Created and Consumed (Chapter 6)
Posted By: Zyrra-Chylde-Aisha<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 9 June 2010, 3:28 am
Yep I'm back, but briefly. I realised I wrote 2 more chapters for this fiction and never submitted them. I apologise for this. I recently re-read Zyrra's story and became immersed in her legacy once again. I will be submitting co-written fictions under another name, so see if you can spot me. Now sit back and enjoy the last two chapters I have for you.
This story, unfortunately, still is not completed after all these years.)
Later that week, Ehle, Jurdo and myself were seated sipping drinks with a couple of other students, their names I was yet to discover but one was quite tall and another sported a large burn on his face, I suspected that they were students of another training Guild. We were sharing theories with our group on how they thought the ranks would be decided, I must admit, there were some outrageous suggestions but the conversation still veered off course in one way or another.
"Maybe they just draw us out of a helmet?" Jurdo suggested.
Ehle squashed a spent drink can on his head, "Jurdo, that's the fifth time you've suggested that! I ask you again, what would be the point of us doing the trials if we were chosen at random? It's pointless
Jurdo wiped a few drops of the protein supplement from his face, "It isn't pointless! If we weren't chosen at random then how do you explain Tekra and his brainiac lot getting into the trials? They're smart but they don't bribe Mentors, that's just dumb! Ohh! We should have done that! Maybe that's what the judges wanted?"
and maybe Morta played fair
" Ehle muttered sarcastically, "Did anyone else notice that everything went screwy after he had done his bit?"
I noticed Doxo walk in and sit away from us, I wanted just to be able to talk to him but every time I tried he either walked off or I was distracted by training. Ehle prodded me out of thought, "Hey, you listening?"
I looked at him blankly, "Uh, yeah, sorry Ehle
" I apologised, "I was just thinking, that's all
He shrugged and continued the conversation, "That Morta fella has to be an insider, there's no way he could have beaten that brute of an elite without some sort of help!"
I looked to one of the new faces, "Have you ever seen him around the training barracks at all?"
He shook his head and gave a palm up gesture, "Never
but he seems like the sort to just pop up out of nowhere, like he stays under the radar until he has to strike
We all nodded agreement, "Might explain the dark armour?" Jurdo added, "I've heard those stealth types, those 'Molta' are the most badass elites in the city. By the Rings, I wish I could be one
"You never know Jurdo, they might be looking for someone to replace that Molta Spec. Ops Commander Morta killed the other day
" the tall elite chimed, "Wouldn't that be a reputation to live up to
Jurdo punched the elite in the arm, "Come off it, Kero, you didn't even make the preliminaries, you're dreaming if you think you could do Coenu's name proud!"
I let a laugh escape me, "You'd need to be murdered by that Morta character for a start, though, that shouldn't be too hard
all you have to do is poke at his pride, he'll snap for sure." I commented from my own experience, Morta had a short fuse.
Kero made a small fearful noise, "No way, I'd like to keep my vertebrae intact thanks
" he rubbed his neck automatically.
"Well, someone has to know how we're chosen at least. There has to be thousands of students in this place, you can't just look at us and say, 'Yep I'll take him
' and toddle us off to upper level training
"That's what they do at first
" Doxo interjected, shocking us all with his sudden insertion into our conversation.
"What do you mean? They just waltz around this place and choose us by our appearances? What happened to 'Don't judge a book by it's cover'?" Ehle asked, and then after a moment added, "And what the hell is a book?"
Everyone shrugged, the saying Ehle spoke of was an old Forerunner phrase. Nobody had heard of or even seen what a book was; maybe it was a weapon of some sort? Even so, we weren't exactly troubled by it.
"I mean exactly what I said; did you notice about three weeks ago, the Fleet of Particular Justice was back in from its patrol of the outer City perimeters?" we all nodded and Doxo continued, "They met with some nasty enemy ships, Heretics I'm sure, three of our command ships were totally obliterated and a huge hole was cut in the Covenant's defences. Who do you think were in the Guild, watching us train, taking notes on our performances, collecting data on family history and the like?"
"The exchange students?" Jurdo inserted, we all stopped to look at him, "What? None of them spoke Sangheili!"
"The Zealots, stupid!" Ehle slapped Jurdo in the head, "Those ones that didn't speak Sangheili were the damned Kig-Yar! None of 'em know civilised speech, only how to follow orders."
