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Halo: Bad Blood

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Halo: Bad Blood
Halo Bad Blood.jpg
Attribution information


Matt Forbeck[1]

Cover artist(s):

Isaac Hannaford[2]

Publication information


Simon & Schuster[1]

Publication date:

June 26, 2018[3]

Media type:



352 pages[3]




Halo: Bad Blood is a print novel by Matt Forbeck, released on June 26, 2018.[1] It serves as a sequel to Halo: New Blood and is set immediately after Halo 5: Guardians. It follows Spartan Edward Buck and his old squad Alpha-Nine following the events of Halo 5: Guardians.

Official summary[edit]

Just hours following their climactic battle on the Forerunner planet Genesis, the Spartans of Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris find themselves running for their lives from the malevolent machinations of the now-renegade artificial intelligence Cortana. But even as they attempt to stay one step ahead, trouble seems to find Spartan Edward Buck no matter where he turns.

A secret mission enacted by the Office of Naval Intelligence could possibly help turn the tide, and has Buck reluctantly agreeing to reform his old team, Alpha-Nine. Because if the band is really getting back together for this one, that means everybody—including the Spartan who Buck never wants to see again, the one who committed the ultimate betrayal of trust...[4]

Plot synopsis[edit]

John-117 and Jameson Locke fighting Promethean Soldiers on Genesis.
John-117 and Jameson Locke fighting against Armiger Soldiers on Genesis.

In a report for the Office of Naval Intelligence, Edward Buck reflects on the events that transpired after Michael "Mickey" Crespo betrayed him and Kojo "Romeo" Agu in Operation: COALPEPPER on Talitsa: his recruitment of Fireteam Osiris, his missions with them on Kamchatka, Meridian, and Sanghelios, and rescuing Blue Team from Cortana's grasp on Genesis. After saving them, both Fireteam Osiris and Blue Team fought against several armigers until they found India 127, a D79-TC Pelican that crash-landed on Genesis; Linda-058 managed to hold off the armigers long enough to allow both teams aboard the Pelican, extract Linda, and allowing 031 Exuberant Witness to open a Slipspace portal to transport both teams to Sanghelios. Their Pelican exits near Sunaion, and they regroup with Thel 'Vadam's Swords of Sanghelios, Spartan Sarah Palmer and Doctor Catherine Halsey in Nuusra. Both teams are informed that one of Sanghelios's hemispheres was completely shut down by a Guardian Custode immediately after Thel's victory against Jul 'Mdama's Covenant, and that same Guardian is enforcing Cortana's law on the planet's other hemisphere after the Sangheili's refusal to allow themselves be subjugated by the Created. Halsey also informs them the UNSC Infinity managed to escape from Earth, one of Cortana's first targets, and the ship will arrive to the system to extract them the next day. Thel 'Vadam invites both teams to a victory feast, in which John-117 talks alone with Halsey, and shares some stories with Thel. On the next day, both teams, Palmer, and Halsey depart to the Infinity, with Thel wishing them luck in the upcoming battle against the Created.

During India 127's flight to the Infinity, they are contacted by Veronica Dare, who authorizes them to land on Portside Bay Five. After arriving, a lieutenant informs them Captain Thomas Lasky needs John-117, Spartan Jameson Locke, Commander Palmer, and Dr. Halsey on Infinity's bridge, while the rest of the Spartans go to S-bay to remove their MJOLNIR armors. After spending some time alone together, Dare informs Buck that the Office of Naval Intelligence needs them and the rest of Alpha-Nine for a mission, including Mickey (to act as a liaison between the UNSC and the United Rebel Front). At first, Buck refuses to be part of the mission, but after a short conversation with Captain Lasky, he agrees to work with Dare and Alpha-Nine. Dare informs Buck about the mission: investigate and discover how a URF colony named Cassidy III has not been detected by Cortana and her Guardians, even if the other colonies on the system were neutralized by the Created. Buck and Dare depart on Foxtrot 111, a D81-LRT Condor, to Balaho, the Unggoy's homeworld, to recruit Romeo, who was assigned to guard the UNSC embassy on the planet. Upon arriving, they see the Unggoy have accepted Cortana's offer, and Romeo being pinned down in a building by Unggoy and Armiger Soldiers; after rescuing him and bringing him back to their Condor, Romeo tells them the Unggoy and the Created destroyed the UNSC embassy on Balaho's capital, Gedgow, killing almost everyone in the embassy, and escorting the survivors to Kabakera as prisoners. At Romeo's request, he and Buck ambush the Unggoy escort and manage to defeat their forces, including two Pnap-pattern Goblins, but the embassy survivors are killed when several Phaetons appear and destroy the vehicles carrying the survivors. Several Promethean forces head to Alpha-Nine's location, but Dare manages to bring the Condor to extract Buck and Romeo, and then they leave the planet.

