The Covenant is a galaxy-wide, militaristic, Theocracy empire alliance of
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Extraterrestrial life forms from the Xbox video game franchise Halo.
The Covenant are extremely religious and governed by the theocracy Prophet Hierarchs and advised by a High Council. In addition, there are three known councils mentioned: the Council of Concordance, the Council of Doctrine and Deed and the Council of Masters. The Council of Doctrine and Deeds is the elite section of the caste and offers advice on military tactics and strategy. The Council of Concordance's job is to advise on how to keep harmony and peace within the Covenant (obviously they failed to stop the civil war). The Council of Masters is apparently established during major battles and military operations, and directly oversees battle.
They worship the Forerunners, an ancient (and supposedly extinct) alien race who have left behind many artifacts and technologies in their wake. There is speculation that the Prophets' species actually evolved on a planet once home to a Forerunner colony. It is believed that the Covenant conquer alien races and force them into the alliance, adding to their ranks. This use of "conditioned ranks" is an idea taken from Marathon.
The Covenant headquarters/holy city is the colossal, mobile city of High Charity, which was overrun and largely infected by The Flood at the end of Halo 2. It was later destroyed by the Master chief after recovering Cortana in Halo 3.
Prophets (San 'Shyuum)Edit
Prophets, are the highest-ranking Covenant, fulfilling the role of religious and political leader. The three highest-ranking Prophets are the Prophets of Truth, Mercy, and Regret, and they travel in floating thrones equipped with an impenetrable shield and a powerful particle beam gun. There are also many "lower" Prophets, with titles similarly modeled after those of the three Hierarchs. The Prophets covertly lead the loyalist forces in the civil war, and have only the Brutes, Drones, Grunts, Hunters and Jackals to protect them. They wear gold and red robes, a golden crown with gems and a holographic image of Halo on the front of their crown. The Prophets have gray skin and seem very frail and weak. They maintain power through their position as high priests and, in a sense, Prophets of the Covenant religion. It has recently come to light that the Prophets evolved on a planet with remains of a Forerunner colony on it, which they came to revere. At the start of Halo 2 there are 3 supreme Prophets, though all three are now dead. Regret was killed by the Master Chief on Delta Halo, Mercy by the Flood on High Charity, and Truth by Thel 'Vadam in the Citadel on the Ark.
Whatever mutual respect the Prophets held for the Elites by the events of Halo 2, there is a growing feeling of contempt for the Elites among the Hierarchs, particularly Truth. Whether this extends to the lesser Prophets and those not on the Council, and others if they exist is unknown. It is possible that the wizened look of the Prophets developed as a result of a lack of rigorous activity after the Prophet-Elite war. The only weapon a Prophet is ever seen wielding is a knife or dagger-type weapon, until Halo 3 when the Prophet of Truth used a Spike Rifle to kill Miranda Keyes. Also, during the fight with the Master Chief, the Prophet of Regret revealed his hovering platform had a few special features, such as large energy beam and a short-range teleportation device.
Ranks of Prophets (Strongest to Weakest)
- Prophet Hierarch - Every age, three Hierarchs assume control over the entire Covenant Empire including the High Council.
- Prophet of Truth (deceased)
- Prophet of Mercy (deceased)
- Prophet of Regret (deceased)
- Lesser Prophets - These are Prophets that are below the Prophet Hierarchs.
- Prophet of Supposition (Sent a letter to the High Council suggesting reasons for the Flood's appearance)
- Prophet of Disdain
- Prophet of Pity
- Minor Prophets - Minor Prophets conduct research on Forerunner technology and artifacts. It is presumed that they command the Engineers.
- Minister of Etiology (Legate) (deceased) - Prophet official in command of the Infinite Succor.
- Prophet Councilor - Prophet Councilors sit on the Council of Concordance and speak on behalf of the Prophets and the religious interests of the Covenant.
- Soha 'Rolamee (deceased) - He was an Elite member of the high council and used the Truth and Reconciliation as his office.
Brutes, called Jiralhanae (Which is also a Korean swear for "stupid aggressive lunatic") by the Covenant, have a hairy gorilla- and rhinoceros-like appearance and possess immense strength. Some Brutes (not including Tartarus) wear strange head gear that covers only the top of their heads. Brutes often travel in packs which can cause a prolonged engagement. They are organized tribally and are led by Chieftains, like Tartarus, who is killed by the Arbiter at the end of Halo 2. Brutes are the newest addition to the Covenant and the most willing fighters.
They had a long-standing rivalry with the Sangheili, which eventually bubbled up into the main thread of the hatred and killing that began the Covenant Civil War. Elites believed, since they were the first to join the Prophets, they were the true Covenant warriors, while the other species were simply pawns. Brutes believe that Elites' recent failures (the destruction of Halo, the assassination of the High Prophet of Regret) are signs that they are incompetent. While Brutes do have superior strength and speed, as well as being unquestionably loyal to the Prophets, Elites hold superior intelligence and discipline and possess superior leadership and management ability.
When all but one Brute in a group is killed, the remaining Brute will drop his weapon and charge like a bull at the person (or allies) who killed the other Brutes while shouting unintelligibly. While "berserking" in this manner, a Brute becomes stronger and faster. However, doing so it also seems to be more susceptible to gunfire.
Before the events of Halo 2, Elites occupied the Covenant niche of temple protectors and law enforcers. After the assassination of the High Prophet of Regret, the Brutes replace the Elites as personal bodyguards of the Prophets and commanders of the Covenant military, largely because their blind faith in the "Great Journey," made them more easily controlled and far less questioning of the Prophets than the Elites. They remained loyal to the Prophets and were used by them to be the primary instigators of the Covenant Civil War which began prior to the activation and attempted firing of the Delta Halo.
The Brutes seem to prefer projectile weaponry to plasma weaponry. This can be seen when they use their Brute-developed Brute Shots. These blade-edged grenade-launchers, when used to melee, do almost as much damage as the energy sword. The Brutes also have their own version of the Plasma Rifle; colored red, it has a faster firing rate than its blue counterpart, but in turn overheats at an accelerated pace. Brutes also use human shotguns—trophies they have gathered—to great effect, and a Brute cache of weapons included captured rocket launchers and fragmentation grenades as well. This would seem to reflect their personalities, favoring high-power weapons with little care for efficiency, subtlety or accuracy. It is also worth noting that in The Fall of Reach it is stated that Covenant forces seem to despise human weapons and would rather go hand to hand than pick up a human rifle. The reason behind the Brutes' indifference to a weapon's origin is unclear.