"Ohhh! I thought those spiky things looked strange
and they only had one set of jaws, no wonder they can't speak right
" he sighed, "So were they the ones choosing us?"
We all groaned and slapped Jurdo in the head one by one, then let Doxo explain everything in detail about the trials and how we were selected. It took a while to drill home that the Kig-Yar were currently present in the City only as a temporary nuisance until they could be replaced with more competent troops. After that point, Doxo found it easier to communicate with Jurdo without having to resist injuring him at the same time.
"The Zealots, such as Ado, have been watching us for some time since their return from the outer City rim. Apparently, one named Grena has been given the go-ahead from the Sangheili Council to admit more troops to his fleet since three of his capital ships have been assimilated. He isn't looking for plain old Gudili, he's after real warriors. Academy graduates. Us."
I shook my head, "We have to undergo further training before that happens, we aren't even in the Academy yet. Ado told me that each of us had to move up a level further before being admitted into the fleet, there's no way we could get in at this stage."
Doxo slouched back into his seat, "That's true
I yawned deeply and rubbed my eyes, "Well anyway, I'm calling it a night guys, try not to make too much noise okay?" I received boos and endured a barrage of empty drink cans upon my announcement, "Agh! Watch it!" I growled, dodging a full can and scowling at Kero, "Try that again and I'll chop that hand off
I'll see you all in the morning guys." I waved a farewell to the group and retreated to my bunk. Pushing aside tools and a metal orb-like device I had been working on for the past month or so. I soon found myself reflecting on the day's events while slowly drifting off to sleep, the laughter and chat outside only just audible through the haze but eventually I sank into the bedding, letting the warmth envelop my body.
After a few minutes, I was prodded from my stupor. "Hey," Doxo's deep voice drifted in from my bedside, "You still awake?"
I opened one eye and rubbed my face to try and wake myself, "No
" I groaned, "What is it?"
"Listen, I think you have a decent chance at making the upper ranks, your performance today was close to flawless, you were very good to watch." He smiled to me warmly, I had missed it a lot, "Well, apart from the close combat task; that was just purely entertainment
but still, the way you decoded the system? You have a fair talent
"Doxo." I cut him short, "Don't bother flattering me until you give me some form of apology for the way you acted the other day, it was inexcusable."
He folded his arms on my bunk and looked at me," Like you were any better, Zyrra, you know as well as I do of that Prophet's past."
"I didn't back when it happened." I seethed, "All I knew was what I had been told. Everything I knew of Prophet Sanctuary was information on a diskette which is now hidden away in Ado's quarters somewhere. You didn't bother to explain why you hated Sanctuary so much, all you did was tell me I was a liar, which I am not, and then you walked off in a huff!" I was now half sitting up, nose to nose with Doxo, "I had to get Ehle to explain to me exactly what was going on, what Sanctuary supposedly did."
"Zyrra, stop. I don't want to discuss Sanctuary right now." I closed my mouth and listened, "I sometimes forget exactly who and what you are, I sincerely apologise for that. Zyrra, I understand that you've led a sheltered life; I think it's cruel how the Prophets are making you prove your worth before allowing your freedom
I can't help but feel like they're using you right now
" He looked at the floor and insecurely rubbed his arm, "I just want you to know that I wish you luck with your results, I hope you do well
" he placed his hand on my shoulder and nudged his forehead on mine, "Ado is not going to regret admitting you to his squad."
Before I could say a word, Doxo left me to sleep, assuring me that the results would bring good news for each of us in one way or the next, all we had to do was wait until morning. I slept well that night, content with the knowledge that Doxo and I weren't fighting anymore. It was soothing in a way but there was something sad in his voice when he left me in my bed, something I didn't quite pick up immediately, something which I wouldn't realise until later in my career
"Holy mother of- Jurdo! Ehle! Get up you bags of meat!" I jumped on them and shook them into consciousness.
?" Ehle groaned, still half asleep.
"We made it Ehle! We made the upper levels! Jurdo, by the Rings, get up!" I threw a spent can of nutro drink at him which bounced off his head with an empty clank.
He yawned and rubbed the spot where the can had hit him then sat up, "Show us the paper then
I waved it in front of him and Ehle saw it. He sat bolt upright and head-butted me, causing us both to fall backward in a daze while Jurdo plucked the note from mid air and read it, "To the Gudili trainees on HC level 28C quarters Alpha-183, the following Sangheili have been accepted into the upper level training institution
I clutched the new bump emerging on my forehead and sat up again, being careful to avoid hitting Ehle a second time, "Go on, read it all!"
