‘Halo’ Season 2 released its first two episodes and it put us straight into the action following the events of Season 1. Even though UNSC and the Spartans managed to reclaim the artifacts they were still a long way to figuring out how to utilize them in their fights against the Covenant, and we are sorry to say but the fight is going poorly. In the first episode, Master Chief finds himself on the surface of Sanctuary and they are attempting to evacuate the planet considering that the Covenant is about to Vitrify it, but just before the bombardment begins, Master Chief notices Covenant forces on the surface of the planet and he noticed that comm relays are disabled. Why does the Covenant cripple the planet if they aim to destroy it forever?
Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the Halo franchise read at your own risk.
It makes no sense to cripple the planet you are about to destroy forever
The term glassing or vitrification if you want to be more scientific, was mentioned a few times in the ‘Halo’ TV Show, but for some of you who haven’t read the Halo books or played the games, it’s basically why the Covenant is so dangerous and destructive (besides their superior technology).
When the Covenant glasses the planet they use several types of plasma bombardment to render the planet uninhabitable long term. Plasma on the planet transitions all living and non-living matter on the surface of the planet into semicrystalline matter via superheating. The term glassing is used because the surface of the planet resembles glass although the matter that results from plasma bombardment is in actuality more similar to Obsidian than glass. It’s a gruesome process and depending on the size of the planet, it takes days or weeks to fully complete. Rarely is the planet entirely glassed, the Covenant usually targets only areas that used to support human activities and life.
Following the glassing, the planet is rendered unhabitable for the next several eons. The process is basically irreversible since in order for vitrification to be successful the Covenant has to vaporize all bodies of water on the planet. The atmosphere of the planet becomes toxic from the leftover fine materials now floating in the air, in the most severe cases the atmosphere of the planet escapes to space entirely, if the atmosphere remains, due to the extreme surface of the planet the planet becomes subjected to extreme weather patterns that no human can survive.
The recovery of the planet is technically possible via terraforming, but it is rarely done. The Covenant uses glassing both as a military doctrine but also it’s sort of a like a religious ritual for them, being a tier-II civilization, even they have to stretch their resources to make it work but they still employ glassing or partial glassing whenever they can.
The most crucial event that happens prior to the glassing is that the Covenant evacuates all its forces from the surface of the planet since the planet is no longer of interest to them. What John-117 saw in Episode 1 was almost completely opposite.
The Covenant is training on how to take over Reach
Although the mission on Sanctuary went terribly wrong in numerous ways, at least the Master Chief managed to save some Marines. He encountered the Covenant forces but it seemed like they were more interested in the Comm relays than attacking them. The only reason why Master Chief and Lopez survived is because The Covenant forces disappeared into thin air. Master Chief was wondering why The Covenant was trying to “conquer” the planets before glassing them since it’s not like they can use the planet for anything it just doesn’t make sense.
Master Chief concluded that they were most likely training, and training for something big and it was correct since at the end of episode 2, we could see that the Covenant forces were on Reach, and they were targeting the artifact along with Makee, but the artifact is secondary what they truly plan on doing is invade the Reach itself, and they will succeed for the most part if the showrunners don’t change the story.
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