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Silver Debrief: Onyx

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Image of two Spartans in a Condor's troop bay in Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+
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  -  2 months ago

Another week, another Silver Debrief to cover the latest events of Halo’s second season! Destination: Onyx.

Let’s get right into it...


L-R Kate Kennedy as Kai and Cristina Rodlo as Corporal Perez Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Corporal Perez is suited up in the semi-powered infiltration armor of a SPARTAN-III in the troop bay of a Condor, the rear hatch opening to reveal a Covenant corvette. The Spartans of Javelin Team deploy into space and the corvette opens fire on them as they approach, but Javelin Team manage to land on the hull and breach the ship’s interior.

Perez and her squad leader make it to the ship’s bridge where they must deliver a system spike, but the squad leader gets hit by a Needler round which kills her. As Perez prepares to complete the mission, she is hit in the back and awakens—the scenario was a simulation.

Kai-125 walks in to inform them that they’re all dead—again. Kai lays out the parameters of the mission, informing them that the bridge of a Covenant ship is a key weak point, delivery of the spike can release a virus and shut down all its systems, providing the UNSC an edge, as they are losing three ships for every one Covenant vessel they can take out.

Perez says to Kai that they cleared the enemy presence on the ship and the rounds that hit them came out of nowhere, to which Kai says that the simulation is random, as is war, and dismisses them.

Perez follows after Kai and the two argue, Kai saying that she has a problem with failures and soldiers who continue to repeat mistakes, putting the mission and their comrades in danger. Perez fires back that her comrades were all dead by the time the mission came down to her, asking if this is a personal dislike because Perez was on Reach and Kai wasn’t.


L-R Shabana Azmi as Admiral Margaret Parangosky and Joseph Morgan as James Ackerson in Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+. Photo Credit: David Lukács/Paramount+

Margaret Parangosky pours a cup of tea for James Ackerson, telling him that stories are important but delicate, and centuries of work can be undone by the smallest of oversights. Ackerson assures her that the narrative about Reach remains intact, but Parangosky informs him that a ship penetrated their airspace less than an hour ago and the pilot displayed some familiarity with their defense network before landing less than fifteen kilometers from their position.

An ONI agent on Aleria also reported a sighting of Catherine Halsey boarding a ship of the same description nineteen hours ago, travelling with a large, scarred man.

Ackerson pauses a simulation Kai is in set on Reach as she couldn’t sleep, though Ackerson recognizes that she is punishing herself—feeling the weight of guilt for not having been on Reach, lamenting all the people that they lost, including the rest of Silver Team. Kai tells Ackerson that none of the recruits have survived the corvette mission simulation and she wants assurances that they’re not being geared up to be sent on a suicide mission, to which Ackerson says that the Master Chief is gone and Kai is making the next generation in his image. Kai believes that she can’t make them Spartans, but Ackerson ends the simulation and tells Kai that they are Spartans, and it’s her job to make them believe it.


L-R Yerin Ha as Kwan Ha and Olwen Fouéré as The Mother in Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Soren meets with the Chief, saying that ONI is where it all started for the Spartans. Onyx is a world with no maps, records, or history—just rumors and whispers. Soren tells the Chief that ONI has Kessler after learning this information from Dr. Halsey, leading them to conclude that they’re still making Spartans.

Kwan wanders the forests outside the ship and sees what appears to be the Mother wandering away. Laera tells Soren that Halsey is gone, which Soren dismisses as not mattering as they don’t need her, and they are then spotted by a group of ONI black ops personnel.

Kwan is fired upon by ONI guards but the Chief starts taking them out until he is surrounded. Kwan finds the Mother at a well, much like the one on Madrigal from her vision with the Mist People, where one of her ancestors spoke with a “wisp” within—a monitor. At the sound of gunfire nearby, Kwan leaps into the well and falls into a cave, though her fall is broken by an energy field where she finds Dr. Halsey.

Halsey leads Kwan to an equipment cache with torches which she says still works after twenty years, and that this is where it all began. Halsey says that she remembers Kwan as the one who ruined her best work, making the Master Chief unpredictable, but the introduction of a new variable can be the catalyst for huge change.


Charlie Murphy as Makee in Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Aboard the Arbiter’s ship, a Sangheili priest—Uto 'Mdama—enters due to the problem with their communications. The Arbiter says that it’s not a malfunction, but his command, and lies that the directive has come from the hierarchs themselves.

Uto says that some believe the Arbiter has lost faith in the hierarchs and instead looks for guidance from his human pet, then ignites an energy dagger to test the Arbiter’s claim that Makee is meaningless to him, but the Arbiter determines that she is not his to kill—she belongs to the hierarchs. After Makee reassures the Arbiter that she has communed with the keystone, Cortana appears and asks if she thinks the Arbiter knows that Makee is lying.

