During the final months of the Human-Covenant War, he was assigned to the Fleet of Retribution's Special Warfare Group. During the Great Schism, he joined Arbiter Thel 'Vadam's uprising against the Hierarchs and took part in the Battle of Earth and the Battle of Installation 00. Usze continues to serve as a skilled warrior and valued liaison of the Swords of Sanghelios, as well as the Ascetics.
Early life and military career
Usze 'Taham was born into a respected merchant family in Sumai keep in the state of Bothaes on Sanghelios. He was fathered by Toha 'Sumai, one of the prominent swordfighters of this age. Toha mated with Usze's mother, a privilege granted by being a swordsman, and Usze was raised by his mother and her husband. Per Sangheili custom, Usze did not know that Toha was his father. Instead, Usze believed that Toha was an uncle and was trained by him in swordsmanship. When he was of age, Usze traveled to the top war college in the Iruiru region of Yermo on Sanghelios and graduated with honors, a distinction he shares with Rtas 'Vadum. Upon graduating, Usze's skills attracted the attention of influential individuals and he was posted on the Fleet of Faithful Ardor.
After only serving a single tour in the Human-Covenant War with the Fleet of Faithful Ardor, several politicians offered Usze a place in the Covenant Honor Guard, putting him in service of the High Council. He declined, despite warnings against his decision, citing "lack of practical experience". In truth, he had no desire to be part of a largely ceremonial unit. At the end of his third tour, Usze 'Taham again refused the post, even though his superiors warned him such behavior could be misinterpreted as apostasy. Ultimately, no charges were ever filed or pursued against him. Some Sangheili believed that superiors of Usze who felt "protective" towards him were responsible for the lack of punitive actions taken against Usze. He became respected by certain circles for dismissing the Honor Guard's offer in favor of pursuing combat. Since that time, Usze evaded countless punitive actions, as well as at least two assassination attempts, and served with distinction for two additional tours before the Great Schism. Usze's actions in the aforementioned combat tours against humanity eventually led his superiors to resign to his decision. Usze came into service of the Ascetics as a liaison for the Covenant. Prior to the Great Schism, 'Taham served under Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadumee.
On November 3, 2552, the remaining Hierarchs of the Covenant denounced the Sangheili and ordered the massacre of the Sangheili High Councilors. With this revelation, Usze sided with Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and Commander Rtas 'Vadum. Considering him to be one of the most deadly SpecOps commandos alive, Commander 'Vadum assigned Usze to the Sangheili's Fleet of Retribution, under the Special Warfare Group in Fleet Security. While 'Vadum sought to destroy the Flood's presence on Installation 05 with most of the fleet, Usze traveled to Earth with the Arbiter, N'tho 'Sraom, UNSC Commander Miranda Keyes, and Sergeant Major Avery Johnson.
Battle of Installation 00
On November 17, 2552, the Forerunner Dreadnought activated the Portal at Voi. Soon after, the Fleet of Retribution traveled through the portal and arrived at Installation 00 where they started their naval attack on Covenant loyalist ships. Usze was sent to the surface with a squad of Sangheili soldiers commanded by Thel 'Vadam to assist UNSC forces with deactivating the three shield generators protecting the Citadel. Usze and the rest of the squad succeeded in deactivating one of the generators while John-117 deactivated another, however the UNSC forces in the third generator were overrun and were forced to retreat. Usze left the generator building with the squad and linked up with the other UNSC forces and they managed to deactivate the final generator, causing a section of the shield to fall. Usze and the rest of the UNSC and Sangheili forces fought their way to the Citadel and eventually reached the light bridge leading to the entrance. Usze, accompanied by the Arbiter, John-117 and a few Marines and Sangheili fought their way through the Citadel, allowing John-117 to deactivate the Halo Array and the Arbiter to kill the Prophet of Truth.
Following the onset of the Great Schism, he was once again approached by the Ascetics to become one of their emissaries to the navy of the Swords of Sanghelios. He eventually became a liaison to the United Nations Space Command, and remained active following the end of the war. He also served as a valued liaison between several Sangheili factions and feuding keeps. In addition, 'Taham increasingly diverted his attention to dealings of his families' keep and the legacy of Toha 'Sumai. 'Taham helped resurrect the Ascetic guard, allowing its members to battle the Jiralhanae.
