The Unggoy (Latin, Monachus frigus, meaning "cold monk") are a species of small, squat bipedal arthropods in the unified races of the Covenant. They are the lowest-ranking species in the hierarchy, and are frequently mistreated by almost every higher-ranking race (Sangheili, Jiralhanae, Kig-yar). Unggoy are primarily used as laborers or, in combat situations, cannon fodder. They are one of the later races to be introduced into the Covenant, and were the third Covenant species to be encountered by humans. They are referred to as Grunts by humans, mainly because they are considered weak compared to their superiors and also because they perform the majority of the labor required by the Covenant.
Induction into the CovenantEdit
Grunts were the sixth client race to be integrated into the Covenant, not including San 'Shyuum and Sangheili, about 411 years before the end of the Human-Covenant War, roughly coming to their indoctrination in 2142 on the military calendar. Balaho, the Unggoy homeworld, was devastated by the collapse of its biosphere due to massive global over-industrialization that occurred even before the activation of the Halo Array, and indications are that while the Unggoy had once achieved a Tier 4 society, by the time of their discovery by the Covenant they had yet to return to such a state.
While they are essentially a slave race, the Unggoy have managed to largely retain their cultural identities, and have rebelled in the past more than once. Being the lowest-ranked species of the Covenant, they are bitter rivals with the Kig-yar (Jackals), who are also low-ranked. The higher-ranking races of the Covenant have often ignored this rivalry. The breaking point came when a junior staffer in the Ministry of Concert discovered evidence of the Kig-yar planning to poison recreational narcotics the Unggoy enjoyed, which would have left them sterile, but the High Council refused to investigate the matter. The rising tensions with the Kig-yar and the general disinterest from the other Covenant races led to an Unggoy Rebellion in 2462. During this rebellion, the Unggoy proved to be surprisingly strong in numbers and can be deadly when sufficiently motivated. During this rebellion, the Unggoy homeworld was nearly glassed. After the uprising's conclusion, as was their tradition, the Sangheili forgave the surviving Unggoy and allowed them to enter the Covenant Military as armed infantry units, rather than the unarmed cannon fodder as which they had previously served.
Despite the low place they have in the Covenant Hierarchy, the true irony is that the Unggoy's entry into the Covenant has ensured their species' survival. Membership in the Covenant granted the Unggoy freedom from risk of extinction during Balaho's two winters, as they now have access to sufficient supplies of food. Infant mortality has decreased to below fifty percent, and geronticide is no longer a necessity for survival. The average life expectancy for non-combatant Unggoy has doubled.
The Great SchismEdit
The Unggoy obey the other Covenant races over them out of fear more than religious faith. They have next to no political power in the Covenant; the highest political rank available to an Unggoy is Deacon. However, within the Unggoy community there is a strong resentment of other species, especially the Kig-yar. At one point during the Covenant's history, in the 39th Age of Conflict, there was a Grunt Rebellion, where the conflict between the Unngoy and Kig-yar escalated. Eventually, the conflict quelled, thanks in part to an unknown Arbiter, who was called upon during that period for that purpose. The Unggoy took significant losses, and their attempt at secession saw them relegated to the lowest social strata in the Covenant. The low rank of the Unggoy, as well as the aforementioned war, also led to a lack of political loyalty during the Great Schism, as the Unggoy did not ally with a particular side, and stayed with whoever commanded them, most likely out of subservient fear to their current masters. However, many of those serving under the Jiralhanae still held support for the Sangheili and revered the Arbiter, pointing out to their comrades that they once served under him.
Unggoy share a number of features with different animal species on Earth. Like primates, they walk both bipedally and with the aid of their over sized forearms. However, their bodies are armored with a hard exoskeleton such as with crabs and insects. Their mouths have a set of small, pointed, razor sharp teeth, much like reptiles. However, the UNSC classed them taxonomically as being most similar to Earth arthropods.
