The Covenant is an empire that features in Halo.
The Covenant was an interstellar alliance of various extraterrestrial alien species that were united under a religious doctrine that worshipped the Forerunners. Their origins were traced to the San'Shyuum who during their exploration discovered the Huragok in various M-Series facilities. On their own homeworld, the San'Shyuum discovered a highly advanced Forerunner Dreadnought on their world with a faction known as the Reformists taking control of the craft. With it, they went into space and encountered a system belonging to another race known as the Sangheili leading to first contact between the two species. The San'Shyuum later went to that Sangheili homeworld of Sanghelios that contained an abundance of Forerunner relics. Both the San'Shyuum and Sangheili shared a similarly ideology over worship of the artifacts but this quickly devolved into conflict between the two species.
Thus, thousands of years ago a bargain was struck between the Prophets and the Elites leading to the formation of the Covenant in the year 852 BCE.
In 789 BCE, the early Covenant discovered the planet Te that was the first world they discovered as they used primitive versions of a Luminary to find Forerunner worlds. Upon arrival, they soon discovered that the Lekgolo infested the last vestiges of an ancient Forerunner installation in orbit of Te that they were consuming. Thus, the Sangheili were dispatched to eliminate the Lekgolo race. However, the Covenant quickly learnt that this was an impossible task as they were attempting to exterminate trillions of Lekgolo hidden on structures that they also sought to preserve. In 784 BCE, a Sangheili Arbiter proposed instead that the Lekgolo be assimilated into the Covenant. They highlighted the species strange capacity for being adapted for use in excavation, transportation and even combat. Thus, what followed was a period in Covenant history that was known as the Taming of the Hunters.
In 2142 CE, the Covenant came upon the vulnerable world of Balaho leading to first contact with the Unggoy who were aggressively converted and forced into servitude into their empire.
A growing disaster emerging in the Covenant involved the Unggo which resulted due to the Kig-Yar's forced habitation with them within the lower quarters of High Charity. During this time, the Unggoy inadvertently trampled upon several of the Kig-Yar's nests in the overcrowded warrens. This caused the angry Kig-Yar to seize on an opportunity to stifle the Unggoy's populatio growth where a cabal of them sabotaged a series of the Grunt's recreational infusion dispensers. A result of this was the sterilization of a large portion of the Unggoy male population on board High Charity with this event being referred to as the Infusion Incident. Calls were made to defuse the situation but the San'Shyuum's leaders failed to address this growing source of conflict that led to upon revolt in 2462 CE in an event known as the Grunt Rebellion. The viciousness of the Unggoy and the surprising bravery the demonstrated led to the Covenant martialling its full military strength. To put down the Rebellion, an Arbiter was appointed and tasked with putting down the uprising. The Arbiter was forced to end the conflict by initiating a limited razing of Balaho that threatened the entire species with extermination. During the razing, the Unggoy quickly abandoned the fight with them unwilling to sacrifice their homeworld. Though defeated, the revolt had proven to the Sangheili that the Unggoy were more valuable than being mere labourers and could be incorporated into the military. Though the losses were tragic, the events of the Rebellion had rapidly changed the role of the Grunts in the Covenant.
During the war, a Brute named Atriox was dispatched in numerous conflicts against the humans but came to rebel against his Covenant masters. He rallied his fellow Jiralhanae that formed a rogue mercenary organization called the Banished that battled the Covenant along with the humans.
With the death of the Prophet of Regret, the Hierarchs decided to proceed with their move to replace the Elites and had their Honor Guard replaced with Brutes. The event known as the Changing of the Guards was met with opposition from the Sangheili who expressed their concern over their matter and took the words of the Prophets to the High Council. In fact, the Elites had threatened to withdrawn from the ranks of the Council due to this move by the San'Shyuum.
It was considered dissolved by the year 2552 CE with many of the subject species returning to their own worlds. Arbiter Thel 'Vadam led a portion of the Sangheili in an effort to build a strong and united Sanghelios. These Sangheili thus forged a nation known as the Swords of Sanghelios where they sought to forge a fragile alliance with humanity. However, not all of his kind believed in Arbiter's 'Vadam's views and remained steadfast in their devotion to the Forerunners as they desired immortality. These renegade Sangheili believed that 'Vadam was a false Arbiter who represented heresy against the Great Journey along with Sanghelios. A civil war erupted as these Sangheili led the formation of a new Covenant empire. Whilst the splinter groups of ambitious Sangheili warlords attempting to stake their claim to power - the new Covenant was an attempt at reunification by some such as by Jul 'Mdama who had managed to discover the Shield World of Requiem that contained the captive Didact. Upon the Didact's awakening, he gave sanction to the Covenant to destroy humanity in order to aid the rise of the Forerunners once again. For his role, 'Mdama was given the title of Didact's Hand and could exert limited control over the Promethean constructs thus rekindling some of the religious devotion of the Covenant which had been lost due to the Great Schism.
