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Halo: Envoy

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Halo: Envoy
HaloEnvoy.png

Author(s):

Tobias S. Buckell[1]

Publisher:

Simon & Schuster[2]

Publication date:

April 25, 2017[2]

Media type:

Print[2]

Pages:

416 pages[2]

ISBN:

9781501106873[2]

 

Halo: Envoy is a novel set in the Halo universe by Tobias S. Buckell. It was released on April 25, 2017.[2][3] The Halo: Fractures short story Oasis, also written by Buckell, served as a quasi-prequel to Envoy, introducing the novel's central setting and conflict.[1]

Official summary[edit]

It has been six years since the end of the Covenant War...and yet on the planet Carrow, a world on the edge of the Joint Occupation Zone (JOZ), a decisive new battle suddenly erupts. Human colonists and the alien Sangheili have already been living a tension-filled co-existence in this place, with Unified Earth Government envoy Melody Azikiwe attempting to broker a lasting peace between their two species.

But as civil war now engulfs the Sangheili settlers, Melody must act on an additional covert assignment courtesy of the Office of Naval Intelligence: find a way to free the SPARTAN-IIs known as Gray Team, held in stasis since the end of the war by a cunning Elite fleetmaster consumed with vengeance. And none can anticipate the ongoing violence leading to the discovery of an even greater, unstoppable threat, hidden for eons below the surface of the planet….[2]

Plot synopsis[edit]

Conflict was brewing on the former Human colony of Carrow. It was evacuated of its colonists during the Human-Covenant War due to the threat of a Covenant attack, and since the conclusion of the war, both humanity and the Sangheili had laid claim to it. The Sangheili, led by Kaidon Rojka 'Kasaan, were refugees from the Sangheili colony of Glyke, a planet that was mysteriously destroyed a short while after the peace agreement between the United Nations Space Command and the Swords of Sanghelios went into effect. These Sangheili settled in the Uldt Desert on the banks of the Astlehich River, founding the city of Rak. Sometime after, the human residents of Carrow returned, setting up residence in the city of Suraka and various smaller settlements within the Uldt. These desert settlements began to come into conflict with some Sangheili forces over various oases. Meanwhile, in Rak, a faction led by Thars 'Sarov arose that stood in opposition to the humans on the planet and Rojka, who believed in working together with the humans to thrive on Carrow. With tensions high and conflict seeming inevitable, a peace summit was arranged between the governments of Suraka and Rak, as well as a representative of the Unified Earth Government to act as a moderator. As such, Diplomatic Corps envoy Melody Azikiwe and her staff were dispatched to Carrow prior to the summit and were taken in by Rojka's forces. However, Melody was deployed with additional directives: she was tasked by the Office of Naval Intelligence to free the Spartans of Gray Team from cryostasis within Rojka's flagship. Rojka had pulled them from a lifeboat in the debris field of Glyke several weeks prior and was housing them aboard the Unwavering Discipline while he decided what to do with them. Melody asked multiple times to free the Spartans, but Rojka denied her every time.

On the day before the peace summit was scheduled, Thars took his naval forces and launched an attack on Suraka, destroying all their slipspace capable vessels and long-range communications. Rojka took his naval forces and engaged Thars, initially having the upper hand in the conflict. However, a Jiralhanae fleet joined the battle on Thars's side, turning the tide against Rojka. His forces were whittled down until the Unwavering Discipline was taking heavy fire and was about to be boarded by Thars's forces. At this point, Melody ordered her staff to evacuate the ship. She then asked Rojka one more time to release Gray Team, which he refused. After Rojka returned to the command bridge, Melody armed herself and broke into the ship's cargo hold, where Gray Team's Cryo chambers were located. Rojka attempted to prevent her from releasing them, but she was able to release them despite taking a piece of shrapnel to the abdomen when Rojka attempted to blow the door down. Jai-006 and Adriana-111 recovered Melody and fought off Rojka and Mrata while Michael-120 attempted to learn their tactical situation and location. They then broke into a hanger and escaped the ship in their Bumblebee escape craft, killing some of Thars's boarders in the process. Rojka returned to the command bridge and order his forces to give chase, unwilling to let Gray Team escape. The Unwavering Discipline began pursuing Gray Team down into Carrow's atmosphere with Thars's forces in pursuit.