Ranks of Brutes (Strongest to Weakest)
- Chieftain of the Brutes (Tartarus) – Brute with Fist of Rukt Hammer
- Brute War Chieftain-Brute with Dark Golden Armor
- Brute Chieftain-Brute with Black and Red armor and wield Gravity Hammer
- Brute Honor Guard Captain – Brute with Flag and Honor Guard helmet
- Brute Honor Guardsman - Brute with Honor Guard armor
- Brute Captain Ultra - Brute with Cyan/Cobalt armor
- Brute Captain Major - Brute with Purple/Red armor
- Brute Bodyguard - Brute with Greyish-Blue/Steel armor
- Jump Pack Brute Captain - Brute with Gold armor and Jump Pack
- Jump Pack Brute Major - Brute with Red armor and Jump Pack
- Jump Pack Brute Minor - Brute with Blue armor and Jump Pack
- Brute Stalker - Brute with Grayish armor and Active Camouflage
- Brute Ultra - Brute with Indigo armor
- Brute Major - Brute with Blue armor
- Brute Minor - Brute with Teal-Green armor
Hunters, called Mglekgolo in the Covenant language, are incredibly dangerous foes, deployed more like equipment than soldiers. Their roles are shock troopers or heavy defense, and always work in pairs, referred to as "bond brothers". Rather than being built similarly to the other Covenant species with an endoskeleton and central nervous system, Hunters are actually sentient beings made up of a colony of symbiotic worms. Their impenetrable armor is actually what makes them any threat at all. This has led to speculation that they were created or engineered by the Forerunners. This is also probably the reason that no one has seen Flood Hunter Forms as their lack of a central nervous system makes it impossible for a Flood Infection Form to gain control of their brain. It is consistent that if engineered by the Forerunners, Hunters may be one of the tactical scenarios explored to defeat the Flood before the Halo system was created; the artificial intelligence 343 Guilty Spark mentioned to Master Chef Ramsey that after exploring every tactical scenario the Halo system was devised. Hunters usually show their hostility towards the lesser Covenant races and rarely even communicate with any other race (including the Prophets) apart from the Elites. They are highly aggressive and are unconcerned with collateral damage and will even purposely kill the lesser races just for simply.
When encountered in combat they can be as difficult as walking tanks, with their massive size, near impenetrable armor, large shields, and arm-mounted fuel-rod cannons. They are almost always seen fighting in pairs which makes them even more difficult in combat. This idea of fighting in pairs is similar to that of the "Sacred Band" employed by the ancient Thebans. They are easily the toughest infantry unit in the Covenant military, but a single high velocity shot targeting the fleshy orange skin between the armor plating can sometimes succeed in bringing the Hunter down; thus, Hunters can become an easy kill for the agile, seasoned veteran. They will never purposely show their weak spots to an enemy. A well-placed shot from a rocket launcher (or several from a fuel-rod cannonor one of the various other weapons will eventually destroy the hunter, but the ballistics are most effective, ) will take this hulking soldier down, as well. A plasma grenade latched onto them makes them blind, and they appear to walk around in random directions when so impaired.
In Halo: Combat Evolved, Hunters were outfitted with a parabolically firing Fuel Rod Gun on their right arm, but in Halo 2, hunters used a powerful beam cannon that fired in a straight line constantly for around a second. Hunters are encased in shells of highly resistant blue metal armor and have shields made of nearly indestructible alloy on their left arm. This armor is also resistant to any sort of melee combat from enemies. Hunter shields are known to deflect bullets and plasma from smaller weapons; it's made with an unknown material.
Their fuel rod guns are only used at a distance, so if an enemy comes too near, a Hunter will attempt a clumsy, yet devastating, charging attack with their shield this exposes a large area of their weak, orange flesh, (although in canon, they use the razor-sharp, blade-like spines along their back as well). In Halo 2, they have developed a new attack by which they deliver a combination backhand and overhanded smash to anyone unfortunate to still be in range if someone manages to get behind them.
The Hunters have been part of the Covenant for quite a long time. They were forced to join the Covenant after being subdued by an Elite-led military force. Because of previous defeats, an Arbiter was ordained to aid in taming of the Hunters. They were however found to be impossible to subjugate in land combat, and presumably the Arbiter was killed, so they were forced to surrender after the threat of extinction through orbital bombardment by the "Glassing" tactic. As a result, Hunters are deeply respectful of the Elites and choose to side with the Elite separatists where they proved to be very effective against the Brutes. Since the Hunters care nothing for the other Covenants races with the exception of the Elites, it's no surprise they sided with the Elites as the Prophet's betrayal towards them likely angered the Hunters.
They pair up at an early age before war. When one of a bonded pair is slain, the other will howl and become enraged. Like a berserking Brute, an enraged Hunter will forgo the use of its ranged weaponry in favor of smashing its foe into bloody pulp with its massive shield. Sometimes they become so mad that they even attack their own allies, particularly Grunts and Jackals.
Despite their brutal fighting style and a language that consists mostly of grunts (and distorted sounding speech), Hunters are actually a very intelligent species that seem to have a religion of their own. They seem to believe that when both bond brothers are killed, they will join each other in another life.
Recent information from Bungie indicates that the Hunters encountered thus far are merely the deployed "combat form" of the species. This might be a hint that other forms of the Hunter are yet to come in future Halo games, although it is suggested that Lekgolo ("a hundred in Tswana language) are actually used to pilot the Covenant Scarabs.
Ranks of Hunters (Strongest to Weakest)
There are no known ranking system. Although they are Golden Hunters seen throughout Halo: 3 ODST which may possibly be higher than regular Hunters.
The Elites, called Sangheili in the Covenant language, are the core of the Covenant military. Excellent soldiers, brilliant tacticians, and disciplined, aggressive fighters, they are the primary strength of the Covenant force. Faster, stronger, tougher and to a degree cleverer than most Humans, they fight in relatively small numbers but often lead squads of Grunts. They were the first to join the Covenant when the Prophets discovered evidence of the Forerunners' "Great Journey," and called for a truce. Armor color seems to indicate rank, and it is believed Elites are promoted based on the numbers of casualties they inflict. In the beginning of Halo 2, the highest rank seemed to be the "Honor Guard," who protected the Prophet of Regret and his broadcasting stations on Delta Halo. However, this rank was supposedly given to the Brutes after Regret's assassination at the hands of the Master Chief. White Elites, "Special Ops", have a similar action to the Brutes. When an enemy approaches to melee range with a Spec Op Ultra Elite, the Elite drops the weapon he's carrying and draws an Energy Sword and attacks the person, or persons, that were attacking. However, unlike the Brutes, Elites will not use this tactic as a last resort and are not provoked by fallen allies to do so.
Elites are typically armed with plasma rifles, energy swords, needlers, or carbines and carry plasma grenades, though they have been noted to wield any Covenant weapon. Certain Elites are specially trained or experienced and may wield human weapons, and two single-handed weapons as well, and in the Halo Graphic Novel, Elites are even shown utilizing a two energy blade fighting style. As seen in Halo 2, some special ops Elites have the capability to remain invisible for prolonged periods of time. In space, Elites are armed with vacuum suits and jetpacks for zero-G combat.
