Alien Brethren: Chapter 17: Crimson No More
Posted By: Alex L (Greek Elite)<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3 June 2006, 9:16 pm
First off, thanks to all whom are slowly reentering the series. I know it's been a while and I've had my share of bad chapters but I've got some new stuff in store that I hope you'll all like. Starting with this Chapter, I think you'll all be seeing lots of twists and conflicts arise in the series (conflicts within the plot that is) which will hopefully raise your interest. Anyways, like I said before, I hope you all enjoy Chapter 17 and hope it makes up for my shorter, less involved Chapter 16.
Chapter 17: Crimson No More
The crimson warrior moaned in grief as his senses slowly returned to him. His blurred vision quickly exposed the hairy back and feet of Alei's hated species and a moving ground beneath.
He felt his lax body strapped by something large, muscular, and hairy. Alei shook his head and cocked it about to see where he was exactly.
Compiling the rest of his scenery and senses together he gathered that he was being carried over the shoulder by a Brute; to where he did not know.
There was a violent shake that rattled Alei's tender body from the Brute's arm. "Quiet exile."
Alei groaned in pain and aggravation as he passively attended the trip to wherever he was being taken.
After a few moments more of being hefted by the Covenant loyalist there was the familiar hum of a Covenant door opening which lead into a larger, darker, room which seemed to be more decorated and had a whimsical appearance about it. The Brute continued to carry the recovering Elite further into the room, while Alei looked around his new surroundings seeing Brute Honor Guards standing guard near the circle and entrance.
Finally the Elite was thrown to the silver ground and felt the weight of the same Brute's arm keep him pinned to the ground. It was then he felt something warm shakle around his wrists, restraining them behind his back and unable to use.
"Energy cuffs," snarled Alei, "Why not just keep me in the cell?"
"They are for all safety purposes of us, Alei. I hope you are not too offended," said a calm, delicate, and almost ominously ancient voice.
The Brute gripped the Elite by the shoulder and propped him up to his feet where Alei could see the one who spoke.
"The Prophet of Patience
" Alei said in a grim tone, glaring at the fair faced and goggle eyed, age faced Prophet.
"And let us not forget the noble Trust either, Alei," spoke a more bold and strong-headed voice as a second Prophet hovered next to Patience in his hovering throne. Trust's form stood taller then Patience and had more glaring, intimidating eyes then the suave and calm Patience.
"You do remember your own Fathers of the Covenant, don't you, Alei?" Patience queried, cocking his slender neck in Alei's direction.
"I remember you two," Alei admitted, "But you are not my Fathers. I do not belong to the Covenant any longer."
"You should not hold such grudges, exile," spoke Trust, "Truth had more say in the betrayal then us lesser Prophets. But perhaps the exchange of hats was for the best."
"Let the Brutes be your guardians. I embrace all the Covenant's damnation anyways," Alei remarked, harshly.
"Damnation being a matter of religious opinion foolish, Alei," cooed Patience, "The Covenant stands and prospers for the ascension that the holy Forerunners had offered us through the sacred rings. In the eyes of the Covenant, and true eyes of the Forerunners, you are the one to be damned."
"You call me foolish, pig-headed prophets, yet you do not have the will to listen to the wise and holy oracles to know the truth of the rings and their creators," the crimson one snapped back.
"There is a reason why you Elites were placed as warriors and us Prophets were elected as leaders," Trust butted in showing aggression in his tone, "We, the Prophets, can see past faulty lies of the Forerunner's obstacles and make true judgment of what is right and just."
"Say what you want and let your ego rise, but it will never change the truth," Alei growled, his tolerance for the Prophets' words growing shorter every second, "But you must have summoned me to your quarters for more purpose then have me stand judgment to your jowl flapping."
Trust began glowering at the Elite and headed forward with his throne at the exile before Patience waved a hand to his brother in leadership as a sign for their to be peace and self-restraint.
"I admire your persistence, Alei. No time for small-talk, always sights set on the target
admirable yet displeasing," Patience spoke, stroking his chin with his nimble forefingers, "Do you know where we are headed, exile?"
Alei remained quiet, expecting their ego to show again as to providing him with the answer.
