Halo 3: Insurrection : Parts Five and Six
Posted By: Wolverfrog<email@example.com>
Date: 11 September 2009, 4:14 pm
These early parts are short, I know. They get longer later into the series, and to change these ones now would muck up the story.
PART FIVE: THE HERETIC
Thel Vadam, Arbiter of the former Covenant empire, was troubled. Whilst he believed his decision to leave the bloodthirsty Sangheili he had once called his brothers a right one, he was unsure if it was a wise one. He needed to talk to someone, someone he could trust.
He paced around the empty halls of his drop ship, looking sadly at the empty chairs where the rest of his brothers would usually be sitting in. How things had changed. The only one he felt he could trust now was his friend from childhood, Saran C'rtrag. Last time he had check, Saran was still living on Sanghelios, mostly free from the past Covenant's tyranny.
Walking back into the navigation bay, he pressed a button on a holographic surface, and a translucent apparition arose. An Artificial Intelligence, a human one.
Luckily for him, it was what the humans called a "dumb" AI, willing to serve the commands of any who held the access code. The Spirit had had one installed whilst the Sangheili were at peace with the humans, to help maximise combat efficiency. In return, his race had shared with the humans the secret of large scale energy shields.
The Arbiter sighed. There was so much potential in the now dead alliance, together, they could have revealed the very mysteries of the universe, nothing would have been able to stop them. Now though, they were once again at each others throats. But Thel refused to believe that a solution couldn't be found, some way, he would stop the fighting.
But first he needed to talk.
"Construct, would you kindly set the coordinates for Sanghelios please?" He asked politely, disregarding the fact that he didn't need to speak to it with tact, as he had done with Cortana.
Thinking of Cortana made him think of the Spartan, and of his sacrifice. Thel was unsure what had happened as the Ark's portal had collapsed, but according to both Sangheili and Human scientists, he could still be alive. Where though was an entirely different matter.
"Yes sir Captain" The program said in response to his command, applying a human rank to him.
Sitting down in the large chair in the Spirit's control deck, the Arbiter braced himself for the oncoming slip space jump.
Hopefully, the journey home would be an uneventful one.
A nimbus of light surrounded the peaceful clearing for the fraction of a second, then was gone, leaving the outline of two figures.
"Well," Mendicant Bias began, "A most excellent trip."
Johnson was on his hands and knees, breathing heavily. He felt like he could sleep for a week.
"If you so Light bulb, if you say so."
He took a look around. Life was present everywhere, green bushes, tall trees, strange birds flying in the distance. This was Eden.
"Now Sergeant, we have much to do." Mendicant said, drifting around and disappearing into a structure nearby. Avery followed, his footsteps echoing on the strange, metal surface he was standing on.
"Wait up there, where are we?" The Sergeant asked, still gasping for breath. The injury Spark had inflicted upon him was quite potent.
"An ancient grove my masters built aeons ago, a tranquil place where one can rest and be at peace. It is one of the few structures my masters built on this planet that has not been desecrated by the Sangheili living here. But where are my manners? You are hurt, and require medical attention. I shall summon a healing unit at once."
A loud pulse rang through the air, and suddenly out of a small opening in the wall a small sentinel like construct emerged, minus the laser.
"Whoa there," Johnson said as the small machine began patching him up, "What do you mean by Sangheili? Ain't that an Elite?"
The Monitor gave another chuckle. It wasn't as annoying as dear old Spark had been, but still...
"Indeed Sergeant, that is the name humans have applied to the species. So, now that you know that, can you guess where we are?"
Johnson thought for a second. He then thought of an answer, and his face registered disbelief.
"Correct Reclaimer." Mendicant said smugly.
"But I didn't even say anything!" Avery protested.
"Ah, but your expression told otherwise. We are indeed on Sanghelios"
"Wait, why? Wouldn't Earth have been a better place to go?""
Mendicant drifted outside and looked up at the blazing sun in the distance.
"Can you see that Sergeant? That beautiful, blazing beacon of hope, inspiring all who behold it. It makes me glad to exist, as it should you."
Johnson half squinted at it, it had a vibrant violet hue.
"Why is it purple?" Johnson asked.
"Unlike Sol, or the Epsilon Indi star you are used to Sergeant, the Sun shining upon this planet is very different, in that it is made up of highly concentrated Plasma."
"Seriously? That would explain how the Covenant never seemed to run out of ammo for their weapons then."
"And it is also the main reason my masters were interested in this Planet, to harness the immense energy for their own use, for example, the Halo Array was originally built using power from that Sun; when my masters were eventually forced to leave as the Flood outbreak grew ever larger, they left their power storing structures behind."
"So, what was the deal with the Flood?"
Mendicant Bias looked once again into the sky.
"That, Sergeant, is a discussion for another time. Now, if you would let me finish?"
Johnson, abashed, muttered an inaudible apology. With it's advanced Forerunner technology, Mendicant heard it anyway, and was satisfied.
