|Political and military information|
- "In his opinion, she was the most dangerous person in the UNSC. She was the real power in ONI. To his knowledge, only one person had ever crossed her and lived."
- — Colonel James Ackerson's opinion of Admiral Parangosky.
Admiral Margaret Orlenda Parangosky (service number 00230-00923-MP; UNSCMID 03669271) is the former Commander-in-Chief of the Office of Naval Intelligence. In office by 2511, she coordinated ONI's activities during the Insurrection, throughout the Human-Covenant War, and in the years that followed. By 2555, she had been succeeded by her protegé, Admiral Serin Osman.
Parangosky was slight of build and appeared much older than her actual age, but her withered appearance belied her sharp intellect and ice-cold ruthlessness. She was known to be very powerful and deadly; Doctor Catherine Halsey was the only person who had ever crossed her and lived. Colonel James Ackerson considered her to be the most dangerous person in the UNSC.
Born in 2461, Margaret Parangosky began her military career sometime in the 2480s. The first ship Parangosky served on was the UNSC Lutyens. Sometime after achieving the rank of Captain, she incorporated the Department of Colonial Security into the Office of Naval Intelligence when no one else wanted it. She quickly gathered an army of spies made up of civilians who had no preexisting loyalties to the UNSC. In 2511, Parangosky restricted the planet Onyx from the rest of the UNSC after Forerunner ruins were discovered on the surface of the planet that same year. She returned several times to check up on and report on the project; however, the project was eventually sidelined in 2525 so funding could go elsewhere.
- Parangosky: "You want to trade lives for time."
- Ackerson: "Yes, ma'am. Isn't that the job of a soldier?"
- — Admiral Parangosky and Colonel Ackerson talking about the SPARTAN-III program
In 2531, Parangosky attended a meeting with Rear Admiral Ned Rich and Captain Aaron Gibson aboard the UNSC Point of No Return. During this meeting, Colonel Ackerson proposed the SPARTAN-III project, which would produce large numbers of expendable supersoldiers. Parangosky approved the creation of Alpha Company and authorized a plan in which Lieutenant, Junior Grade Kurt-051 would be abducted and put in charge of training the SPARTAN-IIIs.
In 2537, Parangosky went aboard the Point of No Return to review the progress of the SPARTAN-III program and to authorize the formation of Beta Company, following the recent destruction of Alpha Company in Operation: PROMETHEUS. She considered Alpha Company's destruction "regrettable", but considered them heroes, and promoted Kurt from Lieutenant, Junior Grade to full Lieutenant for it.
Sometime prior to 2551, Kurt appealed to Parangosky to save Tom-B292 (who Colonel Ackerson wanted for his "special projects") and Lucy-B091 (who, because she had become mute due to posttraumatic vocal disarticulation, was almost classified as "unfit for duty," and would have been reassigned to ONI's psych branch for "psychological evaluation") from reassignment, saying he needed Spartans to train Spartans. Parangosky allowed him to do this so they could help him train Gamma Company.
After the Battle of Groombridge-1830 in 2530, Admiral Preston Cole wrote a proposed emergency procedure that would slow down the Covenant from finding Earth. This proposal was approved by Parangosky and would later become known as the Cole Protocol.
Parangosky was a rear admiral by 2511, and vice admiral by 2531. By 2552, Parangosky had risen to rank of four-star admiral. She continued working aboard the Point of No Return, green-lighting some of humanity's most controversial projects. After the SPARTAN-II augmentation procedures, she adopted the "washed-out" SPARTAN-II candidate Serin Osman as her protégé, grooming her to be her successor. It was noted that Osman was a "granddaughter figure" to Parangosky, and one of the few people she cared about.
Prior to and during the battle for Reach in 2552, Admiral Parangosky conspired with Admiral Michael Stanforth to use Reach as bait to seize major Covenant vessels as part of the oncoming Operation: RED FLAG, intentionally hindering the UNSC's military response to the Covenant attack and even concealing the invasion from a significant portion of key military personnel and civilians on the planet.
Following the end of the war, Parangosky found herself at odds with members of the UEG and UNSC High Command over the Sangheili. While Fleet Admiral Terrence Hood and others believed that a peace treaty with Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and the Swords of Sanghelios was desirable, Parangosky believed that keeping the Sangheili mired in internal dissent would leave them unable to threaten the weakened UNSC. In 2553, Parangosky assigned Osman to lead an intelligence team on a covert mission to sow dissent among the Sangheili, disguised as a diplomatic mission. These activities included having Kilo-Five secretly assist Avu Med 'Telcam and the Servants of the Abiding Truth in their war against 'Vadam and his followers, going so far as to destroy several of 'Vadam's ships in order to allow 'Telcam's forces to escape during the rebels' failed assault on 'Vadam's keep. She was also planning to wipe out the entire species and colonize Sanghelios itself, in the event that ONI's efforts to create civil war amongst the Sangheili failed. 
Parangosky's plan backfired when Jul 'Mdama, a Sangheili prisoner in ONI custody, escaped from the ONI facility at Trevelyan. 'Mdama, who had learned of ONI's plot to turn his people against each other, would eventually forge a new Covenant from the old client races. When Parangosky learned of 'Mdama's escape, she was furious and had Dr. Irena Magnusson, the director of Trevelyan, detained for her failure.
