The Human-San'Shyuum Alliance was an empire between the human and San'Shyuum species during the time of the Human-Forerunner War. The alliance ended once the Forerunners destroyed the human civilization, restricting the rights of both members, making sure that neither would be able to join forces again.
By approximately 150,000 B.C.E., humanity had achieved a considerable level of technological sophistication, achieving interstellar travel and colonizing planets along the Orion Arm. This civilization encountered the Flood in approximately 110,000 B.C.E. and, after discovering the parasite's true nature, went to war against it. After losing many planets, humanity desperately invaded a minor sector of the Forerunners' domain. After forty thousand years of expansion, the collective human genus waged war with the biologically similar Forerunner species.
As of the 26th century, most artifacts and records of this former civilization had been lost to time. However, ruins on the planet Heian appear to show hallmarks of human design, suggesting that the planet was inhabited by ancient, space-faring humans
Although Humanity was a far younger race than the Forerunners, they had always held Forerunner interference with contempt. Looking to escape from Forerunner control, humanity expanded throughout the Orion arm, and eventually began building an impressive empire consisting of hundreds of worlds. Before the war, humanity had made great advances in military and science technology rivaling those of the Forerunners. In his conversations with Bornstellar on their arrival at Charum Hakkor, the center of the Human-San'Shyuum Empire, the Didact described the weapons created by the Humans and San’Shyuum knowledge that the Forerunner armies had little defense against. By collecting and reverse-engineering Precursor technology at Charum Hakkor, one of the largest collection in the galaxy, humanity's rapid technological achievements made them increasingly arrogant and willing to challenge Forerunner dominance. This coupled with their belief that they, not the Forerunners, were the true inheritors of the Mantle from the Precursors made them ideological enemies, and heretics from a Forerunner perspective. Essentially purists, humanity destroyed and moved indigenousness species during their rapid colonization expansion into outer space even before the Human-Flood war. One such example of Humanity's annihilated fifty defenseless systems that Forerunners had resettled other species. After wiping out the indigenous population, they were replaced with human colonies to strengthen their hold over their new territories. The rapid expansion of human technology and power created tensions with the more powerful Forerunner empire. The Didact saw humanity as one of the most contentious, bigoted, self-centered species in the galaxy. Seeing themselves as a great galaxy power capable of rivaling the Forerunner Empire, humanity began to expand in all directions. The last straw leading to the war was the humanity conquest and destruction of Forerunner worlds during the last stages of the Human-Flood war. Devastated by the infestation, humanity look to forcibly take new worlds anywhere including those inhabited by Forerunners. Although initially successful in destroying and conquering many Forerunner worlds, humanity was eventually pushed back to Charum Hakkor.
As punishment for defying the Forerunners, nearly all of humanity was wiped out and the remnants of their civilization and technology dismantled, while humans themselves were subjected to biological reduction. The remnants of the human species were exiled to Earth, where they were overseen by the Librarian; while many Forerunners wanted to see humanity wiped out, the Librarian had always been considered their greatest protector. With the assistance of the Librarian and a geas she had imprinted them with, over twenty of their ancient species made recovery and formed separate populations on Earth, including the k'tamanush, b'ashamanush, hamanush and chamanush. This meddling was noted to have considerably distorted Earth's natural fossil records. The Forerunner victory proved disastrous for the galaxy, as the humans destroyed all their research data and physical evidence concerning the Flood, including their supposed "cure." Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting speculated it may have been humanity's last act of revenge to leave the Forerunners unprepared to face the incoming threat that led to the firing of the Halo Array. The last human survivors on Charum Hakkor had their minds extracted and archived by the Forerunners in order to find the cure by scouring the humans' memories.
After their once highly advanced civilization had been shattered by the Forerunners, most humans lived within hunter-gatherer communities. The humans seen here are observing the Portal to the Ark. Forced to start again, the collective human genus tried in vain to reattain their former glory, with some human communities such as the civilization built around Earth's largest city Marontik establishing wooden cities and steam-powered waterborne vessels nearly nine thousand years later. Most humans, however, lived in Tier 7 tribal communities, such as the one that was encountered by the Forerunners during the construction of the portal to the Ark in eastern Africa. After the activation of the Halo Array, the human civilization regressed once again, and would remain as Tier 7 hunter-gatherers for nearly a hundred millennia. As of the 26th century, most artifacts and records of this former civilization had been lost to time.
