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Covenant Theater: Part I-Betrayals
Posted By: Alex Ross<aross8@cinci.rr.com>
Date: 12 January 2003, 11:10 pm

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      Note some characters from Aftermath appear in this story, but keep in mind the plots of both stories are in no way related.
      This new fan fic not only hopes to create an interesting universe, but to start making you wonder if the covenant are really not that different from humans. A lot of people see them as just war-like mindless aliens, but they have a culture and might have a very good reason for attacking the human race. Both of these ideas will be dealt with indirectly in the story, but the plot is primary focus. In this part you will see what war does to intelligent creatures. This is just the beginning...

      2250 A.D. Before the Fall of Reach
      Covenant Space: Capital Planet of the Empire

      Omnitus walked by the great statues of his ancestors on the way to the commanding elite conference. So many great names passed by him and he of course desired to be the next to his kin through his campaign against the human race, but now a problem has come up that must be dealt with. While walking, he took a look out the tall and slender windows to the left of him in the hall. The blue sun star, Horas, also believed to be the domain of the afterlife, shined brightly through the tall windows, giving the already blue organic-looking halls a majestic radiance. Most of the eyes of the covenant alliance were adjusted for a dominant blue light spectrum, but their advanced retinas allowed them to adjust to any color spectrum. He entered the blue plasma field that turned red and blurry behind him preventing anyone else from entering the conference room, which was basically a table with 10 hover chairs around it. In each of these chairs sat a golden elite except for one occupied by a black elite. All of them were combat vets in many theaters with other species across the galaxy for the purpose of conquest. The war with humanity was different, Omnitus thought to himself. This war was carried out of vengeance against the ancestors of humans who wronged the covenant so terribly. At least that's what the prophets told them anyway. Omnitus took a seat and the meeting soon carried underway.
      "Everybody turn on your panels in front of you and tell me what you see." All the elites flipped on the tabletop computers and saw an image of a covenant cruiser, Golden Arrow. All elites acknowledged they received the visual. "The ship was on patrol in the outer rims of our turf. Now our reconnaissance/hunter class fighter, Omega class to be precise, took the following pictures of the same ship 3 hours later." The display changed to a battle ridden ship that was devoid of all power and most likely all life as well. All the elites were instantly filled with horror, but at the same time, a zeal for immediate action. "These battle scars are not of human weaponry. Therefore we must conclude one of the outside races of the covenant did this, but whom? If you have ideas, now's the time."
      "Commander," spoke Roshkin, a gold elite who commanded all covenant orbital forces responsible for homeland security. "This ship was ambushed, notice how the battle scars are small, but cover all around the vessel. Someone knows of our superior technology, anticipated it, and sent in numerous ships to engage ours. I can conclude that only three of our neighboring races use this tactic, Legionaire, Nebien, and the Phfor. Which one of these struck I don't know, but we can limit the tactic to those three races."
      "Well upon closer inspection," said Jesada, the spec ops commander-in chief. "We see the ruins of covenant drop ships around the vessel, however none of them were filled were occupied at all. Basically, this race did not want anyone to escape. But why such ruthlessness? And why against us? There's no motive for war."
      "But greed is a motivation." Omnitus stated.
      "What do you mean?" Roshkin inquired.
      "Correct there is no real motive for war. All races were neutral to the human war idea; the humans have no allies, so we don't have to worry about any other species attacking us because we attacked humans. But someone did not want our comrades to escape from that damned vessel. For the sole purpose of prisoners of war, they might have captured the crew and then destroyed the vessel. Or where greed comes into play, slaves." The room fell silent as they realized a neutral alliance with the Phfor was now no good considering they were stabbed in the back.
      "Those bastardized excuses for living beings!"
      "Calm down Jesada. Save your energy for ripping heads off or something!" Roshkin shouted. Jesada immediately looked at a guard grunt at the back of the room who was instantly filled with terror. "For the gods sake not now damnit!" Jesada immediately returned to the discussion, but not before using his fingers to point to his own eyes and then at the grunts as a warning.
      "We must act now," stated Danterus, a golden elite naval commander who had numerous victories in the human campaign. "I can lead a javelin formation of 25 cruisers to glass their nearest colony to us. They stabbed us in the back commander and they must be punished as traitors to the peace!"
      "I am a creature bred for war, but I'm not without diplomacy." Omnitus stated. "I will talk to the priest (prophet) council about this. And be careful Danterus. If the Phfor are behind this, our comrades are slaves on their planet and will need to be rescued. That is where you come in Jesada. Once we have back our units, then Danterus, since you are so zealous, you can punish the Phfor yourself. Look at this map of our universe." A hologram popped up in the center of the table. "Look at our empire. It is obviously larger and superior to all those around. By punishing part of the Phfor Empire, we will set an example to all other races so that they think twice before attacking us. The only real threat right now that poses any challenge to us is humanity. And their demise, whether they realize or not, is at hand. Nothing can take back what they did to us long ago. That is all; dismissed."

