The Banished are a mercenary organization and splinter faction that rebelled against the Covenant Empire and rose to power after the conclusion of the Human-Covenant War. The organization is led by the Jiralhanae warlord Atriox.
The Banished were formed by Atriox and several Jiralhanae loyal to him who rebelled against their Sangheili masters during the Human-Covenant War. For a decade, the Banished were little more than raiders and pirates, conducting surgical raids against the Covenant and other targets while gathering mercenaries to their cause. Evading Covenant enforcers led to Atriox prioritizing stealth in his forces. Unimpeded by the Covenant's devastating Great Schism, the Banished managed to salvage many of the empire's former assets after its fall, becoming a formidable power in their own right. While Atriox had already recruited many allies during the Covenant War, the Banished gained many new members in the war's aftermath from former Covenant who wished to continue living as warriors, including human criminals who were influenced by the Banished and may have joined. After gaining control of the Sharquoi in 2558, the Jiralhanae under Hekabe suggested contacting the Banished to move their new weapons as they needed slipspace-capable vessels and their own had been destroyed. However, Hekabe refused the suggestion, unwilling to share power with Atriox and the Banished when he wanted it all for himself.
Occupation of the Ark
In March 2559, 28 years after the UNSC Spirit of Fire lost contact with the rest of the United Nations Space Command, the vessel arrived at the extra-galactic Forerunner structure known as the Ark, only to find that a UNSC research facility on its surface had been attacked by the Banished, leaving no survivors but Isabel, a smart AI. Soon afterward, the crew of the Spirit of Fire engaged the Banished in combat.
Captain James Cutter and Isabel decided to strike at the Banished by attacking a salvage operation, in which the Banished searched for supplies among the wreckage left from the battle nearly seven years earlier, led by Decimus, Atriox's right-hand man. The UNSC forces managed to destroy the operation despite orbital support from the CAS-class assault carrier Enduring Conviction, the Banished flagship, although Decimus escaped.
From the wreckage of the fight, the UNSC discovered evidence of a Cartographer, a repository of data about the Ark's systems. As the Spirit of Fire sent Marines led by Spartan Jerome-092 to secure an elevator leading to the Cartographer, the Banished troops in the area were attacked by Sentinels. The survivors were unable to stop the UNSC forces from gaining access to the Cartographer.
Meanwhile, the Banished fell victim to a series of hit-and-run operations conducted by Spartan Alice-130, who was trapped behind enemy lines at the start of the battle, and liberated many captured UNSC troops.
The UNSC managed to capture the Cartographer and Professor Ellen Anders determined that the Banished were using the Ark's vast portal network to rapidly transport troops across the installation. The Banished forces at the network's control hub, led by Decimus, failed to prevent UNSC troops led by Jerome and Douglas-042 from destroying the hub, crippling the network. Decimus himself attempted to avenge the loss of the portals, but was killed by the UNSC forces.
The Banished then went on the offensive, launching an all-out ground assault on Alice's forces and sending several waves of Banshees from the Enduring Conviction at the Spirit of Fire. Alice managed to survive, but the Spirit of Fire was seriously threatened, as several of its deck turrets had been destroyed. Several Banished troops were diverted from the carrier's gravity lift in an attempt to stop UNSC forces led by Douglas from using a Forerunner particle cannon to disable the carrier's energy shields. The UNSC was ultimately successful, however, and Jerome and Isabel approached the ship's grav lift, intending to board the vessel and destroy it from the inside out. Their dropship was shot down by Banished anti-aircraft turrets as it approached, but they survived and Alice managed to use Kodiak artillery vehicles to destroy the Banished defenses to clear a path for them to board. On the ship, Isabel managed to fire the carrier's energy projector at the Ark's surface. The resulting damage caused swarms of Sentinels to crash themselves into the carrier, bisecting it. Jerome and Isabel were able to land safely on the Ark.
