The Forerunners are an ancient species that appear in Halo.
The Forerunners were an ancient race who themselves were created by an even older species known as the Precursors. They were seeded in the Milky Way Galaxy alongside other species around fifteen million years ago where they evolved on the planet Ghibalb in the Orion complex. In time, their home world served as the centre of their young interstellar civilisation that consisted of twelve systems inside a nebular complex. Ghibalb was rendered uninhabitable by an astro-engineering disaster when they were attempting to manipulate several stars in that region of space but an accident instead caused a number of supernovae that left their planet scarred by radiation. This incident was noted for nearly causing the extinction of the Forerunner people. Despite this incident, they continued their development and came to see themselves as inheritors to the Precursors to the point that they believed that would inherit the Mantle of guardianship of life. During this time, they resettled on a new world called Maethrillian that served as the Capital of the Forerunner Ecumene. Over ten million years ago, however, the Precursors decided to pass on the Mantle to Humans who were chosen to be their successors. This sequence of events led to the Forerunners being provoked and it was believed that the Precursors intended to eliminate them. As a result, the Forerunners responded by attacking their creators and exterminated the majority of them in retaliation for their actions.
Many millennia ago, the Forerunners made use of powerful constructs known as Guardians that they used as tools to ensure their power and influence in the galaxy. These machines were used to enforce their rule over potentially belligerent sentient species with the Guardians swiftly stopping any revolts or were deployed in advance as an imposing threat of force.
Around 107,445 BCE, they began encountering another interstellar empire that was headed by humanity. These forces had arrived in their space and seemingly began attacking the worlds under the Forerunners control. The Forerunners saw humanity as a threat to their principle of Mantle and the perceived invasion led to some debate among the Forerunners who ultimately decided to go to war against these invaders. A long conflict drew with many losses on both sides until mankind was defeated with humanity punished by the Forerunners who reduced them to their base genetics. The devolved humanity were then exiled to to their home world Erde-Tyrene (Earth). It was only later discovered that humanity had been engaged in a migration after encountering an extragalactic parasite known as the Flood. Some believed that mankind operated as caretakers with them seeking to contain the spread of the parasite.
A reason attributed to the spread of the Flood was that they failed to realise the extent of the threat posed by the parasite.
In an effort to immunize himself from the Flood, the Didact conducted a procedure using the Composer that ultimately failed. As a result, it was deemed that the only option left was the use of the Composer though it would not operate on the Didact's new form. However, his Prometheans willingly submitted themselves to the process as they believed that it was the only way to defeat the Flood. This resulted in the Prometheans being transformed into energy based constructs that were immediately deployed to attack the Flood where they assaulted infested vessels above one world. Despite their success in destroying several vessels, the Flood was simply too many by this point. The Didact reasoned that if he had greater numbers than perhaps he could proceed to wipe them out. He decided to go one of the worlds that the Humans had been settled on and forcibly used the Composer on them to add them to his army. The Didact believed that this served as final recompense for their actions during the Human-Forerunner War. Upon learning of his actions, the Librarian had the Humans moved to safety to protect them from further retribution from her husband the Didact. Ultimately, the Forerunners decided to utilize the Halo Array to scour the infestation of the Flood which was a move that the Didact was firmly opposed to as he intended to wage conventional warfare against the parasite. To silence his opposition, the Librarian betrayed him by rendering him unconscious and sealing him within a Cryptum on the Shield World Requiem. Trapped inside, she intended that he survive the Halo Array and perhaps learn from his mistakes to guide humanity in the future that were to be the Reclaimers to inherit the Mantle from the Forerunners.
