Heroes Never Die

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— Description on Halo Waypoint[1]

Heroes Never Die is a three-part series of documentary videos for Halo Waypoint, which chronicles the heroism displayed by the human side of the Human-Covenant War. Each episode is themed - the first, Courage; followed by Fortitude, and Sacrifice. The documentary series was originally featured in the "Universe" section of Halo Waypoint, and can now be found on the Halo Channel.


Halo Waypoint description: A LOOK AT THE COURAGE OF HUMANITY DURING THE COVENANT WAR. During the fight for humanity's survival, a handful of heroes rose to meet the challenge, displaying unwavering courage against an implacable foe.

Halo Channel description: A hero's most striking feature is courage, as well as their bravery and audacity in the face of certain death.


Narrator: What makes one a hero? If humanity did not know before, the last three decades of war have most certainly shown us. Perhaps the hero's most striking feature is courage - their bravery and audacity in the face of certain death - something we've become all too familiar with in recent years.

In 2531 the UNSC Spirit of Fire led by Captain James Cutter would strike back at the Covenant's attack on Harvest, tracking them all the way to a mysterious Forerunner Shield World. Outnumbered and out gunned the Spirit of Fire would fight against impossible odds. The crew's unflinching courage eventually culminated in victory against the Covenant.

Twenty years later, Lieutenant Jacob Keyes would find himself similarly outmatched, as an advance Covenant survey party arrived near Sigma Octanus IV. Alone and with allies too far away to assist, Keyes ordered his ship, the UNSC Iroquois, to pursue the Covenant, fighting them off in a stunning display of bravery and tactical brilliance. This event continues to be cited as one of the most impressive naval maneuvers in the history of the UNSC, informally dubbed the Keyes Loop.

And what better example of courage is there than that of his daughter, Commander Miranda Keyes. She would chase the Covenant not once, but twice into the unknown black of slipspace, eventually tracking them to the Ark, where she would lay down her own life for a fellow soldier and set into motion the events leading to the end of the war.

But years before the war came to an end an expression of this very same courage was made by Colonel Akono Menteith of the 53rd Armored Division. On May 10, 2545 when the Colonel stood before the twelve thousand men and women fighting alongside him on the colony world Actium, he told them this: "Let no one here question our place in human history. That we are here right now is not coincidence or accident, it is our fate, and this war our birthright, our legacy. Our generation was born to fight the Covenant, and you my fellow soldiers were born for this very day. Today the enemy will hear the roar of humanity, and they will fear us." Though Actium would fall less than a month later, the Colonel would lead UNSC forces deep into enemy territory, and they, with the aid of a pair of HAVOK tactical nukes, would wipe out three of the largest Covenant staging areas in recorded history. There would be no survivors in the 53rd Armored Division, but one thing was certain: the Covenant saw first-hand the capacity of human courage and our unwillingness to accept defeat.


Halo Waypoint description: A LOOK AT THE FORTITUDE OF HUMANITY DURING THE COVENANT WAR. Standing at the edge of obliteration, humanity faced the Covenant head-on, showing indomitable fortitude in its darkest hour.

Halo Channel description: Some theorized that as humanity's forces were pushed further inward, our species' survival could never be secured.


Narrator: Some have theorized that as humanity's forces were pushed further inward, as colony after colony fell prey to the relentless execution of the aliens' genocidal campaign, some in the Covenant began to question if humanity's fire could ever be fully extinguished. They questioned if our stubborn refusal to go quietly into the night might ever change the course of the war, turning it to our favor. On world after world our heroes stood their ground, fighting for every inch of soil even as the fallout of nuclear winter smothered the very places we had once called home.

Harvest, 2525: first contact. The Covenant's assault shocked us all, but it would be met with the steely resolve of Vice Admiral Preston Cole. For years he heroically led the UNSC against the Covenant, meeting the aliens on every world they attacked, stopping them cold at the cost of many of his own ships, and theirs. Cole's resolve would eventually get Harvest back, but only after five brutal years of fighting both on and off the planet.

Nearly three decades later, after the same determination had been proven on a hundred other colonies, the Covenant would at last find Reach, a fortress world resting at the doorstep of Earth. It was here that teams on the ground and in space would fight to their very last breath, fending off insurmountable odds in the hope that our homeworld would have more time, that our species' survival could be secured.

On October 20, 2552 the Covenant would arrive at Earth. For nearly two months, humanity would defend against the aliens' overwhelming war machine, our resolve being tested to its very bounds. Then on December 11, far beyond the border of our galaxy this war would at last be brought to a close as human forces, aided by rebel Elites put an end to the Covenant's devastating rampage one final time.

Humanity would survive, but its survival was not purchased in a single battle. For three decades it was fought and bled for by countless men and women of the UNSC, whose fortitude and bravery stood in the way of what would have been our species' guaranteed extinction.


Halo Waypoint description: A LOOK AT HUMANITY'S SACRIFICE DURING THE COVENANT WAR. No trait is more heroic than the willingness of one person to lay down his or her life for another. This trait is evident in many of the men and women of the UNSC, who bravely sacrificed their lives in the hope that those who could not fight would live.

Halo Channel description: Perhaps it is more correct to say that history is written by the survivors, whether victorious or not.


Narrator: Winston Churchill said some centuries ago that history is written by the victors. Perhaps he was correct for his time, though one would be hard-pressed to find any true victors in the conflict against the Covenant. The trials of our Great War are burnt into the surface of almost every human colony, our worlds reduced to ash, once defended by a faithful few against insurmountable odds. Perhaps now it is more correct to say that history is written by the survivors, whether victorious or not. The sacrifices of this war are so numerous that time does not bear repeating them all. Countless men and women of the UNSC fought and died for our species' survival, but a few of their stories have already become legend among those of us who live on.

February 2531, the UNSC Spirit of Fire's crew would find themselves deep in unexplored space on a Forerunner shield world with the Covenant preparing to take control of an unstoppable fleet of ancient ships. Sergeant John Forge would lay down his life, manually detonating a slipspace drive in order to initiate a stellar collapse, destroying the fleet and saving those aboard the Spirit of Fire. Although he died alone and far from human space his actions would stave off what would likely have been a swift and certain obliteration.

August 2552, after 30 years of service, the Spartan known as Jorge-052 would make a similar sacrifice activating an improvised bomb near the Covenant supercarrier Long Night of Solace in order to buy the UNSC more time to defend Reach. While Reach would fall, he and the other Spartans of NOBLE Team served as beacons of hope and bravery, defying the Covenant even in death.

December 2552, Sergeant Avery Johnson, having already staved off the Grim Reaper many times before would stand beside the Master Chief to the very end, dying at the hands of 343 Guilty Spark during the Chief's activation of Halo. Johnson's sacrifice would buy the Spartan time to destroy Guilty Spark and end the battle against the Flood once and for all.

And then of course, there was the legendary Master Chief. Who risked death innumerable times, sacrificing himself for all humanity repeatedly on the battlefield without fear or need for fanfare. His story fuels the fire within all of us, and though we mourn his loss, we will hold to his profound example of unwavering bravery and self-sacrifice as we begin to face the challenges of this new world. Spartan-117 truly embodied all that it means to be a hero, and through all of us he still lives on.


Hero-Courage erroneously refers to Jacob Keyes as a Lieutenant at the time of the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, when he was in fact a Commander at the outset of the battle.


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