Confessions of a Sangheili: Chapter One
Posted By: Spencer Gregoire<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 13 May 2010, 9:37 pm
Prologue: "Confessions of a Sangheili"
Education; it was all that separated me from the rabble. I was not faster, nor was I stronger then all the rest of my race. The long hours of the teachings at the academy, lectures about valor and bravery, I wonder now what the point of it all was. The reality eluded me at the time, about violence and war. I had believed that our actions were the will of the gods.
Sangheili were bred to fight, but I never took a liking to the brutality. I was always content to lose myself in books, poems, teachings of the history of war. I was an odd contradiction. I had never longed for fighting, yet my grim fascination for its tactics and stories was constantly present. My brethren expected me to fight with honor. My intellect made me a perfect officer candidate.
The galaxy is infested I had been told. Their Destruction is the will of the gods, and we are the instrument. Blessed by the prophets, your mission great, your cause is just. You shall be met with an unworthy enemy, and you shall crush them beneath your feet. Blessed by the prophets; you shall succeed.
The words were very easily received at the time. Despite my intellect, the prophets had been able to manipulate me. Promises of eternal glory and tales of valor and honor gave purpose to my training. I learned how to fight, to lead, to command. I was given the rank of major, because they had trained me to be a leader. Though, with the war only a few months old, they knew not how to prepare me.
I didn't realize that leadership wasn't a quality which could be taught. I would learn the hard way that my knowledge would not make me any less susceptible to bullets the then rest. I learned that the ability to win, and press on despite witnessing unspeakable horrors; was not in my blood from the start. I would have my delusions shattered in the blink of an eye.
My name is Major Yumalee Ormunno and I confess that I thought myself invincible.
I felt my stomach churn as the Spirit drop ship arched its way through the sky. It blazed a path through the cool summer sky join by dozens of others. We were an invasion force, to be dropped about three hundred meters down spin from the human defensive lines. The Humans called this place "Harvest," a short and inglorious name. For reasons I could not grasp, the Humans had fought to regain this land. Our job was simple; land on the outskirts of the city and capture it. I grasped my plasma rifle with increasing tension; readying myself to address my platoon.
The prophets' teachings had formed me into an invincible foe. My pride and eagerness swelled with each day of training. I was finally going to be given the chance to prove myself; and maybe earn my place among the heroes I read so much about.
"Brothers, the prophets have blessed our mission. Steele your hearts and your nerves, ready your weapons and minds. We shall break the heretic's lines, and slaughter the vile insects which lay their hands upon what rightfully belongs to us." Enthusiastic cheers brought my speech to a temporary halt. The warriors had confidence in me, which began to bleed over to my ego. "Be swift; the gods shall see you through this battle. Eternal glory shall be earned." It was a fine speech; now all that was left was to accomplish the mission.
"Prepare yourselves, standby to disembark." A steady beeping could be heard inside as the drop ship slowed its velocity. I tightly grasped my plasma rifles again. A hiss of decompression could be heard. The locks on the doors released themselves. The side ramp of the Spirit drop ship slowly opened. Light poured into the cabin as the landscape flooded into view.
I could not see the distant clouds of exploding power which signaled the discharge of a weapon. I could not hear a whistle as the armor piercing round cut through the air. I could only see the purple blood splatter from the back of a Grunt's head onto my face. The creature toppled out of the drop ship, instantly dead. I reached up with a cold, trembling hand, and touched the blood. It was still warm. It was flowing as if it still belonged to that of a living being. My hand shook with fright, the image of glory and honor once held in such high regard; evaporated. The young warrior had trained for month. Now the Grunt was just a splash of blood on my face. For several long moments I stood upright inside the drop ship.
What have I gotten myself into?
I tried to place it in the back of my mind. If I didn't act quickly, the blood of dozens more would be on my hands.
"Move forward brothers, advance to the slope fifty meters ahead and regroup." I exited the craft, waving my unit's forward. Distant sniper rounds found the heads and necks of Elites and Jackals; their head's thrown back at sickening angles. I could hear the howl of distant artillery rounds, and then I could see the explosions. Each shell displaced nearly a half a ton of dirt and soil. One explosion, barely ten meters to my side, blew a half a dozen grunts apart. The bloodcurdling screams of agonizing pain filled my ears. I knew I had to push on, and get to the top of the slope. Only then could we come together. Only then could we stop this massacre.
After what seemed like hours, but in reality was only mere seconds, I reached the slope. Our commander was gathering the units together, readying for the assault. I scanned the land ahead; we were to advance across three hundred meters of open terrain. The grassy terrain sat marred by conflict which had consumed it for many months. Craters Bourne of Human artillery, and Wraith plasma orbs stood as battle wounds to the once peaceful land. Across the blood stained grassland; the Humans held a hill. The position was fortified by deep firing pits at the military crest of the ridge. There were three human tanks placed slightly behind in the ridge for cover. One of these tanks was placed upon a hill which jutted out from the human lines slightly. I knew there was a chance that out on that grassy plain my end would meet me. But, my fears needed to be put behind for now; my brothers needed their leader.