"Doxo Tahnamee, Ehle Oikumee, Jurdo Hurriamee and Zyrra Jiserramee
you are each to report to the 'Light of Passage' for transport to your new home onboard the 'Truth and Reconciliation'."
"By the Rings! That's one of the most powerful Capital ships in the fleet!" Ehle exclaimed, "Juno, himself is a commander of that ship!" he punched the air and hugged me tightly, "What rank are we starting at?" he snatched the note and scanned it.
"It doesn't say, just that we have to meet for dispatch this morning," I cheered, giddy with excitement, "Get your stuff guys! We're in!"
"You have about an hour to get ready; I suggest you all hurry up." Doxo said from the doorway, he was already in his armour and smiling at us.
I couldn't contain myself; I leapt from Ehle's arms and embraced Doxo, "I swear you're a friggin' psychic! How did you know we would make it?"
"I didn't, but like I said, you did well yesterday. There was no doubt in my mind that you would all proceed to the upper level
" he patted me on the head and said a bit more quietly, "Zyrra, this is your big break, if you do well at this, you'll be able to fight in the war, you'll be able to prove to the Hierarchs that you're worthy."
I looked up at him, "Even without this, I would do it somehow. This just makes things easier for me."
Doxo leaned down to tell me something but stopped. I waited in anticipation but nothing came, he just straightened up and removed his hand from the top of my head, "Come on, we have to get going guys." He smiled to cover his uneasiness and gave me a nudge toward my bunk, "Quickly!"
After gathering our extreme minimal belongings, we poked our heads out of our quarters. The halls were packed with excited Sangheili, all greeting each other and chatting while massing out into the walkways.
"Wow, there are a lot of elites about today isn't there?" Jurdo muttered, "Never knew the promotion of a few warriors would be such a big deal
Doxo grinned, he knew a lot more about this day than he had initially let on, "Today the Hierarchs unveil a great leap forward in our quest for the Great Journey, little has been said, but I'm sure it will be an excellent display
the Council has ordered us all to meet in the hangar while the Covenant is addressed about this matter in the Sanctum. We will be briefed on what's going on upon our arrival on the 'Truth and Reconciliation'."
"Will we find out what the big deal is with the Journey?" Ehle asked as we slipped into the steady stream of Sangheili flesh filing out of the residential barracks and veered into a less crowded passageway.
Doxo took Jurdo by his wrist to keep him from falling behind, "Hard to say, I can only find so much out at a time
but I figure we'll be informed of what the Council has found, either that or we'll hear through the COM system, whispers in the mesosphere most likely. This sort of news is rarely kept quiet for long."
We reached the intersection near the Mess Hall and slowed pace, taking the time to figure out which way we had to go to get to the hangar, "Isn't that dangerous?" I asked, "I mean, if loose COM messages get out of the Covenant battle-net can't the Heretics, or more importantly, the Humans use that information to track us?"
Doxo dragged us forward, past a gaggle of wandering adolescents and swerved to the left corridor, "Possibly, but the Covenant is far too smart for that, each COM message is encoded with a special recognition sequence, it would take hours to decipher it, in our case, minutes seeing as most transmissions are in Sangheili. By the time an enemy figures out what the message says we would be mega-lights away."
"But with all of the new advances in technology like phonic detectors and artificial intelligence, it won't be long before those processes quicken."
Doxo looked at me and smiled, "Are you suggesting that the Humans and Heretics are beginning to catch up to us?"
"I am." I concluded, "When the enemy defeats a branch of our military, they capture our knowledge in the process. They have the means to study it and they probably are already developing technologies such as personal shielding and DNA recognition for their own cause." I watched the ground under my feet, "We are an advancing race, but we are not advancing fast enough
"It is little to concern with, Zyrra. We are constantly making steps forward in our development, leaving the Humans and Heretics behind us will not be a problem."
Before I could question Doxo further, we burst into the hangar and simultaneously awed at the majestic Seraph fighter before us. It was spectacle enough to make you weep. The armoured hull was clad with Covenant symbols of hope and victory, and across the starboard bough, the name 'Light of Passage' was carved into the metal.
