- “[…]they are some sort of biological supercomputers. Slaves, prisoners, I don't know, but they don't like the Covenant any more than we do.”— Veronica Dare, description of Huragok
Huragok (Latin Facticius indoles, meaning "Man-made character"), known to humans as Engineers, are a race of biological supercomputers that were created by the Forerunners. They are the only known non-combatant race to ever serve the Covenant, though some were rigged to explode as suicide bombers. After the Covenant's collapse, some Huragok joined the UNSC, others either fled or were captured by the San'Shyuum.
While it is generally held that only the San'Shyuum were high enough in the Covenant Hierarchy to handle and manage Forerunner research and technology, in reality it was the Huragok who must excavate, unlock, and transport Forerunner artifacts (a fact only known to higher-ranked officers and leaders within the Covenant, due to its sensitive nature), though the San'Shyuum insist that any admission of that fact was heresy. These remarkably helpful and docile aliens are exceedingly patient, rarely communicate with other species, and are almost single-mindedly devoted to their work.
Huragok were the scientific and engineering backbone of the Covenant and its economy. They float via bladders that contain a mixture of lighter-than-air gases, and their four tentacles are able to split into many fine cilia, with which they are able to manipulate machinery on a near-microscopic level. Engineers are capable of quickly learning the functionality of new technology. On one occasion, an Engineer was observed by John-117 dismantling a vehicle's engine, assembling it into various other working configurations and then returning it to its original state in a matter of seconds. When the Covenant fell, the loss of Huragok made the replacement and repair of their technology extremely problematic.
Huragok have little interest in taking sides in conflict; they appear to draw no real distinction between friend and foe, and prefer to spend their time inspecting or repairing technology. However, they will utter a high-pitched keening sound whenever a Forerunner artifact is threatened. On occasion they may even push or strike an individual for interfering with Forerunner technology, most notably Catherine Halsey and Jul 'Mdama. They are apathetic to any sort of combat, and tend to just float along with a single goal: fixing things. In one encounter, a Huragok repaired John-117's damaged shield generator and then floated away; the unfortunate Huragok was later shot by Lieutenant Haverson to prevent it from possibly giving the specifications of the Spartan's improved shield technology to the Covenant. If shot at in a firefight, Huragok make no attempt to defend themselves, but rather curl up in fright and try to float to a safe distance.
Their concentration has been described as "a trance-like reverie" by the few who have witnessed it. They usually communicate only with San'Shyuum, a fact that may contribute to the balance of power between Sangheili and San'Shyuum, and will usually ignore anything that is neither a San'Shyuum, a Forerunner artifact, nor a machine. A notable exception is the Huragok Lighter Than Some, who communicated with the Unggoy Deacon Dadab via Huragok sign language.
The abilities of the Huragok are not limited to fixing things; they are also able to absorb data from a computer or an A.I., and combine it with their own biological "data." One such incident occurred when one Huragok combined its knowledge with the dumb AI of New Mombasa, the Superintendent. During a mission to recover a living Huragok, Captain Veronica Dare described the species as "biological supercomputers."
While they currently serve the UNSC, it is possible that the Arbiter reacquired them for the Sangheili, though unlikely as the Sangheili had no idea where the San'Shyuum had gone to. It can be assumed that Jul 'Mdama's Covenant do not possess them as they do not appear in Halo 4, Spartan Ops, or Halo 5: Guardians.
The Huragok were created by the Forerunners prior to the first activation of the Halo Array. They have been found to be living inside of Onyx's Dyson Sphere shield world for 100,000 years. It has been suggested that the Covenant found the Huragok first by infiltrating a separate Dyson Sphere. During the Harvest Campaign, the Covenant access a shield world, trying to exploit and steal all technology they have, including shields.
Anatomy and physiology
The Engineers are actually not a natural, biological species at all, but rather an artificial life form created by the Forerunners. While they possess no true tissues or organs, their nano-mechanical surrogates so closely mimic their biological analogs that they seem almost indistinguishable to observers. Multiple gas-bladders serve as their method of locomotion, allowing them to float through the air even after their deaths. The bladders also serve as part of their respiratory system; if their gas bladders deflate, they will asphyxiate and die.
They have small heads with six dark eyes, and four tentacles that can split into very small, near-microscopic cilia. The Engineers use these cilia to construct, repair, or rebuild nearly anything they can grasp. They can take apart whole vehicles and rearrange their entire structure in a matter of seconds, with the resulting machines still operating at least as well as they did before. They learn at an unprecedented rate, and store that information for future reference if ever they need to repair the same thing twice. They are capable of surviving in at least oxygen and methane-rich environments, though they cannot survive in a vacuum.
