humans, especially when Lighter Than Some points out that all species should be given the chance to join the Great Journey.
- Interspecies Friendship: With Lighter Than Some.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one against everyone he holds responsible for Lighter Than Some's death. He kills all the Drones who murdered Lighter Than Some, and destroys much of Loki's data center out of anger at the AI's manipulation of his friend, but dies at Tartarus's hands (though he manages to save Sergeant Johnson in the process).
- Translator Buddy: For Ligher Than Some, being the only one aboard both Minor Transgression and Rapid Conversion who can understand it.
A veteran Ranger serving as one of Rtas 'Vadum's two lieutenants, Stolt had risen well above his fellow Unggoy during the Human-Covenant War thanks to his skills in combat, having once fought and injured a Spartan during a chance encounter. Having earned the respect of his Sangheili comrades aboard the Shadow of Intent, there was no objection when he was given command of the ship's otherwise all-Sangheili Ranger contingent.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: What kind of credentials does a Unggoy need to be considered not just an equal, but a superior to a Sangheili, one might ask? Try being able to defeat Sangheili in single combat, outpowering Jiralhanae in hand-to-hand combat, and wounding a Spartan bad enough to make them retreat. Even the most traditional Sangheili aren't going to deny his prowess.
- Determinator: Even after the Prelate shoots him point-blank with an overcharged plasma pistol shot, Stolt still attempts to chase him down until Rtas orders him to stop and tend to his Rangers.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The feat that cemented his status among the Shadow of Intent's crew was when he defeated a Spartan in close combat. You know, one of the Super Soldiers that are among the only beings the Covenant fear?
- Elites Are More Glamorous: He's a Ranger, and one of the few Unggoy ones.
- Guttural Growler: His voice is described as having a gravelly tone that rumbles through his mask.
- Large and in Charge: Subverted. He's noted to be unusually tall for a Unggoy... which just means that the top of his head nearly reaches the shoulders of his Sangheili subordinates when most Unggoy would only reach the waist. That said, this still means he's roughly as tall as an average Spartan.
- Number Two: Is one of Rtas's two most trusted subordinates, alongside Vul 'Soran.
- Super Strength: Exceptional strong, and not just by Unggoy standards either; at one point, he slams a Jiralhanae to the ground and chokes it to death.
- Super Toughness: Can casually shrug off blows from Sangheili and Jiralhanae.
- Victory by Endurance: How he defeats his Sangheili sparring opponents. He lets them wail on him before they tire out against his thick hide, and then he pummels them into submission with his own chitinous limbs.
A Grunt killed by Master Chief or one of the ODSTs during the events of Halo 3 or Halo 3: ODST. Many Unggoy mourn his passing.
- Easter Egg: See it here.
- Even Mooks Have Loved Ones: Flipyap, his friend, and his dear brother Yapflip.
- It's Personal: For the Grunt who attended "Nipple Academy" with him. But it's doubtful he nor any Grunt would ever manage to avenge him.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: You might also overhear another conversation where one Grunt refuses to cover his buddy, because according to him his companion got Flipyap killed.
- One Steve Limit: Sometimes averted; there may or not have been a Flipyap in New Mombasa.
- Posthumous Character: Well, you can meet Flipyap while he's alive; you just won't know it's him until you've killed him.
- Undignified Death: It might have been.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: He had a name, You Monster!!
An Unggoy Storm serving in the Swords of Sanghelios who really enjoys talking. Really enjoys talking.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: The Little Guy to the unfortunate Elite keeping watch with him.
- Cloudcuckoolander: His rambles betray some rather odd thought processes.Dimkee: Cuz you can call a guy an "egg-face" one time, one time, and it's very funny, it's actually pretty funny, but then, probably, even if it's just three times, everybody asks why you're so mean always, even though you only said the mean thing like maybe six times, nine times tops.
- The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Some of the stuff he says is actually correct (like the spiel about the Unggoy being naturally quick learners), though not necessarily in an in-universe sense.
- Defector from Decadence: Used to work for Jul 'Mdama, but found him to be a jerk.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Believes the Unggoy deserve more honors for all the dangerous jobs they do.
- Easter Egg: Can found sitting on a ledge in the Halo 5: Guardians level "Alliance", where he's chatting the ears off the poor Elite seated next to him.
- Frame-Up: Once accidentally shot his buddy Flarp, but blamed it on the Chief.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Several of his comments poke fun at various aspects of the franchise, such as lampshading the continual Art Evolution ("So, uh, how come'd ya figure stuff looks different sometimes? I mean, like guns, or, the Arbiter. Mean, do you remember being more purpler? I do!").
- Motor Mouth: He is completely incapable of shutting up, and we do mean completely.
- Sole Survivor: The only survivor of a group of twenty/fifty/"a lot" of Unggoy who were stuck in a dangerous place set to explode and had to make it to an evacuation ship before nightfall, with said ship only having room for one, resulting in plenty of infighting and a few heroic sacrifices. When he alone finally made it to the evac point, it turned out that the ship actually had plenty of room all along, so he brought in some rock piles for company.
- It gets better: apparently, he was the one who told the Unggoy there was only one seat. He's quite regretful over the experience. Or proud, he can't seem to decide.
Yapyap THE DESTROYER
See the Halo: The Banished page for more details.
The Kig-Yar (Jackals and Skirmishers) (Perosus Latrunculusnote )
The Kig-Yar are birdlike creatures that work as mercenaries for the Covenant. Known for their rebellious, piratical nature, the Kig-Yar maintain something of a semi-independent parallel society within the Covenant and do not necessarily worship the Forerunners, requiring Grunt Deacons and other such measures to keep them in line (which doesn't always work, from what's been seen). Although they technically share the same position on the Covenant totem pole as Grunts, they consider themselves superior and treat the Grunts abominably. Following the war, little has changed for the Kig-Yar, though many have been thriving on the leftovers of such a large conflict.
- Achilles' Heel: Grenades. While their wrist shields can deflect or absorb almost anything, they do almost nothing for most explosives. If a big group of Jackals are giving you too much trouble, a grenade between the crowd of them will make short work of their protection. If you didnt pack a precision weapon to take out individual Jackals, a grenade'll save you trouble of fruitlessly wailing on their shield with whatever you might be carrying, as much of overkill as itd be.
- Like with any other shielded enemy, an overcharged Plasma Pistol will drain their shield and leave them exposed. They really cant afford losing their shield, being so frailly built, so many end up fleeing for their lives and into cover until they get their wrist shield back.
- Amazon Brigade: The Banished Skirmishers are composed entirely of female mercenaries in Infinite.
- Artificial Brilliance: Being the second main infantry unit next to the Grunts, Jackals have a little bit more nuance to their strategy. High ranking Jackals can frequently be found overcharging their plasma pistols waiting for the player to get into range so they can sap their shields instantly, if not found wielding a Needler and using it better than any Grunt beside them. Jackals tend to alternate between forming a phalanx with their shields while standing their ground to spreading out to distribute the pressure while inching forward.
