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This article details John-117's relationships with his friends and other characters.
- "The thing about John is that he only really knew three ways to react to people. If you were his superior officer, he obeyed you. If you were in his squad, he would die for you. But if you were a threat, then God help you."
- — Samuel-034 about John's behavior.
John does not open easily to strangers, and has notably shown an aversion to taking his helmet off in the presence of others unless necessary. Friendships are made for life, however—once given, his trust is forever. Like most Spartan-IIs, he thinks of Doctor Catherine Halsey as a nearly mother-like figure, and holds a deep personal respect for his trainer and mentor SCPO Franklin Mendez. His fellow Spartan-IIs, Cortana, Dr. Halsey, and SCPO Mendez, being the only family he really ever had, assume a larger-than-life importance for John-117.
John formed close friendships with the other Spartans he grew up with since his childhood, most notably Samuel-034 and Kelly-087, his first friends within the group. While still feeling the loss of comrades deeply, he has grown more accustomed to combat than most soldiers. Nevertheless, he was deeply affected by the deaths of each of the Spartans, particularly Sam. He was also saddened by Linda-058's apparent death aboard Gamma Station and was greatly relieved after Dr. Halsey successfully resuscitated her. However, having accepted the responsibility of command for the Spartan-IIs, he has come to maintain a certain professional distance to his comrades and mostly keeps his feelings to himself to maintain his authority.
- "Exhausted as I am, the steadiness in Chief's voice focuses me. Steels me like nothing else. Because I know he's already three steps ahead."
- — Kelly-087
Kelly is one of John's closest friends and the longest one to have worked as part of a team with him. After decades spent together, he knows her well enough to know when she is worried without even needing to see her face; just a tiny slump of her shoulders is enough. Kelly is known to routinely make sarcastic jokes at John's expense, often teasing him about his looks, his intelligence, his awkwardness, his overprotectiveness, and his penchant for "hogging all the fun" during combat engagements. John usually relies on Kelly to articulate sentiments he struggles to convey himself. Kelly is a recurring subject of John's dreams.
John's relationship with Kelly began with him stealing crackers from her while she wasn't looking during their first day as trainees in the Spartan-II program. Later that day, the two were put on a team with Samuel-034 based on three lines the children were instructed to form. Kelly was clearly unhappy to be grouped with John. She introduced herself after Sam did so first, but John said nothing to either and believed that she would slow down their team. As such, he raced ahead of his teammates during their first attempt at "Ring the Bell" and though he finished first, Sam and Kelly got stuck in a line as everyone bunched up at the end and were the last two to cross the finish line. This elicited a glare from Kelly, but John could only shrug. After learning that his team lost despite his early finish, however, John became furious with she and Sam, thinking of ways to get even with them for messing up his victory. He avoided both in the classroom the next day, but when the time came to play Ring the Bell once more Sam threatened to push him off of a raised platform if he didn't help them, with Kelly adding that she would jump on top of him. John agreed to work together as long as they didn't slow him down, and when Kelly pointed out that she was very fast he told her she could sprint ahead and hold a spot for them at a basket which would carry them to the bell. When she took off, John was struck that he had never seen anyone move like her, thinking her similar to wolves he'd seen footage of, her feet seeming to barely touch the ground. And though their team only came in third this time, they worked together to make that happen and decided to be friends once they were finished. Around one year and ten months later, John, Kelly, and Sam were still a unit and he had come to think of the two of them, along with the seventy-two other trainees, as his family.During an exercise in Reach's Highland Mountains in July of 2519 Kelly was the first to speak up when John asked for a rabbit, meaning someone fast who could be chased after to lure enemies to a location. Right before she could do just that as part of the plan John had concocted, he offered to be the rabbit instead, which earned him a slug on the shoulder for giving the impression that he doubted her. John, nursing his shoulder, took the suggestion back. A short time later, he didn't even ask when he needed someone to be the rabbit again; he just told Kelly the role was hers.
