Time and History (Halo Setting)
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Over ten million years ago, an advanced civilization known as the Precursors controlled the galaxy. Having reigned for billions of years and reached the pinnacle of technological advancement, they seeded the galaxy with life and created many species, including humans and Forerunners. The Precursors held the Mantle of Responsibility, the guardianship of all life in the galaxy. They eventually decided to give the Mantle to one of their creations and they initially selected the Forerunners. However, the Precursors changed their minds on handing it to them - tasking humanity with it. The Forerunners, enraged by their creators' favoring of humanity over themselves, rebelled against the Precursors and wiped them out almost entirely. Some Precursors survived by reducing themselves to dust that, although meant to regenerate their original forms in time, was corrupted over the passage of millions of years and would eventually manifest itself in a completely new form - the parasitic Flood. Meanwhile, the Forerunners would adopt the Mantle to themselves and rise to become the dominant civilization in the galaxy, directing the evolution and development of other species as they saw fit. Records of the truth about the Precursors were lost over time and faded into legend; ten million years after the destruction of the Precursors, Forerunners simply believed that their creators had disappeared and given them the gift of the Mantle.
Early humanity first arose on their homeworld Earth, then known as "Erde-Tyrene" and mastered interstellar travel, eventually becoming a prosperous interstellar empire based on the planet Charum Hakkor. They also allied with the San'Shyuum species, who would become the ruling caste of the Covenant thousands of years later. Around 107,445 BCE, however, humanity stumbled upon the nascent form of the Flood parasite near the galaxy's edges. Hundreds of systems were lost to the parasite in a conflict between the humans and the Flood as humans desperately sterilized any infested world while securing new colonies for their dwindled populations in the borders of the Forerunner ecumene. Humanity's aggressive expansion and the perceived violations of the Mantle eventually prompted the Forerunners to take action and go to war against humanity. Despite being forced to fight a two-front war against the Flood and the Forerunners, humanity evidently drove the Flood out of the galaxy. However, the Forerunners, led by the Promethean supreme commander known as the Ur-Didact, eventually emerged victorious over humanity after defeating their last stronghold on Charum Hakkor.
Following the war in approximately 106,445 BCE, the Forerunners dismantled humanity's civilization, regressing them into a Tier 7, or pre-industrial, species. The remaining humans were exiled to their homeworld Earth, where the supreme Forerunner Lifeshaper, known as the Librarian, tended to them and slowly guided them toward developing a primitive civilization; unlike most Forerunners, the Librarian saw potential in humanity to eventually become the Forerunners' successors.
Circa 97,745 BCE, the Flood resurfaced to challenge the Forerunners. Weakened by their struggle with humanity, as well as major internal strife, the Forerunners were easy prey to the resurgent Flood. For three hundred years, the parasite claimed numerous Forerunner planets and systems, until virtually overrunning the entire ecumene. As a final resort, the Forerunners - specifically, an individual known as the Iso-Didact - fired the Halo Array, a network of superweapons which eradicated all neurologically complex life in the galaxy and subsequently caused most Flood to die out. While life was re-seeded into the galaxy by the Forerunners, the few surviving Forerunners themselves would go into self-imposed exile and not return, passing their Mantle down to its rightful inheritors - humanity.
Rise of the Covenant
Dozens of millennia after the disappearance of the Forerunners, two original species of the Covenant, the San'Shyuum and the Sangheili, spent years locked in a bitter war over the control of the remains of the Forerunners. The Prophets wished to use the technology to search and explore the galaxy, but the Elites believed such usage to be a desecration of their holy artifacts. As the devastating war ravaged both species, the Elites saw that the only way for them to win was to do the exact thing they opposed; use their own Forerunner technology to adapt and befit their vessels. Eventually, the two species formed an alliance which was formalized with the Writ of Union. Over the following centuries, many species would be absorbed under the power of the Covenant hegemony, and thus conscripted into the search for Forerunner relics, and later the attempt to eradicate the human race.