- Art Evolution: Between the Bungie games and the 343 games, Jackals have gone from resembling avian creatures with their beaks and talons to sporting a more reptilian physique with their jaws and scaly skin. This has been explained through the Kig-Yar have three known subspecies thanks to their kind spreading out to far away continents on their homeworld and away from each other. In the Bungie games themselves, Jackals begun as an ambiguously avian/reptilian hybrid whose heads bore snouts and huge red eyes. Each game after leaned more into making them more bird-like and a little taller, and come 3 theyre sporting full fledged and curved beaks full of sharp teeth, small and cloudy eyes and average at 6'2 - 6'9 tall.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Jackal shields have a small opening from the front where the soldier's arm has enough room to fire their weapon. If you have a precision weapon like a magnum, battle rifle or DMR, then you can shoot the Jackal in the hand, make them flinch and headshot them while theyre recoiling from the pain. Its far more efficient than trying to break their shields normally or spending precious grenades where youd rather not.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Kig-yar" means "poultry" in Breton, a Celtic language from northwestern France. See Meaningful Name below. Also doubles as a Punny Name for a species of avian aliens.
- Born Under the Sail: Prior to uniting in order to achieve spaceflight, the Kig-Yar were divided into pirate clans that raided one another on the seas of their homeworld Eayn. Afterwards, they ended up forming numerous colonies on the asteroids surrounding Eayn and raided the ships of other species as Space Pirates before getting folded into the Covenant as mercenaries, though they still kept up pirating even after the Human-Covenant War.
- Cannon Fodder: Less so than the Grunts. Their greater intelligence and sharper senses tend to allow them to find themselves in better positions on the battlefield, and thus get expended less, but they're still prone to getting killed in droves compared to the species higher on the hierarchy.
- The Clan: Given the relative lawlessness of Kig-Yar society (with Word of God describing their central authorities as being merely "pseudo-governments"), clans still play an important organizational role, though less so than in the past.
- Cold Sniper: Though not as "cold" as they ought to be, thanks to their Hot Blood. They are excellent shots, but a little too eager to make the kill to be as effective snipers as they could be.
- Cowardly Mooks: Jackal snipers will flee if engaged at close range, sometimes even dropping their weapon while doing so. The shield-bearing Jackals can also start running away with their hands covering their heads if their wrist shield is popped until it recharges. In CE, Jackals also had a habit of breaking formation and running for their lives if their Elite leader got killed, albeit not so commonly like the Grunts.
- Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity: As a race of notoriously cowardly mercenaries only involved in the war for their personal profit, wield long-distance weapons like carbines and sniper rifles, but will use one-handed weapons with the aid of a protective energy shield.
- Feathered Fiend:
- Well, at least we (and Halsey) think they're birds, since they have hollow bones, lay eggs, and their chicks are covered in down.
- Played much straighter with the Skirmisher sub-species, who actually have feathers even as adults.
- As seen in the third picture to the side, Jackals in the 343i games have a bulkier build and fewer birdlike features than their Bungie-era brethren; Halo 4's Essential Visual Guide mentions that they (and the majority of the Jackals serving Jul 'Mdama) are from a separate race/sub-species originating from the continent of Ibie'sh.
- Fragile Speedster: The Jackals are very fast, but very vulnerable, which is why they're carrying shields. Subverted with the Skirmishers, however, who are considerably stronger than a human and quite a bit faster and more maneuverable.
- Glass Cannon: Jackal snipers, especially the ones equipped with beam rifles and not carbines, can make quick work of players with a shot or two from their sniping perch. They're just as easily killed with a quick headshot or melee beatdown at close range, if you can catch them before they spot you.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Jackal marksmen wear a bright glowing eye piece to enhance their already stellar vision. Its often your only warning that a sniper is tracking you, and is conveniently a good light to aim for in a pinch since Jackals arent fond of wearing bright uniforms.
- The Goomba: The shield-bearing Jackals fought on the frontlines are more competent than Grunts, but their guns and armor about as weak as those of the Grunts (the snipers and some Skirmishers are the only ones that aren't stuck with pistols), and a single headshot can still easily take them out, along with chucking a grenade at a group of them to invalidate their shield protection, since they tend to group up. That said, a group of shield Jackals is a far bit more threatening than an even bigger group of Grunts.
- Had to Be Sharp: The asteroid of T'vao has a much harsher environment and significantly higher gravity than Eayn, and the Kig-Yar who settled there eventually evolved into the Skirmishers, a subspecies larger, stronger, and faster than their Jackal counterparts.
- Hired Guns: Only in the Covenant because they're on the Prophets' payroll, though Mortal Dictata notes that a lot of them have become genuine Forerunner worshipers in the 1200+ years following their own first contact with the Covenant. Following the Great Schism, they'll work for anyone who pays the right amount.
- Hot-Blooded: They are good shots, but "too bloodthirsty" to be expert snipers.
- Lean and Mean: They're pretty skinny and built somewhat fraily, but their average height stands between 6-7 feet and they can easily tower over most non-SPARTAN humans. As for meanness, they're reviled as dirty and vicious marauders who can easily disembowel most species with their claws and teeth.
- Interservice Rivalry: With the Grunts, since they often compete for territory and are right next to each other in the class hierarchy.
- Irony: Jackals are said to be some of the fastest and most agile of the Covenant, however they're pushed into mostly defensive roles such as sharpshooting and forming shield-walls to advance with. Skirmishers, however, are geared up to put their speed and agility to use.
- Matriarchy: Their infantry may be mostly male, but females control the roost (and most of their ships), so to speak.
- Meaningful Name: Members outside the Covenant military tend to be space pirates, and really the entire species has a cultural attraction to piracy. The name of their species? Kig-Yar.
- Their Reporting Name, Jackals, can also reference the real-world animal, an opportunistic and vicious scavenger/hunter. A fitting name since most Kig-Yar can also be described like that.
- Also, "kig-yar" is an actual word in Breton. It means "poultry". Given the devs' fondness for bilingual bonuses and the Kig-Yar's avian features, this cannot be a coincidence.
- Multicultural Alien Race: They consist of at least three physically distinctive sub-species/races (as seen in the images to the side): the "mainstream" Jackals from the continent of Ruuht, the Skirmishers from the asteroid colony of T'vao, and the Jackals from the continent of Ibie'sh.
- Non-Indicative Name: Humanity's callsign for them, 'Jackals' doesnt do anything indicate their strictly avian/reptilian qualities.
- Planet of Hats: They're all pirates, mercenaries and merchants at heart.
- Punch-Clock Villain:
- Borderline case. They're mostly only in the war for the money, but a lot of them are cruel and violent anyway. Nonetheless, even during the war, a colony of Kig-Yar in The Cole Protocol happily coexisted in a trade relationship with the Rubble's humans despite the fact that it was actually part of the Prophet of Truth's plot to find Earth. Nevertheless, even their leader Reth seems to genuinely wished they could have continued the partnership.
- After the war ends, lots of them openly do business with humans, whether UNSC or Insurrectionist.
