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The Master Chief
The Master Chief

The Master Chief is the faceless supersoldier protagonist of Bungie's Halo series. He has appeared in the series' main games, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 4 and as an easter egg in Halo:Reach, as well as numerous comic books and novels. Bungie conceptual artist Shi Kai Wang created the Master Chief's original design. When his first version was transferred to 3D, however, the character looked almost effeminate, so his armor was bulked up and tinted green, resulting in the Master Chief seen today. He is voiced by Chicago disc jockey Steve Downes, who previously worked with Bungie composer Martin O'Donnell on the RPG Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator. When casting started for the Chief's voice, O'Donnell thought of Downes for the role due to their previous experience together.

History, Childhood, SPARTAN Program and Reach

Born in about 2510, John lived with his mother and father in Elysium City, on the colony world of Eridanus II. He attended the Elysium City Primary Education Facility Number 119. As a child, John had brown hair, freckles, and a small gap between his front teeth. In a memory, John recalled that his mother "kind and smelled of soap." The would-be UNSC Marine Lieutenant Parisa was a childhood friend of John's. John once saved her from drowning at Lake Gusev, after which John promised to marry her and keep her safe. A photo of the two was also taken by Parisa's father soon after, and would be kept as a memory by Parisa long after she thought John had passed away.

John as a child
John as a child

At the age of six, he was identified by Dr. Catherine Halsey as one of 150 preliminary candidates for the SPARTAN-II Program. John was an ideal physical and mental candidate, standing a head taller than the majority of his schoolmates, having greater physical proportions, possessing greater strength, exhibiting superior reflexes, and having an aggressive drive for success. When Dr. Halsey and Lieutenant Jacob Keyes visited Eridanus II in 2517 to study him, they were impressed with his intellect and luck. In a final test of his viability as a candidate, he was asked to determine which side an old coin would land on. He watched the coin as it flew in the air and caught it before it could land; correctly stating which side was face-up, on the side of the eagle. Later that same year, John and 74 other six-year-old children were "conscripted": they were covertly kidnapped from their homes and replaced with flash clones, all of which would later die of natural causes to cover up the kidnappings. John, along with the other candidates, was taken to the planet of Reach. Dr. Halsey informed them of the SPARTAN-II Program and how they would be the protectors of Earth and all her colonies. The next morning John discovered his service tag, stitched into his training uniform, and his new name: John-117.

John began a new life, training with other Spartans under Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez. For eight years he learned history, military strategy, weapons, and was given physical fitness training. Early on, he bonded with Kelly and Sam, who would become two of the few close friends he would ever have.

During his training, John quickly proved himself to be considered one of the program's top candidates. Both Dr. Halsey and Chief Mendez identified him as one of four emerging leaders within the Spartan-II group, along with Kurt-051, Jerome-092, and Frederic-104. Dr. Halsey expressed her belief the most strongly in John as having the skills and natural ability to lead the entire Spartan-II group, although Mendez disagreed, instead believing Kurt would fulfill that role.

When the Spartans were eight years old, they were sent on a training mission in which they were dropped over a forest located deep in one of Reach's snow-filled mountain ranges and expected to get safely to their extraction Pelican dropship. The children also had instructions to leave the last child arriving behind, or the punishment would be painful, but John-117 knew that he could not do that. After telling the Spartans where to meet, the Spartans looked to him as their leader, a role he was initially surprised to be given, but eventually accepted. When the group came upon the Pelican, it was guarded by armed men. Those men were actually UNSC Marines, but were not in uniform, thus leading the Spartans to mistake for a hostile threat. John showed early acumen in critical thinking and tactics, not wishing to take for granted that guards would be friendly toward them. He came up with a plan to take the men down, capture the dropship, and ensure the safe extraction of every team member, as he made sure he was the last person aboard. To do this he ended up hijacking the dropship with the help of Déjà, and beat down the men with stones, causing severe injuries among the Marines. Chief Mendez was not visibly pleased, as John had attacked his Marines and no one had been left behind. But both Mendez and Halsey recognized John's initiative, and promoted him to squad leader. After this, despite other Spartans rising in rank and at least a couple rising to lead their own teams, he remained the de facto leader of the Spartans as a whole.