A new Halo ring
Atriox met with Shipmaster Let 'Volir, who survived his ship's destruction, on the Ark's surface, to assess the situation. They observed a new Halo ring rising from the Ark's Foundry, which the UNSC intended to disarm before sending it to the Soell system in the Milky Way in order to contact the rest of the UNSC. Atriox ordered 'Volir to send his surviving men onto the ring to capture it in a chance for redemption. However, Alice and Douglas led Marines in capturing a portal at the Foundry which the Banished were using to send troops to the ring. The Spartans went through the portal and it was destroyed afterwards to limit the Banished presence on the ring.
Atriox contacted Capt. Cutter and offered him a deal: the Banished would allow the Spirit of Fire to leave the area unharmed if the UNSC surrendered the Halo ring to him. He was refused, with Cutter reminding him that he did not make the same offer to the scientists at the Henry Lamb Research Outpost. The Banished troops on the ring were unable to stop Professor Anders hijacking a Retriever Sentinel in order to destroy a shield which the Banished had erected around the installation's Control Room.
The Banished launched a last-ditch assault to stop Anders from disabling the ring's firing systems and planting a distress beacon. However, a stiff UNSC defense did not break, allowing Anders to finish her work. Once this was done, Anders accessed the ring's gravity anchors and ejected a portion of the landmass, which was occupied by the Banished, into space. The Halo ring then entered Slipspace after all of the UNSC troops were evacuated. However, Professor Anders was stuck on the ring. Cutter resolved to continue fighting the Banished on the Ark until Anders returned. Meanwhile, although Atriox's forces had been devastated by the combined losses of Decimus, the Enduring Conviction, and the Halo ring, the warlord still commanded an impressive army with which to fight the UNSC.
One month later, Colony, a pair of Mgalekgolo who command all Lekgolo forces in the Banished, attempted to launch a Forerunner Despair-class fighter to destroy the Spirit of Fire. This plan was thwarted by Sunray 1-1, a team of UNSC Orbital Drop Shock Troopers from Boomerang Company.
Awakening the nightmare
After months of battle with the Spirit of Fire, the Banished were still searching for victory against the UNSC crew. They unintentionally released the Flood, few of which had survived the faulty firing of the unfinished Installation 08 at the end of the Human-Covenant War. Pavium and Voridus were sent to scavenge old Covenant ships. Despite being told to not investigate the rubble of High Charity, Voridus breached the containment field around the wreckage anyway. This unintentionally released the Flood onto the Ark. Despite nearly being overwhelmed, Voridus and some of his forces survived and reunited with Pavium. The two began thinking of a way to fight the Flood. Knowing they were underground, they decided to use the drills to ignite explosive materials in the ground to buy them time.
After successfully fighting off the Flood and activating the drills, many of the Flood were destroyed by the resulting explosions. With the Flood temporarily weakened, Voridus and Pavium decided the next step was to reactivate the Sentinel Defense Network Voridus had shut down to get to High Charity in the first place. Voridus was chosen to go underground and reactivate the systems, while Pavium stayed up top with the majority of the forces to hold the line. Voridus was accompanied by a small group of soldiers to assist him, consisting of Sangheili Rangers and Jiralhanae Jumpers. They soon found out the Jumpers were crucial to traversing the Forerunner pathways. Despite their small numbers, Voridus' infusion gel helped slow the tide of Flood from overwhelming them in several encounters. Occasionally, Pavium was able to send small groups of troops down to help Voridus through scattered teleporters, but he could not spare many due to his defense against the Flood. Despite the long odds, Voridus and his surviving troops made it to the sentinel activation terminal, but found it covered in Flood biomass. Both Brutes took note of how the Flood seemed to know the defense system was dangerous to them. Pavium decided to send down Voridus' own special grenadiers powered by infusion gel and offered any amount of soldiers Voridus needed to clear out and reactivate the system. Despite stiff Flood resistance, Voridus cleared the biomass, and protected the nodes from being clogged up again. After reaching full power, he re-aligned the system, reactivating the sentinel network.
Voridus used the teleporters to reach the surface and reunited with Pavium. The two decided it would be wise to inform Atriox of what was going on. Atriox was furious at them, as he would now have to give up a lot of ground they had earned in the conflict with the Spirit of Fire to assist them in suppressing the Flood. He ordered the two to have the problem fixed by the time he arrived or he would kill them himself.