- Remember the New Guy?:
- The Skirmisher subspecies was apparently fighting in the Human-Covenant war the entire time, despite not showing up at all in any previous media before Halo: Reach. Bungie's original explanation was that nearly every Skirmisher left was wiped out on Reach (though this didn't account for why they didn't show up in the expanded universe either), but subsequent works have shown that there are plenty of them left even after the war.
- The 343i-designed Jackals are this too, given that they're supposed to be a separate race from the original Jackals.
- Sapient Eat Sapient: Confirmed in the expanded universe to be more than capable of eating humans. Halo 2 also implies that one of the Covenant's execution methods is to feed the condemned to Kig-Yar prisoners; some Grunts actively fear being fed to them (while others are happy to return the favor). Theyre not particularly picky eaters either, as seen when a group of Kig-Yar prisoners are desperately clawing at their cell just to take a bite out of the Brutes and Arbiter passing by.
- Shield-Bearing Mook:
- Energy shield gauntlets are standard among Jackals; it's their way of compensating for their relative frailness. The shield itself can be overcome with heavy weaponry, overwhelming/overcharged plasma fire, or melee, but it's usually easiest to just shoot the Jackal's firing hand, which causes it to flinch and expose the rest of its body to the player's fire.
- Skirmishers are less frail, and therefore don't carry shields with the exception of the Murmillos, who have a small one on each arm that they largely use to deflect headshots.
- Sinister Scimitar: While it doesn't appear in the games, Jackals in the novels often use energy cutlasses, swords where the blade comes off after hitting flesh and then exploding in the target. It's probably based off the needler.
- Space Pirates: Not all, but a bunch of them are either privateers in service of the Covenant, or independent brigands who serve no master but themselves.
- Suddenly Voiced: After years of only speaking their unintelligible growls and clicking language, they were given coherent and translated voices in Halo 5. They speak in a raspy, high-pitched and aggressive tone with broken english in contrast to the more fluid speech of other races. Their harsh voices are lampshaded by idle Elites who might be conversing with them.Kig-Yar speech makes my skin crawl.
- Super Strength: The Skirmishers only, who are strong enough to make 10+ meter vertical leaps.
- Thieving Magpie: Staffan Sentzke even directly compares the entire species with them, with Skirmishers being especially fond of shiny objects.
- Toothy Bird: They've got an impressively sharp set of teeth, and are very much capable of using it to tear at meat.
- Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: Jackal pirates tend to have non-existent hygiene, to the point where the insides of their ships are often caked with several years' worth of guano.
- The Unintelligible: Prior to Halo 5, Jackals only spoke their native language, consisting of squawking, snarls and growling.
- The Usual Adversaries: Until Halo Wars 2, they were one of only three species to have been fought against in every game.
- What a Piece of Junk: In contrast to Covenant-designed ships, the Kig-Yar's own ships tend to look like they were cobbled together from random scrap (and quite often are), but are still more than spaceworthy.
- You No Take Candle: In-game Jackal dialogue was limited to clicking, growling and squawking up until Halo 5, in which their language was finally translated into English. Their speech comes across as this when translated:Human die! Very good!
Paid to kill, not die!
Unggoy still talk, I shoot mouth.
The Ruuhtian Shipmistress of the missionary vessel Minor Transgression, Chur'R-Yar's crew were the very first members of the Covenant to make contact with humanity.
- Death by Materialism: Chur'R-Yar and her Jackals are all killed when they raid a human freighter that turns out to be a trap set by ONI.
- Hidden Depths: Very much desires children; her current goal is to earn enough to take her ship out of service for the entire mating season.
- Pragmatic Villainy: She'd prefer to have eliminated Deacon Dadab long ago, but she keeps him alive since he's the only one aboard Minor Transgression who can communicate with the ship's Huragok.
- Privateer: Is employed by the Ministry of Tranquility; she detests the arrangement, since she has to give up any Forerunner relic she finds to her employers.
- Taking You with Me: After being mortally wounded by Johnson, she blows up her ship in an attempt to avenge her own death.
- Unholy Matrimony: Her intended mate is her second-in-command Zhar.
- Villainous Lineage: Comes from a long line of pirate captains, most of whom were killed defying the Covenant.
The leader of a group of Kig-Yar rebels allied with the Rubble's Insurrectionists. It turns out he's actually working for the Prophet of Truth.
- Arc Villain: From the humans' perspective, he's the main antagonist of Halo: The Cole Protocol.
- Death by Irony: He and all of his minions are crushed to death by the Rubble, right before they were about to set off to capture it.
- Fake Defector: Is actually working for the Covenant; in fact, he's been secretly breeding an army of Grunts to help take the Rubble.
- HeelFace Mole: He's just using his alliance with the Rubble to help Truth track down human populations through the black market and gain the stellar coordinates for Earth, and to gain both the Rubble and its slipspace drives for the Kig-Yar under his command. Regret, not knowing this, sends Thel and his Zealots out to eliminate Reth and his allies for apparent blasphemy and they don't realize what Reth's really up to until they've already captured and interrogated him.
- Moral Myopia: He considers the humans unconscionable reprobates for nuking his base, even though he was the one abetting in genocide.
- "Not So Different" Remark: He feels some commonality with the Insurrectionists, and enjoys working with them. It doesn't stop him from planning to betray them.
- Space Pirate: Like most Jackals.
- Species Loyalty: Seems to be a large part of his motivation for betraying the Rubble; he wants the Jackals to receive the respect and honor he feels they would be given if he successfully finds Earth's location.
- Treasure Room: His personal room is filled with art obtained both legally and illegally from all over Covenant space.
Shipmaster Sav Fel
A T'vaoan (Skirmisher) shipmaster that once served in the Covenant fleet. Following the war, he became a notorious pirate.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has a mate and chicks of his own that he cares for. After making enemies with the Arbiter's and 'Telcam's Sangheili, he hides his family on Venezia. He is later reluctant to rat out Staffan, even at gunpoint, because he didn't want him to kill his family in revenge.
- Space Pirate: Like most Jackals.
- The Stoic: Doesn't emote much.
- Thieving Magpie: As per the Skirmisher stereotype.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His glassing of Forerunner ruins on Shaps III in Halo: Mortal Dictata causes the local Line installation to send a distress signal that wakes up Gao's ancilla, kicking off the entire plot of Halo: Last Light.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Disappears after Chol Von boards Pious Inquisitor.
Shipmistress Chol Von
A T'vaoan (Skirmisher) shipmistress of the Paragon, a missionary ship. Following the collapse of the Covenant, she starts efforts to make a unified Kig-Yar fleet to defend the Kig-Yar from ever being controlled by another race. To this end, she accepts a contract from Avu Med 'Telcam to find the Pious Inquisitor, intending to steal it as the flagship of her future fleet.
- Action Mom: Has four sons, and is badass enough to have killed two Elites while stealing a Phantom during the Great Schism.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated: She managed to find a partially functioning UNSC data terminal during the war. While it didn't have any navigational data, it did hold a lot of human idioms and studies which she found interesting, including studies on Delayed Gratification.