Origin of the UNSC
In the late 21st and early 22nd centuries, humanity colonized several worlds in the Solar System, including Earth's moon, Mars, the Jovian Moons, and several asteroids. In the years 2160-2200, various governments and factions fought for control of Earth and its first colonies. As overpopulation and unrest on Earth mounted, new political movements formed including the Jovian Frieden and Koslovics led by Vladimir Kosloc, resurgences of fascism and neo-communism which waged the Interplanetary and Rain Forest Wars, and Argyre Planitia Campaign on Mars. These clashes were defeated by the victorious United Nations Space Command. The Unified Earth Government was established following the conflicts, emerging as the rulers of most of humanity who now faced the problem of overpopulation, famine and economic instability caused by the wars.
In the late 23rd century, humanity developed the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine, a device which enabled faster-than-light travel through a domain of alternate space-time known as slipstream space. The first extrasolar colony ships went on to colonize worlds in nearby systems within the next decades. The Inner Colonies, as they later came to be known, would be considered the elite, in contrast to the more remote and less wealthy Outer Colonies, formed over the course of the 2400s.
In the 2490s, with over 800 settled worlds across the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy, humanity's "Golden Age" of expansion was coming to an end. Gradually, the Outer Colonies had became more isolated and unstable. Their populations had widely varying loyalties to Earth, and taxes and trade restrictions set up by the UEG's colonial governing agencies caused dissent against the Earth government. This eventually led to the Insurrection, an undeclared civil war between the UNSC and the various rebel groups that rose up against it in the Outer Colonies.
Insurrection and the SPARTAN-II project
By 2517, the UNSC was facing extremely low morale due to piracy and the ongoing Insurrection. In order to remove the rebellion without a significant sacrifice of human life, the Office of Naval Intelligence decided to move forward with the SPARTAN-II project, headed by Dr. Catherine Halsey. Seventy-five physically and mentally gifted children were abducted at the age of six, replaced by flash-clones, biological clones that quickly deteriorate and die within a year, in a black operation, and drafted into the UNSC. The children went through rigorous training and physical augmentations through surgical and medical means. Code-named SPARTANs, these supersoldiers were trained for a life of battle, and would become a great asset against the Covenant in both frontline and covert operations; the Spartans specializing in both.
The Human-Covenant War begins
On February 3, 2525 the UNSC colony of Harvest detected an unknown object on its long-range radar. The object was constructed with materials unlike anything seen before. All contact with Harvest was lost soon after. Ships sent to the system revealed that it had been totally destroyed by a new alien group called the Covenant. A battle group was sent but was defeated by the military superior Covenant ships. Only one ship made it back, the Heracles returned with a message that was sent to them, pre-translated, saying, "Your destruction is the will of the gods, and we are their instrument".
In the Covenant, humans were discovered to be living heirs, or more commonly Reclaimers, to the Covenant's gods, the Forerunners, forming a concrete threat to the Prophets' authority as well as the very foundation of the their religion. Rather than reveal the truth to the Covenant at large, the new triumvirate of Hierarchs called for the complete destruction of humankind, under the pretense that humans had committed unforgivable offenses against their gods.
In response to the destruction of Harvest, Vice Admiral Preston Cole mobilized Battle Group X-Ray, the largest space fleet in human history to retake Harvest. The fleet defeated the Covenant ships at Harvest in 2531 but at great cost with Cole losing two-thirds of his fleet. The highly advanced Covenant shielding and weapons systems simply outclassed anything they had and so began the slow destruction of the human race. One by one, the UNSC colonies were lost until by 2535, virtually all of the Outer Colony worlds had been destroyed by the Covenant and the Inner Colonies were being invaded. United Nations Space Command Emergency Priority Order 098831A-1, later simplified to The Cole Protocol, was established by military order: all human vessels must ensure that Covenant forces do not find Earth. To achieve this whenever they must jump out of a battle, they must do so to a randomized vector that points away from any human worlds.
The Fall of Reach
By 2552, many of humanity's Inner Colonies had been destroyed by the Covenant. The UNSC leadership assembled a Spartan-II strike team, at the human command base on the planet Reach. In a move of desperation, the UNSC planned to launch a targeted strike against the Covenant leadership. This plan was abandoned when the Covenant launched a surprise attack on the world of Reach.
