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This article is about the Keyship. For the warship class, see Forerunner Dreadnought.

My Dreadnought, the vessel that has so long been the focus of our worship, now rests on its true pedestal. Even now, its engines spark greater ones below, relics long without power, yet ready to fulfill their divine purpose. Stand fast! Keep our enemies at bay! Soon, my brothers, we will all have our reward!
Prophet of Truth to his troops during the Battle of Earth.[7]

The Anodyne Spirit,[1] colloquially known as the Forerunner Dreadnought and the Forerunner Ship, was a Forerunner Keyship.[5][8] The Keyships were a large part of the Forerunner strategy against the Flood, as they were the only vessels capable of activating the Portal to reach the Ark.

One such Keyship, the Anodyne Spirit, survived the Forerunner-Flood war and was discovered by the San'Shyuum. It later became an integral part of the Covenant religion, as well as a power source for the Covenant's holy city, High Charity.


The ship was designed by Grasping-Steady-Firmament and Lightning-Weaving-Helix. The ship was built circa 100,040 BCE.[1]

Forerunner-Flood war[]

During the Forerunner-Flood war, there had most likely been an entire fleet of Keyships. A number of Keyships were given to the Librarian, and combined with her ability to build Portals, the Librarian was able to transport herself back to the Ark with her Keyships if the situation required. The Librarian, however, bravely destroyed her Keyships to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Flood, who with them, would be able to instantaneously travel to the Ark, rendering the Halo Array useless. Near the end of the war, the Keyships were part of an unknown strategy to hold off the Flood for nearly 79 years,[9] although this advantage would be foiled by the massive computing power of the Flood.

At the Battle of the Maginot Sphere, Ur-Didact was in command of multiple Keyships, although near the end, when the Forerunners began generating Slipspace ruptures to destabilize the battlefield and destroy Flood craft, Keyships were recklessly piloted near the rifts, destroying them. However, at least five Keyships automatically were sent out into the galaxy in the aftermath of Halos' activation, containing numerous specimens of various alien races, to ensure that life would go on.

Ship's theft and crash-landing.[]

After the Halo Array firing, a fragment of the ancilla 032 Mendicant Bias, which had assisted the Flood, managed to escape confinment and stole the keyship from the Installation 00, leading it to the Milky Way. Searching to make amends for its crimes, lead it to the San'Shyuuum homeworld, Janjur Qom, expecting to assist them, but the ship crashed on the planet, creating a huge crater filled with water, the later called Great Apothtea Sea.[10]


Main article: San'Shyuum Civil War

Early in the history of the San'Shyuum, they found and worshiped the Anodyne Spirit. These early worshipers were split over the usage of the ship, as the Stoics refused to enter the vessel, while the radical Reformists wished to explore it. The Reformists then barricaded themselves within the Keyship, and left the San'Shyuum home world, taking a gigantic piece of the planet with them.[3] This piece was later refitted into the rocky dome of High Charity along with the Dreadnought atop it.

Sangheili-San'Shyuum War[]

After leaving their home world the San'Shyuum encountered the Sangheili, who also had familiarity with Forerunner technology. The San'Shyuum believed that incorporating Forerunner technology was essential to learn how to follow in their Gods' footsteps. To the Sangheili, such a thing would have been an unthinkable sin.

Then began the Sangheili-San'Shyuum war. During the war, the Sangheili had an early advantage, with each warrior comparable in skill to ten San'Shyuum in battle. However, the San'Shyuum's technological superiority, and possession of the Anodyne Spirit, meant that they had the advantage in space, using the Keyship to great effect in devastating hit-and-run strikes against the Sangheili Fleets, using weapons mounted onto it by the San'Shyuum (originally the ship had no offensive weaponry). Eventually, the Sangheili were forced to amend their position of the treatment of Forerunner technologies and began incorporating elements into their own designs.

Eventually, in order to ensure the survival of both races, the two races merged to form the early Covenant with the San'Shyuum as the head religious leaders and the Sangheili as their protectors, and head of the military.

Writ of Union[]

The two races then penned the Writ of Union, which formally began the Covenant, and decommissioned the Forerunner warship, removing all known weapons, and placing it within the partially completed High Charity.[11] It was then used to power the city, with its engines at partial power.[12][13]

Human-Covenant war[]


The Keyship gave power to the whole Covenant Holy City. The green cable is a conduit launching individuals into the Keyship.

