Michael Sullivan

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This article is about the Senior Communications Director of ONI. For the UNSC Marine who fought at New Mombasa, see Sullivan.
Michael Sullivan
FUD Sullivan.jpg
Biographical information


Emerald Cove[1]


September 3, 2510[1]






185.4 centimetres (6 ft 1.0 in)[1]


83.1 kilograms (183.2 lb)[1]

Hair color:


Eye color:


Political and military information


Office of Naval Intelligence[1]



Service number:


"You may get latitude out there in the shadows, but for those of us—in our "glass towers"—it's not that easy. Pushed back by our employer looks a little different when you have surveillance up your ass 24/7. We couldn't just let him air all of our dirty laundry. Then what? Positive change? Open dialogue? No! The public cannot digest real horror."
— Michael Sullivan, to Maya Sankar

Commander Michael "Sully" Sullivan (service number 26582-72839-MS)[1] is the Senior Communications Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence.[2] He was one of few survivors of the Covenant's invasion of Circinius IV in April 2526.[3] After graduating from an Officer Candidate School, Sullivan received an officer's commission with the UNSC Navy and was detailed to ONI's Section One. Sullivan ascended to his current posting with Section Two in the years following the Human-Covenant War.[1]


Childhood and education[edit]

"Alright, so feast your eyes on grade "A" classified non-licit intelligence vids I pieced together. Super pain in the ass to do but… so worth it."
— Michael Sullivan, after hacking into classified ONI files[4]

Michael Sullivan was born on Emerald Cove on September 3, 2510, to Steven and Evelyn Sullivan.[1] Michael grew up without his father, knowing little about him except that he was a researcher for one of the UNSC's intelligence divisions.[1][5] As a result Michael and his two younger brothers were mostly raised by their mother. Steven insisted that Michael attend a military school, as he felt his son needed to learn proper discipline. Evelyn disagreed as it would mean sending her son away from home.[1] Nevertheless, Michael enrolled at the Corbulo Academy of Military Science in 2526 as a freshman cadet and was assigned to Hastati Squad.[6] He had a habit of 'dying' in combat exercises. Despite this, he never lost his enthusiasm and became friends with Thomas Lasky, though the rest of the squad was hostile to the perceived "Innie lover".[7][8]

Convinced that the Office of Naval Intelligence was hiding something from the greater whole of humanity, Sullivan hacked mission recordings of UNSC personnel ostensibly combating Insurrectionists.[8] He soon discovered helmet camera footage of a Spartan—actually Fred-104—in a three-way battle among the UNSC, Insurrectionists, and the Covenant.[3] Sullivan believed the Spartan was actually a new type of Orbital Drop Shock Trooper and bragged that soldier could decapitate a man with his bare hands. Sullivan's activities were interrupted when the communications terminal suddenly went offline, leading him to believe ONI had caught on to him.[4]

Covenant attack[edit]

John-117: "Who's the best shot here?"
Michael Sullivan: "You, probably?"
— John-117 and Michael Sullivan during the escape from Corbulo Academy[9]
Sullivan covers the rest of the survivors as they advance through the ruins of Corbulo Academy.

The communications blackout was actually the result of a far more serious threat. That evening, Circinius IV was attacked by the Covenant. Sullivan's roommate Dimah Tchakova was killed while the cadets attempted to evacuate, and Sullivan was pressed into the defense of the planet with the surviving cadets.[4] As the battle at Corbulo Academy started, Hastati Squad retreated to the dormitory hiding in Lasky's room. Sullivan was visibly upset by Dimah's death. Sullivan attempted to activate Lasky's terminal; when nothing happened, he realized the comms were offline.[9]

A Sangheili Zealot then appeared in the dormitory corridor, breaking into the rooms where cadets were hiding one by one. They decided they had to leave, Chen volunteering to take point. As they made a run for it Chen was impaled by the Zealot's energy sword. The rest of the squad then ran for the armory, shutting the door behind them. While Lasky sent a distress signal, the rest of the squad attempted to open the weapons locker with little success; eventually, Vickers attempted to bash it open. The Sangheili from earlier started to break down the door, causing the squad to hide. Vickers got separated hiding on the other side of the room. As the Sangheili neared the rest of the squad's position, Vickers, in order to give the squad a chance to escape, revealed his location to the Sangheili, being quickly shot and killed by his plasma rifle. The Sangheili then turned his attention back to the squad, slowly walking toward them until Spartan John-117 sneaked up behind him and stabbed him in the neck.[9]

While preparing to leave, Sullivan questioned why John-117 came for them. John answered they were the only survivors; Sullivan assumed in the school, but John corrected him, stating they were the last on the planet. While waiting for the Master Chief to return, Sullivan began questioning what was going on, referring to the Chief as a "giant robot" and questioning whether he would even come back. When Master Chief asked who the best shot was, Sullivan said it was most likely the Chief. As they went outside, the squad saw their fellow cadets and soldiers dead all around them. During the escape, Sullivan was shot in the leg by a Kig-Yar sharpshooter, who attempted to kill him, but John-117 saved him. After Chyler and John killed the Kig-Yar, Orenski carried Sullivan to the Warthog to escape.[9]

