Rtas 'Vadum (formerly 'Vadumee), nicknamed the Half-Jaw following the loss of two of his mandibles, is a very influential Sangheili commander and a high-ranking official in the Swords of Sanghelios. Rtas has become a hero among Sangheili for his bravery and leadership during the Great Schism. He was responsible for negotiating the alliance between the Fleet of Retribution and the United Nations Space Command.
Rtas 'Vadum formerly served as a Covenant Special Operations Commander in the Fleet of Particular Justice, led by Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee, before the Battle of Installation 04. At the dawn of the Great Schism, 'Vadum became a leading member of the Sangheili who seceded from the Covenant. Leading the separatist fleets, 'Vadum worked together with the newly appointed Arbiter, Thel 'Vadam, to aid the UNSC and defeat the Covenant Empire. As the shipmaster of the Shadow of Intent and the Fleet Master of the Fleet of Retribution, Rtas 'Vadum played a pivotal role in the final year of the Human-Covenant War and continues to lead the Swords of Sanghelios in battles post-war.
Rtas 'Vadum was born on September 21, 2487 on Sanghelios, the Sangheili homeworld. He grew up in a keep on the edge of one of Sanghelios' warm equatorial oceans. As a child, 'Vadum often explored the keep's shoreline at low tide, catching sea urchins and other sea creatures. Shortly after his tenth year, the ocean's water had greatly receded from the shore, allowing 'Vadum to venture out further than usual and capture rare snap-tails and electric kesh. However, the receding of the ocean had actually been the drawback of an oncoming tsunami. As the tsunami's first wave appeared on the horizon, 'Vadum was forced to run nearly a kilometer back to the shore to escape the wave. Although he succeeded, he suffered injuries from the urchins and sharp limestone he had stepped on along the way. Rtas 'Vadum graduated with honors from the top war college in the Iruiru region of Yermo on Sanghelios, a distinction he shares with Usze 'Taham. He would later join the Covenant military.
Battle of Installation 04
By September 2552, he served in the Covenant Special Operations division in the Special Warfare Group as a Special Operations Commander. Assigned to lead all Special Operation units within the Fleet of Particular Justice, 'Vadumee was stationed aboard the fleet's flagship, Seeker of Truth. Following the Fall of Reach, the fleet pursued UNSC Pillar of Autumn to the Soell system, where Installation 04 was discovered and a battle began. After an emergency beacon was activated on agricultural ship Infinite Succor, Rtas 'Vadumee was called to the bridge by Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee—shortly after 'Vadumee's training duel with his second-in-command, Officer Bero 'Kusovai. 'Vadamee revealed that Infinite Succor was boarded by unknown hostiles that were expected to be humans. The Supreme Commander tasked Rtas with leading a Special Operations detachment comprised of Special Operations Sangheili and Special Operations Unggoy to board the agricultural ship, assess the situation, rescue the Minister of Etiology, and return him to Seeker of Truth.
Taking a Phantom, Glorious Advance, to Infinite Succor, the team boarded the ship and discovered the remains of Huragok and Unggoy. The slaughter of Huragok led the team to question whether the humans were truly responsible for the attack, as they were never so grotesquely barbaric. Upon entering the vessel's hunting preserve, the team was attacked by mutilated animals infected by the Flood. The survivors managed to fight their way to the bridge, where 'Vadumee realized the danger of letting the Flood escape and ordered for the bridge be locked down, have warnings sent to the rest of the fleet, and to begin initiating protocols for the ship's self-destruction. After discovering that the Minister of Etiology had survived the Flood's attack by hiding in a hidden security room, the Legate informed 'Vadumee of the Flood's intents and that a central mass was forming in the ship. 'Vadumee decided to set the ship's course to the system's sun; however, the Minister insisted for the Special Operations crew to evacuate him to safety and then remotely destroy Infinite Succor. Angered that the Minister was willing to put his own safety before the rest of the Covenant, 'Vadumee took tactical command of the mission. 'Vadumee and three other Sangheili made their way to the vessel's Engineering station to set a slipspace course towards the nearby sun, while 'Kusovai led the remaining survivors and the Minister to Glorious Advance. While trekking to Engineering, the three Sangheili were killed by the Flood. Once 'Vadumee reached Engineering, the Minister revealed himself to be infected by the Flood though a view screen, while 'Vadumee was confronted by the infected 'Kusovai. He was able to make a mortal strike at the infected 'Kusovai by allowing the infected officer to strike him along his arm and face, severing his left mandibles. Setting a slipspace course towards the sun, 'Vadumee returned to Glorious Advance and traveled back to Seeker of Truth two minutes before the slipspace jump occurred.