Unggoy are typically poor warriors, being quite cowardly, physically weak, and tactically inept. When witnessing their commanders eliminated during a battle, they often go into a panic and scatter in random directions. However, what they lack in ability they make up for with their sheer numbers, as they breed relatively quickly and, if they are focused, are actually quite accurate with their weapon. In some cases, squads of Unggoy have been known to overpower careless UNSC Marine Corps|Marines. The conflict on Harvest, and thus the Human-Covenant War, was in part started by an Unggoy named Yull tearing apart Private Osmo. Special Operations Grunts, which are known to wear black colored armor, are far more tenacious than the lower tiered ones, and have even been known to carry fuel rod guns, which makes them extremely dangerous foes.
Unggoy are the only Covenant species to breathe methane rather than oxygen. Their combat armor/harness has an integrated methane re-breather system, as Unggoy are unable to survive for long periods of time without methane due to asphyxiation much like humans without oxygen. Due to this, if the player manages to melee their methane tank off, they will survive for a short time, but then die.
While not overly intelligent or creative on the battlefield, they are one of the most gregarious and sociable of the Covenant races as they possess a very strong pack mentality, often associating with each other in group. Intelligence of the Unggoy has often been hotly debated, as much of the source material contradicts one another. In the Eric Nylund novels, they have been described as dog-like and animalistic; however, at rare moments, they are described as intelligent, such as Kwassass, who inadvertently activated a pre-recorded message and was able to understand Admiral Whitcomb's threat and realize that it was formerly connected to a bomb. In Halo: The Flood, Unggoy are revealed to be intelligent, pulling off military maneuvers and other actions, such as their attempt to place a grenade onto John-117's suit; furthermore, Yayap, who seems to have a higher-than-normal intelligence for an Unggoy, though he may have been one of many not mentioned in the novels or games. In game, their battlefield tactics are rather simplistic, but they are more than capable of using a variety of weapons. In Halo 2 and Halo 3 pilot vehicles such as the Ghost and Shade. It is also worth considering that as a slave race, they are most likely left untrained and uneducated in order to control them more efficiently. The Unggoy seem to outnumber the other races to a large degree and might offer impressive resistance if properly organized. They have been called "cannon fodder" because their Sangheili or Jiralhanae leaders will often send them out to serve as a distraction, rather than actually having them effectively engage an enemy in combat. Therefore, it can be said that Unngoy are intelligent, but their low status does not allow them to fully utilize this. This allows for their sense of cultural identity to remain, despite their extreme subservience to the other races of the Covenant. They usually gamble with each other and often play games; one in particular includes two Unggoy competing to kill the most Scrub Grubs.
Unggoy generally follow a few short, simple guidelines given to them by the Sangheili; namely "When in doubt, shoot." or "Stay out of the way, live another day." Despite being held in low stature in the Covenant, they appear to be strong followers of their religion. Their Deacons will often hold sermons onboard ships to boost the morale and teach the Unggoy onboard about the Covenant. For instance, a Deacon named Dadab gave sermons and taught the Unggoy on board a Jiralhanae cruiser about the Covenant and its religions. The Jiralhanae allowed Dadab these teachings because they believed that it would help the Unggoy become more competent and helpful.
Anatomy and Physiology Edit
Unggoy are average of about 5 1/2 feet tall and are relatively weak compared to other Covenant species. Although they can easily walk upright on two legs, they may often use their arms to move in a quadrupedal fashion. While carrying armaments, they are forced to walk upright so that they may support their weapons with their hands, but while trying to flee, or while patrolling without a weapon drawn, they use their over sized arms as forelegs to add speed or stability to their gait. Their eyesight and hearing is average, and seem to have a very well developed sense of smell, sometimes sniffing the air to detect traces of foes or hidden enemies. This is facilitated through the olfactory membranes installed in their masks.
Unggoy also have thick, bio-luminescent, light-blue blood, possibly a result of methane-based proteins in the blood to facilitate methane-based respiration. Like Earth's Horseshoe Crabs, it is possible that their blood is blue due to high copper content.