During this battle, most of Reach was overrun and glassed, its human fleet obliterated. One of the Spartans, Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, was able to escape on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn along with its crew. In fleeing the Covenant fleet, the Autumn’s onboard AI, Cortana, used a set of coordinates from a recently discovered Forerunner artifact that lead them straight to the Forerunners' Installation 04.
The six Spartans of Noble Team defend Reach against the Covenant invasion, most of them sacrificing their lives in the process. At the finale, they were given the task of transporting a fragment of Cortana housing critical data to the Pillar of Autumn. Noble Six held off the Covenant long enough for the Autumn to escape, indirectly enabling humanity's survival in the war.
Three weeks after escaping Reach, the Pillar of Autumn exited Slipspace to find a mysterious ring-shaped space station orbiting the gas giant Threshold. The ring, referred to by the Covenant as "Halo", was an artificial construct teeming with life. The Fleet of Particular Justice, a Covenant fleet, however, was also present, and a subsequent battle heavily damaged the UNSC Pillar of Autumn and the ship crashed onto Halo’s surface.
The Master Chief escapes from the landing onto its surface. With a push to the superstructure’s control room, it was soon discovered that the Covenant had accidentally released the Flood from containment on the ring. The Flood then swept across Halo and devastated human and Covenant forces positioned on it. The release of the Flood prompted 343 Guilty Spark, an eccentric Forerunner AI tasked with watching the ring, to try to activate Halo's defense system, a pulse weapon that, when fired, would wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy large enough to be hosts for the Flood. Technically, that installation only has a maximum effective radius of 25,000 light years, but the pulse would trigger other installations as well, effectively killing all intelligent life in the galaxy. This system was designed to stop the Flood from spreading through the universe if they escape confinement from Halo by the only way possible: starving the Flood of any life source that can sustain them.
Naturally, this would wipe out humanity as well, and so the Master Chief destroyed Halo before it could fire by self-destructing the Autumn, which had remained intact, and was subsequently occupied by investigating Covenant forces and later by Flood.
Having manually triggered a destabilization of the power cores the Master Chief and Cortana commandeer a GA-TL1 Longsword from one of the Pillar of Autumn’s docking bays and achieved a safe minimum distance before the Autumn's drives explode, causing the ring-world to fragment.
After evacuating the ring, Master Chief and a few other survivors in space above the destroyed Halo successfully capture the Covenant flagship Ascendant Justice and make their way back to Reach. When they arrived, they found the entire planet ravaged; however, on a small patch of the surface left unscathed, it was discovered that Dr. Halsey and several Spartans who survived the fall of Reach had found a Forerunner structure under ONI's CASTLE Base. There they found a Forerunner crystal capable of warping space-time, before being retrieved by the UNSC forces aboard the Ascendant Justice along with other survivors, including Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb.
Cortana, now in control of the Covenant ship, docked with the damaged UNSC Gettysburg, a frigate, and combined their power, also allowing them to return to Earth without violating the Cole Protocol by bringing a potentially "bugged" Covenant ship with them. Damaged in a battle with pursuing Covenant ships, the Ascendant Justice traveled to a hidden rebel base in the Eridanus system for repairs. The rebels agree to a truce with the UNSC forces, but the Covenant soon discover their location. In the ensuing chaos, Dr. Halsey abducts Kelly-087 and flees into slipspace aboard the rebel governor's ship. Admiral Whitcomb grimly decides to leave the rebels to fend for themselves while the Ascendant Justice escaped.
The Master Chief and other Spartans discovered a massive plot to attack Earth. They covertly attacked and destroy a massive Covenant refit and repair station along with an attack force many times larger than the one that attacked Reach. In doing so they lost the Covenant flagship; however, they saved the Gettysburg and escaped back to Earth with it.
John-117, now on Cairo Station, one of the three hundred orbital defense platforms that orbit the planet, was one of many to witness a Covenant fleet jump into Earth’s orbit. After having repelled the Covenant boarding parties, the battle shifted to Earth's surface in the Battle of Mombasa. During the battle, the Prophet of Regret's carrier, Solemn Penance, made a Slipspace jump, sweeping the UNSC In Amber Clad, with the Master Chief aboard, in a desperate effort to follow it. The In Amber Clad is transported to the vicinity of another Halo ring - Delta Halo, also known as Installation 05 - on which they landed.
