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Doctor Connor Brien was a xeno-linguistic expert within the UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence. He worked on multiple operations dealing with the Covenant, but focused most of his research on the Jiralhanae.
Dr. Connor Brien was an extremely skilled worker in linguistic anthropology. He had deciphered the language and social structure of a long lost tribe found in an elaborate cave dwelling under the tundra of North America and traced their origin to a charismatic cult from the 1970s. Brien was recruited by the Office of Naval Intelligence right after the First Battle of Harvest. As an ONI intelligence officer he played an integral part in unraveling the methodology behind the Covenant by brilliantly decoding the sign of language of a captured Covenant Engineer.
His interest in the Jiralhanae was sparked by an incident in which he and a team of Marines had successfully subdued a Jiralhanae-led siege of their ship which had infiltrated Covenant space. The six Jiralhanae were tranquilized, but the drugs wore off more quickly than expected, and the six Brutes Jiralhanae and broke through their restraints. The Marines killed the leader, inciting a primal rage in four of the remaining Jiralhanae, who then killed the Marines. From his hiding place, Brien witnessed the four Jiralhanae then murder the sixth, which had not participated in the melee. Brien found himself fascinated by their ferocity and strange social structure, and from then on devoted himself to studying the species.
Brien ventured multiple times into Covenant space in order to learn more about the Jiralhanae society. At some point, he even managed to explore the Covenant holy city High Charity to a limited degree, likely the first human to set foot there.[note 1]
Learning of the Jiralhanae invasion of Beta Gabriel, Brien was granted permission to land on the planet and study their behavior. For four days he observed the Jiralhanae camp from a distance, witnessing as they turned their human captives into toys, torturing some in despicable ways, and pitting some against each other in strange and brutal games. He was caught by a group of Jiralhanae hunters while he watched from a tree, and was brought back to the encampment around a landed Covenant vessel. While there he recognized that the power structure of the tribe was beginning to unravel. He also met a prominent religious figure, Dasc Gevadim, who had hidden away on Beta Gabriel to increase the devotion of his followers, who believed that he had achieved transcendence. When the Jiralhanae inevitably turned on each other he used his tranquilizer pistol to magnify the chaos so that he and the other prisoners could attempt to escape; only Brien and Dasc succeeded. However as they waited for evac Dasc shot Brien with his own M6 pistol. Dasc wanted to keep the truth of his "transcendence" a secret, preferring that one man die so that the faith of millions could be preserved.
Brien had the nickname "Kip" among his peers in homage to Rudyard Kipling, because he was fearless, brilliant and relentless. He also looked a bit like Kipling with his bushy eyebrows and salt-and-pepper beard.
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