- Latin Species Name:
- Monachus frigus
- Technology level:
- Native Tier 6/Adopted Tier 2
- Avg. Height Range:
- 4ft 6.5in–5ft 7in (138.4–167cm)
- Avg. Weight Range:
- 248.3–260.1lbs (112.6–118kg)
Unggoy, nicknamed Grunts by humans, are squat, xeno-arthropodal bipeds who presumably evolved from smaller amphibious primates. Distinct from many other bipeds, Unggoy hind legs are quite short, adapted more for clambering and crawling over rocky terrain rather than walking upright. Their disproportionately large arms are excellent for grappling and scaling, but often impede movements through narrow corridors or attempts to manipulate small, delicate objects. To deter Balaho’s voracious predators, a rigid exoskeleton lined with barbs and spikes covers large portions of their backs, arms, and legs. The Unggoy’s elongated cranium ends in a blunt, bony face, with low-set eyes and a small, straight-toothed mouth. Although many consider this species inherently unintelligent, such assertions are almost certainly an artifact of the Covenant leadership relegating the Unggoy to menial labor and cannon fodder roles. In truth, many Unggoy have proven to be remarkably intelligent, knowledgeable, and resourceful.
The most remarkable event in Unggoy history is their rebellion against the Covenant in 2462 CE. In the years just before the rebellion, the Kig-Yar were forced to share habitation with the Unggoy in High Charity’s lower quarters. When Unggoy inadvertently trampled several Kig-Yar nests in the overcrowded warrens, the Kig-Yar seized an opportunity to stifle Unggoy population growth. A cabal of Kig-Yar sabotaged a series of Unggoy recreational infusion dispensers that resulted in the sterilization of a large portion of High Charity’s male population–an event referred to as the ‘Infusion Incident.’
When San’Shyuum leaders failed to address the festering conflict, it became a full-blown revolt. The viciousness and surprising bravery of the Unggoy eventually required the application the Covenant’s full military strength and the creation of an Arbiter to put the uprising down. The Arbiter was forced to
end the conflict by initiating a limiting razing of Balaho, effectively threatening to exterminate the entire species. When the razing began, the Unggoy quickly abandoned the fight, unwilling to sacrifice their homeworld. The revolt proved to the Sangheili that the Unggoy were more than mere laborers and could be incorporated into the military in meaningful ways. Despite their tragic losses, the rebellion forever changed the Unggoy’s path.
When the Covenant came upon vulnerable Balaho in 2142 CE, the Unggoy were aggressively converted and forced into servitude. Though their status increased after the Unggoy Rebellion, they were still considered the lowest caste in the Covenant hierarchy. They served as the first wave of infantry in ground campaigns, deploying in large numbers to undertake a variety of dangerous operational roles. After the end of the Human-Covenant War, many stayed indentured to their Jiralhanae or Sangheili commanders while others fled back to their homeworld.
[GRUNT, Monachus frigus]
Height: 1.67 meters | Weight: 118 kilos
The Unggoy homeworld, Balaho, is a [terrestrial] planet with significant quantities of methane in the atmosphere. It is covered in a largely opaque layer of clouds, which prevents much of its surface from being seen from space. The parts of its surface that aren’t covered by polar ice caps or free water are brackish tidal flats with naturally occurring pillars of fire. It is still recovering from preactivation environmental collapse caused by massive global overindustrialization.
It seems that prior to their incorporation into the [Covenant], the Unggoy had yet to [reattain] Tier 4 technologies. Their discovery by the [Covenant] might even appear providential if it weren’t for their current [sociocultural] situation. The positions they hold within the [Covenant’s] rigid class structure have more to do with [genus bias] than inherent ability. To wit, their size relative to the species already in positions of power and reliance on external accoutrements to survive away from their homeworld have left them vulnerable to any number of exploitations. Their short gestational period, large number of young per clutch, and rapid sensory–motor integration development only increase their perceived disposability to the [Covenant] leadership. Although their principal [enforced function] tends more toward [drowning their foes in bodies and blood], their [unburdened neural pathways] allow them to [absorb knowledge more freely] than their peers, so they are also tasked with monitoring [the void] for signs of human communication. As a result, most Unggoy have a working knowledge of two or more Human languages. This has become a source of pride for them and, in times of great stress, also serves as a [reservoir of confidence].
One thing that has remained intact within the Unggoy population, even through [the dark time] following [reintroduction], is their unshakable sense of solidarity. It is quite extraordinary that they have been able to hold onto any sense of [national identity] separate from the [Covenant] after what amounts to [3,597,192 hours] of incessant indoctrination. Although their culture has been largely erased since their incorporation into the [Covenant], they retain enough of [an ethnic character] to occasionally urge them to challenge their oppressors—but they have yet to do so successfully.
Undoubtedly on the lowest rung of the Covenant hierarchy, the Grunts seem happy with their lot. Obedient, subservient and perfectly suited to menial and dangerous tasks, the Grunts make perfect conscripts to the Covenant cause. Although they lack physical prowess, their pack mentality makes these creatures formidable in numbers. However, should their pack leader (Grunt or otherwise) be killed or injured, discipline and courage can often fail.
What they lack in ability and intelligence, they more than make up for in numbers and sheer toughness. Grunts breed prodigiously, and are among the most populous Covenant species. They hail from a cold planet, with a Methane atmosphere, hence the rebreathers attached to their faces.