Mamoru Oshii (creative director)
November 21, 2009 (Limited) February 16, 2010 (Full release)
A Sangheili Arbiter named Fal 'Chavamee, who refuses to accept the Covenant religion, is charged with Heresy by a High Prophet. By order of the Prophet, a Sangheili, named Haka, plans to find a way to bring Fal down. After dreaming about his meeting with the Prophet, Han, Fal's wife, asks him what it was that was troubling him. Fal then tells her that she should leave for a while, but she refuses as she wanted to stay by his side as his wife.
While training Sangheili warriors, Fal is approached by a close friend, Roh. Roh tries to convince him that The Covenant has only done good, and that by rejecting The Great Journey, he will surely be stripped of his rank as the Arbiter. However, Fal does not take heed to his friend's warning, and tells him that the Covenant will try to take him down by any means necessary.
Haka and Roh, under the orders of a high prophet, invade Fal's home and murder Han while he was away. Fal returns home to discover the bodies of his friend and Han. He is then provoked to face Haka in a fight, which was planned by the Prophet.
A boatman, who led Fal down a river to Haka's dueling place, warns the Arbiter that it is a trap. Fal ignores this, and stumbles upon a few of Haka's personal guards, who are subsequently killed. Later on his quest, an army of Sangheili, Kig-Yar, Unggoy, and Mgalekgolo (accompanied by Wraiths and Ghosts as well) charge towards Fal. The Arbiter's single Energy Sword, after slicing through waves of Covenant forces, is rendered useless when its battery is depleted, so he recovers two Swords from a pair of recently deceased Sangheili. Three massive Hunters, two Ghosts, and a Wraith then begin to bombard Fal at once. However, Fal annihilates the whole army, leaving only one cowardly Unggoy (who is soon killed).
Atop a Forerunner structure, Fal and Haka finally duel. It is a short lived fight, as Haka slashes Fal across his chest, through his armor, mortally wounding him. To his surprise, however, Fal has impaled him on his own sword. Both fall, each having killed the other. Fal's last thoughts are of his wife, whom he had avenged.
As a result of Fal's actions, the rank of Arbiter is stripped of its former prestige, and is given only to Sangheili who have brought shame to both themselves and the Covenant.
The scene opens with a full moon upon the face of water. Ripples from a boat and The Boatman disrupt the water. A flashback is presented of a Sangheili woman, Han, the wife of the Arbiter Fal 'Chavamee, being attacked by a metal sword. Another flashback shows that Han is dead. The murder, Haka. and his bodyguards are then seen leaving the home. Fal is then seen looking at the hilt of his Energy Sword. The Boatman and Fal continue down the river. They stop and Fal steps off.
- The Boatman: You know this is a trap. Do you not?
Fal ignores the Boatman and continues on his path into a forest. As Fal is walking, he is stopped by Haka's bodyguards.
- Leader: Coming was foolish.
The leader activates his Energy sword. Fal responds by activating his sword. The group advances on the Arbiter. Fal attacks. Another Flashback is presented with Fal kneeling in front of a Unidentified Prophet.
- Prophet: Your words of dissent are troubling to us.
Back to the fight, Fal fights the bodyguards. Each foe falls as Fal continues his assault.
- Prophet: We ask so little in return for the gifts we offer. Tell me, Arbiter. Is faith to much to ask in exchange?
Back to the fight, Fal and the last three of the bodyguards are still fighting. Fal flips in the air, lands, and slides towards another Sangheili and kills him.
- Prophet: Haka has chosen the path of the Great Journey. Why must you resist?
Haka presents himself to the Prophet and Fal.
- Prophet: The Journey will take us farther than this simple Covenant. It will deliver us to godhood.
The leader charges for Fal. Fal uses one of the other Sangheili to block the leader’s sword swipe. The leader throws off the dead body, only to have Fal jab his Energy sword into the abdomen of the Leader. The Leader groans as Fal removes his sword, then falls to the ground dead. Fal looks at the scene, then leaves.
Fal, in his home, has a flashback of the meeting with the Prophet.'
- Prophet: There is only one path for you. Why must you deny the Journey that we all must take?
- Fal: THE JOURNEY IS A LIE!
- Prophet-Is it now?
- Han: You’re dreaming, my love.
- Fal: What?
Fal returns to his senses and sees Han.
- Fal: Forgive me, Han. I am distracted.
- Han: (laughs) Can you not simply serve?
- Fal: Perhaps, but only when you know who you are actually serving. Now I’m not so sure.
- Han: You? Uncertain? (Laughs)
- Fal: Han, you should leave. Just for a little while.
- Han: I’ll never leave you, I’m your wife. And you are the General. My place is at your side.
- Fal: You are stubborn to a fault.
- Han: I could say the same of you. (giggles)
Later at a fortress, Fal his training his soldiers.
- Fal: Useless! Focus! We are fighting Elite, the right arm of the Covenant. The gifts of the Forerunners are nothing if you don’t master the skills to wield them. Master them you will. For we are the men of Sanghelios. Never forget that honor.
- All: Sir, yes sir!
After being dismissed, Fal is seen walking while the soldiers converse among themselves. He stops after hearing the words of an old friend, Roh.
- Roh: Walk with me a moment, Arbiter.
- Fal: Roh…
- Roh: I must ask you.
