The Great Journey Forward — A Complete Timeline of the Covenant Empire


 

So full of hate were our eyes

That none of us could see

Our war would yield countless dead

But never victory

Empire

Empire

So let us cast arms aside

And like discard our wrath

Thou, in faith, will keep us safe

Whilst we find the path

 


Introduction

Every empire has a beginning, and the Covenant are no exception to this rule. Forged in the heat of a war between two opposing species, it would go on to dominate the Milky Way Galaxy for over three thousand years.

In this article aims to document every known event in the Covenant’s history, starting with the first ever event recorded in their own calendar and ending with the official disbanding of the empire in 2552. Eras will be either Before Current Era (BCE) or Current Era (CE).

Before we begin, though, a word on the Ages.

Ages 

Instead of recording historical events by the year, as we do, the Covenant preferred to use a different system: Ages.

Ages were times of significance within the Covenant. There are a total of seven types of Ages: Age of Abandonment, Age of Conflict, Age of Discovery, Age of Reconciliation, Age of Conversion, Age of Doubt, and Age of Reclamation. I will briefly go over each one below.

The Age of Abandonment: The time at which the Forerunners activated the Halo rings and left the galaxy. The Covenant believe that this was when the gods left them behind in order for them to start the Journey in their due time. This Age is the only one of its kind.

The Ages of Conflict: Times in which the Covenant is in conflict with a military force.

The Age of Discovery: This Age refers to the first discovery of Forerunner relics by the San’Shyuum on Janjur Qom. This Age is the only one of its kind.

The Ages of Reconciliation: These Ages refer to all major subsequent Forerunner discoveries following the Age of Discovery, as well as significant strides towards achieving the Great Journey. The first of these Ages represents the foundation of the Covenant itself.

The Ages of Conversion: These Ages refer to the times when the Covenant conquers and absorbs another species into its empire.

The Ages of Doubt: Any time in Covenant history where the empire becomes distracted from the Great Journey or questions it, it is known as an Age of Doubt.

Age of Reclamation: Ages of Reclamation occur when the Covenant believed they would find Sacred Rings in the near future.

As a final note, the vast majority of the Ages are not documented anywhere. As such, only a handful of them will appear on the timeline. Many of them do not have clear end points, either. They will be marked in blue text in order to distinguish the Ages from years, which are represented by red text.

With that out of the way, let us begin.


Activation of the Halo Arrays

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Age of Abandonment begins

97,445 BCE:  Forerunners activate the Halo arrays to quell the Flood, unbeknownst to the Covenant who would misinterpret the event eons later.

Age of Abandonment ends

The San’Shyuum Civil War

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Age of Discovery begins 

2200 BCE: The San’Shyuum discover the Forerunner Dreadnought on their homeworld of Janjur Qom. The race collectively agrees that the Forerunners were divine, but ultimately splits up between two factions. The Stoics believe that the technology is sacred and shouldn’t be touched. The Reformists believe that the technology is a gift, and should be used to its fullest extent. This difference in belief led to the hundred year long San’Shyuum Civil War.

2100 BCE: The Reformist San’Shyuum gain access to the Dreadnought and manage to leave the planet with it. The Stoics, unable to pursue, were left on Janjur Qom.

Age of Discovery ends

Clan Battles of Sanghelios

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2100 BCE ~ 938 BCE: At an unknown time between the end of the San’Shyuum Civil War and the War of Beginnings, the numerous clans of the Sangheili homeworld, Sanghelios, began to viciously fight one another. It isn’t known why the conflict occurred, though the war itself eventually stopped.

Additionally, the San’Shyuum discovered the Huragok at some point in these years. They were given the task of repairing damaged technology and dismantling Forerunner relics. 

War of Beginnings

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First Age of Conflict begins 

938 BCE: The San’Shyuum land on the Sangheili world of Ulgethon in pursuit of the Forerunner relics there. Similarly to the Stoics, the Sangheili believe that the Forerunner technologies are sacred. As a result, they kill the San’Shyuum ambassador and declare war on the San’Shyuum.

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938 BCE ~ 876 BCE: On the ground, the Sangheili slaughter San’Shyuum troopers in open combat. Realizing that the Sangheili are too powerful to engage on the surface, they instead hit the Sangheili from the skies with the Dreadnought. With little to defend against such a threat, the Sangheili slowly begin to lose ground.

876 BCE: Realizing the fact that they can’t win the war without Forerunner technology to even the odds, the Sangheili (albeit resentfully) begin to incorporate Forerunner technology into their weapons, armor, and ships.

860 BCE: The Sangheili and the San’Shyuum battle on The Planet of Blue and Red. Sangheili here use Forerunner structures as shelter from the Dreadnought, exploiting the San’Shyuum’s unwillingness to damage Forerunner technology of any kind.

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852 BCE: With both sides reaching a stalemate due to equal technological footing, the Sangheili and San’Shyuum decide to put aside their differences and come together, under the Writ of Union, to form the Covenant. The Sangheili would form the bulk of the Covenant’s military, while the San’Shyuum served as religious and political leaders. The High Council would serve as a joint Sangheili-San’Shyuum group to oversee the Covenant empire.

First Age of Conflict ends 

The Birth of the Empire 

 

First Age of Reconciliation begins

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851 BCE: Sangheili rebels, led by Ussa ‘Xellus, resist the newly formed Covenant. Unable to effectively counter-attack, Ussa leads his people to the shield world known as The Refuge, where he plans to use the Forerunner technology there to help his faction effectively fight the Covenant.

850 BCE: The Prophet of Inner Conviction leads a small group comprised of San’Shyuum and Sangheili to Janjur Qom in order to smuggle female San’Shyuum to Covenant space to bolster reproduction. While there, the team recovers a Forerunner Luminary (a device that scans and identifies the locations of Forerunner relics) and a special device called the Purifying Vision. A surprise attack on the cruiser by the Stoic San’Shyuum resulted in the loss of the Luminary, but the Covenant managed to return with the Purifying Vision. This device projected an image of the Halo Arrays and the Greater Ark. These images strengthened the faith of both San’Shyuum and Sangheili within the Covenant. 

When the Prophet of Inner Conviction and his Covenant fleet discovers the rebels’ presence on the shield world, Ussa activates a secret function of The Refuge: The disassembler process, a defense mechanism which causes several sections of the planet to break off. The Covenant are tricked into believing this was a self-destruct; as a result, they left the system, and the generations of Sangheili here, dubbed Ussans after their original leader, continue to live on The Refuge into the Current Era. 

791 BCE: The Covenant begin construction of the space station High Charity.

851 BCE ~ 784 BCE: The Covenant expand, conquering every world they encounter and using the resources on them to further build up their empire. 

First Age of Reconciliation ends 

Taming of the Lekgolo

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First Age of Conversion begins 

784 BCE: The Covenant discover the Lekgolo, a sentient worm species native to Te. The Covenant declared them heretical after observing the Lekgolo practice of ingesting Forerunner materials. The Lekgolos’ ability to combine and form large forms, as well as Te’s high gravity, posed a major problem for the Covenant’s Sangheili military. Engagements on the planet resulted in stalemates at best, and defeats at worst. Choosing to instead bombard the Lekgolo from the air with their navy, the Covenant’s ships ultimately forced the Lekgolo to surrender. Realizing their ability to navigate the insides of Forerunner technology to be useful, they were incorporated into the Covenant hierarchy. They would go on to serve as both shock troops in battle, and as assistants to San’Shyuum scholars and scientists that studied Forerunner relics. 

First Age of Conversion ends

Destruction of Janjur Qom and the Construction of High Charity

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648 BCE: A natural stellar collapse destroys Janjur Qom, killing the San’Shyuum Stoics and depriving all San’Shyuum of a homeworld. In the same year, High Charity officially finishes construction. Powered by the Forerunner Dreadnought, the city-space station will come to serve as the headquarters for the Covenant empire until its demise in 2552 CE.

648 BCE ~ 1112 CE: The Covenant continue their expansion efforts.

Yanme’e Discovered and Conquered

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Second Age of Conversion begins

1112 CE: The Covenant discover the Yanme’e species on their homeworld of Palamok in this year. To attempt to conquer them, the Covenant invade; both sides take heavy casualties, but no end of the fighting is in sight due to the sheer number of Yanme’e. Unwilling to glass Palamok due to suspected Forerunner relics present, the San’Shyuum instead offer the Yanme’e a place within the Covenant. The Yanme’e, with little choice available, accept. 

Second Age of Conversion ends 

Kig-Yar Discovered and Conquered

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Third Age of Conversion begins

1342 CE: The Covenant encounters the Kig-Yar pirating species. Initially, the Kig-Yar attempt to resist the Covenant, but quickly realize that they will be exterminated if they continue to fight. In resignation, the Kig-Yar surrender, and the San’Shyuum offer them a place within the Covenant as soldiers and commercial workers.

