Halo Nation

Forerunner dreadnought

10,043pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk89 Share

Help This article may not meet Halo Nation's standards. You can help by cleaning this article.
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.[8]

The Forerunner Dreadnought, colloquially known as the Forerunner Ship, was a Forerunner Keyship.[1][9] 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 of these Keyships, later known as the Dreadnought, would miraculously survive the Forerunner-Flood war to be found and used by the Prophets, and would later become an integral part of the Covenant religion, as well as a power source for the Covenant Holy City, High Charity.


The Forerunner Dreadnought 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,[10] 37,654 tons in weight, far heavier than leisure craft, but outweighed by a variety of transport and military vessels.[1]

Although their weapons systems are unknown, one Keyship was found and used by the San'Shyuum during the Sangheili-San'Shyuum war, and was far superior to Sangheili vessels of the time. At the time of the Human-Covenant war, the same Dreadnought's shielding was completely impervious to even the heaviest of UNSC shipborne armaments, specifically the Magnetic Accelerator Cannon. The Forerunner Dreadnought 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."


The history of the Forerunner Dreadnought is quite extensive, going back about 100,000 years.

Forerunner-Flood warEdit

During the Forerunner-Flood war, there had most likely been an entire fleet of Keyships. A number of Keyships were given to the 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,[11] 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, several 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.


Main article: San'Shyuum Civil War

Early in the history of the San'Shyuum, they found and worshipped a Forerunner Dreadnought that they uncovered. These early worshippers 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 WarEdit

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.

During the combat, 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 Forerunner Dreadnought, 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 UnionEdit

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.[12] It was then used to power the city, with its engines at partial power.[13][14]

Human-Covenant warEdit


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 Forerunner Dreadnought, 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 Dreadnought 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.[15][16]

For most of the Human-Covenant war, the Dreadnought 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 CharityEdit

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 Forerunner Dreadnought lifted off, and jumped into Slipspace in the midst of a large battle between Covenant Loyalists, Swords of Sanghelios and the Flood.

Battle of EarthEdit

H2A Cutscene ForerunnerDreadnought

The Dreadnought on its way to Earth.

Five days after leaving High Charity, the Dreadnought arrived in Sol system.[17] While the Dreadnought was passing Jupiter, John-117, on board the ship, was contacted by a station on 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.[18] As the Dreadnought 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,[17] the Dreadnought 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 Dreadnought'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.

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 the Ark; however, the fate of the Keyship is not known for sure.


  • 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 the 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[19] 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.[20]
  • The Covenant were only able to use 10% of the Dreadnought's generator to power High Charity.[21]
  • 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.



Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.