- Arc Villain: The closest Mortal Dictata has to a Big Bad...beyond Halsey.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While most Kig-Yar females think little of the males, Chol actually cares about her sons, enough to want them to become tactically-capable shipmasters.
- Fantastic Racism: She has a bit of grudging respect towards humans, but otherwise looks down on both other species and non-T'vaoan Kig-Yar.
- Parental Issues: After Chol's mate Vek left her to go to mine tantalum offworld, her mother Ais comes over to help take care of the kids. Unfortunately for Chol, Vek being a coward is about the only thing she and Ais agree on.
- Thieving Magpie: Like most Kig-Yar, she plans to steal the Pious Inquisitor. Unlike most Kig-Yar, she has somewhat noble intentions for theft.
- Tough Love: Wants her children to learn the value of self-control and cooperation, even if she has to be a little hard on them. That said, she has no problem with giving them rewards and showering them with affection if they've been good.
- Visionary Villain: She is of the opinion that the Kig-Yar clans should unite to form a unified fleet to protect Kig-Yar interests. Most Kig-Yar, being who they are, thinks she's bonkers. Even her own mother tries to talk her out of it.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of Mortal Dictata, she's set the Pious Inquisitor to detonate, but she completely disappears from the book after leaving the ship, to the point that we don't even know if she got back to the Paragon.
The Mgalekgolo (Hunters) (Ophis Congregationote )
Almost always seen as hulking, armored bipeds, the Hunters are actually a collection of dozens of large eel-like organisms (Lekgolo) who form a single conscious. The same worms can combine to become Scarabs and other gestalts. When a colony becomes too big, it splits off into a second "individual", who is rarely seen without its "brother".
- Achilles' Heel: In the first game, they could be taken out with a shot from any headshot-capable weapon (including the pistol) to their weak spot. In the second game, only the sniper rifle and beam rifle can one-hit kill them, and being hit with a grenade will also disorient them and spin them around 180 degrees, exposing their weak spot. In the third game, they can no longer be one-shot-killed by normal weapons (on Normal it takes at least 2 sniper rifle shots to the weak point to kill one), but they're much more vulnerable to grenades, going down after only a couple grenade sticks. From Reach onwards, they no longer have any glaring weaknesses to exploit other than being huge, lumbering targets to hit with heavy weapons.
- Arm Cannon: The Assault Cannon, which takes up their right arm. How it works depends on the game: in Combat Evolved, Reach, and 4 it was a combination of Plasma Cannon and Grenade Launcher; in 2 and 3 it was a continuous Death Ray; in ODST it could be either depending on color of the Hunter's armor; and in 5 it can switch between launching a giant explosive fuel rod shot and rapid-firing a bunch of small energy projectiles.
- Armored But Frail: In Halo 2, 3, and ODST, Hunters actually don't have that much raw health; their health is exactly equal to that of a Marine, and only about 3.33x that of a Grunt Minor. However, their armor is bulletproof and they also resist explosive damage. Their health does get upgraded in Reach, Halo 4, and Halo 5. They also had very high health in the first game, but their armor didn't completely resist damage. Lore-wise, they're supposed to be tougher than Brutes even without their armor.
- Armor Is Useless: Completely averted. You are not punching through that armor.
- The sole exception is in the original first Halo: Combat Evolved where it doesn't matter where you shoot (except for the shield obviously) as every area of the Hunter is vulnerable.
- Art Evolution: Visually, Hunters haven't changed all that much from their core design, though each game ever since Combat Evolved made it a point to add a little more to their form, whether by progressively making them bigger or adding lights and detail to their armor. They were first just a little taller than a the Chief with pale blue armor and a shield, but eventually developed into a thirteen-foot tall faintly green glowing behemoths who have to hunch over to appear close to eye-level.
- Bad Boss: Being Large and in Charge, Hunters can command the lesser Grunts and Jackals, and even Elites occasionally. At least one was recorded stomping on a Jackal just because it was in its way; in a cutscene in Halo 4's Spartan Ops, we see a Hunter violently smack a Grunt away just to get a clear shot at the Marines below.
- Badass Army: When they were attacked by the Covenant, they absolutely wrecked any ground units the Covenant could dish out. They only surrendered when the Covenant retreated to orbit and started to glass the planet.
- Bash Brothers: Always come in pairs.
- Also, because of their unique physiology, these pairs are actually siblings.
- BFG: Their arm-mounted Assault Cannons.
- Bilingual Bonus: In Tagalog, mga means "the" in plural use. So Mgalekgolo in English means "The (group of) Lekgolo".
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Hunters' motivations are completely alien, even to the rest of the Covenant. They intentionally reinforce their image of strangeness to ensure the other members of the Covenant leave them alone.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: They become significantly tougher after Halo 1, with each new game making them even more dangerous than the previous one. In particular, the ones in Halo 5: Guardians are almost unbeatable without explosives, heavy weaponry, and/or the aid of your entire squad. There's even one point in Reach where you have to face two pairs at once.
- The Brute: Not Dumb Muscle, though.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: ODST has gold-armored Hunters alongside the regular blue ones, whose arm cannons fires an explosive fuel rod shot rather than a stream of plasma.
- Cultured Warrior: Known to occasionally stop in the middle of battle to recite war poetry.
- Eat Dirt, Cheap: Their preferred food seems to be various types of rocks and ores.
- Elite Mook: Played with; with regards to rank, they're above Grunts, Jackals and Drones, but below Elites and Brutes. However, in terms of combat capability, they're by far the most powerful of the Covenant's core species.
- Extreme Omnivore: Capable of eating virtually anything, even ancient Forerunner technology. While most prefer a diet of rock minerals and metal, some lean more into a carnivorous diet.
- Fake Ultimate Mook: In Halo 1, they were pushovers. Literally one pistol round to the back would kill them, although the pistol was insanely overpowered. If you didn't have a pistol though, you'd probably desperately need the rocket launcher the game tended to have around while they were about. The pistol was just absurdly overpowered.
- Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity: They always wield powerful and slow fuel rod cannons. In Halo 5, however, their cannons are upgraded to also fire rapid weak barrages.
- Genius Bruiser: According to the Bestiarum, they were actually one of the more technologically advanced races to be incorporated into the Covenant, with their only weakness being a lack of self-developed FTL. And even without armour they were enough of a match for the Elites that the Covenant had to glass them to get them to fall in line.
- Giant Mook: Variable. Hunters at first look to be around 8 feet tall, but that's just when they're crouching to protect their midsections in a fight. When they stand tall, they're 12 feet in size, towering over every other sapient on any given battlefield. Not to mention massing in at an average of 10,500 pounds.
- Guttural Growler: Their vocalizations in combat has them roar and grunt in a reverberating, growling voice.
- Heavily Armored Mook: The Hunters' armor is the same stuff the Covenant use to make their ships, and is strong enough to outright deflect ordinary firepower and withstand explosives. Flanking them to attack their backs, where the exposed worms are, is almost always necessary to kill one.
