Codex Gamicus
The Arbiter
The Arbiter.jpg
Basic Information
Keith David
Biographical Information
Halo 2: The Covenant

Post Great Schism: UNSC, Covenant Seperatists.


The Arbiter is a rank in the Halo series, though it is commonly used to refer to a character in The Covenant that is featured prominently in Halo 2.


Military career[]

File:1223223455 Arby helmet.jpg

The Arbiter wearing the Arbiter helmet.

As the Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice, he led the victorious Covenant forces at the First Battle of Reach. As the battle ended he ordered his ships to pursue the fleeing Pillar of Autumn to Installation 04. He was unable to prevent the destruction of the ring and the capture of the Ascendant Justice by John-117 and he was called before the High Council to answer for these failures. He traveled to High Charity on the flagship Seeker of Truth.

The loss of the Forerunner relic that the Covenant held "holy" rendered the Council unmoved by his defense and the Sangheili was stripped of his rank, branded with the Mark of Shame in front of much of the Covenant, and sentenced to death. He would "Be hung by his entrails" and his corpse "Paraded through the city" as an example to others.[1]

Upon being brought to the Prophet Hierarchs of Truth and Mercy, they intervened and offered to commute the sentence if he would become the new Arbiter. Understanding that becoming the Arbiter amounted to an indirect death sentence, but also seeking an opportunity to redeem himself, the Sangheili accepted the offer. Unlike his other Elite brethren, his armour is not as "new" as the others and has limited amount of energy to sustain the active camouflage.

File:Arbiter kneel.png

The Arbiter before the Prophets, stripped of his armor and branded him with the Mark of Shame.

Gas Mine[]

The Arbiter's first combat assignment as the Arbiter was to stop the Heretic uprising based in a Forerunner gas mining facility in the atmosphere of Threshold.He was assisted by Rtas 'Vadumee, Special Operations Elites, and Grunts. The operation was complicated by the unexpected escape of the Flood from the facility. During the chaos that followed, the Heretic Leader sealed himself in a protected zone of the station, to protect himself from the storm. The Arbiter drove the Heretics out by cutting the cables from which the facility hung from a larger structure, causing the gas mine to fall. After he had severed the cables, he chased the heretic leader in a Banshee to another part of the station. After crashing his Banshee, the Arbiter had to fight his way through massive amounts of Flood and a few surviving Heretics until he reached the hangar. Before 'Refumee could escape in a Seraph, the Arbiter killed Sesa 'Refumee, who said shortly prior to his death that the Great Journey was a lie. The Arbiter was confused to discover that the Heretics had been aided by an Oracle, who called himself 343 Guilty Spark.

With the uprising suppressed, Tartarus extracted the Arbiter and used the Fist of Rukt to get the Oracle. His actions, which involved throwing the Monitor into the Phantom recklessly, angered the Arbiter enough for him to remind the Chieftain who he was dealing with.

Battle of the Quarantine Zone[]

Main article: Battle of the Quarantine Zone
We shall cut into the heart of this infestation, retrieve the Icon, and burn any Flood that stand in our way!
~ Rtas 'Vadumee

The Arbiter

The Arbiter was then sent to the "Quarantine Zone" on Installation 05 to retrieve the "Sacred Icon" which was needed to activate the Halo. Before the mission, the Arbiter witnessed the replacement of the Elite Honor Guards with Brutes. Fighting his way through the Sentinel Wall to deactivate the Library's shield, he was forced to make his way on foot to the Library, though he was aided by the remaining Spec Ops forces of Rtas 'Vadumee again. Eventually reaching a Gondola, he and the commandos made their way to the library in relative safety, though they were forced to relentlessly fend off Flood, controlled-armor resistance, and Forerunner constructs. The Commandos chose not to accompany the Arbiter to the "Icon," instead protecting their Gondola, believing it to be their only way of escape despite the fact that Tartarus' Phantom was still present at the time.

The Arbiter proceeded into the Library, encountering the remains of a battle between Marines and Flood Combat Forms, and witnessed Commander Miranda Keyes and Sergeant Johnson retrieving the Index. He knocked Avery Johnson unconscious, and disarmed Keyes before Tartarus and his Brutes joined combat. After the initial scrap, Tartarus captured Keyes by using the Fist of Rukt Gravity Hammer to levitate her body, and claimed the Index for himself. Following the orders of the Prophets, he sent the Arbiter into the chasm with a shock wave from his Fist of Rukt, expecting this to be the death of the Arbiter.

Control Room of Installation 05[]

This one is but flesh and faith, and is the more deluded.
~ The Gravemind describing the Arbiter

Instead of being killed by the fall, as expected, the Arbiter was rescued and captured in mid-air by the Gravemind, the central intelligence of the Flood. After briefly meeting the Master Chief, the cause of his disgrace, the Arbiter was teleported by the Gravemind near the Control Room to stop Tartarus from activating the Installation 05.

Discovering the consequences of the Prophets' betrayal of the Elites and the slaughtering of his species by the Brutes, the Arbiter joined forces with a band of Special Operations Commandos, Minors, Majors, and a Zealot, as well as a small number of Hunters and Grunts, to raze a Brute encampment to the ground. Eventually, he met Rtas 'Vadumee yet again, joining forces to reach a Scarab. Near the Scarab, the Arbiter and his forces managed to save a group of captured Councilors, and a group of UNSC Marines, including Sergeant Johnson, from execution and butchery indirectly when they killed their Brute would-be executioners. Johnson made a shaky truce with the Arbiter in order to prevent Tartarus from "killing us all". Finally, they agreed to stop Tartarus together, with Johnson driving a captured Scarab while the Arbiter covered him from enemy Wraiths, Spectres, and Banshees from the air in a Banshee.

Battle with Tartarus[]

Tartarus, the Prophets have betrayed us.
~ The Arbiter

After Johnson opened the way to the Control Room with a destructive (but helpful) blast from the Scarab's Main Cannon, the Arbiter entered the Room and confronted Tartarus, who was attempting to force Miranda Keyes to activate Delta Halo. 343 Guilty Spark was also present, so the Arbiter asked Spark what Halo's purpose was, and the Spark replied that the Halos were there "to destroy all sentient life in the galaxy". Despite being directly told the proof of what the Halos were capable of doing, Tartarus chose to side with the Prophets, his fanatical belief in the Great Journey nearly causing the activation of the Halo Array. Only his death at the hands of the Arbiter with the aid of Johnson and his fellow Elites allowed Miranda Keyes to stop its activation in time, although its shutdown activated a backup-system: the Ark. The Arbiter then escapes the Flood infested installation with the surviving Humans, Elites, Hunters and Grunts.

Meeting the Chief on Earth[]

File:Master Chief & The Arbiter.jpg

John-117 and the Arbiter in the jungles of Africa.

Were it so easy.
~ The Arbiter

Upon arriving on Earth with Johnson, the Arbiter and several of his allies later find the Master Chief, who has just 'arrived' on Earth as well. Once the Master Chief regains consciousness and recovers from his long fall, he attempts to kill the Arbiter with Johnson's Magnum, but is stopped by Johnson, who tells the Chief that the Arbiter has joined them as an ally. He assists the Master Chief through the jungles of New Mombasa, guiding him through the dense forest to the dam site where they were extracted. He then aids the Chief and the other UNSC forces during the defense of a UNSC base, Crow's Nest, from Covenant invaders.

Battle of Voi[]

Main article: Battle of Voi

After leaving the master Chief on the last departing flight from Crow's Nest before the base is leveled, the Arbiter rejoined him at the docks, shortly after the Chief cleared the road to Voi of Covenant Loyalists and began to destroy a section of the Covenant mechanized presence defending the area rimming the Forerunner artifact. The Arbiter assisted the Chief and surviving UNSC forces in destroying a crucial antiaircraft battery, aiding them as they fought through Covenant occupied warehouses, eventually helping them destroy the emplacement, and opening a hole in the Covenant air defenses to allow Lord Hood's naval forces to assault the Prophet of Truth's Dreadnought, which was docked and idle atop the Artifact.

The strike upon the Dreadnought did no visible damage, and was followed by the tumultuous activation of the artifact. An enormous, fiery sphere was triggered over the activated artifact, and to the Arbiter's chagrin, Truth led his fleet within. But before Lord Hood could consolidate the scattered and confused human resistance, a Flood-infested Covenant cruiser, which had broken through the Elite's quarantine fleet around High Charity, transitioned out of slipspace nearby, crashing into the city and infesting an indiscriminately large portion of the African continent. The Arbiter and Chief proceeded to cauterize the local area of the Flood infestation, battling their way to the cruiser with the purpose of catastrophically overloading the crashed ship's engines to level the entire city before the parasitic infestation grew beyond control. They were aided by a handful of Marines who were not claimed by the Flood, and eventually Sangheili Special Operations shock troops, led by the recently promoted Ship Master Rtas 'Vadum, ("ee" suffix at the end was removed after the Great Schism) and a battle group under his command. The Arbiter assisted the Chief in clearing a swath to the crashed cruiser, and the Chief infiltrated the cruiser alone and recovered a holo-projector containing a fragment message of Cortana.

