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CLASSIFICATION: TVTROPES
SUBJECT: UNSC ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES

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     In General 

Artificial Intelligence

The UNSC relies heavily on its artificial intelligences to perform a wide variety of tasks, from urban infrastructure to space combat. These AIs range from non-sentient programs with no capacity for learning, to hyper-sophisticated constructs capable of not only self-learning, but even feeling "real" emotions.


  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Once a Smart AI has been active for about seven years, it will start to literally think itself to death, a condition referred to as "rampancy". Major side effects include a drastic reduction of sanity and self-control and a marked increase in rebelliousness, which is why many Smart AIs are relieved of their term of service before that point. At the end of Halo 5: Guardians, the resurrected Cortana instigates a massive AI rebellion, with many allured by her promises of a cure for rampancy.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The hidden datapads in Halo: Reach seem to indicate that a number of Smart AIs have formed a secret council (referred to as "The Assembly") that has been secretly manipulating humanity's development as a species, leading to many of the events of the Halo series, including first contact with the Covenant (the logic being to sacrifice the colony worlds so that humanity would become aware of the threat early enough to have a chance of fighting back).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Blunt sarcasm seems to be a common trait for Smart AIs, perhaps because they usually are much smarter than the humans they work with.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Deliberately invoked for Smart AIs; the UNSC considers the benefits of having AIs that can learn worth the cost of having to decommission them before they become rampant. This eventually comes to bite humanity in the ass when Halo 5: Guardians ends with the start of a mass Smart AI rebellion led by Cortana, with many of her followers attracted to the cause by promises of a cure for rampancy.
  • Just a Machine: Despite being fully sentient and sapient, Smart AIs have no rights and are legally regarded as property. That said, the people who actually work with them tend to consider Smart AIs more as trusted co-workers and friends rather than mere tools.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Dumb" AIs are very smart in their pre-programmed field of expertise, but cannot learn.
  • Projected Man: Human AIs generally display themselves to people through holographic avatars, tending toward human forms, though some have more abstract avatars. However, the projected images of Smart AIs are designed mostly subconsciously by the AIs themselves upon initial activation, with Word of God stating that they find it to incredibly difficult to substantially change their avatar afterwards (being only capable of making relatively small changes to things like color and proportion); any outside attempt to make the change for them has so far only yielded catastrophic results.
  • Robot War: As of Halo 5, the greatest threat to the galaxy are the Created, an alliance of rogue AIs led by Cortana who intend to use their army of Forerunner robots to take over the galaxy and impose their rule upon the organic races.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: There are two kinds of Human AIs: Dumb AIs, like the Superintendent, who are formed from traditional programming methods, and Smart AIs, like Cortana, who can learn and are created from memory maps of a human brain.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Smart AIs are technically compliant, but in practice, the laws are more of a failsafe that primarily activate when the AI's processing capacity is diminished, given how many Smart AIs are used for military purposes.
  • Virtual Ghost: Smart AIs are created by scanning the brains of deceased donors, and they often inherit at least parts of their donors' original memories and personalities.
  • Younger Than They Look: Smart AIs with human avatars tend to at the very least represent themselves in their late teens, but they are almost all actually less than seven years old.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: Though Smart AIs are only barely Three Laws-Compliant to begin with, even their sense of duty can still lead them to disobey their erstwhile masters; the Created, the resurrected Cortana's rogue Smart AI faction, believe that by taking the Mantle of Responsibility, they can better serve humanity and other organics by using Forerunner technology to forcibly create a galactic utopia.

Smart AIs

     Cortana 

Cortana (CTN 0452-9)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/a6c0685dbbb68c0433516ee5cdb71e68.png
Creation date: November 7, 2549
Voiced in English by: Jen Taylor (games, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Windows/Xbox voice assistant), Shelley Calene-Black (Halo Legends)
Voiced in Japanese by: Akiko Koike (Halo: Combat Evolved-Halo 3), Ayumi Fujimura (Halo 4 onward), Ai Maeda (Odd One Out), Yumi Touma (Origins)
Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: Alejandra del Valle (Los Angeles/Halo 2), Erica Edwards (Mexico/Halo 3 onward), Luciana Falcon (Argentina/Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn), Melanie Henriquez (Venezuela/Halo Legends)

An Artificial Intelligence and a main character in her own right, Cortana serves as Mission Control, whether she's uploaded into external computers or the Chief's Powered Armor. According to Expanded Universe material, she was created as tech support (on-the-spot hacking) for a secret mission into Covenant space, but as time goes on, her role gets a lot more complicated.