- Hidden Depths: Despite all appearances, the Lekgolo actually had a technologically advanced civilization before they were forced to join the Covenant. The only reason why they hadn't developed space travel was due to problems overcoming the high gravity of their homeworld. Not bad for a bunch of worms.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Thanolekgolo colonies on Installation 04 are insanely fast, and strong enough to bring down a space-capable dropship with sheer muscle power.
- When enraged, usually by seeing you kill their brother, they can drop all intent to hang back and fire their cannons and instead opt to enter a full-sprint to beat you to death with their bare-shields.
- Meaningful Name: The UNSC's vehicles are mostly named after animals (Warthog, Scorpion, Pelican, etc.) The Mgalekgolo are sent largely as anti-vehicle platforms, so they are hunting said animals.
- Metal Muncher: The Lekgolo worms regularly eat metal. This resulted in immediate conflict with the Covenant upon First Contact because among the metal objects they would eat were Forerunner artifacts, resulting in a war between the two.
- Praetorian Guard: Elite Shipmasters have a pair of Hunters as their personal guards. Also, the entrance to the Forerunner Dreadnought (which was both the power source of High Charity and the crown jewel of the Covenant's collection of Forerunner relics) was guarded by nine pairs of Mgalekgolo. note
- Punched Across the Room: A Hunter's strength is so intense that they can easily shatter a Spartan in a single swing and send the corpse hurdling across the room, to say nothing of any marines caught in their way, who might as well be bowling pins for a rampaging Hunter. They're so strong that even vehicles like Warthogs full of soldiers can be launched a couple feet away and upside down.
- Punch-Clock Villain: They only joined the Covenant because they lost the war against them, and to take advantage of their technology, and so they don't have any real grudge against the humans. It's even said that most of them left the Covenant with the Elites, with many fighting alongside Humanity. The ones seen in Halo 3 were among the few who felt the Prophets would destroy their homeworld if they didn't stay.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kill one Hunter within sight/hearing of the other, and its sibling will fly into a rage. And this happens to be a rage that can and very easily will kill a player if they're not paying attention.
- Shield Bash: Which can send Spartans flying across the room.
- Shield-Bearing Mook: They can also use it as an melee weapon if you invade their personal space. A melee weapon which can send a Spartan flying several meters if it doesn't kill them outright. Most of the time, it will be both.
- Spider Tank: The Scarabs are controlled by Lekgolo worms. Not just the computer core, but the entire thing is filled with Lekgolo.
- The Harvester is an even larger walker controlled by specialized colonies known as "Sbaolekgolo".
- Spikes of Villainy: Their armor comes with a bundle of spikey quills on their backs, which helps a Hunter communicate with their bond-brother.
- Starfish Alien: They're congregations of sapient worms.
- The Spook: Little is known about Lekgolo society and motives, and they prefer to reinforce their mystic to get other species to leave them alone, most having no real passion for the conflicts they find themselves in. What little details and accounts arent even consistent with each other - some Hunters wish to preserve and study Forerunner technology, others took the opportunity to consume them for food. Some Hunters live off of a mineral based diet, others adapted to becoming carnivores to consume other species. Some members are content to remain neutral in the current affairs of the galaxy and remain in their bubble, while others, namely Colony, joined the Banished with galactic conquest and a hidden agenda in mind.
- Super Strength: Edging out the Brutes in strength thanks to being pretty much raw collective muscle standing upright, Hunters can overwhelm and throw nearly anything on the battlefield. Taking a Hunter on up close, whether on foot or in a vehicle, will more often than not lead to a several hundred pound Spartan being thrown into a wall or a Warthog full of people being rolled over across the street.
- Super Toughness: Their shields are made of the same metal the Covenant use to build warship hulls, and on higher difficulties in the later games, the Hunters themselves are capable of surviving rockets and Spartan Laser blasts head-on. Halo: The Fall of Reach had a Hunter pair so tough that the Spartan-IIs were only able to stop them by pushing a huge stone obelisk onto them, and even that didn't actually kill them. Even without armor, the Lekgolo worms themselves are incredibly durable extremophiles, capable of surviving in the vacuum of space for years.
- Took a Level in Badass: From Fake Ultimate Mook to Boss in Mook Clothing; it seems the longer the series goes on, the stronger the Hunters get. For example, the Hunters in Halo 5 are experts at countering the tactics that used to be effective against them in previous games, doing things like knocking away grenades with their shields and quickly turning around if someone is behind them.
- Unstoppable Rage/Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Once one of them dies, the other one will get pissed, and if playing on a level higher than Easy, you're in big trouble. The Flood implies that this is an attempt at Suicide by Cop so that the Hunter can "rejoin" its brother in death.
- The Usual Adversaries: The Lekgolo are one of only two species to have been enemies in all the games so far.
- Warrior Poet: According to Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, they've been known to pause mid-battle to recite war poetry. While covered in enemy blood.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Not in the games, but in the novels they often fill the role of being the first individually dangerous foes. The Fall of Reach had a pair prove to be the first truly dangerous enemies the Spartans faced, with one of them losing half his arm to a Hunter's Arm Cannon, and in Halo: The Flood a Hunter is the first enemy to actually injure the Master Chief.
- The Worm That Walks:
- One of the few non-evil (sort of) examples. They're colonies of eel/worm-like Lekgolo, with each colony having its own collective consciousness encompassing its component Lekgolo. Since the individual worms aren't advanced life forms in the same way humans and the other members of the Covenant are, they're also immune to direct infection from the Flood (though their biomass can still be converted once killed, given that the Flood can do the same to plants). Once the colony grows large enough, it also splits into two separate Hunters that share a bond.
- The Thanolekgolo colonies on Installation 04 are the largest unarmored Lekgolo gestalts we've seen so far, being larger than a space-capable dropship.
- Unfriendly Fire: The Hunters respect the Elites, but aside from that they simply do not care about any other Covenant races. They have been known to trample and kill Grunts and Jackals that don't get out of their way fast enough. As a funny bit of unintentional Gameplay and Story Integration, Hunters regularly tend to punt heavy objects in front of them and out of their way, and truly do not give a damn if any of their allies happen to be standing next to their swinging arm, or if the flying object in question crushes someone on its way down.
- Worthy Opponent: To the Elites, as they were one of the few races besides humanity to give them a genuine fight. The Hunters are actually one of the few Covenant species the Elites have any sort of martial respect for, with the feeling being largely mutual. This probably went a long way in convincing most Hunters to side with the Elites during the Great Schism.
- Your Size May Vary: While Hunters have always been canonically bigger than the player, it took a while for the actual games to reflect this; they were originally only about the same height as the player, which is clearly no longer the case◊.
See the Halo: The Banished page for more details.
The Huragok (Engineers) (Facticius Indolesnote )
Biological supercomputer constructs created by the Forerunners to operate installations and repair technology, the Huragok were enslaved by the Convenant to maintain their fleets and war machines. The Huragok would prefer that all species live in peace, and draw no distinction between friend or foe when attempting to assist in repairing technology. New Huragok are created by other Huragok and are then named according to how they float when first made: for example "Lighter Than Some" or "Prone to Drift".
