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Halo Wars: Genesis is a prequel to the events in Halo Wars.[1] It is included in the Limited Edition of the game. It reveals why Admiral Cole made the Cole Protocol and how and why Captain Cutter, Sergeant Forge, and Ellen Anders all came together for Halo Wars. It also reveals more about the past of the Arbiter in Halo Wars and how he came to be one. It also describes the first battles of the UNSC against the Covenant.


A description of the graphic novel, from the Halo Wars: Collectors Edition announcement

“Halo Wars: Genesis - a beautiful graphic novel by Phil Noto, Graeme Devine and Eric Nylund chronicling the first military campaign against the Covenant. The novel centers around the UNSC Spirit of Fire on a mission to discover why the Covenant are so interested in the human colony world of Harvest.”
— SOLUS from HaloWars.com.


UNSC Battlegroup 4 arrives at Harvest in order to investigate an unknown aggressor on October the 7th 2525: upon receiving a communication message, already translated by the Covenant to, "Your destruction is the will of the Gods, and we are their instrument," the CMA Vostok and the CMA Arabia are destroyed by an alien vessel. The CMA Heracles retreats. On the planet Reach, ONI brass compare the event with the Battle of Chi Ceti and ask a retired Vice Admiral Preston Cole to command a force to retake Harvest. He and his fleet arrive at Harvest on the 1st of March 2526, just to find the same ship which destroyed the two frigates a few months earlier. The UNSC ships succeeded in defeating the Covenant vessel, but loses 13 ships, including the UNSC Sacramento and UNSC Lance Held High in the process.

Mass media are ordered to keep events regarding the Covenant secret and replace the battle information with that of a communications satellite captured by Insurgents, whom Cole was sent for; the colonies of Second Base and Green Hills are reported as Insurgent bases but were actually glassed. Also the loss of Chi Ceti IV is kept secret. Since the impossibility of keeping the offensive a secret, the news about Cole now commanding the whole UNSC Fleet goes public and he continues to fight the Covenant throughout the Outer Colonies until 2531.

Several battles, including those occurring at the Origami Asteroid Field and that of XI Boötis A System are more losses than victories: UNSC forces are decimated just to defeat a few enemy vessels. At the Battle of the Great Bear, another Pyrrhic victory, Cole learns of the Covenant's resoluteness by a Sangheili survivor and decides to create the Cole Protocol.

January 3, 2531: UNSC Spirit of Fire is sent to Harvest to assist the crippled UNSC Prophecy. Before making the jump to the colony world Captain James Cutter inspects the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine and the drop bay of the ship, while his history is told during the travel.

As the ship arrives near the Prophecy, Serina, the Spirit of Fire's shipboard AI, hypothesizes the only reason ONI knew about the crippled ship so fast is they were there when the misdeed occurred. Cutter orders the Prophecy's Nav Database and survivors to be recovered: Fire Teams Echo, India, Lima and November's Pelicans take off while the Spirit of Fire engages 4 Covenant vessels.

Sgt. John Forge's Pelican takes off as well and heads to the Prophecy but is hit by a Phantom and crash-lands upon the Prophecy hull. Forge and other EVA Marines breach and enter inside the Prophecy where they are attacked by Jackal Rangers. Forge breaks his ankle during combat, but, with Serina's aid, is then able to find the ship's Terminal 4 to recover the ship's Black box and wipe its Nav Core, while the rest of Team Lima rescue a group of survivors. Serina warns Forge that the Prophecy's A.I. may "act peculiar" due to high radiation levels, and so happens: upon scanning his retina to gain access to the terminal, Forge is halted by FitzGibbon, who explains he cannot allow him to enter due to his CSV. Forge tells the A.I. he's there to ensure Cole Protocol not to be violated, and the latter lets him in the terminal room enabling radiation repair routines. Forge purges the Nav Database and heads back to the Pelicans as FitzGibbon activates the Prophecy's self-destruct sequence which destroys the ship.

After the marines and Forge escape with the survivors, they are taken to the med bay of the Spirit of Fire. Here, Serina informs Forge that there were no survivors; the people he'd extracted had been irradiated to the point where they could not be saved. In an attempt to lighten spirits and ease their passing, Forge stays with the dying people, comforting them with a joke. Soon after, Ellen Anders is leaving a scientific presentation on Arcadia about unknown artifacts found on various planets such as Onyx, despite Onyx being a classified secret, when she is kidnapped by ONI. She is shown all of ONI's images of what appears to be a Covenant leader, which turns out to be the Arbiter. She is then sent by ONI to Harvest on the UNSC Last Gleaming, where she joined up with the Spirit of Fire, and shows Captain Cutter everything she's learned about the Arbiter on the way.

The story then changes, to a Warlord Thrall named Ripa 'Moramee, who had the honor of putting down the Sixteenth Unggoy Disobedience, the heretical reign of the Kig-Yar Pirate Prince Krith and showed a fondness of brutality. He soon developed a desire for greatness, and attempted a coup on his own clan leader, and failed. He then is sentenced to imprisonment, but escapes soon after. His newfound freedom isn't long lasting, however, as he is quickly caught and brought before the Prophet of Regret. Regret questions Ripa, before deciding that he will become the seventeenth Arbiter in the Line of Immaculate Succession.

The story jumps back to the Spirit of Fire's bridge, where Anders explains to Captain Cutter that several Covenant communications reference an arctic region of Harvest. Serina scans the area and finds that there is a structure embedded in the ice. Subsequently, Cutter orders Sergent Forge to assemble a team and investigate the relic, commenting that they might finally be able to uncover why the Covenant had fought so hard for control of the planet.



HW genis back cover

Back cover.

  • In the flash transmission sent by AI Endless Summer to Kurt-051 after the initial sighting of the sentinels on Onyx, attached file #3 says that all data pertaining to Onyx has been classified. This file is dated on January 3, 2511. However, sometime in 2531, just before ONI kidnaps Ellen Anders, she is depicted as giving a public presentation at Rishard University in a classroom. The material presented involves Onyx, which she mentions by name.
  • The book shows various new attributes of the Elite society such as prison guards, prisons, clan leaders, cities, etc.
  • Various UNSC and Covenant ships that have not been observed before are featured in the book. It is unknown if these ships are new classes or simply a different style of artwork. Also, Elites have three fingers and Spirits fly backwards.