"Patience and I were advised by Truth himself to go and explore the other holy rings. Our purpose is as a safeguard to ensure the Great Journey may be fulfilled and to divert both the Humans and this new faction that has appeared
the so called 'Derelict', so the Covenant may be fully successful."
"However we've noticed some
lacking in our own fleet. With the resign of the Elites, Grunts, and Hunters," Alei grimaced at the term resign that was used as Patience continued, "We've found our abilities to come short of full potential."
Truth spoke next finishing Patient's thoughts, "The Brutes, though they are superior to your race and prove to be better guardians, lack in speed, grace, and nobility that the Elites had provided once before. A similar grief for the loss of our Hunters whom choose to side with your race
however no regrets are placed for the loss of the Grunts
"Kaskut will be displeased to hear such," Alei muttered under his breath.
we have confidence in our own and find the Brutes' abilities to be more then suitable, it's just the matter of not having a formidable warrior species to handle certain tasks
such as one of your renown brethren, Orna Fulsamee."
"His works as the latest Arbiter proved to be more then astounding," Patience said, Alei finding their switching off to be symoblic yet annoying, "Having crushed the Heretic's leader, which in return scattered and disorganized their faction completely, plummeted through the Sentinel Wall, and retrieved for us the Sacred Icon; he was truly valuable to the Covenant cause
yet inferior to the other members of the Covenant."
"If he was inferior, then how do you explain the fact that he defied the betrayal and survived all scarring events?" Alei questioned.
"Reasons beyond your comprehension, feeble-minded Alei," Patience said whimsically.
Alei took the response as, once again, their so called 'holy' ego arising again.
"But you Alei, you were a promising warrior," Truth complimented, "Countless of missions you partook in on behalf of the Covenant. We were proud of you. Your efforts could almost be described as great as Orna, the Arbiter himself
though such a title is now disgraced upon his Mark of Shame."
"I still am a warrior and I still have all my will and might
and Orna is rightful for all pride he possesses. For there is high honor regarded among the Elites, the Grunts, the Hunters of the title Arbiter."
Patience's lips curled into a conniving smile, "This is good to hear
"They are complete then, doctor?"
Champion was now pacing back and forth in a top security bio lab as his ship neared closer and closer to Installation 03. Inside the room stood his handmaiden, Kami, and an Elite dressed not in battle armor but a silver cloak.
"Yes, my Champion," the Elite in silver said proudly, "They are complete."
Ebak paced over to the lab table that the other Elite was laboring over to see his creation.
" muttered Ebak, "Simply beautiful
On the table were five aquariums, each holding what appeared to be a Flood Infection form
but none like Ebak had ever seen. They were all a ripe, blood red color and slightly larger then the traditional ones. Ebak also noticed some of their extra tentacle like appendages which also seemed to be more robust then the ones Ebak had seen.
Champion glanced over at the doctor, "You will surely be repaid for such fine work, doctor. I'll see to it that you have your own bodyguards as long as your experiments work."
"Thank you for your humble appraise, my Champion," the Doctor said bowing respectively to his leader, "But I would have achieved nothing without your studies, inspiration, and wisdom. I simply brought the experiment to life
but rest assured, your envisioned plan will turn out a marvelous success. All that's left to this project of yours is to subject the specimens to their hosts"
"Then let my mind and wisdom continue to work with your sciences and crafts in biology so we may proceed with our Flood manipulation projects. Be ready for my next notes on further Flood experiments
the faster our production the faster we succeed. In the mean time, we shall depart, as we are coming within atmosphere fairly soon."
Champion gave a curt nod to the handmaiden as a signal for them to depart, "See to it, doctor, that these specimen reach the cargo hold quickly and safely. The hosts should be ready in no time."
Alei's stomach turned sensing a devious plan or scheme that the Prophets had been devising. Whatever it was, Alei knew instantly it was bad news
the Prophets were always known to bring dismay and grief upon Elites like him.
"Speak your tainted words, unmerciful Prophets and I shall greave each one," Alei spoke, having slight interest in why they had actually summoned Alei here.
"Tainted words, Alei?" Questioned Patience, "Surely the title Arbiter is not tainted
or so it seems to your honor-monger race."
