Posted By: Slaskia<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 6 May 2012, 7:09 pm
He could not believe this was happening.
After years, years, of working toward peace between their species, fighting rebellions and reassuring the doubtful among his own, it is going to end like this. And he was helpless to do anything about it.
The Arbiter was bound and on his knees, guarded by several strong humans, ONI agents in fact, on the access walkway to the control panel of a Halo array. A Halo array whose pulse would reach his beloved Sanghelios. And holding the index that would enable the firing of said array was the leader of this group of humans, a woman named Sara Stone.
"You must not do this!" the Arbiter said. "Countless billions of innocent lives will be lost!"
"Like the innocent billions of life you bastards killed during the war?" Stone said coldly. "Billions you gave no second thought to before you pulled the trigger?"
"There were those that doubted, even before the San'Shyuum betrayed us," the Arbiter explained. "And there are many that regret what we have done, myself included, and wish to make amends. Amends we thought we had, until now. Tell me, does Lord Hood know what you are doing?"
"And yet there were several factions of your kind that still wants to finish the job of eradicating us," Stone retorted. "I do this for the safety for all humanity, to ensure you kind will never be a threat to us again. And as for Lord Hood
no, that foolish old man has no idea we are doing this. He wouldn't understand what it would take to ensure we are safe."
"Those factions that wanted to do so feared you would do something like this!" the Arbiter cried. "I have been working hard to prove them wrong, ever sense the war ended. I just had them all believing me and peace between us would have been ensured, but now
now you aim to undo everything Lord Hood and I gained!"
"And how do you know such factions are really believing what you say?" Stone said. "They could just be playing along, bidding their time until you are too weak to fend off an assassin's blade. How can we be so certain that once you are gone, they will not start the war machine up again? No, Arbiter, destroying you is the only way to ensure you will never be a threat again."
"Are you not even familiar with the state of our society?" the Arbiter said, straining against his bonds. "We have no scientists, engineers...we lack the knowledge to repair, let alone build or our own weapons and ships. Our species is fast going into a Dark Ages, a Dark Ages that may last generations before we relearn everything we had lost. We would not be a threat to you
." After a moment's pause, he added in a low growl. "For an organization that prides itself in information, you know so little about us."
His head was thrown sharply to one side as Stone backhanded him. He did not cry out in pain, for this pain was nothing compared to the torture he endured when he was branded the Mark of Shame, so many years ago. Looking up he saw Stone glaring down at him angrily. "I have had enough of this chit chat," she said. "For it is clear you will not understand the necessity of this. I would have rather left you on your precious homeworld, oblivious to what is coming to you, but no, Parangosky wants you to witness your end."
With that, Stone turned away and started walking toward the control console.
"If you do this," the Arbiter said softly. "You will die with me and so will your men."
She didn't even pause in her stride as she said. "We have already accepted that this would be our last mission, a suicide mission, and made the proper arrangements."
The Arbiter sighed as he tried to think of something else to dissuade her: he was running out of time. "And what of other sentients, species that have yet to be discovered that may be within this arrays reach?" he asked. "Would you be so willing to have their innocent blood on your hands?"
That did cause her to stop in her tracks and she took a long moment to consider. Her eventual response though was chilling: "If there are sentient beings out there we have yet to discover that are about to meet the same fate as you, they may as well have never existed."
The Arbiter's mandibles dropped open, aghast at what she just said: how could she be so heartless? Yes, the name 'Stone' certainly fits her. Sadly, that was his last hope at dissuading her and now it looked like it will end.
He hung his head low for a moment, ashamed that he could not stop the slaughter that was about to come. When he lifted his head again, he saw Stone was nearly at the console. He started wondering if the process would hurt, or if it was quick and painless. It looked like he was about to find out.
Then something strange started to happen. A dark mist started building up around the console. Stone seemed perplexed by it, as she kept trying to blow it away from the console so she could see. The Arbiter was equally puzzled by it, as no such thing was present at the partial activation of the Delta Halo. The mist seemed to act like a force field as well, as when she tried to insert the Index anyway, it blocked its path.
"I thought you said that Monitor was secured!?" she shouted to his guards.
There was a brief pause as one of the men asked to confirm the Monitor's location. "It is still in the status field where we left it ma'am!" he shouted back.
"Then why can't I activate the Ring!?"
"Because, mortal," a deep, resounding voice echoed throughout the chamber. "Powers much higher than you have deemed this course of action to be
inappropriate to the greater goals of this galaxy."
Stone was then blown back from the console by some unseen force. She landed on her back, the Index flying from her grasp and skidding almost off the edge of the walkway and into the abyss below. The Arbiter watched, transfixed as the dark mix then condensed and solidified into a beast unlike anything he had seen before.
