The stories behind the stories

Halo: “Defender of the Storm”

“Something is out there. In the storm.” — Adequate-Observer

“Defender of the Storm”
from Halo: Fractures – Extraordinary Tales from the Halo Canon

A lone sentry finds the war has come to him…
Published by Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books • September 20, 2016
Written by John Jackson Miller

Appeared in Halo: Fractures with stories by Tobias Bucknell, Troy Denning, Matt Forbeck, Kelly Gay, Christie Golden, Kevin Grace, Morgan Lockhart, Frank O’Connor, Brian Reed, Joseph Staten, and James Swallow

Audio narrated by Scott Brick

Edited by Ed Schlesinger

In 2015, I was invited to contribute to Halo: Fractures – Extraordinary Stories from the Halo Canon — an anthology of short stories set at various points in the Halo timeline — by Ed Schlesinger, who runs the Star Trek office at Simon & Schuster. Halo also fell under his purview, and we’d discussed me doing something for Halo for some time — even as I also had been speaking with Dark Horse about doing something for the Halo comics line.

The invitation, however, hit at an incredibly busy time for me. I was on the East Coast in advance of announcing the Star Trek: Prey trilogy at Shore Leave Convention — a series of books I’d plotted but not yet written. I arranged to write my story for the edition in between the second and third volumes; meanwhile, I had also been writing a comics story for Dark Horse’s own anthology, Tales from Slipspace.

I ended up doing both stories, which were set at different ends of the timeline; the prose story, “Defenders of the Storm,” was set in the distant past and involved a Forerunner staging a last-ditch defense of an outpost on his own. But the two stories have one thing in common: they have very little connection to the broader Halo canon at large. That’s how I wanted it: I was new enough to the franchise I didn’t want to dive into anything too complicated. So “Defenders of the Storm” is really a pure science fiction story, which just happens to be set in the Halo universe.

“Your metabolic rate is increasing. Would you like me to have your armor apply a minor relieving agent?” — Adequate-Observer’s ancilla

Audiobook narrator Scott Brick is an old friend of mine, having been one of the contributing reporters to a magazine I worked on, Comics Buyer’s Guide, in the 1990s. I’d heard his narration on many famous works before, including Moneyball — and was delighted that he was chosen to narrate the story.

This story takes place near the end of the Forerunners’ war with the Flood. I was able to draw upon the Halo: Cryptum novel by Greg Bear for background on how the Forerunners would live.