As this occurred, the Jiralhanae fleet disengaged from the battle and began an invasion of Suraka. Led by the Chieftain Hekabe, the Voice of Maardoth landed in the city and began clearing a large portion of the city of buildings. The Surakans attempted to respond to the incursion, with Governor Ellis Gass and Vice-governor Lamar Edwards working with the city's military leaders to manage the response as well as addressing the growing refugee crisis. As a part of their military countermeasures, they ordered some Surakan Militia Volunteers squad to probe the Jiralhanae positions to gather intelligence on their behavior. One such squad was almost entirely wiped out by Hekabe, who personally executed Ellis's son Jeff. After clearing out most of the occupied zone of rubble, Hekabe used the Energy projector on the Varric-pattern heavy cruiser Foebane to begin excavating the site. Upon learning that Thars was heading to Carrow's surface, Hekabe grew wary that the Sangheili would attempt to interrupt his plan and ordered his remaining warships to engage Thars's fleet.

Above Carrow, Mike attempted to pilot the Bumblebee to Suraka but could not keep the craft together and was forced to crash land in the Uldt Desert. Gray Team and Melody all survived the crash, taking stock of the situation next to an unnamed oasis. Melody informed the Spartans about some of the events that had occurred since the end of the Human-Covenant War and recommended that the team move out to Gila Station, a secret ONI facility in the northern Uldt Desert. Meanwhile, the Jiralhanae warships devastated Thars's fleet while the Unwavering Discipline attempted to survive its descent to the surface. Only three of Thars's frigates remained in orbit, with the rest of the ships involved crashing into the Uldt. After his vessel's crash landing, Rojka survived an assassination attempt from Keza, one of his Special Operations Commanders. He then set out in pursuit of Gray Team, with Thars's forces close behind.

Meanwhile, in Suraka, Ellis's tactics become more aggressive after she learns of the death of her son. The Surakan battle plan began to focus on driving the Jiralhanae force out of the city and destroying the remaining Sangheili forces in orbit. This course of action led to some tension with Lamar, who believed that they should be evacuating civilians instead. Nevertheless, a decisive strike was planned against the Voice of Maardoth. Meanwhile, the Jiralhanae had concluded their excavation, uncovering a massive Forerunner spire at the center of the crater. Hekabe and Anexus descended to the spire and opened the facility using the vertex, a Forerunner device that Hekabe had recovered from the depths of Installation 00 during the final battle of the Human-Covenant War. He then led some Voice of Maardoth forces down into the Sharquoi hive, traveling deeper until they reached the base of the site. Hekabe then placed the vertex on his head, allowing it to take him and give him access to the Sharquoi that were housed there.

After carrying a wounded and weakening Melody on a stretcher across the Uldt and briefly engaging a Banshee, Gray Team finally arrived at Gila Station. They were greeted by Commander Greg van Eekhout, the station's assigned ONI agent, and admitted into the facility. Melody was promptly admitted to an Automated surgery suite, receiving a life-saving surgery while the Spartans acquainted themselves with van Eekhout and Gila Station. After she woke up, she and van Eekhout begin to discuss the tactical situation in private. Van Eekhout informed her that her staff most likely did not survive their evacuation attempt and that the Voice of Maardoth had already uncovered the Sharquoi Hive, leading the two to discuss possible countermeasures, including the deployment of Gray Team against the Sharquoi. The Spartans then butted into the conversation, expressing their discontent with taking orders from ONI. It is revealed that Gray Team was responsible for the destruction of Glyke during Operation: SUNSPEAR and that the decision has broken the team. Despite this, Melody and van Eekhout recognized that they are the best hope in the situation and debrief them on the threat posed by the Sharquoi. At this point, Rojka and his remaining warriors reach Gila Station but are intercepted by Thars. The two Sangheili broker a deal; Rojka would enter the base and kill the Spartans while Thars would swoop in and kill Rojka, claiming that the Kaidon was a member of the Covenant remnants and hopefully avoiding any retaliation from the UNSC for the deaths of Gray Team. Back inside of the base, Jai agrees to help in the fight against Hekabe just as Rojka's strike team breached the compound. Gray Team escaped the facility, taking a Warthog towards Suraka in the hopes of warning them of the coming Sharquoi attack. Rojka then decides to remain hidden in Gila Station, hoping to learn the location of Gray Team from Melody. Thars then entered the compound, confused and angry over the fact that neither the Spartans nor Rojka was in the facility. He questions the remaining humans, killing van Eekhout before threatening and wounding Melody, who alludes to the Sharquoi in an attempt to stall for time. Rojka, hearing this warning and witnessing Thars break his end of the deal, decides to escape the facility with Melody to learn more about the Sharquoi. Gila Station then self-destructed due to Eekhout's death, but Thars was able to escape. After learning about the threat that languished under Suraka, Rojka decided to take his remaining warriors to the city to offer assistance.

