Halo: Shadow of Intent
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This article is about the digital novella. For the assault carrier, see Shadow of Intent.
Halo: Shadow of Intent is a digital novella from Simon & Schuster written by New York Times bestselling author and former Halo lead writer Joseph Staten. It was released on December 7, 2015. The novella takes place shortly after the events of Halo 3. A print form of the short novel was also included in Halo: Fractures.
In 2553, a Forerunner facility housing a miniature, prototype Halo installation has become the base of operations for the San'Shyuum Minister of Preparation, Prelate Tem'Bhetek, and loyal Jiralhanae and Yanme'e. The San'Shyuum test the Halo by activating it upon three captured Sangheili, resulting in their complete destruction. Satisfied with the results, the Minister tasks the Prelate with capturing Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum of the Swords of Sanghelios to allow them to enact their revenge on the Sangheili for aiding in the destruction of the Covenant and the fall of High Charity. In particular, Tem blames 'Vadum for the death of his family at High Charity.
Meanwhile, 'Vadum's CAS-class assault carrier Shadow of Intent has arrived at the Sangheili frontier colony of Rahnelo in response to the planet's distress call. 'Vadum and his second-in-command, Blademaster Vul 'Soran, travel to the planet's surface to investigate, where they discover that Rahnelo has been attacked. 'Vadum and 'Soran soon encounter natives Tul 'Juran and her younger brother, who reveal that Rahnelo had been attacked three days earlier by a CRS-class light cruiser crewed by Jiralhanae and led by the Prelate. The siblings' two elder brothers and father — the kaidon of the planet's largest settlement — had been captured by the Prelate, leading to the youngest brother becoming kaidon of the settlement; the three Sangheili executed by the San'Shyuum were actually 'Juran's father and brothers. As 'Vadum and crew embark to find the Prelate, 'Juran requested 'Vadum for passage aboard his carrier and enlistment within his crew to save her family. Despite 'Soran's reluctance to allow a female to serve within the naval crew, 'Vadum and his Unggoy lieutenant Stolt have no such reservations and agree that they need all the help they can to take down the Prelate. After briefing aiding the people of Rahnelo, Shadow of Intent departs the planet.
On his light cruiser Spear of Light, Tem'Bhetek has nightmares of the fall of High Charity, which resulted in the deaths of his wife and newborn child at the hands of the Flood. He recalls how he had been locked in battle with the Sangheili led by 'Vadum at the time of High Charity's fall to the Flood. Once the Flood began infecting the holy city, Tem and the other Prelates attempted to evacuate their fellow San'Shyuum, while 'Vadum led the Sangheili's efforts to quarantine the infection. Tem had received the Minister of Preparation's distress call and rescued him and his guards. Although the Prelate intended to rescue his family, the Minister insisted that his family had already been devoured by the Flood and he reluctantly escaped High Charity with the surviving San'Shyuum. The Minister claimed that 'Vadum and the Sangheili had allied with the Gravemind and used the Flood to destroy High Charity. For this, Tem seeks revenge on 'Vadum. Back to the present, Spear of Light arrives at the Sangheili frontier colony of Duraan. As the cruiser begins assaulting the world, its inhabitants send distress calls to the Swords of Sanghelios, leading Shadow of Intent to the planet. Radiation emitted from the storms of Duraan's star collapses the energy shielding of both ships, as well as disrupting plasma fire from the carrier. Spear of Light flies directly beside Shadow of Intent and the Prelate leads the cruiser's entire complement of fifty Jiralhanae warriors on a boarding mission into the carrier via escape pods.
Realizing that he has entered a trap, 'Vadum orders his crew to prepare for battle. Tem and his Jiralhanae engage the Sangheili crew, as well as Stolt and 'Juran. The Prelate and a handful of his Jiralhanae escape the firefight and move to eliminate 'Vadum to take control of Shadow of Intent, but they are pursued by Stolt and 'Juran. Tem soon encounters 'Vadum and 'Soran, but the Prelate is attacked by 'Juran while Stolt and 'Soran eliminate the Jiralhanae. Tem reveals to 'Soran that her father and brothers are dead and manages to get the upper hand in the duel, but is stopped by 'Vadum. With most of his Jiralhanae dead and 'Vadum gaining the upper hand in their duel, Tem attempts to flee but is knocked unconscious by Stolt and 'Soran.