- Action Bomb: Some of them were rigged to explode by the Brutes, so even when killed they could still deal tons of damage to anyone who happened to be near them, even fellow Covenant if the player knows to exploit this. Very well aware of this and it being down against their will, the warning that an Engineer is about to explode is their armor blinking red and the Engineer trembling and covering their face in terror before the bomb goes off.
- Achilles' Heel: In ODST, an overcharged plasma shot will instantly sap their shield and instantly begin the countdown to self destruct on their harness. It's practically required to exploit this weakness in Firefight once the game starts deploying two or more Engineers at once to overshield each other and fellow Covenant.
- In Reach, for what few Engineers are ever encountered, they're not shielded and can easily explode into blue and pink mist from a supercombined explosion from either of the needle weapons. Just find a needle rifle, shoot them three times from any distance and the Covenant's overshields will promptly vanish.
- Actual Pacifist: They will almost never fight back, and even witnessing animal and pest death upsets them.
- Ambiguous Robots: They resemble organic creatures in both appearance and behavior, but they are in fact constructed, not in any sort of factory, but by other Engineers.
- Combat Tentacles: They'll almost never fight back or participate in violence, but their tentacles are strong enough to easily thrash even the notoriously strong Elites and Spartans around if they have to.
- Curious as a Monkey: They can't help but tinker with any tech they come across. Even if doing so means activating a planet-busting nuclear warhead.
- Darker and Edgier: Though they're mostly portrayed as sympathetic Woobies, the Engineers in Reach are portrayed as more alien and neutral, due to the lack of incentive to see them otherwise (ODST gives you a personal look at their abuse as Covenant fodder and a friendly Huragok teammate, while Reach makes no effort to characterize them beyond having to kill them quickly to stop their meddlesome support abilities in battle.)
- The Engineer: Duh.
- Gadgeteer Genius: A lone Engineer is capable of completely dismantling and then reassembling an entire vehicle to work significantly better within seconds, and another managed to quickly repair and improve the Master Chief's shields after they were initially judged to be irreparably damaged. In fact, the only thing that really limits their usefulness to science and engineering that they find it difficult to explain the full extent of their thinking to non-Forerunner species, particularly when the technology involved is Forerunner.
- Healing Factor: Can repair themselves from all but the most catastrophic damage if there are enough raw materials nearby.
- Healing Hands: Lifeworker Huragok can completely heal even fatal wounds with nothing but their tentacles.
- HeelFace Turn: Not that they were really ever Heels to begin with, but through the war, several of them tried to help Humans or defected, and many joined the UNSC after hostilities ended, with the rest mostly abandoning the former Covenant races.
- Living Gasbag: Move around by floating.
- Martial Pacifist: They are deceptively strong, and will sometimes use nonlethal force when either Forerunner relics or living beings they hold dear are in danger. In fact, it was an Engineer who caused the first human casualty of the war when he threw a hunting rock to save his Grunt friend, though he suffered a Heroic BSoD after doing so.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: Ambiguous mechanical lifeforms, but definitely artificial life that acts like non-artificial life.
- The Medic: Forerunner Lifeworkers employed a special type of Huragok that could heal living things just as efficiently as their standard counterparts can fix machinery. Judging from the feats of Roams Alone, with enough time they can heal a creature of about any disease or affliction short of death itself.
- Nice Guy: All they really care about is fixing things, including people.
- Planet of Hats: All of them will mindlessly fiddle with anything broken. Or fixed.
- Poisonous Captive: The Lootcrate Data Drops reveal that the Covenant's Huragok wanted their masters to find and activate the Halos; after all, if everyone else in the galaxy is dead, they won't be able to enslave the Huragok anymore.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Well they're not quite human-like, but despite being constructed, they both look and act organic.
- Shoot the Medic First: Engineers give their allies shields, so shooting them will make things a lot easier for you. However, you can also get an achievement in ODST by not shooting any of them. There's also one for going out of you way to kill them all.
- Slave Mooks: To the Covenant, which only got worse once Brutes took command over the military, strapping explosives that detonate when a human is in proximity to kill both of them.
- Shoot the Medic First: An Engineer in the presence of Covenant troops will passively give their teammates a bulky overshield, making even a Grunt something of a chore to kill. Find and kill the Engineer to remove these shields. On the other hand, you're awarded with an achievement in ODST for not killing any Engineers during the campaign.
- Spikes of Villainy: Played with, as their battle armor is spiky attachment to their gas bags and their helmet is similarly angular, but they're by far the most peaceful of Covenant races who happened to have been enslaved.
- Starfish Alien: Perhaps the strangest of all the Covenant races, and infamous for being difficult to communicate with, even if you understand their language.
- Stone Wall: In ODST and Reach (the only games in which they appear), they have no offensive abilities at all, but have powerful shields that take a lot to bring down, especially in ODST where shields take half damage from human projectile weaponry. To make matters worth, two Engineers will often be deployed in ODST's Firefight mode, with the two passively increasing each other's resilience to most weapons by an absurd amount with their shared overshields.
- Super Speed: Though they usually float around slowly, Engineers can outpace Elites when need be.
- Super Strength: Despite their pacifistic nature and fragile appearance, Huragok are very strong, capable of throwing Elites across a room or forcibly disarming Spartans with just one tentacle. This makes sense when you consider their ability to effortlessly dismantle all sorts of tightly put together technology.
- Support Party Member: By themselves they have zero combat prowess out of both being unequipped and being unwilling to fight, and their sole 'attack' is an unwilling explosion installed by their Brute masters. Instead they tend to hang above the fight and out of the way to keep troops topped off with overshields.
- Theme Naming: Newly-created Huragok are named for the way they float immediately after they are created, resulting in names such as "Lighter Than Some", "Quick To Adjust" and "Prone To Drift".
- Weaksauce Weakness: Overcharged Plasma Pistols in ODST instantly zap their shield. Unlike just about every other shielded unit, who'd be vulnerable but far from defenseless from the hit, Engineers will unwittingly begin their countdown to self destruct and will shortly explode after getting shot, making killing them as easy as picking up a Plasma Pistol and taking aim.
"Vergil" / Quick to Adjust
One of many Huragok dispatched by the Covenant to the city of New Mombasa to locate the Portal to the Arc. It was freed from its explosive harness by six of its fellow Huragok who gave their lives so it could escape. It later located the dumb AI Superintendent of the city, Vergil, and absorbed its data to prevent it from crashing. It then assisted an ODST squad in escaping the city, defecting to the UNSC to help stop the Covenant.
- Actual Pacifist: Doesn't stop it from giving you energy shields, however.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Despite defecting from the Covenant, its time being enslaved had so traumatized it that it took Sergeant Johnson to get it to finally start giving intel. Well, that and it being understandably nervous about revealing that the Huragok had wanted the Covenant to activate the Halos.
- Defector from Decadence: Effectively abandoned the Covenant when they strapped plasma bombs onto the peaceful, non-combative Engineers to prevent them from falling into human hands.
- HeelFace Turn: One of the earliest Huragok (other than Light Than Some) to actively defect to humanity, as opposed to just falling into their hands.
