They're random, baby

The Halo Story

Sergeant Major Avery Johnson

The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

Whatever the grizzly details of Sgt. Johnson's current reputation, he has certainly earned it. And, if you have anything to say, you had better be well out of boot range when you do.

Several things characterize Johnson's known career thus far: his bad-ass command style, addiction to Flip music (a descendant of old Earth "Metal"), and his apparent infection and subsequent death at the hands of the Flood, as recorded on the headset of the late Pvt. Jenkins.

Unable to harmonize with and thereby commandeer his nervous system, due to its erratic behaviour as a symptom of Boren's Syndrome (p.243, FS), the Flood simply passed him over. The only apparent trace of his pseudo-infection are bits of dead, non-infectious Flood DNA, from which some intact gene fragments have given him a kind of regenerative ability (though whether these leftovers are a result of the parasitic invasion or Johnson's eating the little bastard for the inconvenience is unknown ;)

Unlike many other members of the Human military, Johnson holds no grudges or prejudices against the "freakish" SPARTANS, or even Elite warriors when the need arises. He is motivated by an hatred for the Covenant's war on Humanity, and he'll need all the mop-up crew he can muster to follow in his wake.

scathe ( writes:

Didn't anyone notice that "Sarge" from the beginning of the trailer is in fact the same Sarge that gives marines the pep talk aboard The Pillar of Autumn during the intro/first cutscene of Halo? He even has the same voice. How is this possible? According to the ending of Halo nobody survived the destruction of Halo besides MC, Cortana and The Monitor, and Cortana stated that she didn't detect any life-signs... Something is seriously screwed...

See?!? He's EVERYWHERE!!!



Keith Jackson ( writes:

Maybe there is another classifaction of the Flood. The parasite may actually lie dormant in the host. The host poses no theat and undergos no change, yet. This could be the true reason for the Flood. Possibily the Forerunners made these flood type originaly as the weapon. The host would carry the flood back to the main race or planet, for humans earth and the other planets. The other forms of the flood were just experiments gone bad. If my theory is correct there was only one type of this parasite/host flood shown in Halo, the Sergeant. The Sergeant died numerous times, but still always come back. I believe these Flood keep rebuilding the cells of whatever is lost in the host when it dies. Which would mean this flood couldn't die while still in the host. Need me to simplify? The sergeant will die when he gets back to a human planet because the flood will unleash itself, and the sergeant is techinally dead now because the flood was the only thing keeping his body alive, and now its gone from him.

The Sarge, a willing agent of the Flood? Noooooo!!!



The Flood as an enhancement, and the nines lives of Sgt. Johnson

Jason Krorhr ( and Kodos ( write:

The Flood are highly adaptive, able to survive almost anything. An immune system (or body in general) with the traits of the Flood would be very effective, almost incapable of being shut down. Being obviously interesting in biology, the Forerunners may have been trying to incorporate Flood DNA into their immune systems, at least the desireable aspects (I'm sure they didnt want to look like rotting corpses, no matter how tired they were of dying from sickness all the time).

Perhaps the Forerunner had reached a point where they saw no further advancement in Science and Technology possible, and thus, rather then improve their minds, and machines, they sought to improve themselves? Perhaps Halos function was to slowly allow Flood to "improve" the Forerunner? Or maybe to create some kind of lobatomized Flood that did not assume control of a host, but merely improved its DNA?

Perhaps. Enhanced physiology, eh? Flood as a cure? Seems like a great enough lure to store samples after the last catastrophic outbreak...

Even more pertinent, do the theoretical regenerative abilities possessed by Sgt. Johnson portend to the truth of this understanding of the Flood's former preservation and study?



jan clawson ( writes:

We now know how Sgt. Johnson survived the flood. He had a disease that scrambled his nervous system so that the flood could not infect him. That is what they do, infect things to make more of themselves...

Or kill the things they can't. They can't infect the sentinels, so they destroy them. It seems to me that if the flood could not infect Mr. Johnson, they would kill him. If he somehow made it of that room from hell, the flood warriors kill him. Why leave him alive?

