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Literature / Halo: New Blood

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Halo: New Blood is the first short novel in the Halo franchise, written by Matt Forbeck. Set primarily in the years following the Human-Covenant War, the story explores what happened to Edward Buck and the rest of ODST squad Alpha-Nine (plus Veronica Dare) after the end of Halo 3: ODST, including how Buck became the Spartan-IV we see in Halo 5: Guardians.

Originally released as a digital exclusive in 2015, it received a print edition in 2016 which includes an additional short epilogue.

Contains Examples Of:

  • Anachronic Order: Since the story is framed as Buck giving a report, it jumps between different points in time, with some chapters even being tangents of previous ones.
  • Back for the Dead: After being absent from Halo media for over five years, the Rookie returns only to be killed in a flashback.
  • Berserk Button: As a child, Mickey was bullied at the orphanage he grew up over his parents being Insurrectionists. As a result, Mickey is pretty testy about being compared to his parents. Buck uses this to provoke Mickey into attacking him after Mickey betrays Alpha-Nine to the United Rebel Front.
  • Big Damn Heroes: One of Buck's flashbacks is about a previous squad of his rescuing Sarah Palmer back when she was still an ODST. Eight years later, Palmer and her Spartan-IVs pay him and his squad back, though they arrive too late to save the Rookie.
  • Broken Faceplate: After Mickey turns traitor, Buck beats him so badly that he ends up completely shattering his faceplate.
  • Call-Back: Both "Vergil"/Quick to Adjust and Sadie Endesha from ODST make an appearance, while Musa from Halo: Initiation and Jun from Halo: Reach both have fairly big roles as Buck's superiors in the Spartan program.
  • Cruel Mercy: When Buck defeats Mickey, the latter begs the former to shoot him, rather than turn him in to face a court-martial. Buck decides to let him live.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: One Spartan-IV vs. a full camp of Insurrectionists? Conservation of Ninjutsu fully applies here.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Captain O'Day and the other instructors in the Spartan-IV program, despite many of their trainees already being decorated veterans, with the justification being that they need to be broken out of their bad habits.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: The first chapter reveals that Buck, Romeo, and Mickey have become Spartan-IVs sometime after the war.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: By the end of the story, Buck and Romeo are the only members of Alpha-Nine still serving with the UNSC, with Halo 5: Guardians and Word of God indicating that even those two ended up being assigned to separate fireteams shortly afterwards.
  • First-Person Smartass: To the point where the reader can pretty much hear Nathan Fillion's voice in their head.
  • Flashback: Most of the story is basically Buck telling a series of these.
    • Flashback Within a Flashback: Sometimes Buck goes off on tangents; for example, when he recalls meeting Spartan-IVs led by Sarah Palmer at the end of one chapter, the next chapter flashes even further back to a previous mission where he met Palmer when she was still an ODST.
  • Framing Device: The story is framed as Buck being debriefed after a mission in 2555.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: We get to read what a fistfight between two fully armored Spartan-IVs is like, with it being described as sounding "like thunder rolling down the slope".
  • I Shall Taunt You: After getting captured by Insurrectionists, Romeo and Buck pull a twofer, the former escaping by provoking Mickey to push him down a slope (while still protected in full armor), which draws away all the rebels (minus Mickey) as they try to chase him down, which then allows Buck to provoke Mickey into swinging his rifle at him, giving Buck a chance to disarm him.
  • The Mole: Dare warns Buck that one of his fellow Spartan-IV trainees has connections with the United Rebel Front; said traitor is foiled before he can blow up the S-IV training facility, but not before planting the seeds of treachery into Mickey's mind.
  • Official Couple: The novella makes it clear that Buck and Veronica are this. That said, both of them are too dedicated to their jobs to ever get married and have kids.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: It's the Rookie's death that leads to Buck deciding to become a Spartan.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away:
    • When the Rookie is captured by Insurrectionists, Captain Ingridson uses him as a chip to try and get the rest of Alpha-Nine to surrender. Buck and Romeo decide to stall while Mickey and Dutch sneak up on the Innies. It doesn't end well for either Ingridson or the Rookie.
    • Later, when Dr. Schein gets the drop on Buck and holds him at gunpoint, he tries to pull this on Romeo. However, Romeo, being the jerkass he is, just ignores him; Schein is so flabbergasted at this that he gives Buck the opening he needs to knock him out.
  • Put on a Bus: Dutch decides to retire from the military after the Rookie's death, though Buck later mentions that he still tries to keep in touch.
  • Recap Episode: One chapter is basically Buck retelling the entire plot of Halo 3: ODST.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Despite being a colony kid, Buck has very little regard for the Insurrection, whose members he views as self-righteous maniacs fostering unneeded conflict.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Mickey ends up defecting to the Insurrection, having become disillusioned with the UNSC after the Rookie's death.
  • To Absent Friends: When Jun catches Buck at a bar, the latter decides to have them both drink to the Rookie's memory.
  • Training from Hell: Buck recalls that Spartan-IV training was pretty rough even for a hardened special forces veteran like himself.