In terms of government, the Covenant was founded as a theocracy that was headed by the San'Shyuum. The head of the government was held by the Prophets who sit on the High Council. The Sangheili operated in a subservient though equal standing role within the empire due to the fact that they founded the Covenant though they were exclusively in charge of military affairs. Within the political office, San'Shyuum dominated with a three person triumvirate consisting of the High Prophets. Underneath the High Prophets, their was the High Council that included several hundred members of both San'Shyuum and Sangheili. Each side providing the founding species some standing within the Covenant's goals whilst the High Prophets dictated how their actions.
The Covenant leadership is divided into numerous ministries:
- Ministry of Fortitude :
- Ministry of Conversion :
- Ministry of Concert :
- Ministry of Tranquillity :
- Ministry of Preparation : oversaw biological research, specifically that based on genetic engineering.
- Ministry of Inquisition :
- Ministry of Penance :
- Ministry of Discovery :
- Ministry of Fervent Intercession :
Member races included:
- San'Shyuum : founding race also known as the Prophets.
- Sangheili : founding race also known as Elites.
- Jiralhanae : a brutal race also known as the Burtes .
- Huragok : Forerunner creations that were also known as Engineers.
- Lekgolo : subsistence gestalt eel-like creatures that merged to become various forms and were also known as Hunters.
- Yan'me : insectoid race also known as Drones.
- Kig-Yar : avian race also known as Jackals and Skirmishers.
- Unggoy : a diminutive race also known as Grunts.
- Yonhet :
Under the arrangement between the Covenants two dominant races, the Prophets became responsible for religion and technology whilst the Elites were charged with leading the military to convert new species to their faith along with finding the holy relics of the Forerunners.
The Covenant had their primary homeworld being the enormous fully mobile space station known as the Holy City of High Charity. Despite that being the case, the alliance utilized many sites as anchors of military, political and utilitarian dominion. In addition, they had numerous worlds and colonies of each species that had been subsumed by the Covenant. These also included to new worlds and even a number of Forerunner installations that grew under their control. At its height, they dominated much of the galaxy but generally left worlds untouched unless it offered some particular treasures such as religious or practical purposes.
In terms of beliefs, the religious structure of the Covenant was centered around worship of the Forerunners. The ancient race were considered gods to the races of the Covenant. This stemmed from the original beliefs of the San'Shyum who revered the Forerunners. Such a belief extended to the creations of the Forerunners as well. Central to their beliefs was the Great Journey where it was believed that the Forerunners had transcended this existence. Thus, the Covenant believed in following them in this journey into a greater life. To achieve this feat, they believed that the Halo's served as the doorway to this path that brought salvation to the believers.
Any denial of the Covenant faith was deemed as heresy with the accused killed as punishment.
The founding of their empire was covered within the Writ of Union.
An official language of the Covenant was an advanced dialect of Sangheili. It was spoken by all the member races and among many had replaced their native language.
The Covenant military was originally formed as a means of establishing their dominance in the galaxy through force. However, the primary goal was the acquisition of Forerunner technology and using this to move forward in the achieving divinity. Their military power was vast with its power with it holding a large presence in the alliance of alien races.
Sangheili dominance in the military led to a growing rift with the San'Shyuum distrusting their Elite comrades. This eventually led to the hierarchs turning against their co-founders and seeking to overthrow them by secretly arming as well as empowering the Jiralhanae to take control. A result of this act brought about a civil war within the Covenant.
There were various classes of Sangheili that included:
- Covenant Honor Guard : a group that consisted of the most esteemed Sangheili soldiers that were specifically chosen to provide protection to the High Prophets and other prominent officials in the Covenant. These warriors were handpicked warriors swore their loyalty only to the High Prophets and were ready to give their loves to protect their Hierarch. Their duty was to escort the High Prophets on field missions which meant that they were commonly seen onboard High Charity. They wore elaborate armor that indicated their position as the position of an Honor Guardsmen was a great privilege.