Huragok are not normally a tactical threat and are hardly ever seen in combat situations. Most UNSC soldiers make a point of avoiding intentionally harming Huragok if possible. Unlike the majority of the Covenant races, they do not regard humans as enemies; during the assault upon Ascendant Justice, one even aided the Spartan-II by repairing the shield generator on his MJOLNIR armor and fixing the Spartan's current weapon, a broken Needler. However, Lieutenant Haverson killed the Engineer stating that it had learned all about the MJOLNIR shield technology, which was superior to the Sangheili Personal Energy Shield, and could not be allowed to relay that information. In Halo: Contact Harvest, a Huragok named Lighter Than Some attempted to aid the Humans in an attempt to bring peace; he even made them a peace offering, but it was ironically converted into a weapon, the Brute Chopper.
Huragok "reproduce" by gathering the needed (or available) materials from their surroundings to "build" another Huragok. This new offspring is then filled with a precise mixture of lighter-than-air gasses. Up to three Huragok take part in the reproductive process, relaying all the information that they have learned to their "offspring." Given sufficient raw materials, a pair of Huragok can produce a unified replica of themselves in approximately 45 minutes; the addition of a third Huragok cuts the time down to thirty minutes. Understandably, it is advantageous to have as many Huragok contribute to this process as possible, raising the "intelligence" of the offspring. A single Huragok is unable to successfully create a replica without the help of a second Huragok.
When a new Huragok is born, their initial buoyancy is what they are named after. Several known Huragok names are as follow: "Requires Adjustment" nicknamed Adj, "Prone to Drift" often called Prone, "Lighter Than Some", "Sometimes Sinks" also known as Sinks, "Roams Alone", "Drifts Randomly" referred to as Drifts, and "Quick to Adjust" who was given the name Vergil.
When deployed during large-scale archaeological expeditions, Huragok make use of large Recharge Stations, where they rest, repair each other, and share data between forays.
Huragok blood color is depicted as luminescent blue-purple in color in Halo 3: ODST, but red with a purple tint in the Halo Graphic Novel.
Huragok are bioluminescent, and in dark conditions their heads and tentacles emit a bright bluish glow, which seems to pulsate when the Huragok is calm and dim when it is frightened. The cilia on their tentacles give off a pinkish-red light as well.
Though the inner workings of an Engineer's internal macroscopic biology remain a mystery, it is known that they are capable of using the gas sacks that keep them afloat for anaerobic respiration. This method is painful, dangerous, and apparently only used as a last resort. In the Halo series, only one usage of the ability has been described: when Lighter Than Some used anaerobic respiration to keep Dadab alive after the latter's methane tank depleted. Huragok use thousands of microscopic organisms to digest the food they consume, producing many gases, including methane, as a by-product.
Huragok require one another to repair and maintain themselves. If they do not, or if there is only one Huragok, the Huragok begins to degrade, rather like an AI going rampant. The Huragok becomes increasingly violent, agitated, protective, and altogether more emotional.
Huragok communicate with other Covenant species, such as Unggoy, and with other Huragok, by flexing their limbs in various directions, bending and overlapping to form the specific formation for each word, much like Human sign language. Their gas sacs can also swell and deflate at times of great emotion, suggesting another, more subtle method of communication. Huragok can also communicate using whistle sounds, as shown when Cortana used a Covenant SHIPCOM speaker to verbally communicate with a Huragok. This form of communication can also be heard in Halo 3: ODST and used in Halo Wars; the whistle sounds are how Huragok respond when selected. They can also make deep laughter like sounds while around targets or allies.
Huragoks are an extremely valuable asset to a crew as they enjoy fixing things immensely. In several of the novels, they are described as caring about nothing else. However, it is shown that they are very peace loving and have a great respect for life in general. Lighter Than Some even refuses to play a game that would kill non-sentient pests. However, they can be pushed into violence when a friend is in danger, as demonstrated when Lighter Than Some saved his friend, Dadab, by killing the human, Henry Gibson, with a hunting rock.
Huragok have also been known to display great compassion and caring for one another, as shown in Halo 3: ODST. Dr. Endesha observed six Huragok selflessly give their own lives while attempting to disarm a bomb attached to another, which detonated after its removal and killed all but the seventh Huragok. This could be another reference to seven.
Huragok have been seen as loyally obedient to whoever they come across and will listen to anyone regardless of affiliation. They are also loyal to Forerunner constructs and will protect them fiercely.
Huragok are seen in most Halo literature; Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: First Strike, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, Halo: Contact Harvest, briefly in Halo: Cryptum, Halo: Glasslands, Halo: The Thursday War, Halo: Mortal Dictata, Halo: Last Light and The Art of Halo. Huragok are also featured in the Bestiarum booklet in the special editions of Halo 3, though they do not appear in that game either.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Initially, Huragok were intended to appear in Halo: Combat Evolved, but due to time constraint issues, they were "left on the cutting room floor." They were cut so late, however, that they remained in the Prima Guide for the game, and their files were not deleted entirely from the game, modders have located the Huragok files on the game disc and spawned Engineers in various configurations, hence the images that may be found.
In Halo Wars, they provide the only means for the Covenant to repair their damaged buildings and vehicles and heal injured units. They are easily slain, as they are unarmed and can only be repaired by other Huragok - not by themselves.
They resemble the original, deleted version of the Engineer from Halo: Combat Evolved rather than the Halo 3: ODST version. If combined with a Scarab, they will make the latter almost unstoppable. They will automatically search and find damaged machinery and troops to repair. They are trained from the Summit, require 250 resources and 0 tech level, and count as 1 population. They have two upgrades:
- "State of Grace": Allows Huragok to have faster repair rate.
- "Harmonious Digestion": Enhances their movement speed.
Halo 3: ODST
While Engineers appear in Halo 3: ODST's campaign, they also have a role in Firefight, where they provide an overshield to any Covenant allies within a certain radius around each Huragok. Though two Huragok or more can shield each other, they are still defenseless alone, making it a primary objective to take them out as soon as possible.
Huragok are usually attached to a specific Covenant squad or patrol, and tend to completely ignore the battle below them, wandering the area seemingly at random, although they will attempt to move away from danger if they are specifically targeted. To prevent the incredibly useful Huragok from falling into Human hands, their armor is designed to self-destruct in the event that the entire squad they were attached to is wiped out. Huragok Recharge Stations were set up in the flooded areas of the city to house Huragok work teams. All of these were destroyed by a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers using a captured Phantom and Banshee, killing hundreds. They appear in the night-time versions of the Firefight maps Crater and Rally Point, and in Chasm Ten.
In Halo: Reach, Engineers appear in the levels Long Night of Solace, New Alexandria, The Package, and The Pillar of Autumn. They also appear in Firefight, on the map Corvette, high above the ground. Their function is largely the same as it was in Halo 3: ODST, that is, to shield the surrounding Covenant troops. The differences from ODST are that they only shield their comrades and not themselves and they have a smaller blast radius when killed which, since they float over the battlefield, is rarely ever large enough to damage anything but themselves. Their shields also periodically wear off, leaving the Covenant troops vulnerable for a short period of time.
Another difference from their ODST version is that their helmet, like the Jiralhanae's and Unggoy's, can be shot off and allow you to make a headshot on the Huragok. However, in comparison to the other two species the Huragok's head is much smaller and harder to hit.
Halo Wars 2
Engineers also appear in the ranks of the Banished, serving much the same purpose as they did in the first Halo Wars. With the altered population design, they cost 3 population this time around, are still available from the start and cost 240 supply and 0 power. They lack individual upgrades but benefit from the health increases from Air upgrades and also have an activated ability to shield nearby allies similiar to their overshields in other appearances, reducing damage taken for a brief period. They also detect cloaked units.
There is also an unique variant, the Infused Engineer, only available to the leader Voridus. Somewhat corrupted by the experimental Infusion gel central to the Brute's combat strategy, they cost 220 supplies and 40 power, which can be lowered by his Infusion Tech I passive leader power. They lack the overshield ability, but can instead lob pools of infusion gel to damage and slow enemies while benefiting their allies.
The leader Colony also has an unique leader power to call in additional Engineers temporarily to heal units.
The creation of the Huragok started around 1999, during the development of Halo: Combat Evolved. From the beginning, they were meant to be "a class of aliens that acted as idiot savants towards technology," and were meant to be able to decipher Forerunner technology easily and allow a glimpse into what made the Forerunner technology so special. As far as gameplay, the designers wanted a race that were less aggressive to populate the world in a more passive way, making Halo feel more alive. The general idea of the Huragok was to be "a character meant to be passive, almost puppy like in nature," and make the players feel bad if they killed them.
Sea creatures were used for inspiration, especially underwater sea slugs and glowing jellyfish; their movements, the way they emit light, the fluidity of their bodies - and tried to translate that into a creature out of water. According to Shi Kai Wang, underwater sea creatures like the jellyfish had the right type of feel to them, a very docile and graceful creature that just minds its own business—very much how they initially wanted the Huragok to be. More emotive states were added to their animations and facial features to make them relatable, so that people would feel for them. The Huragok were eventually cut from Halo: Combat Evolved, as there was not enough time or technology to "make them feel right."
For Halo 3: ODST, the Huragok were completely redesigned to fit the gameplay, and to make them more in-depth characters. As the tools and capabilities were now available, the creatures could be made just like they were originally envisioned. Originally, in Halo 3: ODST, the Engineer was to suck its limbs and head into a cocoon shell and have it float away in distress or cower in fear. This effect wasn't fully achieved as a good solution for how the animations would work alongside gameplay couldn't be figured out. Eventually, the idea was turned into something similar but a scaled-down version.
- “These tell stories, not very clear cut stories but they represent the shape of Forerunner ships, etc...”
Huragok are known to mark some areas of significance with mysterious glyphs, which can be found on various surfaces, walls, ceilings or floors, often in irregular patterns. These usually consist of a "Y"-shape or a circle, with various types of glyphs similar to Forerunner symbols around them. The symbols are likely related to the Huragok's Forerunner origin.
In Halo 3: ODST, they can be seen glowing with the VISR mode turned on. They are usually seen in or near areas of interest, such as locations with dead Sangheili or supply caches. The ones in the supply caches also bear similar symbols depicting the Superintendent, possibly hinting to cooperation of the A.I. with Huragok. This is further supported by the fact that the subroutine of the Superintendent known as Vergil fused with a Huragok to pass information along to the UNSC.
- The Prometheans and Engineers are the only known living Forerunner creations.
- Engineers were originally slated to appear in Halo: Combat Evolved as seen in pre-release screenshots, but were cut from the final game likely due to time constraints. As a result, Engineers made their first appearance in Halo Wars, using the same character models that were cut from Halo: Combat Evolved.
- In Halo 3: ODST, the "Good Samaritan" achievement can be unlocked by not killing any Engineers in New Mombasa at night during the entire campaign, alone or with another ODST. On the other hand, killing ten of the Engineers in the city will unlock the "Naughty Naughty" achievement.
- In Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian, Mo Ye incorrectly states that the Covenant call them "Engineers." "Engineer" is actually the human name for the species, with the Covenant name being Huragok.
- In Halo: Reach, it is possible to detach the face mask without killing the Huragok. Another thing is that the Huragok in Halo: Reach are missing the two pink tentacles behind their neck, though in Halo 3: ODST, it is visible.
- The first Human death in the war was from a Huragok named "Lighter than Some." This is ironic as Huragok are peace-loving and non-violent.
- When threatened, the Huragok expand themselves to appear larger and emit a rattling noise that resembles that of a rattlesnake's. This can be seen in the ending cutscene of Tayari Plaza, as the Huragok that emerges with Dare's helmet begins to rattle at Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck.
- In Halo: Reach, if one listens closely, they appear to communicate with some kind of echolocation, sounding much like a dolphin, or whale.
- In Halo: Glasslands, Admiral Margaret Parangosky states that humanity only ever had one live Huragok prior to the end of the war. However, at the end of the Halo: First Strike, which takes place before Glasslands, John-117 returns to Earth on the UNSC Gettysburg with several, perhaps dozens of Huragok, taken from the Ascendant Justice.
- There are Huragok aboard UNSC Infinity.
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo Wars
- Halo: Reach
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (First appearance)
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo Graphic Novel
- Halo Legends
- Halo: Cryptum
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo: The Thursday War
- Halo: Mortal Dictata
- Halo 4 (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Broken Circle
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark
- -top right hand corner
- Halo Encyclopedia, page 122
- halo.bungie.org: Bestiarum Latin names translated
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 237 - "Huragok: the Forerunner name for the Engineer race."
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 183
- Halo: First Strike, page 83
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, pages 200-201
- Halo: Contact Harvest, page ??
- Halo 3: ODST, level Data Hive
- Halo: First Strike, page 68
- Halo: Glasslands, page 252
- Halo: Glasslands, page 191
- Halo: Contact Harvest, page 54
- Halo: Mortal Dictata, page 113
- Halo: Last Light, Chapter 3, page 36 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark
- Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Feet First
- Halo: First Strike, page 88
- Halo: First Strike, page 96
- halo.bungie.org: PC Gamer (Imagine Media), August 2000
- Halo 3: ODST, level Kikiwani Station
- Bungie.net: Engineer Evolved
- halo.bungie.org: Joe Staten comment in oxm *spoilers*
- Halo 3: ODST, Data Hive
- Halo 4, level Infinity