Before he was the Chief
Before he was the Chief

John's leadership skills were correctly observed, as the result from their mission clearly solidified his role as the overall leader of the Spartan-IIs. He also became the established leader of the Spartan-II's Blue Team.

At the age of fourteen, John underwent the dangerous SPARTAN-II augmentation procedures. These procedures caused 30 of the Spartan trainees to die, and 12 to become physically disabled. John was one of 33 Spartans who made it through the process unscathed, while the rest who could still operate were sent for jobs in the Office of Naval Intelligence. At only fourteen years old, it is said that John had a body of an eighteen-year old Olympic athlete; the augmentation process gave the Spartans faster reflexes, greater strength, enhanced eyesight, and made their bones nearly unbreakable. Following their augmentation procedures, John and the other Spartans were transferred to the Atlas in order to recover in a microgravity environment. During his first visit to the Atlas' gym, John was confronted by four ODSTs, whose sergeant then ordered the five of them into the boxing ring. In the ensuing fight, John killed two of the ODSTs, and left the others severely injured, an incident which quickly blossomed into major resentment for the whole SPARTAN program throughout the Marine Corps. According to Major Antonio Silva, this incident was orchestrated by the Office of Naval Intelligence in order to test the Spartans' augmentations.

Fighting some ODST's
Fighting some ODST's

John's first mission was against rebels in the asteroid belt of the Eridanus system, where his home world was located. He was shot in the side by live ammunition while leading his squad to capture rebel leader Colonel Robert Watts, without heavily injuring him. The mission casualty list is 11 dead rebel soldiers and an un-known number of rebel civilians. He received a Purple Heart after this mission for taking a round in the side.

Three months after the Eridanus mission, John and his Spartans were briefed on the massacre that took place on Harvest shortly after first contact with the Covenant. A short time later, the UNSC Commonwealth, under the command of Captain Wallace, brought the Spartans and Dr. Halsey to the Damascus Testing Facility at Chi Ceti, where they received the MJOLNIR Mark IV Powered Assault Armor. When a Covenant ship, the Unrelenting, attacked the Commonwealth, John and the SPARTAN-IIs took part in their first battle with the Covenant. The Spartans used thrusters to launch from a Pelican dropship. Each Spartan carried an ANVIL-II Air-to-Surface Missile to destroy the Covenant ship. Only two other Spartans made it to the ship with John: Samuel-034 and Kelly-087. They entered the ship through a hole in its hull, caused by a MAC round from the Commonwealth. They succeeded in completing the mission and destroyed the Covenant ship, but due to a breach in Sam's armor, caused by retaliation fire from Covenant forces, he was unable to leave the Covenant ship. Volunteering to stay behind and ensure the destruction of the enemy vessel, Sam was killed in the ensuing explosion. John was affected profoundly at the loss of one of his friends. This UNSC victory against the Covenant showed John that the Covenant weren't invincible and could be beaten, but at a very high cost. John and the remaining Spartans would fight the Covenant for the next 27 years, employing their MJOLNIR armor.

John in the suit
John in the suit

In 2544, John, along with Fred-104, Kelly-087, Solomon-069 and Arthur-079, was part of a mission to rescue Dr. Catherine Halsey from a Covenant fleet. The team utilized OF92/EVA "Booster Frame" fighters, which were designed for ship boarding actions, and infiltrated a Covenant Assault Carrier. Aboard the Assault Carrier, John encountered Major Domo Thel 'Lodamee, who challenged John to an Energy Sword duel. Thel was forced out of the duel when his Fleetmaster separated the lower section of the Assault Carrier to kill the Spartan, pulling him back into the upper section. Both combatants were left unscathed. The Spartans completed the mission and rescued Dr. Halsey, but Arthur and Solomon were killed. John was saddened by his teammates' deaths and vowed to be stronger and never let such a loss happen again.

