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After Fate: Ruminations
Posted By: Nosolee<crugg2005@gmail.com>
Date: 20 August 2005, 9:08 pm

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Since my last story was posted a while ago I thought I'd just refresh your memories with a brief intro. I recommend reading the Prologue before reading this, it's very short. Just click "read this series." For those of you who don't feel like reading the Prologue (a.k.a. 99% of you ;^, I'll explain a little. The Prologue opens as a transcript of Heretic, Hero with the Elite responsible for the destruction for Halo 04 (the soon-to-be Arbiter) trying to convince the Prophets that he is not a heretic. The story then begins to focus on two Elite hierarchs sitting in the chamber, Wkehu 'Delevi and Nam 'Muri. After the heretic is lead out of the council chamber the hierarchs begin to discuss his fate. Truth silences their zealous claims for execution and says the final decision up to him. 'Muri suspects that the heretic will be made an Arbiter and says that the Covenant is always in danger of breaking because there are always heretics. The members of the Covenant don't know of them because most are swiftly and silently dealt with.

This chapter is short, it probably can't even be considered a chapter but more of a scent, I just wanted to get it out as soon as possible.

Without further delay…

After Fate, Chapter II

Covenant Holy City: High Charity, Ninth Age of Reclamation, Wkehu 'Delevi's quarters

      'Delevi removed his ornamental headpiece and rubbed his two beady eyes with his long fingers. Yet another Elite was branded for failure. It seemed that the Covenant couldn't hold onto a competent commander for too long before he was labeled as a heretic or killed in battle. So few of them were able to be promoted to a hierarchal position that he was glad that he had been appointed for his deeds early in the war, when it was "easy". "Easy" was before the discovery of the Sacred Ring, before the Flood, before Reach and the Demon's rise to infamy, before the deaths 'Delevi's brothers. His mind paused at thought of his brothers, a lump of sadness welled up in his throat. They would have been hierarchs. Wkehu 'Drrana and 'Krrana, one a Field-master and the other a Ship Master, how 'Delevi missed them both. He never forgave the gods for stealing them away and not taking him with them.
      Sitting in his chamber, 'Delevi thought how he missed the thrill of the hunt. He should have been commanding a legion with 'Drrana on Ucundus, he should have been able to help him. He wished could have; he was a Field-master then, but he was stationed on Sigma Octanus III, a planet far from Ucundus. Then 'Krrana…his carrier and subsequent fleet disappeared without a trace. The Prophets told 'Delevi that a Human boarding party destroyed the assault carrier from within and the other ships were destroyed in the blast, but he refused to believe such an absurd claim. He suspected treachery or conspiracy; something the Prophets were very good at.
      'Delevi was not only concerned with his brothers though, the newly assimilated Brute race also caused him anxiety. He felt that the Elites' place was contingent, temporary within the Covenant hierarchy. The Prophets and the Elites always had an uneasy alliance, a bizarre balance of power resulting from their struggles fought long ago. While The Prophets spread doctrine to the other races, the Elites were capable fighters, used to conquer and assimilate other lesser species. The Brutes, however, rivaled, perhaps even surpassed the Elites in fighting strength and they moved up within the Covenant ranks faster than any other race ever had. 'Delevi and the other Elite council members were now aware and feared this new, ferociously loyal race. 'Delevi thought of them as pets of the Prophets, always barking and grunting, blindly obeying the hierarchs' commands while acting no more intelligent than a newborn pup. The scale began tipping in the favor of the Prophets and Brutes. Their smug and ambitious chieftain caused 'Delevi's blood to boil.
      'Delevi rubbed his eye lids again, it was a long day and he could feel the fatigue in his muscles. The weight of his troubled mind brought him to rest. As he felt himself slip away to sleep, 'Delevi thought of the words 'Muri uttered as they exited the council chamber—"Our Covenant is always in danger of breaking; there are always heretics, somewhere hiding." The words echoed in his mind as he closed his eyes.

            Always heretics

                  Always hiding…

      Just as he began to fall asleep, 'Delevi's private holo-panel beeped and flashed yellow and red. The annoying script read Fate, Ucundus in the traditional Covenant symbols. Lacking energy, 'Delevi touched the ignore button on the panel and the beeping stopped. As he finally faded to sleep and his mind was cleared, he realized with a shock where the message was from.

UNSC Destroyer Sabine, Approaching Deserted Colony World, Ucundus.
10.20.2552 (Military Calendar)

      Lieutenant Richard York stared out of the large window of the Sabine. He watched as the sister ship, Samnite, glided in front. He could see just over the prow of the Samnite their destination, Ucundus. He hadn't seen it in four years, since the great battle that was fought there against Covenant invading forces. There were only three metropolises on Ucundus, all large, but they once contained the entire planet's population. The people evacuated Ucundus and never came back once the Covenant appeared. When the invading forces were defeated on the planet, however, the Covenant saw no reason to return, and Ucundus was completely deserted and forgotten. A ghost planet, the marines appropriately nicknamed it. York hated his memories of the beautiful planet, but he hated returning even more.