Third Age of Conversion ends

1552 CE: The San’Shyuum begin to search for ways to augment their lifespans. 

Unggoy Discovered and Conquered

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Fourth Age of Conversion begins

2142 CE: The Unggoy homeworld of Balaho is discovered by the Covenant. The Covenant arrive and forcibly take the Unggoy as a slave species. Weak and frightened, the Unggoy offer no resistance.

Fourth Age of Conversion ends

Fal ‘Chavamee’s Rebellion

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2152 CE: Fal ‘Chavamee, the current Arbiter, expresses both his disbelief in the Great Journey and an accusation that it was simply a tool to hold power over the Sangheili to one of the Covenant’s High Prophets. For this, he was declared a heretic. 

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Haka, a member of Fal’s clan on Sanghelios, sent assassins and a small army after Fal in order to eliminate him for his heresy. Fal skillfully kills all members of both hunting parties. In order to bait Fal into a duel, Haka has Fal’s wife killed. When Fal finds his wife’s corpse in their home, he immediately travels to meet Haka atop a temple. The two duel; Fal is fatally wounded by Haka, but he also manages to stab Haka with his energy sword. Both warriors fall. 

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Following this event, the San’Shyuum declare that the title of Arbiter is to be known as one of shame, not honor. All future Sangheili that are granted the rank are given it to die in order to regain their honor because of ways they disgraced the Covenant or their mission. 

The Unggoy Rebellion

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39th Age of Conflict begins

2462 CE: In response to a Kig-Yar sabotaging of their food supplies which caused many male Unggoy to become unable to bear children, the Unggoy begin to revolt against the various members of the Covenant. This event becomes known as the Unggoy Rebellion. Surprisingly, the Unggoy are difficult to subdue due to their numbers and rage. In order to swiftly end the revolt, the San’Shyuum name a new Arbiter to quell it. This Arbiter travels to the Unggoy homeworld of Balaho and begins to glass it. Faced with the possible destruction of their homeworld, the Unggoy cease their violence. 

Grunt-Rebellion

The Unggoy, instead of being punished for their uprising, were actually rewarded; the Sangheili were impressed with the Unggoy’s ability to fight, and as such the Unggoy were given weapons and a position within the Covenant military, much to the dismay of the San’Shyuum. 

39th Age of Conflict ends

23rd Age of Doubt begins

Jiralhanae Discovered and Conquered

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Fifth Age of Conversion begins

2492 CE: The Covenant discover the Jiralhanae on their homeworld of Dosiac. The planet, occupied with global civil war, ultimately made the species easy pickings for the Covenant’s vast, diverse and organized military. The Jiralhanae would go on to serve the Covenant as heavy infantry and as canon fodder due to their large size and strength, but relatively low skill with strategy or tactics. In future decades, the San’Shyuum Prophet of Truth schemes to eventually replace the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae.

Fifth Age of Conversion ends

Minor Transgression Attacks Human Freighters

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2524 CE

September 2nd: The Kig-Yar controlled scout vessel known as the Minor Transgression attacks the human freighter, the Horn of Plenty.

September 3rd: The Horn of Plenty’s navigation systems are cracked by the Huragok Lighter Than Some. The Kig-Yar discover the origin of the freighter’s travel and go there in the hopes of finding more spoils. 

Late December: The Minor Transgression raids the freighter This End Up and kills its captain, Henry Gibson. This attack alerts the humans on the colony world of Harvest. 

Human-Covenant War Begins

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2525 CE

January 17th – Skirmish on Minor Transgression: The Minor Transgression falls victim to a trap laid by UNSC soldiers Avery Johnson and Nolan Byrne. All four of the Kig-Yar are killed; Unggoy Dadab and Huragok Lighter Than Some manage to escape via escape pod. This event marks the first interaction between a Covenant and human species. On the same day, the San’Shyuum Minister of Fortitude holds a meeting.

January 18th: The Minister of Fortitude is alerted by the Vice Minister of Tranquility to the detection of Forerunner relics by Minor Transgresson’s built-in Luminary. They plan to take advantage of this to begin a new Age of Reclamation and become High Prophets. 

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February 3rd: The Covenant cruiser Rapid Conversion arrives at Harvest. 

February 11th: Covenant Jiralhanae and Unggoy make contact with humanity in Harvest’s Botanical Gardens. After an Unggoy succumbs to nerves and fires at a human soldier, a firefight breaks out and the Rapid Conversion’s crew, headed by the Chieftain Maccabeus, retreated back to their ship and returned to orbit. 

Middle of February: The Minister of Fortitude and the Vice Minister of Tranquility visit the San’Shyuum Philologist Hod Rumnt and discover that the relics on Harvest were actually the humans themselves. Misinterpreting the Forerunner language and falsely concluding humans were Forerunner descendants, the two San’Shyuum realized and that humanity’s relation to the Forerunners contradicted the tenants of Covenant religion; if the Forerunner’s descendants themselves were left behind, then that meant that the Sacred Rings did not provide godhood to all who walked the path. After realizing that this news could anger the Covenant’s masses and potentially cause civil war, the three San’Shyuum used the Luminary’s detection as justification to rise up as the Covenant’s next three High Prophets; Truth (Fortitude), Regret (Tranquility) and Mercy (Hod Rumnt). Once in power, the newly formed triumvirate fabricates news that humans destroyed Forerunner artifacts and must be exterminated. They do this in order to attempt to cover up the truth about the Covenant faith. 

February 22nd – Battle of Gladsheim: The Rapid Conversion assaults the small town of Gladsheim, slaughtering the majority of the residents. Tartarus, the nephew of Maccabeus and the gunner of a Type-25 Spirit dropship, is nearly killed when the human’s colonial Harvest militia shoots down the Spirit he’s in. As the militia evacuate remaining citizens, Maccabeus is injured and Tartarus’s close friend Ritul is killed. Nevertheless, this engagement serves as the Covenant’s first of many future victories in the war. 

February 23rd – Evacuation of Harvest: The Rapid Conversion is temporarily disabled by a mass driver. As the Harvest military forces evacuate the planet, Tartarus challenges Maccabeus, citing his incompetence in letting the Conversion be wounded. The injured Maccabeus stands no chance against his nephew; Tartarus kills him, takes his weapon, the Fist of Rukt, and becomes the Conversion’s shipmaster. He begins to glass Harvest shortly after. 

Covenant and human forces engage in fighting at Harvest’s reactor complex. Unggoy Dadab, Huragok Lighter Than Some, and Jiralhanae soldier Vorenus all are killed in battle.

Unknown Age of Doubt ends

Ninth Age of Reclamation begins

Humanity Investigates Situation at Harvest

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April 20th: The CMA Argo scout ship arrives at Harvest.

April 21st: The Rapid Conversion, during its glassing of the planet, notices the Argo‘s presence. It immediately destroys the ship. 

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October 7th: The CMA Battle Group 4 arrives at Harvest in response to the lack of communication from the Argo. Upon arrival, they find Harvest half-glassed by Rapid Conversion. In addition, an unnamed Covenant super-destroyer is in orbit of the planet. In response to human communication attempts, the Covenant ship destroys two of the ships, the Arabia and Vostok, in just fourteen seconds. The badly damaged surviving ship, Heracles, manages to escape into slipspace, but not before the super-destroyer sent it a transmission: 

“Your destruction is the will of the gods – and we are their instrument.”

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November 27th – The Battle of Chi Ceti: The Covenant cruiser Unrelenting attempts to prevent the UNSC Commonwealth from delivering SPARTAN-IIs to the planet’s surface. The Commonwealth manages to damage the Unrelenting and get the Spartans to Chi Ceti, but not without taking significant damage itself. After being outfitted with MJOLNIR, the Spartans board the Unrelenting and detonate ship-grade missiles inside of it, destroying the ship completely. This marks the first defeat for the Covenant. 

2526 CE

February 13: The Covenant glasses the human colony world of Bliss.

The Second Battle of Harvest

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March 1st: The UNSC Battle Group X-Ray arrives at Harvest, consisting of 40 warships. The Covenant heavy-destroyer manages to single-handedly destroy 13 of them before its own destruction. The UNSC obtains a pyrrhic victory. 

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April 26th – The Battle of Circinius IV: The Battle of Circinius IV takes place. The Covenant kill almost every single human on the planet. Decisive Covenant victory. 

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October 21st – The Battle of Alpha Aurigae: Preston Cole and a fleet of 107 UNSC vessels engage a Covenant fleet of 12 ships in open space in the Alpha Aurigae system. All Covenant ships are destroyed, though the UNSC loses 37 of their own in the process. Similar to the Second Battle of Harvest, the UNSC obtains a pyrrhic victory.

Unknown: The colony world Biko is glassed by the Covenant, resulting in victory. 