Or, maybe they did infect him. Sgt. Johnson could be a ticking time bomb for the flood, much like the nuclear device Admiral Whitcomb gave up for the Covenant. Think of Sgt. Johnson as a flood carrier waiting to happen.

Now you're thinking, 'They checked the Sergent, he was clean of infection forms. The cells of the flood were dead in his bloodstream'. Now, the only way we know of the flood infecting is through an infection with an Infection Form. But, maybe that is just the fastest way of infection...maybe those "dead" flood cells in Johnson's bloodstream are dormat, waiting to grab hold of the body. This would also explain the flood changing the atmosphere. They put flood spores in the air, and the flood take over everyone. Of course, you need numbers to do that, and that is where the infection forms come into play.

Even if the atmosphere thing isn't true, the good Sergent might still be infected. Think of what would happen if his chest burst open and infection forms poured out...

So, we'd better keep an eye on that guy during Halo 2. I don't know if shooting him right off the bat will get rid of him, though. It sure didn't work that way in Halo 1.




Second hand smoke indeed.

Jensen ( writes:

In Halo First Strike I noticed another posibility about Sgt. Johnson. Maybe the flood did not infect him because of the cigars he chews on, as it says in the book, " The Flood dosen't 'taste' anything," Cortana interjected. " The Infection forms rewrite a victim's cellular structure and convert him into a combat form-an incubator for more Infection forms. Based on what we've seen, they certainly don't just decide to pass the victim." The sergent shrugged. He fished into his pocket, found the remaining stub of a chewing cigar, and stuck it in the corner mouth.

so on and so forth.


(UPDATE: Wado SG and Socrates add some meat to these here bones...)



Sergeant Johnson's survival and clues of the reasoning behind the Flood's preservation and study

superiorlordtommy ( writes:

Heck, Maybe Sarge Johnson isn't (and will not be later) infected and the cells of flood in his blood can't posses him, and he is now a human who got the Flood's traits. A new breed of soldiers more powerful than Spartans? Soldiers with regenerative abilities! Maybe This is what the Forerunners are trying to do. Heal faster, live longer, ect. ?

Certainly makes sense.



Ambiguity is this submitter's thing, with a very 'spiritual' look at Johnson

Seth and/or Nichole Schrawyer ( writes:

I do not think that Johnson represents a literal person, per se, but rather is a character of the spirit of strong non-commissioned leadership in the USMC, which of course is the model for the UNSC. And the secret to the USMC success is the inability for an enemy to effectively destroy it's leadership, as it is like an onion: once you remove a layer, another layer is just underneath, and this one more potent than the last.

Deep. Deeper than me at any rate.



From a recent IGN interview with Brian Jarrard (Sketch) about the HGN (Halo Graphic Novel):

"[Breaking Quarantine] is essentially the story of Sergeant Johnson's escape from the first Halo. When the first game concluded, we were led to believe that the Sarge was overcome by the Flood. Yet, when Halo 2 opens, we see him again back at Earth doing just fine.

Everyone has speculated about what really happened down there in the depths of Halo and this was something we were interested in exploring further. Now, people who have read the Halo novels are going to be quick to point out that an explanation was already given (something along the lines of a genetic condition that made his body undesirable as a Flood host). We struggled with this a lot internally... while we're all big fans of Eric Nylund's Halo novels, we felt that the circumstances surrounding Sarge's survival was something we wanted to re-tell in a slightly different way. One of our goals for the book was to not only expand the fiction into new areas but make a small adjustment to existing lore."

A peek into the mechanics of the things that "needed to be corrected"; how satisfying. I suppose a little "ret-con" never hurt anyone... too badly...