Back in Suraka, Operation: BUZZHAWK was put into effect. The Surakans were able to destroy the Foebane by striking it with asteroids that they launched at it from orbit, causing it to crash in the Uldt Desert. Believing the battle to be over, Ellis traveled to the Voice of Maardoth dig site to get eyes on the situation. At this point, Hekabe, who had fully accepted the vertex's embrace and gained full control over the Sharquoi network, began releasing the creatures from their Stasis fields and directing them towards the surface. Gray Team also arrived in Suraka around this time and was detained per Ellis's orders. They complied with this out of good faith and attempted to pass their warning to Surakan leadership. This came too late, however, as the Sharquoi began pouring out of the mouth of the facility and began laying waste to the Surakan forces present. Ellis barely escaped with her life, being rescued by Lamar in a Pelican dropship. Rojka, Melody, and the remaining Sangheili warriors arrived at the city during this attack, witnessing some of the carnage and pledging their support to the Surakan forces. Ellis and Lamar then questioned Gray Team, coming up with a plan to assassinate Hekabe. The Jiralhanae chieftain, for his part, was reveling in his newfound power, killing Anexus for his cowardness and for repeatedly questioning his orders.

Gray Team and Rojka's forces were deployed alongside a squad of militia to several skyscrapers overlooking Hekabe's position. The Spartans attempted to line up a shot on the Jiralhanae while the Sangheili went to ground to learn more about how to fight the Sharquoi. Adrianna was able to shoot Hekabe directly in the head just as Rojka engaged the chieftain through a Sharquoi, but the vertex was able to save his life by shoring up a majority of the damage. Hekabe quickly regained control of the Sharquoi and ordered them to converge on the strike team's position. The ensuing conflict saw the deaths of the entirety of Rojka's strike force as well as the Surakan militia squad, with Gray Team and Rojka barely escaping in a Pelican. Seeing that the assassination attempt had failed, Lamar was able to convince Ellis to allow him to evacuate the city. This involved detonating a dozen mines that were planted around the edge of the dig site to stem the tide of Sharquoi that were still exiting the hive. After the blast, Hekabe fled back into the Forerunner facility, taking a significant portion of the Sharquoi with him. As Lamar took full control of managing the evacuation and the militia, Ellis gathered the best scientists and engineers at her disposal to figure out a way to stop Hekabe. They decided to repurpose a HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon as a power source for a M68 Gauss cannon, causing it to fire an Electromagnetic pulse that would disrupt Hekabe's connection with the Sharquoi. They finished constructing the device just as the Sharquoi broke into the Surakan command center. Ellis barely escaped with her life.

Meanwhile, Melody learned that the Sharquoi were heading towards Thars's camp in commandeered Surakan vessels, hoping to capture the slipspace-capable ships that had been repaired by the Sangheili's forces. This would allow Hekabe to escape off-world and wreak havoc on the wider Human and Sangheili civilizations. She pled with Rojka to convince Thars to destroy his ships or move them into orbit, but the Sangheili knew that his cousin would not agree to do this. He, therefore, arranged to hand over Gray Team to Thars in exchange for a final duel between the two warriors. He then came up with a plan with the Spartans to ambush Thars's forces at the sight of the duel. They secure a Pelican and travel to the meeting spot, bringing Melody as well to sweeten the deal. They appear to surrender to Thar's gathered forces until Rojka's three remaining warriors sprung an ambush. A brief melee ensued in which Gray Team dispatched Thar's forces and Rojka disarmed his cousin in a duel. However, Thars's Spirit dropship was destroyed during the battle, leaving the force unable to take it back to the waiting ships and prevent their capture. They attempted to order Thars to have his ships destroyed, but when he refused they watched powerlessly as the Sharquoi took control of Thars's fleet. Rojka then executed Thars.