Cortana tells Makee that all civilizations have learned that the position of any object can be determined relative to three points in the night sky as Makee attempts to locate the position of Halo. Cortana suggests that Makee use the artifact to project herself back to the Halo, she could determine its location in the stars, but Makee says that she can’t. She touched the artifact but nothing happened, her Reclaimer gift seems to be gone, and she can’t go to the Halo without the Master Chief.


L-R Anna Koval as Captain Briggs and Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Kai observes Perez and Javelin Team running the corvette simulation again, with Perez arguing that they should deviate from their established tactics before usurping command. Perez's gambit is successful as they storm the bridge and deliver the spike, but as they prepare to depart they notice that Covenant forces have strangely disappeared.

Awakening from the simulation, the team celebrates their victory. Perez tells Kai that the exfiltration was too easy, there was no more enemy contact after the system received the virus. Kai advises Perez to take the win and walks off.

The Chief is held in chains and greeted by Captain Briggs, who recalls their last meeting when he held a gun to her face and notes that eleven of her men are incapacitated and one of them may die, to which the Chief says that usually when people are hurt in combat it’s because they’re poorly trained—or poorly led. Briggs asks which it was for Cobalt Team, who were found with full magazines as they never got a shot off before they were killed and she’s beginning to think Spartans aren’t so scary after all.

After Briggs departs, the Chief attacks the guards using his restraints, and Ackerson reveals that this was footage recorded over an hour ago to Kai. Kai wonders how the Chief is alive, to which Ackerson recalls the questions he asked Kai about his interactions with the Covenant agent Makee. Kai tells Ackerson that the Chief confided in her that he saw Makee in the fog after getting back from Sanctuary, and Ackerson states that the Chief has maintained his connection to the Covenant agent and concludes that they are working together—intelligence reported Makee’s presence on Reach, the Chief escaped the planet, and now he is here on Onyx attacking UNSC soldiers.

Ackerson additionally reveals to Kai highly classified information that the Covenant attacked Visegrad relay station for a specific objective: to cover their assault on SWORD Base where they recovered one of the artifacts. The other was exfiltrated before Reach fell and currently resides in this facility.


Kate Kennedy as Kai in Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: David Lukacs/Paramount+

Kai confronts the Chief, who tells her that they lost Vannak. Kai says she would have given anything to have been on Reach but she had orders and blames the Covenant, but the Chief says that it wasn’t the Covenant that took their armor and left them to die—ONI knew the attack was coming and let the planet burn. Kai asks if Makee sent him and says that she’s got to take him in. The Chief says he’s here for Parangosky and she can take him in once he’s done with her, but Kai refuses and things escalate to a physical fight.

Outmatched by Kai in her armor, the Chief abstains from fighting back and tells her that Vannak died the moment Halsey took him as a child—as did his and Kai’s. He continues taunting Kai about following orders without thinking, asking where the Spartan ends and where she begins. Kai continues beating the Chief beyond the point of submission and he looks to a nearby security camera, instead of bludgeoning his face with her fist she throws him into a wall which knocks him out.

Having observed the fight, Parangosky tells Ackerson not to blame himself—the attack on Reach was inevitable and the Chief was becoming impossible to control. The Master Chief they had sought to create is gone, but his memory and legend will make a million more Spartans in his place, which is what they need to win. This is Ackerson’s program now and this was what it cost.

Parangosky is informed that they’re receiving an encrypted transmission that’s not on a UNSC frequency, prompting her to order that the room be cleared.

Parangosky then speaks with Cortana, who also appears to the Chief as he regains consciousness and informs him that something terrible is about to happen. Asking what she wants him to do about it, Cortana says that he’s the Master Chief—the Covenant are going to find the Halo and use it, and it’s imperative that he gets there first.

Cortana reveals that she’s with Makee and the Arbiter, they’re almost there. The Chief recognizes the Arbiter as the one who killed Vannak, regaining the strength to stand. Asking what he needs to do to find them, Cortana says he needs to touch the artifact and guides him to it.

Cortana tells Parangosky that she was able to gain access to the Covenant’s systems and provides her with location data but the Covenant fleet will soon arrive at Cortana’s location. Cortana additionally notes that she believes this fulfils all of her mission parameters, which Parangosky agrees with. Cortana says that the UNSC will be able to attack the Covenant fleet now and she has simulated the attack many times, and even with the element of surprise the chances of success are... not said, as Parangosky interrupts. Parangosky says that they are in her debt, and orders Cortana to remain with the Covenant to provide information until she is no longer able to do so. Cortana asks if she will be remembered, to which Parangosky simply answers “How could we forget?”