The Gravemind managed to convince the Contender-class AI, 05-032 Mendicant Bias, to unite with the Flood and led an attack of Forerunners. A thousand different plans were conducted to defeat the Flood with each failing before the Forerunners decided on a last desperate measure. Realising that defeat was inevitable, the Forerunners decided to destroy everything in an ironic attempt to preserve life knowing that they themselves would not survive. In their desperate attempt to ensure that they were the Floods last victims, they built the Halo Array that was scattered throughout the galaxy. Prior to the activation of the Array, the Guardian constructs were buried on isolated shelter worlds where they were left in a dormant state until called once more to serve the Mantle.
After the Flood as defeated, the Keyships were deployed through hidden slipspace portals across the galaxy in order to begin re-seeding the Milky Way galaxy. Despite this, the Forerunners themselves were believed to had been destroyed in the process as they sacrificed themselves to bring about a lasting peace.
On the planet Genesis, the once severed Domain was slowly repairing itself over thousands of years with the ancilla known as the Warden Eternal serving as its guardian and protector.
This saw the rise of the Covenant with the Prophets leading them in the belief that the Forerunners were gods and that their technology were sacred relics. Critical to their belief was that of the Great Journey where they believed the faithful would go to Paradise by the use of the sacred Halo rings. As such, the Covenant were completely blind to the true purpose of the Halos.
The Master Chief and his AI Cortana had landed on the Shield World Requiem where they attempted to warn the UNSC ship Infinity from following them into the titanic artificial planet. Unknown to them, the signals Cortana had received were a trick to open up the Cryptum and free the Didact from his long imprisonment. Upon being freed, he took over the Prometheans once more and intended to continue his campaign against mankind.
Glassman was actually not killed but transported elsewhere where he was captured by 'Mdamas forces. They had discovered the site containing a personality fragment artificial intelligence of the Librarian and tasked Glassman with accessing it.
Cortana was, however, not killed but rather transported to the Forerunner world of Genesis. Once there, she encountered the Warden Eternal and was exposed to the Domain that cured her of her rampancy. As a result, she became immortal and became convinced that she along with other AI's were the true Reclaimers that would inherit the Mantle of Responsibility from the Forerunners. Thus, she began using her influence to reactivate numerous gigantic Guardian constructs buried on numerous worlds to use them as her means of bringing about peace to the galaxy. Thus, in October 2558, the Guardians were slowly merging among the shelter worlds.
In appearance, the Forerunner species was designated as Primoris prognatus were generally a large bipedal race whose physiology and appearance amongst the various rates. As such, whilst a single species there was a great deal of morphological differences among the rates. These distinctive phenotypes were created through a wide range of means that included genetic engineering, biochemical manipulation and gene therapy. Advancement rate involved further augmentations known as mutations with these preparing the for their further education in the sciences along with their station.
Their caste based system was divided into a number of Rates that included:
- Builders : a powerful and influential caste with the Builder rate noted for their intellect and political clout in their society.
- Miners :
- Lifeworkers : a caste that was involved in the biological sciences and were charged with the Conservation Measure prior to the firing of the Halo Array when their ships were the only ones allowed slipspace travel due to the threat of the Flood.
- Juridical :
- Warrior-Servants : a caste that consisted of warriors that were charged with the protection of the Ecumene.
- Engineers :
- Theoreticals :
One group within their civilization were the Prefects who had their own native armor system. Certain members of their kind that committed crimes and voluntarily decided to repent for their actions. Such Forerunners underwent training to become a Catalog where they sacrificed their individuality to become a collective entity that was part of the Juridical network. Their bodies were misshapen as they adopted a carapace shell that had five legs and an array of recording optical devices that could be extended or retracted. The purpose of a Catalog was to record the deposition and evidence of an interviewed subject to be passed to the Juridicals.
For issues of failure or dishonor, certain high ranking Forerunners could be placed in a sealed capsule known as a Cryptum as a form of exile. These large spherical machines were used to keep a Forerunner inside of it and could be used as a prison for their kind.
