Sesa 'Refumee's heretic faction
- "Our Prophets are false! Open your eyes, my brothers! They would use the faith of our forefathers to bring ruin to us all!"
- —Sesa 'Refumee
The heretic faction led by Sesa 'Refumee was an assortment of Covenant forces that broke away from the empire shortly after the Battle of Installation 04. They were considered to be a threat to the Covenant religion, and an Arbiter was sent by the Hierarchs to silence them.
The faction was originally a Covenant artifact retrieval team attached to the Fleet of Particular Justice and led by Sesa 'Refumee. They were investigating a gas mine above the planet Threshold when the UNSC Pillar of Autumn crashed on Halo. When the SPARTAN-II John-117 destroyed Halo, the team was spared from death, unlike their compatriots on the ring.
Shortly afterwards, the retrieval team came into contact with the monitor of Installation 04, 343 Guilty Spark, who had traveled to the gas mining facility. After a brief confrontation with several Unggoy and Kig-yar, their Sangheili leader recognized the monitor as an "Oracle" and took him to the group's leader as per the monitor's request. Spark cheerfully informed 'Refumee of the true purpose of the Halo Array, utterly destroying his and his team's faith in the promised "Great Journey." 'Refumee then proceeded to cut off all communications to the fleet until the "Oracle" could fully explain the matter.
Disillusioned with the lies of the Prophets and their Great Journey, 'Refumee initiated an open rebellion against the Covenant's San'Shyuum leadership. In secret, he sent holographic recordings to other Sangheili about the true purpose of the Halos. In the meantime, he strengthened the defenses of the gas mine, fortifying it with plasma cannons and a large complement of Banshee fighter craft in anticipation of the Covenant's retribution for his heresy. He also had at least one Seraph fighter in the mine's docking bay. In addition, the group was supported by the Sentinels based in the gas mine, under the command of 343 Guilty Spark.
It is unclear how many more Covenant members 'Refumee was able to sway to his cause. Eventually, 'Refumee's activities were discovered by the Hierarchs, who decided to put the "heretics" down with two other former commanders of the Fleet of Particular Justice: the disgraced Thel 'Vadamee, now the Arbiter of the Covenant, and Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadumee.
Whilst inhabiting the mine, the faction discovered that the facility had a secondary purpose: a Flood research facility was built into the mine as part of the Forerunners' attempt to find a way to destroy the Flood. The Arbiter and 'Vadumee arrived at the facility with orders to annihilate all Heretics. Accompanying them were three Phantoms full of Spec-Ops Sangheili and Unggoy, fighting through a large contingent of Heretic soldiers whilst chasing 'Refumee throughout the facility.
Whether by accident or design, the heretics released the Flood upon themselves shortly before or during the Arbiter's arrival - creating a deadly triangle of conflict as all sides attempted to destroy the others. Despite heavy resistance from the Sesa 'Refumee's faction and the Flood, the Arbiter was able to assassinate 'Refumee and destroy the gas mine completely by severing the support cables maintaining the facility's position.
Sesa 'Refumee's group was equipped with non-standard armor, colored golden-beige and differing in design from normal Covenant armor. The Sangheili did not wear helmets, but were instead equipped with respirators and goggles to help them survive in the hydrogen-helium atmosphere of Threshold. Their armor was more ornate than the typical glossy armor worn by most Covenant forces, and their harnesses had four distinctive "fins" on the back. The methane tanks used by the Unggoy consisted of two translucent tubes.
It is known that the group used this type of armor already before turning against the Covenant, so they may have been dedicated environmental suits specifically designed for conditions such as those of the gas giant, or simply designs specific to expeditionary groups such as theirs. Interestingly, it appears that the armor used by the Sangheili in the group greatly resembles the ceremonial armor known to be worn by the 'Moram clan of the Sangheili, apart from having more technical detail.
The vehicles used by 'Refumee's group also had a nonstandard appearance: the cowlings on their Banshees were much more detailed and covered less of the workings within the craft. Like their suits, these may have been a variant adapted to operation within the environments of a gas giant.
Apart from their different armor and banner, the faction seldom used the standard Covenant weapons. The Sangheili are equipped with Carbines, sometimes Sentinel Beams, and Energy Swords, instead of Plasma Rifles (Sesa 'Refumee not included), and the Unggoy are equipped with Needlers instead of the Plasma Pistols they were given by loyalists, as well as Fuel Rod Guns for anti-vehicular purposes.
- The faction only appears in two of Halo 2's levels, The Arbiter and The Oracle. Different heretical characters have appeared throughout canon however, though not of this group.
- Originally the faction was going to be made up of only Mgalekgolo.
- The later breakaway Covenant faction, the separatists, are also referred to as heretics by the Covenant.
- The Heretic Elites will sometimes say "By the Rings..." even though they no longer believe in the Covenant religion. This is likely due to habit. From a development point, this is a common example of saving resources by making character bipeds to use recycled dialogs.
- Heretic Grunts will often say, "Always hated you Elites!". This is slightly odd, because they are still led by Elites. Covenant SpecOps Grunts will also say this.
- Although this faction of heretics does not appear in the Firefight mode of Halo: Reach, Elites using human weapons are referred to as heretics.
- Although Jackal marksmen were also a part of the scouts originally sent to the Gas Mine, none were seen by Thel 'Vadamee during his raid on the heretics. One possibility is that they were all killed, since 'Refumee tells Guilty Spark that "I shall cast them all into the mists below" for attacking him, though Spark tells him no more deaths are required. It's also possible that the Kig-Yar did not defect with the heretics, being mercenaries who viewed the Covenant as more profitable.
The group's Banshee variant.