Little is known about human culture of this time. It is known that humanity believed themselves to be the true inheritors of the Mantle, a notion the Forerunners considered heretical. Ironically, the Precursors had actually intended humans to inherit the Mantle instead of the Forerunners. Regardless of the pressure on their growing populations and the Flood, humans were also said to be particularly cruel toward other species. Chakas, examining the harvested memories of his ancestors imprinted to him as part of a geas, discovered that they believed in "creating many souls," or expanding their population by conquering and claiming other worlds. They appear to have had a polytheistic religion, as suggested by the Lord of Admirals making a reference to "gods".
The humans, along with their San 'Shyuum allies, favored the domesticated Pheru, originating from the planet Faun Hakkor, as pets. The Pheru would also be the first vectors for the Flood.
Members of the ancient human military sported various kinds of white facial markings and typically had long hair. Warship crew members wore unadorned, mostly form-fitting suits of body armor, apparently lacking any markings or other features denoting rank, although more elaborate uniforms existed, possibly for ceremonial occasions.
Forthencho, the Lord of Admirals was a human senior naval officer who served during the Human-Forerunner war in 109,000 BCE. During humanity's conflict with the Flood and their simultaneuous war with the Forerunners, he attempted in vain to convince the human government to draw the Flood back into the galaxy as a weapon against the Forerunners. Ultimately, he was overruled by Yprin Yprikushma and remained bitter about the decision seeing the Flood could have been humanity's best hope of prolonging the war. As humanity fell back to their capital world Charum Hakkor, Forthencho commanded the forces protecting the planet, including 10 stations and 40 "prime cruisers." After the humans' defeat in the final battle of Charum Hakkor, he was captured along with many of the warriors under his command. In the subsequent interrogations, he denied the Forerunners the information that would lead them to successfully defeat the Flood again. Eventually, his physical self was executed, though his memories and neural patterns were harvested by the Librarian, who had use for them in her future plans. Forthencho was an ancestor of the chamanune Chakas and his archived personality imprint was implanted in the young human's mind through a geas over 9,000 years after his death. This only became apparent after Chakas witnessed the destruction of Charum Hakkor's Precursor artifacts and learned of the the relocation of The Timeless One. Despite his mistrust and hatred of the Forerunners in his decendant's time for "devolving them like animals", he noted to Chakas that he had felt a deep respect for a Warrior-Servant and his main rival during the war, The Didact. Despite this, he attempted through Chakas to use the Halo used by Mendicant Bias to destroy the Forerunners.
Yprin Yprikushma was the Political and Morale Commander of all human forces during the human-Forerunner wars. Yprikushma and her science team originally discovered the ancient being known as the Primordial buried within a desolate planet at the edges of the galaxy. She recognized the entity's scientific potential and brought it to Charum Hakkor in a stasis capsule for study and questioning. According to Yprikushma, the information gained from the Primordial saved billions of human lives in the human-Flood war; however, her sworn opponent, Forthencho, disputed this, claiming it was the humans themselves who came up with the "solution" to the Flood and arguing that the Primordial caused the downfall of humanity's civilization by gravely demoralizing them. Yprikushma also traced humanity's origins to Erde-Tyrene, a source of much dispute to the ancient humans, as humanity had lost most of their records during a technological dark age in their ancient past. Others, such as Forthencho, believed humanity's origins to be elsewhere, having witnessed ruins built by humans on many other worlds. Regardless of the opposition, Yprikushma's discovery of humanity's true homeworld gained her the lofty status she held during the war with the Forerunners. In addition, it was her idea to analyze Forerunner technology and tactics gained from humanity's early conflicts with the Forerunners - technology that bought humanity decades of time against the numerically overwhelming and technologically superior Forerunner military. During the final battle of Charum Hakkor, she commanded a special force group of 7,000 warriors and 70 ships, tasked with defending the Charum Hakkor arena, the site of the Primordial's timelock and where the remaining human survivors had gathered. The overwhelming final assault led by the Didact himself eventually broke through Charum Hakkor's defenses and humanity's remaining forces were forced to surrender. Despite knowing her impending execution, she had hoped to warn the Forerunners about the Flood in order to ensure the safety for the rest of the galaxy. Though Yprikushma was executed shortly afterward, her consciousness was extracted by the Composer and archived by the Librarian. Nearly nine thousand years later, the Librarian imprinted Yprikushma's archived personality into the genetic material of a Florian known as Riser as part of a geas. Sometime after awakening within Riser, she "reunited" with Forthencho, whose personality was in turn carried by another human, Chakas.