In the search for yet more evidence, David finds this:

David Pelkey ( writes:

In the Halo Graphic Novel on pg. 122, the document/ artwork left me thinking about Sgt. Johnson. The document is something from the ORION project, which was containing the SPARTAN program whose purpose was to create an elite group of soldiersힿ� blah blah blah. In Breaking Quarantine, when the flood combat form fires the shotgun (pg 76-77), Johnson manages to duck just in time and nail the combat form. Now I doubt a standard marine would have the reaction time and speed to dodge a shotgun and near point-blank range while rounding a corner. Also, being able to fire and kill the enemy in one leap. Judging from the information given there and my own speculation, could Sgt. Avery Johnson be perhaps a survivor of the first SPARTAN project?



alpha juliett juliett 20114

As noted by Jillybean, is Johnson a Spartan I (One-Point-O)? It's been hinted at, rumored, and downright implied. But, if Project Orion started in 2491 with recruits of existing, "of-age" military personnel , and its 2552 "now", that would make him...

Further regarding Johnson's Spartan One-ness and the HGN,

michael "gutupio" lowery ( writes:

So it appears Ackerson and Halsey have both been quereying whether or not Johnson is an S1. And it also appears someones been feeding Halsey misinformation about Johnson. Information in this thread.

Transcripts are in a child post or two down, with some speculation by other posters.


As he says, the good stuff continues with a transcript here and here and, well, just take a look around :)

Also, Mr. Paul (, who took in Robt McLees' talk at Comic-Con, shares a number of insights that arose during a conversation involving the aforementioned text. Very neat.



Here we are again. With Halo 3 on the corner, the rate of speculation seems to be slowing down a wee bit, but there's some really amazing stuff coming in. The forum's always a good place to start, Ciar·n posts about the HGN and Johnson, which is a good read. Start there, go further.




The power of analytical thought!

AscendantJustice ( writes:

Bungie has never liked the idea of Sergeant Johnson being immune to the Flood. Joseph Staten says so here. They retconned it in the HGN. Turns out, to them, it makes more sense that he's just one helluva badass soldier. So they dropped the immunity. This begs the question: Why is it so important that Avery Johnson not be immune to the Flood? I see two possibilities.

1) Immunity to the Flood lowers their potency. If a symptom of a syndrome is enough to grant a strong resistance to Flood control, could ONI replicate this? Bungie doesn't want that to be left open.

2) The Good Sergeant gets Floodified in Halo 3. Why else retcon his immunity? Could make for a powerful moment in dramatic storytelling...



Sergeant Johnson's Flood immunity

Andrew sent us a bunch of possible reasons why the higher-ups of the UNSC might have revoked Sergeant Johnson's Flood immunity.

Andrew Clapp ( writes:

I was just reading the posts about Sargent Johnson, and the one about Johnson's immunity being revoked intrigued me for a couple of reasons.


1. We know from Halo 3 that Johnson dies by the hands of Guilty Spark. Part of the reason for their getting rid of Johnson's immunity to flood could correspond with the flood DNA that was in his body. Without it, he can't regenerate, which enabled him to die.

2. Even if his flood DNA was still active, Guilty Spark's laser is basically a suped up Sentinel laser...which, we have all been told many, many times by guilty spark himself (evil library!) that the weapons are specifically calibrated to target and destroy flood. There goes Johnson's regeneration anyway.

3. There is a glitch where you can keep Johnson alive though the guilty spark encounter in Halo 3. (the cutscene counts him as there even though he's not, then he's still there when you leave). If Johnson is not protected, he can get infected and turn into a combat form (beware if you didn't take away the laser from him!). Here's a youtube link: Of course, this doesn't happen in "normal" gameplay.

End Spoilers!!

Anyway, I found these facts interesting, but to build on the first reason of ascendant justice's post...ONI can't replicate Johnson's symptom even if they wanted to, as Master Chief destroyed the only copy of the evidence in First Strike. It was given to him to choose which report to give Command when he got back, and he chose to give them the one without the report on Johnson. And especially now that he's dead...there's no way they could use the information anyway.

Anyway, just some possible reasons why Bungie could have revoked his immunity.

-UNSC Trooper