The team was then intercepted by Ellis, who recruited them for a final attack against Hekabe using the device she had built. Alongside a squad of Surakan militia members, they entered the Sharquoi Hive via an atrial insertion out of a pair of Pelicans. Landing at the base of the facility, they progressed towards Hekabe's position, protecting a M121 Jackrabbit that the device was mounted on from the attacking Sharquoi. After the Jackrabbit was immobilized, Jai carried the turret and continued advancing towards Hekabe, with Gray Team providing cover and Rojka rushing ahead to disrupt the Sharquoi. Once they got into position, Ellis fired the device, severing Hekabe's connection with the creatures. She then pried the vertex from the Jiralhanae's head and used it on herself, taking control of the Sharquoi. Ellis restrained Gray Team and Rojka before killing Hekabe, impaling him before throwing him into the lava below. She then began recalling all nearby Sharquoi to her position, killing any Jiralhanae they could find along the way. Ellis informed her team that she intended to detonate the Havok nuke that was powering the device to destroy the Sharquoi and that they had ten minutes to flee the Forerunner facility. As Gray Team, Rojka, and Melody climbed towards the surface, Ellis hailed them a Pelican so that they could flee from the blast as well as using the Sharquoi on Thars's former fleet to destroy the ships. After her team cleared the facility, Ellis detonated the nuke, destroying herself, the Sharquoi Hive, and all of the remaining Sharquoi on Carrow. The shockwave forced the survivor's Pelican to crash-land into the city with no casualties.

Two days after the end of the Carrow Conflict, Rojka returned to Rak after receiving medical aid from the Surakans. He was greeted by Kaidon Akato 'Dakaj, who had come out on top in a power struggle within Rak during the events of the conflict. After stating that he had no intentions of challenging the new ruler, Rojka was designated to be the Sangheili envoy to Suraka as they attempted to rebuild their cities after the conflict. Rojka eagerly took on this assignment. After the UNSC forces arrived, Gray Team and Melody were taken aboard the UNSC Welcome to the Snipehunt to a hero's welcome. They then met with ONI Commander Ivrin Yarick, who informed Melody that her work with ONI had come to a close and recruited Gray Team for an interspecies strike force. Melody visited Adrianna to talk about the future as Yarick is met with a surprise visit from Admiral Serin Osman, Commander-in-Chief of the Office of Naval Intelligence. She orders him to grant Gray Team's requests for a Prowler, alien weaponry, and new MJOLNIR armor as well as discussed the Sharquoi threat and Melody's future.

Appearances[edit]

Characters

Human

Jiralhanae

Sangheili

Species

Locations

Events



Production notes[edit]

  • The novel's cover is illustrated by concept artist Chase Toole, who also designed the cover of Halo: Saint's Testimony and provided artwork for Halo Mythos. The novel includes a map, drawn and annotated by Sarah Campbell, which shows several key locations shown in the novel.
  • The novel has several inconsistences with the number of enemy ships involved in the Carrow Conflict: when the Jiralhanae fleet is first mentioned, they are stated to have two Varric-pattern heavy cruisers and two Sinaris-pattern heavy destroyers. Shortly afterwards, the Foebane, one of the cruisers, departed for the planet's surface. After Thars 'Sarov confronted Hekabe and Hekabe ordered his ships to turn on Thars', two Jiralhanae cruisers were stated to be attacking despite the fact that there was only one cruiser left in orbit while Foebane dug up the Sharquoi hive. After the battle, Anexus states that they lost two of their ships, but while the third is presumably destroyed as well, it is never mentioned again nor is it seen being destroyed despite Foebane being stated to be the last Jiralhanae ship left at that point.
  • On page 192, Governor Ellis Gass is told that the two Covenant frigates in orbit have retreated rather than face her merchant ships in the opening stages of Operation: BUZZHAWK. However, the two frigates are stated to be Jiralhanae frigates when previously up until that point they were identified as belonging to Thars and were thus Sangheili ships. Presumably, this was a simple error on the part of the author, particularly as this is the only time they are called Jiralhanae ships.
  • On page 246, Rojka 'Kasaan wonders if a detachment of Sangheili he had lost contact with were traveling to Rale. This location is never mentioned again anywhere within the novel and this same detachment was said to have been ordered to return to Rak at multiple other points in the novel. As such, this is most likely a minor typo on the part of the author.

Gallery[edit]

Sources[edit]