Babylon High Day 1 (Part )
Posted By: Shurmanator<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 19 August 2009, 1:25 am
>>>////ONI Transmission >>>////Priority Alpha Record Log- Journal Excerpt
>>>////Project Babylon - WARNING: TOP SECRET EYES ONLY
Western Long Island, New York
Mission Clock: Day 1
Well, it's over. That's it. Day 1 of the worst social experiment ever thought of is finished. Only 200 more days to go...
As I thought-key this into my journal, I wonder why I'm doing so in the first place. So future generations can see where the friendship between Humans and Sangheilli first started? No, I doubt its for reasons as noble as that. So I can see what the "glory years" were like? No, I'm not that nostalgic. I really have no idea why I'm keeping a journal about all this, now that I think about it. But I started this damn thing, and I'm going to finish it.
The events that have befallen me today are far too complicated for me to explain in words, so I'm going to finish thought-keying this with actual memories. I won't be surprised if that's how I continue going about keeping this journal, rather than narrating the whole blasted thing.
WARNING: FOLLOWING PORTION OF JOURNAL INSCRIBED VIA PERCEPTION OF MEMORY
>>>>>>>>>>ACCESSING>>>MEMORY LOG ENGAGED
The sun hit me pretty hard. I stepped out of my Mom's car (strange that humanity still calls them cars, even though the automotive transports of today are far more advanced than anything that could have been dreamed up in the 20th century) and walked towards the doors of Babylon High. It struck me how massive the high school was. It wasn't aesthetically pleasing in my opinion; not ugly, but not breathtaking either. It looked for all the world like a towering skyscraper dropped on its side. The school was basically a block, made completely, at least the outside surface, of Plexiglas. The sun shined off the glass, creating shadows and beams of light that danced across the acre long courtyard. Students, all Human I noticed, walked briskly across the grass, stepping out of various cars and transports, all headed toward the mammoth doors that led into the school. Like a lone bee in a hive, I obediently followed.
As I shuffled toward the doors, I glanced at my surroundings. The courtyard in front of the school was completely devoid of plant life, other than grass of course. Several tables dotted the landscape, complete with gangs of students at each one (some smoking, I don't know why anyone would want a cigarette at 7 o'clock in the freaking morning, but there's Earth's "brightest and best" for you.
My attention span quickly drifted away from the plain courtyard and back towards thoughts such as, "Where are the Sangheilli?" and "Why did I get unlucky enough to be thrown into this mess?"(the latter of which had been crossing my mind a lot lately). Finally, after being shoved through a crowd of adolescent experiments, I reached the steps of the school. As I walked up the steps, I wondered if this was how an inmate on death row felt, as he walked the Green Mile. When I looked up, however, I saw only the blinding glare of the sun in the windows of the school.
Great, I thought, I don't even get to see green. I don't get to see shit. Perfect.
Clearly, I was desperate to think of something, anything, to get my mind off of my predicament. However, my predicament had no intention of going away, and I found myself standing inside the lobby of the school.
In the fashion of the exterior, the interior of the building was enormous. The ceiling of the lobby, though only one story high (like the rest of the building, I dunno, maybe Sangheilli don't like stairs, I know I didn't complain about stairs), was one huge mirror. The floor, also, was a mirror, protected by a sheet of Plexiglas. Looking up into the infinity of the mirror on mirror reflection, it was easy to assume the space was bigger than it was. Looking forward, the lobby extended on for a good 100 meters or so (it was about 50 meters in width), all the way to the rear of the building. Perhaps a dozen doorways lined each side of the rectangular chamber, leading off to the maze of intersecting hallways that lined the building. It was a simple layout for a school... but I guess that was the point.
In the center of the lobby was an, again, large, circular desk, hollow in the middle, where about a hundred staff and teachers stood, waiting to give out instructions. Behind the desk, toward the rear of the building, were an abundance of chairs. The back wall of the lobby was quite obviously a holo-screen. Apparently the lobby doubled as an auditorium.
I followed the crowd of students (again, all Human) to the desks. A staff member yelled at me over the roar of 500 teenagers to take a seat at my assigned chair. He handed me a small device, and told me that it was a translator that would analyze my brain patterns and translate the coming speech into whatever language I would prefer. He then gave me a number that would correspond with my assigned seat.
It read 117.
I know my history, and chuckled at the significance of that number. I walked to my corresponding seat, and sat down. It took about another 30 minutes for the noise to die down. I looked around and noticed that even though all the students where there, every other chair was empty.
Ahh, so they're going to sit a Sangheilli next to us. And I'm guessing that they're going to make a dramatic entrance, I thought.
I was wrong, however. There was no dramatic entrance. The Sangheilli filed into the room the same way we had, in an unorganized blob. However, it was clear that Sangheilli teenagers are quite a bit more responsible than Human teenagers. They walked in without noise, in complete and utter silence. The oddity of this caused all of the Humans in the room to shut up as well, and we simply started as they quietly got their numbers and took their seats. I saw five Sangheilli walk down my aisle, dressed in matching tunics, just like every other alien in the room. I looked down at my jeans and fading T-Shirt with growing embarrassment.
Three of the Sangheilli looked relatively friendly, with wide, cheerful eyes and skipping gaits. Another one looked distant and forlorn, his shoulders hunched even more than the norm for the species and his eyes darting back and forth. The fifth, and there was no other word for it, was enormous. He stood at least eight and a half feet tall, and walked with a brimming confidence that gave him a military appearance. His head was held high, and he glared at every Human student he passed, making them shrink in their seats. His hands were almost the size of my torso, and his mandibles were slightly open, revealing row after row of menacing incisors.
And, of course, the fucker sat next to me. He turned to me, started me straight in the eye, and opened his mandibles. I flinched (I know, I'm a pussy, but you try staring down this monster), waiting for a vicious remark, only to hear a polite introduction.
"Greetings. My name is Atas' Valum. How do you do?"
My mouth didn't seem to be able to work properly, so I blurted out a casual, "Meneugh wrohgt."
He nodded in apparent understanding, and turned to face the holo-screen, which had now been activated and begun flashing the seal of the Joint Alliance of Sangheilli and Humans, or JASH. As for me, I couldn't quite seem to move, so I simply continued to sit there, my mouth slightly open, staring at this beast of an alien seated next to me. Then, a booming, amplified voice jolted me out of my stupor.
"Ladies and gentlemen. Sangheilli and Humans. Welcome to Babylon High, the most ambitious project, I'm proud to say, that the Human race and Sangheilli have embarked on together. My name is Dr. Arnold Halsey, and I am honored to have been given the position of co-director of this facility, along with Esteemed Cleric Vasu' Gedam."
The man speaking looked to be in his mid sixties, with thinning gray hair, a square jaw, and gray eyes. Again, I was startled by a bit of historic significance that would have otherwise gone unnoticed had I not been interested in the Human-Covenant war during History class. Approximately twelve years after war's end, the UNSC believed that it should "come clean" to the people about the details of the Spartan project, ultimatums of the Covenant, and a ton of other military only information. In a massive top-secret reveal, and one of the greatest media events in the history of the human race, it was revealed that the entire Spartan program was an ONI black-op involving kidnapped children and genetic augmentations, the existence of the Forerunners was not a myth, humanity had known about Covenant goals in locating Forerunner relics since Harvest was recovered, and so on and so forth. The name Dr. Katherine Halsey sprung up a quite a bit, and I wondered if the name of this Director was a coincidence, or if he could be a descendent of the legendary scientist.
My historical wandering caused me to miss a good portion of the welcoming speech, and when I re-focused my attention, a Sangheilli had taken the stage. His flowing, elaborate red tunic and headdress made me think that this could only be Esteemed Cleric Vasu' Gedam. He began to speak, addressing the assembled inter-species crowd.