Meanwhile, Thel 'Vadam, a Sangheili commander disgraced for his failure to prevent the first Halo's destruction, was named Arbiter, a military roll of martyrdom. During a mission to quell Sesa 'Refumee's rebel faction, regarded by the Hierarchs as heretical, the Covenant recovered 343 Guilty Spark. After their mobile capital, High Charity, arrives at Delta Halo, the Covenant becomes embroiled in a power struggle discreetly engineered by the Prophet of Truth, with Brutes usurping the role of the Elites, beginning an apocalyptic civil conflict known as the Great Schism.
Meanwhile, a battle rages on Delta Halo's surface. Both the UNSC and the Covenant sought to obtain the Halo's activation index, all the while being caught in the Battle of the Quarantine Zone fought between the Halo's sentinels and the Flood, which had escaped containment. Both the Master Chief and the Arbiter eventually end up in the clutches of an entity known as the Gravemind, the controlling intelligence of the Flood. With its own agenda in mind, the creature tasks the Master Chief and the Arbiter with stopping the Covenant from activating the Halo. The Spartan is sent to High Charity to stop the Prophet of Truth, while the Arbiter is transported to the vicinity of the Halo's control room, where he discovers that the Brutes have betrayed his kind.
Confronting Tartarus, the Chieftain of the Brutes, the Arbiter learned the truth about the Halos from 343 Guilty Spark: the rings were built to prevent the Flood from spreading throughout the galaxy, and the Forerunners who built them were wiped out when they fired it as a weapon of last resort in the distant past. In spite of this, Tartarus held his faith in the Hierarchs and activated the ring in preparation to fire, to bring about the Great Journey. Tentatively allied with the UNSC forces present, the Arbiter managed to defeat Tartarus and the activation index was removed before the Halo can fire. 343 Guilty Spark reveals that although the Index was removed before Delta Halo had time to complete its firing sequence, having sent signals to other Halos in the galaxy, putting them on standby mode, allowing them to be activated remotely from the Ark, whose nature and location was completely unknown
High Charity had fallen into chaos as a result of the Great Schism and an invasion by the Flood. The Prophet of Truth, intent on reaching Earth and the Ark, sped toward the Forerunner Dreadnought in the heart of the city. With Cortana staying behind to momentarily delay the Dreadnought's launch, the Master Chief boarded the Forerunner ship as it launched from the Covenant holy city, headed for Earth.
Battle for Earth
Prior to the Prophet of Regret’s Slipspace jump, a large number of Orbital Shock Drop Troopers (ODSTs) were ordered to drop into the Solemn Penance that evaded Earth's orbital defenses. The drop was initiated, but the ODST squad of Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck was commandeered by his superior, and former love interest, Captain Veronica Dare of the Office of Naval Intelligence to drop into the city of New Mombasa, as opposed to the Covenant carrier. The slipspace rupture caused the squad to scatter and land in different parts of the city.
An ODST of the squad referred to as the Rookie awoke roughly six hours later. He roamed the night-time city, fighting off Covenant patrols and discovered, with the aid of the city's Superintendent AI, clues that allowed him to discover the fate of his fellow squad mates. He then picked up on Captain Dare's distress signal. The Rookie fights his way into and through the New Mombasa Data Center where they met up, and continued to fight their way through a massive Drone hive, having been awakened by the earlier detonation of ONI Alpha Site at the top of the shaft at the hands of Michael “Mickey” Crespo and Taylor H. “Dutch” Miles. The Rookie and Dare both fight their way to the Superintendent data core, and discover a Covenant Engineer, one of the many biological supercomputers and unwilling assistants to the Covenant, whom had taken apart the Superintendent's memory core and possessed vital information on the Covenant which could turn the tide of the war.
They, along with Buck, fight their way down the city's Waterfront Highway, where they witness the Covenant begin to glass parts of the city. They held off against waves of Covenant until Mickey, Dutch and Kojo “Romeo” Agu arrived to pick them up just before the Covenant prepared to glass their previous position, actually discovered to be an excavation project. They managed to escape just in time, only to realize that the Covenant had found what they were looking for.