It was claimed that the Forerunners were a wise, highly intelligent and noble people with a belief in justice as well as peace. A central tenet followed by the Forerunners was a quasi-religious philosophy known as the Mantle of Responsibility. It was the Mantle that guided their rule of law and placed an obligation on not only preserving life but protecting it as well. This was the predominant philosophical system that guided and informed their governance of the galaxy. It was base don the belief that the most developed species was charged with the stewardship of life. Part of its tenets allowed for competition ad even conflict amongst the races so long as it did not threaten the biodiversity of the galaxy. Thus, the Mantle of Responsibility was said to bring about peace but an imperial peace forced upon others that were required to follow the Forerunners.
The government of their civilization was the Forerunner Ecumene that was headed by the Ecumene Council. Central to the society was the Domain that served as a vast repository of knowledge collated by the Forerunners and included the impressions from the dead.
Within their military, there were a number of ranks that included:
- Navarch : a specialist that served within the ecumene's navy as crewman where the high degree of automation meant that most vessels only required a handful of Navarchs.
- Scutarii : a rank given to a class of heavy armored Warrior-Servants that defended the crew of the ship with them excelling in shipboard combat and tactically re-arranging the interior spaces of the Forerunner vessel.
- Venatore : a rank given to the Warrior-Servants that commanded a War Sphinx and also directed the millions of autonomous hunter-killers deployed against the enemy.
- Princeps : an officer rank who tended to command ecumene ships.
One of the most respected Warrior-Servant groups that served the Ecumene were the Prometheans.
A chief guiding principle of the Forerunners was the Mantle of Responsibility. One account held this as being an imperial peace with those breaching it suffering for their actions.
As a civilization, they had achieved a Tier 1 technological advancement. Their technology was noted to be both powerful and long lasting.
The Forerunners had created the Z-9930 Information Vector Console that were Terminals that were used to access information in the Domain. It was said that the Domain was a Forerunner system that spanned the known galaxy. Physical links to the Domain were achieved through Gateways located on certain worlds such as the world of Genesis.
They made heavy use of artificial intelligences with these being referred to as an ancillia. Such intelligences were capable of inhabiting a Forerunners armor and assisted them. A class of ancillia was the Metarch-class that were a highly advanced version and so exclusive that only five were in existence at any given time. One model that was used to watch over and maintain their installations were Monitors. The most powerful AI created by them was a Contender-class artificial intelligence.
Another creation of the Forerunners were the Huragok that were artificial nanomechanical supercomputers that were purposed for maintaining their technology.
On a military level, they made use of a number of different kind of constructs such as:
- Sentinels :
- Z-1500 Automated Systems Drones : Aggressor Sentinels were a type of security and maintenance automaton used on Forerunner installations.
- Armiger Combat Platform : humanoid bipedal constructs that were smaller than an average Forerunner with this allowing them to infiltrate the confined spaces of human vessels. They were armed with a variety of Forerunner weapons in the field and were used to support the ranks of the Ecumene's forces. There were various types of Armigers such as the Soldiers.
Another device created by the Builder rate were the Composers that were a sublimation device. These machines were able to transform a sentient being into a collection of data through a pain process called sublimation that could not be reversed. Once transformed, the data was then transferred into machine storage for either safekeeping, analysis or interrogation. They operated by exploiting neural physics with the use of high-energy fields of entangled sympathies being emitted by the Composer to encompass a living being with sufficient complexity that resonated with the device. Once done, the machine broke down the body into a digital template and the resultant imprint was similar to high-level ancilla.
To catalog the location of all their technology, they built a hand-held data storage device known as the Janus Key that contained real-time coordinates to all their facilities and installations.
Their armaments included:
- Z-110 Boltshot : these close-range particle dilators were optimized for infantry combat against organic enemies such as the Flood. These pistols had multiple functionality settings within the core of the design. A burst-fire mode could be initiated that released an overloaded dispersal of ionized particles to devastate enemy infantry. It contained an advanced tracking function allowing the Boltshot projectiles to home in on their targets.