The sole survivor of the mission, Rtas revealed the threat of the Flood and the Minister's death to Supreme Commander 'Vadamee upon his return to the flagship. In response, 'Vadamee invoked emergency quarantine response throughout the fleet. After the battle, Rtas was relieved of fleet duty and reassigned to command all Covenant Special Operations from High Charity.
Raid on the Threshold gas mine
On October 20, 2552, Rtas 'Vadumee was assigned to lead a Special Operations unit on a mission to hunt down Sesa 'Refumee, the leader of a heretic faction, on a Forerunner gas mining facility above the gas giant Threshold. Joining him was the newly assigned Arbiter, 'Vadumee's former commander. Aboard a Phantom for the majority of the mission, he provided valuable reinforcements and intelligence reports to the Arbiter as he progressed through the facility. As the Arbiter pursued 'Refumee in a Banshee, 'Vadumee had his Phantom help the Arbiter eliminate enemy weapons emplacements and Banshees. After tracking the heretic leader to a platform within the gas mine, the Arbiter eliminated all heretics nearby. 'Vadumee and his forces then joined the Arbiter in his search on foot on the platform.
Entering the interior of the gas mine, Rtas smelled the "stench" of the Flood—remembering the scent from his mission to Infinite Succor. The team witnessed Flood combat forms battling Sangheili heretics while traversing through the facility. After briefly conversing with a holographic representation of 'Refumee, Pod infectors attacked the group. 'Vadumee ordered for the Arbiter and several Special Operations Sangheili to continue forward through a door, while he awaited reinforcements. As the gas mine was engulfed by a storm raging in Threshold's atmosphere, 'Vadamee encountered 'Refumee, but the heretic leader managed to seal himself behind an unbreakable energy barrier. 'Vadumee and his forces regrouped with the Arbiter, and the latter revealed his intentions to cut the cable supporting the gas mine. The Commander agreed, loaning the Arbiter his energy sword for the task. Leaving the Arbiter to his work, 'Vadumee and his remaining forces evacuated in a Phantom. After the Arbiter succeeded in killing 'Refumee and obtaining 343 Guilty Spark, Tartarus picked the two up and all Covenant forces left the system.
Battle of the Quarantine Zone
Rtas was onboard High Charity when it left for the newly discovered Installation 05 to aid the High Prophet of Regret. During the battle at the installation, 'Vadumee sent in a large group of Phantom dropships loaded with reinforcements to stop John-117 before he could assassinate the Hierarch. However, these dropships were called off by the High Prophet of Truth. Back on High Charity, the Jiralhanae were given the command to replace the Sangheili Honor Guardsmen in the Covenant Honor Guard by the Hierarchs, allegedly due to the fact that the "Demon" had successfully assassinated the Prophet of Regret and none of the Honor Guard Sangheili guarding the High Prophet could stop him. Because of his position, Rtas expressed his disdain to the High Prophet of Truth and High Prophet of Mercy, disgusted by this radical switch in tradition and customs, also noting his belief that Regret could have been saved had Truth not halted their attempt to reinforce the Prophet. However, the Prophet of Truth dismissed his complaints and sent Rtas 'Vadumee and his two Sangheili away to inform the High Council of their decision.