Unknown: At some point later in the year, the Covenant arrive at Harvest to attempt retaking it. This caused the Harvest campaign to begin for both sides. The conflict would span for five years. 

2527 CE: At some point during this year, a Covenant destroyer is rammed by UNSC Commander Dimitry Zheng. The ramming is ineffectual, but the destroyer is subsequently destroyed by another ship’s MAC fire. 

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Also in this year, the Type-27 Exoatmospheric Multi-role Fighter is deployed for the first time against human forces. 

2528 CE

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February 13th – Battle of XI Bootis A: A human fleet of 70 ships engage a small fleet of eight Covenant vessels at the XI Bootis A system. Similarly to previous naval engagements in which the UNSC vastly outnumber the Covenant, they destroy the Covenant’s vessels, though they sacrifice 30 of their own ships to do so. The UNSC obtains a costly pyrrhic victory. 

The Siege of Madrigal

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December: The human colony of Madrigal is invaded and glassed by the Covenant, resulting in a victory. Fleeing humans form a community on asteroids in orbit of the gas giant Hesiod known as The Rubble. Heretical Kig-Yar would go on to trade with these survivors and even assist them in creating their infrastructure. 

Late December – The Battle of Hat Yai: The Covenant invade the planet known as Hat Yai and establish a base. UNSC ships send 100 Orbital Drop Shock Troopers to the ground in order to eliminate the base. Covenant cruisers manage to shoot down 10 of the ODSTs drop pods, but the rest ultimately regroup and take the Covenant base with no other casualties. However, Covenant reinforcements arrive and the UNSC navy is forced to evacuate the ODSTs and leave the system. Hat Yai is glassed and the Covenant achieve another victory. 

2530 CE

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December 24th – The Battle of the Great Bear: 17 human vessels engaged three Covenant ships in the system Groombridge-1830. The UNSC destroys the three ships at the cost of 11 of their own, earning the UNSC yet another pyrrhic victory. However, a Sangheili is captured and taken prisoner.

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December 25th: The Sangheili prisoner, dubbed Subject 386 by the humans, is interrogated. While making threats to his interrogators, the Sangheili begins to enter cardiac arrest and dies shortly after. 

Unknown: The Covenant glass the human world of Eridanus II this year, achieving another decisive victory. 

2531 CE

January: Covenant forces kill two SPARTAN-IIs on Harvest: Daisy-023 and Ralph-103.

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The Type-33 Light Anti-Armor Weapon is first used against human forces in this month. 

The Covenant Loses Harvest

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February 4th: The Covenant, after five years of attempting to eliminate the UNSC on Harvest, is defeated. However, Arbiter Ripa ‘Moramee discovers a Forerunner artifact that points him to the human world of Arcadia. He and the remaining ships in his Fleet of Glorious Interdiction leave Harvest, pursued by the UNSC Spirit of Fire.

February 4th – 9th: The Fleet of Glorious Interdiction travels to Arcadia. Once there, they immediately begin to engage UNSC ships in orbit, invade the planet and search for the relics that the Harvest device pointed them towards. The CCS-class battlecruiser CCS-U321 is destroyed by the Arcadian defense fleet, but the rest of the human ships are either destroyed or disabled. Shortly after, the arrival of the Spirit of Fire significantly hindered the invasion progress. As the Spirit of Fire began assisting the disabled human vessels, Ripa ‘Moramee captured Ellen Anders under orders from the Prophet of Regret. While not successful in retrieving relics from Arcadia, the Covenant realized that Anders’ ability to interface with Forerunner technology could be used to activate a dormant fleet of Forerunner naval vessels that could be used to decimate humanity. Once she was captured, the Fleet of Glorious Interdiction fled the system. Any remaining Covenant forces were destroyed when UNSC reinforcements arrived. The Spirit of Fire once again pursues Ripa ‘Moramee. 

Battle of the Etran Harborage

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February 23rd: The Covenant and the UNSC forces of the Spirit of Fire engage both themselves and the Flood on the shield world known as the Etran Harborage. Ripa ‘Moramee manages to force Anders to activate the dormant Forerunner fleet, but she manages to escape and is recovered by Sergeant Forge shortly after. 

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February 25th: Sergeant Forge kills Ripa ‘Moramee in combat by taking advantage of his hubris. The UNSC forces manage to thwart the Covenant plans by detonating the Spirit of Fire’s slipspace drive and causing the shield world’s internal miniature star to enter supernova and incinerate the planet, as well as all the ships, Flood, and Covenant on it. The rest of the Fleet of Glorious Interdiction and the Forerunner fleet is vaporized, resulting in a major strategic defeat for the Covenant Empire. 

2532 CE: Both Jericho VII and Vodin are attacked by the Covenant this year. Jericho VII remains in conflict until 2535; Vodin manages to repel the Covenant, albeit with catastrophic losses. 

2535 CE

February 9th – Battle of Jericho VII: The Battle of Jericho VII enters its final stages.

February 12th: The three-year long Battle of Jericho VII comes to a conclusion. The planet is glassed shortly after routing the UNSC forces. Covenant victory. 

Unknown: Thel ‘Vadamee, a Covenant Zealot, is elected as the Kaidon of his keep, Vadam. He also becomes the Shipmaster of the Covenant destroyer, Retribution’s Thunder.

Unknown – Battle of Charybdis IX: The Covenant attack and subsequently glass the world of Charybdis IX. Decisive Covenant victory. 

Battle of the Rubble & Battle of Metisette

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Unknown: The Rubble’s asteroids are used to destroy the Kig-Yar settlement of Redoubt on the moon of Metisette. During this event, Thel ‘Vadamee and the SPARTAN-II known as Jai-006 combat each other on the Kig-Yar vessel Infinite Spoils. Neither gain an upper hand on the other, and the arrival of Thel’s friend and fellow Zealot Zhar forces the Spartan to retreat. 

Unknown: Thel ‘Vadamee is given a ship in the newly-formed Fleet of Particular Justice by the Prophets of Truth and Regret for protecting them against Zhar, who drew his energy sword against the pair of San’Shyuum after learning that the Prophets planned to execute him for his failures in the Battles of the Rubble and Metisette. ‘Vadamee was ordered to never speak of the event to anyone. At an unspecified time between 2535 and 2552, ‘Vadamee eventually became the Supreme Commander of this new fleet. 

2536 CE: This year marks the beginning of the Covenant’s assault on the Inner Colonies. 

2537 CE 

Prior to July 27th: The Battle of New Constantinople is fought. The Covenant suffer defeat against the SPARTAN-IIIs of Alpha Company.

Prior to July 27th: The Battle of New Harmony ensues, resulting in a rare decisive UNSC victory and the discovery of the Covenant shipyard K7-49.

July 27th: The Covenant suffer a major strategic defeat at the hands of SPARTAN-III Alpha Company after they destroy the K7-49 shipyard. Despite killing all 300 SPARTAN-IIIs, the event is still overall a defeat for the Covenant as the shipyard was a vital asset to their war effort. 

Unknown: The Battle of Leonis Minoris takes place. The Covenant glass two of the colonies in the system but are routed before the third suffers the same fate. UNSC pyrrhic victory. 

2539 CE

Battle of Kholo

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Unknown: A fleet of Covenant warships moves to attack the colony world of Kholo after a Sangheili Shipmaster retrieves its location from a captured freighter. The forward scout vessels manage to overwhelm the UNSC’s naval defenses, and the main fleet deploys its armies, which cripple the majority of the human forces on the ground.

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After this, a San’Shyuum known as the Prophet of Conviction orders the Shipmaster to burn the Covenant symbol for “faith” into the planet’s surface. Shortly after, the rest of the fleet glasses the remaining areas on the world, achieving victory. The Shipmaster would eventually return in twenty years to reflect upon the Human-Covenant War. 

2542 CE: The colony worlds of Alluvion and Emerald Cove are both attacked by the Covenant. Alluvion is confirmed glassed, and Emerald Cove is assumed to be so. Regardless, the Covenant achieve two more decisive victories. 

2543 CE

March 6th – Battle of 18 Scorpii: A lone Covenant ship engages UNSC Battle Group Sierra-3, which consists of two destroyers and a cruiser. The human forces are unable to penetrate the shields of the vessel, and all three of the ships are significantly damaged. Insurrectionist forces enter the system and come to the aid of the UNSC, however, and together they destroy the Covenant vessel. Minor Covenant defeat. 

Battle of Psi Serpentis

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April 18th: Two Covenant fleets that consist of over 300 warships engage with Preston Cole’s fleet of 162 vessels. Cole’s forces sustained heavy casualties while doing only moderate damage to the Covenant fleets. However, the arrival of an Insurrectionist fleet that came to the UNSC’s aid caused the Covenant to become distracted. The two human forces worked together to fight the Covenant as effectively as possible. The Covenant, however, still massively outgunned and outnumbered the human vessels. They would have won the day were it not for Cole’s endgame tactic of firing over 100 nuclear warheads into the core of the nearby gas giant Viperidae. This caused the planet to go nova, and the shockwave that resulted completely destroyed both Covenant fleets, as well as Cole’s own ship, the Everest.