En route to the Pelican, the group's Warthog came under attack by a group of Kig-Yar and they were soon forced to stop. John administered biofoam to Sullivan's wound so that he could walk. Chyler Silva had also been hit, and the group carried her to a small shelter in the forest while John engaged a Mgalekgolo. As they were out of biofoam, they attempted to give first aid to Silva by using the contents of the tactical training rounds found in the shelter to numb the pain; however, she died shortly afterward. As another Hunter approached, Sullivan regretfully told Lasky that he would have to leave Chyler behind. Retreating through the woods, they eventually took cover in a ditch. Lasky distracted the Hunter, allowing John to kill it. As they evacuated in the Pelican, Sullivan took notice of how young Spartans Kelly-087 and Fred-104 looked as they removed their helmets; he asked them how old they were, to which Kelly merely responded that such information was "classified."[10]

Naval career[edit]

Sullivan's message to Giraud.
"See, that's you're problem right there. You're still in your "glass tower" in Boston. You don't have any idea what's happening on the ground."
— Commander Maya Sankar, to Michael Sullivan[11]

Sullivan later joined the UNSC Navy after graduating from another Officer Candidate School, where ONI assigned him to Section One to put his information gathering, knowledge synthesis, and cryptography skills to good use. After the Human-Covenant War, Sullivan moved to a leadership position in Section Two of ONI, becoming ONI's Senior Communications Director.[1] In 2558, he contacted Benjamin Giraud—a roving civilian reporter and occasional ONI contractor—with a proposition: Giraud would be paid handsomely for conducting a series of interviews about the Master Chief, who had saved Sullivan's life decades prior.[2] After discovering a document from Elysium City that stated John had died at six, Giraud contacted Sullivan for help. In actuality, the document was referring to the death of John's flash clone. ONI was attempting to cover the use of flash clones in the SPARTAN-II program and was instead planting Giraud with sources that claimed John had enlisted in the UNSC and became a Spartan without controversy for propaganda purposes. When Sullivan heard of Giraud's dilemma, he blamed the Outer Colonies lack of record keeping, especially on a world that had been glassed. Giraud believed Sullivan's assertion that documents on a glassed colony would not be properly maintained.[12]

After a friend of Giraud's proved that John's parents were alive past 2524, once again contradicting ONI's sources, he contacted Sullivan again. After Sullivan continued to insist that "Glassed planets have bad records", he asked if Giraud still wanted to keep the job. Giraud agreed to continue the job, and Sullivan set up an interview between Giraud and Jakob Walker; the latter claimed to be a retired Navy veteran who served with John, but he was actually an actor hired by ONI. Later, Giraud confronted Thomas Wu—one of ONI's fabricated interviewees—and had him implicitly reveal he had been lying. However, the conversation had taken place over Waypoint and Giraud believed it was likely that it was flagged by ONI.[13] Shortly after, Giraud was called down to ONI's Boston headquarters by Sullivan for a mandatory meeting.[14] Sullivan initially gave no indication of being aware of Giraud's Waypoint conversation with Wu. To Giraud's surprise, Sullivan had scheduled an exclusive interview with SCPO Franklin Mendez. After the session, however, Sullivan gave him a strict deadline of 24 hours to deliver the raw files of his story to ONI. This gave Giraud no time to pursue his unsanctioned investigation further, leading him to suspect that his conversation had indeed been flagged. On the flight, Giraud was sedated by an ITTA stewardess after he ignored her requests to take his seat; he had seen Walker on the same flight away from his alleged permanent residence and acting "out of character", leading Giraud to suspect that he had been hired by ONI. Upon his return home, Giraud discovered that his COM pad had recorded a conversation—while he was sedated—between ONI agents that had been shadowing him. Furious about ONI's lack of respect for him, Giraud did not send the files to Sullivan and instead uploaded them online.[15] Sullivan later left Giraud a message, noting that he missed the deadline. Although Sullivan informed him that he managed to convince his superiors to extend the deadline, Giraud continued to avoid his calls.[16]

Weeks later, Sullivan was attending a meeting between ONI and the Unified Earth Government Senate. The conference was interrupted when a rebel known by the codename of "FERO" hacked into the main screen of the room, allowing her to let Benjamin reveal ONI's nefarious deeds to the UEG. During Ben's announcement, Sully messaged him, demanding that he stop. Ben refused, replying that he could no longer be a part of ONI's hidden cruelty and ended saying "I'm done." Sully simply replied, saying "Yes, you are."[17] Giraud was later captured on Barrier and imprisoned at Midnight Facility, where he was subjected to solitary confinement. Sullivan's superiors wished to use Giraud as an ONI public relations messenger and sent Sullivan to the facility. Upon arriving at Midnight and witnessing Giraud's poor treatment, Sullivan adjusted facility protocols to ensure that Giraud was calmed down in his cell with music rather than sedation gas and supplied him with writing materials for his own amusement. Some time later, "FERO"—actually Commander Maya Sankar, an ONI operative tasked with infiltrating rebel factions—arrived at Midnight and visited Giraud at his cell. However, at Sullivan's insistence, Sankar left and met him in his new office in Midnight Facility. The two argued about Giraud's treatment, and Sullivan eventually warned Sankar to stay away from Giraud.[11]

