By the 24th century, Humans have founded a modest interstellar empire. There are at least a few dozen, but more likely
one or two hundred, colony worlds within human-explored space. Some of them, if not most, are relatively heavily populated,
indications of a prosperous 2 centuries exploring our neck (or arm, if you like) of the galaxy.Human technology is not that
far advanced from what we have today; the basic technologies are mostly the same, just on a much larger scale, with the exception
of FTL travel made possible by the Shaw-Fujikawa slipstream drives of Human starships. Weaponry is still projectile-based,
and explosives still seem to involve chemical reactions rather than a release of contained plasma or energy. While Humans
have recently come to possess artificial gravity (another product of reverse engineering Covenant ordinance, as demonstrated
by the gravity on the Pillar of Autumn), they have yet to apply it to smaller planet-bound vehicles; the Warthog, for example,
still uses wheels and does not hover.
AI is a different story. Mankind has long striven to artificially produce some semblance of consciousness, and their dedication
has not been in vain. In Humanity's limited extraterrestrial experience, the likes of Cortana appear only to be matched, if
at all, by the constructs of the ancient Forerunner themselves. Covenant AI, though inherently complicated and dangerous,
prove to be little more than simple-minded curiosities to Cortana, as she so effortlessly dissects and examines her would
be tormenter. However, their exact make-up and origins possess riddles enough for the future.The Covenant, however, "own
nothing which they have not stolen", and have had a decisive advantage so far in their own technological revolutions:
the raiding of abandoned Forerunner complexes, caches, and worlds. But, as Humanity's resistance plays out across the fields
and starscapes of the Milky Way, mankind not only adapts and incorporates, but creates and improves. The Mjolnir armour and
shield technology, coupled with the yields of Humanity's fascination with sentient constructs has so far been the most successful
of their ingenuities.
The bulk of Humanity still does not know about the events which transpired after the Pillar of Autumn jumped away from
the Reach system; the Master Chief and a handful of Human survivors wrenched from Installation 04's wreckage, are the only
remaining witnesses of our race to the Flood and the Forerunner machines left on Halo. All they know is that their last hope,
Reach (and her military forces), is either completely lost or severely impeded (depending on the number of surviving Spartans),
and that the Covenant still loom over Human space. Even with ONI's morale-boosting propaganda and hush tactics, every night
they watch the sky, waiting for the hammer to fall. Earth cannot last long.
The modern Spartan program (in contrast to its ancient Greek counterpart ) was initiated in 2491, an element of the ORION
project. Though not much is known about the first generation of warriors (their training, augmentation, goals, etc.), they
were successful enough to garner the necessary consent for a second phase, aptly named SPARTAN II. Under Dr. Halsey, the Spartans
would be developed in conjunction with the MJOLNIR armour project, the culmination of a powered exoskeleton technology that
had been used for some time by the UNSC, and when discarded, by frustrated cargo handlers everywhere. The initial goal of
the SPARTAN/MJOLNIR project was to provide a surgical strike team capable of dealing with Human rebellions quickly and efficiently,
averting the use of large scale military force, and preventing the civil war, and tremendous loss of life, that would have
A total of 75 children, approximately age six and selected for their specific genetic dispositions (that is, being as
close to perfect as science could determine), were "recruited". They were replaced with congenitally defective flash-clones
to cover the enlistment, and trained, primarily on and below the surface of Reach, by one Chief Petty Officer Mendez, arguably
the best Drill Instructor in the Navy. Their family names, whatever they may have been, were stripped, purged from record,
and forever replaced with a 3 digit designation. Their upbringing would be defined not only by gruelling physical routine,
but by a comprehensive academic tutelage under Deja, a Class II AI created specifically for the SPARTAN II project.
In March of 2525, on the orbital ONI Medical Facility above Reach, the then 14 year old candidates underwent a series
of drastic and inadvisable operations to dramatically enhance their skeletal, muscular, optical, and nervous systems (FoR
p.56). Of the original 75, a reported 33 survived the processes; 30 were lost, and 12 irrevocably crippled (though still used
by ONI in research and ops planning). (Note: The exact number of Spartans to survive the conflicts to follow varies dramatically
from source to source. Check here for a closer examination.)
Both before and after their final union with the MJOLNIR armour, the SPARTAN II's, with their overwhelming physical abilities,
improvisational skills, and keenness for adversity, handled their operations with a profound efficiency: as of August 27,
2552 they had suffered only 3 KIA's and 1 too wounded to continue active duty, giving them the best record of any UNSC unit.
Of course, they were officially listed as only MIA, part of ONI Section 2's successful propaganda campaign to boost morale;
a program spearheaded by the SPARTAN II's and their glorious triumphs in battle, though strangely silent concerning Humanity's
slow and imminent loss of the war against the Covenant.
Since their harrowing escape from Reach and the destruction of nearly 500 Covenant vessels consumed in the explosion of
the 30km long Covenant Command Station, Unyielding Hierophant, the arduous task of defending Humanity from the ever gargantuan
Covenant fleet (wise to the Earth's location) fell into their "big, green, armoured hands." Though their numbers
were bolstered to 7 (or 8, including the abducted Kelly) before their return to Earth, the story's continuation focuses only
on Spartan-117, with no mention of his comrades. Let's hope one is enough.