Olive Gray as Dr. Miranda Keyes in Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Kwan and Halsey enter a Forerunner cavern with a doorway where they find science personnel led by Miranda Keyes, who says that without Halsey’s research she never would have been able to discover her mother’s mistake.

Back in the simulation, Kai informs Ackerson that Javelin Team completed the corvette simulation today and after they planted the spike they got to the evac ship without a hitch, accusing him of manipulating the simulation. Ackerson notes that the simulation doesn’t reflect reality—it conditions their soldiers, pushing recruits to their limit, and at the moment where death seems like the only outcome they are rewarded to give them hope. He says that these new Spartans will have a chance if they have belief, and that is what Kai has given them.

Kai asks what Ackerson gave the people on Reach, loading up a simulation of the FLEETCOM headquarters and relaying what she was told by the Chief. Ackerson reiterates that they can’t trust him, but Kai says that she does and always has, and that he said Ackerson knew the Covenant was coming and let the planet burn. Ackerson says that it was tragic, but inevitable—all they could do was save what they could, and that’s how he saved Kai.

Kai ends the simulation and rushes off to return to the Chief, but Ackerson tells her he’s already sent in the ONI black ops forces to finish what she started. Cortana, however, has been helping the Chief to access the artifact chamber.

Back on the Arbiter’s ship, Uto states that a transmission went out from the ship not long ago—Cortana's data chip being the source, which they have used to track their planets. Makee professes ignorance, but Uto tells the Arbiter to execute Makee. The Arbiter ignites his energy sword and says that those who are true believers will stand with him as he attacks Uto and a fight breaks out.

As Makee sees the keystone artifact they took from Reach begin to glow, she and the Chief touch their respective artifacts at the same time...

Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in Halo episode 6, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+


The core setting of this episode is the planet known as Onyx, which is a name that will undoubtedly be familiar to many long-time Halo fans.

Discovered in the late-25th century by the UNSC Engineering Corps, archaeological expeditions to the planet led to the discovery of vast subterranean constructions of ancient alien origin. ONI designated the discovered location as Zone 67 and purged the planet from navigational databases across the UNSC.

In 2531, over half-a-decade after the Covenant War began, Margaret Parangosky approved James Ackerson’s proposal for the SPARTAN-III program—a more cost-effective super-soldier initiative to create more Spartan units with new technology, as his rival Dr. Catherine Halsey may have produced legendary heroes for humanity, but the cost of an individual Spartan-II was astronomical.

The base designated Camp Currahee became the central location for all SPARTAN-III program training, where three companies—Alpha, Beta, and Gamma—were forged into soldiers. Instead of Dr. Halsey’s strict criteria for candidates, the SPARTAN-III program saw each company composed of over three-hundred young war orphans who were brought to Onyx and put through torturous training.

Alpha and Beta Companies would be wiped out in near totality in 2537 and 2545 as part of Operation: PROMETHEUS and Operation: TORPEDO respectively, though some Spartan-IIIs were reassigned prior to these missions such as the Spartans of Noble Team and those who were trained as Headhunter operatives.

Halo Mythos art by Leonid Kozienko depicting the destruction of Onyx

In 2552, following the initial activation of Alpha Halo before it was shut down and later destroyed, the true nature of Onyx as a Forerunner shield world was revealed. A cataclysmic showdown between the UNSC and Covenant during a race to access the Dyson sphere at the heart of the planet revealed this world was made up of trillions of unique sentinels that were hostile to all parties.

For more on the story of Onyx, be sure to check out the following stories:


Title card for Season Two of Halo The Series Declassified

Another Halo episode means another instalment of the Declassified after-show where Sydnee Goodman takes us behind the scenes to speak with Kate Kennedy (Kai-125) and Cristina Rodlo (Corporal Perez) and learn more about they journey that their characters have been on throughout Season Two.

(NOTE: Some regions may not be able to view this episode.)


Head to the Halo Gear Shop and visit the UNSC Fleetcom Exchange to shop the new collection inspired by the Halo TV series.

Halo Gear image of UNSC FLEETCOM Exchange

The collection was inspired by the real-world universe of the UNSC in Halo The Series. Get ready for a training session with the UNSC Training Tee and the crewneck sweatshirt with an embroidered UNSC Eagle, show your allegiance at home with the UNSC Flag, or remember Reach with The Reach Pint Glassed.

That wraps us up for another Silver Debrief, and there are just two episodes left to go!

We’ll see you next week...