After the remaining Jiralhanae are killed, 'Vadum interrogates Tem. Through the interrogation, 'Vadum learns that Tem is working with the Minister of Preparation in a region of space that had once been prohibited by the San'Shyuum, having gained the installation's coordinates from the navigation history of Spear of Light. 'Vadum reveals to the Prelate that San'Shyuum were still alive on High Charity, almost certainly including his family, by the time Tem had evacuated the Minister. 'Vadum insists that the Minister had lied to him and states that he truly would have attempted to save the San'Shyuum if he had the opportunity, as he does not personally loath all San'Shyuum. While Tem is reluctant to believe 'Vadum, the shipmaster suggests for him to reconsider whether or not he can trust the Minister. 'Vadum confers with 'Soran and Stolt, and they agree to travel to the Forerunner installation to stop the Minister's plans, despite knowing that it is likely a trap. 'Vadum assembles a team of volunteers—including 'Soran, Stolt, and 'Juran—to take Shadow of Intent to the installation, where they intend to take two Type-52 Phantom dropships to board the installation.
Arriving at the installation, the two Phantoms are en route for the installation; Tem is brought along as a hostage. Suddenly, the superstructure releases a pulse that damages the dropships and heavily wounds several Sangheili, including 'Soran. The Prelate uses the confusion as an opportunity to escape by stealing a plasma pistol to wound Stolt and to destroy the bindings around his feet. Tricking 'Vadum into attacking to break the binds around his wrists, Tem escapes the dropship using his thrusters. The Prelate is followed by 'Vadum and 'Juran, while 'Vadum has Stolt tend to the injured. Tem arrives at the installation and enters a hangar bay, where he meets with the Minister and two dozen Yanme'e. The Minister reveals that he had been testing the Halo prototype with only a fraction of its true power, and intends to use Shadow of Intent to provide power to the Halo and allow it to be moved to Sanghelios to eradicate the planet's entire population. The Minister had hoped that Tem was willing to sacrifice himself to carry out such a mission, but notes that he no longer appears as committed. When pressed for the truth, the Minister admits that he did in fact lie to the Prelate about his family's fate in order to use his rage against the Sangheili. Betrayed, the Prelate becomes deeply depressed over the revelation and the Minister reveals that he intends to replace Tem with some of the other surviving San'Shyuum. The Yanme'e open fire at the Prelate, just as 'Juran and 'Vadum arrive inside the hangar. 'Juran destroys the Minister's shields, allowing 'Vadum to mortally wound him. The Prelate, wounded by the Yanme'e, flees the battle while the Minister retreats into his bunker and the Sangheili engage the insectoids. The Minister begins to fire the Halo again, knowing that it would destroy the already faltering installation, and the remaining Yanme'e desperately retreat. The Sangheili encounter the wounded Tem, who acknowledges that his own kind had betrayed him rather than the Sangheili he had sworn to destroy. Taking a satchel of plasma grenades, the Prelate offers to sacrifice himself to destroy the installation and allow the Sangheili to escape. Grateful, 'Vadum and 'Juran escape the installation, while Tem detonates the grenades at the installation's power systems. The installation and its occupants are soon destroyed in the resulting blast before the ring can fire, while the Sangheili return to Shadow of Intent.
Shadow of Intent returns to Duraan, where most of the carrier's crew are recovering from their wounds, including 'Soran. 'Vadum contacts Arbiter Thel 'Vadam to brief him on the events that transpired. At 'Vadum's suggestion, the Arbiter agrees to change the Swords of Sanghelios' naval codes to ease the restrictions on female military service, allowing 'Juran to permanently join the crew of Shadow of Intent. After analyzing the database of Spear of Light, 'Vadum discovered that possibly thousands of San'Shyuum had escaped the destruction of High Charity. While the Arbiter suggests for 'Vadum to get some rest after years of fighting, 'Vadum decides to lead missions to locate the surviving San'Shyuum and decide which ones deserve punishment for their crimes during the Great Schism and which ones had committed no crimes and were merely misled like the Prelate. 'Vadum resolves that he is glad to embark on a new mission, knowing that whether he succeeds or fails, it was in the pursuit of peace.