The Master Chief was the sole Spartan to leave the Reach system aboard the Pillar of Autumn (with the exception of Linda-058
in cryo). For all he knew, he was the last Spartan alive. All of humanity depended on him, for even after their defeat at
Halo 04 the Covenant were still strong, and there were new enemies and variables to contend with that Earth knew nothing about:
the Flood, the Forerunner, and their creations, such as 343 Guilty Spark.
After his whirlwind tour of Delta Halo, his introduction to a host of new "friends", and a hitch-hike back to
Earth aboard a Forerunner vessel it remains only to be seen how he plans on "finishing this fight".
He has lived most of his life in various military camps on Reach; stolen from his family at age six and his name changed
to "John-117", his entire upbringing has been centered around making him a mechanism of military efficiency, utilizing
both force and tactics. He displays an odd sort of attitude for a creation of the military: he does not glorify his violent
actions, but merely does what he has to do. He does not hate his enemy; he kills them because he knows it is his duty to kill
them; to win. "It wasn't [the Chief's] job to make things suffer - he was just here to win battles. Whatever it took."
He is an unconventional Hero, for though he is strong, fast, and tactically brilliant, he is the epitome of none of those
attributes, and is surpassed by other Spartans in each area. What John does possess above all is leadership and, to both Cortana's
repeated salvation and bewilderment, probability-defying luck.
Cortana is one of thousands of AIs which populate the computer networks of the Human worlds. She is, however, somewhat
unique; she is a direct copy of a human being, Dr. Halsey, and lacks behavioral inhibitors of any kind. She is free to do
as she pleases, unlike most other military AIs, such as the ONI AI Beowulf, which is strict, sullen, and by-the-book. Cortana,
on the other hand, is strong-headed, noisy, and somewhat off-the-wall.
However, her freedom comes at a price. As a "smart" AI, she has an unextendable life-span of approximately 7
years, at which time she will become too smart, suffering from an exponential attenuation of function; she will think so much
she will forget to breathe.
At her choosing, she and the Master Chief were specifically paired together for Mjolnir/Spartan II proving trials, in
preperation for her placement aboard the Pillar of Autumn for its covert infiltration mission (which was cut short by the
Covenant invasion of Reach). In the midst of the Pillar of Autumn's fiery descent to Halo, her safety (as well as that of
the UNSC and coordinate data she possessed) could be assured in only one place- the suit of the Master Chief.
However, since her time in Halo 04's Control Center, Cortana has found herself laden with vast amounts of hastily compressed
data, the contents of which would surely initiate consequences beyond anyone's wildest expectations. There simply has not
been a chance or location to unload and analyze it, something that has frustrated her to no end. The additional burden of
carrying this inaccessible information considerably dampened her prowess as well as her ability to concentrate and multitask,
as she noticed on several occasions in contact with the Covenant AI aboard the Ascendant Justice. (This information does not
appear to be a continuing aspect of the game's story however.)
In spite of this, her spare time has already allowed her to exceed the Covenant's knowledge of their own technology, refining
them to create focused streams of plasma energy, a Slipspace system capable of jumps much closer to gravity wells, and enabling
her to make copies of herself (further proof of the Covenant's lack of comprehension and ignorant reverence towards their
stolen ordnance), allowing her to reek further havoc during fleet engagements.
While the speed and remorselessness with which she may willfully circumvent her own ethical protocols is chilling, the
events involved in Earth's initial defense and at Delta Halo 05 left little doubt of her continuing dedication to the survival
of the Human race. Perhaps it is this guise of loyalty that makes her meeting with Gravemind all the more disheartening. He
has many questions, and Cortana seems too willing to answer them.
As the "mother" of Cortana, the SPARTAN II's, and project MJOLNIR, Dr. Halsey (civilian ID #10141-026-SRB4695)
is quite possibly the author of Humanity's only true chance at halting the Covenant's campaign of genocide and pillage. Although
a civilian, her work for ONI and dedication to the survival of a unified Human government and its people have earned her the
highest security clearance available for non-military personnel, a restriction that has been stretched and broken innumerable
times. A growing respect and budget have also ensued, much to the embarrassment and frustration of her rivals, namely Colonel
Ackerson and his own mysterious special weapons program.Her motivations have always been pure; to protect Humanity from forces
both without and within. However, focusing on the necessity and positive yields of her operations, Dr. Halsey had reluctantly
bought into ONI's concept of "acceptable losses", always for the greater good and preservation of the species. Her
pride and and satisfaction have always been coupled with a deep remorse for those she has sacrificed along the way; a remorse
she had told herself she should not entertain.And so she has repented, and is now taking steps (known only to herself) to
save not only the many, but the few. How her kidnapping of Kelly-087, with her anomalous DNA, and sudden departure in an ONI
stealth prowler will accomplish this is yet to be seen.