Alpha-Nine's next stop is an ONI installation on Luna, where the Huragok Quick to Adjust/Vergil and his handler Sadie Endesha were placed after Operation: COALPEPPER. Once arriving at the ONI facility, they discover that Cortana's forces have already seized the base and have taken its occupants hostage. Vergil and the other Huragok are hiding in the ventilation system when Buck and Romeo find them with the help of the Huragok Likely to List, who Buck initially mistakes for Vergil. However, Vergil refuses to leave without Sadie. Buck then makes a detour to where the Armiger Soldiers are keeping the humans captive. Once at the location, Buck secretly has everyone secure themselves to something in the room. Dare then shoots out a viewing window with Foxtrot 111's weapons, exposing the room to the vacuum. The Prometheans are ripped out onto Luna's surface, and the emergency shutters close just in time to save the facility workers. While most of the hostages are brought to the place the Huragok were hiding, Sadie, Buck, and Romeo find Vergil fixing one of the hangar bays. Once Sadie and Vergil are reunited, they board the Condor and head to retrieve Mickey.

En route to collect Mickey, Dare reveals that he had been held at the same SPARTAN-IV training facility that Buck, Romeo, and Mickey had trained at, located in a remote star system orbiting a dwarf planet. Dare finds that a report from the station’s AI, Leonidas, that labels supervisor Jun-A266, the primary recruiter of the SPARTAN-IV program, current supervisor of the station, and Buck's recruiter, as "indisposed," which leads the crew to believe the AI has turned to Cortana's side. With cloaking technology in the Condor's bay, Buck succsefully poses as the only one onboard the Condor. Buck contacts Leonidas as they near the station, who tells him to report to Musa, the de facto supervisor of the SPARTAN-IV program, that "everything here is fine." Buck insists to board, and is then aided by two technicians, who ask to refuel and clean his ship, to which he denies in an effort to prevent Leonidas from locating his crew through the station's crewmates. Walking down the corridors while reminiscing his time training at the facility, Buck encounters a walking holographic projection of Leonidas. The AI reiterates that Jun is asleep, only to be woken in an emergency, to which Buck is highly suspicious, but Leonidas still cheerfully provides Buck with Mickey's location in the dorms-turned-brig of the station. Buck arrives at the brig to find Mickey, serving his life sentence, but eventually leaves after a heated moral argument, despite the prisoner agreeing to join him.

The team narrows down their options to disconnecting Leonidas’ data chip from the station entirely, determining the only location capable of housing the AI to be Jun’s office. As soon as Buck nears the office, he loses comms with Alpha-Nine and Leonidas’ avatar pops in front of him, demanding that he leave. When Buck refuses, he declares that the Spartan has gone AWOL and that STOLEN GAUNTLET was in effect, ordering his termination if he does not cooperate. Three nearby Spartans move in to arrest him, though willing to hear him out and summon Jun, but Leonidas pops the room’s airlock, suffocating the other Spartans after Buck had started to get them to question Jun's absence. Leonidas continues threatening to depressurize the entire station if Buck continues to resist. Just before he does, Vergil cuts power to the most of station, effectively blocking Leonidas from accessing its systems, but inadvertently deactivates the force fields that housed the prisoners. Leonidas attempted to reason with Buck but is cut off when Buck removes his data chip from the terminal. The Spartan sprints to the brig, and much to his surprise finding Mickey still there, holding a pistol to a security guard’s head, with another unconscious on the floor and the other two prisoners still in their cells. Mickey then proceeds to lock the security guard in the brig before agreeing to accompany Alpha-Nine. The two make their way to the Condor, with Mickey acting as an escorted prisoner, but halfway, a Spartan recognizes Buck and opens fire. They immediately duck to cover, and Buck decides to smash Leonidas’ data chip to prevent further complications of the mission before receiving a comms request from none other than former squadmate Dutch. Meeting him down the hall, Buck is shocked to learn that Dutch, along with his wife, Gretchen, had joined the SPARTAN-IV program just several months back. Now with backup, Buck and Mickey continue to push towards the Condor, making it inside safely before Dare navigates out of the hangar. Jun then makes contact with Alpha-Nine, now composed of Buck, Dare, Romeo, Mickey, and Dutch alongside Gretchen, Vergil, and Sadie. He indirectly confirms Mickey’s whereabouts, thanks Buck for dealing with Leonidas, and wishes the team luck on their mission.

