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Huragok (Facticius indoles)
Biological information
Physical description
Height

6 feet, 2 inch (188 cm) [1] 9 feet airborne [2]

Weight

125 lb (57 kg) [3]

Skin color

Pink/Purple

Distinctions

Defies gravity, six appendages, bulbous sections, small snout, several eyes

Military and Political information
Affiliation

Neutral but used by Covenant

Notable Individuals
Other Nomenclature
  • Engineers
  • Boo-Bags
  • Loogie
  • Slippery Suckers
  • Floating Squids
  [Source]
"A sentient labor-saving device with the ability to self-repair and self-replicate. Good with computers."
—Bungie.net description of Engineers.

Huragok (Latin Facticius indoles[4], meaning "artificial genius"[5]), known to Humans as Engineers,[6] are an artificial race that was created by the Forerunners.[4] They are the only known non-combatant race of the Covenant, though some are rigged to explode like suicide bombers.

Contents

Description

While the Prophets guide, direct, and manage Forerunner research and technology, it is the Engineers caste who must excavate, unlock, and transport Forerunner artifacts, though the Prophets insist that any admission of that fact is heresy. These remarkably helpful and docile aliens are patient, almost completely silent, and exceedingly reserved in their work and its religious implications.

Engineers are the scientific and engineering backbone of the Covenant and its economy. They float via bladders that let off a gas lighter than air, and their many tentacles are able to split into many fine cilia, with which they are able to manipulate machinery. Engineers are capable of quickly learning the functionality of new technology. On one occasion, an Engineer was observed by the Master Chief dismantling a vehicle's engine, assembling it into various other working configurations, and then returning it to its original state, all in a matter of seconds.[7]

Their motivations are unknown; they appear to draw no distinction between friend and foe, preferring to spend their time inspecting or repairing technology, although they will utter a high-pitched keening sound whenever a Forerunner artifact is under any sort of threat. They are extremely apathetic to any sort of combat, and tend to just float along with a single goal: to fix things. In one encounter, an Engineer repaired the Master Chief's damaged shield generator and then floated away; the rather unlucky Engineer was later shot by Lieutenant Haverson to prevent it from possibly giving the specifications of the Chief's improved shield technology to the Covenant.

Their concentration has been described as "a trance-like reverie" by the few who have witnessed it. They usually communicate only with Prophets, a fact that may contribute to the balance of power between Elites and Prophets, and will usually ignore anything that is neither a Prophet, a Forerunner artifact, nor a machine.[8] A notable exception is the Huragok Lighter Than Some, who communicated with the Unggoy Deacon Dadab via Huragok sign language.[9]

The abilities of the Huragok are not limited to their skills to fix things; they are also able to absorb data from a computer or an A.I., and combine it with their own biological "data". One such incident occurred when one Huragok combined its knowledge with the dumb AI of New Mombasa, the Superintendent. During a mission to recover a living Huragok, Captain Veronica Dare described the species as "biological supercomputers".[10]

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Origins

The Engineers were created by the Forerunners prior to the first activation of the Halo Array.[4] Being mechanical structures rather than true life forms, they survived the activation and were later found by the Prophets in various M-Series facilities.

Anatomy and Physiology

Huragok blood inspected by Rtas 'Vadumee as seen in Halo Graphic Novel.

The Engineers are actually not a natural biological species at all, but rather an artificial life form created by the Forerunners. While they possess no true tissues or organs, their nano-mechanical surrogates so closely mimic their biological analogs that they seem almost indistinguishable to later observers.[4] Gas-bladders serve as their method of locomotion, allowing them to float through the air even after their deaths. The bladders also serve as part of their respiratory system; if their gas bladders deflate, they will asphyxiate and die.

They have small heads with six dark eyes, and four tentacles that can split into very small, near-microscopic cilia. The Engineers use these cilia to construct, repair, or rebuild nearly anything they can grasp. They can take apart whole vehicles and rearrange their entire structure in a matter of seconds, with the resulting machines still operating at least as well as they did before. They learn at an unprecedented rate, and store that information for future reference if ever they need to repair the same thing twice. They are capable of surviving in at least oxygen and methane-rich environments, though they cannot survive in a vacuum.