The battle was both a defeat and a victory for the Covenant. In terms of ships, the Covenant lost by a large margin, despite inflicting heavy casualties on the humans. However, Preston Cole did not survive the battle; the most effective UNSC naval commander was no longer a problem for the Covenant Empire. 

2544 CE

Battle of Miridem

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Unknown: The Covenant Fleet of Glorious Consequence engage the UNSC forces on the planet of Miridem. Thel ‘Lodamee personally kills SPARTAN-II Shiela-065. Heavy fighting ensues, with casualties on both sides. However, the Covenant ultimately glass Miridem. Following this, the Covenant capture Doctor Catherine Halsey, but quickly lose her to the SPARTAN-II Blue Team. ‘Lodamee performs in an energy sword duel with John-117, notably almost killing him, but is forced to retreat when Supreme Commander Luro ‘Taralumee initiates a retreat for the Fleet of Glorious Consequence. While the Covenant succeed in glassing Miridem, they lose an opportunity to remove Halsey, one of the humans’ most critical assets, from the playing field. 

2545 CE

January 10th: Draco III is invaded by the Covenant. Facing little resistance, they slaughter the vast majority of the planet’s human population and glass Draco III itself partially. Soon after, SPARTAN-IIs were deployed to the planet and they defeat the Covenant forces.

July 3rd: A Covenant refinery on Pegasi Delta is assaulted by SPARTAN-III Beta Company. The refinery is destroyed, but the Covenant manages to kill 298 of the 300 SPARTAN-IIIs deployed. Nevertheless, the battle results in a defeat for the Covenant.

2546 CE: Sargasso and New Llanelli are both assaulted by the Covenant in this year. Sargasso is believed to have repelled the attack, but the Covenant easily defeat the UNSC at New Llanelli and glass the planet shortly after. 

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During the fighting on Sargasso, the Covenant deploy the Type-46 Infantry Support Vehicle for the first time against human forces. 

Unknown: The Jiralhanae Chieftain Lydus leaves the Oth Sonin system for the first time.

2547 CE: The colony world of Skopje is invaded by the Covenant and subsequently glassed. Decisive Covenant victory. 

2548 CE

Heart of Midlothian

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Unknown – Battle of Algolis: The Covenant destroyer that arrives at the planet boards the UNSC Heart of Midlothian while simultaneously invading the planet’s surface. On the ground, the UNSC is able to evacuate a high amount of civilians and prevent the Covenant from obtaining classified intel from a weapons facility by blowing it up. In space, the entire crew of the Heart of Midlothian is killed save for one ODST, who tricks a Sangheili into killing him so that the shipboard AI can self-destruct the ship without worrying about her directive to never harm humans. This subsequently results in the ship exploding and destroying the Covenant ship, leaving any forces still on the planet stranded. Overall, the battle ends in a Covenant defeat. 

Unknown – Battle of Meridian: The Covenant assault the planet Meridian. The planet is plunged into war for three years. 

2549 CE

Second Fall of Arcadia

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September 9th: Nearly 20 years since the Covenant’s first attack on the planet, the Covenant returns to Arcadia. This time around, human resistance is weaker, resulting in the Covenant easily achieving victory and glassing the planet. 

Formation of the Banished

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Unknown: Jiralhanae leader known as Atriox and his followers strike down their Sangheili superiors and form a new faction known as the Banished. They would go on to attack both human and Covenant forces for the remainder of the war. 

Unknown: The planet Paris IV is attacked and glassed by the Covenant. Decisive victory. 

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Unknown: The Covenant recall all Type-26 Wraiths to update its design. The most notable change is the addition of a Type-52 Directed Energy Support Weapon on a ring mount. 

2550 CE

After July 9th: The world of Minab is attacked and glassed by the Covenant. Decisive victory.

November 17th: By this time, the Banished have raided seven Covenant-held locations. 

2551 CE

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Before May: The CAS-class assault carrier Enduring Conviction engages the UNSC. The vessel’s Shipmaster, Let ‘Volir, was able to achieve impressive evasive maneuvers in this fight. This ship would later come to serve under the Banished’s naval force. 

Unknown: The world of Concord is attacked by Covenant forces. However, the colony repels the invaders. Decisive UNSC victory. 

Conclusion of the Battle of Meridian

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Unknown: After three years of fighting, the Covenant finally rout the UNSC forces on Meridian and glass the planet. However, the Covenant obtain a Luminary from the world as well. Under the orders of the Prophet of Regret, the best San’Shyuum scholars in High Charity immediately begin work on deciphering it. 

2552 CE

Battle of Fumirole

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April 22nd: The Covenant invades the planet of Fumirole. A lone CCS-class battlecruiser leads the assault, positioning itself over the colony’s capital city in order to ferry troops to the surface. The Covenant inflicts heavy casualties, but the battlecruiser is ultimately destroyed when a lone SPARTAN-III uses a jetpack to fly into the ship and detonate a nuclear device inside of the ship’s shield barrier, effectively vaporizing it from the inside out. It’s unknown whether or not more Covenant forces arrive or if the UNSC defeat the remaining forces; result of the battle is ultimately inconclusive. 

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Before June: – The Battle of Beta Eridani: The Covenant Fleet of Valiant Prudence, led by Supreme Commander Rho ‘Barutamee, attacks and defeats a UNSC force at the Beta Eridani system. 

July – The Battle of New Jerusalem: The Covenant attack New Jerusalem, almost entirely wiping out the military and civilian population of the planet. Ultimately, New Jerusalem is glassed. Decisive Covenant victory. 

The Battle of Sigma Octanus IV:

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July 17th: The Battle of Sigma Octanus IV officially begins. 

July 18th: Remarkably, the UNSC Iroquois’s commander, Jacob Keyes, is able to defeat the Covenant naval force present. The battle is overall a UNSC victory, though unbeknownst to the humans, a Covenant tracking device is placed on the Iroquois’s hull before the battle’s conclusion. This would eventually lead the Covenant fleets to the world of Reach when the Iroquois returns there. Before being destroyed, the Covenant vessels deployed a heavy ground force to the city of Côte d’Azur in order to retrieve a Forerunner crystal. However, they were repelled by a combined force of UNSC marines, ODSTs, and SPARTAN-IIs. Despite this, the Covenant were able to retrieve enough data from the crystal to learn the location of Installation 04. 

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A second Covenant fleet arrives, as does a second UNSC one. Both sides inflict heavy casualties, but the UNSC ultimately wins the day. The battle overall is a tactical victory for the UNSC, but a strategic one for the Covenant, as they learn the location of both Installation 04 and (eventually) Reach. 

July 23rd: Rho ‘Barutamee and the scouting Fleet of Valiant Prudence covertly land small amounts of troops onto Reach and begin to destroy its out-system communication relays. Effectively, this serves as the first stage of the infamous Fall of Reach. 

July 24th: While attacking the Visegrad communications relay on Reach, the Covenant forces are detected by the UNSC. 

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July 26th: The Covenant assault Sword Base, an ONI facility on Reach, with a SDV-class heavy corvette from the Fleet of Valiant Prudence. The UNSC Army, with support from the SPARTAN-III Noble Team and naval ships, is able to destroy the vessel. 

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Early August – Battle of Tribute: Upon discovering Reach, the Covenant target several other worlds in the Epsilon Eridani system, of which Tribute is one. The Covenant and UNSC engage in a bloody battle at Tribute that would rage on for an entire month until the Great Schism.

Early August – Battle of Beta Gabriel: Another Epsilon Eridani planet, Beta Gabriel, is attacked by a pack of Jiralhanae commanded by Chieftain Parabum. The human colony had little in terms of military defense, and as such was easily overtaken by the Jiralhanae. The Jiralhanae would go on to torture and violate the human civilian population for sport until a reconnaissance force of ODSTs attacks and defeats them.

August – Raid on Mount Haven: Covenant forces raid the city of Mount Haven in order to try and obtain Forerunner artifacts detected there. However, they were ultimately thwarted by the ODST Gage Yevgenny, who detonated a nuclear warhead, destroying the artifacts and thousands of Covenant troops.

Battle of Line Installation 1-4

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August: Both the Covenant CAS-class assault carrier Clarity of Faith and the UNSC Long Time Coming are shot down by the Forerunner Line Installation’s automated defenses. When Forerunner constructs capture members from both sides, the Covenant and UNSC form a temporary alliance in order to retrieve their comrades. Upon doing so, Shipmaster Thon ‘Talamee notices that a Covenant supply fleet is heading towards the Installation. However, Reff ‘Talamee, his brother, suddenly decides to try and use the Installation’s weapons to shoot the ships down, claiming that he would form a “new Covenant” in the ashes of the old. Thon tries to kill his brother for this heresy, but does not realize Reff had stolen his blade. Reff uses Thon’s energy sword to kill him, but is subsequently killed by Forerunner Sentinels shortly after. Ultimately, the UNSC shoots down the Covenant vessels, and is assumed to have commandeered one to return to human-controlled space. Covenant defeat. 