Following the series of surgeries which augmented their fourteen-year-old bodies in 2525, Kelly took the longest to recover of the members of Blue Team. There had been a point where John had even worried she might not survive. When she did pull through, John was glad to see that her face had retained its rough, angular beauty and her body its long slender frame. He was forced to admit to himself that she scared him a little now, for though she had been fast before, now nobody could touch her if she didn't allow it. En route to their first real mission as Spartans John dreamed that he saw Kelly, her face bloodied and bruised, and that she asked him where he had been when they needed him. When John was shot in the side during that operation, Kelly was the one to peel back his suit to inspect the damage, biting her lip upon confirming that the bullet was still inside and causing lots of internal bleeding. She then proceeded to administer biofoam to the wound, cautioning that it might sting a little, and help him back to his feet. As they were returning from the mission with Kelly piloting a stolen Pelican, John's grunting and wincing in pain made Kelly ask how the foam was holding up and if something else was bothering him. To that, John squeezed her shoulder and claimed nothing was wrong. Later that year, the Spartans suffered their first loss from combat when Sam was forced to stay behind on a doomed Covenant ship due to an armor breach that wouldn't allow him to make the transition to the vacuum of space. John had to grab Kelly's arm as they said goodbye to Sam, urging her to not look back. When the ship exploded behind them, Kelly clung to John and he consoled her. Months later, Kelly suffered a compound rib fracture during a boarding operation, which made John's gut clench. He immediately ordered Frederic-104 to move her out of the gravity lift which had injured her. Kelly protested that she didn't need a babysitter and that John was being overprotective (which John could tell meant being a jerk) but he countered by saying he didn't need an argument. In March of 2526 John was attempting to reason with a large group of captured insurrectionists and one of them, a woman, attempted to distract him by calling him flattering names and suggesting that he lose his armor so she could get a better look at him. This elicited a choice statement from Kelly in which she made sure John knew her flirting wasn't real. In 2544 Blue Team was sent to rescue Doctor Catherine Halsey from a Covenant fleet. As the Spartans moved through the fleet's flagship its shipmaster elected to dismantle the carrier into sections to halt their advance. This led to Kelly, who had outpaced John and found herself between two large portions of the ship, grabbed his hand and swung him about, using the momentum to send him flying all the way to the next section. This caused John to shout her name then, but upon landing within the ship once more, he paused to face the direction he had come and this time whisper it, plainly worried about her.
During the Covenant's attack on Reach in 2552, Kelly offered to lead a mission to board Gamma Station. Though John appreciated the gesture, he refused to even assign her to the operation because he knew it would be ten times as dangerous as the concomitant terrestrial mission the rest of the present Spartans would be embarking on. John led the mission to the orbital station himself but a part of him still longed to join the ground action and he couldn't help watching the Pelican that held Kelly and the others as it descended to Reach. When Captain Keyes later informed John that the Pillar of Autumn had lost contact with its Spartans on the planet's surface and that there were no plans to extract them, he requested at once to retrieve them himself with a dropship. His request was denied, leaving John to desperately try to think of a way to save his teammates. He couldn't. During the flight from Reach, John dreamed of Kelly while in cryostasis. In the dream, the two of them were children once again, overlooking verdant hills. Kelly asked him if he ever wondered what home was like, a question which he dodged by asking it of her in turn. Kelly then suggested that if Spartans never truly die, then maybe they would have enough time to go home again someday. The Kelly in his dream then answered that she did wonder about home and all kinds of other things.
- "No need to do this by yourself, Chief."
- — Linda-058
- "All the way to the end, brother."
- — Fred-104
- "Sam was my friend. He was my brother. He was our brother."
- — John-117
Dr. Halsey, being the creator of the Spartan II program, acted as a mother-like figure to the Chief. She viewed him as her favorite, and referred to him by his name, John, rather than "Master Chief" or "Spartan 117". In fact, he noticed she was the only person to do so. When he and the other members of Blue Team went AWOL, she expressed her concern about him to Fireteam Osiris, asking them to "Bring John home."
- "We were supposed to take care of each other. And we did."
- — Cortana to John moments before perishing.