Parangosky also planned to obtain the CCS-class battlecruiser Pious Inquisitor with the intention of reverse-engineering its ventral beam for use against Sangheili colony worlds. Kilo-Five was tasked with capturing the battlecruiser; however, they were ultimately unsuccessful and the ship was destroyed.
By 2555, Serin Osman had replaced her as Commander-in-Chief of the Office of Naval Intelligence. When a Forerunner artifact onboard UNSC Infinity threatened the ship during its second tour on Requiem, Parangosky sent Dr. Halsey a note requesting her aid in the matter. While she admitted that ONI held Halsey in less than ideal conditions and that she was not in a position to ask her personal favors, she appealed to the doctor's commitment to humanity's survival to help the crew of Infinity.
Personality and traits
- "Strength through Paranoia."
- — Parangosky's personal motto
Parangosky's reputation within the UNSC stems not only from her powerful position as the head of ONI, but also from her intimidating force of will. She is shrewd and highly intelligent, and combined with her cold demeanor these qualities make her an imposing figure despite her age; Dr. Halsey regarded her as one of the few people that she was genuinely afraid of. Her usual persona was that of a curt, professional leader. However, the reputation surrounding her ruthlessness streak were well founded. As head of ONI, Parangosky held almost unlimited power within the UNSC to conduct espionage, order assassinations and coordinate high risk, top secret projects and operations. She was responsible, among other things, for authorizing Colonel James Ackerson's SPARTAN-III project, the SPARTAN-IV project, and was aware of the construction of the UNSC Infinity. Many viewed her as the true power operating behind the UNSC's military government. This could most clearly be seen by her initiative to destabilize Elite society on Sanghelios. This project was carried out despite the fact that Lord Admiral Hood, the de facto head of the UNSC during the final days of the war, was conducting high-level peace negotiations with the Arbiter. Parangosky doubted that a single Elite, no matter how noble, could fully restrain Covenant splinter factions from waging war against humanity. Her world view was explained by her protege Serin Osman as, "It doesn't matter what your enemy's intentions are, only their capabilities."
While her position has allowed her to authorize numerous programs that may be seen as ethically questionable, Parangosky has been shown to nonetheless possess a moral code. In her own view, she willingly played the part of devil's advocate, sacrificing the needs of the few for the many. The Admiral held no illusions that she held any sort of moral high ground. She viewed the SPARTAN-III project as a tragic necessity, sacrificing hundreds for potentially billions. Although Parangosky originally resented the compassion Catherine Halsey showed for her Spartans and saw Halsey's feelings as a liability, her attitude changed with old age as she began to reexamine the decisions she had made over her career. Part of her self-reflection may have been the result of Dr. Graham Alban, a friend of hers who worked on the SPARTAN-II program, committing suicide over his guilt for being involved with the project, and likely fed Parangosky's existing antipathy for Halsey.
Parangosky saw Halsey's use of flash clones in the SPARTAN-II project as particularly unethical and demanded that the doctor answer for her use of the illegal technology. Although the Admiral had allowed the SPARTAN-II project to proceed, Parangosky believed that the use of flash clones, and the following trauma inflicted upon the families who watched their "children" sicken and die, was merely an attempt of Halsey to soothe her own conscience. Kidnapping in her mind was justified, lying to the public about the 'death' of the original Spartan candidates merely made matters worse. Parangosky bitterly remarked that as declassified information was slowly made public, many surviving families would come to know their dead children had in fact survived - only to have died fighting against the Covenant. In her own version of Contrapasso or poetic justice, she declared Dr. Halsey, at that time an unofficial fugitive of the UNSC for misappropriating Spartan assets, as KIA. Just as her Spartan candidates had been stripped of everything they knew and declared dead, forced into a life of perpetual service, so too would Halsey.
Parangosky viewed Serin Osman as both an heir and perhaps family. Serin was someone she could mentor, advise, and be supported by in the harsh and brutal world of military intelligence.
Parangosky is listed on an ONI memorial plaque inside the ONI Alpha Site in Halo 3: ODST. However, the Halo Encyclopedia states that she was still alive and onboard the Point of No Return by 2553, and she is a major character in the Kilo-Five Trilogy. This is presumably an Easter egg, given that all ONI personnel who had appeared in canon as of the game's development are listed on the memorial wall.
List of appearances
- Halo: First Strike (First mentioned)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (First appearance)
- Halo 3: ODST (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo: The Thursday War
- Halo 4
- Halo: Mortal Dictata
- Hunt the Truth (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Last Light (Mentioned only)
- Halo 5: Guardians (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Retribution (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 44
- Halo Waypoint - Data Drop 2
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 127
- Halo: Glasslands, chapter 4
- Halo 4 Official Site: STORY
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 124
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark, page 38
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 80
- Halo: The Thursday War, page 403
- Halo: The Thursday War, page 65.
- Tor.com: Halo: Mortal Dictata (Chapter 2 Excerpt)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, pages 44-49
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, pages 80-88
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 44
- Halo Encyclopedia, "UNSC Personnel", page 72
- Halo Waypoint — 343 Sparkast #5
- Data Drop
- Halo: The Thursday War, page 265
- Halo: Mortal Dictata, page 82
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark, Chapter 2
- Halo 4, Infinity Briefing Packet
- Halo: Glasslands, page 65
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 48 ("And for God's sake," she said, narrowing her eyes to slits, "Catherine Halsey must never know. Her bleeding-heart sympathies for the Spartans have won her too many admirers at CENTCOM.")
- Halo: Mortal Dictata, page 490