- "Our Prophets are false! Open your eyes, my brothers! They would use the faith of our forefathers to bring ruin to us all!"
- — Sesa 'Refumee (Heretic Leader)
The Heretics were a faction of Sangheili and Unggoy that broke away from the Covenant after the Battle of Installation 04. They had been considered to be enough a threat to the Covenant religion that the Prophet of Truth sent the Arbiter to eliminate their faction.
Originally, the Heretics were a Covenant artifact retrieval team attached to the Fleet of Particular Justice and led by Sesa 'Refumee. They were investigating a Gas Mine on the planet Threshold when the UNSC Pillar of Autumn crashed on Halo. When John-117 destroyed Halo, the team was spared from death, unlike their compatriots on the ring.
A few days later, the retrieval team located the Monitor of Installation 04, 343 Guilty Spark, floating adrift in the wreckage of Halo. Spark promptly took command of the Sentinels running the gas mine and cheerfully informed the artifact retrieval team of the true purpose of the Halo Array, utterly destroying their faith in the promised "Great Journey."
Disillusioned with the lies of the Prophets and their Great Journey, 'Refumee initiated an open rebellion against the Prophet leadership and the basis of the Covenant. In secret, he sent holographic recordings to other Sangheili, hoping to open their eyes as well. In the meantime, he strengthened the defenses of the gas mine, fortifying it with Plasma Cannons and a large complement of Banshee fighter craft in anticipation of the Covenant's retribution for heresy. He also had at least one Seraph fighter, as seen in the docking bay.
It is unclear how many more Elites 'Refumee was able to sway to his cause, but one of the Sangheili he attempted to bring to his cause instead turned the holo-recording over to the High Prophets, who decided to put the "Heretics" down with two other former commanders of the Fleet of Particular Justice: the disgraced Thel 'Vadamee, now the Arbiter of the Covenant, and Spec-Ops Commander Rtas 'Vadumee.
Whilst inhabiting the mine, the Heretics discovered that the facility had a secondary purpose: a Flood Research Facility was built into the mine as part of the Forerunners' attempt to find a way to destroy the Flood. The Arbiter and 'Vadumee arrived at the facility with orders to annihilate all Heretics. Accompanying them were three Phantoms full of Spec-Ops Sangheili and Unggoy, fighting through a large contingent of Heretic soldiers whilst chasing 'Refumee throughout the facility.
Whether by accident or design, the Heretics released the Flood upon themselves shortly before the Arbiter's arrival - creating a deadly triangle of conflict as all sides attempted to destroy the others. Despite heavy resistance from the Heretics and the Flood, the Arbiter was able to kill Sesa 'Refumee and destroy the gas mine completely by severing the support cables maintaining the facility's position.
This was a crippling blow to the Heretics as a faction. It is possible, though unlikely, that some survived, as Halo 2 Multiplayer maps state the Heretics operated a base on Basis as well. In addition, it is not unfeasible that some of the remnants joined the Elites during the Great Schism.
Having abandoned the inclusive culture and ideals of the Covenant entirely, Sesa 'Refumee decided to carry a new banner for his troops: the beige and gold colors of the original Sangheili homeworld. The Elites and Grunts donned new armor of these colors as well as outfittings to help them survive in the Hydrogen atmosphere of the Threshold Gas Mine. The armor, although protective, appears to be much more ornate and ceremonial than the Covenant standard issue armor, although the armor also may be re-painted and stripped down from the original Covenant armor. It appears, however, that the armor resembles greatly that worn by the Sangheili clan in Halo Wars: Genesis. It is plausible that the "Heretic armor" is in fact a clan-based armor that the Elites use outside of the Covenant military structure.
Apart from their different armor and banner, the Heretics rarely ever use the standard Covenant Weapons. The Elites are equipped with Carbines, sometimes Sentinel Beams, and Energy Swords, instead of Plasma Rifles (Sesa 'Refumee not included), and the Grunts are equipped with Needlers instead of the Plasma Pistols they were given by loyalists, as well as Fuel Rod Cannons for anti-vehicular purposes.
The Heretics also changed the appearance of their vehicles: the Heretic Banshees had much of their external plating ripped off, revealing the Forerunner based workings within. They were also repainted to bear the colors of the Heretics and the Sangheili world.
There are 1-2 Heretic Banshees on the last level of Halo 2, The Great Journey. You can find them at the bottom of the cliff near the Scarab through a glitch.
- Main article: Heretic Grunts
Heretic Grunts wield Needlers, Fuel Rod Cannons, and they can also man Plasma Cannons. They have never been seen using Plasma Pistols, the weapon more commonly used by their regular, non-Heretical counterparts, although a fair amount of Plasma Pistols are scattered throughout their base of operations. The most common weapon used by them is the Needler. They are also not as suicidally stupid as their Covenant counterparts, and they never panic or run away (despite that they still could say He dead? Me run! when a Heretic Elite is killed). They are also noticeably tougher and harder to melee due to their reduced armored re-breathers. Their masks do not cover their entire mouths as those of Covenant Grunts do.