August 11th: Covenant forces begin to amass in the Viery Territory on Reach. 

Battle at Szurdok Ridge:

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August 12th: The UNSC launches an offensive on the Covenant force on Reach, managing to destroy two Type-38 Tyrant anti-aircraft cannons and the Covenant spire being built that would allow the Covenant to teleport forces down to the planet. After the frigate UNSC Grafton destroys the spire with a MAC salvo, however, Rho ‘Barutamee’s flagship, the CSO-class supercarrier Long Night of Solace, reveals itself from its cloaking and destroys the Grafton via its plasma projector. The UNSC forces, unable to effectively engage the vessel, retreat. The Long Night of Solace travels to orbit. 

OPERATION: UPPER CUT

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August 14th: The Long Night of Solace is tricked into docking with the stolen heavy corvette Ardent Prayer. UNSC forces detonate the slipspace drive of the UNSC Savannah within the Ardent Prayer, completely vaporizing both the entirety of the corvette and a large percentage of the Long Night of Solace’s midsection. The Fleet of Valiant Prudence is thus destroyed. However, the UNSC victory is cut short when several more Covenant vessels arrive in the system. 

August 15th: The Covenant forces in orbit are engaged by the first wave of UNSC reinforcements. More human ships continue to arrive throughout the month. 

Siege of New Alexandria

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 August 18th: Several Covenant heavy corvettes initiate a siege on the metropolis on Reach known as New Alexandria. This engagement lasts for five entire days, ultimately ending in the city being glassed despite best efforts by UNSC ground forces and Noble Team. 

August 23rd: An unnamed Sangheili Field Marshal kills SPARTAN-III Kat-B320 with sniper fire in the closing hours of the Siege of New Alexandria.

The Fall of Reach

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August 30th: Thel ‘Vadamee, now the Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice, arrives at planet Reach. Combined with the Fleet of Holy Respite and the Fleet of Righteous Vigilance, the Covenant naval force stands with 315 vessels. The Covenant begin sending dropships to the planet’s surface and engaging UNSC ships. With combat support from Orbital MAC guns, as well as repair-and-refit stations above the planet sacrificing themselves in order to protect armed ships, the UNSC fleet manages to evenly trade out ships destroyed with the Covenant in each salvo of MAC rounds and plasma torpedoes. However, a CSO-class supercarrier begins to destroy the Orbital MACs from outside their range with its plasma projector. This ship plays a critical role in slowly breaking down the UNSC defenses. 

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Meanwhile, Sangheili and Kig-Yar attempt to obtain the navigational data of the UNSC Circumference, which was unable to scrub itself of it’s coordinates of human worlds, including Earth. However, SPARTAN-IIs, led by John-117, thwart the raid of the ship. 

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As the Covenant continue pressuring the UNSC fleet in space, they rapidly ferry down troops to the surface to augment the ongoing invasion. One of the Covenant’s main targets is the generators that power the Orbital MAC guns. An hour after landing, the Covenant assault the generator complex, but are met with heavy resistance from SPARTAN-II Red Team and UNSC marines. Nevertheless, they manage to destroy the generators and kill several SPARTAN-IIs. This causes the Orbital MACs to become inoperable, effectively crippling the already devastated UNSC fleet. The Covenant split their remaining 150 ships; one group destroys the MAC platforms, while the other hunts down the remaining human ships. As the Covenant navy begins its hunt, all other UNSC ships are either destroyed or flee the system. The Covenant begin to glass the planet, resulting in an extremely vital Covenant victory. 

Battle of Aszod

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Hours after the Covenant fleet decisively defeats the human forces in space, the Covenant attempt to prevent SPARTAN-B312, Emile-A239, and Carter-A259 from delivering the AI Cortana to the Pillar of Autumn. However, one of the Covenant’s Scarab platforms is destroyed by Carter via Pelican suicide ramming, and the remaining pair of SPARTAN-IIIs reach the shipyards at Aszod.

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Emile is killed by a Zealot with an energy sword, forcing the lone Noble Six to destroy the CCS-class battlecruiser above the shipyards with a mass driver. After delivering the AI to Jacob Keyes, the Pillar of Autumn’s captain, Sangheili warriors surround and kill Noble Six. The Pillar of Autumn jumps into slipspace, with Thel ‘Vadamee and the Fleet of Particular Justice in hot pursuit. 

September: Coral is glassed by the Covenant. Decisive Covenant victory. 

Battle of Installation 04

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September 19th: Covenant scouting fighters find the location of the Pillar of Autumn but are subsequently destroyed by the Autumn’s contingent of Longsword fighters. Nevertheless, the Fleet of Particular Justice begins preparing an assault. The Covenant eventually begin to launch boarding ships and plasma strikes against the Autumn. Shortly after, the UNSC abandons the vessel and sets a course to crash land on Installation 04, with the ship firing all of its escape pods. Notably, Captain Keyes spots the Sangheili Ossoona spy Isna ‘Nosolee actively camouflaged in his pod and kills him with a sidearm. The Covenant capture Keyes and the rest of his escape pod’s men when they land. They kill everyone save for Keyes himself, who is taken to the CCS-class battlecruiser Truth and Reconciliation for interrogation. 

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Later, in night time, the Truth and Reconciliation is boarded by John-117 and a large contingent of UNSC marines. They clear out a section of the vessel and rescue Keyes, escaping in a captured Spirit dropship. The Covenant lose possession of a valuable prisoner. 

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September 20th: Covenant forces attempt to prevent the UNSC from accessing the Installation’s map room, but ultimately fail. The UNSC forces continue their offensive under the surface of the ring, where they link up with other survivors and fight through Covenant troops to reach the Control Room. Meanwhile, a Covenant weapons cache is assaulted by Jacob Keyes and a contingent of UNSC marines; before or during the battle, the Covenant accidentally release the Flood forms that are contained there, which decimate both the humans and the Covenant. This event marks first official contact with the Flood by the Covenant since The Battle of the Etran Harborage. 

The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor

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As the Flood rapidly spread, they encounter the Truth and Reconciliation and its crew. Managing to capture the Covenant dropship Brilliant Gift, the Flood crash land aboard the DSC-class support ship Infinite Succor and immediately begin to spread throughout the vessel, intending on spreading the Flood throughout the Fleet of Particular Justice. Special Operations Commander Rtas ‘Vadumee and Special Operations Officer Bero ‘Kusovai, along with a large contingent of Special Operations Unggoy and Sangheili, board the Infinite Succor via the Phantom dropship Glorious Advance in order to quell the threat. The mission is completed when ‘Vadumee sets a course for the ship to fly into a nearby star named Soell, then returns to the Glorious Advance — the only survivor of the mission. The prevention of further Flood spread made this a strategic Covenant victory. Notably, ‘Vadumee loses his two left mandibles in an energy sword duel with the Flood-infected Bero ‘Kusovai. This event would lead to others in the Covenant Empire calling him the “Half-Jaw”. 

Back on Installation 04, the Flood are engaged in fierce battle with the Covenant on and surrounding the Truth and Reconciliation.

Destruction of Installation 04

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September 22nd: Covenant forces at the Truth and Reconciliation encounter John-117 as they simultaneously attempt to rout the Flood. At this point, the cruiser is heavily damaged, but operable. John-117 steals a Banshee flyer after retrieving codes from the dead Captain Keyes’s neural interface.

Later in the same day, UNSC Major Silva and a force of ODSTs storm the Truth and Reconciliation, killing both Covenant and Flood in order to reach the ship’s bridge. In the process, they also capture the San’Shyuum Prophet of Stewardship. However, they are all ultimately killed when Silva attempts to fly the ship back to UNSC space to be considered a hero, and one of his men is forced to disable the controls with a fragmentation grenade, causing the cruiser to crash land and explode on the surface of the ring. 

Despite best Covenant efforts to stop him, John-117 self-destructs the Pillar of Autumn, escaping in a Longsword. The resulting explosion blows a section of Installation 04 off, which then collides with the other side of the ring and causes the entire Installation to fracture apart. All Covenant forces on the ring are presumably killed. This is one of the most devastating losses for the Covenant Empire in the entirety of its existence, as it had a profound effect on both the Covenant leadership and the general population. 

John-117 and the scant UNSC survivors of Installation 04 board the Covenant cruiser Ascendant Justice and capture it, plotting a course for Reach. 

September 7th: The Covenant besiege Catherine Halsey and the surviving members of SPARTAN-II Red Team in order to try and obtain a Forerunner shard in their possession. However, Halsey destroys CASTLE Base, preventing them from achieving this goal. 

