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- "This may be the greatest archaeological boon we have ever received as scholars, but it is certainly the most perilous. Be careful."
- — Doctor William Iqbal
Doctor William Arthur Iqbal is a human scientist and one of the handful of experts in the field of xenoarchaeology. Iqbal oversaw the study at the Department of Xenoarchaeological Studies at the University of Edinburgh. In 2553, after the end of the Human-Covenant War, Iqbal was employed by the Office of Naval Intelligence for his extensive knowledge in xenoarchaeology.
Excession at Voi
In January 31, 2553, Iqbal sent a message to his fellow security-cleared colleagues in which he addressed the classified nature of their research and informed that they now worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence as per ONI Emergency Order 1416-2, regardless of their original post and designation. In the letter, he also discussed the post-war situation and the relations with former Covenant races, suspecting humanity would continue to compete with them for information about Forerunner relics. Iqbal also discussed some details concerning their research of Forerunner artifacts, especially the slipspace portal generator in Africa which he referred to as the "Excession at Voi". He announced that the investigation of the Ross-Ziegler Blip would be re-opened due to its connection with the mass extinction event that coincided with the activation of the Halo Array.
That month, he published a peer-reviewed paper based off his research conducted on the Portal at Voi, in which he regarded the portal as perhaps the greatest boon in xenoarchaeology, but also issued caution for the dangers it may pose. The need for research at the portal bought Iqbal's department resources to investigate alongside Calcutta University's Department of Xenobiology. He also called for the review of the research on the Forerunners gathered on Coral, Heian, Reach, and other worlds.
Work for ONI
In March 2555, Iqbal was present for a meeting by the Office of Naval Intelligence in Sydney's HIGHCOM Facility. He was joined by CINCONI Serin Osman, several military representatives, and Doctor Bob Casper. Iqbal informed them of the countdown Luther Mann and Henry Lamb had discovered on Installation 07, which they correctly suspected was a countdown to the activation of the Halo Array; Iqbal and Casper concurred with their findings. Iqbal suggested that the only way to stop the activation process was at Installation 00, however doubted their ability to reach the Ark and considered the Portal at Voi inoperable. The group decided to reach out to the Swords of Sanghelios for assistance, and ultimately succeeded in disabling the activation process.
In June 2557, Iqbal served as the head of xenoarchaeology for Project: BOOKWORM, an initiative led by Annabelle Richards to locate and interrogate 343 Guilty Spark. Upon hearing word that Guilty Spark may be on Geranos-a, the prowler Bad Moon Rising was dispatched to investigate. While Iqbal was confident that they would be able to hold Guilty Spark once he was on Earth, Richards was less certain. After an exchange between ONI and the salvaging crew of Ace of Spades on Binterall, Richards believed they had obtained Guilty Spark and brought the datacore back to their facility in Voi, where Iqbal was preparing to place the datacore in a containment facility. However, Guilty Spark had only placed a small fragment within the datacore and had remained with the crew of Ace of Spades. Once Ace of Spades arrived in Kenya, Guilty Spark used his fragment to shut down the facility. Iqbal later identified a Lifeworker pod under Mount Kilimanjaro that Guilty Spark had used to converse with an imprint of the Librarian. He further discovered that Guilty Spark and the crew of Ace of Spades had fled using a portal that led to the top of Kilimanjaro.
Personality and traits
William Iqbal has extensive knowledge of all subjects related to xenoarchaeology, a study that he oversees at the University of Edinburgh. However, Serin Osman considers him a self-satisfied prude, though she tolerated him for his expertise in xenoarchaeology. Despite Osman's reservations, Iqbal placed great trust and held utter confidence in Doctor Luther Mann, a fellow xenoarchaeologist who Iqbal considered to be the preeminent expert in Forerunner culture.
Iqbal wore thick glasses, which he did not need with modern advances. However, like many scholars, he wore them as a sign of respect for old traditions.
List of appearances
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- From the Office of Dr. William Arthur Iqbal (First appearance)
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark
- Halo: Renegades