On their way to Cassidy III and the settlement called the Hole in the Wall, Mickey claims the Rebels will have nothing but hostility towards Buck and his crew for being part of the UNSC, but Romeo, holding back tears of laugher at Mickey’s reasoning, rebuts that because the Hole in the Wall is one of the only human settlements left undiscovered by Cortana, they’re going to want and need help. Veronica then explains that ONI had been using Cassidy III to store goods during the Human-Covenant War after having discovered the colony by accident due to a slipspace drive malfunction. One of humanity’s backup plans was to retreat there if Earth was destroyed. Dare also reiterates that their intent is not to expose the colony but to understand how Cassidy III has stayed out of Cortana’s sight, to replicate the phenomenon for other colonies. Mickey acknowledges. Later, in the cockpit, Dare and Buck also talk about their relationship. Veronica brings up marriage, and Buck, reluctant to commit to a relationship that he’d inevitably abandon by dying, quickly changes topics.

They soon exit slipspace, and Dare immediately contacts Cassidy III as a UNSC diplomatic vessel. With no response, they circle the planet to make sure the Front sees and acknowledges them, and are soon contacted by Cassidy Ground Control, who hands the comms to Mayor Juanita Wells. Although she initially threatens to shoot the Condor out of the sky, Mickey convinces her to negotiate, and Dare then navigates to a beacon on the desert outskirts—a stony basin at the south end of the city. While Vergil works on figuring out the reason for Cassidy III’s radio silence, Alpha Nine leaves,—except for Gretchen who watches over Vergil and Sadie—with more than a dozen soldiers surrounding them. Mayor Wells appears, and Dare argues that the UNSC would simply ignore the colony’s presence as opposed to Cortana, who would impose her kneel-or-die rule if she discovered the planet, and for that reason they should trust Alpha-Nine. With Wells unconvinced, Veronica brings Mickey forward, and he eventually sways the soldiers by insisting that humans themselves are easier to reason with then Cortana. Wells also gives in and motions Alpha-Nine towards the city, where they ride odd-wheeled platforms to an outdoor amphitheater. Over tea, Veronica explains the future of the planet under humanity, and after a long back-and-forth argument, eventually convinces Wells to share her information. She explains the source of the cloaking: the three Forerunner spires around which the settlement was built. The cloaking is essentially a massive slipspace shell—an extremely thin field with extraordinary density. Ships can fly through unphased, but it blocks all communications in and out of the planet. To counter this, the citizens of Cassidy III constructed a long antenna, explaining how they learned of Cortana’s rise. Wells reasons that replication of the effect is not feasible, as scientists had been studying the phenomenon for years without much progress, but Dare proposes to leave Vergil to analyze it, using Mickey as collateral to ensure the Huragok’s safe return.

Veronica radios Sadie, but she refuses to stay behind with Vergil. Veronica keeps pushing, but Sadie cuts the comm. When the Condor arrives, Vergil explains that he found a portion of Leonidas’ code in Gretchen’s armor. Buck, worried, has Vergil look at Dutch’s suit, which also contained the AI. When plugged into a spare tablet, all forms of communications removed for safety, Leonidas explains that he had already contacted Cortana’s distributed forces just after they landed on Cassidy III. Minutes later, just as Alpha-Nine takes off in the condor, a Guardian arrives, sending an EMP throughout the Hole in the Wall. This renders the aircraft powerless, and after they fall back down, Wells moves in to arrest them with her forces. Realizing that she would need their help to evacuate the citizens, she forms an unlikely alliance with the crew. As Vergil works on getting the Condor flight-worthy once again, Wells decides to use him to fix the colony’s civilian transports and help the Hole in the Wall residents escape. Shortly after, Forerunner Armigers begin emerging from portals around the city, attacking residents and Alpha-Nine. Wells shows Alpha-Nine minus Dutch to the city’s armaments, heading to the First Precinct for ammo and a suit for Mickey.