An Unggoy's forearms are incredibly over-sized, as are their calves, while their upper arms and thighs are seemingly small. This has allowed them to be quite excellent climbers, as discovered in Halo: Contact Harvest. Spiny protrusions on their elbows help them scale rocky surfaces and may also be used to add force to their melee attacks. They also have an amazingly fast finger reflex speed, as they can fire a plasma pistol of the same rate a Sangheili can with a plasma rifle.
The Unggoy have flat, three-toed feet, with another toe on the back of their feet. While they are small, stocky, and not agile, they are quite sturdy; most may be weak, as they seem to be unable to carry a weapon heavier than a plasma pistol, although certain Unggoy of higher ranks appear to be surprisingly strong, able to carry an undeployed plasma cannon or fire a fuel rod gun with one hand without toppling from the recoil. However, physical strength may not actually go along with rank; the types of weapons available to them may be a part of a "trust" issue with the other Covenant. As rank-and-file Unggoy are clumsy and tactically inept, more powerful weapons are likely only issued to those who are more disciplined and experienced.
Unggoy have been described as breeding prodigiously in many instances, with large egg clutches and short childhood periods. This might explain why there are so many of them on the battlefield. This combined with the large number of young per clutch and rapid sensory motor integration development was one of the primary reasons why the species were given the role of disposable cannon fodder. Their unburdened neural pathway allows them to absorb knowledge more freely compared to their peers. As such, they are constantly monitoring the void for traces of human communication and have developed a clear understanding of two or even three human languages. This serves as a river of confidence in times of great stress for them. Overpopulation is a serious problem and in non-war times, strict laws are placed on Unggoy breeding.
Unggoy often have names which reflect a language of very simple phonics. Common names, such as Yayap and Dadab, begins with a reduplicated consonant and consist of two syllables. Other names consist of a single syllable with clusters of consonants, such as "Flim". Some exceptions have occurred of which a name has more consonants than is usual while following the first method of naming, as in Kwassass. Often, their names are palindromes, such as Zawaz.
Unggoy names encountered so far consist of these phonemes:
- The vowels short A and short I.
- The consonants D, F, K, L, M, S, W, P, Y and Z.
Unggoy do not have family names, possibly because the Sangheili did not allow it. Instead, they identify themselves by famous ancestors, Balaho, and where on that planet they lived.
Unggoy do value their ties to their offspring, but are usually separated from their families at an early age by the requirements of military service to the Covenant. They resent this greatly, but because of their low social status in the Covenant, they are unable to muster any response.
The Unggoy homeworld of Balaho is a temperate, swampy planet with a methane atmosphere and naturally occurring pillars of fire. The cold season of their planet makes them highly covet any source of warmth and light they can find, mainly due to the blue death.
Since their natural environment has a methane atmosphere, they would need to carry methane tanks and breathing apparatus with them whenever they travel into areas without high levels of methane in the air. Since all the other races of the Covenant, and their human enemies, breathe oxygen, the Unggoy find themselves wearing breathing masks more often than not. They have been revealed to be inhabiting large environment domes that have airlocks and methane filters for them to breathe, while not in armor or restocking their methane reserves at battlefield methane tanks. They seem to have high-pitched and squeaky voices, possibly due to the different resonating properties of methane gas. The high-pitched voices are commonly regarded as humorous by most other races, since they tend to sound like frightened children trying to sound intimidating.
The Unggoy are the lowliest beings for troops before battle, as well as other tasks, indicating the little respect they get from the Covenant. They are known to be bitter rivals with the Kig-yar as they are both at the very bottom of the social hierarchy. From a political and military standpoint, they are expected to obey the commands of their superiors without hesitation. This unwavering faithfulness is enforced by the threat of punishment, although on the battlefield, such social protocols are often ignored, such as running in fear when witnessing their leader killed during battle.
Unggoy are subdivided into sub-rankings; lower-ranked Unggoy are typically poor combatants, while higher-ranked Unggoy may be formidable adversaries in combat and will even display signs of leadership capability as well as bravery. In groups, they can be deadly as well as tenacious, depending on the level of difficulty.