Shortly after the public announcement of the Master Chief's supposed death on October 27, 2558, Sullivan sent a letter to Adm. Serin Osman, offering his sincerest apologies for the error made by UNSC Press Secretary, Lt. Penelope Boren when she incorrectly stated that the Master Chief had been declared KIA on October 27, 2560, rather than 2558. Responding to Osman's "request" for an explanation, Sullivan affirmed that the script that was "provided to Lieutenant Boren was the approved and correct messaging", which had been previously reviewed by Sullivan and "other senior staff". He went on to state that Boren, "due to the emotional weight of the moment, was unable to maintain focus," which led to her providing the incorrect date during the announcement, which had been broadcasted across the entirety of human-controlled space. The letter went on to state that she had been chosen to deliver the news based on projections and personality assessments which indicated that her demeanor, delivery and appearance made her better suited for the task than a more senior member of Sullivan's staff. Sullivan concluded the letter by stating that Boren had been immediately reassigned to a non-public-facing position in the Industries Discourse Management department on the remote BXR-730 mining colony, and he repeated his "most sincere apologies regarding this regrettable incident."[18]

Personality and traits[edit]

Sullivan with his roommate, Dimah Tchakova.

Generally energetic and cheerful, Sullivan tended to perform poorly in Corbulo Academy's training exercises. However, he did not seem to take any particular pressure over his performance, and instead devoted most of his attention and spare time for hacking classified transmissions on his dorm room's computer terminal. He had not formed a clear opinion on the UNSC or the morality of the ongoing Insurrection, and stated that he was relying on his education to get a better understanding as to the reasons as to why they were fighting. When interviewed in 2526, he stated that he would be unlikely to ever be able to take a life; as a result, he aimed to follow in his father's footsteps and become a researcher for the UNSC instead of serving in a combat-oriented role.[5] Although the other cadets were often mildly annoyed by his antics, he was not as unpopular as Thomas Lasky, who was vocal in his opposition of the UNSC's policies on ideological grounds. After the Covenant attack, Sullivan began to show signs of breaking down, panicking over Dimah Tchakova's death and later questioning if the Chief would return; nevertheless, he retained his characteristic sense of humor and maintained his composure over the course of the battle.

After Circinius IV's fall, Sullivan retained his amicable and laid-back persona as a façade, even retaining his nickname "Sully" from his time in Corbulo Academy. However, witnessing the deaths of his friends and classmates at the Covenant's hands when Corbulo Academy was destroyed made him inwardly quite hardened and calculating. Sullivan's cold rationality and willingness to go to any extreme in Covenant War to stop his alien opponents unnerved his superiors in the UNSC Navy, but brought him to the attention of the Office of Naval Intelligence,[1] where very nature of his eventual job in the agency involved lying to the public about ONI's unethical actions such as the SPARTAN-II program. When Benjamin Giraud insisted that he should continue to work on his Master Chief editorial, Sullivan's cheerful persona momentarily slipped and he coldly told Benjamin that he was out of time, only to immediately return to his light-hearted small talk.[15] During Giraud's investigation, Sullivan repeatedly dismissed his concerns about the six-year-old John-117's supposed death on Eridanus II by insisting that "Glassed planets have bad records", although he later implied to Agent Maya Sankar that his statement had in fact been a cryptic warning about a series of false records ONI had set up for Giraud to find on Bliss.[11]

Production notes[edit]

Sullivan is portrayed by actor Masam Holden in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.[19] Jerry Trainor plays Sullivan in Hunt the Truth.[20]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Halo Waypoint: Michael "Sully" Sullivan
  3. ^ a b Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
  4. ^ a b c Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Part 3
  5. ^ a b Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Special Edition
  6. ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn: Squad
  7. ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Part 1
  8. ^ a b Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Part 2
  9. ^ a b c d Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Part 4
  10. ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Part 5
  11. ^ a b c Hunt the Truth, Season 2 - Episode 01: CUBE B-349
  12. ^ Hunt the Truth, Episode 02: BAD RECORDS
  13. ^ Hunt the Truth, Episode 03: CRITICAL CONDITION
  14. ^ Hunt the Truth, Episode 04: CROSSING THE BLACK
  15. ^ a b Hunt the Truth, Episode 05: OUT OF TIME
  16. ^ Hunt the Truth, Episode 06: BOXING STORY
  17. ^ Hunt the Truth, Episode 09: PHANTOMS
  18. ^ Tumblr: Hunt the Truth (image)
  19. ^ IMDb: Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
  20. ^ Xbox Wire: Halo 5: Guardians #HuntTheTruth - Has the Master Chief Gone AWOL?