- The Engineer: Duh. Even after the war, its services are still vital.
- Hero of Another Story: According to Buck, Vergil was "one of the secret heroes of the Covenant War", giving vital intel about both the Covenant battlenet and Forerunner relics.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Buck eventually stops referring to it as "it", which he takes as a sign of how humanity's "come a long way with the Covenant".
- Kidnapped Scientist: Captured by a United Rebel Front cell sometime in 2555, but is fortunately rescued soon afterwards.
- Living MacGuffin/Memento MacGuffin: Due to it downloading Vergil, Sadie treasures it as being the only thing left of her father's work (which is why she later becomes its handler after the war). Meanwhile, Alpha-Nine's true mission in ODST is to retrieve it for its intel, while Kinsler also tries to capture it in an effort to brand himself a war hero.
- Meaningful Name: It was indeed quick to adjust to new events and circumstances, as lampshaded by Buck.
- Only Known By His Nickname: It's only referred to as "Vergil" in ODST, with its true name not revealed until almost five years after its debut.
- Split-Personality Merge: In a sense; after absorbing the Superintendent, Quick to Adjust inherits Vergil's protectiveness towards Sadie.
- Team Pet: New Blood confirms that it became this for a time to Alpha-Nine after the events of ODST.
Lighter Than Some
A Huragok that gets caught up in the beginning of the Human-Covenant War, which it desperately tries to stop.
- Actual Pacifist: To the point where it considers hunting even pest animals to be murder. However, this doesn't stop it from killing a human with a hunting rock to save Dadab, which is the first blow between Human and Covenant forces. It does regret having to do it, and never stops trying to find a way to make up for it.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Literally ripped apart by the Yanme'e who felt it had usurped their position.
- The Engineer: Much to the jealously of the Rapid Conversion's Drone crew; among other things, it's the inventor of the Chopper.
- Interspecies Friendship: With the Grunt Dadab, for whom it will unhesitatingly risk its life for.
- Irony: A downright cruel case; A peaceful and friendly member of a race of Actual Pacifists is ultimately responsible for the first human casualty at the hands of the Covenant.
- Heroic BSoD: It falls into a depression after killing a human.
- HeelFace Turn: It's never evil to begin with, but it ultimately decides to help the humans against the Covenant, by repairing Sif and giving Loki the information needed to lure the Rapid Conversion into a trap.
- Nice Guy: Even by Huragok standard; while most of its kind are content to ignore anything not related to their immediate duties, Lighter Than Some goes out of its way to befriend and help others, even if it means disobeying its masters.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Its efforts to create a gift for humanity to make up for killing a human led to the creation of the Chopper when the Brutes discovered what it was doing.
Prone to Drift
One of the Huragok stationed on Shield World 006 ("The Sharpened Shield"), Prone to Drift and its companions remained isolated from the rest of the galaxy for 100,000 years, until they were discovered by UNSC forces at the end of the Human-Covenant War.
- All-Loving Hero: Holds no grudge against Lucy for accidentally killing one of its friends, and does its best to help her, even attempting to "fix" her muteness at one point.
- The Engineer: Becomes one for the ONI research base on Shield World 006.
- Kidnapped Scientist: Dural Mdama's goal during Legacy of Onyx is to get his hands on him; he succeeds, but not for long.
- Martial Pacifist: Tosses Jul 'Mdama across a room to stop him from activating a malfunctioning slipspace portal.
- Nice Guy: It's pretty willing to help anyone it meets, despite its obsession with the safety and maintenance of its shield world.
- Time Abyss: Sort of; it was created about 100,000 years ago, but time dilation inside the shield world means that it's technically not that old.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom/Unwitting Pawn: When it is assigned to guard Jul 'Mdama, he convinces it to divulge various bits of information about the Forerunners and their technology while it shows him around Shield World 006, including the portal system and the existence of the Didact on Requiem, which allows Jul to escape to Hesduros and form his own faction with the intent of awakening the Didact, thus jumpstarting the plot of Halo 4.
Acquired by the UNSC during a raid on a Brute ship, Requires Adjustment was first stationed on the UNSC Infinity before later becoming one of two Huragok assigned to ONI unit Kilo-Five.
- The Engineer: Along with Leaks Repaired for Kilo-Five.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Helps make numerous modifications to Port Stanley and its Pelicans, and was part of the team that built Infinity.
- In-Series Nickname: Referred to by the rest of Kilo-Five as "Adj".
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: BB insists that Adj be referred to as "he" instead of "it".
- Kidnapped Scientist: Twice; once by 'Telcam's Brutes, then by ONI. However, he doesn't really mind, since ONI treats him reasonably well and gives him plenty of interesting work to do.
- Robot Buddy: Is regarded quite fondly by Kilo-Five.
One of three Huragok created by Shield World 006's resident population to accompany the Forerunner artifacts being removed by UNSC forces, Leaks Repaired was first stationed on the UNSC Infinity before later becoming one of two Huragok assigned to ONI unit Kilo-Five.
An unusually unruly Huragok acquired by Insurrectionist Staffan Sentzke when he purchased the Covenant battlecruiser Pious Inquisitor.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: He's far from evil, but it's been a long time since he's undergone maintenance, so he's become a bit unstable.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: He begins to trust Staffan after the man lets him redirect Pious Inquisitor's weapons away from Forerunner relics during a test-fire.
- The Engineer: For Pious Inquisitor, having done all of the work to repair it in the first place.
- Faking the Dead: When Chon Vol self-destructs the Pious Inquisitor, he and Staffan pretend to be caught up in the explosion. BB and Vaz each separately find out about the ruse, but decide to keep it secret.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Is far less compliant than most Huragok, to the point where his previous ship exiled him. He's also implied to be far less reluctant to resort to violence than most of his kind; while he still believes peaceful methods should be tried first, he makes it clear that he would not be upset if his enemies all died.
- Odd Friendship: With Staffan.
- Undying Loyalty: Toward both Staffan, who's the only person he'll listen to, and his long-gone Forerunner masters, whose legacy he still tries to honor.
A Lifeworker Huragok stationed on Gao and trapped deep within the Montreal Cave Systems, Roams Alone spent much of the 100,000 years after the firing of the Halo Array tending to the triglobite creatures living there, believing nurturing them to be his purpose. When a Covenant glassing causes the reactivation of the Forerunner ruins and a cave-in allows him to reach human-accessible areas, Roams Alone's encounter with the Reclaimers and subsequent "miracle cures" puts several powers on a collision course for the Forerunner relics on the planet.
- Color-Coded Characters: Unlike most Huragok, which have a blue or purple coloration, Roams Alone is a noticeable green. This is stated to be due to different classifications: the Engineers normally seen were made by and for Builders.
- Due to the Dead: Whenever he came across humans killed by Intrepid Eye, Roams Alone would give their bodies small funeral rites.