Keyes was a member of the UNSC Navy for much of his life, slowly working his way through the ranks until finally becoming
a Captain in the Battle of Sigma Octanus and going on to command the Pillar of Autumn.At some point early in his military
career, when he was still an Ensign, Keyes was nearly killed when a captain of his decided to try out his new method of FTL
transfer and the experiment went horribly awry. Keyes learned during the trial of the captain to keep his mouth shut - something
that Dr. Halsey, the Spartan II project, and no doubt, ONI, valued greatly. As such, Keyes was involved in the initial exfiltration
of the then young Spartans to be, beginning with John-117, the one day Master Chief. With his experience, it was no surprise
he was chosen to lead the Pillar of Autumn on its Spartan insertion operation.
When the PoA reached Halo, Keyes was in command of what was possibly the last group of human soldiers from Reach. If he
failed, and Halo was lost to the whims of the Covenant, Reach would certainly not be the last planet to fall, and Earth's
imminent discovery and siege would be hastened. When an already dismal situation went further awry, only his steadfast will
and resolve prevented the location of Earth from falling into the hands of a foe more threatening than even the Covenant:
the omni-parisitic, sentient xenoform known as The Flood. His interrogation and eventual death, though slow and horrific,
was consistently fought with the courage and tactical skill his life and command had become known for.
Miranda Keyes is, as far as we know, the only surviving child (or perhaps even relative) of the late Captain Jacob Keyes.
It is unclear how well they knew one another, though it is unquestionable that she thinks both highly and fondly of him. She
has apparently risen quite quickly through the UNSC, achieving the rank of Commander and acquiring her own vessel, the In
Amber Clad, at a relatively young age. Like her father she is bold, imaginative, and not likely to ask for assistance. But
also like her father, her daring and courage may yet prove to be an integral step in Humanity's salvation from the Covenant.
Their faces are varied - the Marines, Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODST Helljumpers), Foehammer, Lord Hood - but their
goal of defending Humanity has always been the same. The UNSC military forces have suffered incredible losses at the hands
of the Covenant's precise and lethal prowess. Fairing best on the ground. but hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned in orbit,
the UNSC has nonetheless slowed the Covenant advance long enough to demonstrate again and again the superior ingenuity of
Humanity at large. Artificial gravity, shield technology, MJOLNIR; with time, these staggering advancements could be improved
upon exponentially, potentially allowing the UNSC to turn the tables.
Time, unfortunately, is not something Humanity has an excess of.
Fatigued and thinly spread, the remaining forces of the once colossal United Nations Space Command must regroup and prepare
for the daunting task of defending the Earth itself from the Covenant's imminent onslaught. Though encouraged by the repulsion
of Regret's small fleet, if the fall of Reach has demonstrated anything, it is that their chances of victory against a dedicated
force are insignificant. At incredible price, their only hope may be to buy time for those that can more deftly assure it...
Sergeant Major Avery Johnson
The Man. The Myth. The Legend.
Whatever the grizzly details of Sgt. Johnson's current reputation, he has certainly earned it. And, if you have anything
to say, you had better be well out of boot range when you do.Several things characterize Johnson's known career thus far:
his bad-ass command style, addiction to Flip music (a descendant of old Earth "Metal"), and his apparent infection
and subsequent death at the hands of the Flood, as recorded on the headset of the late Pvt. Jenkins.
Unable to harmonize with and thereby commandeer his nervous system, due to its erratic behaviour as a symptom of Boren's
Syndrome (p.243, FS), the Flood simply passed him over. The only apparent trace of his pseudo-infection are bits of dead,
non-infectious Flood DNA, from which some intact gene fragments have given him a kind of regenerative ability (though whether
these leftovers are a result of the parasitic invasion or Johnson's eating the little bastard for the inconvenience is unknown
;)Unlike many other members of the Human military, Johnson holds no grudges or prejudices against the "freakish"
SPARTANS, or even Elite warriors when the need arises. He is motivated by an hatred for the Covenant's war on Humanity, and
he'll need all the mop-up crew he can muster to follow in his wake.
Much like its acronym's literal namesake, the UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence manages to simultaneously elicit both
blatant awe and suspicious fear, while existing in both the forefront and shadows of Humanity's military operation. Their
presence is unmistakable, but their details and internal organization are largely unknown.
Section 3 and NavSpecWep are involved in all aspects of covert and black operations, intelligence gathering, special weapons
research and development, mission planning, and consultation.Section 2 of ONI is involved primarily in propaganda and data
manipulation, both in the name of security and keeping the hopes of Humanity set high.
Nothing, so far, is known about the implied Sections 1 or 0.Their people are everywhere, as most recently demonstrated
by Lieutenant Haverson, formerly aboard the Pillar of Autumn and rescued from the wreckage of Halo 04. Although compliant
and dedicated, most operatives have a tendency to act above the law, often skirting their own protocols for the sake of speed,
subtlety, and effectiveness. Thankfully, while they may tempt fate and hoard their secrets, Humanity's preservation is still
a top priority...
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