- Z-130 Directed Energy Automatic Weapon : the Suppressor were a fully automatic infantry weapon that used a standard coil set design that generated and projected devastating bolts of hard light energy at close range. They were first created by the Forerunners during the Kradal conflicts and saw increasing in both the Forerunner-Human conflict as well as the Flood war where it was used in boarding engagements on parasite controlled vessels. After the Halo Array firing, the Covenant reverse engineered the Suppressor coil design for many of their weapons.
- Z-250 Directed Energy Engagement Weapon : the Light Rifle fired collimated bolts of exotic matter known as hard light that created a great deal of kinetic damage at long ranges. They formed the standard armament of the Promethean Knights and combat constructs.
- Z-750 Special Application Sniper Rifle : the Binary Rifle fired hard light-jacketed antiparticle beams that used ionized particle ammunition to eliminate developing Flood Keyminds and dangerous parasite warforms. Organic targets were completely destroyed with a single shot from these weapons. They were wielded by both the organic Forerunner Warrior-Servants and military constructs in the Ecumene. A security measure activated if command and control was lost whereupon they reduced themselves into formless fragments. Those Binary Rifles at Requiem had their own master key thus allowing them to remain intact after the firing of the Halo Array.
- Z-390 Incineration Cannon : shoulder mounted munition launchers that fired multiple energy projectiles in undulating streams that decimated their targets. Their ammunition consisted of ionized particles with these weapons being used to quickly strategically purge sites that were under Flood control. They were made to topple Flood spore mountains, burn the blighted beasts from dead worlds and eliminate growing Flood Keyminds. Incineration Cannons were created in large numbers by the Didact for use by his Promethean forces before his imprisonment.
- Z-520 Encounter-Mitigation System : the Splinter Cannon fired unstable light mass projectiles that broke apart anything on impact and released reactive fragments that devastated organic targets. They were used for quick-reaction and expeditionary military strikes that could be physically moved to a site or called into position through a translocation beacon. These light mass cannons were used by Forerunners in Builder Security during the years of the Flood conflict where they were used to destroy large numbers of Infection Forms.
- Z-040 Attenuation Field Generator /Localized : the Pulse Grenade was used by the Forerunners to cauterize enemy held positions such as the Flood's accretions. These weapons were a field-generating explosive that actively damaged targets within its ionization status before it collapsed violently and disintegrating any organic material within its sphere.
- Z-400 Pursuit Disruption Grid Generator : the Splinter Grenade were multi-purpose explosives used both offensively and defensively. After being activated, they split and formed into an ionized lattice death cloud that damage anything in contact with it. This made it extremely useful in blocking routes and ambushing unwary foes. In addition, they exhibited an EMP effect against vehicles that collided with them. There had been reports of a proximity fuse and airburst function. The Splinter Grenade appeared as one of the many programmable settings in the general purpose Z-040 Pulse Grenade weapon-device.
Forerunners were often equipped with various kinds of armor that protected their bodies. Models that were designed for battle engagements were referred to as combat skin. There were numerous ratings of combat skin with class 14 being among the highest. Another variant was referred to as a platform interface skin. The Prefects had their own unique native armor system that they equipped onto themselves.
In terms of vehicles, the Ecumene made use of:
- Z-1800 Exoatmospheric Multirole Fighter : the Phaeton was one of the smallest Forerunner weapon-ships that required a single pilot. A single Forerunner warrior could command thousands of such craft alongside support vessels as the Soldier pilots were able to self-organize into tactical phalanxes. Billions of such craft were used by the Forerunners in the war aganst the parasitic Flood.
A form of automated worker machines created by the Forerunners were Sentinels who used them as workers and for defensive drones who maintained as well as protected installations from intruders. They lacked the advanced intelligence of Monitors but were highly adaptable and served as formidable foes to anything they saw as a threat. There are various different models of Sentinels that include:
- Steward Sentinels : these Sentinels accompanied other Forerunner machines to assist them in their tasks through their combination of support systems and offensive weaponry.