Alei's eyes glittered in awe and confusion. He could almost put the pieces together what the Prophets were saying. He didn't know if it were truth. Were they asking him what he thought they were asking him?
" Alei began, stumbling for words but found his lack of words be fulfilled as Trust spoke.
"We need an Arbiter, Alei. You have been elected as the next Arbiter of the covenant. We've found no other to be able to fulfill the Arbiter's duties and we need a skilled, brave Elite whom would be able to be sent on some number of death-defying, suicidal missions. You have been choosen
Alei felt shocked yet angered hearing this. The title of Arbiter was an honor, a renown of ultimate glory. Yet accepting the title meant serving the Covenant once again
"Surely you foolish Prophets had anticipated my denial of such a position. Why would an exile warrior, betrayed by the same whom offer such a glorious title accept this tainted gift?" Alei's words were harsh.
"We Prophets are not foolish, exile," Patience said in a calm, flowing tone, "And indeed we did anticipate your possible refusal for the position on behalf of some
strong held grudges."
"But we have insured that you would accept the title and responsibilities
willingly or not," Trust spoke, his words more grim and hostile then Patience's.
"What do you mean?" Alei inquired feeling a sinking feeling grow in the pit of his stomach.
"You see, Alei, there's multiple reasons why we kept your human friends alive," Patience continued on, "Not only are they, unfortunately, the chosen species of the Forerunners to activate the divine Halo and propel the Covenant into the Divine Beyond, but they serve as a element of sympathy to a certain warrior whom clearly holds dire ties to their lives."
" Alei said in a voice of concern and mild-anger.
"The Sniper?" Trust said, laughing at the thought, "It would not be as an effective loss. We note your ties with the human but we know that there are others whom has a stronger influence and will have a more definite effect should their lives be spent."
Alei cocked his head for a moment, wondering whom the Prophets were implying exactly.
"The females, Alei," Trust said, releasing the truth as bluntly as possible.
Alei's heart felt like it sunk into the deep depths of his churning, upset stomach when the words hit him like a ton of bricks. It was almost like blackmail, except with someone else's safety on the line.
" Alei murmured, feeling his cold heart loose a few beats in a moment's stop.
and the other pregnant human, let us not forget," Patience reminded in a grim tone.
"We've noted your sickening sympathy and weakness to the humans' well-beings," Truth commented, "And by closer examination of your relationship with the one human makes it all the more better for us
for your motivation. So, Alei, you may choose to decline such a privilege we Prophets are awarding you and we will give you the other privilege of having you watch the one you are affectionate for and the pregnant one have their blood spilled
right in front of you. Could you imagine such an image of that, exile? Loosing the filthy human you love, right before your eyes, knowing you could prevent it while also bearing the guilt of a tender fertile woman and her innocent child's life."
Alei's chest heaved in agony and grief. It was such a heavy responsibility and grief that he collapsed on his legs, under the weight of what the Prophets were asking him to do and telling him what would happen should he decline. He stared at the floor, trying to block out the words that flowed into him and began picking himself apart.
"But," Patience started in a less morbid and vigor voice, "You may rest assure their lives will be spared and no harm will come to either female, nor the child, if you accept the job we are asking of you
provided you do not turn on the Covenant once again and abide by every command we give to you."
Alei felt tears well up in his eyes. The thought of serving under the Prophets again was sickening
disgraceful. Yet the thought of loosing, and being held responsible for the lives of his beloved Samantha Whelski and his alien brethren's wife and child was a thought he wished not to dwell on; it could have destroyed him.
His head still staring towards the ground, fighting back the tears, he asked, "If I accept you swear on the name of the Forerunners you'd never harm either of the females, and the child?"
"Upon the rings and highest of Forerunners," Trust spoke highly with zealous.
and you'd agree to set free my friends?" Alei added.
Patience hardly took a second to think about it, feeling Alei's allegiance to the Covenant stir back and responded out of mercy, "We would free the two other male humans as well as your personal minion, Kaskut. However releasing the great Tebo brothers and female humans is out of the question."
"What about the oracle?" Alei suggested.
