If Truth had succeeded

What was his gameplan if he had activated the entire array? Would the covenant religion fall into irrelevance, with surviving members left to reap the rewards of a nearly-empty galaxy?

Then he would have died from the remaining UNSC/Arbiter forces on the Ark. Failing that, they would have returned to the Milky Way and promptly been eaten by the Flood.

Nothing Truth did in either Halo 2 or 3 makes any sense in retrospect; he’s essentially three different characters. In Contact Harvest he’s a ruthless and cunning politician who genuinely seems to have the well-being of the Covenant in mind- there’s something very disturbing and almost “banality of evil”-esque in that he orders humanity’s genocide not out of malice or zealotry, but because he’s trapped by the confines of pre-existing power structures.

In Halo 2, he’s suddenly become completely selfish and only cares about acquiring more power and yet inexplicably betrays the elites for no reason.

In Halo 3, he’s a complete madman who wants to active the Halos to become a God, even though he KNOWS the Great Journey is a lie. The only real explanation for his actions is that “he’s crazy”, the worst and laziest villain motivation of all time.

IMO the original plan for the Arbiter’s story was that HE would betray Truth rather than the other way around after learning the Truth about the Halos, but it was cut due to development issues and the result is the story doesn’t hold together.

> 2533274875814858;3:
> Nothing Truth did in either Halo 2 or 3 makes any sense in retrospect; he’s essentially three different characters. In Contact Harvest he’s a ruthless and cunning politician who genuinely seems to have the well-being of the Covenant in mind- there’s something very disturbing and almost “banality of evil”-esque in that he orders humanity’s genocide not out of malice or zealotry, but because he’s trapped by the confines of pre-existing power structures.
>
> In Halo 2, he’s suddenly become completely selfish and only cares about acquiring more power and yet inexplicably betrays the elites for no reason.
>
> In Halo 3, he’s a complete madman who wants to active the Halos to become a God, even though he KNOWS the Great Journey is a lie. The only real explanation for his actions is that “he’s crazy”, the worst and laziest villain motivation of all time.
>
> IMO the original plan for the Arbiter’s story was that HE would betray Truth rather than the other way around after learning the Truth about the Halos, but it was cut due to development issues and the result is the story doesn’t hold together.

I think the reason Truth betrayed the Elites is because he knew they were intelligent and would eventually catch on to what was happening, much like the Herectic leader did. The Arbiter was already in contact with the Heretic leader and survived. Additionally, 343GS clearly knew everything about the Halos and that is how he communicated the truth of the rings to the Heretic leader. I suspect Truth believed the honorable Arbiter would have heard the same information and would eventually come to realize the truth of the matter. Recall the subtle way in which he presented only a short clip of the Heretic leader’s “blasphemy” before the level “The Arbiter.” Notice how he only showed a portion that would instill hatred and stopped the clip while the leader was mid-sentence so as to not give too much away.

Once the Elites understood what was happening, they would start their own rebellion and either win or cause enough damage to render the Covenant powerless. So, Truth decided to strike first and employ the services of the Brutes who, let’s be honest, are not very perceptive. They would be blinded by the promotion and unquestionably follow Truth’s orders. This way, the Elites would be sandwiched between the Covenant and the UNSC, effectively destroying them. You have to remember the history between Sangheili and San’Shyuum is quite bloody. The Elites very nearly won the war between them. Stopping them was very important to Truth.

Going back many years before the events of CE-3, Truth knew the real reason for the existence of the rings way before he became as powerful as he was in the games. I suppose it falls back to the power structure you mentioned. If he detracted from that path in the slightest, he would lose power. In the end, Truth is a politician and everything he did was to gain and maintain power, no matter the cost of life.

So, what he did makes sense. Truth has a different personality than he does in H2, but to me that was because of the change in voice actors. They each approached the characters differently and Bungie always gave the voice actors freedom in how they delivered their lines based on my understanding. The same can be said for Miranda Keyes. But, both characters largely retain their qualities from H2 to H3.