Prior to the dismantling of their civilization, humanity had reached Tier 1 on the Forerunner technological achievement scale, making them nearly technological equals of the Forerunners. This was largely thanks to the efforts of Yprin Yprikushma, who encouraged humanity to study Forerunner technologies they had encountered in their early conflicts with Forerunners. Despite this, humanity's understanding of slipspace technology, particularly in the area of causal reconciliation, was inferior to that of the Forerunners who were able to use their superior understanding of slipspace to an advantage by clogging the humans' slipspace channels and slowing down their interstellar travel.
It is known that humans of this time used artificial intelligence constructs. On Charum Hakkor, the humans built vast constructs supported by the Precursor structures; cities stretching to orbit along orbital arches, described by Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting as resembling ivy growing on great trees. In addition, they built energy towers and defense platforms operating at geosynchronous orbit and equigravitation, linked by virtually unbreakable Precursor unbending filaments.
It is known that humanity and Forerunners infantry shared many similar military technologies, including advanced battle armor and energy-based weapons. Human warships were capable of high intensity energy streams capable of destroying large shielded Forerunner ships in single hits.
Before the war, humanity had reached Tier 1 technology on the Technological Achievement Tiers scale similar to those of the Forerunners. When Bornstellar obtained the Didact's memories, he gained insights into Charum Hakkor at the height of its powers. He described the implacable Precursor ruins of Charum Hakkor studded with human constructs, like ivy growing on great trees: vast cities and energy towers and defense platforms operating at geosync and equigravitation, little less sophisticated than Forerunner ships and platforms and stations. Finally, he concludes that humans had been a great power, a worthy adversary—technologically.
Orbital arches were a type of orbital construction used by the Precursors on Charum Hakkor. Like all Precursor technology, they were virtually indestructible. On Charum Hakkor, prehistoric humans built cities onto the orbital arches, described by Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting as resembling "ivy growing on great trees".
Unbending filaments were a type of Precursor construction. It was noted that they could link entire worlds and systems, although the details and principles behind this are unknown. Like most Precursor technology, they were also virtually indestructible. As they were based on the principle of neural physics, they were susceptible to the Halo Array's pulse; all Precursor structures on Charum Hakkor were destroyed when a Halo was test-fired nearby. Prehistoric humans used unbending filaments to link their orbital defenses surrounding their capital Charum Hakkor.
A stasis capsule is a piece of Precursor technology designed to hold subjects in a state of stasis. Like all Precursor technology, it functioned on the premise of neural physics. One capsule was discovered on Charum Hakkor, which contained a single subject, the last known Precursor. The capsule was destroyed when the Forerunners tested a Halo installation at Charum Hakkor, but the Prisoner, a Precursor survived and escaped. Prehistoric humans developed a device to interact with the Precursor encapsulated in the capsule.
Neural physics was a Precursor concept. The Precursors felt that the Mantle extended to the entire universe, including energy and matter. The principles of neural physics also postulated that the entire universe was living, but in a way that was beyond the comprehension of biological organisms. Precursor technology was based upon the principles of neural physics. While this normally made most Precursor artifacts effectively indestructible, the nature of their construction made them extremely susceptible to the effects of the Halo Array which specifically targeted neural systems. When a Halo was tested near Charum Hakkor, the weapon's effect negated neural physics within the region and shattered every Precursor structure on the planet.