With the survival of the Banished and their own lives at stake Pavium and Voridus led all of their forces deep into Flood territory. Noticing the Flood's increase in tactical ability and intelligence, Pavium realized that a Proto-Gravemind must have formed and was commanding the Flood. He also realized that if they did not kill it soon it would become a Gravemind, at which point the Flood would be nearly unstoppable. They threw everything they had at the Flood and the Proto-Gravemind, which had emerged in the Flood badlands. The Proto-Gravemind used its tentacles to block the Banished forces from reaching it, but Pavium's Mega Turret was able to blast the tentacle away. Finally in range of the Proto-Gravemind, the Banished forces attacked its hard shell, exposing small bulbs. When they were destroyed, the Proto-Gravemind slightly retreated, but exposed its mouth to damage. The Banished fired everything they had, but the beast closed its mouth. Unable to damage it further, Pavium set up another Mega Turret nearby, which opened fire on the beast. The damage was enough to force the Proto-Gravemind out of its defensive state. They attacked the monster again, while holding off ever-increasing Flood forces. This process was repeated several times, adding more Mega Turrets to the barrage every time the Proto-Gravemind went into its defensive position. All the while, it was slowly reaching Gravemind status, but with the constant attacks it could not add enough biomass to reach that state. Pavium and Voridus noticed it was not taking significant damage despite their ever increasing firepower. Pavium decided to call upon a Retriever Sentinel by activating a nearby node specifically meant to control one. With its help, plus the Mega Turrets and Banished forces, the Proto-Gravemind finally succumbed to the damage and was obliterated.
Pavium and Voridus reveled in their victory, roaring to the sky, but the celebration was cut short when Atriox landed nearby. Despite Voridus' inability to follow orders, Atriox allowed them to live because they had shown their worth by fending off the Flood with limited resources. During his inspection of their work, an Pod infector attacked him, but was Atriox grabbed it midair with his gauntleted hand, crushing it a second later. Atriox then commanded Voridus and Pavium to clean up their mess, as thousands of Sentinels began cleansing the surrounding area of the Flood.
Governance and society
As a mercenary organization, the Banished are essentially a military hierarchy led by Atriox. Their prevailing philosophy is one of ruthless pragmatism, with their operations focusing solely on accruing useful resources for their war machine. Their overall goals ostensibly center around increasing their power through raiding and conquest, with Atriox having laid plans for dominance across the Orion Arm. During the Covenant's reign, the Banished mostly laid low and kept on the move, never claiming territory; Atriox only attacked targets he had something to gain from, largely in the form of supplies and materiel. However, the Covenant does not seem to have been Atriox's ultimate target, instead only being leveraged as a source of supplies. ONI operative 'D' speculated that Atriox was planning to stabilize the Jiralhanae on their homeworld Doisac under his leadership, though his colleague 'S' suspected that Atriox's long-term goals were even more ambitious.
Societal conditions within the Banished reflect their harsh values, and most of the organization's members are mercenaries and killers. Most of the former client species of the Covenant are represented in their ranks, though the bulk of them are Jiralhanae, most of them being veterans of the Human-Covenant War. Their chain of command, predominantly composed of Jiralhanae, is a "twisted meritocracy" in which Atriox's subordinates constantly compete for influence and favor in their warmaster's eyes, in hopes of increasing their own status. Atriox has spies across his command hierarchy to snuff out signs of disloyalty, and his inner circle of loyal chieftains, known as Atriox's Chosen, are used to enforce compliance among the higher ranks. The Banished are thoroughly irreligious, and lack taboos regarding the treatment of Forerunner technology, for example; despite this, some individuals (namely Decimus) secretly harbor a reverence for the Forerunners.