Soon after the Changing of the Guard, Rtas and many of his Special Operations forces were sent into the Quarantine Zone, within which raged a battle between Flood, Sentinel and UNSC Marine forces. Rtas landed inside the Quarantine Zone in an orbital insertion pod but was separated from his squad during the fall. He held a Covenant camp at the foot of the Sentinel wall alone until his squad and the Arbiter joined him. The Sangheili then worked together to hold the camp against the Flood until a Phantom delivered reinforcements. Learning of the Arbiter's mission to retrieve the Sacred Icon deep inside the Quarantine Zone, he delivered a rousing speech to his warriors, assigning them to aid the Arbiter in his mission. Afterward, Rtas left in a Phantom to retrieve reinforcements for the assault on the Library. When his forces reported the presence of humans within the Quarantine Zone, 'Vadumee started back towards the Library with reinforcements. He later sent in a squad of his most experienced warriors to aid the Arbiter. Later, he rejoined the Arbiter, delivering the promised reinforcements, and a Type-46 Spectre helping him push through a Flood barricade to access one of the Forerunner gondolas that were the only way to enter the Library. Rtas stayed behind to hold off the Flood while the Arbiter took the second gondola to reach the Sacred Icon.
The Great Schism
Directly after the Sacred Icon was retrieved on November 3, 2552, the Hierarchs ordered the Jiralhanae to execute all Sangheili, beginning the Great Schism and the fragmentation of the Covenant empire. After learning the truth of the Halo rings, 'Vadumee changed his name to Rtas 'Vadum, dropping the "ee" suffix and signifying his secession from the Covenant along with most of his kind. Commandeering a Wraith, Rtas spotted a Type-47A Scarab walker outside a Jiralhanae encampment. Making his way along the coast, a surprised Rtas met up with the Arbiter, this time on a quest to find the Sacred Icon before Tartarus could use it to activate Installation 05. From the Arbiter he learned of the murder of the Sangheili High Councilors and the true extent of the treachery of the Jiralhanae. The two Sangheili were interrupted by the arrival of Tartarus' Phantom and its escorts as they entered the installation's control room. Wishing to avenge their fallen brothers, 'Vadum and the Arbiter attacked them by surprise and met up with a squad of Mgalekgolo and other Sangheili.
There, Rtas 'Vadum again split up with the Arbiter to prevent any Jiralhanae reinforcements from attacking the Arbiter's rear, and was not present when the latter escorted Sergeant Major Avery Johnson to the control room; earlier, he had announced his intent to take back a Covenant CCS-class battlecruiser that was hovering a distance from the battle area, and it can be assumed he attempted doing so.[note 2] While the Arbiter fought to kill Tartarus and prevent the firing of Installation 05, 'Vadum led a strikeforce that successfully took control of the Jiralhanae-manned CAS-class assault carrier Shadow of Intent. Following Tartarus' death, Rtas 'Vadum sent a message to all Sangheili-controlled vessels to inform them that Tartarus was killed by the Arbiter and the activation of Installation 05 was stopped, but the battle around the Halo continued. The supply ship Journey's Sustenance was one of the vessels to receive the message.
Coalition and containment
Now leading the fledgling Fleet of Retribution as shipmaster of the carrier, ‘Vadum eventually rendezvoused with the Arbiter once again. Both warriors now having risen to leadership positions among the Sangheili rebels, ‘Vadum was instrumental in negotiating an alliance with their newfound human allies, together formulating a plan for sterilization and quarantine of the ring due to the overwhelming threat posed by the Flood in light of Truth and many of his followers' recent departure from the battle. While 343 Guilty Spark remained with ‘Vadum and the fleet to help coordinate containment efforts, the Arbiter, Keyes, and Johnson headed back to Earth on one of the shipmaster’s vessels both to warn the Home Fleet of Truth’s impending arrival and to locate the so-called “Ark”.