The Human-Forerunner War was a major interstellar conflict fought between the human-San 'Shyuum alliance and the Forerunner ecumene in approximately 110,000 BCE in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Waged concurrently with the Human-Flood war, the war resulted in the dismantling of humanity's interstellar empire and in the quarantine of the San 'Shyuum species. Although humanity held less power in the galaxy than the Forerunners, they had always held Forerunner interference with contempt. Looking to escape from the Forerunners' dominion, humanity expanded throughout the Orion arm and eventually built an impressive empire consisting of hundreds of worlds. Before the war, humanity had made great advances in military and science technology on par with those of the Forerunners, and had also allied themselves with the more technologically sophisticated San 'Shyuum; this alliance produced technology that easily rivaled that of the Forerunners. As they collected and reverse-engineered Precursor technology at Charum Hakkor, one of the largest collections in the galaxy, humanity's rapid technological achievements made them increasingly arrogant and willing to challenge Forerunner dominance. This, coupled with their belief that they, not the Forerunners, were the true inheritors of the Mantle from the Precursors, made them ideological enemies with the Forerunners. Driven to desperation after losing many of their colonies in their conflict against the Flood, humanity invaded a Forerunner-controlled sector of space and annihilated fifty defenseless systems in which the Forerunners had resettled other species. After the indigenous populations were eliminated, humanity replaced with human colonies to strengthen their hold over their new territories. Devastated by the Flood infestation, humanity looked to forcibly take new worlds anywhere, including those inhabited by Forerunners. The rapid expansion of human technology and power created tensions with the more powerful Forerunner empire, which finally retaliated against the humans, sparking the war. The Didact, commander-in-chief of the Forerunner military, saw humanity as one of the most contentious, bigoted, and self-centered species in the galaxy. Although initially successful in destroying and conquering many Forerunner worlds, humanity was eventually pushed back to Charum Hakkor. Although humanity was successful in its early conquest of Forerunner worlds, they were forced to deploy the majority of their military against the Flood. By the time the Flood had been defeated, the human military had been exhausted. Even the capital of Charum Hakkor had been cut off from the rest of the empire by the Didact's naval fleets. On Charum Hakkor, humanity had incorporated Precursor technology, constructing formidable fortifications capable of standing out against even the strongest fleets. Among them were unbending filaments that linked their orbital platforms' defenses. Despite having the combined Forerunner military at his disposal, it took the Didact great efforts to defeat the human resistance and capture the capital. Among the Forerunner casualties were all the Didact's children. Although cut off and unable to receive reinforcements from the San 'Shyuum, the humans held off continuous attacks for fifty years. When the planet finally fell, a significant number of humans and San 'Shyuum committed suicide rather than being taken prisoner. Once humanity was utterly defeated, the tragedies of the war convinced the Didact and his fellow Prometheans that using the Halo Array, like the destruction of humanity, would violate the Mantle. The Prometheans opposed and forestalled the construction of the Halo Array. The Prometheans succeeded in delaying the Array's activation for thousands of years. The defeat was disastrous for both humanity and the San 'Shyuum. The victorious Forerunners decided to dismantle every piece of human civilization, causing the species to regress to a pre-technological state. In addition, they executed many humans for starting the conflict, seeing them as naturally violent and aggressive. Because of this cataclysmic event, humanity's culture splintered amongst their collective species, including the chamanush, the b'ashamanush, k'tamanush, and the hamanush. Even ten thousand years later, many Forerunners considered this intraspecies fragmentation to be a form of punishment. Humanity's defeat affirmed Forerunner hegemony over the entire galaxy, as one of the few powers capable of competing against it was utterly defeated. However, the destruction of humanity set the stage for the return of the Flood and the disastrous Forerunner-Flood war, as the Forerunners were unprepared to deal with the Flood and that the humans have destroyed every single piece of evidence about the parasite and the cure they invented (possibly as a final act of vengeance). The Didact later regretted the complete destruction of humanity, as he was unaware that the Flood was the reason for humanity's aggression against the Forerunners. The San 'Shyuum home system was placed under quarantine with the Forerunner Fortress-class vessel Deep Reverence orbiting the species' homeworld, Janjur Qom; access outside the system blocked by a quarantine shield. When the Librarian attempted to index the San 'Shyuum during the early stages of Forerunner-Flood war, the San 'Shyuum mistook her intentions and rose in revolt against the Forerunners. Master Builder Faber took this opportunity to test Halo's effects on living beings on the San 'Shyuum homeworld, which surpassed all expectations. This genocidal act led to the near extinction of the San 'Shyuum; it also led to Faber's removal from power and his subsequent trial on charges of treason against the Mantle.