End of the war
Two weeks after the end of the events of Delta Halo, the Covenant had all but obliterated human resistance on Earth, and had committed most of their forces to East Africa, near the ruins of Mombasa. UNSC Marines and the Arbiter recover Master Chief John-117 after he jumped from the Forerunner Dreadnought as it entered Earth's atmosphere, and they all made their way back to the local UNSC base, Crow's Nest. The Master Chief defended the base before being cut off, along with a small group of Marines. They made their way to the town of Voi along the Tsavo Highway through numerous Covenant outposts.
A large Forerunner artifact had been dug up under the African desert by the Covenant, which the Prophet of Truth was planning to activate. It was presumed to be the Ark, and therefore would activate the Halos, so a hasty attack was set in motion by Lord Hood to destroy the Forerunner Dreadnought with a surprise aerial assault. Master Chief cleared Voi of all Covenant anti-air units to clear the path for Lord Hood's frigates for an assault on the dreadnought. However, the assault on the dreadnought had absolutely no effect, and Truth activated the artifact all the same. A large portal was created above the artifact, into which the Covenant forces disappear. Soon after, a derelict Covenant cruiser appeared out of Slipspace, and crashed nearby, infested with Flood.
The Master Chief and the Arbiter made their way toward the ship, and as they neared its location, the Sangheili Fleet of Retribution appeared, striking up an alliance with the humans and helping rid the city of Flood. Master Chief entered the ship and retrieves a message from Cortana, warning that High Charity was heading to Earth, full of Flood. It was decided that only the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, the commanded by Miranda Keyes, along with the Elites, would go through the portal after Truth, and stop him from activating the rings, as well as finding the "solution" to the Flood that Cortana's message spoke of.
The human/Elite force arrives at Installation 00, the Ark, and engage Truth's Brute fleet. The Master Chief maked landfall and found the Cartographer of the Ark, which led him to the location of the remaining Covenant forces at the Citadel. This leads to a trident strike at three barrier tower shield generators guarding the Citadel at the heart of the Ark. Once all three generators had been deactivated, The Master Chief and the Arbiter breach the Citadel after Truth kills Miranda Keyes and forces Sergeant Major Avery Johnson to activate the rings. After the Master Chief and the Arbiter escape the Flood, they discover that a new Halo, Installation 08, was being built to replace Installation 04 and was nearly complete. The Master Chief decided that the only way to destroy the Flood was to activate the newly built Halo, which was out of range of the other installations, with Cortana. The Arbiter left to gather the surviving forces and get them ready to leave, and the Master Chief headed to the crashed High Charity to recover Cortana. After wading through a near infinite hive of Flood, he recovered the AI and escaped to the new Halo with the Arbiter.
After fighting their way up to the top of the control room, the Master Chief, Arbiter, and Johnson entered the control center and attempted to activate the ring. However, 343 Guilty Spark attempted to stop the Reclaimers from activating the ring, saying that the charging sequence of the incomplete Halo will prove too much for the structure and cause it to tear itself apart. In the fight, 343 Guilty Spark mortally injures Johnson, but fails at killing the Master Chief, who destroys him with an M6 Grindell/Galilean Nonlinear Rifle. They succeeded in activating the ring, and, as expected, the installation began to fall apart. The two boarded the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, which then proceeded toward the portal. The Dawn headed into the portal just as the Halo fired, which closed as the ship passed halfway through, shearing it in half.
Half of the Dawn, as well as the Arbiter, crashed back on Earth, and a memorial service at Voi is held for those who perished in the Human-Covenant War, ending on the note of the Master Chief's death. However, unknown to the rest of humanity, the Master Chief survived and put himself into cryosleep, as Cortana activated a distress beacon. Adrift in space for years, the rear half of the Forward Unto Dawn eventually hurtled toward a mysterious Forerunner planet, later to be known as Requiem.