"Is it the holy keeper of the ring we are to arrive at?" Trust inquired.
not," Alei said hesitantly, trying his best to cover the lie.
Trust took a long moment of staring at the Elite until finally speaking, "Granted then, exile. You have heard all the words we have promised you. Now then
Trust snapped his fingers and both Prophets' chairs hovered away from the center of the room as two Brutes came heaving in, through the center, a large hovering mauve crate. Once it was positioned in the center of the spacious room it descended to the floor, humming and hissing.
The Prophets neared the crate slowly and Trust gave a curt nod to the Brutes. Both dug their paws into the front of the crate and pulled on it slightly. The ominous crate's front panel budged and a extreme white light emitted from the cracks and openings while a white mist flowed from the crate in a ghostly manner.
Alei turned his head as the Brutes completely removed the front panel of the centerpiece, the white that it had emitted was unbearable. Slowly it dimmed and Alei was ushered to his feet by a Brute behind him.
Forward the Elite stepped as he was escorted to the, what had seemed to be, holy shrine. Alei stopped as he was near enough to it and he gazed its contents in awe.
Inside was the Arbiter's armor. Oddly enough Alei had never seen this kind of design for the Arbiter's battle armor, but he could sense the power, glory, and vibrating essence of justice being emitted from the suit.
The armor was clearly a more modernized, and technologically advanced version of the old, orthodox Arbiter armor. The previous model's primitive metals and dull and ancient look was no longer visible as it was replaced by a shimmering white glare of justice, having advanced, cutting edge plating to the suit. In some appendages of the armor, overlapping the holy whiteness was replaced by a solemn yet respectable blue coating giving it all the more holy, justly, and arbitrary look. Yet Alei had noticed a major similarity in both old and new models: the headpiece.
Though its pronged sideburns, nose piece, and crest had been more elongated it completely resembled the old design that Alei had noted from his highly regarded fellow Elite; Orna the Arbiter. Besides the extended curves and elongations on the features of the helmet, it was coated with the same gleaming, holy whiteness with the back-crest the noble shade of blue.
Its design, in Alei's opinion, was flawless and perfect in every way having combined a modern, intimidating, cutting-edge look with its old, ancient, and highly regarded design, not to mention the justice screaming color scheme that nearly stole Alei's vision from its greatness. It was then Alei noticed the other two accessories that added to Alei's anticipated heart attack of bewilderment and awe.
Placed near the armor was a magnificently glowing Energy Blade that Alei had never seen, nor other Elite for that matter, in his life nor dreams. It was a shimmering Red Energy Blade that lusted for bloodshed and smiting while it glowed violently in a morbid, intimidating way. Though it resembled much like Alei's old Energy Sword it seemed so exotic, alien, and invincible for that matter; its glow and mightiness seduced the warrior.
The third article of the Arbiter symbol and its greatness was a cape. Hung so its full spread was visible, Alei noticed the delicate craftwork involved in producing it. It was made of a very fine yet very durable material of a dark navy blue that Alei could not identify but it amazed him none the less. By closer judgment, Alei noted its durability could withstand heavy fire; that had comforted him.
The crimson exile turned, glancing at each Prophet for a moment whose eyes were unsettlingly fixed upon him. The Brute guarding him then finally released his energy cuffs, yet remained behind him at a nervous distance. Alei took in a deep breath, swallowed the lump in his throat, as he felt the Brutes huge paws ripping and removing off his old shell he felt his name, honor, and past memories being picked away, painfully.
It was only when his blood-red helmet was removed that he felt the last bit of his past disappear completely. He was stripped of everything he once had: his name, his armor, his past, his rank, his friends, his allies, his freedom
Alei glanced down at the floor and gazed with great sorrow at the heap of red metal that once protected his leathery flesh. He tore his vision away from the pile of memories and stepped forward, never looking back, as he embraced his new title; draping himself in his cape, crowning himself with his new helmet, and arming himself with his new, vibrant, blood-red Energy Sword. He saw to his other articles of the Arbiter's attire for later and turned to the prophets, disgracefully bowing to those he had become a puppet and slave to before.
"I am ready to serve
" Alei spoke, nearly choking as he forced himself to their proper title, "