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September 12th: In pursuit of the captured Ascendant Justice, the Covenant arrive in the Eridanus system. The survivors of Installation 04, now in a hybrid vessel known as the Gettysburg/Ascendant Justice, try and coordinate with the rebels in the system to effectively engage the Covenant; however, this fails, and the Gettysburg/Ascendant Justice flees the system, leaving the meek Insurrectionist forces to their doom. The Covenant easily kill the rebels and glass their outpost. 

Battle of the Unyielding Hierophant

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September 13th: The survivors of Installation 04 discover the gargantuan Earth invasion fleet: 500 Covenant vessels, in addition to the massive repair-and-refit station, the Unyielding Hierophant. After boarding the station with a captured Spirit dropship, SPARTAN-IIs, led by John-117, overload the station’s reactors, narrowly escaping before they explode and vaporize 488 surrounding vessels — almost the entirety of the invasion fleet. The event is a heavy blow to the Covenant war effort, though the Prophet of Truth refers to it as a “minor setback” during conversation with Tartarus, who has become Chieftain of the Jiralhanae since the events at Harvest almost three decades prior. 

Discovery of The Ark

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Early October: The Prophet of Regret’s stewards decipher the information on the Luminary captured from Meridian in 2551. It ultimately is a map that leads to Erde-Tyrene, which is home to the portal that leads to The Ark. Regret, not realizing that this location is the human homeworld of Earth, immediately departs for the system with only a small fleet. 

October: An edict from the High Prophet of Truth states that all Sangheili in the Fleet of Profound Solitude, Fleet of Tranquil Composure, and the Fleet of Inner Knowledge are to be completely replaced by Jiralhanae. The Sangheili are to be given other duties. In addition, all imprisoned or criminal Jiralhanae are pardoned or released. This sparks tension in the Covenant Empire.

Also in this month, an unknown planet is assaulted by the Covenant. The outcome is unknown; battle result ultimately inconclusive. 

Branding of Thel ‘Vadamee & Appointment as the Arbiter

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October 20th: For his inability to protect Installation 04, the Covenant High Council declares Thel ‘Vadamee a heretic. He is sentenced to death for his failures, and is branded with the Mark of Shame. 

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Instead of having him killed, however, the High Prophets of Truth and Mercy appoint ‘Vadamee as the Arbiter, hoping that he will die in battle while achieving useful goals for the Covenant. His first mission is to work with his former subordinate Rtas ‘Vadumee and Chieftain of the Jiralhanae, Tartarus, in order to eliminate the heretic Sesa ‘Refumee, who was actively trying to convince members of the Covenant that their religion was incorrect. 

Raid on the Threshold Gas Mine

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Later on the same day, ‘Vadamee, along with Special Operations lances, deployed into the gas mine on Threshold, the headquarters of the heretic faction. Rtas ‘Vadumee and Tartarus provided air support and reinforcement lances as the Covenant forces fought through the heretics to reach Sesa ‘Refumee. Retreating further into the station, ‘Refumee released Flood forms from their containment facility on the mine in order to hinder the Covenant forces. ‘Vadamee and ‘Vadumee were not to be deterred, however; the Covenant managed to break through the Flood. ‘Refumee, running out of options, locked himself behind an impenetrable energy barrier. Once his allies were safely aboard their ships, ‘Vadamee used his energy sword to cut the station’s cables, causing it to enter free fall and forcing ‘Refumee out of his position. This prompted ‘Refumee to run to a docked Seraph fighter, his last chance of escape. Arbiter followed in pursuit. 

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Once ‘Vadamee corners ‘Refumee, 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor of Installation 04, reveals himself. He begins to explain that the Covenant’s religion is false, but ‘Refumee, believing that ‘Vadamee is too far gone to listen, opens fire on him with dual Plasma Rifles. In the ensuing firefight, ‘Vadamee kills ‘Refumee, and Tartarus uses the Fist of Rukt to capture Guilty Spark. After this, the Covenant forces return to High Charity. 

Battle of Earth

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During the Raid on the Threshold Gas Mine, the Prophet of Regret’s Fleet of Sacred Consecration arrives at Earth. Completely surprised by the gigantic human presence, the fleet immediately begins deploying landing craft with explosive devices in order to attempt to destroy Earth’s Orbital MACs that could potentially wipe out the armada as they attempt to reach Earth’s surface and find the portal to the Ark. This strategy catches the UNSC off guard, and two MAC platforms are destroyed. The fleet aimed to reach the surface through this hole in the human defense grid. However, the UNSC Home Fleet and the rest of the MAC platforms managed to destroy the majority of the Fleet of Sacred Consecration. John-117 also caused the destruction of the CAS-class assault carrier Day of Jubilation by detonating one of the Covenant’s explosive devices inside the ship’s hull. Ultimately, though, The Prophet of Regret’s flagship, the Solemn Penance, managed to reach Earth’s surface. It immediately began landing Covenant ground forces, initiating the Battle for New Mombasa.

Battle for New Mombasa

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The Covenant begin rapidly deploying troops to the surface from Solemn Penance in order to allow the vessel itself to focus on digging for the portal to the Ark. Regret’s Sangheili-led forces take much of the city, but Regret, afraid of risking his life any longer on the human homeworld with no support ships, decides to flee to Installation 05 in an atmospheric slipspace jump, pursued by several UNSC vessels. The shockwave that follows severely damages the city’s infrastructure. Shortly after the departure of Regret, a Jiralhanae occupation force arrives and begins to fire on Regret’s Sangheili, aware that soon the Prophet of Truth plans to have the Sangheili killed and that without Solemn Penance, they can’t inform the rest of their brothers of the treachery. A bloody three-way conflict ensues, in which the humans, Sangheili, and Jiralhanae all contest New Mombasa, trying to gain an upper hand. Truth’s Jiralhanae attempt to prevent the ODST squad Alpha-Nine from recovering the Huragok Quick to Adjust, but are unable to do so. 

October 21st: More of Truth’s fleet arrives. Part of it engages the UNSC naval forces in orbit, while another half of it begins to glass New Mombasa in order to excavate the Ark portal. The Battle for New Mombasa concludes in a decisive Covenant victory. 

October 25th – Skirmish on Mona Lisa: Covenant Sangheili, captured and held prisoner on the Mona Lisa, are killed by both Flood forms and UNSC marines. 

Battle of Installation 05

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November 2nd: The UNSC In Amber Clad as well as other human vessels emerge from slipspace in pursuit of Regret and the Solemn Penance. Regret lands on the ring, but is hunted by the UNSC, led by John-117. Regret, fearing for his life, puts out a distress signal for assistance. The Prophet of Truth, under Mercy’s insistance, reluctantly has High Charity and her defense fleet jump to Installation 05 via slipspace. Rtas ‘Vadumee plans to storm John-117 with a large contingent of Phantoms, surrounding and killing him, but Truth calls the ships off; he secretly wants Regret to die so that he can blame it on the Sangheili and disgrace them. As expected, John-117 assassinates the High Prophet.

The Changing of the Guard

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After the death of the Prophet of Regret, Truth has the Sangheili Honor Guardsmen replaced with Jiralhanae. Rtas ‘Vadumee expresses his disapproval of the situation; Regret would have been saved if Truth didn’t call off the Phantom reinforcements. However, Truth ultimately turns ‘Vadumee away. Thel ‘Vadamee, the Arbiter, arrives, and Truth and Mercy send him on a mission to find Installation 05’s Sacred Icon (Index) which will allow them to activate the ring. 

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November 3rd: ‘Vadamee, ‘Vadumee and several Sangheili warriors fight through armies of Flood (released due to Installation 05’s Monitor being incompetent) and Forerunner Sentinels in order to reach the Sacred Icon. While ‘Vadumee and the rest of his allies watch his back, ‘Vadamee enters the area where the Icon lies. Sergeant Johnson and Miranda Keyes are there with the same goal: obtain the Icon. ‘Vadamee manages to defeat them both, but Tartarus arrives and betrays ‘Vadamee, citing that he was ordered to do so by the High Prophets. This marks the beginning of the Great Schism. ‘Vadamee is cast down into the depths of the Index facility and subsequently captured by the Gravemind, while Tartarus takes both the Sacred Icon and Johnson and Keyes as prisoner. 

The Great Schism

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The Prophet of Truth orders all previous Sangheili Honor Guardsmen and the Sangheili High Councilors to be covertly executed. Once the Sangheili realize what is happening, they, along with the Lekgolo and Unggoy, begin to resist the coup attempt in open combat. High Charity is plunged into civil war, with both the city itself and the space around the station in complete chaos. All Sangheili drop the “ee” suffix from their names, signifying their official secession from the Covenant Empire. The unified Sangheili, Unggoy and Lekgolo are dubbed the Covenant Separatists, while the San’Shyuum, Jiralhanae, Kig-Yar and Yanme’e become the Covenant Loyalists.