      Phfor Colony: Xephtis I
      Grassy plains outside Phfor fortress and near slave ship
      10 minutes after open-slave revolt

      The once peaceful meadows on the phfor colony were now littered with corpses of the phfor command crew of the slave ship. A phfor reconnaissance team was sent out to the ship, to assess the situation. Through the tall grass, the team saw numerous craters and firepower scorings on the ground, as well as the said corpses.
      "What the shit happened here?" A phfor hunter uttered. The creature walked by the corpses of the phfor ship command. He examined two dead phfor grunts and saw that one had suffered what appeared to be plasma scoring. "This can't be right, the phfor fleet engaged with the covenant vessel said that the boarding party confiscated covenant weaponry. Unless of course they smuggled some, while taken captive of course."
      "If that's the case, they didn't smuggle many. Look." Apparently the other grunt corpse had phfor weapon scoring instead. "The prisoners outnumber the crew, so if that's the case, if they took phfor weapons too, besides their own, it still isn't enough to suit all the covenant troops if something happened. They all can't be armed.
      "If that's the case," the first hunter exclaimed. "Where are the covenant now after murdering and entire command crew?!?" The reconnaissance team split up and searched around the vessel and searched the horizons around them. The suns were setting, if they didn't find any covenant corpses, the entire base would be on alert for a nighttime attack. "Search the vessel."
      A phfor grunt inspected the desolate vessel's opening. It was too dark to see anything, so he took a peek inside. The grunt was gone for 15 seconds and emerged out of the holds. "It's too dark to see anything and too hot in the holds to use thermal vision. Can someone give me a lig-"
      An elite in hiding jumped out of the opening in front of the grunt and quickly ripped the scepter out of the phfor grunt's hand. The elite impaled him with it through its frail rib cage and the grunt saw nothing but darkness envelope its vision. The red elite tossed the grunt clear over him, ripping a two-foot gash down his chest in process, littering the ground with organs he never new even existed. An advancing enforcer quickly punched the elite square in the jaw only to meet retaliation with the elite tripping the enforcer and stomping on his face with a crushing blow. The elite picked up the Phfor weapon and opened fire on the phfor guards in the proximity. A blast tore through a grunts arm, severing the elbow, and another blast made sure that another grunt was no longer considered a male. Two jackals emerged from the opening, along with many other covenant troops, who provided suppression fire with phfor weapons upon an advancing juggernaut and quickly learned of what they do before death...the juggernaut exploded in a ball of flames, knocking the elite on its back and incinerating most of the flesh on his face...being taken alive was not only dishonorable, it was unacceptable, he thought to himself instinctively.
      The red elite, Tarshon, quickly regained his footing and ordered all the escaping covenant to gather what ever weapons they could before a combat wave met them at point blank range. Phfor hunters led the 2nd charge and opened up a barrage of hellfire upon the covenant, but not the type of hellfire they expected. A covie grunt hurled a smuggled plasma grenade upon the hunter lines. The detonation result was the vaporization of one hunter and the deformation of two others in the vicinity. The grunt was immediately shot, but with what appeared to be a sedative.
      "You want us alive?!?" Tarshon yelled challengingly in his own tongue. "Come and get me! Greedy bastards!!" Tarshon hurled a local rock upon a charging phfor hunter, smashing it to the ground with a cranial fracture lethal enough to kill any human on impact. The hunter roared loudly and then struggled in a series of grand mal seizures to try and regain consciousness, but obvious from the start, to no avail. Tarshon watched as his grunt and jackal lines dwindled into a peaceful sleep upon the battleground. The elites were still up and running, the total count being 17. As for the hunters, they only number 7 and formed an armored formation around the elites and whatever grunts and jackals were left, blocking what firepower they could. Tarshon then ordered a plasma grenade barrage thrown out in a circular pattern around them. The thrown plasma grenades landed on the ground around them, detonating on the ground in a chaotic succession. The outside formation hunters watched as numerous phfor troops fell subject to blast radius of numerous grenades on the ground. An enforcer's legs were severed from its torso, but the determined creature crawled to the covenant circular formation with only a dagger. Tarshon leaped over the hunter formation with an elite sword in hand and landed directly in front of the pitiful life form. Tarshon lifted his sword up high and cast the enforcer into the next world. phfor blood flowed in all directions on the ground from the dead enforcer. The red elite roared upward into the evening sky, signaling a last ditch effort charge into the last of the phfor lines.
      "Break formation and fight!"
      "Sir why must we fight the enemy? We can make a run for the slave ship that brought us here." The blue elite wondered shockingly.
      "It is our code to punish our enemies. Charge the phfor lines and make 180 degree turn back through phfor lines to the drop ship. I want all [elites] (that's what we call them, I don't know what they call themselves) to grab phfor troops on the 2nd run and take them to the drop ship. We need one to pilot that ship!"
      "Yessir." Apparently the phfor lines were exhausted. They did not expect an all out slave revolt on this scale obviously. This worked in Tarshon's favor. Jackals and hunters led the charge into the last of the phfor hunter lines. The hunters opened fire at nothing but armor and plasma shield technology and now the phfor hunters fell in full retreat. They had never encountered a race with such zeal as this and now would pay for their lack of inexperience.
      The covie hunters knocked the phfor troops to the ground with swift blows that made even the juggernauts weaponry pale in comparison. When the fast charging hunters passed by, many phfor were left on the ground writhing in pain, some even attempting to kill themselves to end the agony. The jackal lines came in next and were quickly ordered to kill every other wounded phfor soldier lying on the ground. The jackals opened fire on the wounded phfor, intensifying the pain with severe plasma burns that left bones exposed to the open air and the odor of burning hides permeating throughout the plains. Tis not a slow death from plasma wounding. Grunts joined in the onslaught, shooting what were probably already dead phfor, but taking a few lives as well. The elites joined in the murders, executing even more of the grounded phfor with quick and precise burst fire from their own weapons. The first charge was complete. This time the elites would lead the 2nd charge through the annihilated phfor lines and grab what little phfor had survived the onslaught. All the other covenant troops were ordered to gather the sedated troops that they could into the slave ship before reinforcements arrived. The elites ran and snatched up two enforcers, two hunters, and one grunt and made an unstoppable dash for the slave ship. The slave ship battle area was only half a mile away from the phfor fortress, so all had to act fast.
