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In the Halo novel First Strike, there's a part from the perspective of a Grunt:

If his masters learned he'd been asleep at his post, they might ... give him to the Jackals.

Yet in the Halo games, the player often comes across groups of Grunts that are sleeping at what seems to be their post, often in plain sight of an Elite. Why do these Elites let the Grunts do this?

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    As far as I remember,you stumble over them somewhere in the hinterland.They're sleeping in zones where they are not really doing military operations but researching/digging up stuff and in their bases where they wouldn't expect any spartans.#plsnoticemyname – teair Aug 8 '14 at 14:22
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    There is a big difference between 'sleeping' and 'sleeping at your post'. – DJClayworth Aug 8 '14 at 15:55
  • It can be a humorous thing as they look like primitives. – Captain Cold Feb 9 '15 at 15:02
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    The real answer to this is that Grunts are randomly generated in various states of sleep/alert, and occasionally a sleeping grunt just happens to be next to an Elite. In short - a technical oversight. – Zibbobz Feb 9 '15 at 15:51
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To answer your question about this novel in regards to why he shouldn't have been asleep and why we see sleeping Grunts in the games is because of priority. We always see them sleeping in midst of large concentrations of the Covenant in Covenant controlled areas, like in the dead zone in Halo: Reach, surrounded by soldiers who are at watch. We could take a guess that they would systematically take turns sleeping and keeping watch. The particular Grunt you used as an example is afraid of punishment because he had a job to do, I haven't read it in a while but I think he was put in an embankment to monitor air traffic.

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The Halo Ring in CE emits an aura, such that it makes creatures fall asleep.

Based in purely the soundscape it could be concluded that the sounds and environment are sleep-inducing. i.e. the doors sigh as they open, and the weather is gentle. That's why on some parts of assault on the control room, the grunts fall asleep if you kill all senior enemies (jackals, Elites etc.) and leave the vicinity for a long time.

As in regards to grunts asleep in the presence of elites, maybe grunts have to sleep sometimes such that when you appear they are as such.

Additionally Chief infiltrates the control room area from underground, the Covenant don't expect this, they expect assault from above (probably Pelicans). If your're in a bunker, you'd be sleeping.

  • "citation needed" – Organic Marble Nov 28 '18 at 14:10
  • This answer would be greatly improved if you could edit in some sources for your claims? Such as adding in book quotes or interview quotes etc. – TheLethalCarrot Nov 28 '18 at 14:20

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