ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY TUMBLR, MARCH 2015
Reposted without edits, save navigational issues.
Partner piece to The Fall of Reach review and analysis.
Welcome to a companion series to the reading journal series for the Halo novels. As I reread these books, my eyes are always peeled to catch even a glimpse of my Sangheilibro. Trust me, I can find him just about anywhere. So where is he in Fall of Reach?
Most obviously he’s at the event of the book’s title, and he’s most definitely in one of the “[s]even Covenant frigates [that] were now locked into pursuit” (pp 389, 390). We also know that he’s not in the fleet flagship brought down by the Pillar of Autumn (pp 377). However, thanks to the adjunct of The Flood, we know that the Fleet of Holy Respite was assisting Particular Justice, Thel’s fleet, in the attack on Reach. It is likely the former’s flagship that was brought down.
I believe we also get to see a little bit of the flexible tactics that Jameson Locke discussed in the Halo 2 Anniversary terminals:
“The Covenant were, of course, after the orbital guns. Their suicidal front charge – while almost effective enough – had just been another diversion. The real danger was on the ground; if their troops took out the fusion generators, the Super MAC guns would be so much floating junk in orbit” (Reach, pp 349).
We had seen them run this diversion tactic before at Sigma Octanus, and that’s what cues Keyes in to check the planet. A different method is used here. The ship at Sigma Octanus relied on cloaking technology to get close to the planet. At Reach, the interference from the magnetic poles is used to shield the incoming dropships. Considering Thel’s renown for flexibility, I would attribute this detail to him.
Keyes however, notes that “The Covenant tactics are almost getting predictable” based on the repeated pattern of “Diversion, distraction, and deceit” (pp 372). I see three potential reasons for the discrepancy between Keyes’ statement and Locke’s claim that “We cannot predict what [‘Vadamee] will do next.” First is that Thel is getting a little over confident in this battle. Second is that the commander of Holy Respite is slowing him down, so to speak. Third is that ONI should have gotten Keyes on task analyzing Thel’s military tactics years ago.
One last piece of intel for Arbiter Watch, which is relatively old information, but I still find it interesting. The Adjunct features three pieces that tie in the anime series Halo Legends. One ties into “Homecoming” and the other two tie into “The Package,” and Thel ‘Vadamee is notably and properly absent from these latter two pieces.
When “The Package” was first released, there was a strong implication that the Sangheili major was Thel ‘Vadamee. The title of Arbiter was mentioned very deliberately and even the subtitles gave his name as “Thel.” However this caused a significant issue with the established canon of The Cole Protocol where Thel ‘Vadamee has his first encounter with a Spartan while already at the rank of shipmaster. One of the adjunct pieces rectifies this, giving the Sangheili major the name of Thel ‘Lodamee and credited him with the capture of Halsey that sets off the plot for “The Package.”