On November 4th, ’Vadum’s fleet and any other Sangheili-crewed ships began to cauterize the surface of the ring, surgically destroying any vessel attempting to escape as part of a large-scale campaign orchestrated by ‘Vadum. After days of ‘Vadum’s containment operation, a single Flood-infected cruiser, Indulgence of Conviction, broke through the quarantine and headed for the Sol system, with ‘Vadum and elements of the Fleet of Retribution in pursuit. ‘Vadum followed its trajectory to Earth, where the Arbiter and humans were already headed. Upon realizing his location, he made contact with the Arbiter.
Actions at Voi
The Intent and other vessels of his fleet arrived over the Kenyan town of Voi on Earth, shortly after the Conviction had crash-landed and infested the area. Recognizing the immediate threat the Flood posed, ‘Vadum was willing to sacrifice everyone on the ground in order to sterilize the town, including his own troops that he deployed to aid the Arbiter and John-117 in recovering what was thought to be the AI Cortana from the downed ship, but in actuality a storage device. After ‘Vadum was eventually forced to glass Voi, he met with the Arbiter, John-117, 343 Guilty Spark, Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood and Commander Miranda Keyes on the bridge of Shadow of Intent. Guilty Spark managed to repair the storage device that allegedly contained the human AI Cortana. However, after the monitor repaired the device, only a message played, in which Cortana revealed that the Gravemind was on its way to Earth with the now-infested ‘’High Charity’’ and that the key to stopping the Covenant and the Flood was on the other side of the recently opened slipspace portal. While Hood opted to stay and fight a conventional battle against the Flood, ‘Vadum was adamant in proceeding through the Portal, rallying the others to his decision. While Hood remained on Earth with the rest of the UNSC Home Fleet, 'Vadum led the Fleet of Retribution through the portal, joining forces with Keyes and the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn.
Battle of Installation 00
Upon emerging from slipspace above Installation 00, 'Vadum and his fleet engaged Truth's forces headlong, despite being outnumbered three-to-one, to which ‘Vadum declared it to be a fair fight. While Keyes' forces provided reinforcements and eliminated Covenant Seraphs, 'Vadum's fleet engaged the CCS-class battlecruisers. After devastating Truth's fleet and discovering that Truth was located on the Ark's surface, 'Vadum led the assault on the barrier towers from Shadow of Intent, bombarding the shield with plasma torpedoes. After the barrier was deactivated, 'Vadum moved the ship over the Citadel and prepared to destroy it, but was knocked off-course by the Flood-infested High Charity appearing out of slipspace. 'Vadum's ship was incapacitated and its weapons systems were disabled, leaving the task of killing Truth to the Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and John-117. After the death of Truth in the Arbiter's hands, 'Vadum gathered all surviving humans and Sangheili forces on the ship and returned to Earth through the portal, reluctantly leaving the Arbiter behind alongside John-117, Guilty Spark, and Sergeant Johnson.
After the Human-Covenant War, in 2553, Rtas and Thel were invited by Lord Hood for a diplomatic mission to attend a ceremony at the Voi Memorial, a tribute to the ones of both the UNSC and the allied Sangheili who gave their lives during the Great War. Departing in Shadow of Intent, he remained on the ship watching Lord Hood's speech while Thel made his presence on land. Shortly after the memorial, he gave the Arbiter the command of the ship and stated that he would like to see Sanghelios to know that it is safe. The assault carrier then departed for their homeworld, where Arbiter Thel 'Vadam would begin to reinstate a new Swords of Sanghelios government. After years of constant fighting, 'Vadum began to grow tired of battle and considered taking a break. Regardless, he continued to serve as a commander for the emerging Swords of Sanghelios.
Several months after the war, Shadow of Intent investigated a distress call from the frontier colony of Rahnelo. Upon arriving at the planet, 'Vadum, Blademaster Vul 'Soran, and several other soldiers traveled to the planet's surface. The Sangheili soon discover that Rahnelo was attacked by CRS-class light cruiser Spear of Light, commanded by a San'Shyuum Prelate that survived the Covenant War—Tem'Bhetek, who unbeknownst to 'Vadum blamed the shipmaster for the death of his family at High Charity as it was 'Vadum who glassed the city in an effort to quarantine the Flood. Rahnelo resident Tul 'Juran, seeking to rescue her father and brothers from the Prelate, requested 'Vadum for passage aboard his carrier and enlistment within his crew. Despite 'Soran's objections over her gender, 'Vadum agreed to 'Juran's request and the Sangheili returned to Shadow of Intent and departed Rahnelo.