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The Prophet of Conviction attempts to personally kill a Sangheili Shipmaster within the Fleet of Righteous Vigilance, but fails and is subdued. The Shipmaster than publicly executes the Prophet in front of the rest of the ship’s Sangheili, citing the Jiralhanae and San’Shyuum betrayal as reasoning. The Shipmaster and presumably the rest of the Fleet of Righteous Vigilance enters the fray, helping fellow Sangheili fight back. The Prophet’s previous Honor Guards commit suicide in shame for having protected the Prophet in the past.

During the Schism, the San’Shyuum Zo Resken, the Prophet of Clarity, refused to torture captured Sangheili. For this, he was sentenced to death by the Covenant leadership; however, several Sangheili warriors came to his aid and killed his Jiralhanae captors. They escape High Charity aboard the supply vessel Journey’s Sustenance, fleeing the system. They would eventually come to find The Refuge and the Ussan colonies there, who had been living on the disassembled sections of the shield world for over 3000 years.

Gravemind Sends the Arbiter to Retrieve the Index

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As the Great Schism rages on, the Gravemind tasks both the Arbiter and John-117 with finding the Index. Both are sent to two likely locations; Arbiter to Delta Halo’s Control Room, and John-117 to High Charity. Before this, though, the Gravemind explains to Arbiter the true purpose of the Halo Arrays. He initially rejects the truth, but he eventually comes to accept it over the course of the next few hours.

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After being teleported near Control Room by the Gravemind, the Arbiter, now known as Thel ‘Vadam, leads a large contingent of Sangheili on a counter-attack on the Jiralhanae in the nearby jungles. After slaughtering the Jiralhanae, ‘Vadam spots Tartarus entering the Control Room with Miranda Keyes and the Index. Knowing that Tartarus is going to activate the ring, he forms an alliance with Sergeant Avery Johnson and his marines, who managed to escape capture amidst the chaos of the battle between the Sangheili and Jiralhanae minutes before. The humans manage to board and capture a Scarab walker, and ‘Vadam provides cover by destroying Wraiths and Banshees with his own Banshee. After Johnson blows through the Control Room door with the Scarab, ‘Vadam, along with Johnson himself and Sangheili warriors, try and convince Tartarus that the Prophets were lying.

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However, Tartarus doesn’t believe them, and the coalition of Sangheili and humans are forced to kill Tartarus and his Jiralhanae. However, he was able to force Keyes to begin the activation of Delta Halo before dying. Keyes herself managed to prevent the firing of the ring by physically removing the Index from the Control Room’s activation console, but this placed all the Halo Installations in standby mode. The Arbiter, along with his new human allies, discover that The Ark is now the only place where the Halo rings can be activated. The Covenant Separatists achieve a decisive victory in preventing Delta Halo’s activation. 

The Flood Arrive at High Charity

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While ‘Vadam was assaulting the Jiralhanae, John-117 was teleported to High Charity by the Gravemind. Covenant Loyalists attempt to prevent him from reaching the Prophets, but the Flood arrive and begin to infect both the Loyalists and the Separatist forces, causing more chaos to ensue. As the Prophets of Truth and Mercy make their way to the Forerunner Dreadnought, Flood forms ambush them. Tartarus and the Prophets’ Jiralhanae Honor Guards kill most of them, but an Infection Form is able to reach Mercy, infecting him. The Prophet of Truth then sends Tartarus to the Control Room, and travels to the Dreadnought, planning to join his fleets at Earth to excavate the portal to The Ark. 

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John-117 shortly arrives at the scene, and in his dying moments Mercy tells him that Truth is going to Earth. With the Index nowhere in sight, John-117 boards the Dreadnought as Truth begins to take off. As the ship is what powers High Charity, the city presumably loses most or all of its power shortly afterwards. 

Most of the Jiralhanae ships around High Charity follow Truth to Earth, leaving the Separatist ships with the Flood. The wife and unborn child of the San’Shyuum Prelate Tem’Bhetek were among the many stranded Covenant citizens on the planet. ‘Bhetek was away, expecting that his family would arrive on an evacuation transport. Rtas ‘Vadum, with the CAS-class assault carrier Shadow of Intent and other Separatist vessels, attempts rescue efforts for as many citizens of High Charity as possible, including ‘Bhetek’s wife Yalar’Otan’Elat. However, they are unable to reach her, and she was killed by the Flood. ‘Bhetek would hold a grudge against ‘Vadum, blaming him for the death of his wife, which would lead to the post-war conflict between the two. 

Formation of the Fleet of Retribution

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After the departure of the Jiralhanae, Rtas ‘Vadum organized the remaining local Sangheili ships into the Fleet of Retribution. The fleet consisted of the assault carrier Shadow of Intent, along with 11 CCS-class battlecruisers. Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam, along with Sergeant Avery Johnson and Miranda Keyes, ride with one of the battlecruisers to Earth in order to attempt to stop Truth from reaching The Ark. Afterwards, the battlecruiser returns to High Charity in order to help the rest of the Fleet of Retribution quarantine the Flood there, which by this point have fully taken over the city. 

Back on Earth, SPARTAN-IIs capture the Covenant destroyer Bloodied Spirit and set a course for Onyx. 

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In a meeting on the Sangheili colony of Joyous Exultation, Imperial Admiral Xytan ‘Jar Wattinree and other Sangheili leaders decide to form one massive force and destroy the Jiralhanae and San’Shyuum traitors. However, Shipmaster Voro ‘Mantakree insisted to Wattinree that ensuring the destruction of the Flood was much more important. Wattinree agreed, and made ‘Mantakree the Fleetmaster of the Second Fleet of Homogeneous Clarity, instructing him to travel to Onyx, intercept the Bloodied Spirit, and obtain the treasure trove of Forerunner relics there. Shortly after ‘Mantakree’s departure, a UNSC NOVA bomb that Huragok had collected to inspect on Reach exploded within Wattinree’s ship, the CSO-class supercarrier Sublime Transcendence. The blast atomized Wattinree, as well as destroyed two thirds of his fleet and razed the surface of Joyous Exultation. It is unknown what happened to the remaining vessels, though they likely formed their own remnant factions and fought the Jiralhanae on various worlds. 

The Battle of Onyx

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When ‘Mantakree arrived, he encountered a UNSC battle group that had been sent to assist the humans on the planet. ‘Mantakree’s fleet quickly defeats the humans, and begins to ferry down troops to the surface of Onyx in order to pursue the SPARTAN-IIs and SPARTAN-IIIs on the planet, as well as Catherine Halsey and Franklin Mendez. Despite resistance from the Onyx Sentinels, the Covenant manage to reach the humans, and begin an all out assault on their position, which ‘Mantakree personally leads. Despite killing several of the Spartans, Kurt-051 detonates two FENRIS nuclear warheads once Halsey and Mendez, as well as the surviving Spartans, retreat into the safety of the shield world. The blast vaporizes the Sangheili forces, and shortly after the entirety of Onyx’s automated defense systems destroy the Second Fleet of Homogeneous Clarity. This defeat marks the end of the Sangheili faction from Joyous Exultation.

The Covenant Separatists partially glass Installation 05’s surface in order to prevent the Flood from escaping. At this point, their blockade is beginning to be overrun, as the Flood are attempting to exit the system from both High Charity and Installation 05.

November 8th: The Prophet of Truth arrives in the Sol System, but is wary of joining the battle at Earth while John-117 is aboard the vessel. 

November 8th-17th – The Battle of Mare Erythraeum: Covenant forces assault the UNSC-controlled region of Mare Erythraeum on the planet Mars. After defeating the UNSC Army troopers there, the Jiralhanae Commander Lepidus captures the human Colonel Ackerson and takes him prisoner aboard his cruiser, the Triumphant Declaration. 

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November 8th-17th – The Battle of Clevland: After Ackerson tells Lepidus of the Key of Osanalan, a Forerunner device related to the Halo rings, the Covenant travel to Earth and begin attacking Cleveland in search of the relic. On the 17th, when it cannot be found, Ackerson reveals that it was a ruse; he had made the relic up in order to try and prevent the Covenant from glassing the city and killing his brother. Lepidus decapitates Ackerson shortly after.

November 10th: Covenant Loyalist forces begin occupying positions in Arizona. 

Second Battle of Earth

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November 17th: Thinking that John-117 is dead, the High Prophet of Truth sets a course for Earth. Upon arrival in Earth’s orbit, John-117 jumps from the Dreadnought as Truth heads towards the site of the portal to The Ark. 

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During the Battle for Sector Six, Covenant Loyalists engage UNSC marines and ODSTs who are trying to track the trajectory of John-117 after his free fall to Earth’s surface. The human forces are ultimately able to do so. John-117 and the Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam work together to free Sergeant Avery Johnson from Covenant Loyalist capture. 