Before the start of the Human-Covenant war the Anodyne Spirit, the founding of the Prophet’s religion, would soon become the place where their religion was proven false. During the 23rd Age of Doubt, the Minister of Fortitude, and the Vice Minister of Tranquility went to the Anodyne for confirmation of two symbols found on the missionary vessel Minor Transgression. These two symbols were “Reclamation” and “Oracle”, which were found on what was known to Humanity as Harvest. After the Philologist entered the data into the "Oracle" inside of the Keyship, it began a series of cryptic messages, listed below:


During this series of messages, the Oracle began a launch sequence, which would rip the Keyship from High Charity and destroy the Covenant capital with it. The Oracle was disconnected, but this caused a spiritual crisis for Fortitude, Tranquility and the Philologist. Through the Oracle’s messages, the Forerunners (or their descendants), were still alive, which would shake the foundations of the Covenant itself to the core. In an attempt to keep the religion itself intact, they covered up the encounter, and would try to eradicate these Reclaimers.[14][15]

For most of the Human-Covenant war, the Anodyne remained a purely religious artifact, not a weapon, until the Battle of High Charity.

The Oracle within the ship was a "sliver" of an AI's personality. The personality was from a monitor known as 032 Mendicant Bias.

The Battle of High Charity[]

When the Flood attacked High Charity, John-117 was on his way to stop the Prophet of Truth, from escaping and at the end of the Battle of Installation 05. He was able to board the ship as Truth uncoupled it from the city's power grid by narrowly making it through a conduit and into the opening it connected to. The Anodyne Spirit lifted off, and jumped into Slipspace in the midst of a large battle between Covenant Loyalists, Covenant Separatists and the Flood.

Battle of Earth[]

H2A Cutscene ForerunnerDreadnought

The Dreadnought on its way to Earth.

Five days after leaving High Charity, the Anodyne arrived in Sol system.[16] While the Anodyne was passing Jupiter, John-117, on board the ship, was contacted by a station at Io, but after going into radio silence, he killed four Grunts, a pair of Jackals and then another group of four Grunts. It is unknown what happened immediately afterward, but soon, the Spartan was found unconscious by a group of Brutes. The Brutes interrogated him, asking him where the Key of Osanalan was, but the Spartan managed to escape by sticking his captor with a plasma grenade.

After making his way to the Prophet of Truth's position, he reported to the UNSC that one Prophet Hierarch was on board and that he would transmit more information later. Then, Spartan-117 took aim at Truth with a Carbine and fired. Just before John-117 could get a good shot at Truth, a Jackal with a Carbine shot and hit John.

Now aware of the immediate threat within his ship, Truth ordered a jump deeper in the system, straight to Earth, where the battle was still raging between the battered remains of the UNSC fleet and Truth's forces.[17] As the Anodyne transitioned from Slipspace, now in range of Earth's Orbital Defense Platforms, Admiral Hood was about to give the order to attack the ship. He only stopped because he found out that John-117 was aboard. The Keyship, leading the Covenant Loyalist Fleet, eventually broke through Earth's already-weakened defenses, and headed for Earth.


The Dreadnought and John-117 entering Earth's atmosphere.

Nine days after the ship's arrival in the system,[16] the Anodyne entered Earth's atmosphere. John-117 jumped from the ship as it continued descending, using a hatch as a heat shield, and falling two kilometers into the African jungle. The Dreadnought continued its descent and landed on the Portal to the Ark, which the Covenant fleet was excavating.

The remaining UNSC forces on Africa, planned to launch a surprise strike on the Keyship to eliminate Truth and stop him from activating the structure they thought to be the Ark. John-117 led a Marine assault on a Covenant Loyalist anti-air battery sector in the town of Voi and successfully disabled the battery, giving the UNSC a clear shot at the Keyship. Lord Hood then attacked the ship with multiple squadrons of Longsword fighters and three UNSC frigates. The Anodyne's advanced Forerunner armor allowed it to survive multiple MAC rounds and hundreds of longsword-launched ordinance completely unharmed, and the UNSC attack was halted when the Portal was activated by the Keyship.

The Ark[]

After activating the portal, the Keyship entered it and landed on The Ark. It did not take part in the battle. The ship was possibly damaged beyond use from the combined effect of Slipspace transition and the attack, and was most likely destroyed when the Halo destroyed itself and damaged the Ark; however, the fate of the Keyship is not known for sure.

It was only uncovered years later that half of the crew survived the firing of the Halo, protected by the Keyship's shields. As the Ark had become chaotic, they remained hidden until the Ark repaired itself. They awaited, hidden, for seven years, while humans and Sangheili arrived to study the Ark. [18]

However, in October 2559, the Covenant leader, the SanShyuum Prelate Dhas Bhasvod led his forces to attack a Lich transport coming from Reach. Inside was a group of Keepers of the One Freedom led by its leader, Castor itself.[19]

Both groups joined forces, and they almost succeeded, until Office of Naval Intelligence agent Veta Lopis and his Ferret Team, infiltrated between the Keepers, made fail the ploy. The Prelate killed a Ferret, but was forced to flee.[20]

It's implied that the keyship is intact, and is likely the headquarters of any surviving Prelate forces.


The Anodyne Spirit was a geometric and angular warship, sharing many aesthetic features with other Forerunner constructs. Generally, it had a tetrahedral shape, with a forward triangular prow, and attached to it at equidistant points are three similarly shaped struts, to help ground the ship. Visually, its hull was gray or silver in color, and was estimated to be about 14 kilometers (8.699 miles) tall,[21] 19 billion metric tons in weight,[1] far heavier than leisure craft, but outweighed by a variety of transport and military vessels.[5]

Although their weapons systems are unknown, The Anodyne Spirit was far superior to Sangheili vessels of the Sangheili-San'Shyuum war. At the time of the Human-Covenant war, the Anodyne's shielding was completely impervious to even the heaviest of UNSC shipborne armaments, specifically the Magnetic Accelerator Cannon. The Anodyne has been known to carry over 1,000 beings,[3] which is believed to be only a fraction of its full carrying capacity.

It consists of thousands of rooms, many of which are docking bays and control rooms, including a command chamber where the Prophet of Truth resided which was many stories high. It had many lift rooms which were similar to the ones in the towers in the Halo 3 level "The Covenant."


  • In the Halo Uprising comic series, almost every background on the Dreadnought was modeled after a location in Halo 2. For example, the Dreadnought's hangar bay looks identical to the Threshold Gas Mine hangar bay in Halo 2, including a docked Seraph. In addition, areas identical to the Valleys of Tears as well as the Council Chamber in High Charity can be seen. This may be a case of artistic interpretation by the artist to capture the look of Forerunner and Covenant architectures.
  • According to the account by Forerunner AI, Offensive Bias, in the sixth Terminal, he controlled Dreadnoughts exactly 37,654 tons (75,308,000 pounds) each, in his battle with the 032 Mendicant Bias. This may be the same class of ship although it is likely it was a special class of Dreadnought designated as Keyships.
  • Gemini is the only multiplayer level that one can see the Forerunner Keyship in.
  • The Forerunner Dreadnought is said to be even faster than all Covenant cruisers, all of which can outrun all Human vessels making them the fastest known ships ever created.
  • Originally, a level referred to as Forerunner Keyship[22] was supposed to take place on the vessel right after defeating Tartarus in the level The Great Journey in Halo 2. The level was cut due to time constraints, and resulted in the cliffhanger ending seen in Halo 2.[23]
  • The Covenant were only able to use 10% of the Dreadnought's generator to power High Charity.[24]
  • Though it is never explicitly stated, the Forerunner Ship is a Keyship, which would activate the Ark portal. This is evidenced by its apparent activation of the Ark portal on Earth while it was landing in the middle and Truth stating that the Ark portal on Earth is in its "true resting place" during gameplay.
  • A different type of Forerunner dreadnought makes an appearance in Halo Wars.
  • Unlike most Covenant and Human ships capable in-atmosphere landing and space flight, the Dreadnought takes off vertically, reminiscent of 21st century spacegoing craft. There are most likely systems that adjust the gravity of the ship so that it is seemingly horizontal to its occupants once it exits the atmosphere.
  • The ship was most likely destroyed or severely damaged when Master Chief activated the replacement Halo ring on the Ark.



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Halo: Warfleet – An Illustrated Guide to the Spacecraft of Halo - pages 84 & 85
  2. Halo 3 - Level: The Storm (One frigate fired twice and the others fired once)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Halo: Contact Harvest - page 262
  4. Halo Legends
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Halo 3 - Collectible: Terminal Six
  6. Halo 3 - Level - The Storm
  7. Halo 3 level Tsavo Highway
  8. Halo 3, Terminal Four
  9. Halo 3 - Collectible: Terminal Five
  10. Halo Mythos: A Guide to the Story of Halo - p.33-38
  11. Halo: Contact Harvest - page 145-148
  12. Halo 2 - Level: High Charity
  13. Halo: Contact Harvest - page 148
  14. Halo: Contact Harvest - pages 274-276
  15. Halo: Contact Harvest - pages 379-384
  16. 16.0 16.1 http://www.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?type=topnews&cid=16989
  17. Halo Waypoint - The Long Road Home
  18. [[Halo: Divine Wind] - p.115
  19. [[Halo: Divine Wind] - p.110-111
  20. [[Halo: Divine Wind] - p.341-349
  21. File:ForerunnerShip-scale.gif
  22. Bungie.net: One Final Effort
  23. Halo 3 Legendary Edition, Essentials Disc Two, Halo 2 Cutscene Commentary
  24. Halo: Contact Harvest