"You have all been selected, at random, to be representations of the youth of your respective species in this project. Understand that you carry the responsibility of fully, and completely, uniting Humans and Sangheilli in a agreement that will propel us both to a new age of prosperity. Here, you will learn and grow together, and become an inspiration for further facilities such as this, and for generations to come.
>>>>>>>>>SUBJECT EXPERIENCING LACK OF MEMORY OF CURRENT EVENT.
>>>>>>>>>LIKELY SCENARIO: SUBJECT ENTERED SLEEP CYCLE AT THIS POINT.
Yeah, I fell asleep. Pretty irresponsible, but I think I got the gist of the welcoming speech from the first couple of paragraphs. I was awakened by a gentle tap on my shoulder. I looked over in horror to discover that the person that had found me sleeping was not a person, but rather Atas' Valum, or as I had begun referring to him at this point, that big fucker.
He spoke, again, politely and kindly, but his fucking size was just scaring the shit out of me.
"Pardon me, but I believe we're leaving now. Also, excuse me, but I couldn't help noticing you were sleeping, so I took the liberty of recording the rest of the speech so you could listen. I almost fell asleep myself. I'm sure you, like I, had trouble sleeping last night. The excitement of this is palpitating, is it not? I can not wait to learn about Human history!"
He handed me a small data chip where I assumed the recording was stashed. Numbly, I muttered a thank you and an agreement, inserted the data chip into my holo-pad, then handed it back to him. His mandibles were still wide open, which I assumed was the Sangheilli equivalent of a smile, and I just stared at him. My brain couldn't process that such an intimidating figure could be so kind... I just kind of tilted my head sideways, attempted to say something, and failed miserably.
Atas' did not seem put off at all, however, and simply continued smiling as he stood up and walked away. I remained seated for a good minute before I stood up and plugged holo-phones into my ears and listened to the rest of the speech. After all, I did need to find out where to go.
After listening to the tape and fast-forwarding through boring sentiments about "a more fruitful tomorrow" and "eons of co-existence through peaceful understanding" I found that seat numbers 100-150 were to report to room 432, in B Wing. It took some navigating, but eventually I reached my room, which was a corner classroom in the East side of the building. I walked in and found myself staring at a college lecture hall, but in miniature. I was a bit intimidated, I had none of my friends here with me, after all, I was selected by random along with 499 other kids from all over Earth (come to think of it, it didn't really make sense that there were these cliques and gangs already, when no one knew each other). I knew that every student here was a stranger to me. It just goes to show that popular kids find popular kids, emo kids find emo kids, and nerds find nerds. I could already see the lines beginning to materialize between students as they sat together in groups in the room. I had no clique really, and the only person who recognized me was, again, not a person.
Atas' Valum waved at me from the front row of the hall. Feeling guilty that I had put this poor, kind alien off so many times before, I was determined to make a better impression. I walked over and sat down next to him.
"I'm sorry about earlier, like you said, I didn't really sleep much last night, anyway, my name is Kenneth. Kenneth Adams. You can call me Ken if its easier though," I blurted out all in one breath.
Atas' seemed simply ecstatic, and replied, "A pleasure to meet you, Ken! I'm glad to see we are in a class together."
Unfortunately, when Atas' got excited, he seemed to sit up a little straighter, bringing him up to a good three and a half feet taller than me. It was like sitting down and staring at a professional basketball player standing up, except here we were both sitting down, and I couldn't imagine Atas' playing basketball. (He would probably kill the other players when he fouled them.)
It was at that point that a small, middle aged woman walked into the room. She introduced herself as Mrs. Gleisen, and said that she was our homeroom teacher. She then took the time to explain to the Sangheilli that homeroom was where students began their day, and that any announcements would be made here, and that after 10 minutes in homeroom students would report to their regular classes. I wondered why the school was set up exactly like a normal school, I would have expected more compromises to be made in favor of the Sangheilli.
Maybe things will be different as the day starts, I thought.
Well, things were different. But man, I really wish they hadn't been...
>>>>>>>>>>TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES HAVE OCCURRED
>>>>>>>>>>PLAYBACK ABORTED UNTIL LATER DATE