- Fal: Ask your question.
- Roh: Tell me, Arbiter. Why do you insist on provoking their patience? They have given us formidable gifts. Your status is at risk. This heresy will strip you of your rank.
- Fal: There is no rank without honor. We were strong. Sanghelios was strong before this Covenant. And we could be strong once more. But we have strayed. We live not for honor but for power.
- Roh: Listen to yourself! This talk is not just heresy. It is treachery. You are putting your bloodline at risk. And what of your wife? What of Han? Arbiter! To protect the future of our clans, please, please join. Arbiter!
- Fal: And now the game begins and I must play.
- Roh: Fal.
- Fal: I know they will come in force to challenge me. And I will not turn away from them, I will answer their call.
- Roh: It’s not too late.
- Soldiers: Defector…Heretic…Accursed Arbiter…Betrayer…Renegade…Traitor…Curse the Arbiter.
Fal activates his sword. The commanding officer roars, indicating the attack. The soldiers advance towards the Arbiter. Fal advances as well, deflecting their shots with his sword. As he is seen attacking the front line, a flashback of the Prophet talking to Haka on a holographic pedestal takes place.
- Prophet: So honor, is his strength. Then we shall turn his precious honor against him. Draw him out and defeat him publicly! The badge of Arbiter will become a mark of shame. Haka! Persuade him. Yes. Take away what he finds so precious. We’ll show everyone ho high is the price of dissent.
Haka bows after receiving his assignment and disappears from the pedestal. The fight in the desert continues as the Arbiter continues his attack on the army. After killing many foes, his sword extinguishes. An Sangheili with a sword attacks and Fal knocks him out and takes his sword. Another Sangheili attacks and Fal kicks him and also takes his sword. With two swords, Fal continues attacking. His attacks are swift and deadly as he takes out many foes with great speed. Back at Fal Home, Han answers the door to notice Roh.
- Han: Come in, Roh. What’s the matter?
Roh is not alone. Haka appears and “invites” himself in. Han is scared. Back at the fight, Fal continues attacking the soldiers. An Elite and two Kig-yar are shooting Fal in the air, only for Fal to land on them and kill them. Suddenly, Fal dodges an Energy ball shot from a Wraith. Then, two Ghosts appear and advance towards Fal. Then, three enormous Mgalekgolo appear and challenge Fal. As one raises and lowers its fist, Fal intercepts the fist and pushes it away with little effort. Back at Fal’s home, Han is seen kneeling on the floor, covered in blood, while Roh has Haka’s sword raised at Han, whimpering and hesitating to kill Han.
- Haka: Kill her. Then he will have no choice, but to face me in battle.
- Roh: I’m sorry.
Back at the battlefield, Fal takes out the Ghosts, the Wraith and two of the three Mgalekgolo. He continues killing Sangheili as he heads towards the final Mgalekgolo. Back at Fal’s home, Roh cannot kill Han. Haka intervenes.
- Haka: We do this for the Great Journey.
“Helping” Roh, he raises the sword. On the battlefield, Fal approaches the last Mgalekgolo and climbs up the beasts back to its neck. Screaming, he plunges his sword into the back of the beast’s neck, along with Haka and Roh dropping the sword and killing Han. As the Mgalekgolo falls dead, Fal removes his Sword and overlooks the battlefield. He steps down from the Mgalekgolo, revealing half of Fal’s helmet has been damaged in battle. Suddenly, a Unggoy runs by in terror.
- Unggoy: He’s a Demon!
Fal makes quick work of the Unggoy. Back at Fal’s home, Fal enters his house looking for Han.
- Fal: Han! Haaan!!
Fal looks in one of the rooms to see Roh is dead. As he approaches Roh, he stops, to look into another room to see Han is dead as well. He slowly approaches her, kneels down, and takes her head in his hands. After moments of pain and whimpers for the death of Han, he roars into the air. Elsewhere on Sanghelios, Fal walks up the steep stairs of a Forerunner structure. When he arrives at the top, Haka is seen present.
- Haka: A shame that sword of yours was too late to save Han. Such a price for your honor, Arbiter.
- Fal: You are not worthy to speak her name. But I promise it is the last you will utter.
- Haka: There will be time for talk when I rule in your stead. And declare your shame, Arbiter.
The two Sangheili face off. Haka grabs his metal sword from his back and Fal activates his Energy sword. They both walk in a circle, in battle position, and stop. After a moment, both attack. After another moment, Fal’s blood comes bursting from his torso. Haka, feeling victory has been achieved, smiles. However, he moans, and looks down, only to discover that Fal’s sword has pierced his abdomen. Haka falls, dead. Fal looks at his hand to discover that he has lost too much blood and is dying. Fal drops his sword, staggers, and then falls to the ground. As he is falling, he has flashbacks of Han who is happy to see Fal.
- Before its release, the short was said to be "around the time of the Prophet alliance" (852 BCE), but the presence of Unggoy indicates that it must be at least 2142 CE. Post-release, Frankie clarified that it takes place "quite late into the Covenant as a society".
- The significant Sangheili characters are given much more human-like faces. This was a stylistic choice to make them more sympathetic. Haka's warriors have faces more typical of Sangheili in the franchise.
- The stylistic design of the main characters is also very similar to the original Saurian-style face shape and design of the Pre-Xbox Halo Elites.