John served in over 200 missions against the Covenant, including the Harvest Campaign, the Battle of Jericho VII, where he and a handful of Spartans single-handedly killed over a thousand Grunts, and the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, in which John and his Blue Team detonated a HAVOK Nuclear Warhead to clear Covenant forces from the city of Côte d'Azur. This was one of only a few UNSC victories against the Covenant. By summer of 2552, he had received every medal awarded by the UNSC except the Prisoner of War Medallion, the reason being that Covenant forces do not take prisoners, and John would not allow himself or any other SPARTAN-II to be captured by the enemy.

The Fall of Reach

The Fall of Reach, though brief, was of great significance to John. It was here he received the MJOLNIR Mark V Powered Assault Armor, which improved his strength and reaction time more effectively than his older Mark IV suit. And it was here were he was introduced the AI Cortana, who would later become a close friend and an ally to him. In the first test of their partnership, they were put through a practically suicide test in an attempt by Colonel Ackerson to get rid of the Chief. John refused to cheat and was determined to win by Ackerson's rules. Despite nearly getting killed, Cortana and John's teamwork had them pass the test in an early show of the incredible partnership they would later come to develop.

The majority of the Spartans, led by Fred S-104, was sent to the planet's surface to defend the Orbital Defense Generators, which powered the planet's twenty Orbital Defense Platforms. John, with Linda and James-005, was sent to Reach Station Gamma to destroy a unsecured NAV database aboard the UNSC Circumference. If the Covenant obtained the database, they would discover the location of every human world, including Earth; the location of Earth was still a closely guarded secret.

The database was destroyed, but Linda and James were ambushed by Covenant Elites; James was lost in space, and Linda was critically wounded. John saved four marines, including Sergeant Johnson. The team returned to the UNSC Pillar of Autumn and was placed into cryo-sleep as ship landed on, and then fled Reach, and following the Cole Protocol, jumped into slipspace with coordinates deducted by Cortana from constellation data retrieved earlier, in hopes of leading the Covenant away from Earth.

This is when Halo: Combat Evolved takes place.

Physical Appearance

Until Halo 4, Master Chief was never seen outside of his armor; the only description of his appearance is in the novel The Flood, where he is described as being quite tall, with short hair, serious eyes, and rugged facial features. He is also apparently very pale, more than likely due to spending most of his time in the suit. Out of his armor it has been stated that he stands at six feet, eight inches tall, and weighs 287 pounds.

No Caption Provided

In Halo 4, after completing the game on legendary difficulty, a cut scene will play in which Master Chief's helmet is lifted and the parts of his face around his eyes revealed.

The Chief's armored, faceless visage has become iconic and synonymous with the Halo franchise. Among other things, his MJOLNIR suit gives him advanced protection from damage, a recharging shield system, and enhanced physical abilities.

Halo: The Fall of Reach

The first Halo novel
The first Halo novel

Halo: The Fall of Reach, by Eric Nylund, was the first book written in the Halo franchise and a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved, depicting the beginning of the SPARTAN-II program to struggle to the defense of "Reach" from the Covenant onslaught. The novel portrays a younger and newly promoted Captain Jacob Keyes and Dr. Catherine Halsey on a mission to find subjects for the SPARTAN-II program. On one of these missions, they find themselves on Eridanus-II, watching a freckled boy defeat his playmates in King of the Hill. Dr. Halsey flips a coin to determine the whether she will take the boy. This is the beginning of the Chief's so-called luck throughout the rest of the franchise. The boy is later kidnapped and enrolled in the SPARTAN-II program rising to the grade of Petty-Officer 2nd class and squad leader of the other Spartans.

In 2552, (25 years later) the Master Chief has a mission to capture and control a Covenant spaceship for research and analysis, with the aid of the Pillar of Autumn, commanded by Captain Keyes. However, the mission is soon interrupted when Reach is attacked by a Covenant armada. The Master Chief and the Spartans quickly go to aid the doomed planet. Unfortunately, the battle is lost and the Spartans are assumed dead when the planet is glassed by the Covenant. The Master Chief escapes with Cortana on a starship called the Pillar of Autumn, using the slipspace coordinates she acquired from a Forerunner artifact discovered on Reach. This leads them to the discovery of Halo and the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved.

Halo: Combat Evolved / Halo: The Flood

A novel depicting the events of Halo: Combat Evolved in greater detail
A novel depicting the events of Halo: Combat Evolved in greater detail

Halo: The Flood, written in 2003 by William Deitz, follows the story arc of Halo: Combat Evolved, depicting in greater detail, the struggle between the human and the Covenant on a personal level. The novel opens in 2552, with the Pillar of Autumn crew discovering Halo and seemingly a Covenant fleet waiting for them. The Covenant refuse to engage in ship to ship combat, for fear of damaging the sacred ring. The aliens then board the Pillar of Autumn. Meanwhile, the Master Chief is being awoken from cryo-sleep in order to aid in the defense of the Autumn. Once awoken, the Chief receives Cortana from Captain Jacob Keyes with orders to prevent her capture. He then escapes from the damaged ship on an escape pod, crash landing on Halo.

The novel then follows the Master Chief's endeavors, which can also be played in Halo: Combat Evolved. However the novel does expand on the story with the characters Major Antonio Silva and Melissa Mckay as they lead Orbital Drop Shock Troops (ODSTs) in combat against the Covenant. The Chief then rescues Captain Keyes from the Covenant ship Truth and Reconciliation, where Keyes reveals all the secrets of Halo he has overheard from the Covenant throughout his stay; mainly that Halo is an unimaginably powerful weapon.

While the Master Chief is attempting to unearth the whereabouts of a lost squad, he comes across the helmet of Pvt. Wallace Jenkins. Using the video playback feature, he uncovers the fate which befell the lost soldiers: annihilated without mercy by a new enemy, a parasitic alien life form known as the Flood. 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor of Installation 04, approaches the Chief and enlists him for the endeavor of activating Halo. As the Chief is about to activate the ring, an infuriated Cortana stops him in his tracks. Subsequently the true nature of Halo is unveiled: the ring does not destroy the Flood, it destroys their "food"; an activation of the Halo array would destroy all sentient life in the galaxy, effectively wiping out the Flood by starving them to death. The Master Chief is then forced to defend himself against the Monitor's Sentinels, the Flood, and the still-hostile Covenant. Along the way, Captain Keyes is killed by the flood, and the Chief makes his escape from Halo while the Pillar of Autumn's fusion reactors explode, destroying the ring itself. The novel ends with the Chief in a Longsword space fighter, drifting among the wreckage of Halo, preparing for his next move.

Halo: First Strike

Bridging the gap between Halo 1 and 2, First Strike also picks up where
Bridging the gap between Halo 1 and 2, First Strike also picks up where "Fall of Reach" left off

Halo: First Strike, by Eric Nylund, was written in 2003, transcribing the events that transpired between Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2. The novel starts right after the last scene in Halo: Combat Evolved with the Master Chief's ship floating in space. Cortana soon finds a suspicious spacecraft adrift in the wreckage remaining after the destruction of Installation 04. On board they discover Corporal Locklear, Sergeant Johnson and others. The Chief initially suspects Johnson of being a Flood form, since he saw him overcome by an infection form on the Private Jenkins recording. It is later discovered that Johnson has a rare medical condition that renders him immune to the Flood.

The Master Chief and his newly acquired squad commandeer a Covenant ship called the Ascendant Justice while it is patrolling through the wreckage. The humans then pilot the ship to get back to Reach; upon arrival the Master Chief recognizes a signal their ship intercepts saying "Oly Oly Oxen Free", a signal which the Spartans used when they were in training on Reach. The Chief concludes that there are surviving Spartans on the glassed planet. After landing, the Master Chief meets several Spartans, Dr. Halsey, and Vice Admiral Whitcomb; who ordered his own rescue during the battle for Reach. The reason for the Covenant not glassing this section of the planet perplexes everyone until it is revealed that the Covenant are seeking a Forerunner crystal. With the Covenant unwilling to damage the crystal in any way, the humans are able to avoid being fired upon for some time. Meanwhile, Cortana, still aboard the Ascendant Justice has uncovered that the Covenant have acquired the location of Earth and are preparing for an invasion.

