Huragok

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Huragok
(Facticius indoles)
H3ODST-VergilHuragok.png
Overview

Avg. height:

9'0"[1]

Avg. weight:

125 lbs (57 kg)[2]

Distinctions:

Six appendages, bulbous sections, small snout, several eyes

Avg. lifespan:

10,000 years/possibly indefinite[3]

Affiliation:

Notable individuals:

Also known as:

  • Engineers
  • Savants[4]
  • Boo-Bags
  • Loogie
  • Slippery Suckers
  • Floating Squids
 
"A sentient labor-saving device with the ability to self-repair and self-replicate. Good with computers."
—Bungie.net description of Huragok

Huragok (Latin Facticius indoles[3], meaning "artificial genius"[5]), known to humans as Engineers,[6] are a race of biomechanical beings that were created by the Forerunners to maintain their technology.[3] These remarkably helpful and docile aliens are exceedingly patient, rarely communicate with other species, and are almost single-mindedly devoted to their work. They were the only known non-combatant race of the Covenant aside from the San 'Shyuum, though some were rigged to explode like suicide bombers during the Great Schism.[7] Following the Human-Covenant War, most Huragok either mysteriously disappeared or began to aid humanity.[8]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The Huragok were created by the Forerunners prior to the first activation of the Halo Array.[3] They served as "servant-tools" to the Builders, the highest rate in Forerunner society. They often served aboard semi-automated maintenance stations, including a number of facilities within the San 'Shyuum home system. They were rarely accorded personhood in Forerunner society, and some found their anaerobic metabolism and gas bladders disgusting. For this reason, they were never allowed in public.[9]

Being mechanical structures rather than organic life forms, they survived the activation and were later found by the Prophets in various M-series facilities.[3] Several were left within one of the Forerunners' shield worlds, Shield World 006, and would remain there for the next 100,000 years.

The Covenant[edit]

After being discovered by the San 'Shyuum, the Huragok were employed as the Covenant's science, maintenance and archaeological specialists. They were used to retrieve and dissect Forerunner artifacts, as well as to repair spacecraft and machinery.

Huragok were essentially the scientific and engineering backbone of the Covenant and its economy. They fulfilled one of the most important roles within the Covenant, as they bore the responsibility of maintaining the Covenant's machines, managing medical matters, and interacting with Forerunner technology. While it was generally held that only the San 'Shyuum were high enough in the Covenant hierarchy to handle and manage Forerunner research and technology, in reality it was the Huragok who must excavate, unlock, and transport Forerunner artifacts - a fact only known to higher ranked officials and leaders within the Covenant, due to its sensitive nature.[10]

The Huragok in the Covenant usually communicated only with San 'Shyuum, a fact that may have contributed to the balance of power between Sangheili and San 'Shyuum, and usually ignored anything that wasn't a San 'Shyuum, a Forerunner artifact, or a machine.[10][11] A notable exception is the Huragok Lighter Than Some, who communicated with the Unggoy Deacon Dadab via Huragok sign language.[12]

After the Great Schism, the now predominantly Brute-controlled Covenant placed explosives charges onto the bodies of Huragok, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of UNSC forces. The Huragok did not initially resist this measure, as they were made to believe that humanity would force them to defile Forerunner relics should they ever be captured.[13] Once they realized it was to make them suicide bombers, however, many Huragok made attempts to resist receiving charges, usually failing.[14][15]

During various engagements in the Human-Covenant War, Huragok were deployed on certain human colonies to search for Forerunner technology. During the Battle of Mombasa, they scoured the city for evidence of the Portal that lay beneath its foundation.[7]

Post-war[edit]

After the dissolution of the Covenant, the Huragok dispersed, leaving the Sangheili at a loss without their mastery of technology.[16] In November 2552, Lucy-B091 discovered four Huragok inside Shield World 006 in Onyx.[17] By March 2553 Requires Adjustment and the three Huragok from the shield world were stationed aboard the UNSC Infinity. In the time since arriving on Infinity they created several new Huragok to aid them. The Huragok aboard Infinity made various improvements to the ship, enhancing its slipspace capabilities to be faster and more accurate and reworked the communications system, enabling Infinity to maintain contact from slipspace.[8] Two Huragok were also deployed on Kilo-Five's prowler, UNSC Port Stanley in order to provide it with the same upgrades as Infinity.

Rear Admiral Saeed Shafiq of UNSC Procurement planned to have Huragok deployed on all UNSC ships by 2557.[18] Despite the obvious advantages, Admiral Margaret Parangosky was apprehensive about Shafiq's proposal due to the risk of the Huragok potentially falling into enemy hands.[19]

Anatomy and physiology[edit]

Huragok blood inspected by Rtas 'Vadumee, as seen in Halo Graphic Novel.