The Charum Hakkor Campaign was a conflict between the Forerunners and the Human-San 'Shyuum alliance, a union between the human empire and the technologically advanced San 'Shyuum race; the campaign was the last conflict in the human-Forerunner wars. It took place above and later on the planet Charum Hakkor, the heart of the humans' interstellar empire, around nine thousand years prior to the Forerunner-Flood war. It concluded in the Forerunners defeating the humans' empire. After being pushed back to the core of their empire, the collective human species managed to hold off the Forerunner military for fifty years. Despite the humans using Precursor unbending filaments to link their orbital defences and the extensive amount of preparation and study gained from humanity's early conflicts with the Forerunners, humanity was pushed backwards and cut off from reinforcements as the Forerunner military disrupted humanity's slipstream tunnels, effectively preventing reinforcements and blockading Charum Hakkor from the rest of the human-San 'Shyuum alliance. Lord of Admirals Forthencho, commander of the last fleets of Charum Hakkor, managed to successfully resist the Didact for three years of continuous attacks despite being overwhelming outnumbered and using inferior slipstream and AI technology. Human ships swept across the system for hundreds of times to counter the Didact's daring orbital incursions, to prevent them from establishing superior energy-efficient orbits. The final blow came as the Forerunners staged an assault through seven slipspace portals, opened at one-hour intervals to deliver a massive fleet commanded by the Didact and his most experienced commanders. The Forerunners sacrificed a significant number of ships, ranging from Fortress-class warships and dreadnoughts to picket cruisers, in mass waves to create openings in the human orbital defenses and overwhelming the human defences with sheer force. In the final moments before the fall, a debate was held at the highest levels of the human government to purposely draw out the flood and use them against the Forerunner ecumene in order to buy time. Ultimately, the plan was rejected as being too dangerous for the rest of the galaxy and humanity surrendered despite knowing the inevitable outcome. During the humans' last stand, a special force team of 7,000 warriors and 70 ships led by humanity's Political and Morale Commander Yprin Yprikushma was assigned to protect the timelock of the Primordial in the Charum Hakkor arena. In the face of inevitable defeat, the human warriors stripped their uniforms so the Forerunners could not identify their commanders. Despite this, the Didact could easily recognize his main adversary, the Lord of Admirals, among the survivors gathered in the citadel. Knowing what was to happen to them if they lost, (forced relocation and the removal of technological privileges), the majority of the human population committed mass-suicide. Those who surrendered had their memories extracted before their execution; these "essences" would later be imprinted to certain humans through a geas imposed by the Librarian.
The Human-Flood War was a major conflict fought between ancient humans and the newly arrived Flood. It took place concurrently with the Human-Forerunner wars, and was simultaneously one of its primary causes. The war destroyed countless human-populated systems and cost more than a third of humanity's population and resources. Despite the setback of two massive wars ongoing at the same time, humanity managed to prevail over the Flood and still nearly prevailed over the Forerunners, as well. Unfortunately, the Flood had taken their toll and, in their defeat, sounded the death knell of early human civilization. During their colonization of other planets, humans discovered automated cargo ships of unknown origin, which had supposedly arrived from one of the Magellanic Clouds, crashed on planets near the edge of the galaxy. The humans found no crew, with the ships appearing to be automated, but they did find millions of small transparent cylinders filled with an unknown powder. Initial testing was done in the strictest containment. These early tests showed the powder to be harmless and useless, being composed of lifeless short-chain organic molecules. Early experiments demonstrated psychotropic effects on some smaller domesticated animals, one of which being the Pheru. The powder tests on the Pheru proved to be initially harmless, and indeed appeared to encourage desirable traits to appear in their appearance and behavior. However, the powder was in fact composed of Flood genetic material, and over time it began merging with and altering the genome of the Pheru in order to generate its own Flood Super Cells. Over time, the infected Pheru began to infect others and even began showing some symptoms of the Flood mutation, such as fleshy tentacle-like rods. Close contact with the Pheru spread the infection to humanity. Some San 'Shyuum were also infected as the Pheru were also kept as pets on the San 'Shyuum worlds. Eventually the Flood began to spread, and the Feral Phase was initiated. At this point, human researchers attempted to ask the Timeless One about the Flood. They received answers so traumatizing many of them committed suicide rather than live with the knowledge. By the time the human officials discovered what the powder had done, it was too late. Entire planets were infected, and the Flood began to ravage worlds and systems. This also initiated the Human-Forerunner war, because humans, in desperation, began forcefully taking worlds from other species to make up for the ones they lost to the Flood. When the humans attempted to quarantine the worlds, more infected escaped, and thus a drastic measure was invented. Despite how sacrificial it was, it worked. The human leaders decided to take a third of the population and genetically alter them by inserting genes designed to fight Flood biomass and destroy the Flood gene imprints. They then took this third of the human population and "fed" them to the Flood. The new genes aggressively killed off Flood biomatter and destroyed the Flood until the few that survived were forced to escape. They would not reappear for another 9,000 years. The human-Flood war ravaged humanity and forced them into a war. Humanity began irrationally conquering new worlds and species, taking new planets to replace their own. This caused the Forerunners to act according to their Mantle, and declared war on humanity. This also weakened humanity's war front, as they were forced to fight the Flood and the Forerunners at the same time. With the Flood ravaging human worlds on one side and the Forerunners pressing closer on the other, humanity was doomed. Eventually when the Forerunners won, they devolved humans, reducing them to a Tier 7 species.