As the Prelate attacked Duraan, Shadow of Intent traveled to the colony after receiving its distress call. Upon the carrier's arrival, Spear of Light began attacking the planet's largest settlements. In response, Shadow of Intent moved to engage the cruiser, though both ships' energy shielding were depleted by storms emitted from Duraan's unstable star. As the carrier moved to destroy the smaller cruiser, Spear of Light moved alongside Shadow of Intent and the Prelate had the cruiser's entire crew abandon the ship. Using escape pods, Tem and his Jiralhanae boarded Shadow of Intent and sought to take control of the carrier. As 'Vadum realized the Prelate's plan, he ordered the carrier's crew to prepare for combat. 'Vadum and 'Soran moved to help eliminate the boarders. As they arrived at the carrier's main gravity lift, they encountered Tem and several of his Jiralhanae, with 'Juran, Unggoy Ranger Stolt, and several Sangheili Rangers arriving behind the hostiles. While Tem and 'Juran dueled, the others eliminated the Jiralhanae. When the Prelate nearly succeeded in killing 'Juran, 'Vadum blocked the attack and engaged Tem in a duel. Though he was wounded, 'Vadum gained the upper hand and, with most of his Jiralhanae already dead, Tem attempted to flee the fight. However, as he tried to escape, he was knocked unconscious by Stolt and 'Soran.
After the remaining Jiralhanae were eliminated, 'Vadum interrogated the Prelate and learned of his alliance with the Minister of Preparation. After the Prelate expressed his hatred for him, 'Vadum countered that he only had glassed High Charity to quell the Flood threat and would have saved Tem's family had he the opportunity. 'Vadum also revealed that Tem's family was almost certainly alive when the Minister of Preparation had convinced the Prelate to flee the battle and claimed that his family was already dead. While Tem contemplated the possible betrayal, 'Vadum analyzed the databases of Spear of Light and discovered the Minister's base of operations. Speaking with Stolt and 'Soran, they decided to lead a small team to venture to the Minister's location, despite the risk of it being a trap. Arriving at the location, the selected teams—which also included 'Juran, and Tem as a hostage—boarded Phantoms and traveled to a local Forerunner installation. Suddenly, the installation released a pulse that wounded many Sangheili, including 'Soran. In the resulting confusion, the Prelate escaped his binds and used his thrusters to flee towards the installation; 'Vadum and 'Juran pursued the San'Shyuum. By the time the two Sangheili had arrived at the installation, Tem had just been betrayed by the Minister of Preparation, who had a group of Yanme'e attack the Prelate. While the wounded Tem escaped from the fight, 'Juran disabled the Minister's energy shields and 'Vadum mortally wounded him. The Minister fled the battle and attempted to activate a prototype Halo located at the installation to kill all of its occupants. After 'Vadum and 'Juran eliminated most of the Yanme'e, they encountered Tem who resolved to sacrifice himself to destroy the installation by detonating a satchel of plasma grenades on the installation's power center. Thanking the Prelate, the two Sangheili fled the installation and returned to Shadow of Intent and the installation blew up shortly after, killing those still aboard. Afterwards, Shadow of Intent returned to Duraan, where the crew's wounded were treated. 'Vadum spoke with the Arbiter to brief him on the events that transpired, and convinced the Arbiter to change the Swords of Sanghelios' military protocol to allow females to enlist with the military, allowing 'Juran to remain a permanent member of his crew. Though the Arbiter suggested for 'Vadum to rest, he sought to search for the galaxy's surviving San'Shyuum, having found within the databases of Spear of Light that possibly thousands of San'Shyuum survived High Charity's fall. 'Vadum was determined to discover which ones were merely misled like Tem and which ones deserved punishment for war crimes.