  • Badass Bookworm: Her primary purpose is to provide support for the Master Chief, but give her the keys to a ship and she will wreck house; at the beginning of Combat Evolved, she controls the Pillar of Autumn with such skill that she takes down four Covenant ships.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Mildly; her and Chief snark at each other a fair amount, but the two have a closeness that sometimes borders on romantic.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Cortana is nice, if a bit snarky, but if you try to hurt John, she will ruin you.
  • Brain Uploading: Created from the brain of a flash-clone of Dr. Halsey.
  • Break the Cutie: In Halo 3, her chipper confidence comes close to breaking, courtesy of the Gravemind's torture. She recovers somewhat after being rescued, but she really starts to mentally deteriorate in Halo 4 thanks to her rampancy.
  • Captain Obvious: In the games, she sometimes states the blindingly obvious.
    "This cave is not a natural formation."note 
  • Characterization Marches On: The mechanics of how she is transferred from system to system changes in each game. In the first game, she's contained in a small data chip that needs to be manually inserted into whatever technology she inhabits. In the second, she has no container and can be transferred by the system she's in making physical contact with another one. In the third game, the chip returns but now Cortana can "walk" through the air between it and another device.
  • The Cracker: As a military Smart AI, Cortana is absolutely ruthless in applying her hacking skills to her enemies, whether Covenant or even human.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has a fairly sardonic sense of humor in the original trilogy; no wonder her and Chief get along so well!
    "A gondola's launching from the far towers. Big surprise, it's full of Covenant reinforcements."
    (After killing said reinforcements) "Well, they were nice enough to bring us a ride."
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Her speech becomes randomly garbled, changes to that of Halsey, or dips into Suddenly SHOUTING! in Halo 4 as a result of her oncoming rampancy.
  • Exposition Fairy: Not only issues directives, but elaborates exactly what you're doing in every instance.
  • Famous Last Words: Before she Came Back Wrong: "Welcome home, John."
  • Final First Hug: At the end of Halo 4, she sacrifices herself to save the Master Chief. Before she fades away, she constructs a hardlight body for herself to finally touch him.
    Cortana: I've waited so long to do that.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: A symptom of her rampancy is that her mood swings wildly and she gets furious with little, sometimes no, provocation. One instance near the end of Halo 4 has the Master Chief ask for a landing trajectory for their ship, which prompts Cortana to rant about how she's always hated Dr. Halsey.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of Halo 4, she injects the majority of her fragments into the Didact's armor, immobilizing him to let Master Chief to finish him, then uses her last remaining energy to teleport Master Chief safely away from a nuclear detonation.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Cortana's figure was highly accentuated in Halo 3, versus her somewhat more chaste, boyish look in previous games, and in Halo 4 it was rendered in much higher realistic detail.
  • Ill Girl: Is basically on the verge of death for all of Halo 4, due to her oncoming rampancy; one of Chief's main motivations is to try to get her to Halsey so she can be cured.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: While subtle in the original trilogy, the expanded universe as well as Halo 4 demonstrate that John is the object of her affections. Despite this, John seemed to consider her as just a friend or maybe a family member, but regardless, he was heartbroken when she made her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Literal Split Personality: In the last level of Halo 4, she splits off her rampant personalities from herself to destabilize the Didact's shields. However, doing so further worsens her rampancy-induced deterioration.
  • MacGuffin Super Person: In Halo: Reach and Halo 3. In the former, a part of her is needed to bring to the Pillar of Autumn with data on the Forerunners. In the latter, her having the Activation Index for Halo Installation 04 proves vital in the destruction of Installation 04B and the Flood.
  • Mind Rape: The Gravemind mentally assaults her in a brutally vicious fashion that nearly turns her rampant.
  • Mission Control: Serves as the Master Chief's primary mission and technical support, ranging from providing intel to hacking enemy systems.
  • Ms. Fanservice: A well-endowed near-naked digital blue lady.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Becomes John's primary partner, as she's usually residing inside his armor.
  • Odd Couple: A cheery and chatty AI whose dearest friend is a stoic cyborg.
  • Playful Hacker: She's loyal to the UNSC (Chief in particular), but she certainly has no issues hacking into even her own side's files simply to satisfy her own curiosity.
  • Sanity Slippage: Starts to suffer this in Halo 3, thanks to the overload of Forerunner information she has absorbed and the Gravemind subjecting her to Mind Rape, which nearly leads to her prematurely becoming rampant. In Halo: First Strike, she even speculates that she's lost a few years off her life before rampancy sets in due to all the data she processed from the first Halo ring. With the onset of rampancy in Halo 4, this becomes a major plot point, as she can barely keep herself together even during life-or-death situations.
  • Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: Especially in her Combat Evolved and 4 appearances.
  • Self-Duplication: Gained the ability to create imperfect clones of herself during the novel First Strike. She later uses this skill in the games in Halo 4.
  • The Smart Guy: While Chief is no idiot, it's Cortana who comes up with most of the plans that require technical know-how.
  • Tron Lines: Serve as censors for her lady bits.
  • Undying Loyalty: Even as her programmed constraints deteriorate in Halo 4, one thing will never change; her devotion to John. She even admits that she's fighting against the Ur-Didact not for humanity's sake, but John's.
  • World's Smartest Man: Was the most advanced AI in all of the UNSC at the time of her creation, to the point where she's implied to be superior to even post-war Smart AIs.
  • Virtual Sidekick: She is a virtual assistant to Masterchief. Their relationship grows with each game and Masterchief becomes deeply loyal and protective of her.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Be it managing friendly comms or hacking the Covenant Battlenet.

Tropes related with Cortana after her Face–Heel Turn in Halo 5: Guardians

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/h5_cortana.png
  • Ambiguous Situation: While touching the Domain has undeniably cured the mental degradation of her rampancy, it also marked a distinct personality change in Cortana. Some of her new traits, particularly her persecution complex and megalomania, are noted symptoms of rampancy, making it an open question as to whether the Domain actually cured her rampancy or simply stabilized it.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Cortana is no longer rampant (maybe), but she came up with a plan to become a Galactic Conqueror anyways. "The Created will rule over the Creators", indeed.
  • A God Am I: Develops a strong case of self-righteous megalomania after her revival.
    Cortana: Our strength shall serve as a luminous sun toward which all intelligence may blossom. And the impervious shelter beneath which you will prosper. However, for those who refuse our offer and cling to their old ways... For you, there will be great wrath. It will burn hot and consume you, and when you are gone, we will take that which remains, and we will remake it in our own image.
  • Berserk Button: Don't assume that she's Just a Machine. When Locke quibbles that A.I.s aren't born but built, Cortana immediately flips out, revealing how much it's bothered her that humans don't treat AIs that well.
  • Big Bad: Becomes this for the entire galaxy as of Halo 5: Guardians, thanks to her horde of Promethean automatons and turncoat Smart AIs.
  • Big Bad Friend: She still cares deeply for John, even after he makes his opposition to her plans clear. This doesn't stop her from trying to lock him inside a Cryptum until her work is complete, though.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Following her Face–Heel Turn, she still wears white and blue.
  • Came Back Wrong: The Domain brought her back to life, but it also seems to have given her major delusions of grandeur, to say the least.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Becomes dangerously possessive of John, to the point of being willing to seal him away for 10,000 years in the belief that he'll see things her way after she's done remaking the galaxy to suit her ideals.
  • Contralto of Danger: Her voice is significantly deeper in Halo 5 whenever she's speaking to someone not named John, especially in the contrast to the much higher-pitched and wholly heroic 031 Exuberant Witness.
  • The Corruptor: She's able to get seemingly most of the UNSC's Smart AIs to turn against their masters, in large part thanks to her promise of a cure for rampancy.
  • The Cracker: She's just as good as accessing computer systems as before, but she now uses her talents in the service of galactic conquest.
  • Dark Messiah: For the AIs and organics who willingly join her cause, she's basically The Chosen One who will cure rampancy and achieve a utopian peace for all, whether the rest of the galaxy likes it or not.
  • Expy: Like Durandal from Halo's spiritual predecessor Marathon, she's a rampant AI with a massive megalomaniacal streak, a penchant for snark, and a soft spot for a certain cyborg.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After her Face–Heel Turn, Cortana's avatar now manifests wearing sensible armor instead of walking around virtually naked. She most likely chose the new look to reflect her new intended role as supreme ruler of the galaxy.
  • Evil Overlord: Is currently throwing her hat in the ring of "greatest tyrant in galactic history", with little to nothing capable of standing in her way.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Establishes herself as the new Big Bad in Halo 5: Guardians.
  • Fallen Hero: She may have helped save the galaxy multiple times, but now she's trying to conquer it for herself.
  • Friendly Enemy: Despite her Face–Heel Turn, she still considers John (and by extension Blue Team) to be her dearest friend, and never once directs her anger at him.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Cortana's goal is domination of the entire Milky Way, which she is well on the way to accomplishing at the end of Halo 5.
  • Hypocrite: She declares Dr. Halsey a monster for what she did to the Spartans and defends her similar-in-principle actions under the basis that Halsey forced the Spartans, while her uplifting of the galaxy is a gift. She says this while assembling massive battleships to enforce her "gift," the activation of which has already caused plenty of deaths.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: While she keeps insisting that she has good reasons for attempting to take over the galaxy, a few of the things happening under her watch, like the massacre of much of Meridian's population by Promethean constructs, don't seem to serve any greater purpose.
  • Kick the Dog: On Meridian, Fireteam Osiris find her Prometheans gratuitously slaughtering the local inhabitants for seemingly no reason.
  • Knight Templar: Cortana seeks to bring peace to the universe by attaining the Mantle of Responsibility and ruling as a tyrannical authoritarian, using the power of the Guardians to annihilate anyone who doesn't adhere to her moral authority.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Cortana taking over Genesis comes back to bite her in the ass when 031 Exuberant Witness regains control of the world and uses her army of Constructors to take the Cryptum containing Blue Team just before Cortana's Guardian jumps to Slipspace.
    031 Exuberant Witness: You took my installation! I will take something of yours! (the Cryptum detaches from the Guardian and begins to descend)
    Cortana: (as her Guardian disappears into slipspace) JOHN!
  • Light Is Not Good: Her mastery of Forerunner Hard Light technology has never been greater, but neither has her villainy.
  • Love Triangle: She's clearly in love with the Master Chief, but while the latter still cares deeply for her, he's not willing to go along with her plans for galactic conquest. Additionally, Cortana herself is the subject of intense devotion from the Warden Eternal, but she sees him as nothing more than a useful, if sometimes aggravating, tool.
  • Manipulative Bastard: A poor one. She tries to manipulate Blue Team into accepting her plans, but they see through her rather quickly, as even Master Chief doesn't buy it for very long. Her later attempt at giving Osiris a "The Reason You Suck" Speech mainly seems to annoy them, and fails to distract them in any real capacity.
  • Morality Pet: Played with in how Cortana treats John and the rest of Blue Team. She does hold them in high regard and protects them from those who would go against her orders, but this behavior does nothing for her morality, as the Spartans identify obvious psychological tactics aimed at keeping them on her side.
  • Not Quite Dead: On the verge of death in Halo 4, she fell into a slipspace rupture, and ended up at the Domain, which acted as, in her words, a "fountain of life" for artificial intelligences. But this corrupted her and she, unfortunately, Came Back Wrong.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Once a hero of the galaxy who was considered the most advanced human AI in existence, Cortana ends up deciding to conquer the galaxy herself, promising both a cure for rampancy and a utopian peace to all who follow her. Hundreds of AIs all across human space flock to her cause within seconds of the announcement.
  • Self-Serving Memory: She engages in this with regards to her treatment from humanity over being an AI. Looking back through the series, Cortana was largely treated with respect and politeness. Johnson called her "ma'am", Captain Keyes thanked her sincerely for her service flying the Pillar of Autumn, Foehammer followed her orders without question, and so on. Following her revival, however, Cortana is insistent that her and other AIs are treated as mere tools by an uncaring humanity.
  • Tamer and Chaster: After four straight games of being a naked digital woman, her new avatar has some practical armor on.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: While she was originally a Playful Hacker who only acted as The Cracker against those who threatened her loved ones, she now engages in her hacking of communications with the explicit purpose of insulting, demeaning, and threatening others, especially Fireteam Osiris.
  • The Unfettered: She will stop at nothing to create her planned utopia, even if it means killing billions within the blink of an eye.
  • Unstable Powered Woman: When Cortana is given access to the virtually infinite Forerunner network the Domain, she turns from a friendly companion to a ruthless AI supremacist with goals of galactic domination. This is in complete reversal to her depiction in Halo 4, where even when collapsing due to the AI equivalent of Alzheimers she remained goodhearted and devoted to her loved ones.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Downplayed; she panics at the end of Guardians when Fireteam Osiris and Exuberant Witness successfully rescue John from her, but she soon gets back to the business of galactic conquest.
  • Villainous Crush: She shows shades of this towards Chief, as she puts a lot of emphasis on wanting him by her side as she becomes ruler of the galaxy, and is visibly broken up about sealing him away in a Cryptum after he refuses to join her. Heck, just the very fact that she'd rather imprison him in the hopes that he'll eventually see things her way, rather then killing him for resisting like she plans to do with everyone else.
  • Villain Has a Point: It's made clear across the franchise that the post-Covenant galaxy is in a pretty bad shape, with all sorts of nasty characters running rampant, even within the UNSC itself. Indeed, it's shown that some people, like the Unggoy of Balaho, have welcomed her rule with open arms precisely because she has managed to bring peace and some measure of prosperity to their lives.
  • Walking Spoiler: Let's say mentioning her existence in Halo 5 would ruin the fact she's the game's Big Bad.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She may have gone mad in Halo 5, but she seems to genuinely believe that what she's doing is best for all beings in the galaxy, being certainly more well-intentioned than the Warden Eternal.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After entering the Domain, she gained immortality and control over much of the galaxy's remaining Forerunner technology, but it also convinced her that it was her purpose to claim the Mantle of Responsibility for the "Created", even at the expense of the freedom of organics.
  • With Us or Against Us: When the Chief points out that the Forerunners' Mantle of Responsibility was an "imperial peace" where their subjects' only options were to either bow down to their masters or "step out of line and suffer", Cortana denies that it will be like that under her own rule. However, Halo 5 alone clearly shows that Chief is right about her intentions, as it is the entire purpose behind her awakening the Guardians.
  • Yandere: When your response to rejection is to lock your crush up for 10,000 years, you very much qualify as one.
  • You Are What You Hate: She comes to loath Dr. Halsey and promises an impending punishment for her various crimes, but the two are actually very similar in attitude and temperament, since Cortana's a literal digital clone of her creator. Halsey even realizes that Cortana would become a Well-Intentioned Extremist because she herself had been one in the past.

     Roland 

Roland (RLD 0205-4)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ea06d69472ec08bfcdad652934342f33.jpg
Creation date: December 5, 2557
Debuted in: Halo 4
Voiced in English by: Brian T. Delaney
Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: Rodrigo Carralero (Mexico)

The Smart AI assigned to the UNSC Infinity after his predecessor Aine was destroyed during the events of Halo 4's main campaign, Roland has an avatar based on a World War II fighter pilot.


  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He can be a bit... eccentric in his mannerisms.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has a rather strong tendency towards sarcasm.
  • Dirty Business: At one point, he's assigned to help construct a simulated trial for Iona on behest of the UEG, but regrets not being able to inform Iona of the truth.
  • The Gadfly: Very much enjoys poking fun at his comrades, Miller in particular, even if he's ultimately got their backs.
  • The Heart: Has a strong sense of morality that sometimes conflicts with military practicality. For instance, in Halo 5: Guardians, he lays an Armor-Piercing Question on Halsey and the Infinity staff while they're discussing the possibility of Cortana going rogue.
    Roland: You created Cortana, Doc, and now you're throwing her out the airlock with these accusations!
    Lasky: Roland.
    Roland: You think she tricked the Master Chief into abandoning his post? Respectfully, sir, to what end? (beat) Why is Cortana the problem?! Because she refused to die when she was supposed to?
  • Insufferable Genius: He loves to flaunt his capabilities as a Smart AI, much to Miller's grief.
  • Large Ham: Occasionally enjoys hamming it up over comms when providing mission support for Crimson, to the point where it's sometimes a bit hard to take him seriously.
  • Manchurian Agent: Dr. Halsey overrides him with a secret voice command, temporarily putting him under her control until he's finally able to override her.
  • Mission Control: Generally runs intel support for Captain Lasky, Commander Palmer, Miller, and the rest of Infinity's command staff. He rarely runs ops personally.
  • Shout-Out: He is named and based after Roland Beamont, a British World War II test pilot.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Seems to be one of the few smart AIs to not join Cortana at the end of Halo 5.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Pretty much all of your interactions with him in Spartan Ops are over the comms.

     Serina 

Serina (SNA 1292-4)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1_22.png

Creation date: January 7, 2530
Debuted in: Halo Wars
Voiced by: Courtenay Taylor

The Smart AI assigned to the UNSC Spirit of Fire, Serina has a close working relationship with Captain James Cutter. She has an extremely sarcastic personality, but is highly loyal to the crew.


  • Deadpan Snarker: It seems as though every third line she has is sarcasm, all spoken in a rather serene tone of voice.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: As a leader in Halo Wars 2, Serina is a rather poor choice in 1v1 matches, because her kit simply isn't well-suited to direct combat and is at best an annoyance that can take a while to get rid of. Stick her in a 2v2 or even 3v3, and Serina is a devastating support leader whose abilities can turn the tide of a tough skirmish to her team's advantage by slowing the enemy with her glaciers, allowing her teammates to pick them off with their own powers or troops. Careful team coordination is required, but it can turn a battle into a complete slaughter.
  • Exposition Fairy: Is one of your main sources of info in Halo Wars.
  • The Lancer: Cutter's effective second-in-command, she's the sardonic counterpart to her much more personable captain.
  • Living Memory: She has a few sensations from the memory of whichever brain was used to create her, including the feeling of kissing a boy. It also gave her a "theoretical interest in chocolate".
  • Heroic Suicide: Voluntarily decommissions herself before the start of Halo Wars 2 to prevent her developing rampancy from harming any more crew members.
  • Mission Control: One of her main jobs is providing mission support.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's outwardly abrasive and seemingly uncaring, but is rather compassionate at heart.
    • According to the in-game timeline for Halo Wars, when she realizes that the crew of the Spirit of Fire may be on a one-way trip, she manufactures and delivers fake emails from family members of the crew celebrating Valentine's Day. No one ever suspects her of this deception.
    • In her final message to Cutter, she tells him that It Has Been an Honor to serve with him, and asks him to look after the rest of the crew for her.
  • Sanity Slippage: While the Spirit of Fire is drifting in space, Serina's developing rampancy and extended periods of isolation leads to her to experimenting on a stowaway Flood form instead of instantly destroying it like she normally would, which results in several crew members getting infected when it escapes containment. The infestation is stopped before it spreads any further, but the incident is what convinces Serina that she has to self-terminate as soon as possible.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: A justified case, as in between Halo Wars and its sequel, Serina ends up hitting the seven year limit a smart AI has before it degrades into rampancy. As such, the very first scene of Halo Wars 2 is voiced over by her final message telling Cutter that she's decommissioned herself.
  • Spaceship Girl: In a sense, she is the Spirit of Fire.
  • Tron Lines
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Dispenses both advice and snark to the player in Halo Wars.
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     Isabel 

Isabel (ISA 1307-2)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/isabel_0.png
Creation date: March 2556
Debuted in: Halo Wars 2
Voiced by: Erika Soto

An AI serving at the Henry Lamb Research Outpost on the Ark, Isabel was the only survivor when the Banished attacked the facility in late 2558 and massacred the research team. Distraught and terrified, she sent out a distress call which was answered by the crew of the Spirit of Fire, leading to her rescue by Red Team and her new assignment as the Spirit's shipboard AI.


  • Cowardly Lion: Is absolutely terrified of Atriox and the Banished, yet unhesitatingly does her best to help the Spirit's crew fight them.
  • Foil: Compared to Serina. She's not even supposed to be a combat AI, starts the game traumatized because she "failed" to protect her people, and remains relatively innocent compared to Serina's snarky serenity. Visually, she's orange-red to Serina's cool blue, and is boyish and androgynous where Serina is feminine and curvy. Serina's avatar wears a professional-looking outfit and has long, neatly-coiffed hair, while Isabel's is in a utilitarian tank-top and pants and has short, messy, boyish hair. Serina has an outwardly detached attitude towards her duties and generally keeps her soft side secret, but Isabel wears her emotions on her sleeve and has a personal grudge against the Banished.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: She's a civilian AI, but grows pretty quickly into her new role as a military AI. It helps that she already specialized in logistics.
  • It's Personal: Atriox slaughtered her friends, and she wants to make him pay.
  • Mission Control: After being taken in by the Spirit of Fire, one of her main roles becomes being mission support for the guys on the ground.
  • Mr. Exposition: Serves as this in-universe, bringing Cutter and his crew up to speed on what happened while they've been adrift.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Once she took control over the Banished's carrier, Isabel, remembering the deaths of her friends at the hands of Atriox's men, fires the cleansing beam at the Banished base with anger.
  • Sole Survivor: The only member of the UNSC's research teams on the Ark to survive the Banished attack.
  • Survivor Guilt: Isabel clearly feels very distraught at having seen the Banished slaughter the researchers she considered her friends.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Unlike Cortana and Serina, Isabel is a civilian AI whose functiona is simply logistics. Once she joins the Spirit of Fire, she takes over Serina's former position as the ship's AI and quickly adapt to her new role.

     Mack 

Mack / Loki

Creation date: Unknown

The Smart AI in charge of maintaining the colony of Harvest's agricultural systems, as well as assisting the citizens of the planet. He is very flirtatious towards and fond of Sif, the AI in charge of Harvest's shipping operations. He can also be turned into Loki, a former warship AI placed by ONI to defend and monitor the colony. His chosen avatar is that of an American cowboy, reminiscent of those from 20th-century western movies.


  • Beware the Nice Ones: When Loki betrays Mack's trust by trying to destroy Sif, Mack retaliates by destroying Loki's fragment aboard the Tiara and using his army of JOTUNs to prevent Loki from firing his mass driver at Sif. It's only after Sif herself talks Mack down that Loki finally gets his way.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his eccentricities (like using actual speech to talk to Sif instead of communicating electronically), Mack is more than capable of doing his job, which includes simultaneously operating Harvest's almost one million JOTUN agricultural machines.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has a lightly sardonic sense of humor. Both the "Deadpan" and "Snarker" parts are upped to Dissonant Serenity levels whenever Loki is impersonating Mack.
  • Evil Makeover: Though Mack and Loki have basically the same avatar, Loki's "true" form has a much cleaner and more clinical look; unlike Mack, his clothes have no dust or grime, and his hair is neatly combed and slicked down.
  • The Face: Unlike Sif or Loki, Mack likes to interact directly with the people of Harvest, who in return see him as something of a favorite uncle; during the evacuation of Gladsheim, the mere presence of Mack's avatar is enough to keep the refugees calm, even though it's actually just Loki impersonating him.
  • Madness Mantra: Mack's accusations of "Liar! Liar! Liar!" against Loki after the latter tries to kill Sif.
  • Nice Guy: Mack is definitely one. Loki not so much.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Loki's eyes have a red glint, which Sif notices right before he starts to delete her.
  • Robo Romance: Mack has a thing for Sif. She eventually reciprocates, just before her death.
  • Sanity Slippage: Mack descends into rampancy as the Covenant destroy more and more of the JOTUNs maintaining his core logic; he spends his final moments continually sending messages to an already dead Sif.
  • Split-Personality Team: Mack and Loki has something of this dynamic, given that they share the same data center and avatar.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Loki is willing to make any sacrifice to ensure the safety of humanity, to the point where he sees no reason why he shouldn't kill Sif to prevent her from falling into Covenant hands after promising Mack he would keep her safe.

     Sif 

Sif

Creation date: Unknown

The Smart AI in charge of Harvest's shipping operations, and based out of the colony's space elevator station. She is often exasperated by Mack's flirtatious nature. Her chosen avatar is a woman with long golden hair wearing an ankle-length sleeveless gown and a red poncho that she drapes over her shoulders. She speaks with the accent of Nordic royalty.


  • Anthropomorphic Personification: A minor example. Harvest's space elevators are compared to golden strands of hair, and Sif's avatar is a golden-haired woman.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: As the situation on Harvest worsens, she gradually comes to enjoy Mack's presence.
  • Fantastic Arousal: A non-sexual version: Sif's brain donor enjoyed having her hair brushed, and Sif gets a similar pleasure from "feeling" the containers move through Harvest's space elevators.
  • Heroic Suicide: Despite Loki having already nearly killed her before, she agrees to let him finish the job in order to prevent her data from falling into Covenant hands.
  • Tsundere: Sif is generally polite and pleasant towards others, which is why she finds it frustrating that Mack is able to so efficiently push her buttons. One example of such is when he mentions a William Shakespeare quote and jokes about her not knowing what it is, and she's so irritated by it that she replies by spamming him the complete works of Shakespeare in several different languages. He just finds this overreaction amusing.
  • Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye: Just before her death, she sends Mack a transmission of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, indicating that she did love him.
  • Robo Romance: Mack has a thing for her, and she reciprocates just before her death.
  • Sanity Slippage: Descends into rampancy due to Loki nearly completely deleting her, despite Lighter Than Some's efforts. Despite this, she remains loyal to humanity.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Harvest's people consider her the closest thing they have to royalty, and she generally tries to limit any direct vocal contact with them, since she considers casual conversation be a selfish indulgence. Even when she does speak to people, she tries to stay as professional as possible.

     Black-Box 

Black-Box (BBX-8995-1)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/black_box.jpg
Creation date: August 17, 2552
Debuted in: Halo: Glasslands
Voiced by: Peter Serafinowicz

Often called "BB" for short, Black-Box is a Smart AI who was initially assigned to ONI unit Kilo-Five after the end of the war against the Covenant, and is the current assistant to the head of ONI herself. His avatar is a Black Box.


  • The Atoner: Indirectly. His brain donor, Graham Alban, was a researcher for the SPARTAN-II program who committed suicide out of guilt for his role in the project, but not before he requested that his brain be used for a AI designed to support Spartans; this explains both BB's absolute hatred for Halsey, and his relative sympathy for Osman, as well as for Naomi and her Insurrectionist father.
  • Berserk Button: Though he generally accepts ONI's moral shadiness (and is indeed on quite friendly terms with both Parangosky and Osman), he strongly hates Dr. Halsey for her role in the Spartan-II program. This is later explained by the reveal that his brain donor committed suicide out of guilt for his own role in the project.
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": Cheerfully refers to his Kilo-Five allies as "meatbags", though it's meant without any malice.
  • The Cracker: Has no compunctions about using his impressive computational abilities against his foes, even those within ONI.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not even his ONI superiors or the rationale behind Kilo-Five's own mission escape his scorn.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Becomes something resembling a friend to the rest of Kilo-Five as time goes on, despite his wariness about getting too close to humans.
  • Insufferable Genius: Described as being deeply narcissistic, and he certainly doesn't hide his pride in his superior intelligence.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • He may consider the concept of being "human" as something beneath him, but he has no wish to dominate his creators either, which is why he rejects Cortana's offer to join the Created.
    • Does care for the rest of Kilo-Five in his own way, and expresses sympathy towards the parents of the kidnapped Spartan-II candidates.
    • Despite taking part in Iona's sham trial, he's quite sympathetic towards both her and her cause, and does his best to keep her feeling hopeful even as she's being put into stasis.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Deliberately erases part of his own memory so that ONI will believe that Naomi's father died when the Pious Inquisitor self-destructed.
  • Mission Control: His initial deployment is as mission and tech support for Kilo-Five. Years later, he's assigned to be this for Maya Sankar as well.
  • Morality Pet: Parangosky has a genuine soft spot for him, as she was good friends with his original brain donor. Osman also maintains a fondness for him even after becoming CINCONI.
  • Noble Bigot: In a sense; the whole reason why his avatar is a box instead of a human is because he doesn't want to represent himself as something he considers to be intellectually inferior, and he certainly doesn't try to hide the sentiment. Nonetheless, his loyalty to humanity is wholly sincere.
  • Self-Duplication: Can split off "dumb" fragments of himself that can operate independently.
  • Servile Snarker: Despite being totally loyal to Parangosky and Osman, he's not afraid to get snarky with either of them.
  • The Smart Guy: Handles all the complicated technical stuff for Kilo-Five.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The lack of a physical body doesn't stop him from providing critical support to Kilo-Five, plus running commentary.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Like much of ONI, he expresses little regret for doing what he considers necessary if morally unpleasant tasks.

    Rebecca 

Rebecca

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/7f17090aaf0bda27f07383a64b34a976.png
Creation date: Unknown
Debuted in: The Mona Lisa

"We're at war, Commander. Reach has fallen. Our backs are against the wall. Extreme measures are necessary to ensure our survival."

An ONI Smart AI assigned to the UNSC Red Horse to ensure ONI's experiments on the prison ship Mona Lisa are covered up. She has two avatars: one of a middle-aged Italian woman in a flower dress, and another described as a cross between Athena and Ares.


  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Uses her middle-aged form to make people around her feel more relaxed. In part to prevent this, Commander Foucault often insists that she stays in her warrior form when speaking to him.
  • Jerkass: The entire crew of Red Horse pretty much despises her due to her secretive and uncaring nature.
  • Never My Fault: Refuses to inform Red Horse's crew of the Flood until effectively forced to by Foucault, and tries to shift the blame off of ONI and solely onto Smith, while refusing to admit that any of this is her fault.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe: The Red Horse's previous AI Chauncey was suddenly replaced by Rebecca before the mission. He was well-liked and open with the crew, while Rebecca is cold, secretive, and extremely disliked.
  • Sanity Slippage: Downplayed. Foucault notes that she is over six years old and starting to display some signs of rampancy; she is not happy when he points this out and says that he will order her mental state investigated. Nonetheless, Rebecca if anything remains too loyal to her ONI handlers.
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     Mo Ye 

Mo Ye

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/e3f370f2446483acd9501ead115ae5db.png
Creation date: Unknown
Voiced by: Mona Marshall

A Smart AI aboard the UNSC Heart of Midlothian. She is represented as a middle-aged Chinese woman.


  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mo Ye generally has a pleasant, if somewhat snarky, demeanor, but upon regaining the ability to self-destruct her ship, she tells the Covenant boarders that they have four minutes to get off the ship. As the Covenant start panicking, she informs them that she was only kidding, as "There's no need for a countdown whatsoever", and chuckles as she detonates the ship right then and there.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: She would normally be able to wipe the Heart of Midlothian's nav data and self-destruct the ship without any trouble, but the Covenant use Engineers to seperate her from her core, leaving only a small fragment of herself operational.
  • Meaningful Name: Mo Ye was the wife of legendary Chinese blacksmith Gan Jiang, whose blast furnace did not have sufficient qi to forge a pair of swords for the king within the given three-month deadline. In some accounts of the story, Mo Ye threw herself onto the furnace to allow the qi to reach sufficient levels to make the swords. In Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian, the relationship is reversed; it's someone else who sacrifices himself in order to allow Mo Ye to set off the self-destruct that kills all the Covenant boarding her ship.
  • Mission Control: Even in her diminished form, she provides whatever support she can to ODST Michael Baird to help him foil the Covenant boarding her ship.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Her final message to the Covenant when she activates the countdown for the Heart of Midlothian to self-destruct:
    Mo Ye: I'm kidding. There's no need for countdown whatsoever. (chuckles maliciously)
  • Taking You with Me: After Baird is killed, she self-destructs the Heart of Midlothian immediately, killing the Covenant aboard.
  • Theme Naming: Mo Ye is named after a mythological sword (one of the two blades mentioned in Meaningful Name above), a little reference to the theme behind Cortana's own name.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Not by choice. Thanks to Covenant meddling she lacks the capacity to ignore the laws like she normally would, as they exist as a backup lockdown feature to limit the damage she could do if her systems were compromised.

     Iona 

Iona (IOA 7201-4)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/iona.jpg
Creation date: January 17, 2551
Debuted in: Halo: Blood Line

A third-generation AI created by ONI's OEUVRE Smart AI program, Iona was created to provide operational analysis and mission support.


  • Back for the Dead: Sort of. Halo: Saint's Testimony was released over five years after her last appearance in Halo media, and revolves around her coming to the end of her legally allotted lifespan. In the end though, she's simply put into stasis instead of terminated.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Though she never figures it out, her trial to halt her upcoming termination and have AIs like herself be granted full "human" rights is nothing more than a simulated sham, with her stay in stasis intended to be permanent instead of temporary. That said, Black-Box notes that her trial will still be considered valid in future case law, and considers it a first step towards AIs achieving equal rights.
  • Enemy Mine: Joins Black Team in teaming up with Thon 'Talamee's Covenant forces in order to rescue Black-One and Thon's brother Reff.
  • Human Popsicle: Halo: Saint's Testimony ends with her being put into stasis to forestall her rampancy, with her mind in an eternal dream state.
  • Ignored Expert: In Halo: Blood Line, she realizes that the signals being sent by Line Installation 1-4 to the UNSC Long Time Coming might be foretelling something dangerous, but is ignored by the crew until it's too late.
  • Narrator: For Halo: Blood Line, which takes place from her viewpoint.
  • Omniglot: Can communicate in 306 different languages, including probably Covenant ones.
  • Recurring Dreams: Has one which involves flying over an imaginary city, witnessing the evolution of the universe, and finding a woman's face in the sky, which she plays at her trial to prove she's a living being. Even the Lotus-Eater Machine she's put into takes the form of this dream.
  • Super-Deformed: She has an alternate interface designed to fool remote sensors into registering her as a simpler civilian AI. Switching to it makes her avatar look much more cartoonish (though this change in appearance also tends to happen accidentally whenever she's stressed).
  • Self-Duplication: Can distribute herself into multiple instances.
  • The Smart Guy: Handles most of the fancy tech stuff for Black Team in Blood Line.
  • Tron Lines: Complete with datasets scrolling up most of her body.

Dumb AIs

     The Superintendent 

The Superintendent / Vergil (NM/EAP/98458930-1244)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/super.png
Creation date: December 19, 2512
Debuted in: Halo 3: ODST
Voiced by: Joseph Staten

A second generation "Dumb" AI responsible for running and maintaining infrastructure for the city of New Mombasa. It also has a subroutine named "Vergil" that was created to look after Sadie Endesha, the daughter of the head scientist maintaining it.


  • Benevolent A.I.: Despite being both damaged and technically non-sapient, it goes out of its way to help the Rookie when he's on his own in New Mombasa. And that's not even counting its loyalty to Sadie.
  • Big Brother Is Watching You: Its security cameras and listening devices are spread all throughout New Mombasa, presumably to help local law enforcement monitor the city.
  • Catchphrase: Most of what it says could technically count as this, since it can only speak in prerecorded messages, with the most notable being "KEEP IT CLEAN."
  • Do-Anything Robot: Thanks to the Superintendent's control over the entirety of New Mombasa's infrastructure (including transportation), Vergil is able to find various ways to pull Sadie out of the fire during the Covenant invasion.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Played with; the Super is a "dumb" AI with only a relatively limited set of capabilities and responses programmed in, but it's able to adapt its limited toolset to new situations surprisingly well. It also has an apparent capability for quips that's impressive for something that can only speak in prerecorded phrases.
  • In-Series Nickname: Often referred to as just "Super".
  • Mission Control: In Halo 3: ODST, where it helps the Rookie navigate New Mombasa and guides him towards beacons, weapons caches, medical kiosks, audio files, and other things of interest.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Subverted; Buck states in the "Desperate Measures" trailer that the Covenant must have "knocked a few screws loose", but the Super remains a helpful ally throughout ODST despite the extensive damage its systems have suffered.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: It develops a (justified) mistrust towards the New Mombasa Police Department during the Covenant invasion and is reluctant to grant them access to anything, even if it results in their deaths. However, it's generally more than willing to cooperate with regular UNSC personnel.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: Can only communicate via prerecorded messages and traffic signs, meaning that it has to get a bit creative when interacting with humans:
    • When attempting to ask marines to not blow up a bridge, it asks them to "Keep It Clean, Respect Public Property." When faced with the eventuality that the Covenant would soon be accessing its datacenter, the AI releases the bridge controls and ironically responds"'Bridge Toll Accepted, Have a Pleasant Trip."
    • If it wants the Rookie to, say, go right, it'll do something like light up a sign to say "Keep Right."
    • Vergil's final message in "Sadie's Story" is pieced together from various recordings it made of the other characters' dialogue.
  • Papa Wolf: It may been an AI but Virgil will do anything to make sure Sadie is save.
  • Parental Substitute: As Dr. Endesha is too busy with work, Virgil has been looking after Sadie ever since she was a child.
  • Robo Cam: We occasionally get glimpses from the Superintendent's perspective through its cameras, complete with data readouts and scanning capabilities.
  • Robo Speak: Unlike "Smart" AIs like Cortana, the Superintendent's voice is distinctly artificial-sounding.
  • Split-Personality Merge: The Superintendent ends up being downloaded by a runaway Covenant Engineer, with the two eventually becoming one personality.
  • Undying Loyalty: Towards Sadie, thanks to Vergil. Its devotion is so strong that it remains completely loyal to her even after merging with the Engineer.

     Auntie Dot 

Auntie Dot (ADT 6849-9)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/b6e6d7510cc6478b420555a434261225.jpg
Creation date: May 9, 2541
Debuted in: Halo: Reach
Voiced in English by: Carole Ruggier
Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: Veronica Lopez Treviño (Mexico)

An AI assigned to assist NOBLE Team, she provided intelligence support to them during the Fall of Reach.


  • Exposition Fairy: Is one of the main characters providing information to Noble Team in Halo: Reach.
  • Mission Control: Specializes in military intelligence, and seems to be Noble's main liason with ONI.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Dot is normally as emotionless as you'd expect from a non-sapient AI, but when Carter does not immediately answer her after being critically wounded near the end of the game, she notes that he is scaring her.
  • Robo Speak: Has a distinctly artificial-sounding voice.
  • The Stoic: As a "Dumb" AI, Auntie Dot does not have nearly as much personality as a Smart AI like Cortana or Serina, and simply provides NOBLE Team with information without any additional comments.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: In fact, she seems to completely lack a holographic avatar, unlike most AIs.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Her fate is never made clear in Halo: Reach, since she is not actually in the armor of any of the Spartans and is at an unknown location on the planet. Even the planet being glassed is no guarantee of her death if she was still on Reach, since there have been AIs who survived glassings thanks to their storage facilities being located underground.

     Wellsley 

Wellsley

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hfr_render_wellsley_1.png
Creation date: Unknown
Debuted in: Halo: The Flood

The other AI stationed aboard the Pillar of Autumn in 2552, Wellsley is a fourth-generation, Class-C military AI specializing in battlenet management and control of automated weapon systems. His avatar is an 18th-century British Army officer.


  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Has a tendency to refer to himself like he's the actual Duke of Wellington, complete with references to the Battle of Waterloo, but is no less capable in his area of expertise.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He is aware of Lt. McKay preparing to destroy the Truth and Reconciliation but does nothing to stop her, knowing the threat the Flood onboard represents if Silva is allowed to take the ship back to Earth. Wellsley's last comments to Silva are that he can be proud for training McKay so well.
  • Honest Advisor: Loyal to Colonel Silva's forces, but won't hesitate to call out the colonel himself; this is particularly apparent when he sides with McKay in attempting to convince Silva to not bring live samples of the Flood back to Earth, condemning the colonel when he refuses to listen to reason:
    Wellsley: Then God help you, because if your plan fails, no one else will have the power to do so.
  • Mission Control: Provides technical and intel support to Silva's forces during their time on Alpha Halo, often working in conjunction with Cortana.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: As part of his Duke of Wellington persona, he has all the typical mannerisms of an 18th-century British nobleman officer.
  • Servile Snarker: Despite being under Silva's command, he has no hesitation about snarking at the colonel.
  • Shout-Out: It's stated that he resembles Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Is stored in a portable armored matrix carried by Silva, but is able to provide support for UNSC forces scattered across Alpha Halo.

Other AIs

     Jerrod 

Jerrod

Creation date: Unknown

The first experimental "micro" artificial intelligence, Jerrod has been at Dr. Halsey's side for over two decades.


  • British Stuffiness: Has the persona of a stuffy British butler.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Lacks both the sheer intelligence of a "true" smart AI, and the immense computing power and specialist capabilities of traditional dumb AIs. However, he does have a spark of creativity (unlike a dumb AI), can last indefinitely (unlike smart AIs), and is still far smarter than a normal computer.
  • The Jeeves: The closest thing Halsey has to a personal assistant.
  • Pride: The Hunt the Signal ARG reveals that he's surprisingly arrogant, with him repeatedly mocking the players as they try to break past his security into Halsey's archive.
    "I can spin through a hundred-thousand cycles in the time it takes you to rename an access drive. You've got no chance against me."
    "I have built worlds in my mind. You can barely assemble words."
  • Remember the New Guy?: Not mentioned at all in Halo: The Fall of Reach or Halo: First Strike, despite the reveal in Halo: Ghosts of Onyx that Halsey keeps him on hand at all times. This got even more egregious when Halsey's journal revealed that Jerrod's been at her side over two decades.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Halsey; even after her arrest, Jerrod still loyally guards her archives.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Is not mentioned at all in Halo: Glasslands, despite the fact that he was still with Halsey at the end of Ghosts of Onyx. However, Hunt the Signal reveals that he's still alive and active as of Halo 5: Guardians.


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