"The Elites discovered these structures when they were still in the tribal stage, and thus their religion was born, with my masters as it's epicentre. It seems foolish if you possess the knowledge I do, but I can understand why my master's were interpreted as Gods. They were rather advanced, after all. Indeed, it was them who first gave life to this rock. In essence, they created the Sangheili"
"Okay, enough talk. The history lesson was nice and all, but why did you bring us here?"
The Monitor looked perplexed.
"Why, to rescue him of course." It said impatiently.
"Rescue who?" Avery queried, puzzled.
"You haven't figured it out? Very well, I shall tell you. You know him best as the Master Chief."
PART SIX: HOME SWEET HOME
"Now exiting Slip Space Captain. May I advise you to lie down?" A quick, wave of dismissal said otherwise.
Thel Vadam' leaned forward on the edge of his chair. Suddenly, the great swirling cosmos around him morphed into a tranquil, black space. Before him was his beautiful Sanghelios, his home. It had been so long.
"Excellent. Construct, set us down near the state of Vadam. I have an old friend there I wish to meet."
"Roger that sir." The Artificial intelligence said coolly, devoid of all emotion.
"Oh, and engage the stealth systems, all of them. We don't want anyone to know we're here."
There was a faint shimmering sound, and suddenly, the Ship vanished. It was always unnerving when it happened, no matter how often you had done it. To drift through space, unable to see your vessel always shook the Arbiter up.
They bypassed the Planet's defences unseen. The stealth system drive aboard this Spirit was an advanced one. Indeed, the Sangheili had so far been unable to devise a method to detect it.
The Spirit descended slowly upon the luscious surface of the Planet. Unlike the Humans Earth, Sanghelios was still bright and blooming, full of life. This was because his race refused to take too much from a Planet their Gods had left their mark on. Most of the Sangheili's resources were harvested from neighbouring planets.
As it's Engines cooled down, and the Spirit's side doors opened, the Arbiter climbed out and set foot upon his birthplace for the first time in years. To the north he could see the Great Citadel of Vadam, the place he had once ruled as Kaidon, before he got mixed up in The Covenant. Saran C'rtrag lived there, Thel needed to see him.
But he couldn't just march straight in, not as he was dressed currently. He would be instantly identified as the Arbiter. Who knew what heinous price the Sangheili had placed upon his head? He would need new armour.
R'nas N'three left the temple early in the morning. Even with the abolishment of The Covenant, the Elite's were still firm believers in the ancients divinity, and thus kept worshipping them.
He had just been to a sermon, a long one delivered by an Unngoy Deacon. Whilst the Sangheili usually treated the pitiful race in disdain, the Deacons were different, touched by the power of the ancients, with words of wisdom to all, be them Unngoy or Sangheili.
He walked down the marbled streets of the citadel, basking in the sun's violet glow. Remembering to don his red, shining armour in case of a bandit attack, R'nas left the gigantic gates of the citadel and took a step outside into the beautiful forests of Vadam. Every dawn, after worship, N'three enjoyed walking around the pleasant vale surrounding the city, breathing the fresh, morning air.
The Elite followed the river embankment down to his favourite spot in the whole forest, a tranquil sanctuary where one could be at peace. Traces of the ancients were all around him, the strange carvings in the aeon old trees, the way nature sung of their presence. It was beautiful. He sat down at the edge of the bank, and began to meditate.
Suddenly, a large shadow was cast upon R'nas' form, unknown to him, with his eyes tightly shut. He felt a heavy fist swing into the side of his jaw, knocking him senseless to the floor. He blinked once, then faded into unconsciousness.
Bending over his unknown victim, Thel Vadam' began to methodically strip the dazed Elite of his armour. Luckily, underneath was a plain white robe, a testimony to the Elite's religious beliefs.
Taking off his honoured, traditional armour the Prophet of Truth had originally gave to him, he began to place upon his body the armour of the Major he had felled. It would look a bit strange, Thel decided, for one as tall and imposing as him to be a mere Major, but it would have to do, for now. He could always stoop a little bit to make himself look more insignificant.
Taking the time first to place the armour of The Arbiter inside the Spirit's cargo hold, Thel the Major set off for the Citadel.
Far beneath the Great Citadel of Vadam, in a sprawling network of artificial network of underground catacombs, John waited in his cell. Waited for the final moment. He had accepted the inevitable, no one was coming to save him, A'trinr, perhaps the only Elite who since crashing had shown him some small kindness, was dead.
Sometime later in the day, or perhaps night, as it was impossible to tell this deep underground, an Elite brought him his daily meal. Gone were the classy steaks he had been given, now he got what was basically watered down paste, barely enough to keep him going.
"Eat up maggot," The Elite sneered, "We wouldn't want you to die before the execution." Before leaving, John was administrated a heavy kick by the Elite, one which caught the Spartan in his side.
How easy it would be for him to stand up now and break the Elite's spine, John mused as he looked at his jailer. But that wouldn't solve anything, he decided, there were legions of Honour Guards just outside, waiting for an excuse, any excuse, which would permit them to make John taste steel.
Instead he waited, conserving his strength. He wasn't going to go out without a fight, no sir. Patiently, he awaited his fate.