Engineers are not normally a tactical threat and are hardly ever seen in combat situations. Unlike the majority of the Covenant races, they do not regard humans as enemies; during the Master Chief's assault upon Ascendant Justice, one even aided the Chief by repairing the shield generator on his MJOLNIR armor and fixing the SPARTAN's current weapon, a broken Needler.[11] However, Lieutenant Haverson killed the Engineer stating that it had learned all about the MJOLNIR shield technology, which was superior to the Elite's Personal Energy Shields, and could not be allowed to relay that information. In Halo: Contact Harvest, a Huragok named Lighter Than Some attempted to aid the Humans in an attempt to bring peace; he even made them a peace offering, which, against his wishes, was converted into the Brute Chopper.

Huragok "reproduce" by gathering the needed (or available) materials from their surroundings to build another Huragok. Up to three Huragok take part in this process, relaying all the information that they have learned to their "offspring". Given sufficient raw materials, a pair of Huragok can produce a unified replica of themselves in approximately 45 minutes; the addition of a third Huragok cuts the time down to thirty minutes. Understandably, it is advantageous to have as many Huragok contribute to this process as possible, raising the "intelligence" of the offspring.

Huragok blood is blue-purple in color, as seen in Halo 3: ODST. However, it is depicted as being scarlet-orange in the Halo Graphic Novel. This is considered an artistic liberty, given the many other contradictory depictions in the book.

Huragok are bioluminescent, and in dark conditions their heads and tentacles emit a bright bluish glow, which seems to pulsate when the Huragok is calm and dim when it is frightened. The cilia on their tentacles give off a pinkish-red light as well.

Though the inner workings of an Engineer's internal macroscopic biology remain a mystery, it is known that they are capable of using the gas sacks that keep them afloat for anaerobic respiration. This method is painful, dangerous, and apparently only used as a last resort. In the Halo series, only one usage of the ability has been described: when, in Halo: Contact Harvest, Lighter Than Some used anaerobic respiration to keep Dadab alive after the latter's methane tank depleted. Huragok use thousands of microscopic organisms to digest the food they consume, producing many gases, including methane, as a by-product.[9]

Communication

Huragok can communicate with other Covenant species, such as Grunts, and perhaps with other Huragok, by flexing their limbs in various directions, bending and overlapping to form the specific formation for each word, much like Human sign language. Their gas sacs can also swell and deflate at times of great emotion, suggesting another, more subtle method of communication. Engineers can also communicate using whistle sounds, as shown in Halo: First Strike, when Cortana uses a Covenant SHIPCOM speakers to verbally communicate with an Engineer. This form of communication is used in Halo Wars; the whistle sounds are how Engineers respond when selected. They can also make deep laughter like sounds while around targets or allies. These deep whistling sounds can also be heard in Halo 3: ODST.

Personality

Huragoks are an extremely valuable asset to a crew as they enjoy fixing things immensely. In several of the novels, they are described as caring about nothing else. However, in Contact Harvest, it is shown that they are very peace loving and have a great respect for life in general. Lighter Than Some even refuses to play a game that would kill non-sentient pests. However, they can be pushed into violence when a friend is in danger, as demonstrated when Lighter Than Some saved his friend, Dadab, by killing the human, Henry Gibson, with a hunting rock.

Huragok have also been known to display great compassion and caring for one another, as shown in Halo 3: ODST. Dr. Endesha observed six Huragok selflessly give their own lives while attempting to disarm a bomb attached to another, which detonated after its removal and killed all but the seventh Huragok.

Appearances

Engineers are seen in Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: First Strike, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, Halo: Contact Harvest, Halo 3: ODST, The Art of Halo and Halo Wars. Initially, Engineers were intended to appear in Halo: Combat Evolved, but due to time constraint issues, they were "left on the cutting room floor." They were cut so late, however, that they remained in the Prima Guide for the game, and their files were not deleted entirely from the game, modders have located the Engineer files on the game disc and spawned Engineers in various configurations, hence the images that may be found.