      Tarshon ordered the hunter commander, "Take my comrades to the slave ship. We [elites] will take the phfor soldiers to the slave ship as well and find a way to get the hell out of here."
      "Yessir." Tarshon saw a phfor destroyer appear over the horizon. Although it was a sleek and advanced vessel, it paled in comparison to that of covenant destroyers. But of course, that was unavailable at the moment.
      "Damnit! Everybody in the vessel now! Activate the shield generator to repel ground fire and give me complete access to ground assault fire control." The slave vessel itself was pretty much a long rectangular prism with a cockpit up front and its only weapons were automated laser turrents beneath the hull of the vessel.
      "Sir I don't know how to get this ship moving." A blue elite shouted from the cockpit.
      "Just keep playing with it we don't have much time! That destroyer will be on top of us soon." At this point Tarshon pretty much got the idea the phfor were not taking any chances and will probably destroy the fleeing covenant. "Wait, have one of the prisoners do it." One of the phfor hunters was thrown forward by two blue elites to the cockpit area. The creature was wounded in numerous places along the torso, but mercy right now was nonexistent. Tarshon grabbed the creature's neck and sat him the cockpit. "Fly this thing to covenant space. Now!" The phfor hunter could not understand covenant tongue. Tarshon punched the creature in the face without holding back any muscle in his body. "I said fly us the hell out of here!" Two jackals pointed weapons at the hunter and for some reason, he quickly understood. The engines came to life and Tarshon was able to seize fire control.
      "Sir, the destroyer is closing in. One minute until it has a firing solution on us. Ground forces dispatched from the fortress sir." Upon hearing this, Tarshon programmed the turrents to attack all heat signatures on the ground. The turrents let loose a barrage of laser firepower that cut the advancing phfor to pieces. However, the phfor retaliated with only rapid laser fire on the slave ship, but the shields reflected most of the weak firepower. The phfor witnessed their worse case scenario; possible disclosure of a secret alliance and war crimes. The slave ship's main thrusters fired and the ship rocketed into space. The hunter was thrown back with the other prisoners and two blue elites learned how to take command of the vessel. The covenant had had no KIAs in battle action, but the mass of sleeping grunts and jackals were set-aside in the cargo space. However, he kept in mind when the Golden Arrow was boarded during the ambush, 1/3 of his comrades were executed and the rest captured. Tarshon sighed his first breath of relief for some time, but knew that that destroyer would pursue. The non-sedated grunts and jackals were provoking the wounded phfor prisoners in the back of the cargo area and Tarshon approached. The grunts and jackals ceased their actions and the phfor soldiers looked up at the silhouette of the elite against the ceiling lighting. One of the enforcers said something in the covenant tongue, probably a plee for mercy, but Tarshon quickly realized it was their own. A covenant hunter picked up the enforcer and nailed him against the wall with its massive hands. Tarshon approached the trapped creature.
      "Why was our ship attacked in the outer rims of our territory? Why was the entire command crew captured? You realize the actions you took are a declaration of war."
      "I had my orders," stated the enforcer, gasping for breath.
      "So do I." Tarshon grabbed his elite sword and laid it gently against the phfor's soft gossamer neck. "Why?"
      "The Testament Empire. A secret alliance designed to combat...well...the covenant! The motive? Who says we aren't next after you guys are through with your grudge against humanity? That's why!"
      Tarshon was shocked, but now a little more understanding that if the enforcer did not do his duty, he would have been executed for immediate objection to orders from superior commanders. "Who's involved?"
      "We're in the Testament. But the other memb-"
      "Sir the destroyer is approaching firing range!" A blue elite shouted to the back of the cargo room.
      "Release him!" Tarshon ordered. The hunter dropped the enforcer to the ground. "Tell the destroyer that the covenant forces were wiped out. If you tell them anything else, we'll know." The enforcer was seated at the communications panel and quickly opened a hailing frequency to the destroyer and rambled something off in phfor tongue. There was an exchange of gibberish, but then the enforcer said to Tarshon, "They believe me, but are asking that this ship return to base...back on Xephtis!" Tarshon was at first surprised that the destroyer's commander believed that message, but returned to the present problem.
      "What's the nearest phfor combat station to our position?"
      "Centuron VI." The enforcer replied.
      "Tell them this ship just received a message from high command on Centuron VI, and we are heading there for a debriefing on what to do about the covenant." The enforcer sent the message and 7 seconds later...
      "They agree."
      "OK, pilot this ship for covenant space." Tarshon ordered the piloting blue elites. Tarshon glimpsed at the 4 other phfor prisoners in the back of the room, still managing to breathe. "Send out a frequency in our code that calls for a rescue vessel to our position. Enforcer you will be court-martialed for your alliance with the phfor, but the punishment will be light since you helped us escape. I'll see to that." The enforcer sighed for relief, despite the pain throughout his body. Tarshon then nodded to another red elite in the back of the room. The elite pulled out a plasma grenade and threw it on the wounded prisoners on the ground. The wounded creatures suddenly writhed and screamed for dear life, but were unable to move. The enforcer heard the cries and watched in terror as all the prisoners tried to shield themselves helplessly from the blast. The detonation left nothing behind but a dented wall that almost vented the cabin into space, but the frame held. The enforcer saw half of another enforcer's head left by the devastation in the back of the cargo area and watched in despair as the red of its eyes faded slowly out of existence.
      "They did not speak our tongue. We had no use for them. Besides its better then jettisoning them into space. Your ships might have seen the bodies and after all...it's cruel." Tarshon stated with a bit of merciless irony. Tarshon felt his facial wounds from the juggernaut detonation and flinched at the mere touch. However, he returned his attention to the bewildered and stunned enforcer."Now about the Testament Empire?"