> 2533274875814858;3:
> Nothing Truth did in either Halo 2 or 3 makes any sense in retrospect; he’s essentially three different characters. In Contact Harvest he’s a ruthless and cunning politician who genuinely seems to have the well-being of the Covenant in mind- there’s something very disturbing and almost “banality of evil”-esque in that he orders humanity’s genocide not out of malice or zealotry, but because he’s trapped by the confines of pre-existing power structures.
>
> In Halo 2, he’s suddenly become completely selfish and only cares about acquiring more power and yet inexplicably betrays the elites for no reason.
>
> In Halo 3, he’s a complete madman who wants to active the Halos to become a God, even though he KNOWS the Great Journey is a lie. The only real explanation for his actions is that “he’s crazy”, the worst and laziest villain motivation of all time.
>
> IMO the original plan for the Arbiter’s story was that HE would betray Truth rather than the other way around after learning the Truth about the Halos, but it was cut due to development issues and the result is the story doesn’t hold together.

I’d tend to agree with you, but Truth says something to Johnson right before trying to activate the rings, which leads me to believe he still had a sharpness to his thoughts. Johnson asks him why he can’t start his own party, so to speak. Truth admits that he needs Johnson’s help, but that secret dies with everyone else.

So he still was well aware of the fact that humanity were the reclaimers. More than that, he acknowledged that he was still working to cover that fact up. I think Truth brought what he considered to be his most loyal remaining forces to the Ark so they would be spared. He would then become effectively “a god” among his people. He would have wiped out the entire galaxy of heretics and traitors, and would lead his remaining followers in rebuilding the galaxy.

While his portrayal in H3 appears increasingly unhinged, I’m starting to get the feeling that he was playing a role. He knew what needed to be said to the overzealous Brutes. He knew what to do to get them to follow his orders without question. So once he dispatched the Elites, he no longer needed to play the role of savvy politician. He needed to play the role of zealot.

It still wouldn’t have mattered though.

The Flood was there in force. There was no way Truth was getting out of there alive or uninfected. Even if he somehow, against all odds did, he no longer held military superiority on the Ark, the UNSC and the Elites would have hunted him down and killed him before Truth could have gotten to the Portal.

I think Truth by H3 may have already realised the destruction that awaits him and his faction, but decided to go all the way even if it means total annihilation.

> 2535435902217648;5:
> > 2533274875814858;3:
> > Nothing Truth did in either Halo 2 or 3 makes any sense in retrospect; he’s essentially three different characters. In Contact Harvest he’s a ruthless and cunning politician who genuinely seems to have the well-being of the Covenant in mind- there’s something very disturbing and almost “banality of evil”-esque in that he orders humanity’s genocide not out of malice or zealotry, but because he’s trapped by the confines of pre-existing power structures.
> >
> > In Halo 2, he’s suddenly become completely selfish and only cares about acquiring more power and yet inexplicably betrays the elites for no reason.
> >
> > In Halo 3, he’s a complete madman who wants to active the Halos to become a God, even though he KNOWS the Great Journey is a lie. The only real explanation for his actions is that “he’s crazy”, the worst and laziest villain motivation of all time.
> >
> > IMO the original plan for the Arbiter’s story was that HE would betray Truth rather than the other way around after learning the Truth about the Halos, but it was cut due to development issues and the result is the story doesn’t hold together.
>
> I’d tend to agree with you, but Truth says something to Johnson right before trying to activate the rings, which leads me to believe he still had a sharpness to his thoughts. Johnson asks him why he can’t start his own party, so to speak. Truth admits that he needs Johnson’s help, but that secret dies with everyone else.
>
> So he still was well aware of the fact that humanity were the reclaimers. More than that, he acknowledged that he was still working to cover that fact up. I think Truth brought what he considered to be his most loyal remaining forces to the Ark so they would be spared. He would then become effectively “a god” among his people. He would have wiped out the entire galaxy of heretics and traitors, and would lead his remaining followers in rebuilding the galaxy.
>
> While his portrayal in H3 appears increasingly unhinged, I’m starting to get the feeling that he was playing a role. He knew what needed to be said to the overzealous Brutes. He knew what to do to get them to follow his orders without question. So once he dispatched the Elites, he no longer needed to play the role of savvy politician. He needed to play the role of zealot.

I’m in agreement with you here. Although he did some batcrap crazy things he definitely had his mentality with him when he wanted to activate the ring. Although it’s odd he wanted to activate the ring know it would cause a lot of destruction to literally EVERYTHING.

To add on to your point about the Elites eventually figure it out. He did say to Arbiter “The Elites never truly believed in the promise of the Great Journey” in Halo 3.