In Halo: Fall of Reach, an Engineer is observed by the Master Chief dismantling and re-assembling a Human car on Sigma Octanus IV. This was their first, known recorded appearance by the UNSC. This also demonstrated their knowledge of machines, no matter the type.[7] In the Halo Graphic Novel it is noted that some Engineers were stationed on the Infinite Succor. Rtas 'Vadumee noted that the Flood had killed Engineers, smearing their blood onto the floor, which proved that it was not Human forces that had infiltrated the Infinite Succor, but something else. In Halo: First Strike, an Engineer repaired the Master Chief's Needler. Later another one repaired his energy shield; this one was fatally shot by Lieutenant Haverson, to avoid the risk of it divulging the MJOLNIR's improved shield design to the Covenant. Haverson appeared to feel some pity for the creature. Due to its mechanical nature, however, it may have simply been repaired by another Engineer. In Halo: Ghost of Onyx, a group of Engineers repaired a NOVA bomb stolen by the Covenant fleet after a Grunt, Kwassass, pushed a button. The NOVA bomb was then activated and exploded, destroying the Covenant super-carrier Sublime Transcendence and its entire crew, as well as the nearby Covenant outpost planet Joyous Exultation, its moon, Malhiem, and the rest of the fleet orbiting it.[12] A Huragok, Lighter Than Some, appears in the book Halo: Contact Harvest. He is shown to have a fairly friendly relationship with shipmate Dadab, a Grunt Deacon.

Engineers are also featured in the Bestiarum booklet in the special editions of Halo 3, though they do not appear in that game either.

Huragok as seen in Halo Wars.

Halo Wars

In Halo Wars, they provide the only means for the Covenant to repair their damaged buildings and vehicles and heal injured units. They are easily slain, as they are unarmed and can only be repaired by other Huragoks - not by themselves. They resemble the original, deleted version of the Engineer from Halo: Combat Evolved rather than the Halo 3: ODST version. If combined with a Scarab they will make the latter almost unstoppable. They'll automatically search and find damaged machinery and troops to repair. They have two upgrades:

  • "State of Grace": Allows Huragok to have faster repair rate.
  • "Harmonious Digestion": Enhances their movement speed.[13]

They are trained from the Summit, require 250 resources and 0 tech level, and count as 1 population.

Halo 3: ODST

An armored Huragok in Halo 3: ODST. The armor doubles as a suicide bomb.

While Engineers appear in Halo 3: ODST's campaign, they also have a role in Firefight, where they provide an overshield to any Covenant allies within a certain radius around each Huragok. Though two Engineers or more can shield each other, they are still defenseless alone, making it a primary objective to take them out as soon as possible.

Engineers are usually attached to a specific Covenant squad or patrol, and tend to completely ignore the battle below them, wandering the area seemingly at random, although they will attempt to move away from danger if they are specifically targeted. To prevent the incredibly useful Huragok from falling into Human hands, their armor is designed to self-destruct in the event that the entire squad they were attached to is wiped out. They appear in the night-time versions of the Firefight maps "Crater" and "Rally Point",[14] and they also appear in "Chasm Ten". They are also equipped with energy shields. The easiest way to get rid of one is with a single charged shot from the plasma pistol. It won't kill it immediately, but it will cause the bomb on it's back to overload and self destruct a few seconds later, which will also kill any Covenant on the ground below it if your timing is good. Don't waste any other ammo on them as their shields are quite tough. Huragok recharge stations were set up in the flooded areas of the city to house the Huragok work teams. These were destroyed by a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers using a captured Phantom and Banshee, likely killing dozens.[15]

Development

Concept art for Halo 3: ODST.

The creation of the Huragok started around 1999, during the development of Halo: Combat Evolved. From the beginning, they were meant to be "a class of aliens that acted as idiot savants towards technology," and were meant to be able to decipher Forerunner technology easily and allow a glimpse into what made the Forerunner technology so special. As far as gameplay, the designers wanted a race that were less aggressive to populate the world in a more passive way, making Halo feel more alive. The general idea of the Huragok was to be "a character meant to be passive, almost puppy like in nature," and make the players feel bad if they killed them.

Sea creatures were used for inspiration, especially underwater sea slugs and glowing jellyfish; their movements, the way they emit light, the fluidity of their bodies - and tried to translate that into a creature out of water. According to Shi Kai Wang, underwater sea creatures like the jellyfish had the right type of feel to them, a very docile and graceful creature that just minds its own business—very much how they initially wanted the Engineers to be. More emotive states were added to their animations and facial features to make them relatable, so that people would feel for them. The Huragok were eventually cut from Halo: Combat Evolved, as there was not enough time or technology to "make them feel right".

For Halo 3: ODST, the Huragok were completely redesigned to fit the gameplay, and to make them more in-depth characters. As the tools and capabilities were now available, the creatures could be made just like they were originally envisioned. Originally, in Halo 3: ODST, the Engineer was to suck its limbs and head into a cocoon shell and have it float away in distress or cower in fear. This effect wasn't fully achieved as a good solution for how the animations would work alongside gameplay couldn't be figured out. Eventually, the idea was turned into something similar but a scaled-down version.[16]

Symbols

An example of a Huragok symbol.
"These tell stories, not very clear cut stories but they represent the shape of Forerunner ships, etc..."
Joseph Staten, commenting on the symbols[17]

Huragoks are known to mark some areas of significance with mysterious glyphs, which can be found on various surfaces, walls, ceilings or floors, often in irregular patterns. These usually consist of an "Y"-shape or a circle, with various types of glyphs similar to Forerunner symbols around them. The symbols are likely related to the Huragoks' Forerunner origin.

In Halo 3: ODST, they can be seen glowing with the VISR mode turned on. They are usually seen in or near areas of interest, such as locations with dead Sangheili or supply caches. The ones in the supply caches also bear a similar symbols depicting the Superintendent, possibly hinting to cooperation of the A.I. with Huragok. This is further supported by the fact that the subroutine of the Superintendent known as Vergil fused with an Engineer to pass information along to the UNSC.[18]

Trivia

  • Engineers are the only Covenant race to be cut from the original Halo Trilogy yet still considered "canon", as they appear in the novels. They were later included in both Halo Wars and Halo 3: ODST. It is unknown whether they will appear in Halo: Reach.
  • Though they were cut from Halo: Combat Evolved, the Huragok went through several development cycles.
  • Halo fans first learned of the Huragok from a screenshot in the August 2000 issue of PC Gamer magazine (scanned here).
  • If a Huragok is killed after being modded into Halo: Combat Evolved, it will simply remain perfectly still, as it has no death animation. If you shoot it after the blood has spilled from it, the skin of the Huragok will bubble with a purple liquid where you shot it, which shows an element of Halo: Combat Evolved that was used in the final game only with Flood - wound graphics.
  • Three Huragok were taken prisoner aboard the Ascendant Justice when it was captured by Human survivors of the Battle of Installation 04. One was killed after it learned of Human shield improvements, to prevent its return to the Covenant. The other two were presumably interrogated by ONI. Their current fate remains unknown.[19]
  • The Huragok are, ironically given their pacifism, the species credited with killing the first human in the Human-Covenant War, albeit in defense of a friend, Dadab.
  • In Halo 2's Conversations From The Universe they are known to be called "loogies" or "boo-bags" for their appearance.
  • Despite the UNSC having been aware of Engineers for quite some time before the events of ODST, upon meeting one face-to-face while looking for Captain Veronica Dare, ODSTs Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck and Lance Corporal Kojo Agu had clearly never encountered or heard of anything like it, or else did not recognize the creature in its armor.
  • The "Good Samaritan" achievement can be unlocked by not killing any Engineers in New Mombasa at night during the entire campaign, alone or with another ODST. On the other hand, killing ten of the Engineers in the city will unlock the "Naughty Naughty" achievement.
  • In "Mombasa Streets", in several hidden courtyards, two Huragok can be found, on their own, shining lights on to walls, as if searching for something. If the player gets their attention, the Huragok will look at the player for a minute, then continue searching. If near these areas, the Superintendent will point the player towards them. They will not explode unless killed.
  • In Halo 3: ODST, during the hub level "Mombasa Streets", three Brutes can be observed torturing an Engineer. Two of the Brutes hold the creature in place while the third one violently attaches an explosive to it.
  • In Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian, Mo Ye incorrectly states that the Covenant "call them Engineers". "Engineer" is actually the Human name for the species, with the Covenant name being Huragok.

Gallery

Sources

  1. Halo Encyclopedia, page 122
  2. -top right hand corner
  3. Halo Encyclopedia, page 122
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Bestiarum
  5. HBO Forums
  6. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 237 - "Huragok: the Forerunner name for the Engineer race."
  7. 7.0 7.1 Halo:The Fall of Reach, page 183
  8. Halo: The Fall of Reach, pages 200, 201
  9. 9.0 9.1 Halo: Contact Harvest
  10. Halo 3: ODST, "Data Hive"
  11. Halo: First Strike, page 83
  12. Halo: Ghost of Onyx page 236
  13. http://www.halowars.com/GameInfo/Summit.aspx#Engineer
  14. http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/101/1019030p1.html
  15. Halo 3: ODST, "Kikiwani Station"
  16. Bungie.net: Engineer Evolved
  17. http://carnage.bungie.org/haloforum/halo.forum.pl?read=943955
  18. Halo 3: ODST
  19. Halo: First Strike

This article uses material from the "Huragok" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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