Vergil fixes the Condor as more portals open, and the Guardian opens fire on the city, melting buildings and razing the landscape. When Gretchen and the Condor arrive, Vergil and Sadie hop out to fix Wells’ radio, fix up another wheeled platform, and head to the airfield, where the civilian transports lay dormant. After another short argument between Buck and Mickey, the team arrives at the warehouse, where every corner of the hangar is packed with citizens determined to evacuate. Wells pushed Vergil and Sadie to fix large transports as pilots in Broadswords distract the Guardian from the hangar until everyone evacuates. However, citizens are cluttered around ships, preventing them from properly exiting the hangar, so Buck fires rounds into the air to get their attention while Mickey, seen as a hero in their eyes, commands them to move. At this point, the Guardian had just shot down the last of fighters, but not all transports had departed. As a last-ditch effort to prevent their total destruction, Buck reactivates Leonidas to communicate with the Guardian, spreading Wells’ reluctant surrender. He agrees, so Vergil reenables communications on the tablet, and Leonidas broadcasts that their planet is “responsive” and ready to submit to Cortana’s rule. More soldiers begin to appear in portals around them on the airfield, but shortly thereafter leave through one big portal to the snow-capped Forerunner spires of where Buck notes as Genesis. The Guardian detaches a “durance node” to retrieve Leonidas, as per his agreement with Alpha-Nine and Governor Wells, and Buck steps forward to comply. Placing the tablet on the “durance node,” Buck is subsequently informed by Leonidas that the Spartans are no longer needed in a galaxy ruled by the “Created,” so he flees to the Condor commanding Gretchen to leave ASAP. Once the durance node rises to return to the guardian, Romeo obliterates the tablet with his Gauss Rifle, and the team takes off. Just twenty seconds from slipspace, however, the dropship is hit with another EMP. Now in freefall, Vergil climbs into the cockpit to fix a control panel and hitches a ride on Buck to repair an engine from the outside. As soon as he succeeds, Buck demands that Gretchen start the engines without them. She obeys, sending the Spartan and Huragok into freefall, but soon returns, parking below the two skydivers with Condor bay doors open. The rest of the crew literally launch head-over-heels to grab onto Buck, with Mickey jumping out to be the final link that saves them. With all passengers accounted for, the Condor finally hits slipspace.

After a series of random jumps, they head back to Infinity. Mickey is assigned an armored escort instead of being imprisoned, Dutch and Gretchen head off to their first joint quarters in a while for some quality time with each other, and Buck and Romeo have their armor removed for the first time in weeks. To recount the very (first-person) events of the book, Buck is called to meet Lasky and Palmer for a debriefing, putting in his best word for Romeo. He leaves satisfied and heads toward Full Moon, a nearby bar popular with Spartans, finding their favorite bartender serving Fireteam Osiris. Popping a chair next to them, Buck catches up on their time apart. Locke eventually pulls him aside to talk about Mickey, to whom he expresses his gratitude despite a little hostility. Right on cue, Alpha-Nine enters, the entire bar turning heads to stare at Mickey as he moves quickly to Buck’s table. Locke greets him, and the two head off for more drinks while Buck is left with Veronica Dare. To continue their conversation before landing at Cassidy III, she dares him to marry her, to which he agrees, surprised when she initiates a makeshift ceremony from the bartender's tablet. Popping up on the nearest table, the ship’s AI Roland officiates their matrimony.

Not long after Buck and Dare's honeymoon, Alpha-Nine is sent out on another classified mission. Out of contact with Command and with nothing but their armor, weapons and each other to rely upon, the team worked together better than ever after all of the hardships that they had been through.






Production notes[edit]

Matt Forbeck finished the first draft of Halo: Bad Blood on the October 19, 2017.[5] On February 15, 2018, Matt Forbeck finished the revisions for the book.[6] On March 25, 2018 Matt Forbeck finished looking over the copy edits for the book.[7]