- Main article: Heretic Elites
Heretic Elites seem to use either Covenant Carbines or Sentinel Beams and occasionally the Energy Sword. This probably means they use reloadable weapons instead of making multiple weapons. Apart from the Heretic Leader himself, they never use the Plasma Rifles wielded more often by their regular counterparts, although if you board a Banshee piloted by one, the pilot will be wielding one. Heretic Elites have three ranks. Brown Elites are the equivalent of a Loyalist Elite Minor and the gold is the equivalent of a Loyalist Elite Major. The red armor is only worn by the Heretic Leader.
Heretic Elites' bodies are slightly more exposed than Covenant Elites, as they wear less armor. However, this does not make them any easier to kill than their Covenant counterparts.
- "Any word on our missing brothers?"
- "Our lives for the truth, the truth and the Covenant!" -Heretic Elite, level The Oracle.
- "The Oracle must be saved!" - Heretic Elite, level The Oracle.
- "Open your eyes!" - Heretic Elite When fighting the Covenant.
- "You, Arbiter!" - Heretic Elite taunting Thel 'Vadam.
- "Curse you, Arbiter!" - Heretic Elite.
- "Wretched Arbiter, you are a traitor of your race!" - Heretic Elite.
- "They sent the Arbiter!" - Heretic Elite.
- "Where are your Prophets now?" - Heretic Elite taunting the Covenant.
- "The Arbiter is here!" - Heretic Elite.
- "Always hated you, Elites!" - Heretic Grunt
- "Come here, Arbiter!" - Heretic Grunt.
- "Scared, Arbiter?" - Heretic Grunt.
- "The Will of the Prophets!" - Heretic Grunt, when he sees Thel 'Vadam.
- "Me hear that!" - Heretic Grunt, In response to a Grunt loyal to the Covenant taunting.
- Sobbing - Heretic Grunt, In response to a Heretic Elite dying.
- "Is that a threat?!" - Heretic Grunts response to a Covenant Elite.
- "Look, The Arbiter lapdog of the Prophets!" Heretic taunting the Arbiter.
- "What? All right! Cower, Coward!" - Heretic Grunt, usually heard when the Arbiter runs from him and hides behind something.
- "An Arbiter? I'm flattered." - Heretic Leader talking to the Arbiter.
- There are only two species within the Heretics. Originally the Heretics were going to be made up of only Mgalekgolo.
- Probably not true, but the Prima Official Strategy Guide for Halo: Reach says that there are Heretics on the level "ONI: Sword Base", because a few Ranger and Minors are seen driving a warthog. There is a class in Firefight however nicknamed Heretics due to their use of human weaponry in Reach
- The later Breakaway Covenant faction, the Separatists, are also referred to as Heretics.
- Oddly enough, Heretic Elites will sometimes say "By the Rings...". This is unusual because they, technically, have lost all faith in the Halos as something good, yet they use the saying when surprised or scared, likely out of habit. Another (and a bit more likely explanation) is that the game's developers forgot to make sure that the Heretic Elites wouldn't say something that glorifies the Halos. It could also just be a phrase they grew up with similar to how many atheists and agnostics still use the term "Oh my God..." despite not believing in God.
- The Heretics only appear in two of Halo 2's levels, the Arbiter and the Oracle.
- The Heretic Grunts do not run from a fight even though their superiors are dead. There is possibly a connection between this and the later remark made by a Marine in Halo 3, "These Grunts ain't no slouches either." Perhaps a similar gas or drug was used on these Grunts, or perhaps they weren't oppressed and used as simple cannon fodder like they were under the Covenant, giving them better motivation to fight, supported by how better equipped they are than standard Grunts due to the fact they use Needlers. It's quite possible they received better combat training because they choose not to burst fire Needlers, it shows they have greater understanding of the weapon.
- If any of the Heretics survived through the Battle of the Gas Mine, it is possible and likely that they joined the Covenant Separatists during the Covenant Civil War.
- Heretic Grunts will often say, "Always hated you Elites!". This is slightly odd, because they are still led by Elites. Covenant SpecOps Grunts will also say this. It is possible, but unlikely, that they are referring to individual elites.
- In Halo 2 Vista, the voices of Heretic Elites will sound muffled, most likely because of the breathing apparatus they use.
- The Heretics make a comeback to Halo: Reach's Firefight mode, although there are many differences from the Halo 2 Heretics. Noticeable differences are that their appearance is identical to the regular Covenant Elite ranks and they wield human weapons instead of Covenant Weapons.
- Although the Heretics technically do not appear in the Firefight mode of Halo: Reach, the player can choose to battle waves of "Heretics"; i.e. Elites using human weapons. Unlike other types of waves, Heretic waves are not included in the default settings in Firefight.
- Despite the fact that the Halo: Reach Heretics are only classified as such because they use Human weapons, Brutes in Halo 2 can be seen using Shotguns on the level Uprising and are not considered Heretics. Also Brutes that are hijacked from Banshees in the level will occasionally wield Battle Rifles.
- This may be due to the fact that the Prophets overlooked this to motivate the Brutes. This use of the Shotgun may also be the reason for the Mauler's inclusion in Halo 3 as the Mauler's description says that it was inspired by the Human Shotgun.
- It is a possibility that Heretics helped the Separatists in the Halo 2 level The Great Journey, as Heretic Banshees can be found at points on the level, but since this is easter egg, it's unknown if they did help them.
- Probably not considering that when the station fell from the atmosphere the station would have been ripped apart. Although it is possable that some were already in banshees by that time.
- ↑ The Art of Halo