- Lights of Sanghelios : an elite sub-group within the standard Honor Guard that wore distinctive bright-white armor and named after the globular cluster of stars near the Sangheili home system. These represented the highest ranking and most elite combat units of the Covenant that were charged with the protection of a Prophet. Theywere referred to as 'Helios' with these soldiers overseeing the standard Honor Guardsmen
- Silent Shadows : these were a elite Sangheili special forces organization that consisted of several different individual squads which made use of unique and advanced combat harnesses which often made use of experimental technology along with weaponry.
- Zealot : merciless Sangheili that were among the most highly established in the Covenant military class. Despite holding a command role, they engaged in front-line combat and rejoiced in such a position. These warriors represent both the military and religious authority with them being noted for their ruthlessness, cruelty and fervent dedication to the Great Journey. They were dvout followers that revered the Forerunners and believed that the Sangheili were the true inheritors of their gods technological legacy. Zealots were noted for their cunning ability to track and eliminate their targets. They were deployed to hunt down foes where they used the best spec ops tools and weapons in order to achieve their goal with them being equipped with a specific armor pattern configuration. Teams of Zealots were typically deployed as forward scouts in the search for holy Forerunner relics.
- Devoted Sentries : a special hand picked crew of Zealots drawn from the Ministry of Fervent Intercession that sought out Forerunner relics.
Command ranks within the military included:
- Arbiter :
- Imperial Admiral :
- Fleetmaster :
- Shipmaster :
- Ultra : Evocati were among the deadliest of the Sangheili infantry available to a Covenant warhost commander who were identifiable by their alabaster combat harnesses and were known as combat specialists that executed missions where failure or defeat were not allowed. Their firepower marked their importance and they were capable of being deployed onto the battlefield from low orbit via insertion pods allowing them to charge into enemy lands. Ultras were carefully deployed as expending them needlessly drew the ire of a Supreme Commander. Evocati or Ultras were veteran warriors that demonstrated the highest standards of military proficiency, teamwork, honor and devotion to the Covenant. These Sangheili displayed exemplary martial aptitude though lacked a desire to follow the paths of leadership or mentoring. Instead, they devoted themselves to reaching the apex of the warrior career in order to be crowned in glory with the promise of being guaranteed a position of honor and respect in the family archives as well as the record vaults of High Charity. However, few remained in this position for long as those Sangheili promoted to the rank often were expected to take honourable positions such as being seneschals, or engage in political warfare as a Councillor or return to their respective Ministry to train the next generation of warriors.
- Ultra Officer : the Evocati Delegatus were delegates elected by the Ultras from among their ranks to take up the responsibility of answering to the warhost commander to which they were attached and offer a degree of cooperation and synchronization to achieve their mutual goals. They swear binding oaths to obey their commanders until their objectives were completed. These officers was not an official leadership position in the Covenant hierarchy and were not Obedientaries but were acknowledged as subject matter experts in the art of war and wielded real authority on the battlefield. In comparison, they were equivalent to a Human Warrant Officer with these being selected for their talents and knowledge that complemented the tactical objectives at-hand.
- Major : Obedientiary were Sangheili that advanced in rank to become seasoned, battle-hardened soldiers who led by personal example and exhorted their comrades to press their attacks on the frontlines. They displayed the martial qualities of the Sangheili that were perceived as invaluable for their commanders. Combat losses were high among these veterans though there was much honor to be gained for family and clan with their being no shortage of Sangheili in seeking to prove their worth to the Great Journey. Sangheili that survive and temper their enthusiasm for violence were promoted to the host of Obedientiaries who took on missions that require both courage and cunning. These Officers or Majors organised and directed the lesser Elites as well as thralls whilst they themselves were hungry for battle honor. They were distinguished by their ornamental combat harnesses in veteran colours along with their skill.
- Ossoona : a title for special Sangheili warriors that were attached to Fleet Security.
Organisations within the Covenant included:
- Special Warfare Group :
- 'Fleet Security :
- Special Operations :
- Silent Shadow : a unique Sangheili special forces division unit.
There were a number of different fleets in the Covenant that included:
- Fleet of Glorious Interdiction :
- Fleet of Profound Solitude :
- Fleet of Retribution :
- Fleet of Particular Justice :
- Fleet of Sacred Consecration :
- Fleet of Tranquil Composure :
- Fleet of Valiant Prudence :
In terms of architecture, designs that loose connection to the Sangheili but were predominantly San'Shyuum in nature and design.