The humans arm a Nova Thermonuclear mine, which is capable of destroying a planet and escape to the Ascendant Justice using the grav lift. Before they manage to escape, the Covenant seriously damage the Ascendant Justice, leaving only one plasma cannon capable of firing. The Master Chief recalls the location of a rebel base (which he invaded on his first mission) hidden in an asteroid. The humans enlist the aid of the rebels for repairs against the impending Covenant attack. Dr. Halsey instructs Locklear to prevent the Covenant from acquiring the Forerunner crystal, then abducts the unconscious Spartan Kelly on one of the rebels' ships, leaving the others confused and betrayed by her actions. Locklear acts on his orders by destroying the crystal, resulting in his death as well. Fortunately, the destruction of the crystal ends the ability of the Covenant to track the ship's movement.

While the fall of Earth is imminent, the Spartans determine that any time possibly acquired by delaying the Covenant was well worth the cost. The Spartans then launch a covert attack on the Covenant space-station, Unyielding Hierophant, where the Covenant are amassing their ships for impending invasion *. The Spartans set the space-station to self-destruct and escape, although losing one Spartan to their first encounter with Brutes. Vice Admiral Whitcomb then performs the most heroic action of his lifetime; he single-handedly baits the entire Covenant fleet to encircle the Unyielding Hierophant at the time of the explosion, destroying almost all of the ships. While this effort would only hinder the Covenant effort, every hour bought for humanity's preparation would crucial for the defence of the last human sanctuary, Earth.

* The fact that the Covenant know the location of Earth and are prepared for the invasion of Earth is implied in this novel. However, this contradicts Cortana's acquired information at the beginning of Halo 2, when she uncovers the fact that the Covenant were surprised to find humans or any resistance on Earth.

Halo 2

In the beginning of Halo 2, the Master Chief gets a new set of armor, MJOLNIR Mark VI, and attends an award ceremony for his acts of heroism in the first game. During this award ceremony, Cortana detects Covenant ships in the solar system and soon, the Covenant invasion of Earth begins. The Master Chief is tasked to stop the Covenant from destroying the Orbital MAC Platforms of Earth, specifically Cairo Station and ends up disarming a powerful Covenant bomb. The Chief then returns the favor by doing a zero g jump and using the bomb to destroy one of the two Carriers heading to Earth's orbit. The Chief escapes in time and lands on the In Amber Clad, a UNSC Frigate, led by Commander Miranda Keyes, the daughter of the late Jacob Keyes.

Master Chief in Halo 2
Master Chief in Halo 2

On Earth, the Master Chief is soon tasked with getting on board the Carrier, where the Covenant Prophet of Regret is. During this mission, the Pelican troop transport he is in gets shot down by a Covenant siege weapon called a Scarab, and he is tasked with bringing down the Scarab before getting aboard the carrier. He successfully boards the Scarab and kills its crew, but finds out that the Carrier is making a Slipspace jump in the city itself. The Chief returns to the In Amber Clad, which follows the carrier as it jumps, destroying the city.

When In Amber Clad and the Covenant Carrier come out though, they find another Halo ring, dubbed "Delta Halo". The Chief gets word that the Covenant Carrier was stopped above the ring and that the Prophet had landed on the surface. Thus, he was sent with a group of ODSTs to track him down. On their way, they gain confirmation that the Prophet of Regret wants to activate the Halo array, which would still destroy the vast majority of life in the galaxy, even with Installation 04 destroyed. To make things worse, A huge Covenant fleet, including the mobile Covenant holy city, High Charity, arrives at Delta Halo. However the Master Chief eventually makes it to the Prophet of Regret and kills him. When trying to escape, the temple the Prophet was in is vaporized by Covenant weaponry, and the Chief was hurled into the oceans below. He was then captured by the Gravemind, the central intelligence of the Flood.

When he regains consciousness, the Master Chief finds himself in the clutches of the Gravemind, along with a skilled Covenant soldier known as the Arbiter. Together, they are tasked by the Gravemind to stop the Prophet of Truth from activating the Halo array with the key, called the Index. The Chief is teleported straight to High Charity in the middle of a 3-Way-battle between the Prophets and their allies, the defecting Elites and their allies, and the invading Flood. But he was too late, Truth escaped just before the Chief caught up with him, and he then finds out from the abandoned Prophet of Mercy that Truth is headed for Earth on a Forerunner ship that actually powered High Charity. Cortana asks the Master Chief to stop Truth by boarding the ship, saying that if Truth led the ship to Earth, the humans won't stand a chance. However, Cortana stays behind in case she needed to blow up the now crashed In Amber Clad's reactors, which would destroy High Charity, and Delta Halo in turn. The Chief agrees and makes it on board the Forerunner ship just in time, following Truth to Earth.

When the ship reaches Earth, the Master Chief establishes contact with fleet commander Lord Terrance Hood, announcing his intention of 'finishing the fight'.

Halo 3

The Chief, after landing in the forest
The Chief, after landing in the forest

On November 17th, 2552, two weeks after the events of Halo 2, Master Chief John-117 crashes through Earth's atmosphere onto an east African jungle. After Sergeant Major Avery Junior Johnson rescues the "Chief," Thel 'Vadam and a handful of Marines, heads toward the extraction point. Covenant forces are sighted in the area and Johnson splits the group to reduce their chances of getting spotted. John-117 and Thel 'Vadam continue on their way to the extraction zone with the second squad, fighting off numerous Covenant troops in the process, but upon reaching the extraction zone, Avery Johnson's Pelican group consisting of two Pelicans, are ambushed and shot down by Banshees. Johnson and his men are then captured and taken prisoner by a number of Brutes led by a Brute Chieftain. John-117, Thel 'Vadam, and company fight their way through hordes of enemies and eventually rescue them, after which a Pelican piloted by "Hocus" arrives and picks them up.

The Crow's Nest HQ
The Crow's Nest HQ

The Pelican brings them to Crow's Nest which is used as a local base of operations by the UNSC. Here, Commander Miranda Keyes and Lord Hood plan a last-ditch effort to stop the Covenant from activating a Forerunner artifact uncovered outside the ruins of the city of New Mombasa. If activated, this artifact will activate the Halo Array and wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy. Their plan is to have John-117 and a small group of marines punch a hole in Truth's anti-air defenses, so that Lord Hood can initiate a low level air-strike on the artifact. Their planning is quickly interrupted when power is cut and the High Prophet of Truth broadcasts an announcement to all surviving human forces that their doom is inevitable. Soon after that, the Covenant Loyalists discover the facility and mount a heavy assault. After a brief struggle, the outpost is lost and is destroyed by a bomb activated by John-117. Deep underground, the Master Chief regroups with the surviving Marines and makes his way into the African City of Voi, Kenya via theTsavo Highway. Sometime afterward, John-117 along with a handful of Marines destroy the Covenant anti-air defenses, Lord Hood leads the last of Earth's military ships against Truth and the artifact. As Hood mounts his attack on Prophet, Truth activates the artifact and creates an enormous slipspace portal, into which all the Covenant ships retreat.

At the same time, a Covenant cruiser controlled by the Flood, a parasitic species which nearly wiped out the Forerunners, arrives suddenly via slipspace and crashes in Voi, the parasite quickly spreads throughout the entire city. As the Human forces attempt to fight the infestation, many are infected by the Flood. The Covenant Separatists lead by Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum, arrives at Earth and assists the struggle against the infestation. The Elites inform Commander Keyes that a UNSC construct is aboard the crashed Flood ship, and identified it as Cortana. After retrieving Cortana, John-117 returned to the Shadow of Intent to oversee the repairs made by 343 Guilty Spark. However, it is only a recorded message from her. Cortana's message says that the Gravemind is coming to Earth with an army of Flood, and that on the other side of the portal is a solution to the Flood infestation, without having to fire the rings. Lord Hood questions Cortana's plan, assuming that it could be a Flood trap, but John-117 firmly tells Hood that he trusts her.