Ranks of Elites (Strongest to Weakest)
- Arbiter - Elite with Brown armor
- Councilor - Elite with White and Silver armor
- Supreme Commander - Elite with Yellow armor and Purple Cape
- Field Marshal - Elite with Purple/Maroon armor
- Zealot - Elite with Golden or Purple/Maroon armor
- Honor Guard Ultra - Elite with Silver and Orange armor
- Honor Guard - Elite with Orange, Red and Yellow armor
- Special Operations Commander of the Covenant - Elite with Silver and White armor
- Special Operations Officer - Elite with Black armor
- Special Operations - Elite with Dark Red armor and Active Camouflage
- Stealth - Elite with light blue armor and Active Camouflage
- Ranger - Elite with Light Grey or Cyan armor and Jetpack
- General - Elite with Gold/Yellow armor
- Ultra - Elite with White armor
- Major - Elite with Red armor
- Minor - Elite with Blue armor
Jackals, called Kig-Yar in the Covenant language, have superior senses and often serve as scouts, snipers and assassins. Excellent shots, the Jackals seem to be higher in status - if not necessarily rank - than the Grunts. They are 5'8" tall and typically carry a wrist-mounted energy shieldthat deflects bullets and needler shots but is weak against plasma and physical (melee) strikes. They often will be found in defensive positions, fighting from behind their distinctive energy shields. A well used shield makes a Jackal a difficult target, but the notch they use to return fire provides a weak spot that can be exploited, specifically by a sniper's weapon. Jackals sometimes abandon the shields in favor of carrying the Particle Beam Rifle in their capacity as snipers. When these snipers are face to face with a stronger opponent, they will drop any heavy weaponry they may have and cower like a Grunt, but if given a chance will pull out a plasma pistol and continue fighting. Their appearance is thin and bird-like, and their bodies are quite frail. Jackals appear to be predominantly left-handed (as opposed to the other Covenant species or to humans). Their rank is shown by the color of their body and of their shield. They are often cruel to the Grunts, considering themselves better than they are and to ensure their own superiority though other Covenant caste members just simply believe the Grunts are lower than they are. Jackals hold themselves above Grunts socially, even though they are in the same "worker" caste. They often refer to Grunts with derogatory monikers such as "gas suckers," due to the Grunts' need to breathe methane gas. The Grunts in turn seem to dislike the Jackals as a Grunt is heard saying "Stupid Jackal, say thank you!" after the Arbiter has destroyed the Sentinel which was attacking them. In Halo 2 a Grunt also tells the Arbiter "If hungry, eat Jackal!" Jackals can be heard or identified even before they are seen by their unique screech/yell sound. This cry is usually heard when the player has been spotted. The Jackals have chosen to side with the Prophets and Brutes in the Covenant civil war for unknown reasons, but it is speculated that it is due to their dislike of the Grunts which have sided with the Separatists.
Jackals come in two different skin colors: Black, and orange. The darker Jackals are not seen in Halo 2, and in Halo CE are seen holding the blue plasma shields. Another note of difference between the two versions of Jackals is their glowing pink eyes and a lesser amount of armor in Halo 2. Jackals in Halo 2 do not roll or flee as often as their Halo CE counterparts, making it more difficult to exploit gaps in their defenses. All of the Jackals seen in Halo 2 have mohawks, while their Halo: CE counterparts are not always seen with mohawks.
According to the action figure released by Joyride Studios, Jackals have been described as paying only the merest lip service to the cause of the Covenant, and are more or less mercenaries working for the alliance. They have been known for privateering, but the Covenant at large either condones or turns a blind eye to this practice.
Ranks of Jackels (Strongest to Weakest)
- Jackal Ranger - Jackal with Vaccum suits
- Jackal Sniper - Jackal with no Defense Gauntlet and wield Long Ranged Weaponry
- Jackal Major - Jackal with orange/red Defense Gauntlet
- Jackal Minor - Jackal with green/blue Defense Gauntlet
Engineers are the scientific engineering backbone of the Covenant and its economy. They float via air sacs and their many tentacles are able to split into many fine cilia, with which they are able to manipulate machinery. Engineers are capable of quickly learning the functionality of new technology. On one occasion an Engineer was observed (by Master Chief) dismantling a vehicle's engine, reassembling it into varying different working configurations, and then reassembling it the way it was, all in a matter of seconds. They are called Huragok (Chief) or Hunagok (Worker) in the Covenant language, and sometimes referred to as savants by the Humans.
They slaves to the Covenant, but they appear to draw no distinction between friend and foe, preferring to spend their time inspecting or repairing technology, although they will utter a high pitched keening sound when a Forerunner artifact is under any sort of threat. They are extremely apathetic to any sort of combat, and will just float along with their one desire: to fix things. In one encounter, an Engineer repaired the Master Chief's damaged shield generator and then floated away. This Engineer was later shot due the risk of it giving the Master Chief's superior shield technology to the Covenant.
Engineers only appear in Halo: ODST (though their character models are coded into Halo: Combat Evolved) and are mentioned Halo: New Blood, and in Halo: The Fall of Reach and named in Halo: First Strike.
It is unknown which side, if any, the Engineers have taken in the civil war. It is possible they have not even noticed the outbreak of the civil war, as they rarely even interact with the other Covenant castes (with the exception of the Prophets), content to fiddle with machinery and keep it running smoothly.
Ranks of Engineers (Strongest to Weakest)
There are no known ranking system.
The basic infantry unit of the Covenant, Grunts are the lowest beings in the Covenant hierarchy. They present little threat individually, but are dangerous in large numbers. Grunts, known as Unggoy (which means "monkey" in Tagalog) in the Covenant language are the workhorses of the Covenant. They serve as common laborers across Covenant controlled space. Short, stocky, and relatively slow, they will often panic when faced with superior forces. However, if they are being led by an Elite, they will stand and fight. It should be noted, that Heretic Grunts do not show fear and continually attack the player, even if the lead Elite dies. Despite their obvious cowardice, they are extremely large in numbers and breed rapidly, and - when cornered - can attack with suicidal desperation. Grunts are usually armed with single handed weapons, like plasma pistols, needlers, and plasma grenades (which they are incredibly good at aiming), although the Arbiter can give his Grunt allies a Plasma Rifle and Brute Plasma Rifle, even though they never typically use one.