By March 2558, Rtas 'Vadum—along with all other Sangheili administrative and military authorities—was designated a priority target by the Office of Naval Intelligence. At some point between May 6 and June 1, 2557, Shadow of Intent was involved in an operation against pirates in a Joint Occupation Zone. Around March 2558, an incident took place in which three ONI prowlers trailing Shadow of Intent were destroyed under unclear circumstances.
Personality and traits
Rtas 'Vadum is very switched on and is known for being a quick, smart, and ingenious tactician and an unparalleled fighter, especially with an energy sword, and is an excellent leader. He is also a good decision-maker and chooses to spend lives very carefully. Very much like his friend Thel 'Vadam, Rtas is able to think outside the box and does not rigidly adhere to the Sangheili's code of honor when it does not benefit him. He expresses great care for his soldiers, even the Unggoy. During the Battle of Installation 04, Rtas displayed great care for all of the soldiers under his command, even warning the Unggoy to take cover behind the Sangheili when danger presented itself. Such concern for the lower caste is particularly atypical for Sangheili. In time, Rtas has begun to have respect for certain humans, John-117 in particular. 'Vadum is one of only two known Sangheili to call John-117 "Spartan" rather than "Demon", the other being Thel 'Vadam. He was eager to exact vengeance on the Jiralhanae and the San'Shyuum Prophets who betrayed the Sangheili during the Great Schism.
Rtas once served as a high-ranking subordinate to Thel 'Vadam during the latter's career as Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice. However, 'Vadum lost his esteem in the former Supreme Commander after his failure to safeguard Installation 04. Rtas' great trust and respect for Thel 'Vadam was regained after the events of the mission on the Threshold gas mine. His trust was unwavering during the Changing of the Guard despite the fact that Thel—as the current Arbiter—answered only to the Prophets. Later during the Great Schism, Rtas and Thel became the catalysts who united the Sangheili against the Prophets and the Jiralhanae. He acknowledged Thel's "counsel" enough to convince himself that the humans were worthy allies.
Following his arrival at Earth, 'Vadum had become more calm, possibly because he spent less time fighting on the ground and more time commanding ships. Though he pledged much respect for the humans, 'Vadum was still willing to argue with Fleet Admiral Hood on matters regarding both the Covenant loyalist and Flood threats, as shown when he revealed that he originally planned to glass Earth after the Flood-infected ship crashed in Voi. However, this was not because of the general hatred 'Vadum once held towards the humans but to protect the rest of the galaxy from infection, as he did not want to gamble that even one spore might survive the glassing, and most probably would have had humanity die with what dignity they had left than be used as tools by the Gravemind. His experience on Infinite Succor gave him unique insight into the terrifying nature of the Flood and he takes any threat of infection very seriously.
Following the end of the Human-Covenant War, 'Vadum had become more tolerant and mellow. His hatred of the Jiralhanae and the San'Shyuum had diminished significantly as he had grown tired of war. Following the Ambush at Duraan and the Battle of the prototype Halo installation he did not possess any prejudice against the San'Shyuum as a species and instead sought retribution only against those who actively betrayed the Sangheili, feeling that it was important to distinguish innocent from guilty.
Like most Sangheili, 'Vadum had orange eyes. He stands an imposing 7 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 323 pounds. Perhaps the most memorable feature of his appearance is that he is missing his two left mandibles, as they were cut off in a fight with a Flood-infected Bero 'Kusovai, his second-in-command, during the Battle of Installation 04. As such, he is commonly referred to as the "Half-Jaw". Rtas 'Vadum wore white armor during the final years of the Human-Covenant War. During his service with the Covenant, he donned standard combat armor that was used by Special Operations Commanders. Following the dawn of the Great Schism, he began to wear the Assault harness variant with noticeably larger shoulder pads, with a combat helmet.
List of appearances