Atriox does not care for the greater Sangheili-Jiralhanae feud, viewing it as petty. As such, he has welcomed many Sangheili to join the Banished as warriors. Because Atriox and the Jiralhanae in the Banished claim to not have been involved in the betrayal and massacre of the Sangheili, many Sangheili have willingly accepted the offer, and joined viewing the Banished as "other". The Sangheili crew of the CAS-class assault carrier Enduring Conviction joined the Banished since its shipmaster, Let 'Volir, reluctantly aligned himself with Atriox. Additionally, three Special Operations Sangheili from the Silent Shadow, a former Covenant Special Operations unit, were successfully convinced by Atriox to join the ranks of the Banished. Despite this coexistence, rivalry between the two species still manifests. The Sangheili under Decimus' command were treated with resentment and often sadistically sent on suicide missions. This is due to some Jiralhanae (Decimus and Teranus in particular) still holding a grudge against the Sangheili for treating the Jiralhanae as inferiors during the time of the Covenant. Concurrently, Let 'Volir's Sangheili crew feel a strong hatred toward Atriox's Chosen Jiralhanae.
Atriox has no animosity towards humanity, and is technically open to recruiting them, though the Banished's violent culture and conditions of service make them unattractive to many humans. Banished chieftains have spread their power beyond Jiralhane colonies and into human territory, an unknown number of human criminals have been influenced and may have joined the Banished. While battling with the UNSC Spirit of Fire, Atriox admitted respect for his enemies tenacity and the fact that they were both survivors to the point that he offered the humans a chance to leave and in return, they would not be hunted down. However, Captain James Cutter refused the offer.
The Banished have numerous Unggoy in their service. They are generally regarded as mere cannon fodder and are often abused for sport by their Jiralhanae superiors. A number of "thrall colonies" exist where Unggoy are bred, only to be indoctrinated into the service of the Banished; the most violent individuals are set apart and formed into suicide squads. The Banished have amassed a small complement of Huragok; those serving on the Ark are imprisoned in harnesses equipped with control yokes keeping them in constant agony to keep them compliant, lest they be distracted by their innate need to repair damaged Forerunner technology. The Banished also field Mgalekgolo troops, many of whom are unusually violent for their kind, and may have been forced into service as well, while Banished Scarabs use unstable plasma generators that quickly kill the Lekgolo comprising their control systems. During their campaign on the Ark, the Banished did not employ Kig-Yar mercenaries, though the group has made use of T'vaoan Kig-Yar in the past.
Ranks and roles
Having salvaged and repurposed a great deal of Covenant matériel as well as equipment from other sources, the Banished are well equipped with a wide range of military technology. Covenant technology plundered by the Banished is modified to match the aesthetic tastes of its new masters, including an overt preference for layered armor plating, spikes, and sharp angles contrasted with the smooth curves and surfaces favored by the Covenant. The Banished additionally have the capabilities to manufacture their own weaponry, utilising gravitic-catapults in their Spike weapons. How the Banished have managed to make such improvements in as short a time as they have continues to baffle UNSC technicians.
Most of the infantry personnel of the Banished are equipped with crimson armor, including Jiralhanae power armor, Sangheili combat harnesses and Unggoy combat harnesses. Additionally, the Banished employ specialist Jiralhanae soldiers known as Jump-pack Jiralhanae, who are equipped with jump pack propulsion systems. Many of the Sangheili in the Banished's ranks lack energy shielding.
Weapons used by the organization include the Type-1 energy sword, Type-2 gravity hammer, Type-25 Spiker, Type-51 Carbine, Type-25 Brute shot, Type-25 Brute plasma rifle, Type-25 plasma pistol, Type-25 plasma rifle, Type-33 fuel rod gun and a mace-like weapon called Chainbreaker used by Atriox.
The vehicles at their disposal include the Blisterback mobile missile battery, Shroud aerial stealth vehicle, Marauder tank, and Reaver anti-aircraft walker. The spike turret is used for static defense. They also field the Goblin, Methane Wagon, Skitterer, Chopper, Spirit, Banshee, Wraith, Locust, Ghost, Scarab, Phantom and Lich, all of which depart from typical Covenant aesthetics.
The Banished during their operations on the Ark also used salvaged wreckage from Truth's fleet that was left on the Ark.
List of appearances