In a strange twist of fate, John-117 built a close friendship with the AI Cortana, a construct "born" from the mind of Dr. Halsey herself. Despite some initial hesitation towards working with an AI out of fear of conflicting directives, John and Cortana quickly formed a formidable team. After a near-fatal training exercise masterminded by ONI Colonel Ackerson, John realized that Cortana would be a great help instead of a liability. During their exploits on Installation 04 and afterward, John displayed a firm trust in Cortana, even believing in her when Lord Hood was unsure of the reliability of her word that she had a way to stop the Flood. Years later, on Requiem, he went as far as to disobey a direct order to give her up for decommissioning. Cortana ultimately sacrificed herself to save him and John was clearly upset by her death. Her death made him ponder what it really means to be human.
After being made aware of her potential survival the Chief again disobeyed an order to return to the UNSC and sought to investigate the situation himself. After witnessing firsthand the terrible aftermath of Cortana's awakening of the Guardians, he refrained from making any premature conclusions about her involvement until reestablishing contact with the AI. However once arriving at the Forerunner world of Genesis and having several evasive conversations with her, the Master Chief grew suspicious of Cortana's motives, to the point of having to verbally call her out on attempting to use their past friendship as a means to manipulate him. When Cortana eventually divulged her plans to use the Guardians as a forceful instrument against those who will oppose her rule, John made one final attempt to talk her into standing down peacefully and return home. His efforts proved unsuccessful, and he was forcibly locked into a Cryptum along with the rest of Blue Team by Cortana; ultimately being rescued by Fireteam Osiris shortly after.
In the Infinite audio logs, when the mission to eventually trap Cortana and secure her transportation back to the Infinity for deletion was discussed, John had his reservations about the end goal of destroying someone he considered so important to him. That said, when Dr. Halsey floated the idea that Spartan Locke was more suited for the task, he affirmably disagreed with that need. This may perhaps be due to John's guilt about failing to keep Cortana from becoming a threat to the galaxy, thus wanting to be the one to end her, not a stranger.
During the Covenant War, John developed a friendship with the veteran UNSC Marine Avery Johnson. The two fought side-by-side in several battles starting with Operation: SILENT STORM in 2526. Johnson became a trusted mentor and friend to the young Spartan, noted by John at one point to have taught John everything he didn't learn during Spartan training on Reach. At one point, during a situation filled with uncertainty about who the Spartans could and couldn't trust, John privately acknowledged that Johnson was the one person they could trust without hesitation. In return, Johnson often backed John up during arguments with Colonel Marmon Crowther about the Spartans' age and inexperience and acted as a go-between for John and Crowther after it was realized that Hector Nyeto was a traitor. Alongside Crowther, Johnson had a hand in John's career-defining promotion to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer. They also fought together in the later part of the war from Reach to Installation 04 to Earth, the campaign on Delta Halo, as well as on the Ark where Johnson would ultimately meet his end by 343 Guilty Spark. The Master Chief and Johnson cared greatly about one another, and 117 trusted Johnson without doubt as seen when he allowed Johnson to take Cortana to be inserted in Installation 08's Core. Following Johnson's death, John was visibly saddened.
Their friendship was very close, even Johnson is willing to be killed after John watching the video left behind by Jenkins during Battle of Installation 04 before they raid Ascendant Justice, aware that Johnson could be infected by The Flood. To protect him from ONI, John willingly destroys a data chip contains Johnson's file that contains how Johnson shrugs off the infection offered by Halsey.
- "Nothing can kill the Chief."
- — A young John-117 refers to Mendez
- Thomas Lasky: "Chief, I won't pretend to know how you feel. I've lost people I care about, but... never anything like you're going through."
- John-117: "Our duty, as soldiers, is to protect humanity. Whatever the cost."
- Thomas Lasky: "You say that like soldiers and humanity are two different things. Soldiers aren't machines. We're just people."
- — Lasky tries to comfort Chief over Cortana's death.