Battle of the Ark[]

Main article: Battle of Installation 00

The Arbiter in the Halo 3 instruction manual.

After UNSC and Separatist forces regrouped, they moved through the portal created by the Dreadnought, arriving at the Ark. The Arbiter joined the Master Chief at the entrance of a local Cartographer facility to clear their way through the building to the Cartographer terminal. Once there, they learned Truth's perilous location, as well as an unfortunate defense he had conjured from the Ark itself. When the group was attacked after activating the Cartographer, the Arbiter joined the battle for the skies, instructing the Chief to follow 343 Guilty Spark to a location for extraction.

With routing of the Covenant Loyalist Fleet, Rtas 'Vadum's carrier positioned itself near the Ark's Citadel in preparation to deal a lethal blow to Truth's stronghold, where he planned to remotely activate the rings. The Arbiter led his fellow Sangheili forces in a three-pronged assault on the shield generators to lower the barrier around Truth and the Citadel, deactivating the generator from a console in the tower's spire. After Sergeant Johnson failed to deactivate the third generator because of Brute resistance, the Arbiter landed his forces at the third tower along with the Chief to deactivate the final generator and shut down the barrier.

As Rtas 'Vadum maneuvered over the citadel to glass Truth with it, High Charity exited Slipspace, crashing into the Ark. In its plummet to the surface, High Charity scattered a barrage of infection capsules which put 'Vadum's carrier out of commission and seeded the Ark with Flood. The Arbiter led his forces in conjunction with the Marines to clear the third tower of Flood, with the Chief's assistance. As a security measure, the Arbiter escorted a distressed 343 Guilty Spark to reconnoiter the damage inflicted to the Ark by the Flood, leaving his Sangheili with the Chief to push on to the Citadel.

After the Arbiter entered the Citadel, joining the Chief at the bridge to the Citadel with a distraught 343 Guilty Spark, the Flood allied with their effort to reach Truth and abort the firing of the Halo Array. Fighting through the last Loyalist forces standing between Truth the Arbiter's allies, the Arbiter and the Chief succeed in reaching the Prophet of Truth, who had been infected by the Flood. The Chief deactivated the Halo Array.

The Death Of Truth[]

I will have my revenge, on a Prophet, not a plague!
~ Arbiter to the Prophet of Truth

The Arbiter reached Truth in the Ark's Control Room and after a brief conversation the Prophet of Truth makes a quick speech before being executed by the Arbiter's Energy Sword before Truth was fully infected by the Flood, finally taking his revenge for Truth's crimes. The Chief and the Arbiter then faced the betrayal of the Flood's allegiance with the abortion of Halo's firing.

Destroying the Flood[]

File:Arbiter in the Dark.jpg

The Arbiter with an energy Sword.

Fighting their way back the way they had come, the two witnessed the construction of a new Installation 04, and planned to activate it. The Arbiter, Johnson and Rtas 'Vadum evacuate all UNSC and Separatist forces from the Ark. The Arbiter, worried about the Chief (who went to High Charity alone to rescue the A.I. Cortana) arrived after the Master Chief at High Charity's crash site, and used a Flamethrower he found to cover their escape upon finding the Chief had accomplished his objective.

The two then escape on a Pelican from High Charity crashing it into the newly-constructed Halo, meeting up with Sergeant Johnson and 343 Guilty Spark at the Control Room after fighting through numerous Flood forms where they started infesting. Reaching the Control Room, the Monitor turned on them upon realizing that activating the Ring would destroy it and damage the Ark, since it wasn't fully built, and he killed Johnson in the battle that ensued. The Arbiter was blasted out of the room, while the Master Chief battled and destroyed the Forerunner construct. The two retrieved Johnson's Warthog, crossing across Forerunner structures used for building the Halo, attacked by more Flood and the now-hostile Sentinels, and succeeded in reaching the Template:UNSCShip and escaping the Ark and Halo just in time.