In 2555, he served the Arbiter during the ongoing civil war that encroached Sanghelios. Upon learning of a plot to assassinate Thel 'Vadam, Usze helped track down half a dozen conspirators and either killed or interrogated them. The interrogated Sangheili revealed that the plan was engineered by Otar 'Bemet and Usze traveled to his location in Qish'tani, Tolvuus aboard a Banshee. Otar attempted to convince Usze to join his cause against the Arbiter and humanity, though he refused. A duel began between the two in which Usze feigned incompetence. Otar overestimated his skills and was taken by surprise when Usze avoided his attack, which gave Usze an opening to kill the rebel Sangheili. After the mission, though he wished to return to his keep, the Arbiter ordered for Usze to visit his own keep. Upon arriving in Vadam, the Arbiter informed Usze that UNSC scientists had discovered that the Halo Array's firing sequence had been activated. Thel assigned him and N'tho to lead the Swords of Sanghelios half of a joint human–Sangheili team tasked with journeying to Installation 00 with the intentions of deactivating the sequence.
Operation: FAR STORM
Usze traveled to Earth aboard the corvette Mayhem. Upon arriving, he descended to the surface in a Phantom at the site of the deactivated portal in Kenya, Africa that led to the Ark. Along with N'tho and Huragok Drifts Randomly, he greeted the humans and began working to reactivate the portal. Two days after their arrival, Usze was watching Drifts work, alongside Olympia Vale. When the Huragok successfully managed to activate the portal, the three returned to the surface to witness its activation. Shortly after, Usze noticed a Retriever exiting the portal. As the massive construct began collecting resources from Earth's surface nearby, Usze grabbed Vale and escaped Retriever's path of destruction, with Drifts Randomly following closely behind them. After the Retriever was destroyed by UNSC forces, all members of the expedition team met aboard Mayhem, at N'tho's request. When Captain Annabelle Richards insisted that they required her superior's permission before entering the portal, N'tho regardless moved the corvette towards the portal as he and Usze felt that they could not waste time waiting for administrative consent. As they prepared to enter, Mayhem was attacked by another Retriever. The corvette managed to destroy the Sentinel and continued through the slipspace portal. The trip only took several hours rather than several weeks, as expected—due to an increase in the portal's power by monitor 000 Tragic Solitude. Upon exiting slipspace, Mayhem was attacked by dozens of heavily armed Retrievers and the corvette ultimately crash landed on the surface of the Ark.
The mission's team—Usze, N'tho, Kola 'Baoth, Zon 'Vadum, Vale, Richards, Holt, Spartan Frank Kodiak, Luther Mann, Henry Lamb, ten UNSC Marines, and Drifts—left the Mayhem and began venturing towards the Ark's Citadel to stop the Halo Array's activation. After encountering peaceful olfmeri, the group was attacked by a pack of blind wolves. The group remained silent and still at Vale's insistence, and the blind wolves moved on. However, they were promptly attacked by chaefka. During the skirmish, Vale was knocked unconscious and was subjected to the psychotropic effect generated by an agent released by a chaefka which caused her to leave the area with the animal. When Vale's disappearance was noticed, Richards ordered Usze, Holt, and Lamb to track her down by following her footprints in the snow leading towards the center of the Ark while the rest of the team continued towards the Citadel. While searching for Vale, the three lost communications with the rest of the team and increased snowfall prevented them from following Vale's footprints. The group resolved to continue to the Citadel, hoping to either encounter Vale or the rest of the team. Along their journey, they were attacked by four armiger constructs. The armigers attempted to kill the group by rolling trees and rocks down mountains towards them. Having barely avoided the attacks, the three chose to make a stand against the armigers and destroyed the constructs. More armigers arrived at their location via slipspace portals, though Usze and Holt, with some help from Lamb, managed to destroy most of the armigers, while the surviving constructs fled. However, the armiger's attack further displaced the group from tracking down Vale's location. As they continued towards the Citadel, the three were suddenly attacked by a mobile, carnivorous plant, which forced them to take cover in a nearby cave up on a cliffside. However, communications were enabled between both groups by Tragic Solitude, allowing Holt to contact Spartan Kodiak and request for support. Kodiak arrived and engaged the plant, allowing Usze to sneak behind it and kill it with his energy sword.
Eventually, both groups met up at the entrance of the Citadel and continued on together. Inside the structure, Mann shut down the firing sequence, but the team was promptly attacked by armigers. As the constructs arrived at their position in waves, Usze, Mann, Lamb, Drifts, and Kola retreated down an elevator shaft, while the rest of the team escaped through a portal created by an Armiger. Finding themselves within the Citadel's inner tunnels, the group discovered its damaged, central power station. While Drifts worked on repairing the station, Lamb was killed by a Sentinel, which was immediately destroyed by Usze. Utilizing a local map, Drifts discovered the Citadel's exit. However, the group came across a heavy, locked door blocking their path, with the Foundry's control suite on the other side, followed by the Citadel's exit. Usze and Kola managed to lift the door, which allowed Mann and Drifts to slide through. While waiting for Drifts to gain access to the controls and open the door, the two Sangheili were ambushed and attacked by dozens of armigers. Meanwhile, Drifts infiltrated the Ark's systems and took control of the installation from the rampant Tragic Solitude. By the time Drifts managed to open the door, Usze and Kola had defeated the armigers, though they were moderately wounded. While Drifts maintained control of the Ark's systems, the Spartans, N'tho, and Zon located Vale and engaged the monitor. After they managed to destroy Tragic Solitude, Usze, Kola, Mann, and Drifts arrived and regrouped with the rest of the team. Afterwards, the team returned to Mayhem, only being threatened by a small pack of blind wolves along the way. Shortly afterwards, UNSC Witness entered Earth's slipspace portal and arrived at the Ark. Mayhem and its crew were brought aboard the UNSC carrier and returned to Earth.