Honestly, I still wonder a bit of what would happen since Installation 04 was destroyed by that point, so there’d be a space that wasn’t hit by the rings at all. I know there’s overlay with the rings’ firing range but there’s at least some parts that only one ring hits.

> 2533274948586786;8:
> > 2535435902217648;5:
> > > 2533274875814858;3:
> > > Nothing Truth did in either Halo 2 or 3 makes any sense in retrospect; he’s essentially three different characters. In Contact Harvest he’s a ruthless and cunning politician who genuinely seems to have the well-being of the Covenant in mind- there’s something very disturbing and almost “banality of evil”-esque in that he orders humanity’s genocide not out of malice or zealotry, but because he’s trapped by the confines of pre-existing power structures.
> > >
> > > In Halo 2, he’s suddenly become completely selfish and only cares about acquiring more power and yet inexplicably betrays the elites for no reason.
> > >
> > > In Halo 3, he’s a complete madman who wants to active the Halos to become a God, even though he KNOWS the Great Journey is a lie. The only real explanation for his actions is that “he’s crazy”, the worst and laziest villain motivation of all time.
> > >
> > > IMO the original plan for the Arbiter’s story was that HE would betray Truth rather than the other way around after learning the Truth about the Halos, but it was cut due to development issues and the result is the story doesn’t hold together.
> >
> > I’d tend to agree with you, but Truth says something to Johnson right before trying to activate the rings, which leads me to believe he still had a sharpness to his thoughts. Johnson asks him why he can’t start his own party, so to speak. Truth admits that he needs Johnson’s help, but that secret dies with everyone else.
> >
> > So he still was well aware of the fact that humanity were the reclaimers. More than that, he acknowledged that he was still working to cover that fact up. I think Truth brought what he considered to be his most loyal remaining forces to the Ark so they would be spared. He would then become effectively “a god” among his people. He would have wiped out the entire galaxy of heretics and traitors, and would lead his remaining followers in rebuilding the galaxy.
> >
> > While his portrayal in H3 appears increasingly unhinged, I’m starting to get the feeling that he was playing a role. He knew what needed to be said to the overzealous Brutes. He knew what to do to get them to follow his orders without question. So once he dispatched the Elites, he no longer needed to play the role of savvy politician. He needed to play the role of zealot.
>
> I’m in agreement with you here. Although he did some batcrap crazy things he definitely had his mentality with him when he wanted to activate the ring. Although it’s odd he wanted to activate the ring know it would cause a lot of destruction to literally EVERYTHING.

Same here

> 2533274824050480;4:
> > 2533274875814858;3:
> > Nothing Truth did in either Halo 2 or 3 makes any sense in retrospect; he’s essentially three different characters. In Contact Harvest he’s a ruthless and cunning politician who genuinely seems to have the well-being of the Covenant in mind- there’s something very disturbing and almost “banality of evil”-esque in that he orders humanity’s genocide not out of malice or zealotry, but because he’s trapped by the confines of pre-existing power structures.
> >
> > In Halo 2, he’s suddenly become completely selfish and only cares about acquiring more power and yet inexplicably betrays the elites for no reason.
> >
> > In Halo 3, he’s a complete madman who wants to active the Halos to become a God, even though he KNOWS the Great Journey is a lie. The only real explanation for his actions is that “he’s crazy”, the worst and laziest villain motivation of all time.
> >
> > IMO the original plan for the Arbiter’s story was that HE would betray Truth rather than the other way around after learning the Truth about the Halos, but it was cut due to development issues and the result is the story doesn’t hold together.
>
> I think the reason Truth betrayed the Elites is because he knew they were intelligent and would eventually catch on to what was happening, much like the Herectic leader did. The Arbiter was already in contact with the Heretic leader and survived. Additionally, 343GS clearly knew everything about the Halos and that is how he communicated the truth of the rings to the Heretic leader. I suspect Truth believed the honorable Arbiter would have heard the same information and would eventually come to realize the truth of the matter. Recall the subtle way in which he presented only a short clip of the Heretic leader’s “blasphemy” before the level “The Arbiter.” Notice how he only showed a portion that would instill hatred and stopped the clip while the leader was mid-sentence so as to not give too much away.
>
> Once the Elites understood what was happening, they would start their own rebellion and either win or cause enough damage to render the Covenant powerless. So, Truth decided to strike first and employ the services of the Brutes who, let’s be honest, are not very perceptive. They would be blinded by the promotion and unquestionably follow Truth’s orders. This way, the Elites would be sandwiched between the Covenant and the UNSC, effectively destroying them. You have to remember the history between Sangheili and San’Shyuum is quite bloody. The Elites very nearly won the war between them. Stopping them was very important to Truth.
>
> Going back many years before the events of CE-3, Truth knew the real reason for the existence of the rings way before he became as powerful as he was in the games. I suppose it falls back to the power structure you mentioned. If he detracted from that path in the slightest, he would lose power. In the end, Truth is a politician and everything he did was to gain and maintain power, no matter the cost of life.
>
> So, what he did makes sense. Truth has a different personality than he does in H2, but to me that was because of the change in voice actors. They each approached the characters differently and Bungie always gave the voice actors freedom in how they delivered their lines based on my understanding. The same can be said for Miranda Keyes. But, both characters largely retain their qualities from H2 to H3.