The general body shape long, sleek and black as night. The top of its head was dome shaped and had no visible eyes, while the skull was crowned by a nest of wild, silvery horns. It had three pairs of limbs that he could see: normal hind and front limbs with a smaller pair of limbs perched between the front limbs and the base of the medium length neck. The tail was long and barbed with a sharp hook and the back was adorned with a row of spines the same color of the horns, along with three pairs of fleshy, oval shaped disks. The Arbiter thought he should know this creature, but the knowledge eluded him for the moment.
"What are you?" Stone demanded as she rose to her feet. "Who are you? A Forerunner?"
"Hmm?" the creature tilted its head a slight grin on its face before booming in laughter. "Forerunner? Nay, mortal," it said. "Forerunners were simply mortals far more advanced than you
yet so far away from comprehending beings like myself."
He remembered now: this had to be the unofficial forth member of the Lipor pantheon. "You are the Lord of Chaos
," he breathed, never having thought they were capable of manifesting like this.
The entity seemed amused by this. "Oh, so it seems your pet fuzzball has told you about me," it said, then it did an exaggerated bow as it added. "Demonakos, at your service."
"I somehow I highly doubt, you did this for our good graces
," the Arbiter muttered. "From what I have been told, you are against order in all forms, so it puzzles me why you would stop this."
"While normally I would not prevent such things as genocide due to the lovely chaos it brings, this form of genocide is too
clean." Demonakos made what the Arbiter felt was a disgusted face. "No pain, no suffering
no mass hysteria
even my good friend Zilathoga hates this method of death. However, do not get it into your head that is the sole reason I came here
I am here on orders from the one that is higher than even me on the peaking order. Even I will not go against Mother
," Stone growled. "By not allowing us to do this, you risk my kind being attacked by these hinge-heads!"
"Mind your words, mortal, you know not what you are up against here," Demonakos growled. "I have watched you humans from afar and you have much to learn." He started circling Stone, as he continued. "Such an interesting species you are
and yet I wonder why your kind was chosen to continue the Forerunner legacy when you so easily forget the lessons of your own history. So many of you quick to want revenge rather than to forgive and
what is the phrase
ah yes, 'turn the other cheek'."
"You waste my time with all this talk, demon, stand aside and let me do my duty," Stone sneered.
"No," Demonakos said flatly. "There are a few intelligent species besides the Sangheili I have interest in that are in range of this array and I will not allow you to destroy them to satisfy your bloodlust."
"I do not care what you think, I have my orders!"
"Your 'orders' come from a feeble old woman that has lost her sanity years ago!" Demonakos snapped. "So blinded is she by revenge that she does not see the folly of it! To destroy the Sangheili, whom have admitted their wrongs and seek atonement makes her and those that follow her blindly, no better than the San'Shyuum that ordered for your annihilation to begin with!"
"Enough! Men, kill that thing!"
The Arbiter could not believe she just said that. Was the foolish woman truly blind to what she was up against? All he could do was throw himself onto the floor as his guards opened fire around him. He saw Stone open fire as well with a side arm, as she edged toward where the Index lay.
Demonakos didn't seem fazed at all by the gunfire pelting his hide. In fact he seemed more amused than anything else. Soon enough, the amusement factor ended and he retaliated. The six 'disks' on his back opened up to reveal three pairs of insect-like wings and he effortlessly took to the air. He spat out a dark fire at one man, whom then screamed in terror and ran out of the chamber. Another was picked up by powerful forelimbs and tossed against the wall. A third got a tail to the face, sending the main nearly off the walkway. The forth was suddenly found himself sinking into the walkway, the floor underneath having turned into a quicksand like substance, which solidified once more when he was up to his chest in the stuff. The last man found himself restrained by dark tentacles that erupted from the nearby wall, binding him to the wall.
The Arbiter was amazed and a bit frightened: Demonakos had subdued each of the men within seconds. To think he was likely not using a fraction of his power either
Meanwhile Stone was still edging for the Index, a fact Demonakos had noticed. "You still after that sily thing? Let me help you
" With a flick of his tail, he knocked the Index off the walkway, sending it falling into the abyss below. "Oops, my bad."
"No!" Stone cried as she lunged for the Index, but it was already far out of her reach. "What have you done!?"
"I kept you from making a terrible mistake," Demonakos said simply as he landed. "I seriously doubt you want your own kind to be wiped out alongside those you hate."
"What?" Stone turned toward him, genuine shock on her face. "What are you talking about? Earth is not within range of this array."
"But it is in range of another," Demonakos explained. "You do know all the Rings are on standby, correct?"