"Nice to see you've joined us fellas
" Gura cooed from his perch atop a weapons crate, "As you can see, you are some of the few who have made it to the next level." He gestured to a pair of elites, one I recognised immediately as Morta Serracree but the other was foreign to me, "Seeing as we're all present
" Six warriors? This had to be a joke! "
shall we?" Gura slid down from the crate and boarded the Seraph. Morta followed, and then Doxo. I hurried to catch him up while Jurdo and Ehle fell into line behind me, and then finally the last elite. Once each of us was on-board and seated, the hatch closed and the craft hummed into life.
"Everybody in? Excellent
" the Nukura pilot grinned back to us as Gura took the secondary controls, "
It's your show Sir, take her out
Gura prepped the Seraph for takeoff, pumping the cells first, then slowly easing the 'Light of Passage' into the cradle of the anti-gravity field, "If you ain't holding onto your breakfasts, I suggest you do, because if any of you lose it on my Seraph, you'll be wearing it by the time we get to the 'Truth and Reconciliation'
I held my breath and clutched the harness over my shoulders while the Seraph rose into the air and Doxo laughed at me. I had never flown in one of these before and I was scared for my life enough without Gura co-piloting it. "Relax, Zyrra. This is perfectly safe
" he told me, "
think of it as another test of courage, just like the one where Gura wanted you to defeat him. You kicked that one easy!"
My eyes widened, "Doxo!" I managed before Gura punched the accelerator angrily; the wind was squeezed out of me as the Seraph launched into the exosphere of High Charity. Through the cockpit window, the velvet of the universe, vast and littered with pinprick stars became visible through tears. I took a moment to catch my breath.
"This, this is what we've been training for
" Doxo mused breathlessly. The Seraph shot through the fleet like a drone in a swarm, other space craft in the fleet saluted, sending violet flares in our wake as we weaved between Flagships and the gargantuan Dreadnaughts. As Gura turned the 'Light of Passage' around to cruise along the fleet a second time, I caught a look at the colossus that was High Charity, her grace was breathtaking to say the least, to think I had only seen one hundred-billionth of my home before leaving that hangar, and now, I had seen all of it. It rotated slowly on its axis, tilted slightly to one extremity, surrounded by its equally enormous Covenant fleets, eleven in total. My eyes were ripped from the spectacle as Gura guided the Seraph toward a nearby Dreadnaught; "I give you the mother of the fleet
" the cockpit was suddenly flooded with violet light emitted from the underbelly of the 'Truth and Reconciliation' as it opened up to swallow us.
"We're connecting with the Dreadnaught now, Sir." The pilot reported, "This is Light of Passage to Truth and Reconciliation, requesting permission to dock."
The COM remained silent for a moment then a deep Sangheili voice replied, "Permission granted, ready to dock in thirty seconds
we just have to clear you a parking space
"Many thanks, Truth and Reconciliation
Light of Passage out."
We hovered in the sleepy hues for what seemed like forever, then the voice came from the COM again, "Whenever you're ready, Light of Passage, you're clear to dock." the Seraph elevated into the Dreadnaught and did a lap of the landing bay. It was huge, not as cluttered as the one we had disembarked from on High Charity, scattered with heavy and light vehicles as well as other Seraph fighters and the slightly larger Drop-ships, I even witnessed a Flagship undergoing repairs toward the end of the hangar. We decelerated and coasted leisurely into the yellow-striped landing area, then with a small jolt, landed on a cushion of negative gravity while the secondary landing gear contacted with the deck below.
"Okay, before we leave this vessel, Morta you are needed in the Commander's chamber, I suggest you stick with me, you five, find something to do with yourselves
" Gura rattled off some things for us to do which were impossible to do without any real knowledge of the ship schematics at all. We were ushered from the Light of Passage and left in the hangar alone while Gura and Morta marched through a large hexagonal door and disappeared.
Jurdo staggered a few steps before collapsing and ejecting yesterday's drinks all over the floor, I began to feel the same way but managed to keep it all down. As he continued to empty the contents of his stomach, the stench wafting from the puddle made my gut contract.
Ehle looked up to Doxo, "Well, this is definitely
a moment to remember
I covered my snout to try to shield myself from the tangy smell of nutro drink, hydrochloride and Sangheilic bile, "And I thought Jurdo couldn't get any more disgusting than he already was