The Unggoy are also considered to be somewhat humorous for their small stature, squeaky voices, and slightly cute personality. For instance, during the level, The Arbiter, an Unggoy can be heard saying, "Where'd my gun go? Oh, here it is! Hahaha."
The Unggoy of the Twilight Covenant have eight classes which are easily identified by the color of their armor and/or the type of armor.
The Unggoy Minor is the lowest and most common Twilight Covenant Unggoy rank. They are almost always infantry and are the most common infantry unit in the Twilight Covenant Army.
|Stealth Minor||Steel/Steel||None||Active Camo|
|Gunnery Minor||Teal/Teal||Ghost, Small Turrets||None|
Unggoy Major is a common Unggoy rank of the Twilight Covenant, and denotes slightly higher status then Unggoy Minor. Majors have better combat training and therefore are more accurate then Minors.
|Stealth Major||Brown/Brown||None||Active Camo|
|Gunnery Major||Green/Green||Ghost, Small Turrets, Heavy Weaponry||None|
The Unggoy Officer is a high Covenant Unggoy rank. These Unggoy are experienced and specially-chosen, and are designated for use of special equipment, heavy weapons, turrets, and/or vehicles depending on the Officer's respective division.
|Field Officer||Brick/Brick||Heavy Weaponry||None|
|Spec-Ops Officer||Steel/Steel||None||Active Camo|
|Gunnery Officer||Green/Green||Ghost, Turrets, Heavy Weaponry||None|
The Unggoy Ultra is looked upon by other Unggoy as a leader and commander of squads within their division. They are stronger opponents than their subordinates, and are more accurate with firearms, throw plasma grenades often, and wear heavier armor, making them able to sustain more damage than most other Unggoy.
|Combat Ultra||White/White||Heavy Weaponry||None|
|Spec-Ops Ultra||Steel/Steel||Precision Weaponry||Active Camo|
|Gunnery Ultra||Teal/Teal||Ghost, Turrets, Heavy Weaponry||None|
The Unggoy heirarchal military ranking system converges at the rank of Templar within the Twilight Covenant. Unggoy Templars are skilled fighters and possess good accuracy as well as limited personal shielding. These Unggoy are trained to use small ground vehicles and turrets, however they are not often observed operating such things. Templar are often observed operating under the command of Field Marshalls.
|Templar||Gold/Gold||Ghost, Turrets, Precision Weaponry, Heavy Weaponry||Light Shielding|
Unggoy Paladins are highly trained warriors skilled at both heavy and precision weaponry. The Paladin is the only Unggoy rank to be observed operating on its own without a Sangheili to guide its movement, however Paladins have been known to back up Vanguard operatives during particularly difficult tasks.
|Paladin||Cobalt/Cobalt||Ghost, Turrets, Precision Weaponry, Heavy Weaponry||Light Shielding, Active Camo|
One of the highest honorary ranks an Unggoy can achieve within the Twilight Covenant is that of the Unggoy Honor Guard. Often observed fighting beside Honor Guard Sangheili, the Unggoy Honor Guard are well trained and effective soldiers, sometimes seen piloting special variants of the Ghost. Although not as influential or powerful as its Sangheili equivalent, the Unggoy Honor Guard is nonetheless a respected title.
|Honor Guard||Maroon/Gold||Ghost, Turrets, Precision Weaponry, Heavy Weaponry||Moderate Shielding, Active Camo|
Unggoy Judge is the grandest and most honored title an Unggoy can achieve within the Twilight Covenant heirarchy. The exalted status of Unggoy Judges permits them to preside at High Coucil meetings and even conduct lesser council meetings should a High Councilor be absent. Unggoy Judges are highly trained and possess excellent combat skill.
|Judge||White/Silver||Ghost, Turrets, Precision Weaponry, Heavy Weaponry||Moderate Shielding, Active Camo|