John encountered Lasky when he rescued the survivors of Hastati Squad at Corbulo Academy. When John planned to sacrifice himself to ensure the safety of the squad from a Mgalekgolo, Lasky volunteered to be bait and together they managed to defeat it. John presented a shard of the Mgalekgolo's armor as a keepsake to Lasky for his courage, further motivating Lasky to become an officer. Both later reunited on Requiem after tracking the distress call sent by Cortana from the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn. He respects John deeply and even used his authority as a Field Commander to allowing him to desert using a fully armed Pelican that was readied under the pretense of pursuing John if he had left the Infinity. After Cortana's sacrifice, Lasky was unable to comfort him despite his similar experiences.
- Jameson Locke: "Your people used to call him "Demon." Was that an insult or a compliment?"
- Thel 'Vadam: "An insult, to be sure, but one with a modicum of respect. He was indeed my enemy, but, in time, I named him ally... even friend. The events which forged this bond are… complicated."
- — Locke and the Arbiter about the Master Chief
John and Thel 'Vadam's first meeting on Delta Halo was hostile, with the Arbiter continually referring to the Spartan as "Demon" and John's insistence that the San'Shyuum were making a "big mistake" by activating the Halo rings. This was also complicated by the fact that John was directly responsible for Thel being stripped of his rank and branded with the Mark of Shame because of John's destruction of Installation 04. Despite this, Thel would later admit that he possessed a modicum of respect for John even as enemies. Upon their next meeting on Earth, John was quick to try and kill the Sangheili before Johnson stopped him. They remained initially wary of one another, but learned to trust each other in combat against the Covenant and the Flood. Thel proved his trustworthiness to John through actions such as assisting him in the rescue of Sergeant Johnson, or counseling his fellow Sangheili not to glass all of Earth after the Flood outbreak at Voi. When they reached the Ark, the two's reliance on each other was cemented, and John demonstrated his respect for Thel by allowing him be the one to kill the Prophet of Truth. The Arbiter also came to his aid on High Charity despite having little need to do so, and chose to fight with John to the end in his efforts to stop the Flood and consoled him on Johnson's death. 'Vadam was the last one to see John alive before the latter went missing after the war, and afterward expressed to Lord Hood mild doubt that John might be dead. 'Vadam would later refer to John as a friend with John having reciprocated their friendship, and upon learning that he was still alive following the events on Ealen IV, Thel believed that he was the key to the galaxy's future. During the Battle of Sunaion, Thel referred to the Chief as the greatest of all Spartans, and later asked Spartan Locke to give the Chief his greetings. Following John's arrival at Sanghelios, 'Vadam greeted him with a dinner to celebrate their victory over Jul 'Mdama's forces. Upon John and the team's departure, both of them clasped their arms together, ready to take the new threats upon them together once again just like they did before.
- ^ a b c d Halo: The Fall of Reach - The Animated Series
- ^ Halo: First Strike, Chapter 29
- ^ Halo: Tales from Slipspace, On the Brink
- ^ a b c Halo: The Fall of Reach, Chapter 4
- ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, Chapter 32
- ^ a b c Halo: Silent Storm, Chapter 3
- ^ Halo: Silent Storm, Chapter 5
- ^ Halo: Silent Storm, Chapter 8
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, Chapter 1
- ^ a b Halo: Fall of Reach, Boot Camp
- ^ a b c Halo: Fall of Reach, Invasion
- ^ a b Halo: The Fall of Reach, Chapter 5
- ^ a b Halo: The Fall of Reach, Chapter 9
- ^ a b Halo: The Fall of Reach, Chapter 10
- ^ a b Halo: The Fall of Reach, Chapter 14
- ^ Halo: Fall of Reach, Covenant
- ^ Halo: Silent Storm, Chapter 13
- ^ a b Halo Legends, The Package
- ^ a b Halo: The Fall of Reach, Chapter 34
- ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, Chapter 37
- ^ Halo 5: Guardians, Blue Team
- ^ Halo 5: Guardians, The Breaking
- ^ Halo 4, Midnight
- ^ Halo 4, Epilogue
- ^ Halo 2, The Heretic
- ^ Halo: The Master Chief Collection terminal trailer: "And your Master Chief calls me... friend."
- ^ Halo: Bad Blood, Chapter 1