Their homeworld is a frozen, swampy planet with a methane atmosphere and naturally occurring pillars of fire. Because they breathe methane they are forced to rely on a large, bulky Scuba-like "rebreather" system in order to survive in oxygen atmosphere areas - which, unfortunately for the Grunts, are almost everywhere in Covenant society, since no other Covenant race breathes methane. The Grunts are approximately 5' tall, which does not give them any confidence when facing humans, though they lose most of their fear when using a plasma turret or a vehicle. In spite of their low rank in the caste, some Grunts have been trained with the bulky fuel rod guns and have been seen wearing black reinforced armor, implying that they are Special Ops. This does not hold with classic Covenant operation, but it seems to be the case. Because of their aforementioned tendency towards panic, disarray, and dying, the Grunts are usually herded as cannon fodder and directed by one or more of the higher caste, normally an Elite. If the higher-ranking Covenant member leading the group is killed, the Grunts will usually scatter. Grunts will usually scatter when the player wields an energy sword in the grunt's view.
Most Grunts carry single plasma pistols and sometimes grenades. They never seem to "overcharge" the pistol and take out shields,( until Halo:Reach) but merely shoot it in single fire mode. Some may carry plasma grenades, but are often too slow in their attempt to throw it, dying while still holding the live grenade.
Somewhere in the history of the Covenant, the Grunt Rebellion took place; possibly in the Age of Doubt. An Arbiter was created to deal with the threat.
Grunt culture has largely been erased by their incorporation into the Covenant, and they obey most of the other Covenant races out of fear because they have no political power in the Covenant. However within the Grunt community there is a strong hatred of most other species, particularly Jackals, (as evidenced at one point in Halo 2 during the Sacred Icon level) and it has been stated that the Grunts have hopes for a particularly heroic, strong, tall Grunt to one day become the savior of their kind and set them on the path to freedom by another Rebellion and the return to their homeworld. They are still used by the Covenant as cannon fodder as evidenced in the Halo 2 level, Gravemind, but they have also sided with the Elite-lead separatist faction for unknown reasons in the following level.
In Halo: The Fall of Reach it is mentioned that a reason why Grunts fight suicidally is that when they die they will go to the 'methane filled paradise,' especially if they die following commands of a Covenant Elite. Some Grunts, however, are noted to not act so aggressively and suicidally; a Grunt named Yayap, for example, avoided the needless deaths of his entire squad by having them evacuate an unconscious Elite from the Pillar of Autumn.
Ranks of Grunts (Strongest to Weakest)
- White Armor – Grunt Ultra
- Black Armor – Grunt Special Operations
- Green Armor – Grunt Heavy Weapons Specialist
- Red Armor – Grunt Major
- Orange Armor - Grunt Minor
Drones are an insectoid race which are called Yanme'e in the Covenant language. They talk in a chirpy, clicking noise but it is not certain if this is a hive communication or individual conversation. Their exoskeleton is pale green and thick in texture.
In the instruction manual for Halo 2, it is stated they are suited to fight in areas like Earth's atmosphere. They prefer to stay at a distance and use long range tactics. However, they are skilled close-range combatants as well if the need arises, utilizing their climbing claws in close-quarters. Drones have been noted to land on vehicles and use their claws for vicious and surprisingly powerful attacks against the occupants.
Drones are insectoid in nature and seem to be covered in natural chitinous armor (and small gold and blue pieces of machinery), although it doesn't provide much protection. They wield light-weight weapons such as needlers and plasma pistols.
During the Covenant civil war, the Drones remained loyal to the Prophets for unknown reasons.
Drones are often referred to by UNSC marines as "buggers". This stems from the drone's insectoid nature, which causes the marines to think of them as large bugs. In addition this could be a reference to the novel "Ender's Game'" by Orson Scott Card, in which humanity is at war with an insectiod alien race known only as the "Buggers", although since they are never described in detail, how much resemblance they bear to the drones of Halo is unknown. An alternative, if slightly more crude possibility, is the use of the word "bugger" in British English to mean a sodomite. however in halo 3 odst a gold armored variant can only be encountered on the data hive level this variant also has energy shields.
Drones are often referred to as "annoying" by fans due to their tendency to fly around and shoot players like a swarm of bees stinging someone. They should be the priority of someone's "kill list" before killing anyone else since the person someone's fighting can weaken the player enough for the drones to finish him/her off.
Ranks of Drones (Strongest to Weakest)
- General - Gold Exoskeleton
- Ultra - Blue and Cyan Exoskeleton
- Major - Red Exoskeleton
- Minor - Regular Exoskeleton
The Covenant maintains the largest military force in the known galaxy. Their technology is far more advanced compared to that of the United Nations Space Command, due to their ability to repurpose Forerunner technology. The Council of Deed and Doctrine is the governing force behind the Covenant military and aids the Hierarchs with military tactics and strategy. During major engagements the Council of Deed and Doctrine creates a Council of Masters to directly oversee the operation. The majority of the Covenant utilizes a cast type ranking system based on the color of their armor and type of armor (Drones, Grunts, & Elites), shield color (Jackals), and accessories (Brutes). There are only two species within the Covenant that have no known ranking system; Hunters and Engineers. The Prophets are part of the Covenant’s religious cast and have their own ranking system. The strength of all Covenant soldiers differ by rank: high-ranking soldiers are stronger than lower-ranking soldiers due to experience, training, and equipment.
The Covenant boast an arsenal of plasma and energy-based projectile weapons. Most of the Covenant's weaponry uses a magnetic channeling that the human race has only learned to apply in the MAC gun aboard starships. The book "First Strike" reveals that the weapons that the Covenant use are based on Forerunner technology. However, the game's programmers have undoubtedly based many Covenant weapons on similar designs from Marathon.
Plasma-based weaponry is very effective against energy shielding and body armor generally having a very high armor penetration. The rate of fire tends to be very high, but power cannot be recharged (by both Human forces and the Covenant. The manual for the Halo 2 Limited Edition mentions that once the battery is depleted, the weapons are useless. This implies that either the weapons require special equipment to recharge or, more likely, that they are simply disposed of upon depletion), and firing many shots in a short duration can cause the weapon to overheat, which reduces energy use efficiency as well as forcing a temporary cooling period in which the weapon cannot be fired.
Once uploaded into the weapons system of the Covenant Flagship Ascendant Justice, Cortana found a method of using the plasma turret's magnetic coils to focus the weapon's plasma generators, cutting the charge time and targeting time of the weapons. Instead of the ball-shaped blast of plasma the Covenant regularly employ, she was able to focus the shots into a beam configuration that was far more efficient, and capable of creating hair-thin lines of plasma that sheared through armor with ease.
Additional weapons utilized by the Covenant are projectile weapons such as the Needler, Fuel Rod Cannon, and Carbine. The Needler fires glassy purple shards of an unidentified crystal that home in on a target and explode, resulting in blast damage and a severe fragmentation effect (especially when the projectile is inside the target) that cause large explosions when tightly grouped. The Fuel Rod Cannon and Carbine fire radioactive ammunition, though the larger fuel rods are much more powerful, while the Carbine's ammunition and shots are much smaller and more precise. It is believed that the two weapons are based on the same technology, but this is unconfirmed.