The portal collapsed as the Forward Unto Dawn was transiting and the after end of the ship, with John-117 and Cortana, was sheared off and failed to return to Earth. The bow section, containing the Arbiter, made it through and crashed into the sea, where the Arbiter was rescued. The Arbiter was present at the dedication of the memorial to those lost during the War on March 3, 2553. After being thanked by the Admiral Terrence Hood for "standing by him to the end" saying "It's hard to believe he's dead", the Arbiter, not believing he was gone, responded "Were it so easy". This line of text is also said during his first line in Halo 3, the third time (as he met the Chief first in Halo: First Strike as the commanding officer of the Ascendant Justice) he meets the Master Chief. The Arbiter departed for Sanghelios aboard the Shadow of Intent as the ship master, with Rtas 'Vadum.


The player model for the Arbiter is different from that of the Master Chief, only by the replacement of the Chief's flashlight with an Active Camouflage feature, the Arbiter bleeds purple blood instead of red, and his HUD is more sleek. Due to the antiquated armor of the Arbiter, his camouflage does not last forever, and the amount of time it lasts decreases based on the current difficulty setting. In Halo 3, he still has active camouflage, but it is only illustrated in the first cut scene and to get away from enemies, and Player Two cannot activate it. He has a flashlight on his left shoulder in Halo 3. (Which Player Two can use.)

The Arbiter has experience fighting, and this is shown in his knowledge of every weapon and vehicle. His most commonly used weapons are the Plasma Rifle, Energy Sword, and the Carbine. However, if the Arbiter character is being used in Co-Op Campaign, he can use any weapon the player chooses. The Plasma Rifle, Energy Sword, and Carbine would only be level start weapons. Also, in Halo 2 the Arbiter's HUD is a purple color, rather than the Spartan blue; in Halo 3 it is teal and is presented in a more curved fashion than Player One's. Player Three and Four's HUDs are also more curved as they are Elites as well.

In Halo 3, the Arbiter is a very useful ally (especially against the Flood when he has his Sword out), but when fighting enemies on his own on Heroic and Legendary, the Arbiter NPC tends to die a lot (though not as much on Heroic). This is mostly due to him leading suicidal charges with his Energy Sword even though the enemy is a great distance away from him. It is best to keep the NPC Arbiter away from combat if possible, especially if you have Campaign Scoring on. Also note that when given a Missile Pod (using the support weapon glitch) the missiles will lock onto vehicles AND enemy NPCs.

Unarmed Arbiter[]

In Halo 3 there is a way to make the Arbiter completely unarmed (without any weapons attached to his waist). First of all, you need to take away his Energy Sword (If he has one. Look at his waist). To do this you need a headshot capable weapon (ex: M6G, Battle Rifle, Covenant Carbine). Just melee him 3 or 4 times and when his shields are down, hit him in the head with your headshot capable weapon, then pick up the Sword and do whatever you want just don't leave it near the Arbiter. Next thing you need is a weapon that is out of ammo. Note: Both of your weapons must differ from the weapon that the Arbiter is currently wielding. Make sure there are no other weapons in the immediate area around the Arbiter or this won't work. Kill the Arbiter in the same way that is mentioned above and quickly swap your empty weapon with the one Arbiter drops. After getting up again, he will be completely unarmed and he'll just melee enemies with his fist. However if the enemy brings down his shields, he will pull an Energy Sword out of nowhere and charge at enemies with it.

Scaring The Arbiter[]

There is a trick in Halo 3 where you can scare him, The Arbiter has to be looking straight at you and you need to have an Auto-Turret. This is easiest at Rally Point Alpha on Halo. When the Arbiter says 'I am sorry Spartan, but come...' after Johnson has died, prepare yourself for when he finishes his line and immediately throw an Auto-Turret in front of him. If done close enough he will step back in shock waving his hands childishly in the air then attack it with an Energy Sword. If the IWHBYD skull is activated he will very rarely shout 'Yikes!' in a high-pitched voice adding to the childlike movement he will do. Also extremely rarely will he run and fall of the cliff.


File:Marines with 'ol Arby.png

The Arbiter with UNSC Marines and ODSTs.

The image that Bungie produced for Halo 2 was one featuring the Master Chief on Earth fighting the Covenant. Once the game was released, this was shown to be the case until the level The Arbiter, when the player abruptly took the role of the Arbiter.

The change in the overall story line affected some fans' reactions to the game. Some fans considered the Master Chief the only character that should be played as and focused on. However, most fans took it in as a new chapter in Bungie's story making. Bungie worked hard to preserve this secret until the game's release. Unfortunately, a leaked French copy of the game came out a few days before the game's launch and revealed Bungie's secrets.

his armor


  1. Halo 2, The Arbiter