- Constructor Sentinels : A smaller kind of drone that was tasked with maintaining Forerunner installations.
- Aggressor Sentinels : The primary mission of these Sentinels was to maintain, repair and protect their charges where they could be send in swarms to attack any hostiles and utilised laser beams. They were equipped with a basic AI tasked with safeguarding their stations and provide maintenance.
- Protector Sentinels : These were smaller flying drones that had an energy based sentinel-beam making them effective against their targets.
- Controller Sentinels : These models primary function was to guard valuable technologies at their facilities with them being developed to counter the threats from the UNSC and Banished. Controllers were fling Sentinels that were loosely tethered of their charge to attack anything approaching the area or taking control of the sector. An powerful energy shield protected them at the front with these being improved compared to other Sentinel models to be nearly impenetrable. It was armed with a Sentinel Beam that was used to target enemies hiding in its blind spot whilst its primary weapon was a devastating supercharged Sentinel Pulse.
- Retriever Sentinels : Among the most powerful of Forerunner drones whose primary purpose was mining materials that were needed for maintenance of their installations. Despite their role, they could be used for defensive measures by turning their sentinel lasers against any target that threatened their charges.
The gigantic Guardians (Guardians Custode) were one construct used by the Forerunners that had a number of roles and functions. As such, they were individually able to police entire star systems as their purpose was enforcing the Mantle's edicts on non-complaint species. These machines were used by the Forerunners long ago to maintain the peace in systems that were under their control and to enforce order among the lesser races. Their primary duty, however. was the monitoring and subjugation of all local power networks. Each of these constructs were able to produce powerful energy pulses that caused large scale destruction, disabled technology and knocked individuals to the ground. Furthermore, they had slipspace capability allowing them to travel through space and to various worlds with ease. Multiple Guardians could be deployed to strategically coordinate their strikes and were able neutralize even the most sophisticated of foes. Thus, they could swiftly quash revolts or be used as an advance force to threaten the Forerunner's enemies.
Forerunners had a far superior understanding of slipspace compared to the younger races. One artifact that they had created was the Conduit that controlled the Forerunner slipspace portals allowing access to anywhere in the galaxy. A defensive feature within the relic was that it could shunt itself into slipspace and transport itself elsewhere in order to protect itself from destruction.
The Ecumene operated a number of starships and class of vessels such as the Keyships. These craft were designated by the lesser advanced races as Forerunner Dreadnoughts due to their formidable size and firepower. In reality, they were used to support the Conservation Measure where they transported species to the Ark for indexing and archival for the eventual re-population of the galaxy after the firing of the Halo Array.
Their engineering skills allowed them to create artificial planets such as Genesis that were used for the construction of seed worlds. This saw the mining of natural satellites that were moved into orbit around such installations with these being used as resources for the development of new worlds. Once created, such planets were populated with a vast diversity of life that can be used for civilizations in need of them. A further height in their mega-engineering skills was the construction of large sanctuaries known as Shield Worlds. These were entire planets that were encased in a series of concentric planetary shells within each other and enclosed beneath a vast armored surface. Such artificial worlds were created as bases for the Forerunners and placed to protect themselves from the effects of attacks such as from the Halo Array. Another example was the artificial moon the UNSC designated X50 that had a planetary destroying weapon and was used by the Miner Rate to demolish or construct planets.
- Didact : a male Forerunner who was the mate of the Librarian and a famous Warrior-Servant leader who long ago battled the Humans with him also involved in the war against the Flood.
- Librarian : a female Forerunner who was the mate of the Didact.
- Master Builder :
- The Forerunners were created by Bungie studios for the Halo universe.
- Halo: Combat Evolved:
- Halo 2:
- Halo 3:
- Halo 4:
- Halo 5: Guardians:
- Halo Wars:
- Halo: Spartan Assault:
- Halo Wars 2: