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United We Stand is a Halo/Mass Effect crossover by Mayto, on the SpaceBattles.com forum.

Starting off at the height of the Human-Covenant War during the battle of New Ghent: just as the local UNSC forces are losing to the Covenant, drop pods of unknown origin appear. These troops soon reveal themselves to be aliens, but not of Covenant races, and even more surprising to the combatants, begin fighting the Covenant to assist the humans.

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These soldiers soon proclaim themselves to be from the Turian Hierarchy. Disgusted by the conduct of the Covenant and sympathetic to the plight of humanity, the member nations of the Citadel have decided to join the Human-Covenant War. Standing side by side with the assistance of the Citadel Council, the UNSC prepares for a new phase of the Human-Covenant War.

It can be read on here and here

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Action Dad: Vado 'Mavamee is a skilled Shipmaster, warrior, and a loving father to his daughters.
  • Adaptational Badass: The Council races are seen using technology that wouldn't see more widespread use until the second and third Mass Effect games, such as Silaris Armor, Cyclonic Barriers, and Omni-blades.
    • The UNSC adopts new technology and weapons provided from the Council races and allowing them to stand on even grounds against the Covenant. Furthermore, the Coalition's support gave the UNSC more time and resources to produce more warships and advanced combat vehicles that were rarely seen in canon such as the M850 Grizzly.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
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    • Since the First Contact War never occurs, Saren Arterius doesn't become hostile to humanity, nor does he have an encounter with Reaper technology, becoming indoctrinated. The same applies to Matriarch Benezia.
    • To a degree, the Turians in general. Their first meeting with humanity in this universe is not via a misunderstanding-turned-military conflict, as per canon (the First Contact War, AKA The Relay 314 Incident), but show up in a Big Damn Heroes moment to save a human colony from Covenant invasion.
    • In Halo canon, the nuclear bombing of Far Isle Colony was a massive overreaction by the UNSC and UEG that sparked the Insurrection. Here, Far Isle had come across a Reaper ruin that turned most of the colonists into monsters, and the nuclear bombing was the only way to contain it, though they had to keep this a secret, resulting in people thinking it was a massive overreaction to a secessionist movement, sparking the Insurrection.
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    • Cerberus is the anti-Reaper taskforce led by Ackerson, and the only branch of ONI known not to be under Reaper control, siding against Parangosky in the Human civil war. The Illusive Man was Ackerson's right-hand man, Illusive, and is the defacto leader of Cerberus following Ackerson's death, though he notes that he may be the last surviving member following ONI's attempted purge.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Admiral Margaret Parangosky is very manipulative and amoral as she was depicted in canon. She gets more worse as she intentionally has ONI slowly taking control of the United Earth Government and secretly assassinating the UEG President. It is later reveals that she and other high ranking ONI members had been indoctrinated by the Onyx Reaper (Nazara) and she planned to indoctrinate humanity.
  • The Alliance: The Citadel and UNSC form the Coalition to jointly prosecute the war against the Covenant.
  • Asshole Victim: James Ackerson gets brutally assassinated by a (presumably) rogue Spartan, but considering that he was responsible to for the Spartan-3 program that made use of more amoral practices than previous generations out of spiteful jealousy of Dr. Hasley's work on the Spartan-2s, few mourn his demise. Downplayed when we find out he was the last member of ONI's leadership who wasn't indoctrinated, he wanted to use the Spartan-3s as a force to oppose the Reapers, and he was killed as part of ONI's attempt to wipe out Cerberus, the anti-Reaper taskforce he had secretly formed, meaning his death removed one of the galaxy's few leaders who both knew about and opposed the Reapers, and cut Master Chief off from the remnants of Cerberus.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The first chapter features the Turians intervening the battle of New Ghent between the UNSC and the Covenant, saving the former from a losing battle.
  • Body Horror:
    • When Zaeed and crew begin to question a Sangheili smuggler on the nature of the artifact his crew was transporting, the Sangheili reveals that it caused the death of the entire crew, including himself. Cue his grisly transformation into a husk, revealing the work of the Reapers.
    • When the Batarians intervene in the Battle of Chi Rho, they unleash a gas weapon that melts off the flesh of exposed targets, which Covenant forces unfortunately experience first-hand.
    • It's revealed that the majority of ONI has been indoctrinated by a Reaper found in Onyx. They have performed gruesome experiments with Reaper tech such as Husks, cyborgs made with dead Spartans, biotics, etc. John is understandably disgusted and repulsed by the cruelty and horror.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Xytan spares the Minister of Discovery and Thel because he sees them more useful in his plans: he needs Discovery's expertise to reverse-engineer Element Zero technology. Xytan is impressed with Thel's fortitude that he might one day need him and kept him imprisoned, and having guards posted to keep him from taking his own life.
  • Combat by Champion: One Brute chieftain challenges Samara to a duel, which she accepts and wins; albeit with some difficulty.
  • Composite Character: Master Chief John-117 is a composite of both his canonical depiction and Commander Shepard from the Spacer background.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Several characters wind up dead in rather brutal and messy fashion.
    • Several Citadel soldiers witness the Brutes' eating habits in-person, as several of them feed(?) on human soldiers in the midst of one of many battles.
    • When the Batarians intervene in the Battle of Chi Rho, they unleash a gas weapon that melts the flesh of several Covenant soldiers who weren't wearing protection.
    • Ackerson gets assassinated by a presumably-rogue Spartan in a rather brutal fashion as he is drilled through the skull and thoroughly mutilated.
  • Cyborg: Turian soldiers who were left badly maimed in the Covenant War are mandatorily turned into combat-ready cyborgs. Nialla is made into a cyborg after surviving her near fatal encounter with an Elite Ultra during the Battle of New Ghent. UNSC soldiers are also given similar treatments.
  • Deadly Gas: The Batarians deploy fluorinated chemical weapons in the Battle of Chi Rho as a desperate last resort by the Coalition in a losing battle against Covenant forces. The gas gruesomely causes skins to melt off from their victims (or in the Jackals' case, practically disintegrate their skins and bones!) and leave them choking in their own blood.
  • Deal with the Devil: Admiral Rael'Zorah is forced to help Xytan in taking over High Charity in return for his freedom and a Covenant warship for his people. Xytan further sweeten the deal with Rael by offering his new Covenant to assist the Quarians in regaining Rannoch from the Geth, technology to terraform their former colonies, and genetic engineering to repair their immune system, in exchange for the Quarians to be incorporated into the Covenant. Rael is left very hesitant to accept Xytan's offer until Xytan reminds him of his daughter Tali'Zorah and of how she will walk on Rannoch without a suit if he accepts the offer.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • While the Master Chief is Shepard in terms of name, background, and leading a team against the Reapers, Vado 'Mavamee is Shepard in terms of role and mission.
    • While not a character, the SSV Normandy has two counterparts: Vado's heavily modified stealth Storm Cutter, and Parangosky's modified personal prowler/pleasure ship that Chief and the Spartans steal.
  • Defiant to the End: Ackerson's last act before dying is to spit on the face plate of the "Spartan" ONI sent to kill him.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Several Spartans are killed in Onyx. Jorge is shot in the back of his head by an indoctrinated Kurt, who is then put down by Solomon.
  • Divide and Conquer: Xytan took advantage of the war between the Coalition and Covenant to take over High Charity and capturing the Hierarchs. He temporarily ceased hostility against the Coalition in order to allow them to focus their attention on the Covenant loyalists, weakening both sides in the process, and giving him enough time to build his forces.
  • The Dreaded: Along with referring to the Spartans as "Demons", the Covenant fearfully and despises the asari (and biotics in general) as "Witches".
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Reapers make their appearance in a literally nightmarish scene where Xytan 'Jar Wattinree dreams of his encounter with Sovereign during a mission to destroy an army of Husk Drones. This is amplified from his perspective, the Reaper is a demon imprisoned by his gods, the Forerunners.
  • Enemy Civil War: When Xytan 'Jar Wattinree executes his coup and captures High Charity, the Covenant is thrown into a civil war between his followers and the Covenant loyalists. The Coalition are shocked and surprised when they discover this, and they wind up trying to take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, the UNSC falls into a civil war soon after that.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Ackerson is a horrible person driven by his jealousy of Halsey to create the Spartan 3s as expendable child soldiers to be sent on suicide missions, but he is loyal to the UNSC and humanity, and was one of the few remaining members of ONI's higher echelons to not have been indoctrinated by the Reapers, even being responsible for the anti-Reaper taskforce. Which is why he was killed.
    • The Ministers of Discovery and Conversion are completely willing to sign off on committing genocide against an entire species for destroying Forerunner artifacts... so long as said species actually did so before the genocidal war began. Conversion revealling her suspicions that the proof Truth presented to convince the others to wipe out humanity may have been falsified shocks and deeply disturbs Discovery. Both are also willing to excuse humanity destroying artifacts after the war began to keep them from falling into Covenant hands.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: While it is probably a side effect of her being indoctrinated, Parangosky doesn't even consider that Master Chief wouldn't wish his childhood on anyone else, meaning her talk of having all UNSC children raised like that horrified him, and he would have opposed her even if she wasn't indoctrinated.
  • Expy:
    • Vado 'Mavamee is one for Commander Shepard of all people. A skilled commanding officer who is tasked to lead a team composed of various aliens with their own unique skills to travel to uncharted territory to gather information on enemy factions. His background is even similar to Colonist Shepard.
    • Xytan 'Jar Wattinree is one for both Saren Arterius and the Illusive Man. A war hero who goes rogue and betrays his government after an encounter with a Reaper convinces him that doing so is necessary to save the galaxy. The fact that he may have been indoctrinated only further highlights the similarities.
  • Fallen Hero:
    • Xytan 'Jar Wattinree, from the perspective of many in the Covenant. He was one of the greatest admirals the Covenant ever had, responsible for eliminating many of their enemies, most notably destroying a planet of Drones that had been indoctrinated and turned into Husks by Reaper technology. He would later execute a coup on High Charity, throwing the Covenant into a civil war.
    • Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb went from the hero who organized the defence of New Constantinople, to someone willing to support ONI's soft coup and so thirsty for revenge that it took a Turian cruiser blocking his line of fire and a group of Citadel generals storming onto his bridge to stop him from performing an orbital bombardment on a Covenant civilian settlement that was trying to surrender to the Coalition. Tragically, the reason for this is that he's been indoctrinated by the Reaper on Onyx, and the only thing that has stopped him from helping ONI in the UNSC Civil War is Commander Keyes arresting him shortly after the war starts. Even worse, his thoughts reveal that a small part of him seems to be aware that something is wrong with him.
  • Foil: The Citadel and Covenant are this to each other. Both are interstellar polities composed of multiple alien races. Whereas the former is a secular organization that seeks to maintain interstellar peace through promoting trade and security, as well as developing friendly relations amongst other races; the latter is a theocratic imperium that enforces adherence to tradition and either subjugates or eliminates potential threats. While the former is hardly perfect, the latter is ripe with dysfunctionality.
  • For Want of a Nail: Several major changes happen due to the Citadel joining the Human-Covenant War:
    • Saren Arterius doesn't becomes hostile towards humans due to the First Contact War never happening; nor does he encounter Sovereign, or become indoctrinated by Reaper technology.
    • Due to Xytan 'Jar Wattinree commencing his coup during Thel'Vadamee's trial, the latter is unlikely to become the Arbiter.
    • Due to the Citadel turning the war in humanity's favour, Admiral Cole never fakes his death to live out the rest of his years with his wife.
  • Fusion Fic: The story combines several concepts and characters from both series.
    • Zaeed Massani is a Spartan I.
    • David Anderson is shown to be an ODST soldier.
    • A Colonel Williams, who is either Ashley Williams' father or grandfather, is one of several high-ranking ODST figures killed in Thel'Vadamee's surprise attack on Alluvion.
    • The Master Chief is Commander Shepard.
    • The Illusive Man is a member of ONI, specifically its secret anti-Reaper subdivision Cerberus. He primarily goes by his real name, Jack Harper, with his codename being "Illusive".
    • The Reapers had come into conflict with the Forerunners and were trapped in a Slipspace dimension by them.
    • The Far Isle rebellion was in reality a colony that first fell under Reaper indoctrination that turned all the colonists into husks, and the UNSC was forced to nuke the colony to contain the Reaper threat. The UNSC covered-up the true reason for the bombing and publicly claiming that it was a brutal rebellion that forced their hand. The cover-up worked and consequently gave birth to the Insurrection.
    • It’s revealed that the ancestors of the Turians were almost exterminated by an alien race (from Charum Hakkor) until a "Lady of Light" who is heavily implied to be the Forerunner Librarian, saved their species from extinction.
    • Onyx combines with story elements from Project Base depicted in the "Arrival" DLC. Onyx served as a prison for a Reaper in which ONI discovered and studied the Reaper and ultimately became indoctrinated by it. The Master Chief soon discovers ONI's indoctrination and tries to stop their plans.
    • Steven Hackett is a Vice-Admiral in the UNSC Navy, who sides with Hood during the civil war.
  • Frame-Up: When Ackerson is murdered, evidence suggests that a Spartan was the culprit. Clues point to the direction of Emile, but John and company quickly realize that he's being framed, but are forced to arrest him to hide their suspicions.
  • Genre Shift: The "Silent Ship" arc shifts from a war story into Sci-Fi Horror as the crew of the Circumference come across a seemingly deserted Covenant smuggling ship, with its crew all dead, and being terrorized by a Reaper Husk.
  • Government Conspiracy: The UNSC and UEG had known about alien life before their war with the Covenant after they had discovered Reaper ruins on the colony of Far Isle in 2492. The colony's people came into contact with the Reaper ruins and were turned into Reaper husks. The UNSC were forced to nuke Far Isle to contain the Reaper threat and covered-up the event by claiming the colony had fallen into rebellion in order to prevent mass panic. The public was convinced by the cover-up, and consequently seeing the nuking of Far Isle to be a wartime atrocity, which sparked the Insurrection. ONI-Cerberus was also created to combat the Reapers.
    • ONI had discovered the Reaper Nazara imprisoned in Onyx. They became indoctrinated by the Reaper and planned to indoctrinate all of humanity.
    • The Turian Hierarchy government learned and classified the knowledge of how the ancient Turians were slaughtered by an unknown alien race before their species were saved through cloning by the Forerunners.
  • Heroic Lineage: John-117 is the son of a now deceased UNSC Army general and Admiral Hannah Shepard, a highly decorated Navy officer. The fact that his father and almost all of his extended family died fighting the Covenant, and had been serving loyally since before the war, only to be rewarded with having ONI kidnap their son infuriates him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • One mortally wounded ODST soldier saves a Turian colonel by killing Covenant soldiers that were about to kill him and jumps on a grenade to block the explosion, saving everyone else in the room.
    • A Turian, knowing that he's taken a lethal dose of radiation from Carbine rounds and is only upright thanks to his suit pumping him full of painkillers, stays behind to detonate a Covenant reactor safely.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The Covenant falls into civil war. However, the civil war is started by a very disgruntled Elite, Xytan, who succeeded in capturing the Covenant's leaders and High Charity.
    • SPARTAN-III Kat still loses her arm but this time it is shot off by an indoctrinated Kurt.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Even Master Chief has to admit that Ackerson's views on the Spartan II program are fairly accurate (that any program that kills or cripples half its subjects is at best a prototype, at worst a failure, and that as a program to create a new type of soldier for humanity, it is a failure due to how few it produced), and that Halsey wanting there to be no more Spartans made isn't what the UNSC needs.
  • Join or Die: After Xytan's coup he offers his former conspirators the Ministers of Discovery and Conversion to swear fealty to him or die. Only Conversion chose death.
  • Lady of War: Matriarch Aethyta, who fought her way across the galaxy in conflicts for centuries, leads the Asari Expeditionary Force and acting Asari Republics representative in the Coalition High Command.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Covenant strictly forbids anyone to reveal information of the Covenant's society and government to outsiders without authorization from the Ministry of Conversion under pain of death. But with the Ministry of Conversion disbanded by Xytan, Gral ‘Vamee is free to speak of this to Victus.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: During the end phase of the Battle of New Ghent the Turians and UNSC launched a massive missile barrage on Vado 'Mavamee's Battlecruiser and bases.
  • Mama Bear: After being hand-picked by the Master Chief to train the Spartan-III's, Samara makes it very clear to John that she utterly despised how the handlers treated the Spartan-III's and swear to kill every single one of them once the war against the Covenant is over.
  • Mercy Kill: Coalition forces perform this on any Covenant warriors at Chi Rho unlucky enough to not be killed almost instantly killed by the Batarian chemical attack.
    • The forces raiding the ONI base are forced to do this on members of their own team when they have been indoctrinated by the Reaper as well as those who have been experimented on by ONI such as Emile.
  • Mirroring Factions: Both the UNSC and Turian Hierarchy are military-run civilizations. Because of the similarities the Turians expressed admiration to the UNSC and seeing them worthy to maintain peace and order to the galaxy. Some Turians, including Councilor Sparatus and Primarch Fedorian, are seriously thinking of making the UNSC a truly meritocratic military state modeled after their system of governance.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Master Chief is forced to arrest Emile as a suspect despite knowing he didn't do it in order to hide his suspicions. Unfortunately, this decision would come back to haunt him during the raid on ONI as Master Chief is forced to mercy kill an indoctrinated Emile. John is understandably guilty and even requests to be subjected to court martial for his mistake.
    • The Ministers of Discovery and Conversion react this way when they realise that Xytan used them to coup the Hierarchs and take control of High Charity for himself. Discovery also reacts this way earlier when Conversion tells him that she has doubts about the veracity of the evidence Truth used to convince the rest of the Convenant that humanity needed to be wiped out, since the only examples of them destroying Forerunner artifacts she could actually independently confirm were all after the war began, usually done to keep the Covenant from capturing them.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Once again, Master Chief finds himself falling from orbit to a planet's surface. Luckily, he has Samara's help to make a relatively softer landing.
    • A commander discovers the last survivor of the Rachni and chooses to spare it. Are we talking about Commander Shepard or Vado 'Mavamee?
    • Zaeed survives being shot in the head at point-blank range. Though here it was self-inflicted in an attempt to either stop the Reaper artifact from taking control of him, or kill himself before it could do so. Luckily, the pain manages to force it out of his mind.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Much to their horror, the Coalition finds out they've primarily been fighting the Covenant's anti-piracy forces, rather than their wartime military, only fighting other Ministries forces on the rare occasion they happen to stumble across a human world. The majority of the Covenants forces haven't been involved at all, most Covenant civilians have no idea what a human looks like, and some areas of the Covenant have no idea they are engaged in a war against an alliance of interstellar nations.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: During the investigation on Ackerson's death, John and company finds clues that point to Emile as the culprit. While John figure out he isn't the killer, they have to hide their suspicions to gain ONI's trust and have to arrest Emile. This unfortunately leads to Emile's indoctrination and conversion into a husk, which weighs heavily on John, as he's well aware that he's responsible for Emile's fate.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: When Dr. Hasley discovers a group of starving Covenant labourers who wish to surrender, a UNSC soldier ignores her orders to spare them and proceeds to kill them. Similar incidents are reported to have happened elsewhere. This leads to tensions between UNSC and the Citadel as the latter wishes to spare Covenant soldiers both for both ethical and practical reasons.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • A Coalition crew reacts with shock when they managed to encounter a Sangheili smuggler who seems entirely unaware of the war and presumes that they had been fighting a Covenant warlord, revealing that the UNSC had been fighting a small part of the Covenant's true military size.
    • The Circumference's crew reacts with horror along with the Sangheili smuggler when they learn that the smuggler was a Reaper husk.
    • The Coalition forces at Chi Rho have this reaction to the Covenant space navy, whose ships greatly outsize theirs.
    • When Xytan makes his offer of a truce with the Coalition, Parangosky is rather shaken, as the idea of the Covenant willing to negotiate gives humanity time to breathe, rebuild and learn the internal corruption ONI is responsible for.
    • John has one when he visits Zone 67, and finds out that the artifact there is a Reaper that has been indoctrinating everybody there.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: When the Covenant on Zhoist are willing to seek surrender to the Coalition, Vice Admiral Whitcomb suddenly refused their surrender and is very willing to commit planet-wide nuclear bombardment on Zhoist's populated centers. It is later revealed that Whitcomb's change of attitude is due to Reaper indoctrination.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Vado 'Mavamee discovers the Rachni egg, he brings it up to his superiors, who agree to spare its life and integrate it into the Covenant.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Citadel wishes to spare surrendering Covenant soldiers both for ethical and pragmatic reasons. However, several UNSC soldiers and commanders weren't informed of their conduct, and enraged by decades of genocidal warfare, have killed several surrendering Covenant soldiers. This leads to tensions between the two polities as the Citadel races, especially the Turians, want to maintain proper conduct and are willing to punish the humans for war crimes, sometimes without the UNSC's input. This leads to segments of the UNSC to resent the Citadel for denying their revenge and punishing them without considering their laws.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Xytan scorn on treating his warriors, including Grunts, as Cannon Fodder because he will lose more of his forces if he carelessly waste them against his enemies.
  • Precision F-Strike: The ever stoic Master Chief uttered a "Goddamnit" in reaction to Nazara's escape from Onyx. Everyone present is left stunned over the Chief's one note profanity... except for Zaeed, who is incredibly happy that he's started to rub off on the Chief.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Two races of them, in different flavors. While both the Turians and the Covenant are proud of their martial heritage, their approach to it is best shown under Soldier vs. Warrior.
  • The Purge:
    • ONI performs one part way through the story, killing or disappearing many pro-democracy advocates (from senators to student leaders), and President Roselynn (using special tech to induce a stroke).
    • Xytan performs one on High Charity after his coup, killing everyone from Prophets who would not kneel to him to Jackel street gangs that got uppity. Unlike ONI, he's open about it, dropping the bodies in piles in the plaza leading up to his headquarters.
    • The indoctrinated members of ONI perform one on Cerberus, their anti-Reaper taskforce, shortly before the outbreak of the UNSC Civil War. Even Ackerson, the leader of Cerberus, is killed, and the only known survivor is Jack Harper, his second-in-command.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Turian intervention in New Ghent had repelled the Covenant from the colony but had severely reduced their fleet from four dreadnaughts, thirty cruisers and sixty frigates to three heavily damaged dreadnaughts, elven cruisers, and ten frigates. Their ground forces also suffered similar results, as half of their armored forces were wiped out by plasma weapons and about six thousand soldiers remaining alive, with five hundred permanently maimed and many more wounded. This first battle against the Covenant served as a serious wake-up call to the Citadel Council to adopting new plans and tactics in their war against the Covenant.
    • The Battle of Chi Rho has both Coalition and Covenant forces equally suffering high casualties in the millions, both on the planet and in space. The Coalition succeeded in taking control of Chi Rho, preventing the Covenant from establishing a permanent foothold into the UEG's Inner Colonies, and destroying an irreplaceable Covenant supercarrier. However, many Spartans (including Blue Team) are maimed (some could not walk again) and lose thirteen of their members, along with many Citadel special forces, at the hands of the Hoplites, and the Covenant detonate six of the original seven manufacturing yards from being taken.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: One of the reasons that Xytan 'Jar Wattinree grew to resent the Covenant leadership was that they sent him, one of the Covenant's most capable admirals who had defeated many threats to the empire, to the the frontiers to patrol the pirates. The reason is that they feared that he would grow too powerful for them to control and that he would threaten their positions. Its shown to be a rather common practice by the prophets, both to get rid of high ranking Sangheili who could challenge them, and to create a stable pool of candidates for the Arbiter position.
  • Reassignment Backfire:The Prophets' practice of sending high ranking Sangheili who could threaten their power by exiling them to the frontiers both to weaken their position and to create a steady pool of candidates for the Arbiter position backfires when Xytan 'Jar Wattinree manages to create a dedicated crew that is willing to go against the Covenant, even managing to capture High Charity, which throws the Covenant into a civil war.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: On both sides:
    • Surprisingly, some Prophets have shown themselves to be rather lenient and helpful towards their followers.
      • The Prophet of Discovery helped save Vado 'Mavamee's life by covering his failure, which would normally had him executed, and gives him a new mission to gather information on the Citadel races.
      • Len’Vellana cares deeply about the lower classes of the Covenant, even walking amoungst them (which says a lot, since in canon most of the higher ranking San’Shyuum not only view themselves as Too Important to Walk, they actually view walking as shameful, to the point that one Prophet who likes to walk only does so in private so as to avoid controversy), and personally visits production facilities in areas that are having issues with gangs to sort out the problems, even being willing to fight the gangs herself if necessary.
      • The Prophet of Conversion is shown to be more peaceful than her peers, preferring diplomacy over violence. This is shown when she used syncretism to incorporate a race rather than do so by force.
    • The Citadel leadership realize that the AI used by the UNSC is so different in both creation and function from any AI they've dealt withnote  that it wouldn't make sense to apply their anti-AI laws to them, and that attempting to apply them would simply damage their relationship with the UNSC, so they decide to simply classify UNSC AI as not being AI, but a new form of life, so that the extremely old and heavily entrenched anti-AI laws don't apply to them (and so they don't have to deal with the headache of actually trying to change said laws)
  • Revenge Before Reason: Vice Admiral Whitcomb becomes consumed in revenge against the Covenant by seeking their extermination, which includes refusing to accept an offer of surrender from a Covenant planet; he stated that the Covenant had only answered any offer of surrender from humanity are glassed planets, and therefore humanity should return that favor as well. Whitcomb's revenge-seeking sentiment is later revealed to be caused by Reaper indoctrination.
  • Rule of Seven: Bungie's "7" is mentioned throughout the crossover: The Citadel first opened the Orion Relay seven months prior to the start of the story; there are seven major Covenant manufacturing cities on Chi Rho, which had been occupied by the Covenant for seven years; a war game has the Spartans winning against the Citadel with a score of 7 against 3; seven Covenant-held planets are successfully raided by Coalition forces following in the wake of Chi Rho.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: As noted above, in order to get around the herculean task of changing or repealing the incredibly old and extremely entrenched Citadel anti-AI laws and having to go up against the powerful anti-synthetic lobbies, the Council simply declares that the AI used by the UNSC is not AI.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Reapers are revealed to be trapped in a Slip Space dimension by the Forerunners.
    • Nazara was imprisoned in Onyx, where it is eventually discovered by ONI and indoctrinated them. After the Master Chief foils ONI's plans, Nazara is able to break free while suffering damages from Sentinels.
  • Ship Tease: Between Samara and Master Chief. However, John, due to his upbringing in the SPARTAN-II Project, is socially incapable of developing any serious romance with Samara.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: The Coalition is the Soldiers, while the Covenant are the Warriors. The Coalition races, such as the Turians, approach war in a methodical and professional manner, wishing to end conflict as quickly as possible with few losses. Covenant races, such as the Sangheili and Jiralhanae, approach war in a more ritualistic manner, fighting for honor and glory, sometimes engaging in duels with combatants. This changes when Covenant leaders such as Thel'Vadamee take charge and begin to take the war more seriously, with greater success.
  • Super Soldier: In addition to the Spartans of all three generations, the Turians have a number of veterans who have been heavily augmented with cybernetics (even removing functional limbs, leaving them more cybernetic than organic) and even many of their non-cybenetic organs are enhanced, bio-organic replacements. The other Citadel members are looking into programs of their own.
    • The Covenant also have super assassins in the form of the Hoplites, Prophets with heavy biological and genetic enhancements that make them faster and more agile than even Spartan II's. They are skilled enough that, during the Battle of Chi Rho, to counter an operation in which every combat capable Spartan II and III is deployed alongside Citadel special forces units (including SPECTREs), only a single one is deployed per Spartan team (except for Blue Team), and yet they still manage to kill 13 Spartans (nearly half the Spartans deployed), drive the surviving teams off, potentially permanantly cripple 3 more, cause massive casualties to the other special forces deployed alongside the Spartans, and nearly kill the members of Blue Team, with only the costly intervention of Samara and a group of Asari commandos allowing them to evacuate, and resulting in Master Chief needing to receive a cybernetic heart to survive, Kelly undergoing an experimental Asari brain surgery, Fred needing new eyes, and Linda will likely never walk again. The Hoplites are extremely rare, and using their enhancements causes severe damage to themselves, including cerebral hemorrhaging and strokes that would kill an unaugmented sapient and requiring numerous surgeries to prevent them from dying or being crippled after every fight, making them only capable of fighting for short periods, hence their role as assassins rather than regular super soldiers.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Vado 'Mavamee states frankly that he hopes that they don't go to war with the Citadel, because based on the spread implied from their codex, it would take years upon years to just set up the infrastructure needed to establish supply lines tens of thousands of light years long, and far more resources just to maintain those supply lines and protect them from enemy raiding parties.
    • While UNSC soldiers getting better armor that can survive Covenant weapons is great, it's not that easy in practice. Research and Development takes time, and as a stopgap they're importing Batarian armor for men and Asari armor for women.
    • Although the Covenant loyalists are opposed to Xytan, they are left leaderless as the entire Covenant government was in High Charity and held captive, and are reduced to various factions fighting against each other for the right to lead the war against Xytan, who doesn't waste his time in taking advantage of their in-fighting.
    • Despite ONI's best attempts at propaganda, and implanting loyal pawns in positions of power across the UNSC, most of humanity hates them. When the civil war breaks out, large portions of the military, police forces, and civilian population listen to Hood, a lot of those indoctrinated pawns are removed from power by the military and/or police, most of whom are not indoctrinated, and ONI agents are being lynched in the streets on some worlds. ONI has to rely on forces made up of people they kidnapped and forcibly indoctrinated over the years and harsh tactics like deploying nerve gas on rioters to make up for the manpower imbalance.
    • Many Insurrectionists don't trust the UNSC and didn't take the offer of amnesty. Many of them take advantage of the civil war to declare independence, though some are willing to work with Hood, realising ONI is a threat to them all, with some also being interested in the reforms Hood is planning.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: There are several POV chapters from the perspective of Covenant members. These provide insight into Covenant society, which shows that while very dysfunctional and oppressive, most citizens want to live peacefully and are shown to be unaware of the true nature of the war. Some members are even benign, helping the downtrodden and preferring peace and diplomacy over violence.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While the UNSC and other Citadel species all have their share of morally dubious factions, the Batarians as a whole act as this to the Coalition, primarily fighting to curry favour with the Council and possibly get some of the economic sanctions against them lifted.
  • Token Good Teammate: While good is a relative term, and there are operatives in other branches that haven't been indoctrinated, Cerberus is this for ONI, being the only branch whose leadership wasn't indoctrinated, partially because Ackerson founded it in secret once he realised something was going on with the Reapers.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Minister of Discovery and Ministress of Conversion are manipulated by Xytan to achieve his goals in taking over the Covenant and High Charity rather than helping them to establish a new Hierarchy. The Ministers reacted with appropriate shock at Xytan's betrayal in which Conversion is killed and Discovery is forced to swear fealty to Xytan to save his own life.
  • War Is Hell: The war between the Coalition and the Covenant is repeatedly shown to be a brutal affair, with wide scale death and destruction regularly shown in harsh detail.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Covenant loyalists are more busy fighting each other for the right on who would lead them against Xytan. Their infighting was so bad that it made Gral ‘Vamee to choose surrendering Zhoist to the Coalition for protection.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Xytan 'Jar Wattinree intends to forcibly unify the Covenant under his personal leadership and subjugating the Citadel powers, to create a unified force capable enough to stand against the threat of the Reapers.
    • Ackerson's desire to make more Spartans isn't just an attempt to show up Halsey, but also part of a genuine (and possibly correct) belief that the UNSC needs more Spartans to win the war against the Covenant. And to defend humanity from the Reapers.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In Chapter 70, Xytan 'Jar Wattinree successfully performs a coup upon High Charity, capturing it and almost all of the leaders. This results in the Covenant falling into civil war. It's also revealed that Xytan received assistance from Admiral Rael'Zorah (Tali'Zorah's father), declaring his intention to incorporate the Quarians into his new empire in exchange for helping them reclaim their home planet of Rannoch.
    • In Chapter 72, Ackerson is brutally assassinated, presumably by a rogue Spartan.
    • In Chapter 81, it's revealed that ONI had secretly been in contact with a Reaper found in Onyx for years, indoctrinating a majority of the staff including Parangosky. They made plans to place indoctrinated members into positions of power, putting the entire UNSC at risk. They also made experiments with Reaper technology, including using dead Spartans to create cyborg soldiers.
    • In Chapter 83, Hood meets Jack Harper, the last surviving member of ONI-Cerberus, who has evidence that Parangosky and much of ONI have been indoctrinated and that Parangosky was behind President Roselynn's death, ONI's coup begins, Master Chief's copy of Parangosky's message arrives on Reach, modified so Hood could see the secret orders meant only for indoctrinated members of ONI and also including a warning from Chief about the Reapers. Hood launches a counter-coup, seizes control of Reach, sends out his own message revealing what is going on, and the UNSC Civil War begins.
    • In Chapter 86, Nazara makes its escape from Onyx. Master Chief learns that his full name and identity is John Shepard, son of Captain (now Admiral) Hannah Shepard of the UNSC Navy and an unnamed UNSC Army General who died fighting the Covenant.
  • Wham Line: The Citadel and UNSC excavation team discovers a name repeated in the computer logs from the Forerunner ruins on New Ghent: "Charum Hakkor".
    • "It killed me too. I just remembered I was the first to die." The Elite proceed to turn into a Husk.
    • The Master Chief reads the file of his true name: "Seen: Subject John 117 with his mother Hannah Shepard."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kat is visibly furious with Master Chief for partly responsible for Emile's indoctrination.
  • Worthy Opponent: Several influential Covenant figures express respect for the combat prowess of the Citadel races, leading to the proposals of integrating the Citadel powers into the Covenant upon victory, seeing said Citadel powers as worthy of willing submission and conversion, unlike the humans. An increasing number of Covenant officials begin to question why such worthy races would side with the humans, leading to them to begin having doubts on the reasons for the war, asking unwanted questions.
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