The Huragok are not a natural, biological species at all, but rather an artificial life form created by the Forerunners. While they possess no true tissues or organs, their nanomechanical surrogates so closely mimic their biological analogs that they seem almost indistinguishable to observers.[3] Multiple gas-bladders serve as their method of locomotion, allowing them to float through the air. The bladders also serve as part of their respiratory system; if their gas bladders deflate, they will asphyxiate and die.[20]

As a result of their biomechanical nature, Huragok possess the ability to interface with electronic forms of data storage, "downloading" data directly into themselves. They appear to be able to "read" biological life-signs as well; during her time within Shield World 006, Lucy-B091 was analyzed by a Huragok, who scanned her brain activity in an attempt to determine the cause of her vocal disarticulation.

Huragok have small, elongated heads with six dark eyes, and four tentacles that can split into very small, near-microscopic cilia. The Huragok use these cilia to construct, repair and manipulate machinery on a near-microscopic level. Certain Forerunner installations feature panels, apparently similar to human touch-pad technology, that Huragok can "type" on using their cilia.[21] They float via bladders that contain a mixture of gas lighter than air. They can take apart whole vehicles and rearrange their entire structure in a matter of seconds, with the resulting machines still operating at least as well as they did before.[22] They learn at an unprecedented rate, and store that information for future reference if ever they need to repair the same thing twice. They are capable of surviving in at least oxygen and methane-rich environments, though they cannot survive in a vacuum.[23]

Huragok reproduce by gathering materials from their surroundings to "build" another Huragok.[24] This new offspring is then filled with a precise mixture of lighter-than-air gases. The buoyancy from these gases is used to determine its name. Up to three Huragok take part in this process, relaying all the information that they have learned to their "offspring". Given sufficient raw materials, a pair of Huragok can produce a unified replica of themselves in approximately 45 minutes; the addition of a third Huragok cuts the time down to thirty minutes.[25] Understandably, it is advantageous to have as many Huragok contribute to this process as possible, raising the "intelligence" of the offspring. Huragok are extremely long-lived; the theoretical lifespan for an individual Huragok recorded by the Forerunners' own Bestiarum was stated to be 87,600,000 hours, or 10,000 years; however, based on evidence from other sources, the Bestiarum concluded that the limit would more accurately be described as indefinite.[3]

Huragok are bioluminescent, and in dark conditions their heads and tentacles emit a bright bluish glow, which pulsates when the Huragok is calm and brightens or dims according to its emotional state. The cilia on their tentacles give off a pinkish-red light as well. Huragok blood is luminescent blue-purple in color.[7]

Though the inner workings of an Huragok's internal macroscopic biology remain a mystery, it is known that they are capable of using the gas sacks that keep them afloat for anaerobic respiration. This method is painful, dangerous, and apparently only used as a last resort.[26] Despite their buoyant nature and graceful, fragile appearance, Huragok are quite strong. When nearby individuals tamper with or endanger Forerunner technology, they are capable of using moderate to extreme force to deter them; one Huragok threw the former shipmaster Jul 'Mdama across a room when the latter was in danger of activating a malfunctioning slipspace portal.[27]

Culture[edit]

Huragok have little interest in taking sides in conflict; they appear to draw no real distinction between friend and foe, preferring to spend their time inspecting or repairing technology, although they will react with agitation if Forerunner technology is damaged or compromised in any way. They are apathetic to any sort of combat, and tend to just float along with a single goal: to fix things. In one encounter, a Huragok repaired John-117's damaged shield generator and then floated away; the rather unlucky Huragok was later shot by Lieutenant Haverson to prevent it from possibly giving the specifications of the Spartan's improved shield technology to the Covenant. Another Huragok protested, but then was distracted by a calling terminal and resumed work.[28] If shot at in a firefight, Huragok make no attempt to defend themselves, but rather curl up in fright and float to a safe distance.

In keeping with their pacifistic nature, Huragok tend to shy away from combat, curling up and floating out of range when threatened. However, they can be pushed into violence when a friend is in danger, as demonstrated when Lighter Than Some saved his friend, the Unggoy Dadab, by killing the human, Henry Gibson, with a hunting rock.[12] They also will react forcefully when Forerunner technology is threatened, demonstrating surprising strength as they attempt to keep others from causing harm to Forerunner devices or to themselves.