But I don’t think the Brutes seemed any more loyal or obedient than the Elites; if anything, less so, since usurpation is explicitly part of their culture. In terms of intelligence, again, I can’t see any noticable difference; the Elites got duped just as much as the Brutes did. If anything, the Brutes seem LESS obedient, as seen with the Banished and how Tartarus is openly derisive of Guilty Spark despite him supposedly being a holy Oracle. The only reason they rose up was because Truth betrayed them.

The history between the Prophets and the Elites almost works, but Truth ran the Covenant for the entire war and we never saw any anti-Elite policies right up until the Great Schism itself. There really doesn’t seem to be much racial tension between the two; Regret openly favoured them.

The Arbiter potentially hearing the truth from GS doesn’t work either, as Tartarus had just as much exposure to him as the Arbiter did. And even then, it doesn’t explain why Truth would kill ALL the Elites.

From what I can tell, Truth knew humanity were the Forerunner’s inheritors, but he didn’t know until Halo 2 that the array would kill everybody. Immediately following this he begins purging the Elites and orders Tartarus to fire the array, even though he most likely would have been killed- not 100% on the timeline there so I might be wrong. Him discovering that the Array was deadly made him MORE eager to fire it; it’s not even down to some vague “madness” at facing the truth, since he already knew the Covenant was based on a lie.

So I stand by the fact the Great Schism is almost entirely unmotivated. It’s a Deus Ex Machina hidden only by the fact it happens about halfway through the trilogy.

The thing about Brutes is that their native religion was based more around faith, rather than treating objects of worship with any sort of reverence. They believed in the promise of the Great Journey, which makes them zealous and fanatical, even moreso than the Elites ever were, and that blinds them to the lies of the Prophets, but they don’t revere the Forerunners as gods or that their technology and installations are holy ground. That’s why we see Tartarus manhandle Guilty Spark and then in Halo 3, we see the Brute relieving himself within the Ark’s Cartographer facility.

They are willing tools of the Prophets, because that is who they revere, who will lead them to greater power. The fact that they’re also incredibly competitive as a species and apex predators naturally put them at odds with the Elites, who they saw as rivals, a challenge to be overcome and defeated. That was why Brutes quickly take up a position of authority and were extremely violent in their purge of the Elites during the Schism; not only did a Prophet, the holiest of holies, order it, but it was a chance to finally rise up against the Elites after centuries of oppression and humiliation.

The Brutes WANTED the fight. Truth was more than happy to provide it and used Regret’s death as an excuse to give it to them. There was no reason the Elites should have been removed beyond the fact that Truth KNEW the Brutes were dumb enough to be led around by the nose and be completely loyal, while the Elites would have questioned everything had the secrets come to lfe during the games.

As for Tartarus, his faith and desire for more power was simply too hard for him to ignore. He hesitates only a moment at the end of Halo 2 after Guilty Spark tells him what the Halos are, but because he was drunk on power and didn’t respect GS, he continued to hold true to the Covenant faith.

Atriox and his clan is an anomaly created by the Elites, who continually sent him to die in battle and took all the glory for themselves. Had the Elites NOT done that and caused his faith in the Covenant to be shattered, then he would have just been like every other Brute: Almost mindlessly devoted to following the Prophets and reaching the Great Journey.

Maccabeus is another Brute that lost his faith and probably would have sided with Humanity at Harvest, had Tartarus not been a fanatic and high on Brute pheromones and killed him.