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Glass and Steel: Pt. 1
Posted By: Random 14-Year-Old<i-rule-2008@sbcglobal.net>
Date: 3 August 2005, 2:52 am

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Part 1: The Ambition

A sudden rush of excitement hit the nerves of Pira 'Tipermee as he studied the signal readouts in front of him. The scanners had detected a lost Covenant artifact in deep space, thanks to a transmitter embedded into the object as a security measure.

"What's that?" Rigo 'Onermee asked as he looked over the screen. "Another lost artifact? Listen, Pira, we can't run to the Prophets whenever we think we found something important—"

"But what if it is important?" 'Tipermee argued. "An increasing amount of our battleships are being struck down by the humans, and almost all of them are likely to contain not only mortal lives, but valuable items as well, possibly even of Forerunner nature! Do we simply collect Forerunner artifacts just to lose—"

"I get your point, Pira," 'Onermee said bluntly. "All I'm saying is that the Prophets have more to worry about than stuff like this. Go ahead, ask the Prophet for permission to investigate..."

Pira 'Tipermee left the communications room, heading straight for the High Council chamber that the Prophets dwelled in. He entered the chamber warily; he had nothing to fear in a ship of the Covenant, but nonetheless the empty chamber gave 'Tipermee a strange sense of hopelessness.

"Permission to advance?" he called into the chamber.

"Permission granted," a grim voice echoed back. It was the voice of the Low Prophet of Gaiety, the leader of this specific fleet of Covenant ships. "Your name?"

"Pira 'Tipermee, from Communications. We have detected a Covenant transmitter signal, most likely an artifact that was lost when a Covenant ship was destroyed."

"What is the location of this signal?"

'Tipermee paused. "That is the reason you must trust my judgment. The signal is coming from a remote planet that is far off our planned course, but—"

"Then it is not worth my trouble," Gaiety declared. "However, if you have no doubt that the signal deserves investigation, I shall grant you a single Seraph fighter. Bring as many crewmen as the ship can carry, and a quick jump will be made to the system in question. From there, you are on your own."

"Thank you, Prophet."

"I expect that this artifact will be recovered—or there will be punishment."

"It will be recovered." And with that 'Tipermee left the chamber to rally his crew.

Ren Basely strolled calmly out of his new home, in search of someone to talk to. After all, he had deserted all of his friends back at Reach when his family made the decision to move to the Outer Colony named Luther. Apparently his mother and father were sort losing their minds living on Reach, constantly watching armory trucks go up and down the streets of the city.

Speaking of Reach, the planet's resources were starting to run tight. The war with the Covenant was not going well at all, and naturally this put more and more pressure on Reach to provide innumerable amounts of supplies in the likes of weaponry and even full-scale warships for deep-space battles. Thus, everyday Ren and his mom and his dad would hear the rumbling of heavy transporters as they shipped metals and stuff like that to factories somewhere else in the region.

"The war has reached us!" Ren's mother had cried once after hearing the news, which claimed "the UNSC is doing everything in its power to prevent the war from reaching Earth, the Inner Colonies and Reach." And for once in Ren's teenage life, she was right. The Covenant hadn't attacked Reach, but seeing trucks filled with weapons in the streets was just as depressing.

Ren, now 17, may have left his friends, but there were always more to be made. A new home also meant a new reputation; he could build a new image of himself in this new community. It was a whole new start, and Ren couldn't wait to see what kind of people Planet Luther had to offer.

"Penalty! Freeze! I said freeze!"

Ren spun his head in the direction of the girl's voice, and he saw a field full of kids playing some sort of game. Their field looked like it had once been the ground of two houses, a lot a seemingly wasted space for a bunch of little kids. Ren would have built something useful there, and he would have used the kids as assistants—

"Okay, two points from Shorts!" the same girl bellowed into the field. She had just stood up from her bench, and Ren realized she must be the referee.

"What?!" one of the little boys screamed. "That's not fair!"

"It's very, very fair, Dorko," the girl replied, turning up her chin. "Everyone gets equal treatment."

Ren made his way over to the field, interested in the strange game these children were playing, and also the girl barking orders at them.

"I hope this seat isn't taken," Ren said once he had crossed the field and arrived at the bench. "Because—"

"Taken?" the girl interrupted. "Everyone else here is playing the game, why would the seat be taken?"

"Because," Ren continued smoothly, "I'd normally expect a crowd to be huddled around someone so fine."

The girl smiled, but Ren couldn't help seeing more amusement than flattery in her expression.

"So you've got a name?" Ren asked.

"Yeah, and it's No-Stranger-To-Corny-Pickup-Lines," she replied. Ren had to force himself not to retort with a wittier and meaner comeback.

"Har, har. Okay, I'll just call you Nostra, alright? I'm Ren. I just moved here from Planet Reach—"

"Wow, Reach!" she interrupted for the second time. Ren felt himself losing control of the conversation.

"Listen," he said, sitting down on the bench and moving closer to the girl, "I'm on a stroll around the neighborhood, and if you could tell me your name, I'd appreciate it if you could, you know, show me around."

"Quite the smooth operator," the girl chuckled. "I can only imagine how many sluts you had back at Reach. But for the record, my name is Ariana."

"And for the record, Ariana, I had not even one girl on Reach, or else I wouldn't be asking for a walk with you. That's how faithful I am."

"Yes," she said, hardly even listening to what he said. "If you don't mind, I need to focus on this game. You see, my little brother thinks he can be above the law of the game since his sister calls the shots. But I'll tell you what—" Ariana turned and looked at Ren. Her brown eyes seemed to have a crystal-like quality to them, and her long brown hair shone in the midday sun. "This game is over in about five minutes, so I'll meet you at my house in a little bit—here." She picked up a memo pad and a pen that had been lying on the bench. The front page had a mess of numbers scribbled on it, apparently scores of the game the children were playing. She flipped to a blank page, wrote down her address and phone number, and tore out the page. "I like you, Ren." And she gave him the paper.

"Ditto," Ren said, looking at the paper. "I'll see you, then." He turned around and left, but not before giving Ariana a sexy smile that she returned to him.

The sun was starting to approach the horizon as Ren sat on the porch of 5132 Purchase Avenue. At last, a car slowed to a stop in front of the house and parked itself along the sidewalk. But it wasn't a girl that stepped out of the car, slammed the door, and stormed up to the porch of the house. Instead, Ren was now looking up at one hell of a pissed-off man.

"I thought...that I told you kids...to stop putting...your asses…on my front porch!!!" The man cracked his knuckles and spit in the air. The saliva just nearly missed Ren's left leg.

Ren smacked himself. "Wow. What a prankster."