      Covenant Capital World
      Prophet Council

      "You expect us to believe everything you say Omnitus?" asked a prophet in a frustrating tone.
      "No I don't. At least act like you do damnit. We have a situation on the phfor colony Xephtis 1. Try and talk to the phfor leader, and see if he flinches the least bit. Any sign and my soldiers go in. My comrades are BEHIND ENEMY LINES! What part about this don't you understand?"
      "Be careful how you use your tongue against us Techon (elite)."
      "Oh shut your face, you're are nothing but frail creatures without us! And believe me if you don't talk to the Phfor, I can prove your frailty."
      "Is that a threat?" a prophet asked forcefully, yet shakened.
      "No it's a damn prophecy!" Most humans intelligence officers assume that the prophets are pretty much omnipotent in their role in the covenant hierarchy system. Truth is the high-class warrior/diplomatic elites were in control of the govt. The prophets just sweet-talked the public, Omnitus thought arrogantly. Despite the fact that they are extremely intelligent, they lacked power. The prophets were an endangered species on another world, so they a made a pact with the intelligent elites for power, and managed to subvert lower species and assimilate them into the covenant. As for their relationship with the forerunner...well...that wasn't on his mind at the moment. However, Omnitus realized he was going to far in his back talking against the prophets. There were of course diplomatic elites who sided fiercely with the prophets' ideas and actions, and were possible opponents to Omnitus's power. That's the only way the prophets achieved true power and it was a dangerous way. After all, they were engaged in a war on two fronts, phfor and human. The last thing the covenant needed right now was a civil war...

      Themes discovered

      -The borderlines between animals and intelligent creatures are blurred and possibly nonexistent

      -No one side is evil in this war; both sides are equally vicious so as to come to the conclusion that war is the greatest evil

      -What is a hero in this type of war?