"Brothers," the golden commander spoke. "Now there is only victory or death. Go and tear this land from the demons, and crush them beneath your feet. Forward!" The conclusion of the speech brought hundreds of warriors to their feet. I waited a mere three seconds before waving my men forward, content to lag behind. As we emerged from the hill, the direct fire from the Human's battle tanks began to tear the column apart. I could see an explosion to my right rip a half a dozen Grunts to pieces. The cracks of distant sniper rifles sent armor piercing rounds through the heads of Jackals; trying in vein to protect themselves from the hellish barrage of lead and shrapnel.
"Keep moving, do not falter my brothers!" I pushed my hooves on the ground to move faster. In front of me I witnessed a trio of Grunts fall victim to long ranged rifle shots. Explosions filled my view, the screams of the dead and dying morphed into an oppressive uproar of pain and agony. No one had ever told me that battle would be like this.
We were within a hundred yards. I could see in front of me three jackals holding their shields out, with a pair of grunts behind them. The quintet was attempting to get some fire onto the Humans. Their exposed position rendered the gesture useless.
"Rise, keep up the advance." I kicked and shoved the warriors to their feet. As we continued our run across the open ground, a grunt caught fire as a round pierced his suit. The screams of pain ripped into my ears, and sent a chill down my spine. The small creature fell to the ground; its flailing began to slow. Soon, its screams silenced, and its body came to a halt. The smoldering carcass lie still on the ground.
Despite the horrific losses, hundreds of us still continued our charge across the open. When we crossed the fifty meter mark, hundreds of Human warriors brought their heads above a trench line. The trench was carved into the base of the hill, and I had not seen it during our advance. The short range assault rifles sprayed a powerful sheet of lead at the advancing Grunts. The results were nothing short of slaughter. I could see dozens of grunts in front of me topple over as if hit by a wall, many of them ignited as bullets ripped through their methane tanks. Others coughed out their purple and blue blood as they tried to crawl away.
Off to my left, merely fifteen meters away one of the Elite Minors in blue armor tried to form the available jackals into a phalanx. The wall of shields provided cover for Grunts as they lined up behind. The advancing Jackal wall vomited plasma and grenades into the forward Human trench. The file was soon blown apart by the human battle tanks. The exposed warriors attempted to find cover, but were cut down.
I fired my plasma rifle from my prone position, utilizing the dead as cover. Several of my soldiers resided in the craters created by the shells of the Human Battle tanks. Despite a lifetime of training, my shots were inaccurate. Fear melted what should have been stoic accuracy into an inaccurate and ineffective spray of plasma.
The only part of our advance which had made any progress was in the center, the commander evidently realized this because he sent Banshee air support to aid us. Hundreds of reserve infantry were also committed to our position as reinforcement. I could see the flyers discharge their green payload; explosions in the firing pits lessened the outgoing fire. I kept firing my plasma rifle. We survivors had collected about fifty meters from the Human lines, attempting to suppress the position. The tanks kept firing, blowing our lines apart little by little. This wasn't working; the Humans were too entrenched to exchange fire at this range. Something had to be done, or we would all die out here.
"Ready your grenades, pitch them to suppress the Human trench, then advance at my flank." My units prepared their grenades and looked back to signal their readiness. "Now," The blue orbs flew up and arched into the Human trenches. I fought back my fears and pushed myself up. I convinced myself that my only chance of survival was to keep advancing.
The explosions from the plasma grenades slackened the out going Human fire. I waved my warriors forward, savoring the possibility of ending this slaughter. The Banshee air strike had destroyed two of the Human tanks. A platoon of fifty Jackals from the reserve column organized into a shield wall. Some Grunts and Elites took cover, providing suppressive fire. Others of the reserve column supplemented the survivors.
My body sprinted forward, and jumped into the Human trench. Several of them tried to run up the slope to their next line of defense. One of the vermin turned to me, and fired. The rounds bounced harmlessly off my shielding. Anger stilled my trigger finger. I opted to use my rifle as a club. I raised the weapon into the air, and then brought it down on the Human's head. The satisfying crack signaled that his skull gave way.
My warriors flooded into the trenches after me. The Humans retreated to the top of the hill, plasma grenades rained into the firing pits. Their last line of defense was now the top of the hill. Victory appeared certain. Then tragedy struck.
The roar of Human close air support craft filled me ears as they rocketed to the jackal wall. Rockets and heavy caliber guns tore apart the shields, and sent the column into chaos. Multiple strafing runs sent the units running back across the open field. Human drop ships deployed reinforcements on the top of the ridge, about ten meters high. The infantry tried to scale the incline, but the bolstered human position rained grenades and lead down on them.
Most of the junior Elite commanders had been killed; those that remained tried to rally the troops. The gore of the dead and dying made a shallow river in the trench. The sight brought a feeling of nausea into my stomach. I crouched in the trench, and overwhelmed with the smell and violence, vomited. The bile splattered against the ground, and melded into the river of blood.
"Fall back brothers!" I coughed the order out, realizing that half of the units had already fled, and the attack had lost all momentum. As I leapt from the trench and retreated across the open field; I was given full view of the carnage. The battle had been a massacre the likes of which I had never seen. It had been full of horrors that my worst nightmares only bore a pale shadow to. It was a waste, and if I was ever given the chance; a mistake I would never see repeated.