The Forerunner portal
The Forerunner portal

Lord Hood and his UNSC forces remain on Earth to defend it against the incoming Flood invasion while Commander Keyes, John-117, and the Elites journeys through the Portal. Arriving at the Ark, the Covenant Separatist engages the Covenant Loyalist fleet while the UNSC launches a ground campaign. After landing on the Ark, 343 Guilty Spark helps lead the Master Chief and UNSC forces to the Ark's Cartographer, the map room of the Ark, to locate the Control Room of the Ark. In order to access the Control Room, the UNSC and the Covenant Separatists must deactivate three shield generators which are inside three separate towers. While SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter succeed in deactivating the first and second towers, Johnson radios Keyes, telling her that he must retreat due to the heavy enemy assault. When John-117 and the Elites arrived to the third tower, Johnson and his men are nowhere to be seen. After the final shield barrier protecting the Control Room deactivates, the Flood-infested High Charity arrives via slipspace and crashes onto the Ark, releasing many Flood dispersal pods and flood-infested rocks as it falls, causing the Covenant to be ever more prone to lighting the rings .

The Ark's Cartographer
The Ark's Cartographer

After handling the nearby infestation, John-117 leads the remaining UNSC and surviving Sangheili forces via armored vehicles in an assault on the Citadel containing the Control Room, which is heavily defended by Covenant Loyalist forces. Once inside the Citadel, Truth broadcasts his sermon and reveals the captured Johnson to his followers. Just as Truth is about to force Johnson to activate the rings, Keyes crashes into the Control Room using a Pelican. Knowing she can't kill all of the Brutes, Keyes realizes that she must kill Johnson and herself to stop the rings from being activated. From behind, Truth kills Keyes with a Spiker, and then forcing Johnson's hand on the nearby terminal, activates all of the remaining Halos in the galaxy.

Walkway to the Ark
Walkway to the Ark

Just as John-117 and Thel 'Vadam reach the top, two Flood Tank Forms confront them. The Gravemind, communicating through the two Flood forms, urges the two to join forces in stopping the initiation of the Halos and Truth. The Flood help John-117 and Thel 'Vadam reach Truth, taking out the Covenants defences. With the Flood's help, John-117 and Thel 'Vadam slaughtered all the Covenant forces defending Truth. Upon arrival to the Ark's Control Terminal, they find Johnson mourning over the loss of Keyes, and Truth partially infected. Thel 'Vadam, after a short confrontation with Truth over the true purpose of the Halos, executes Truth with his energy sword, claiming he is too dangerous to be kept alive, just as John-117 deactivates all the Halos. Shortly after the deactivation of the Halos, the Gravemind betrays them and prevents the duo from escaping, although Johnson manages to escape using Keyes' crashed Pelican.

The Master Chief and the Arbiter manage to escape from the Citadel via an access tunnel near the elevator they used earlier. John-117 then experiences a hallucination of Cortana and follows the figure to a control panel. He then activated the panel, surprised to see that the Ark was manufacturing a replacement Halo after the destruction of the previous one. Knowing that the threat of the Flood is undeniably apocalyptic, John-117 decides he will activate the new Halo. Needing an Index in order to fire the ring, SPARTAN-117 journeys into the crashed High Charity to retrieve Cortana, keeping his promise and knowing that she still has the Index she acquired from the original Installation 04. Once retrieved, Cortana instructs the SPARTAN to overload High Charity's engines in order to destroy the Gravemind. Thel 'Vadam arrives via Banshee to assist the SPARTAN in fighting the Flood. The two escape from High Charity before it explodes using a damaged but still flyable Pelican.

Chief sees Guilty Spark kill Johnson
Chief sees Guilty Spark kill Johnson

The surviving Sangheili and UNSC personnel return to Earth, leaving only Sergeant Johnson, John-117 with Cortana and the Arbiter to make their way to the new Halo. As they make their way to the new Halo's Control Room, Flood forms arrive via Flood Dispersal Pods to prevent the activation of the Halo. From here, they quickly discover that Gravemind is attempting to reconstruct itself on the new Halo. As Sergeant Johnson tries to activate the ring, 343 Guilty Spark fires his defensive laser at him, mortally wounding Johnson, after realizing that it will destroy the installation. The Monitor then turns against the Master Chief and the Arbiter, blasting the Arbiter out of the Control Room, leaving the SPARTAN to destroy Guilty Spark by himself. John-117 successfully destroys the Monitor with the Spartan Laser and tries to mend Johnson. Mortally wounded, Johnson urged the SPARTAN to send him out "with a bang".

Finally, we won
Finally, we won

With the Halo activated, John-117 and Thel 'Vadam race towards the frigate Forward Unto Dawn using Johnson's Warthog. With no time to reach the cockpit, John-117 uploads Cortana into the frigate to start taking off before the Arbiter is able to take the controls. The front half of the Dawn, containing the Arbiter, makes it through the portal. However, as Halo shakes itself to pieces during its firing sequence and damages the Ark, the portal deactivates as the other half of the Dawn containing Chief and Cortana enter it. This causes them to rip off from the other half of the ship and be sent to an unknown area of space far enough from the Halo's blast, however, since they didn't come out of the other side of the portal, they never make it back to Earth.

Back on Earth, Lord Hood holds a memorial service in honor for those who died in the Human-Covenant war, with the Arbiter and many Marines in attendance. With Truth dead, the Covenant defeated, and the Flood wiped out, the long and devastating war is finally over. Though he says he can never forgive the Arbiter for what the Covenant did to the human race, Lord Hood sincerely thanks him for standing by the Master Chief until the end. After the service, the Covenant Separatists returned to their home planet.

The Legendary Planet
The Legendary Planet

After the credits, it is revealed that John-117 and Cortana are still alive aboard the rear section of the Dawn, which had apparently torn off before going through the other side of the portal. The SPARTAN floats to a cryotube and as he climbs in, Cortana comments "I'll miss you." He replies "Wake me, when you need me." If the last level is completed on Legendary difficulty, the section of Forward Unto Dawn that Cortana and the Chief are aboard is seen drifting towards Requiem, the Shield World encountered in Halo 4.

Halo 4

John-117 in Halo 4.
John-117 in Halo 4.

Master Chief is returning as the main protagonist in Halo 4. Taking place in 2557, the game starts with Cortana waking him up from cryo-sleep as the Forward Unto Dawn crashes towards Requiem.

Master Chief's armor has significantly changed in Halo 4. In the E3 2011 Announcement Trailer, he's seen using a new thruster pack, and his codpiece is removed. 343 Industries has said that there's a story reason for this change. He's also seen using a new pistol, The Sticky Detonator, that fires a single-round explosive projectile.

Master Chief will also talk during gameplay for the first time.

In the E3 2012 Campaign Demo, Master Chief is trying to reach the crashed UNSC ship Infinity. Along the way we see the Chief fight a small group of Covenants before we are introduced the new enemy, The Prometheans. He is later surrounded by them and then knocked unconscious.


Master Chief's personality is much more explored in the books rather than in the games, so when playing the game the player can more easily project their own personalities onto Master Chief.

John-117 has always strove to win any situation, both as a child and as an adult. Prior to becoming a Spartan, he used to win at every game he played, including chess, gravball and King of the Hill. Growing up however, he experienced the value of life, and gave up his personal ambition to win for the well-being of his teammates and civilians as he grew older.

He is extremely determined to complete his mission at all costs, and often disregards his own personal safety and relies on his own abilities and Cortana. He has emerged victorious from situations many would consider impossible. He is not devoid of fear, but he puts the feeling aside, never showing it. John is generally stoic and taciturn, but he is not devoid of any sense of humor. He often makes dry remarks about the situation at hand; though he does this more often when interacting with Cortana than anyone else.

One of the main traits of his personality is his luck, and Dr. Halsey and Cortana comments on this multiple times.

He's also known to show an exceptional care for soldiers under his command. An example of this is when the Pillar of Autumn crash landed on Installation 04, when searching for survivors, he found a soldier that was badly wounded by a Grunt Needler. John retrieved a first aid kit and expertly treated his wounds, and then asked if he was okay, showing that he does have a degree of care and sympathy for other fellow soldiers, even if he does a good job of concealing his feelings.

Physical Description

  • Home World: Eridanus II
  • Height/Weight un-armoured: 6'10"/ 290lbs
  • Hieght/Wieght armoured: 7'2"/ 525lbs
  • Hair color: Brown
  • Eye Color: Blue
  • Spartan Neutral Interface: Cortana

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