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Covenant forces assault the UNSC base Crow’s Nest, where ‘Vadam, John-117, Johnson and Miranda Keyes converse with Admiral Terrence Hood on a planned airstrike. The base is destroyed when the UNSC detonate a bomb inside, killing any remaining forces on both sides. 

UNSC forces disable Covenant anti-aircraft batteries in the town of Voi, allowing three UNSC frigates and a contingent of Longsword fighters to airstrike the Forerunner Dreadnought. However, the attack does little to no damage, and the High Prophet of Truth and his Covenant fleet travels through the portal to The Ark. Shortly after, the Flood-infested CCS-class battlecruiser Indulgence of Conviction from High Charity arrives via slipspace and crash lands in Voi. 

The Flood Attack on Earth

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In hot pursuit, the Fleet of Retribution arrives and begins to hot drop Sangheili reinforcements, as well as glass infected portions of the city and its surroundings. The Covenant Separatists work with the UNSC to reach the Indulgence of Conviction and overload its engines; however, before doing so, John-117 recovers a message on the ship from Cortana that there’s a way to stop the Flood at The Ark. 343 Guilty Spark is also aboard the ship, who resolves to help the UNSC and Covenant Separatists.

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As the Fleet of Retribution continues glassing Voi to prevent the Flood infection from spreading, the UNSC leadership meets with Rtas ‘Vadum aboard the Shadow of Intent. The coalition ultimately decides to head through the portal and engage the Covenant at The Ark, while simultaneously trying to find Cortana’s solution. The Fleet of Retribution travels through the portal, along with three UNSC frigates, upon the completion of their quarantine efforts at Voi. 

November 18th: The Flood-controlled High Charity arrives near Mars, then initiates a slipspace jump to The Ark shortly after, utilizing High Charity’s augmented slipspace engines. 

December 3rd: The Jiralhanae leadership in Arizona are defeated by UNSC forces. The rest of the Covenant occupation force is routed afterwards, concluding the Second Battle of Earth. The battle is overall a strategic Covenant Loyalist victory, as they are able to travel through the portal. However, the UNSC prevent the Covenant from destroying Earth, earning a tactical victory. 

Battle of Installation 00

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December 11th: The joint UNSC-Sangheili fleet arrives at The Ark, immediately engaged by Truth’s Jiralhanae fleet. The Covenant Separatists and UNSC rapidly deploy forces to the Installation’s surface, locating its Cartographer and obtaining the location of the Citadel, the massive Control Room for Installation 00. Meanwhile, the Fleet of Retribution manages to completely decimate the Jiralhanae fleet in orbit, despite being outnumbered three to one. No casualties are reported in the fleet; it remains unclear whether or not it lost any vessels.

As the Covenant Separatists and the UNSC disable the protective barrier surrounding the Citadel, the Flood-infected High Charity arrives.

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The Flood immediately begin to spread as High Charity fires off numerous Flood dispersal pods, one of which notably penetrates the Shadow of Intent, temporarily disabling the ship. High Charity itself crash lands on The Ark’s surface. Undeterred, the UNSC and Covenant Separatists launch the final offensive on the Citadel, where Truth initiates the activation sequence for all the Halo rings by forcing Johnson to interface with The Ark’s systems. Destroying two Scarabs and gaining entry to the facility, the Arbiter and John-117 press forward. After the Flood form an uneasy alliance with them in order to prevent the rings from firing, John-117 and Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam kill the remaining Covenant forces and reach the High Prophet of Truth.

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The Arbiter confronts the Prophet of Truth in the Control Room and stabs him through the back with his energy sword. This marks the final defeat of the Covenant Loyalists, and the official end to the Covenant Empire and the Human-Covenant War. John-117 deactivates The Ark’s systems as ‘Vadam kills Truth, effectively ending the threat. However, the Flood turn on them, and the pair are forced to escape. Before doing so, however, the two of them see the construction of Installation 04b, the replacement ring for the Installation John-117 destroyed. 

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Shadow of Intent collects both UNSC and Sangheili forces and leaves the system. As John-117 is leaving High Charity with the retrieved Cortana after causing its reactors to go critical, the Arbiter arrives and covers him with a human flamethrower. Shortly after, the pair escape on a Pelican dropship. Cortana devises a plan to use Installation 04’s Index in order to fire Installation 04b, eliminating the Flood on The Ark. 

Activation of Installation 04b

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The Arbiter and John-117 travel towards Installation 04b’s Control Room, supported by Sergeant Avery Johnson. Fighting through Flood all the way to the entrance, the trio enter and Johnson immediately begins activating the ring. 343 Guilty Spark, enraged that Johnson wants to fire the ring prior to its completion, turns on the group, killing Johnson and wounding Arbiter. John-117, however, manages to destroy Spark with Johnson’s Spartan Laser. 

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After initiating the activation of Installation 04b, both the Arbiter and John-117 utilize Sergeant Johnson’s Warthog in order to escape the ring by landing in one of the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn’s hangar bays. The Arbiter quickly initiated a slipspace jump to Earth, but the ring’s explosion caused half of the ship to split off while in slipspace. The Battle of Installation 00 concludes with a monumental UNSC/Covenant Separatist victory. 

The Arbiter Arrives at Earth

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Late December: The Sangheili colony world of Glyke is destroyed by SPARTAN-II Gray Team, who are unaware of the end of the Human-Covenant War and alliance with the Sangheili. Billions of Sangheili are killed by their NOVA bomb. This event would later spark tension in the post-war years. 

December 23rd: Arbiter ‘Thel ‘Vadam’s half of the Forward Unto Dawn enters Earth’s atmosphere and lands in the Indian Ocean. John-117’s location is unknown. 

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December 30th: The Shadow of Intent is repaired at a mobile Covenant Separatist shipyard. 


Conclusion

Every empire has an ending, and the Covenant are no exception to this rule. Despite ultimately collapsing due to corruption and betrayal, though, the Covenant Empire remains a testament to the possibilities that can be achieved when multiple peoples work together towards a common goal.

Over the course of its existence, the Covenant Empire came to rule over thousands of systems within the Milky Way Galaxy. Their scientific and technological prowess was out done only by the Forerunners and their creators, the Precursors, themselves. Militarily, the Covenant were an unstoppable juggernaut that managed to bring the entire human species to its knees, despite the best efforts of the Spartan supersoldiers and the millions of others who dared to stand in the empire’s wake. Were it not for the Sangheili forces at The Ark, the Covenant would have achieved the ultimate goal of humanity’s destruction. Over the course of the timeline, the Covenant glassed 35 human colonies, and those are just the ones that are known. According to Halo: Mythos, the Covenant had only left a few dozens worth of colonies intact. Humanity had 800, meaning that the Covenant glassed over 90% of humanity’s sphere of influence by 2552.

In the end, the Covenant was the second largest empire in galactic history, surpassed only by their gods, the Forerunners. Under the unifying faith of the Great Journey, the Covenant’s cultural and military influence on the galaxy became so massive that its presence is still heavily felt in the galaxy years after the empire’s fall. And while the Covenant Empire may have been defeated, its many remnant factions, vast reservoirs of resources, and the remains of those targeted by its war machine stand as a permanent reminder of one of the universe’s most successful and expansive civilizations.

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Author’s Notes

Thank you so much for reading my timeline of the Covenant Empire. This project took me four days to research, write and format, and I hope that, from reading it, you have learned something about Halo’s staple antagonists. I also hope that you find them as fascinating as I do.

Thanks to community member Rythayze for letting me use his gorgeous speed painting of the Arbiter and Master Chief approaching Installation 04b’s Control Room. His artwork is phenomenal, check it out if you haven’t seen it already!

I would be remiss to not mention my friend HaruspexOfHell, who completed a similar project about Halo’s humans. His is about eight times the size of mine, thanks to the fact that there’s about eight times more information on the history of humanity than the history of the Covenant. But, with 343 Industries giving the green light for stories like Broken Circle, Shadow of Intent, and Halo: Envoy, I hold hope that we’ll get more and more Covenant lore as the years pass.

Next, I’d like to quickly bring you to attention that I’ve created a Patreon. If you want to support me, feel free to check it out. If not, that’s A-OK!

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Also, I’d like to shout out GrimBrotherOne for featuring my Rtas ‘Vadum character analysis from last week. That really meant a lot to me, and I was honored to have been featured. Thanks so much, Grim!

Finally, let me know what you think of the timeline. I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of the Covenant’s vast history. Talk to me here in the comments or on Twitter! You can find my profile on the right-hand widget.

Thanks so much again for reading! I hope your day goes superbly. Until next time!

Love,

Your mandible-monikered community member, Lor

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Great Journey Forward — A Complete Timeline of the Covenant Empire

  1. Damn. This is VERY detailed. Will be bookmarking this!

    Liked by 1 person

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