Each of the Covenant races had some measure of technological advancement. However, the great majority of their technology was made through the recovery and analysis of Forerunner machinery. A large sum of their knowledge was achieved from the Forerunner Dreadnought found by the San'Shyuum. Further advancements were achieved from Forerunner sites and relics that led to substantial progress over the centuries. Among the improvements included; translight travel, communication, manipulation of high volumes of plasma energy by recycling detritus from sublight travel, control and usage of hard light, short-range teleportation of matter and influence over gravity through the use of repulsor-based technologies.
In the search for Forerunner technology, the Covenant made use of machines called kindlers that scanned for such relics. These floating devices mover on their own power when deployed where they scanned their surroundings and generated a holographic map of an unexplored area.
For communications, the Covenant operated a battlenet that was a battle network that was used to send orders, commands of intelligence to their forces.
The Covenant placed high restrictions on AI research that limited the development of autonomous weapon systems.
The Covenant had a wide range of armaments that included:
- Active Camouflage : the T-3 Refraction Dissonance Modifier/Camouflage
- Energy Sword : the T-1 Energy Weapon/Sword
- Gravity Hammer :
- Plasma Grenade :
- Plasma Pistol : the Type-25 Directed Energy Pistol
- Needler : the T-33 Guided Munitions Launcher
- Plasma Rifle :
- Storm Rifle :
- Carbine : the Type-51 Carbine was a compact medium to long-range semi-automatic infantry weapon able to fire ballistic projectiles laced with radioactive isotopes with it being used by marksman. The ballistic impact was capable of killing its target though the projectiles were also designed to poison the enemy.
- Needle Rifle : the Type-31 Needle Rifle
- Beam Rifle : the T-27/T-50 Special Application Sniper Rifle was the name given to a collection of similar weapon casings that fired beams powerful enough to kill shielded infantry with a shot or two.
- Focus Rifle : the T-52 Special Application Rifle
- Plasma Caster :
- Plasma Cannon :
Military vehicles were based almost entirely on the design aesthetics of the San'Shyuum. For ground based warfare, the Covenant made use of the following vehicles:
- Ghost :
- Goblin : a Balaho-born battlesuit that represented the ruggedness, agility and lethality of the Unggoy species who created it in the likeness of the pre-ascension form of the Forerunners. It combined exotic engineering acumen with Covenant manufacturing technology and an Unggoy interface to allow the operator to pilot the bipedal mech that was more deadly than a combat lance of unsuited Grunts. The pilots were protected by a dedicated energy shield and thick plates of armor whilst being armed with a Needle Cannon which fired swarms of explosive crystalline shards whilst a back-mounted Shardstorm launcher fired clouds of Needles. In addition, they made use of a Power Wrist for close quarter combat though Goblin jockeys preferred to maintain their distance from their foes.
- Wraith :
- Spirit :
- Phantom :
- Lich :
- Kraken : a class of ultra-heavy siege towers that were massive Covenant sky fortresses that had three powerful grappler arms capable of crushing or moving mountain-sized objects. This carapace's primary assault platform was augmented with stationary weapons, aircraft and infantry. They were typically deployed via capital ship from a sub-orbital location where they quickly dropped to the surface as they moved into an effective position. Upon reaching its place, the siege tower relentlessly beset an enemy location by firing its stationary weapon emplacements. The Covenant also used them as a staging site for localised incursions allowing them to swarm enemy positions and were used in deploying individual strike forces. Alternatively, the Kraken could use its massive frame to physically rip apart an enemy's fortified position with the use of its grapplers. It was believed that the Kraken was based on a variant of Forerunner Sentinel used in their war against the Flood.
Covenant starships were known to be equipped with artificial intelligences.
From orbit, the Covenant were capable of deploying troops and equipment to a planetary surface by way of drop pods. These were designated as the T-55 Individual Breaching Carapace that allowed them to position troops behind enemy forces or at key choke points. This allowed them to dynamically modify combat or strategically gain the upper hand. Capital ships could accomplish this from orbital or sub-orbital positions with them launching the pods as a way of circumventing enemy positions or sever supply lines. The pods varied in size and shape but generally were capable of conveying 1-4 personnel thus allowing the distribution of individual soldiers or small groups directly onto combat zones for localized deployment. Upon breaching the atmosphere, they engaged their forward thrusters as they closed on their target thus breaking the craft before impact. The impact was disorienting to the enemy as the violent strike at the target site allowed the Covenant to eject troops before their foe could recover. There were two variants of drop pods that included:
- T-55 Individual Breaching Carapace : (IBC) these had a slight resemblance to the sleep pods used by the Covenant, these versions were an emblem of classical Sangheili design. They were aerodynamically streamlined for speed and manoeuvrability with it being used frequently in the protracted war among the Sangheili clans due to its wildly territorial nature. Due to manufacturing cost and deployment methodology, it was restricted only to lone Sangheili warriors as the pods had space for single-personnel.
- T-55 Squad Breaching Carapace : (SBC) compared to other pods, this version was distinct for it had four bays allowing them to deploy four personnel onto the field. It required an operator to lay against a gravity stabilizer for protection and deployed personnel upright with them being locked into place with gravity-based floor anchors. After impact, the doors of the carapace slid open and immediately deployed the troops inside.
In terms of space assets, the Covenant made use of the following craft:
- Tick : the Type-28 Intrusion Vehicle were used by the Covenant fleet to deliver boarding parties onto enemy ships and strongholds in order to secure high-value assets, destroy critical systems and deploy anti-matter demolition charges. Most larger Covenant warships carried the vehicles that were also used as general-purpose shuttles. They were fitted with extremely high-thrust impulse drives allowing them to accelerate and decelerate at bone-crushing speeds with the pilot and passengers reliant on the Tick's unreliable inertial dampers. These boarding craft after they secured a suitable entry point opened their docking claspers and locked themselves in place whereupon they extended a breaching proboscis that burnt as well as burnt through the enemy ships hull. After a passageway was established, the Covenant lances were able to exit the troop compartment through the proboscis to begin conducting their mission. Upon completion, the Tick retracted their boarding tube and unclamped before boosting away.
- Tarasque Heavy Fighter : an older design model whose design patterns success allowed it to continue even when its successors and cousin versions served in the Covenant fleets.
- Seraph :
- DAS-class storm cutter :
- Corvette : vessels used by the Covenant for a wide range of functions that included stealth, intelligence gathering, and as escorts. Historically, they were used for surveying Forerunner reliquary sites and deploying small artefact-retrieval teams in order to evade any active defensive measures. During the war against mankind, the were used in front-line combat roles and as long-range reconnaissance of potential naval staging areas and colonies. In either role, the Covenant's corvette's relatively small size along with manoeuvrability and low sensor signature allowed them to remain undetected except at close range. There were two variants that included:
- DAV-class Light Corvette : used primarily for stealth missions and covert information gathering as well as deployment and retrieval of Ranger teams.
- SDV-class Heavy Corvette : these vessels rarely engaged in ship-to-ship combat but were capable of engaging human frigates on more-or-less even terms if needed. They were instead used to escort larger capital ships, deploy fighters in fleet engagements and screen support ships from fast-attacking human craft.
- Frigate :
- Destroyer : within the Covenant's naval fleets, destroyers were divided into two different class of ships that were:
- RPV-class Light Destroyer : light destroyers were used primarily for reconnaissance missions and pursued escaping enemy vessels. Though smaller, they carried the same armaments as the larger CPV-class.
- CPV-class Heavy Destroyer : heavy destroyers were deployed for direct attacks on enemy targets and were ideal for heavy combat situations. They were designed primarily to crush an enemy's resistance and begin the Covenant's scorched earth's policy of glassing a foes unfortunate worlds.
- Cruiser :
- Carrack Merchant Cruiser : ancient ships of war hat were relics which dated to the foundation of the Covenant. Their reactors were still potent and possessed powerful energy Shields. After the Covenant's dissolution, they were recovered from fleet ossuaries and uses as versatile cruisers and carriers. In thus role, they reinforced naval battle groups and transported armies.
Covenant made use of sophisticated spires that were able to hide entire armies from discovery. These structures generated an electromagnetic shield dome that resisted enemy weapon fire and shorted electrical equipment. Spires also operated as teleporters linked to a ship in orbit allowing rapid deployment of forces to a planetary surface.
- The Covenant were created by Bungie Studios to serve as antagonists in the Halo franchise.
- Halo: Combat Evolved:
- Halo 2:
- Halo 3:
- Halo 4:
- Halo 5: Guardians:
- Halo Wars: