Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

If it takes my death, so be it. You will not defeat the Covenant.

Rtas 'Vadum, (formally known as Rtas 'Vadumee before the Covenant Civil War) was a Sangheili Special Operations Commander of the Covenant Army before the Great Schism, and after the Great Schism he served as Shipmaster.

He was the only known Special Operations Commander of the Covenant Army in the Halo series, a title which he held before the civil war. As the Shipmaster of the Shadow of Intent and the de facto commander of the Covenant separatists as Fleet Master of the Fleet of Retribution, he had a pivotal role during and after the Battle of Installation 05.


Early Life[]

Rtas 'Vadum was born on September 21, 2487 on Sanghelios. He grew up on a keep close to the ocean. As a child, 'Vadum would often explore the shoreline and catch sea urchins and other creatures. One day, the tide went lower than usual and this allowed 'Vadum to venture out further and catch rare sea creatures. This, however, had been the onset of an incoming tsunami and 'Vadum was forced to run a kilometer back to the shore to escape the wave, sustaining injuries from the sea urchins and the limestone he stepped on while running. 'Vadum went on to graduate with honors from a top military college and joined the Covenant military.

Service with the Covenant[]

The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor[]

“Though you leave this world, you will come on the Great Journey when the time comes. Die with honor.”
— Rtas 'Vadumee euthanizing a Flood infected Sangheili.
Main article: The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor

Rtas is first seen attached to the Fleet of Particular Justice orbiting Installation 04. When the agriculture ship Infinite Succor was boarded by an unknown threat during the battle there, Rtas 'Vadumee, fresh from a training duel with his second-in-command, Sub-Commander Bero 'Kusovai, led a team there to investigate. This team was comprised of Special Operations Sangheili and Special Operations Unggoy. In addition to eliminating the boarders, 'Vadumee's team was tasked with securing a Legate known as the Minister of Etiology. There they encountered the Flood for the first time. During this battle, Rtas displayed great care for the soldiers under his command, even for the Unggoy, whom he tells to get behind the Sangheili. Such concern for the lower caste is particularly atypical for Sangheili.

HGN TLVotIS RtasLoosesJaw

Rtas loses his jaw.

In an attempt to kill the Flood, 'Vadumee used the Engineering station to set a Slipspace course towards the sun. During that time, it was revealed that the Legate had become infected, and Rtas had to battle his infected sub-commander 'Kusovai. He was able to make a mortal strike at the infected 'Kusovai by allowing the Sub-Commander to strike him along his arm and face, severing his left mandibles. He managed to escape on board a Phantom named the Glorious Advance two minutes before the Slipspace jump occurred. 'Vadumee is believed to be the only survivor of the Infinite Succor mission.[1]

Given the fact that Rtas had sufficient downtime to engage in a training duel prior to the Infinite Succor mission, and due to the extensive wounds incurred in said mission, it is unknown what, if any, fighting Rtas would have seen during the greater Battle of Installation 04.

Battle against the Heretics[]

“You are the Arbiter, the will of the Prophets, but these are my Elites. Their lives matter to me, yours does not.”
— Rtas 'Vadumee
“That makes two of us.”
— Thel 'Vadamee

Rtas 'Vadumee speaks to Thel 'Vadamee.

Rtas 'Vadumee was assigned to hunt down the Heretic leader, Sesa 'Refumee, on a Forerunner Gas Mine above the gas giant Threshold (it is this first depiction of Rtas that shows his color scheme is different from a standard Ultra). Joining him was the newly assigned Arbiter, formerly the Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice. Rtas 'Vadumee was to aid the Arbiter with his SpecOps Sangheili and Unggoy to silence the Heretic. Aboard a Phantom for the majority of the mission, he provided valuable reinforcements to the Arbiter as he progressed through the facility. 'Vadumee joined the Arbiter in his search on foot[2] as they closed in on the Heretic leader.


The Special Operations Commander in the gas mine.

After clearing the area of the parasite, Rtas split up with the Arbiter to regroup with reinforcements. A short time later, they further pursued 'Refumee until he locked himself behind an unbreakable energy barrier. Forced to give up, Rtas was about to turn away when the Arbiter volunteered to cut the cables holding up the mine in a risky attempt to draw out the fugitive. The Commander agreed, loaning the Arbiter his Energy Sword for the task. Leaving the Arbiter to his work, Rtas and his remaining forces evacuated in a Phantom and returned to High Charity.[3]

Changing of the Guard[]

“This is unprecedented. Unacceptable.”
— Commander Rtas 'Vadum

'Vadumee listens to the Prophets speak of the Changing of the Guard.

Back on High Charity, the Jiralhanae were taking over the position of Honor Guard to the High Prophets, allegedly due to the fact that the "Demon" had successfully assassinated the Prophet of Regret and none of the Honor Guard Sangheili or other Covenant forces guarding the High Prophet could stop him from finishing his mission. Because of his position, Rtas expressed his disdain to the Prophets of Truth and Mercy, disgusted by this radical switch in tradition and customs, also noting his belief that Regret could have been saved had Truth not halted their reinforcement attempt. However, the Prophet of Truth denied his complaints and sent Rtas 'Vadumee and his two Companions away.

The Search for the Sacred Icon[]

“We shall cut into the heart of this infestation, retrieve the Icon, and burn any Flood that stand in our way!”
— Rtas 'Vadumee

Soon after the Battle of the Gas Mine, Rtas was involved in the operation against the Flood and the UNSC Marines, rendering aid to the Arbiter as he searched for the Sacred Icon deep inside the Quarantine Zone on Delta Halo. Rtas landed inside the Quarantine Zone in an Orbital Insertion Pod but was separated from his squad during the insertion. He held the Covenant camp at the foot of the Sentinel Wall alone until his squad and the Arbiter joined him. Afterward, Rtas left in a Phantom to command the Sangheili assault towards the Library. Later, he rejoined the Arbiter in a Spectre and helped him push through a Flood barricade to access one of the Gondolas that were the only way to enter the Library. Rtas stayed behind to hold off the Flood while the Arbiter took the second Gondola to reach the Sacred Icon.

The Great Schism[]

Deactivating Halo[]

“The Brutes control that Cruiser, Arbiter. I'll remain here, make sure no reinforcements get in behind you. Then, I'm going to take the Cruiser back!”
— Rtas Vadum

Rtas 'Vadum prepares to escort the Arbiter to the Bastion of the Jiralhanae.

Commandeering a Wraith, Rtas spotted a Scarab walker outside a Jiralhanae encampment. Making his way along the coast, a surprised Rtas met up with the Arbiter, this time on a quest to find the Icon before Installation 05 could be activated. From the Arbiter he learned of the murder of the Council and the treachery of the Jiralhanae. The Sangheili were interrupted by the arrival of Tartarus' Phantom and its escorts as they entered the Control Room. Wishing to avenge their fallen brothers, Rtas and the Arbiter attacked them by surprise and met up with a squad of Mgalekgolo and other Sangheili.

There, Rtas again split up with the Arbiter to prevent any Jiralhanae reinforcements from attacking the Arbiter's rear, and was not present when he escorted Sgt. Johnson to the Control Room. It is unknown exactly what happened to him, though it is assumed he attempted to take back a Covenant CCS-class Battlecruiser that was hovering a distance from the battle area, as the last line spoken by Rtas was "Then, I'm going to take the Cruiser back!"[4] It is not known what became of that ship as he appears in Halo 3 with the Assault Carrier, Shadow of Intent.

Battle of Earth[]

“One single Flood spore can destroy a species. Were it not for the Arbiter's counsel, I would have glassed your entire planet!
— Rtas 'Vadum to Lord Hood after glassing Voi to eliminate the Flood threat
H3 Cinematic RtasTalksBackHood

'Vadum argues with Lord Hood aboard the Shadow of Intent.

After learning the truth of the Halo Rings, he changed his name to Rtas 'Vadum, dropping the "ee" suffix and signifying his secession from the Covenant along with most (if not all) of his kind.  Shortly after, Rtas took on the role of a Ship Master in the Separatist Fleet during the late Battle of Earth.  He came to the aid of the Humans by glassing "half a continent" (as put by Lord Terrence Hood) to destroy the infestation of the Flood.  Later, he joined the Arbiter, John-117, 343 Guilty Spark, Lord Terrence Hood and Commander Miranda Keyes when a message from Cortana was found in the crashed Flood ship.

Battle of Installation 00[]

“Brute ships! Staggered line! Ship Master, they outnumber us, three to one!” A Major Sangheili reporting to the Ship Master.
“Then it is an even fight. All cruisers fire at will. Burn their mongrel hides!”
— Rtas 'Vadum, in response
Halo 3 - Shipmaster Rtas Vadum

Rtas on the bridge of the Shadow of Intent.

Rtas went through the portal to lead the Battle of Installation 00 in space, joining forces with Commander Miranda Keyes to destroy Truth's much larger fleet. After devastating Truth's fleet and discovering that Truth was located on the Ark's surface, 'Vadum led the assault on the barrier towers from the Shadow of Intent, bombarding the shield with plasma torpedoes. After the barrier was deactivated, 'Vadum moved the ship over the Citadel and prepared to destroy it, but was knocked off-course by High Charity appearing out of slipspace. 'Vadum's ship was incapacitated and left the task of killing Truth to Thel 'Vadam and John-117. 'Vadum then gathered all Human and Sangheili forces on the ship and returned to Earth through The Portal.

Thel Vadam and Rtas Vadum

Ship Master Rtas 'Vadum and Arbiter Thel 'Vadam depart for Sanghelios.

Rtas was last seen aboard the Shadow of Intent after the end of the war, where he gave Thel 'Vadam the command of the Carrier and stated that he would like to see his own world to know that it is safe. The Assault Carrier then departed for Sanghelios.


After years of constant fighting, 'Vadum began to grow tired of battle. Nevertheless, he still remained a commander. Several months after the Human-Covenant war ended, the Shadow of Intent investigated a distress call on the colony of Rahnelo. As it turned out,Tem'Bhetek, a surviving Prelate who blamed 'Vadum for his family's death aboard High Charity when the Flood attacked, was aboard the Spear of Light. 'Vadum decided to assist a female Sangheili in rescuing her family from the Prelate.

'Vadum eventually dueled the Prelate and captured him. He decided to interrogate the Prelate, and found of his alliance with the Minister of Preparation and his hatred for 'Vadum. The Prelate openly blamed 'Vadum for his family's death and 'Vadum countered that he only glassed the flood to keep it from spreading and that he would have saved his family had he known. He also explained that his family was more than likely to have been alive when the Prelate fled High Charity and that the Minister may have lied to him.

'Vadum then decided to attack the Minister's position with a small team, and found that the Minister had found a prototype halo and planned to activate it. However, the Prelate had resolved that he sacrifice himself so that the rest can live. After the Prelate had detonated a satchel of plasma grenades and sacrificed himself, 'Vadum and the rest of the Crew travelled back to Sanghelios.

Upon arriving to Sanghelios, Thel 'Vadam tried to convince his friend to rest but 'Vadum declined. Using the Spear of Light's database, he found that there were San'Shyuum who had survived High Charity. He resolved that he will track them down and see which ones were misled, like the prelate, or which ones needed to pay for their war crimes.

Physical Appearance[]

Rtas 'Vadum wears white armor in all of his appearances. In Halo 2, he wears standard combat armor, while in Halo 3 he wears the Assault variant, with a Combat helmet. He has green eyes in Halo 2, but orange eyes in Halo 3. He stands an imposing 7 feet 10 inches in Halo 2 (though he is still smaller than Thel 'Vadam) and can use either hand to wield a weapon. Perhaps the most memorable feature of his appearance is that he is missing his two left mandibles, as they were cut off in a fight with a Flood-infected 'Kusovai, his second in command. As such, among Halo fans, he is commonly known as "Half-Jaw."


Rtas 'Vadum is known for being a quick, smart, and ingenious tactician and an unparalleled fighter, especially with an Energy Sword and is an excellent leader. He expresses great care for his soldiers, even the Unggoy. He is eager to exact revenge on the Jiralhanae after the Great Schism. On most occasions he fully sounds out all words, i.e. he does not use contractions such as "I'm," "Won't," or "Can't." In time, Rtas begins to have respect for certain humans, John-117 in particular.

Rtas held great trust and respect for Thel 'Vadam after the events of the Battle of the Gas Mine. His trust was unwavering during the Changing of the Guard despite the fact that Thel (as the current Arbiter) answered only to the Prophets. Later during the Great Schism, Rtas and Thel became the catalysts who united the Sangheili against the Prophets and the Jiralhanae. He acknowledged Thel's "counsel" enough to convince himself that the Humans were worthy allies.

It is noted that 'Vadum becomes more calm in Halo 3, possibly because he spends less time fighting on the ground and more time commanding ships. Though he pledges much respect for the humans, 'Vadum is still willing to argue with Hood on matters regarding both the Loyalist and Flood threats, as shown when he revealed that he originally planned to destroy Earth after the Flood ship crashed in Voi. However, this was not because of the general hatred 'Vadum once held towards the humans but to protect the rest of the galaxy from infection, as he did not want to gamble that even one spore might survive the glassing, and most probably would have had Humanity die with what dignity they had left than be used as tools by the Gravemind. His experience on the Infinite Succor gave him unique insight into the terrifying nature of the Flood and he takes any threat of infection very seriously, even going to lengths to glass the entire Earth had the Arbiter not prevented him from doing so.

Following the end of the Human-Covenant War, 'Vadum had become more tolerant and mellow. His hatred of the Jiralhanae[5] and the San'Shyuum[6] had diminished significantly as he had grown tired of war.[7] [8] Following the conflict with Tem'Bhetek, he did not possess any prejudice against the San'Shyuum as a species and instead sought retribution only against those who actively betrayed the Sangheili, feeling that it was important to distinguish innocent from guilty.

Production Notes[]

Graphic Halo Halo Alpha has a collection of quotes related to Rtas 'Vadum on its quotes page.
  • Rtas 'Vadum was voiced by Robert Davi in Halo 2 and also in Halo 3.
  • The Rtas 'Vadum model for Halo 2 was created by Marcus R. Lehto.



A dead Sangheili Ultra on Floodgate that looks like Rtas 'Vadum due to the missing mandibles and armor.

  • "Vadum" translates from Latin as "ford, shallows"[9]
  • Rtas is the only known Ship Master to bear silver armor instead of golden armor. This may be due to his rank as the Special Operations Commander of the Covenant.
  • Rtas is one of few Sangheili that actually cares for the Unggoy that are under his command.
  • There is an interesting glitch in Halo 2 which allows you to make 'Vadum fly through the air, being eaten by Flood Infection forms. For more information, go here.
  • 'Rtas is one of only four Sangheili NPCs shown carrying his weapon in his left hand at least once (the others are a Sangheili in a cutscene during Lone Wolf, a SpecOps Sangheili in the level, The Oracle, and the Arbiter in a cutscene, which is also from The Oracle). This occurs during the level Quarantine Zone, in which he leaves the Arbiter to do battle with the Flood, saying "On your way, Arbiter. I'll deal with these beasts."
  • 'Vadum is one of only two Sangheili (the other being the Arbiter) to call John-117 "Spartan" rather than "Demon."
  • In Halo 2, no matter what you try, Rtas 'Vadum will not die. He can survive lethal drops that the player cannot survive, much like all major characters.
  • Rtas is the only Sangheili to feature the "Eye Glitch" when he uses Active Camo; his green eyes are still visible even though his body is not. It is only seen on the Arbiter level titled, the Oracle.
  • He is one of the few characters to propose a trade in-game, saying to the Arbiter, "Take my blade, I doubt the cable can withstand its bite." Another example of character proposing a trade is a UNSC marine in Metropolis that offers John-117 her shotgun, saying "It's tight quarters on the other side, sir. Use this."
  • Joyride Studios had originally planned to produce Rtas 'Vadumee Action Figures in the eighth series of the Halo 2 8-inch figures, but the production was canceled because they felt it was pointless to release another Sangheili figure with a different paint job. However, McFarlane Toys have made the action figure in the new series 6 action figures.
  • His Assault shoulder pads are noticeably larger than multiplayer models.
  • Even though he is referred to as a Ship Master in Halo 3, he actually bears the title of Fleet Master.
  • The fleet that Rtas 'Vadum commands in Halo 3 is known as the Fleet of Retribution, a branch of the Sangheilian Armed Forces.
  • It is a notable habit of Rtas in Halo 2 to assist the Arbiter but suddenly leave to attend to other matters, usually just before the more difficult part of the mission. This tendency is noticed by Tartarus, who refers to him as a coward. This is most likely to balance the game, since Rtas is invincible.
  • The action figure of him is called, "Rtas 'Vadumee," even though he broke away from the Covenant and removed the "ee" suffix by the time of Halo 3.


Halo 2[]

Halo 2: Anniversary[]

Halo 3[]



  1. The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor
  2. The Arbiter
  3. The Oracle (Level)
  4. The Great Journey (Level)
  5. Halo 2-"Vile, disloyal beasts! The Prophets were fools to trust them!"
  6. Halo 3-"I will beat the Prophet's shield like a drum. By the time the barrier falls, he will beg for mercy."
  7. Halo: Fractures - Halo: Shadow of Intent - page 135 - "I am tired. And I don't want to fight anymore"
  8. Halo: Fractures - Halo: Shadow of Intent - page 171 - "It's not the battles you've fought that make you tired. It's realizing you still have more to fight"
  9. http://www.translation-guide.com/free_online_translators.php?from=Latin&to=English