Most Covenant vehicles are capable of hovering, less prone to uneven terrain, and appear to use a "boosted gravity propulsion drive". The boost function is only present in the second gameand up, and only three of the listed vehicles appear in the first game. These are the Ghost, Banshee and Wraith. Noticeable improvements are made to vehicles in the second game. All Covenant vehicles (like most Covenant structures) have a signature purple sheen, except the Covenant walking tank known as the Scarab. Sergeant Johnson says the Marines have run simulations on them, which seems to indicate their purpose as offensive weapons.
SpiritEditThe Covenant dropship of the first game, It was replaced in halo 2 by the Phantom Dropship. This was likely due to its vulnerability when deploying troops. The Ship would lower to near-ground level and open its twin side hatches, where four covenant troops in both "prongs" can be stored. The troops would mainly consist of Grunt, Elites and Jackals This of course, was its main weakness, it was vulnerable to ground forces when opening the doors. The bandit was only named once, in the level "Halo" of Halo: Combat evolved when Cortana warns of another dropping in. The Bandit's shape looks like a tuning fork shaped craft with personnel bays along the exterior of each "prong", with a single "shade" turret gun on its central underbelly.
BansheeEditThe Banshee is the primary personal aerial assault vehicle of the Covenant, seen only piloted by Elites and Brutes. The Banshee is a small jet with a hood that opens upward from the rear, and is equipped with two stubby "wings", which are basically frames that terminate in the propulsion jets and anti-gravity pods that leave behind a signature exhaust trail. In Halo 2 the Banshee got an u[pgrade in maneuverability, and is capable of performing loop-de-loops and barrel rolls to avoid incoming fire with the help of the boosting engines, which in common with most Covenant vehicles, results in the sacrifice of the weaponry for the duration of the maneuver. Banshees come equipped with two plasma cannons and two fuel rod cannons, the latter can't be used like the plasma cannons can. Its name likely stems from the screaming noise made during tight turns and aerial maneuvers, like the scream of the paranormal creature Banshee, which heralds the death of a family member in Irish mythology. The scream is the prediction of the player's death as the Banshee approaches. However, this highly-audible sound often serves as an early warning, allowing the player to prepare for engagement and source an appropriate weapon.
Boarding CraftEditThis craft is a small alige boarding ship, its main purpose is to attach itself to an empty escape pod docking ring to board the vessel. The ship inself can carry at least 15 Covenant troups. They use this "Boarding" method to search and gather vital information regarding the enemies ships and tactical information. It is believed that the Anti-Matter Bombs were brought on board the MAC Cannon stations; Cairo, Malta and Athens. The latter two Malta and Athens were destroyed, Cario was saved due to Master Chief's actions. It is believed that when the bombs are set and only a few minutes remain the boarding craft are used to escape the explosion zone.
PhantomEditRoughly the Covenant equivalent of a UNSC Pelican dropship, the Phantom is armed with three plasma turrets mounted on its underside that deliver devstating firepower to any ground or air based target, but are vulnerable to rockets or other explosive charges. In the center of the belly is a miniature grav-lift much like the one used in the Covenant flagships, but not requiring a ground-based platform to operate. The Phantom is capable of transporting any variety of Covenant troops, supplies, and weaponry, and has been seen being piloted by Elites and Brutes. The Phantom has the unique ability of carrying vehicles as heavy as a Wraith tank, but it also can carry smaller vehicles like Ghosts or Specters, which it drops from low alitudes into combat zones. These vehicles are fast and may be piloted by either Elites or Brutes (this can only be discerned by radio communications between characters since the pilots are never seen). Also, a brute is seen piloting a phantom in the second cutscene before the "Sacred Icon".
While this is not really considered a vehicle, the Prophets use it to move around and can be boarded like a playable vehicle, which can help the Master Chief defeat the Prophet of Regret quickly. It has a beam cannon similar to that of a Hunter's fuel rod cannon and has a bulletproof shield that protects the operator. It can be modded to be operated by the player, as seen here. 
ScarabEditA massive walking attack platform seen in only two levels in the second game. The Scarab towers above the landscape on four hydraulic legs ending in a sharp point. Its body is unpainted metal that resists most weapons - a female Marine remarks that it withstood 50-calibre rounds and rockets with no noticeable damage. The machine is armed with a massive plasma cannon on the front of the main body, which is capable of obliterating human Pelicans and Scorpion tanks with a single shot, after a significant power-up time. A secondary rapid-fire turret is mounted above this, but is rarely used. It is also the only thing on the Scarab that can be destroyed with a concentrated amount of plasma bullets. The control room, adorned with the Covenant purple colour, is located inside the main body, and manned by two or more Elites. Since the craft can be boarded, additional Covenant such as Grunts and other Elites usually crew the machine to fight off boarders. The ability to walk allows the vehicle to negotiate human cities and most areas where even hovercraft would not be able to reach. As far as the player is concerned, the Scarab itself is indestructible, but can be disabled. There were two scarab's on Earth, one that Master Chief disables, and a disabled one on the map Turf. During The Battle of Reach, Spartan-104 describes seeing several large "insect like" excavating machines digging up Castle Base. He destroys them using Plasma Mortar from a Wraith tank. Which might show they had another purpose. It returns in Halo 3 with many differences and is encountered three times (two at the third time are deployed).
They are the Covenant's counterpart to U.N.S.C Longsword. The Seraph is a rarely seen vehicle, it is mentioned in the Books and is only seen on two different occasions; first time is in the Hanger of the Forerunner facility in Threshold, the Heretic Leader was going to use it to escape the falling structure that was plumpting into Threshold. The second is seen outside of Cario Station.
ShadowEditThe Covenant equivalent of an APC, the Shadow transports multiple Covenant soldiers, and can also carry light vehicles and cargo such as Ghosts. A plasma turret is mounted high on the front end, but the operator is vulnerable to enemy fire. The transport itself is heavily armored, but offers no protection for the vehicles it carries into combat. So far, it is never seen carrying Covenant infantry. However, modded content within the game reveals that the Shadow was originally designed to include the ability to carry troops, and that both Grunts and Elites have unique sitting and driving animations and dialogue for the Shadow. The player cannot pilot this vehicle, although the plasma turret may be used and a person can mod the Shadow to make it pilotable. It is currently unknown whether or not it has a boosting ability or if it sacrifices the weapon's energy. A video of someone piloting a Shadow can be seen here.
SpectreEditA light, rapid assault vehicle equipped with a rapid-fire plasma turret. Similar in function to the UNSC Warthog, this vehicle can ferry up to two passengers into battle, as well as carry a gunner and pilot. The passengers, however, are very vulnerable on the sides of the Spectre, due to a lack of cover. The Spectre is equipped with a powerful rapid-fire plasma cannon, much like a plasma rifle without overheating. Its function is also similar to the Warthog, which also sports a rapid-fire weapon in the form of a three-barrelled machine gun. The Specter is the only Covenant vehicle a player can pilot that can be boosted without sacrificing significant maneuverability or the weapon.
WraithEditThe Wraith tank is the primary Covenant heavy armor, often deployed, but only in small numbers, and piloted by Elites or Brutes. The nose of the tank is extremely well armored, able to withstand multiple dead-on rockets. The Wraith fires a large ball of plasma mortars in a parabolic path, and is capable of firing at a medium rate of fire without overheating. The rear of the Wraith is less well armored, and seems to have a rear exit to the cockpit, which is normally primarily accessed by double-doors on the top of the nose. The Wraith runs on the same hovering technology of the Ghost, and retains the boosting ability, albeit only for limited spurts of speed. Newer versions also come mounted with a pair of light rapid-fire plasma turrets along the front of the tank to deal with infantry and airborne threats. The Wraith is so called by human Marines because you usually only get one look at the tank before you become one.
Revenants only appear in Halo: Reach and is driven by Elites. They have a mortar as it's primary weapon and a passanger can be on it too. It has a much longer boosting ability then other Covenant vehicles, and hovers above the ground. It really only appears in land-based missions as a support to Covenant armies.
CCS-Class Battle CrusiersEdit
- Truth and Reconciliation: one of the CCS-class battle cruisers of the Fleet of Particular Justice and Captain Jacob Keyes's prison. Infested by the Flood and destroyed by UNSC forces to prevent the Flood from escaping Installation 04
- Pious Inquisitor: CCS-class battle cruiser used to torture and interrogate enemies. This is also the fastest ship in the Covenant fleet. (also a multiplayer map)
- Sacred Promise
- Purity of Spirit
CHS-class Harvesting FrigateEdit
- Infinite Succor
- Ascendant Justice: Flagship, captured by UNSC forces and destroyed. Ship hear in Halo: First Strike
- Begotten Angel
- Seeker of Truth: CCS Class Capital Ship (Unconfirmed as being a Capital Ship at this time) Flagship of the Fleet of Particular Justice
Shadow of Intent
- High Charity: Mobile Planetoid, High Charity is the Covenant Holy City. The city is mobile, can jump through slipspace, and was powered by the unnamed Forerunner ship. It was taken over by the Flood at the end of Halo 2. High Charity is the "Home Planet" of the Covenant, in the sense that it is the planet where the High Council, Mausoleum of the Arbiter, residence of the ruling Prophet Hierarchs, and other fixtures of Covenant government are located. It is believed that all battle (or otherwise purpose oriented) Covenant members reside within. However, every race in the Covenant has its own homeworld, and it is to be emphasized that High Charity is only an administrative homeworld. High Charity is at all times protected by a fleet of hundreds of Covenant capital ships (each carrying an unknown amount of fighter craft, not to mention the ships that may be docked within High Charity itself). Any vessel entering High Charity's "zones" must broadcast a security code (changed every so often, specifically at an unknown time between one hour and one week) without hesitation when prompted or the vessel will be immediately destroyed. This fleet surrounding the city is noted to be larger than even the fleet surrounding the Unyielding Hierophant, well over five hundred ships.
- Unyielding Hierophant: Space station used as a rendezvous point for Covenant invasion forces headed towards Earth. Destroyed by the Master Chief and his group of surviving Spartan forces.
- Commitment and Patience
- Dreadnaut: This ships engines have been adapted by the Covenant and are used to power High Charity. The Prophet of Truth used this ship to escape from High Charity when the Flood invaded it during the Covenant Civil War. The Prophet then traveled to Earth with the Master Chief aboard.
- Unnamed flagship involved in the Fall of Reach
The Covenant believe that when the Halos are activated the Covenant will embark on a "Great Journey" similar to that undertaken by their gods, the Forerunners. Finding and activating the Halos is a prime goal of the Covenant.
However, few if any members in the Covenant are aware that the Halos, when activated, destroy all sentient life in the galaxy. Whether the Prophets do know the true effects of activating a Halo is uncertain, but the very fabric of the Covenant is built on accomplishing it, believing this will propel them into the "Divine Beyond", a heavenly paradise they will share with the Forerunners.
As the Master Chief and UNSC discovered, the Halos were not built as religious icons; they are galactic weapons of mass sterilization built by the Forerunners to contain a parasitic race known as The Flood.
The currently living Arbiter, who is either leading or an important member of the separatist movement, knows the true function of the Halos after speaking with 343 Guilty Spark. Following this, he helped some UNSC troops stop Tartarus from activating Installation 05, and hence the entire remaining Halo network. The loyalists still seem to believe in the Great Journey, and will most likely continue to try to activate the Halos.
The current events in Halo 2 occur during the Ninth Age of Reclamation. UNSC researchers are unsure how the Covenant record time, but seven distinct ages have been collected. It's uncertain if these names are reused or if, for instance, there have been eight other ages of reclamation in the past. (Note: the arrangement and meaning of the ages is only speculation)
- Age of Abandonment
- Age of Conflict
- Age of Conversion
- Age of Discovery
- Age of Doubt
- Age of Reconciliation
- Age of Reclamation
The Ages of the CovenantEdit
Little is known about their history except that the ancestors of the Prophets and Elites waged war on each other, but they formed the Covenant after finding evidence of the Forerunners and their “Great Journey”.
One of the leading theories is that the Age of Abandonment was the time when the Forerunners left the Prophets and Elites to embark on the "Great Journey".
Elites and the Prophets began fighting each other in the Age of Conflict. It is not yet known why this war started.
In the Age of Discovery, the Prophets discovered the remains of the Forerunner technology, maybe with the help of the Engineers.
During the first Age of Reconciliation, the Prophets shared the information learnt about the forerunners with the Elites. The Elites and the Prophets made a truce to unite to form the Covenant with the Elites being promised salvation in exchange for their military services and protection. Presumably, this is when the Covenant Writ of Union was created. The Age of Conversion was when the Elites and the Prophets started to conscript other races (such as when they "tamed" Hunters) into the Covenant through religious conversion or force.
The Covenant began to doubt the word of the Prophets during the Age of Doubt, due to their fruitlessness of their search for the rings (such as Alpha (04) and Delta (05) Halo) or any other means to begin The Great Journey. The Grunt Rebellion probably occurred during this span of time.
Halo and Halo 2 take place during the 9th Age of Reclamation. It is often speculated that this is a reference to the name that the Monitors give to humans: “reclaimers”. Others, especially the Elites, wonder why the humans, worthy opponents that have proven themselves in battle many times, were not given the opportunity to join the Covenant. Some within the Covenant even wonder what bad thing the humans have done to be an "affront" to the gods. This fact might be linked with humans presumably being the reclaimers, and not any of the Covenant races. It seems that the Prophets are particularly unhappy with this fact, given their liberal use of the word "Demon" in reference to the Master Chief. The Prophets may also have other motives, as evidenced by the sermons that Regret speaks during the "Delta Halo" and "Regret" levels in Halo 2, which involve hunting down humans for impeding Covenant progress and damaging "holy relics."
The Covenant recruited other races around them. Extraordinary crises, such as the Taming of the Hunters, and the Grunt Rebellion almost destroyed the Covenant but were resolved by the Arbiters. The Prophets, were aided by the Engineers, and soon discovered more about the Forerunners including a myth about the Halo Installations and used Forerunner technology to launch their industrial revolution in which their militant, technologically superior civilization developed.
Taming of the HuntersEdit
(Age of Conversion)
The Taming of the Hunters is mentioned in the game Halo 2 as one of the crises that required the creation of an Arbiter. The Arbiter was very vital to the success and properly died during this task. It is speculated that the ground troops of the Covenant were not able to defeat The Lekgolo on the planet surface, and that the Hunters were only convinced to join the Covenant after being threatened with a bombing (glassing) by the Covenant which would have totally destroyed the planet. As a result Hunters are deeply respectful of the Elites and choose to side with them during the Covenant Civil War.
(Age of Doubt)
The Grunt Rebellion was an event dangerous enough to the Covenant that an Arbiter had to be created to combat it. Like all the other Arbiters, it is assumed that the Arbiter at the time died in the course of the Rebellion. It involved the smallest and most common form of the Covenant, the Grunts, rebelling against the rest of the Covenant. It is however unknown as to why the rebellion took place but is likely because of the abuse the Grunts face from the rest of the Covenant.
Because the majority of the warriors and workers of the Covenant appear to be these four-foot tall aliens, this event would have been extremely hard to deal with, but was eventually subdued.
Ninth Age of ReclamationEdit
The Ninth Age occurred between the Earth years 2525 and the current year, 2552. Thus far, this age has been tumultuous for the Covenant, and has featured a war with humanity, the unleashings of the Flood, and a civil war simultaneously. When the Covenant first came into contact with Humanity at the planet Harvest, they waged a twenty-five year religious war that destroyed almost every world colonized by humans by the means of "Glassing" the planet. Even the battles won by the UNSC's advanced Spartan soldiers were unable to slow the advance of the Covenant.
Earth remained undiscovered in part because of the Cole Protocol, a standing order by UNSC Admiral Cole, that directed retreating UNSC ships not chart a direct course back to Earth or other population centres in case the Covenant were able to follow. In fact, ships were required to self-destruct rather than lead the Covenant to Earth. This decision was apparently successful and the Covenant did not discover Earth until the events of Halo: First Strike, but apparently happened upon it by chance and were unaware that it was populated by the majority of humanity. When the Prophet of Regret used codes from religion text, his fleet arrived at Earth. At first, Cortana says many times of how they appear to be surprised and confused that humanity is on Earth. This gives us a clue that they came to Earth for other reasons.
When they came to Earth the Covenant was being to fracture; The Human War was an on-going campaign, with mainly wins on the Covenant side but due to the Master Chief's unstoppable nature on Installation 04, that lead to its destruction. With the Flood's unexplainable appearance many began to question their faith, especially since another survivor was found, Guilty Spark 343. He began to talk about what the Installations and other aspects of them really were. This split the Covenant into heretic and separatist forces. The Prophets began not to trust the Elites and Brutes began to rise the ranks. When Master Chief appeared again, humans were on a holy planet (where the Ark is (Earth)), Installation 05 was Flood ridden and humans had landed on there as well. The Prophets planned to remove and get rid of the Arbiter so that the Brute's could take over the Elites position near the High Council. This turned into Civil War, and evolved everyone in the Covenant. The High Prophets of Mercy and Regret, Tartarus, and many of the Councillors have been killed, leaving the Covenant in a precarious position.
The Prophet of Truth is speculated to have traveled to Earth in search of the Ark, a structure built by the Foreruners to activate installations 01-07 with 04 missing due to its destruction. The Ark is thought to be located near New Mombasa due to many clues;
- The Halo 3 trailer shows a ruined New Mombasa with a Forerunner structure
- In a cinematic clip in Halo 2, Admiral Hood states, "This (New Mombasa) is the only place on Earth the Covenant decided to land. That prophet (Regret) is going to tell us why."
- In the Halo Graphic Novel one Elite tells others "We need to clear this area before we can secure access to The Ark"
The War with Humanity Edit
Humanity and the Covenant first came into direct contact In 2525 (twenty-seven years before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved), when the Covenant attacked an Outer-Colony world Harvest. However, the Covenant had been covertly studying the human race for some time prior to that, as the Covenant frigate in that encounter demonstrated knowledge of the English language, when it broadcast a single phrase "Your destruction is the will of the Gods...and we are their instrument." to the Human destroyer before opening fire on it. The Prophets declared humanity to be an affront to their Gods (supposedly because humans inhabited and 'defiled' areas which were once Forerunner), and called for a genocidal crusade against the Human race. They used their main weapons, plasma torpedoes, on several of their capital ships to vaporize the surface of the planet, turning the crust into molten glass, hence the term "Glassing."
From that point on, the Covenant continued to attack and destroy the humans wherever they were found. Though the humans proved to be hearty fighters, their inferior technology and numbers meant that a victory was far from guaranteed. The Covenant also had an advantage, they didn't need to fight planet-side to destroy the enemy; they simply needed to destroy their space-borne defenses and any other threats planet-side, and then reduce the planet's surface to glass with orbital plasma bombardments. The few victories achieved by the UNSC were due to special tactical maneuvers, as human missile, nuclear, and magnetic acceleration weapons had problems competing with Covenant ship-protection shields (which human ships lacked) and plasma torpedoes.
Their first truly costly defeat was on and around the planet Reach and the subsequent events on Halo. Here, the human survivors from the cruiser "Pillar of Autumn" managed to form an effective resistance. Unwilling to risk damaging the sacred ring, the Covenant were forced to fight the humans on Halo's surface rather than using their usual bombardment tactics. The Covenant found the Humans uncannily adapted to Halo's environment and very adept at fighting on the surface, with Human firearms and vehicles proving surprisingly deadly despite their technological inferiority. Unable to counter the guerilla tactics employed by the humans and the unexpected emergance of The Flood, the Covenant were soundly defeated in numerous raids, including one instance when the humans boarded one of their grounded cruisers and successfully escaped with a group of captives, including the captain of the Pillar of Autumn. During the battles on Halo, word spread throughout the Covenant ranks of a "Demon" who fought alongside the humans, who in reality was Spartan-117, the Master Chief. This mysterious warrior was said to be taller than most other humans, clad in shining green armor, faceless behind a gold mask, and capable of slaying even the greatest of foes. The Demon had slaughtered the Covenant on Halo by the hundreds, took on the relentless onslaught of The Flood, and ultimately destroyed the sacred ring. The Elites viewed the Demon with mixed fear, admiration, and hatred.
According to the novel Halo: First Strike, shortly after the defeat at Halo, the Covenant seemed to have amassed a large fleet with which to assault Earth. The events of Halo 2 apparently contradict the novel in explicitly stating that the Covenant had not identified Earth as the Human homeworld. However, a close analysis of the events of First Strike in fact show that the Unyielding Hierophant's fleet was never expressly identified to be intending to assault Earth; this is merely a reasonable assumption made by the human forces upon discovery of the fleet's destination of Sol. The humans believed this fleet to be a direct threat to Earth, and, with the help of a captured Covenant cruiser, lured the fleet into a trap and destroyed it. As of this point, the exact objective of this large fleet is unknown, though it may have been an excavation fleet similar to the one led by the Hierarchs, albeit on a much larger scale. This may also indicate that something of great importance to the Covenant is on or around Earth. In light of this crushing defeat and the defeat on Halo, the Covenant military leaders came to the reluctant conclusion that they had seriously underestimated the human military.
A few weeks after this defeat, The Prophet of Regret led a small fleet of fifteen ships to Earth, supposedly in order to locate a Forerunner artifact that would begin The Great Journey. It soon became apparent to the Humans that the Covenant had not identified Earth as a Human occupied world, let alone their homeworld. Though hopelessly outgunned by the Humans' new orbital defense grid, the Prophet of Regret's flagship managed to break through the Human defenses to New Mombasa. The Covenant ground troops quickly spread through the deserted city, but a counterattack by the Marines and the Master Chief drove them back. His fleet having been destroyed in orbit when he landed, Regret was forced to retreat. His retreat was not in vain, as whatever he came there for, whether aware of the Ark's presence there or not, it can be implied he acquired some Forerunner artifact with coordinates that lead to Delta Halo. His carrier jumped into Slipspace from within New Mombasa just as a team of ODSTS arrive. After six hours the odst team secures Superindendent or virgil only to find that an engineer has combined covenant and what the covenant are looking for under the city the team escorts the engineer by a phantom drop ship and escape the city while watching truths fleet uncovers the portal to the ark.
Unfortunately for Regret, a single Human ship, the "In Amber Clad", had followed them through their own Slipspace rupture to Delta Halo. With the orders "Find out why he came to Earth; why he came here.", the Master Chief was hard-dropped with a compliment of ODSTs to Delta Halo's surface and the Covenant were once again subjected to the nightmare of fighting the Humans on the land they were uncannily adept to. Led by the Chief, the Humans forced their way through Regrets forces until they had reached Regret himself. At that moment, High Charity, having learned of Delta Halo, arrived and launched multiple waves of Phantom dropships to aid Regret but they were too late. The Chief faced and killed Regret and the Covenant fleet recalled the Phantoms in favour of bombarding the area. It would seem they succeeded in "killing" Master Chief by burning away the building, as he came inches away from getting incinerated by the massive plasma beam glassing the area, plummeting down into the lake below. Little would they know the Flood would be able to revive him.
Meanwhile, the majority of the Human forces had travelled to Delta Halo's library to obtain the index. Originally, the Covenant had been unaware of the index, but luckily for them, the Arbiter had obtained the Oracle of the first Halo while destroying a heretic sect. The Oracle (actually 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor of the first Halo) told the Prophets of the index and the Arbiter was sent to retrieve it. The mission was complicated though, by the unexpected release of the Flood. Despite this, the Arbiter successfully reached the library and prevented the Humans from claiming the index. With the index secure, the Prophets then ordered the Brutes to begin murdering the Elites, thus starting the Covenant Civil War (see below).
Following the Flood infestation of High Charity, the Prophet of Truth led the remaining Loyalist fleet to Earth to complete what the previous two missions to Earth had not. Little did he know that the Demon had stowed away with him. At this point, the Humans' space borne defences have all been destroyed, but since the Covenant seek to occupy Earth and not to destroy it, they will have to fight the war on the Humans' terms from now on...
The Covenant Civil War Edit
In 2552, part of the Ninth Age of Reclamation in the Covenant calendar, the Covenant splintered in a civil war after the Hierarchs replaced the Sangheili with Jiralhanae in most military positions as a result of the assassination of the High Prophet of Regret by the Master Chief. They claimed the Elites could no longer guarantee their safety, and the increased strength of the Brutes could, yet this undermined the foundation of the Covenant and rendered the Elites in many ways redundant - something they couldn't handle. Currently the Loyalist forces include the Prophet Hierarchs, Brutes, Jackals, Drones and some Grunts, which are commanded by the Prophet of Truth. The Separatists are led by the Arbiter and include the Elites, Hunters and most of the Grunts, and at the end of Halo 2 it appears that they have formed an uneasy truce with the United Nations Space Command troops on Delta Halo. Engineers (not seen in either of the games) are not part of either side, but are used extensively by the Covenant, as they are content to just fix things. Several were captured by the UNSC in the events of the novel First Strike, though this was mostly ignored in Halo 2.
Although the civil war is the largest revolt to date, there have always been groups that disagreed with the Prophet-dictated Covenant doctrine. A heretic group led by an Elite referred to only as the "Heretic leader" briefly controlled a Forerunner station in the atmosphere of the gas giant planet of Threshold, the planet around which the Installation 04 in Halo: Combat Evolved orbits. The new Arbiter killed the Heretics as one of his first duties in 2552. The Grunts and Hunters also rebelled at different times, probably when they were first incorporated into the Covenant.
It has been noted that the Covenant are imitative rather than innovative. Their technology is largely reverse engineered from Forerunner artifacts. Weaponry is largely plasma-based, and their vehicles are capable of hovering and boosting utilizing antigravity technology. The Covenant plasma weapons are used by creating an electromagnetic field around superheated plasma and firing it off with an electromagnetic burst; the Plasma Rifle, Pistol, and turrets use this concept.
The Needler is used by forcing homing needles through two rotors and the needles use microbursts to home on a target. While Covenant technology is mostly superior to humanity's, the Covenant seem to be ignorant of the full potential of their technology. Covenant engines, for example, are more precise and faster than a Human engine, but the manner in which the Covenant utilizes them falls far short of their full efficiency and potential, although in the book First Strike the energy crystal found on Reach would grant the Covenant even faster slipspace jumps. This is due to the fact that they are afraid to defile their ancient technologies, which were largely copied from Forerunners. In some cases Covenant understanding is actually less advanced than Humans; it was noted that their comprehension of such simple concepts as Maxwell's equations was far behind that of Humans. Simply put, they have a working knowledge of much of their technology but not the prerequisite knowledge to understand it, largely due to the savant-like abilities of the engineer caste.
Fuel Rod CannonEdit