HALO 2 (2004)
The Covenant is pissed about the destruction of Halo and eager to find another, similar weapon to use against the humans.
THE NEW CHARACTERS:
Commander Miranda Keyes - Daughter of the late Jacob Keyes, she helms the space frigate In Amber Clad.
Lord Terrence Hood - The admiral responsible for Earth's defense. Old.
The High Prophets - The Covenant's three religious leaders - Truth, Mercy and Regret. They believe that firing the Halos will take their race on a "Great Journey" to join the Forerunner "gods." Delusional.
Arbiter - Disgraced for not protecting the first Halo, this former commander of the Covenant Elites (warrior-protectors of the Prophets) is punished with a series of suicidal missions. Think of him as the tragic, alien equivalent of Master Chief.
The Heretic - A Covenant who questions the teachings of the High Prophets and leads an army of rebels. He's got a name, but you'll never remember it.
Tartarus - The Brutes are a brawny and violent breed of Covenant. This mohawked albino is their chieftain.
Gravemind - An ancient, intelligent and highly conversational product of the Flood. Looks like a big silly plant.
THE STORY IN TWO SENTENCES: The Covenant comes to Earth looking for another Forerunner artifact, but Master Chief not only scares the whole fleet away, he chases after it with his own army, discovering a second Halo (we know!) which the aliens are totally planning to fire, but which they can't because the Chief assassinates one of their three sacred priests while Keyes and Johnson - remembering what happened in the first game - smartly steal the Index key. Meanwhile, the Arbiter is sent to silence that pesky Heretic, who is friends with the Oracle, who happens to be 343 Guilty Spark and whose information on Halo, along with the fact that the Prophets just gave the classy Elites' jobs to the barbarian Brutes, kind of makes the Arbiter begin doubting the truth of this "Great Journey" stuff.
THE TWIST: The Flood is unleashed - again. Gravemind, seemingly part of that infestation, kidnaps both Master Chief and the Arbiter, introduces them to each other and shows them how to save the day.
THE ENDING: Gravemind sends the Arbiter to Keyes and Johnson, where he defeats Tartarus and prevents Halo's activation. Before his death, however, the Brute was able to send a standby signal to all the other Halos in existence, meaning they can now be fired simultaneously from the Ark.
Gravemind sends Master Chief to the Covenant city of High Charity, where he witnesses the outbreak of civil war and the death of another Prophet. He leaves Cortana with Gravemind to pursue the third and final Prophet... who is headed where? Straight to the Ark. Straight to Earth. Cliffhanger. Game over.
MISSION BY MISSION:
Heretic - The Covenant Elite who allowed the original Halo to be destroyed is accused of cowardice, treason and failure. He is tortured and branded to the delight of a jeering audience.
Armory - The Master Chief is home, reunited with Sergeant Johnson and Cortana in a space station orbiting Earth. An awards ceremony is held in his honor.
Cairo Station - Suddenly, a fleet of Covenant ships appears and heads straight for our home planet's surface. Master Chief protects the station, disarms a bomb and hand delivers it right back to the aliens. Stylish!
Outskirts - On the ground in Africa, the military realizes that the enemy force includes a High Prophet, Regret. They attempt to reach his vessel and capture him.
Metropolis - Regret's ship warps directly over the human city of New Mombasa, utterly eradicating it. The frigate In Amber Clad is able to follow, with Miranda Keyes, Sergeant Johnson, Master Chief and Cortana on board.
Arbiter - In a different section of the galaxy, the disgraced Covenant Elite is handed an honor rather than a punishment. He shall become the latest in a long line of Arbiters, holy warriors who die to preserve the Prophets and the "Great Journey."
Oracle - On the Prophets' orders, the Arbiter kills a Heretic questioning their wisdom. He encounters the Flood and the Oracle (aka Guilty Spark) for the first time, but is taken away by Tartarus before he can piece together the truth.
Delta Halo - The humans chase the High Prophet of Regret to - you'll never guess - another damn Halo. Landing on the ring, Master Chief and Cortana decipher Regret's communications. He definitely plans on firing this newly found weapon.
Regret - He also apologizes to the other Prophets for going to Earth prematurely. Apparently, he had no idea humanity lived there and was interested in something else altogether. Oh well - Master Chief kills him anyway. Then, for some reason, falls into a lake and almost drowns.
Sacred Icon - After learning that the bloodthirsty Brutes are replacing his fellow Elites' as the remaining two Prophets' protectors, The Arbiter is forced to work with their fanatical chieftain, Tartarus. Their mission? Find the new Halo's Index and activate the installation.
Quarantine Zone - The humans and aliens are racing towards the same goal - the Index. Keyes and Johnson get there first, but the Arbiter uses his invisibility to knock them both unconscious. Tartarus, however, has the last word. He claims the Index, throws the Arbiter into a pit and reveals that the Prophets themselves ordered the betrayal.
Gravemind - Master Chief and the Arbiter are both rescued by the Flood intelligence. It then sends them on separate quests. The Chief is transported to the Covenant city of High Charity, where the two Prophets and Tartarus are leaving with all sorts of goodies - the Index, the Flood and the human hostages, Keyes and Johnson.
Uprising - The Covenant are in civil war. The Brutes have murdered the governmental Council and the Elites are rebelling.
High Charity - One Prophet, Mercy, is consumed by the Flood and abandoned. When Master Chief interrogates him, he discovers that the last Prophet, Truth, is returning to Earth. Cortana urges him to follow; she'll remain behind to detonate In Amber Clad and destroy the second Halo.
The Great Journey - Gravemind puts the Arbiter in a position to stop Tartarus, who is forcing Keyes and Johnson to use the Index. The Arbiter succeeds, defeating the Brute and preventing the ring's activation, but not before every other Halo in the universe is inadvertently placed on standby.
The High Prophet of Truth and a stowaway Master Chief are headed to the one place all those Halos can be fired at the same time - the Ark. Which, it turns out, is on Earth. Welcome to Halo 3...
CONTINUE ON WITH THE NOVELIZATIONS