Their concentration has been described as "a trance-like reverie" by those who have witnessed it. Huragok are also capable of quickly learning the functionality of new technology. On one occasion, a Huragok was observed by John-117 dismantling a vehicle's engine, assembling it into various other working configurations, and then returning it to its original state, all in a matter of seconds.[22] The abilities of the Huragok are not limited to their skills to fix things; they are also able to absorb data from a computer or an AI, and combine it with their own biological "data". One such incident occurred when one Huragok combined its knowledge with the "dumb" AI of New Mombasa, the Superintendent. During a mission to recover a living Huragok, Captain Veronica Dare described the species as "biological supercomputers".[29] However, the actual amount of information that Huragok can extract is limited, and would require a more advanced artificial intelligence to assist in truly understanding the work of a Forerunner construct.[3]

Huragok have also been known to display great compassion and caring for one another. During the Battle of Mombasa, Dr. Endesha observed six Huragok selflessly give their own lives while attempting to disarm a bomb attached to another, which detonated after its removal and killed all but the seventh Huragok.[15]

Role within the Covenant[edit]

During their enslavement to the Covenant, the Huragok were not normally a tactical threat and were rarely ever seen in combat situations. Most UNSC soldiers made a point of avoiding intentionally harming Huragok if possible. Unlike the majority of the Covenant races, they did not regard humans as enemies; during John-117's assault upon Ascendant Justice, one even aided the SPARTAN-II by repairing the shield generator on his MJOLNIR armor and fixing the Spartan's current weapon, a broken Needler.[28] However, Lieutenant Haverson killed the Huragok, stating that it had learned about the MJOLNIR shield technology, which was superior to the Sangheili personal energy shield, and could not be allowed to relay that information. During the events surrounding the first contact between the Covenant and humanity, a Huragok named Lighter Than Some attempted to aid the humans in an attempt to bring peace; he even made them a peace offering, which, against his wishes, was appropriated by the Jiralhanae and converted into the Type-25 Chopper.[30]

Huragok are an extremely valuable asset to a crew, as they enjoy fixing things immensely; they are often described as caring about nothing else.[31] They take great pride in their work, and also in their buoyancy, enjoying being confined by gravity and floating a meter or so off the ground.[9] However, they are also very peace-loving and have a great respect for life in general.[32] The Huragok Lighter Than Some even refused to play a game that would kill non-sentient pests.[33]

When deployed during large-scale archaeological expeditions, the Huragok of the Covenant made use of large recharge stations, where they rest, repair each other, and share data between forays.[7]

Symbols[edit]

An example of a Huragok symbol.
"These tell stories, not very clear cut stories but they represent the shape of Forerunner ships, etc..."
Joseph Staten, commenting on the symbols[34]

Huragok are known to mark some areas of significance with mysterious glyphs, which can be found on various surfaces, walls, ceilings or floors, often in irregular patterns. These usually consist of an "Y"-shape or a circle, with various types of glyphs similar to Forerunner symbols around them. The symbols are likely related to the Huragok's Forerunner origin.[29]

Languages and communication[edit]

Huragok can communicate with other Covenant species, such as Unggoy, particularly the more intelligent ones such as the Deacon Dadab, and with other Huragok, by flexing their limbs in various directions, bending and overlapping to form the specific formation for each word, much like human sign language.[24] Their gas sacs can also swell and deflate at times of great emotion, suggesting another, more subtle method of communication.

Huragok can also communicate using melodic whistling sounds, as shown when Cortana used a Covenant SHIPCOM speakers to verbally communicate with a Huragok.[35] Their verbal communication is almost musical, and very slightly resembles the calls of Earth's whales.

Huragok can gain an understanding of other species' spoken languages.[36] In order to facilitate more efficient communication with other species, they are capable of typing messages on devices such as data pads and using voice synthesizers.[37]

Naming[edit]

The gases initial buoyancy in newly born Huragok determines its name; for example, one that sinks might be named 'Far Too Heavy', one whose buoyancy is almost perfect would be named 'Easy to Adjust', and those whose gas mixture causes them to exhibit notable buoyancy are named 'Lighter Than Some'.[24]

Halo Wars gameplay[edit]

In Halo Wars, Huragok provide the only means for the Covenant to repair damaged buildings, vehicles and heal injured units. They are easily slain as they are unarmed and can only be repaired by other Huragok - not by themselves. They do not attack and automatically search for damaged machinery, buildings and troops to heal and repair. Huragok create an almost unstoppable force when combined with the Scarab.

Requirements to train[edit]

Resources: 250 (requires Summit)
Minimum Tech Level: 0
Population Count: 1
Upgrades:

  • State of Grace: Increases rate of healing and repair
  • Harmonious Digestion: Increases movement speed

Production notes[edit]

Concept art for Halo 3: ODST.