Following the end of the war, humanity began to rebuild and achieved a number of technological breakthroughs with the aid of an increasing amount of discovered Forerunner artifacts. Despite the alliance with Arbiter Thel 'Vadam, the political situation in the known galaxy remained volatile, with ONI concerned about reprisal on part of the now-divided Sangheili. A Sangheili group known as the Servants of the Abiding Truth pushed for an insurrection against the Arbiter and his forces, whom they considered to be blasphemous for colluding with humanity. In response to the growing strife among the Sangheili, ONI Commander in Chief Admiral Margaret Parangosky assembled a black operations team known as Kilo-Five, which was assigned on a covert mission to sow discord between disparate Sangheili factions by any means necessary, as well as to arrest Dr. Catherine Halsey once she had been located. Meanwhile, Dr. Halsey, SCPO Franklin Mendez, and a group of SPARTAN-IIs and SPARTAN-IIIs were trapped on a Forerunner Trevelyan shield world, Trevelyan, locked in a Slipspace bubble in the remnants the destroyed human world Onyx. While they are eventually recovered and the shield world is claimed by the UNSC as a research facility, Admiral Parangosky had Dr. Halsey arrested and imprisoned as personal retribution.
With Halsey out of the picture, Kilo-Five had another growing priority in the rebel-leaning planet of Venezia, which presented yet another threat to the UNSC. Meanwhile, the situation on Sanghelios escalated as Avu Med 'Telcam rallied the Servants of the Abiding Truth and their allies into an all-out war against the Arbiter. However, the insurgent forces were driven back as the UNSC's newest and most powerful warship, the UNSC Infinity, which arrived in aid of the Arbiter. All the while, Jul 'Mdama, a member of the Abiding Truth imprisoned on Trevelyan, looked for a way to escape his confinement and soon learned of the Ur-Didact, a mighty Forerunner commander who once held a hatred for humanity. Seeking to enlist the Didact's aid in his crusade against humanity, Jul managed to escape the shield world to the Sangheili colony of Hesduros, where the locals agreed to join forces with him in his search for the Didact, laying the foundations for a new faction, Jul 'Mdama's Covenant.
In the following years, a number of remnant factions of the former Covenant continued to spring up, with numerous independent warlords laying claim to the Covenant's legacy in spite of the Arbiter's efforts of building peace between the fragmented Covenant and the UNSC. In response to these splinter groups, as well as the budding resurgence of the colonial insurrection, the UNSC created a new generation of augmented supersoldiers in the SPARTAN-IV program, who were integral to humanities success in the Battle of Draetheus V fought against a Merg Vol's Covenant, as well as numerous other post-war conflicts.
Requiem and the Didact
Aboard the severed aft half of the Forward Unto Dawn, drifting through space for over four years, Cortana noticed that the ship's intruder alarms had been activated and woke John-117 from cryo-sleep. Fighting their way through boarding parties of hostile Covenant forces, the duo discovered that the ship was orbiting a Forerunner world. Suddenly, a gaping maw on the face of the planet opened and forcibly pulled the Dawn and several Covenant ships inside.
Having crash-landed on the shield world, which they soon learned was known as Requiem, John-117 and Cortana engaged the occupying Covenant forces while attempting to find a way back to UNSC-controlled space. Meanwhile, the Infinity approached Requiem, oblivious of the artificial gravity well which pulled the Dawn inside. While attempting to find a way to contact the Inifinity, John-117 and Cortana were attacked by mechanical Promethean forces. Activating a supposed broadcast relay in Requiem's core, John-117 instead accidentally released the Ur-Didact from imprisonment. The Didact declared the return of the Forerunners as the galaxy's rulers and saviors. Having always revered the Forerunners as gods, the Covenant quickly swear alliance to the Promethean.
Escaping the core of Requiem, the Chief and Cortana arrived just in time to witness the UNSC Infinity crash on the surface of Requiem. The Didact makes for the crash-site, followed by the Master Chief, who reunites with the UNSC and Infinity's executive officer, Commander Thomas Lasky, for the first time in years and assisted in the defense of the stranded Infinity, and with the help of Marines and SPARTAN-IVs, eventually driving back the Didact and the Covenant forces. Afterwards, Captain Andrew Del Rio had a difference of opinion with the Master Chief on whether or not they should leave Requiem, or stay and deal with the Didact. During a mission, the Master Chief encountered a vision from the Librarian, who warned him of the Didact's plan to enslave humanity using a device known as the Composer. Despite this, Captain Del Rio ordered the Infinity to leave Requiem immediately. Disobeying orders, the Master Chief stayed behind in an effort to stop the Didact.