Personality and traits
Usze 'Taham is an independent, resourceful, and vigilant Sangheili. Usze is notably honorable, and was considered worthy enough to be recruited by the Ascetics. He is known to display a tempered zeal in combat that is considered to be unusual for a warrior of his relatively young age. Usze preferred to anticipate situations and problems and remain constantly on guard, rather than react to and deal with an unexpected situation as it occurred. Usze rarely chose to sit, as he believed that the action lacked a purpose and only contributed to a lack of preparedness to an unexpected difficulty. He declined his invitation to join the Covenant Honor Guard as he felt that his skills could be best used elsewhere. Additionally, Usze held less interest in ceremonial positions and honorable titles than in personal deeds and actions. He believes that he was born to fight, which he realizes that he does quite capably. Usze attempts to never hold regret in regards to how he handles a situation, but instead looks at the victories drawn from the situation's outcome. Usze found human laughter to be "ridiculous"; he believes humans only appear threatened or frightened when they express laughter.
Usze apparently holds some diplomatic skills, as he was twice approached by the Ascetics to become one of their liaisons for the Covenant, and later the Swords of Sanghelios. He was also selected by Arbiter Thel 'Vadam to serve as an emissary of sorts to the Unified Earth Government, during joint missions between the two governments. Usze has little to no disdain for humans; even after spending the entirety of his service in the Covenant slaughtering humans, he recognized that they had committed no crimes as the San'Shyuum decreed. Usze, as a warrior, held that ending the life of another individual was a grave responsibility, nor did he feel any pleasure from killing—particularly if he respected the said individual. However, he never experienced any pangs of regret, as Usze felt content with successfully completing a mission. Over the course of his return to the Ark, Usze developed a sense of respect for Olympia Vale, finding her to be interesting. After the mission, Usze comforted Vale aboard Mayhem, who was saddened that her diplomatic skills proved useless against 000 Tragic Solitude. 'Taham came to respect Luther Mann and Henry Lamb, and was saddened upon his death. Stating that Lamb was a comrade and a warrior, Usze encouraged Mann to mourn the death of his friend.
Skills and abilities
Usze 'Taham is an incredibly skilled Sangheili, famed one of the deadliest Special Operations commandos alive. His skill in combat and war has proved invaluable in his service with the Swords of Sanghelios. Trained aggressively in his youth by Toha 'Sumai, Usze 'Taham is a skilled combatant. He significantly refined his capabilities with an energy sword and other weaponry at Yermo's war college and ultimately graduated with top honors. Having proven his skills at the war college, Usze attracted the attention of several individuals "in high places". As a warrior of Sumai keep, Usze was trained to recognize and counter 'Anyame technique. During his duel with Otar 'Bemet, Usze was able to recognize his opponent's use of the method and counter it by feigning incompetence and hiding his true skills. Even at a young age, 'Taham proved to be a prodigy in combat.
'Taham is renowned for displaying incredible prowess with the energy sword and Type-25 plasma rifle. Known to deftly wield an energy sword, Usze operates the weapon with remarkable speed and power. Usze is able to use the blade of his energy sword to block shots from energy rifles. During Operation: FAR STORM, Usze engaged numerous armigers head-to-head and succeeded in destroying the constructs, despite the size, swiftness, and dexterity of the armigers. His skill against the constructs proved useful when Usze, along with Kola 'Baoth, were forced to defeat dozens of armigers in a small room, with only his energy sword.
During the initial outbreak of the Great Schism in late 2552, Usze wore a custom assault harness with a distinctive claret color. Having trained extensively in swordsmanship, Usze prefers to fight with his Type-1 energy sword whenever possible. Following the dissolution of the Covenant, Usze began using some weapons of pre-Covenant design, which were considered to invoke ancient Sangheili heritage. His energy sword has a traditional, pre-Covenant design that displays intriguing ridges with an upper blade significantly longer than the lower blade. Usze armed himself with an old, modified design Type-51 carbine. As of 2555, Usze began to don a combat harness with crimson and ivory coloring. Polished, though battle-scarred, Usze's armor was similar to the combat harness worn by N'tho 'Sraom.
List of appearances