The creation of the Huragok started around 1999, during the development of Halo: Combat Evolved. From the beginning, they were meant to be "a class of aliens that acted as idiot savants towards technology," and were meant to be able to decipher Forerunner technology easily and allow a glimpse into what made the Forerunner technology so special. As far as gameplay, the designers wanted a race that were less aggressive to populate the world in a more passive way, making Halo feel more alive. The general idea of the Huragok was to be "a character meant to be passive, almost puppy like in nature," and make the players feel bad if they killed them.[38]

Sea creatures were used for inspiration, especially underwater sea slugs and glowing jellyfish; their movements, the way they emit light, the fluidity of their bodies - and tried to translate that into a creature out of water. According to Shi Kai Wang, underwater sea creatures like the jellyfish had the right type of feel to them, a very docile and graceful creature that just minds its own business—very much how they initially wanted the Huragok to be.[38] More emotive states were added to their animations and facial features to make them relatable, so that people would feel for them. The Huragok were eventually cut from Halo: Combat Evolved, as there was not enough time or technology to "make them feel right".[38]

For Halo 3: ODST, the Huragok were completely redesigned to fit the gameplay, and to make them more in-depth characters. As the graphics, technology and capabilities were now available, the creatures could be made just like they were originally envisioned. Originally, in Halo 3: ODST, the Engineer was to suck its limbs and head into a cocoon shell and have it float away in distress or cower in fear. This effect wasn't fully achieved as a good solution for how the animations would work alongside gameplay couldn't be figured out. Eventually, the idea was turned into something similar but a scaled-down version.[38]

In Halo: Reach, Engineers were made slightly less sympathetic and more alien.[39] They have lost their pink feathery feelers, and will not react to being shot at by the player. Additionally, rather than exploding and turning its own body into a suicide weapon like in ODST, their death will simply result in their body bursting apart, which causes no surrounding damage.

Trivia[edit]

  • Engineers are the only Covenant race to be cut from the Halo trilogy and appear in later games.
  • In Halo 3: ODST, the "Good Samaritan" achievement can be unlocked by not killing any Engineers in New Mombasa at night during the entire campaign, alone or with another ODST. On the other hand, killing ten of the Engineers in the city will unlock the "Naughty Naughty" achievement.
  • In Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian, Mo Ye incorrectly states that the Covenant "call them Engineers". "Engineer" is actually the human name for the species, with the Covenant name being Huragok.
  • In Halo: Reach, a well-placed headshot will detach the face mask without killing the Huragok.
  • In Halo: Reach, on the side of the Huragok's armored shell, there is a v-shaped symbol that bears a striking resemblance to the NOBLE Team logo.

Gallery[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ -top right hand corner
  2. ^ Halo Encyclopedia, pages 122
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Bestiarum
  4. ^ Conversations from the Universe
  5. ^ halo.bungie.org: Bestiarum Latin names translated
  6. ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 237 - "Huragok: the Forerunner name for the Engineer race."
  7. ^ a b c d Halo 3: ODST
  8. ^ a b Halo: The Thursday War, page 50
  9. ^ a b Halo: Cryptum, page 144
  10. ^ a b Bungie.net: The Covenant Primer
  11. ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, pages 200-201
  12. ^ a b Halo: Contact Harvest, page ??
  13. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 202
  14. ^ Halo 3: ODST campaign level, Mombasa Streets (Brute Captain: "Arrgh! Hold the creature still!" Brute Minor: "Place the charge, before I lose my grip!")
  15. ^ a b Sadie's Story: Audio log 18, Circle 6, Arc 3
  16. ^ Halo Waypoint: The Halo Bulletin: 10/12/11, Exclusive Book Excerpt - Glasslands
  17. ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 140
  18. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 94
  19. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 234
  20. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 188
  21. ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 193
  22. ^ a b Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 183
  23. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 68
  24. ^ a b c Halo: Contact Harvest, page 54
  25. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page ??
  26. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page ??
  27. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page ??
  28. ^ a b Halo: First Strike, page 83
  29. ^ a b Halo 3: ODST, campaign level Data Hive
  30. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 314
  31. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 96
  32. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest page ??
  33. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 91
  34. ^ halo.bungie.org: Joe Staten comment in oxm *spoilers*
  35. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 88
  36. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 49
  37. ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 309
  38. ^ a b c d Bungie.net: Engineer Evolved
  39. ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update 08/20/10: "But don’t worry, we’re not going to make you feel like a monster for taking them down this time out..."
Member and client races of the Covenant
San 'ShyuumSangheiliJiralhanaeHuragokLekgolo (MgalekgoloSbaolekgolo)Yanme'eKig-Yar (T'vaoan)Unggoy