John-117 pursueed the Promethean and his Covenant allies to Ivanoff Station, where the Didact planed to acquire the Composer. Despite the efforts of the Master Chief, the Didact eventually used the Composer to digitize the occupants of Ivanoff, save for John-117 who was saved by the Librarian's enhancements. The Didact subsequently planed to use the Composer to attack Earth; the Master Chief followed him in close pursuit aboard a F-41 Broadsword space fighter. When the Didact reached Earth, the Infinity and Battlegroup Dakota engaged his ship, the Mantle's Approach, immediately. Armed with a HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon, John-117 maked his way into the ship and confronted the Didact, but not before the Promethean general used the Composer to digitize the population of New Phoenix, in the United Republic of North America. With the Chief incapacitated by the Didact, Cortana, nearing the end of her life, immobilized the Didact with hard light bindings. With the last of his strength, John disabled the Didact with a Promethean pulse grenade, sending him falling to a slipspace rupture beneath the Composer, and detonated the nuclear bomb manually. Using the last of her power, Cortana saved the Master Chief from the blast and the two met for one last time before Cortana faded away. Left floating in the debris field, John-117 was recovered and taken aboard the Infinity.
The Next 72 Hours
The Didact survived his defeat aboard Mantle's Approach. After falling through the Composer's slipspace portal, he found himself on Installation 03 and encounters the monitor 859 Static Carillon. John-117, reunited with his SPARTAN-II compatriots of Blue Team — Linda-058, Kelly-087 and Fred-104 — after several years, confronted the Didact and, with the aid of Static Carillon, defeated the Forerunner commander by subjecting him to the effects of multiple Composers. Static Carillon took Installation 03 for safekeeping while the Spartans returned to Earth. After being debriefed, the Master Chief returned to his team and they depart for new battles — without the knowledge or authorization of Lord Hood.
Return to Requiem
While their defeat at Earth proved a set back for the Promethean-Covenant alliance, it did not result in their defeat. Months later, in February 2558, the Infinity returned to Requiem with a complement of Spartans, determined to reclaim the shield world. Once there, Infinity engaged in combat with the Covenant fleet, and deployed ground forces, including Fireteams Majestic and Crimson, as well as detachments of other UNSC military forces on the planet. The Spartan fireteams ran through a series of search and destroy, rescue, artifact recovery, extraction and assassination ops.
During one of these operations, a mysterious Forerunner artifact was uncovered and subsequently brought aboard Infinity. After the device teleported Chief Engineer Henry Glassman to the surface of the planet, Dr. Catherine Halsey was brought in to investigate. Glassman was taken captive by the Covenant and ordered to activate the Librarian's shrine, though he is not successful. Dr. Halsey began dialog with an unknown party who shared her interest in the Librarian. The intelligence was actually Jul 'Mdama, who was manipulating Halsey into divulging vital secrets about the Forerunners. Halsey was apprehended after her unwitting communication with 'Mdama was discovered. Meanwhile, Spartan-IV Gabriel Thorne rescued Dr. Glassman and the pair escaped custody.
After Dr. Halsey briefly escaped imprisonment and resumed her communication with 'Mdama, Infinity was boarded by Covenant and Promethean forces who captured Dr. Halsey. They took her to the Librarian's "shrine", where 'Mdama awaited. Captain Lasky consulted with Admiral Serin Osman, head of the Office of Naval Intelligence, who ordered Lasky to assassinate Dr. Halsey. Against Lasky's protests, Commander Palmer departed to execute the order. However, Lasky sent Fireteam Majestic to rescue Dr. Halsey and stop Palmer. Meanwhile, Dr. Halsey successfully activated and entered the Librarian's shrine. The Librarian's essence gave Dr. Halsey an artifact known as the Janus Key, but Jul 'Mdama obtained one half of the key. Halsey tossed Gabriel Thorne the other half before she was abducted by 'Mdama.
Believing to have obtained what they were looking for, Jul 'Mdama sent Requiem to be destroyed by a nearby star. Deactivating a slipspace anchor originating from Requiem, the UNSC Infinity narrowly escaped the planet's gravity well. Afterwards, Lasky and Palmer observed as Dr. Glassman studied one half of the divided Janus Key. Meanwhile, aboard a Covenant ship, Dr. Halsey seemingly agreed to collaborate with Jul 'Mdama and his forces.
After several missions unrelated to the preceding events, the Infinity was lured into a trap by Jul 'Mdama and Dr. Halsey, resulting in the Battle of Aktis IV over the Janus Key. 'Mdama and Halsey eventually gained both halves of the artifact, revealing to them the location of a critical Forerunner site known as the Absolute Record. 'Mdama's Covenant and Halsey eventually reached the Record, trailed by a UNSC strike team. Due to interference from the Forerunner site's Custodian, neither side managed to unlock the facility, and the AI confiscated the Janus Key. Both sides fled the Record, with 'Mdama's Covenant forces suffering heavy losses and fracturing.
With the Master Chief and Blue Team having gone AWOL to pursue the a beacon seemingly sent by Cortana, their loyalties were called into question. Spartan Jameson Locke and Fireteam Osiris were sent to locate and return them to the UNSC.
Blue Team went to the ONI station Argent Moon and destroy it, but not before John-117 had a vision of Cortana. Blue Team fled in a Winter-class prowler heading for Meridian. Fireteam Osiris was told about Blue Team going to Meridian, and gave chase. Osiris helped the colony before they eventually set out to find Blue Team. Osiris then encounterd the Warden Eternal, a militaristic Promethean construct, and engaged.
After Fireteam Osiris defeated the Warden, they followed Blue Team's footsteps and come across a Guardian, a Forerunner device capable of conquering an entire planet over-night. Locke and John had a short fight before the Guardian left with Blue Team aboard, while destroying most of Meridian.
Osiris then joins Thel 'Vadam's forces on Sangheilios to find another Guardian that has been resting under Sunaion. After defeating many Covenant, and even a Covenant Kraken, the Arbiter and Osiris head to Sunaion. The Arbiter defeated the Covenant for the second time, and Osiris boarded the Guardian.
While Fireteam Osiris was fighting the Covenant alongside the Arbiter, Blue Team arrived on Genesis. While Blue Team fought the Covenant that had arrived through the slipspace portal that the Sunaion Guardian left, Cortana led them toward a Forerunner building: The Gateway to the Domain. Blue Team encountered the Warden Eternal, and after, a bit of talking, they fought. Cortana then lead Blue Team into the Gateway.
Fireteam Osiris arrived at Genesis in the Sunaion Guardian, and they searched for Blue Team. They met 031 Exuberant Witness, who assisted Osiris by bringing in an M820 Scorpion. Osiris took the Scorpion and fought through Covenant and Promethean forces, who were already fighting each other. Osiris then reaches the Gateway and battled two Warden Eternals in a courtyard. Once the Wardens were defeated, Osiris followed Blue Team. Right when Osiris reached them, Cortana transported Blue Team inside the Gateway, and Osiris were left behind to find them once more.
Inside the Gateway, the Warden tried to stop Blue Team from reaching Cortana, despite her best attempts to stop him. They fought through many Prometheans, and eventually the Warden Eternal tried to stop them with three of his bodies this Blue Team defeated. Eventually, the Warden brought too many bodies for Blue Team to fight. Blue Team was backed onto the edge of a platform, but before the Warden could kill them, Cortana dissolved his bodies. Blue Team confronted Cortana, who announced her plans to seal Blue Team in a Cryptum, a form of Forerunner cryogenic prison. They are unable to do anything, and Cortana seals them in.
While Exuberant and Osiris attempted to stop Cortana from locking Blue Team away for thousands of years, multiple UNSC Artificial intelligences began to swear their allegiance to Cortana, referring to themselves as the Created. After destroying a number of generators, Blue Team's Cryptum was retrieved. Cortana left with part of her plan being foiled. She arrived over Earth with one of her Guardians and used the Guardian's EMP to shut down most of the planet's power and defenses. While this happened the Infinity fled Earth's orbit.