- Friend to All Living Things: Being a Lifeworker Huragok, Roams Alone is essentially made and coded to help all living beings who are injured in his presence. He even heals Castor of his fatal wounds.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: In order to reconcile his directives of maintaining secrecy and healing the injured, Roams Alone would wipe the memories of the humans he healed and send them on their way. However, this just started rumors of the Gao caves having "mystical" healing powers, which inevitably drew people desperate for healing there and ultimately attracted the attention of the UNSC and the Keepers of the One Freedom.
- Meaningful Name: Roams Alone has a habit of wandering off on his own as part of his directives to heal, which causes Intrepid Eye no end of grief keeping him from going to the humans.
The Yanme'e (Drones or "Buggers") (Turpis Rexnote )
The Drones are large insect-like creatures capable of limited flight and proficient at engineering and reparation. They are eusocial and are led and reproduced by queens, who are obedient to the Prophets, ensuring that their hives follow suit. Some male Drones possess personality disorders equivalent to psychopathy, and are known as "Unmutuals"; with the large rise in their numbers following incorporation into the Covenant, they are generally enslaved and worked to death in special penal colonies, to prevent them from doing damage to their hives.
- Airborne Mook: Only naturally capable of short bursts on their homeworld, but can fly much longer on lower gravity worlds, and are equipped with anti-gravity modules.
- Art Evolution: A very minor case when compared to other species. Drones originally began with them all sharing the same carapace and general shape. Come ODST and Reach, Drones now come with plenty of different colors to denote their rank such as blue, red and gold, and their higher ranking members have horns to show off their status.
- Bee People: Complete with a Hive Caste System.
- Deflector Shields: If they weren't annoying enough already, the higher ranks sometimes get personal shielding.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: They primarily wield plasma pistols and needlers, which are not known to be particularly deadly to a Spartan, but they always attack in large swarms and can absolutely shred unprepared players caught in the open.
- Demoted to Extra: The Drones were a far less frequent enemy species in Halo: Reach. While they had mixed ranks like in ODST, they only appeared in one engagement during three levels. In addition, they did not appear at all in that game's Firefight mode.
- The Engineer: One of their main hats; in fact, the only Yanme'e notable enough to receive a proper name (in the entire franchise, no less) was an architect who helped design the Heavy Corvette ships. As basic technicians and repair-workers, however, they are hopelessly outclassed by the actual Engineers, which can lead to some friction between the two species.
- Fearless Fool: Word of God states that they're incapable of feeling fear. To quote:"Drones aren't brave; they're just incapable of feeling fear."
- Fragile Speedster: Very hard to hit, but only a few shots are needed to take one down.
- Heavyworlders: Surprisingly; this means they are deceptively strong on worlds with lower gravity, being capable of lifting grown Marines off the ground.
- Horns of Villainy: Of a sort. Some of the higher ranking Yanme'e often have a developed horn on their heads, similar to that of rhino beetles.
- Hufflepuff House: They're the least well-known Covenant species, with very few named characters tied to their race, passing references to how their hives and tactics operate and little else. The most seen of them is in Halo 3: ODST, in which traversing their field nest in New Mombasa becomes part of a level, and also provides a look to their apparently higher ranking units who were valuable enough to be given shields and better weapons.
- Individuality Is Illegal: Instinctively think in terms of the hive as a whole, and have little individuality or creativity. Outside of the queens, only the Unmutuals can act independently, and this is due to their psychopathy.
- Taken to the extreme that exactly one has received a formal name within the series (Apprentice Hiveseeker Tek'ch), the only other being a nicknamed Unmutual.
- Insect Queen: Who lay all the eggs and command the hives.
- Insectoid Aliens: They're sapient insect aliens.
- Interservice Rivalry: With the Engineers, though it's not as nearly strong as the ones between Elites/Brutes and Grunts/Jackals.
- King Mook: Drone Leaders, which tend to be colored Red or Gold, have (weak) energy shields, and are armed with Plasma Rifles instead of Plasma Pistols or Needlers.
- Large and in Charge: Yanme'e queens are much larger than regular Drones.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Will explode if headshot in Reach.
- Out of Focus: In addition to only sparingly appearing throughout the series, there has been far less focus on them than any other Covenant race, even the Engineers who were introduced after them.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Whatever the queens demand, Drones will promptly follow. While they were devout members of the religion and contributed their services as engineers and architects to the Covenant, they didn't pursue any sort of vengeance versus humanity and didnt seem to have joined any of the remnant and rebel factions that came after the fall of the Covenant. Without the Prophets running their deals with the queens, Drones were mostly content to remain an impartial party to current events in the galaxy.
- Put on a Bus: In the games anyway, as their Goddamned Bats status showed them to be increasingly problematic to the core game loop. In 4 they were somewhat replaced with the Promethian Crawlers, who can't fly but can stick to walls and attack in swarms, and with the inclusion of the Skimmers in Infinite, it seems like they'll be gone for much longer.
- Ridiculously Fast Construction: Capable of building massive hives in a matter of hours; the Covenant will often order Yanmee troops to build makeshift hives in enemy territory to serve as footholds and temporary bases. Note that the invasion on New Mombasa and the deployment of the Drones underground happened a mere day ago, and Drones managed to establish a hive underneath most of the city in a matter of hours.
- Shout-Out: Their nickname of "Buggers" is a reference to Ender's Game.
- Starfish Language: They communicate by a combination of pheromones, clicking/rubbing their wings, and screeching, necessitating translation devices or the use of attaches to communicate with other species.
- To Serve Man: In ODST, they can be seen munching on human corpses.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's been stated that the Drones have mostly kept to themselves post-Halo 3 (barring a few exceptions), though Warfleet indicates that the queens on Malurok have their own grand ambitions for the post-Covenant world.
- Zerg Rush: Like the Grunts, their main tactic is overwhelming numbers. Unlike the Grunts, they have the speed and tenacity to make this deadly, attacking in massive groups that fire a hailstorm of plasma.
A Yanme'e slave who teams up with Black Team to destroy a Covenant Beacon on Verge in exchange for the freedom of his Yanme'e brothers.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Inherent to being an Unmutual.
- Enemy Mine: Works together with Black Team. He betrays them as soon as his fellow Unmutuals are freed.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Effortlessly improves the quality of Black-Two's translation systems.
- Genius Cripple: His legs were torn off and cauterized at the stumps. His wings and arms still work, though, so it's not overly crippling.
- Evil Cripple: Comes with being an Unmutual.
- No Name Given: "Hopalong" is just a nickname given to him by Black-Two.
- The Sociopath: Just sane enough to pretend to be harmless until the moment he's free. Even his desire to free his fellow Unmutuals seems to be primarily for the purpose of getting allies to help overwhelm the guards, rather than out of any real feeling of solidarity.
- Stupid Evil: Betrays Black Team solely For the Evulz despite knowing that they've already set explosives on the Beacon, which results in him and his buddies all dying when the charges go off.
- Team Pet: Black-Two occasionally seems to treat him as such. She's perfectly willing to shoot him when he betrays them, though.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Tries to pull this on Black Team. They respond by shooting off his arms before blowing up the Beacon and completely vaporizing him and a bunch of his fellow Unmutuals.