"Of course I do! What does that have to do with
"On standby to be set off all at once from Ark, but
," he paused for dramatic effect. "The Ark has been lost, however, there is another way
a secondary means. A failsafe in case the Ark should fall. The Forerunners are very clever, my dear
you see, if the Ark is damaged or otherwise lost, which it has, the Rings can be all activated anyway if just one is ignited."
They color drained from Stone's face. "You mean
"Yes, mortal. Active this Ring and all the others activate, wiping your species out as well. Unless of course
you don't care about that
you seem quite willing to cause the extinction of other, truly innocent species
"You're lying! You have to be!"
but can you really take that chance?"
A slew of emotions flashed across Stone's face until it finally settled on defeat. "Alright, you win. Release my men, we are leaving."
Demonakos merely flicked his wrist and the entrapped men were freed, whom immediately helped up the ones that were knocked senseless. Then Stone put her pistol against the Arbiter's head. "I may not be allowed to wipe out the rest of you, but you will not be allowed to leave here alive!"
A black, sinuous tail suddenly smacked the weapon right out of her hand. Stone cried out in pain and glared at Demonakos, whom had a sly grin on his face. "This Sangehili is not meant to die this day," he said.
"Fool, if I do not dispose of him, he will tell the others what we tried to do here!"
"The seeds of your organization's destruction has already been sown, mortal," Demonakos said smugly. "By members within your own ranks: not everyone you work with agrees with your leader's course of action
"What! There is no way anyone outside our section
now! If we return fast enough, we may be able to stop it."
The Arbiter watched as Stone and her men ran out of the chamber, leaving him here alone with an unpredictable entity. He was still having trouble determining whether or not Demonakos was really doing the Mother's will, or following his own agenda. "You really should choose your friends more carefully, mortal," Demonakos said as he undid his bonds with a snap of his fingers.
"I did not come with them willingly," the Arbiter muttered as he rose to his feet, rubbing his wrists. How was he to return home? Stone had the only transport and he wasn't keen on taking a ride with them, especially since Stone nearly did kill him. However, he also doubted Demonakos would be gracious to give him a secondary means. Yet, instead the problem of how he was going to get home being on the front of his mind, he was more curious about a few things Demonakos said. "Demonakos," he said, keeping his tone respectful. "I know the Rings have been fired before
if your kind had the power to prevent it
"Why didn't we?" Demonakos finished for him. "Everything that happens, or doesn't happen, does so for a reason, mortal. Though it pains her, sometimes the Mother recognizes the need for such drastic measures. You see, the Flood was on the verge of winning back then and if it had done so, there would have been little change, no conflict. Without conflict, mortals cannot grow and evolve: this galaxy would have become essentially dead and no lifeforms from it would have eventually earned a place as a part of Her. The Flood was meant to be a test, a test the human's ancestors won, but the Forerunners ultimately lost due to their own arrogance. And so the Mother allowed the galaxy to be wiped clean of all sentient life, to give life itself another chance and it was she that guided the Forerunners in devising the plan that would ensure you people and many others, including the humans, were 'reseeded' after the array had done it's work."
This new information was a bit overwhelming. "So
the Mother ensured our species survival, using the Forerunners to do so. Did the Forerunners worship Her?"
"The Forerunners were pretty much 'atheists' in terms in religious beliefs, but that does not mean Mother could not still guide them. Mother guides everyone in many different ways, even the non-believers."
." The Arbiter decided to mull over this another time, for now a more pressing problem came to the forefront. "How am I to get home?" He had muttered it to himself, but Demonakos still heard him.
"Oh, needing a way home, mortal?" Demonakos said in a slightly mocking home. "I suppose I 'could' provide you with a way home, considering you aided in my entertainment for today."
"I would greatly appreciate it, Demoankos," the Arbiter said.
With that Demonakos blew out a bit of dark smoke. This 'pooled' at the Arbiter's feet before rising up and forming a rough portal shape, the center shimmering with energy. "Step through the portal, mortal," Demonakos said. "It will take you home."
"Thank you, Demonakos."
"Do not bore me with sentimentalities
get going before I change my mind!"
The Arbiter knew better than to press his luck. He stepped through the portal and was briefly blinded by a bright light. It was only a moment before he could see clearly again and feel solid ground under his feet
and a very cold wind.
Looking around, he saw he was on top of a low mountain, surrounded by snow. He sighed when he realized where he was: he was on Sanghelios, but in a region far north from his own keep. Fortunately, his Arbiter armor did have a heating system, which turned on automatically, but he had a very long walk to the nearest keep. With another sigh, he got going: with luck, he should reach civilization in a day or two.
Always specify where you want the portal to go, he told himself. And never trust anyone with the word 'chaos' in their title with your means of transport!