Harvest's Fall: Second Encounter
Posted By: Conrad Lauf<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 30 July 2004, 8:45 AM
DIARY ENTRY No. 6
DATE: 02 / 01 / 2521
Just thirty minutes ago I awoke from my slumber, and was immediately pulled to my feet by one of the humanoid guards. My fellow prisoners were still unconscious as I was frog-marched out of the room.
Once we were in the brightly-lit hallway they slapped a pair of cold steel hand-cuffs onto my wrists, and half-dragged me down a labyrinthine path of corridors, all bustling with life. Everywhere small creatures with respirators and fin-like humps garbled to each other in their scratchy voices, which I was surprised to hear were speaking twisted English. They took little or no notice of me, and carried on with their daily duties. I managed to get a glimpse of the rooms on either side of the hallway, and in one room saw two of the large, blue, lumbering ogre-like beasts battling it out in a make-shift ring, swinging their alloy shields at each other in frenzied swipes. Around the ring were jeering and yelling spectators, egging the competitors on and waving small purple chips around, which I guessed was their currency.
Patrolling the halls were the humanoid beings, and accompanying them were lithe creatures bearing opaque shields and possessing disproportionate eyes.
For further reference, I have decided to name the small, fin-backed creatures Grunts, as they seem to be the slaves of the race, the shield-bearers Jackals, because of their lean, hungry look, the humanoids Elites, because they seem to be the specialist group, and the ogre-like beasts Hunters, because they are probably at the top of the food chain.
Suddenly I found myself in a room that defied logic with its immense size. It had a dark purple carpet running dead straight along the floor, stretching from the doorway in which I stood, to what was obviously a throne at the back of the room. Seated on the throne was the leader I had seen in the village earlier, with a pair of Hunters flanking it. The Hunters, to my surprise, were a golden yellow, rather than the royal blue earlier. I guessed these were the leader's personal guards. On the outer sides of the Hunters were banners, tall, thin, and elaborately designed. The leader also had a ceremonial rune inscribed on its forehead, probably for special occasions such as this one.
Then the leader spoke.
It was a disturbing experience, as although the leader's lips spelt out alien words, inside my head I could understand it in complete English.
(Bring the human forward) it said, gesturing slightly with its elongated hand.
Trembling, I was forced to walk forwards by the pair of Elite guards.
The leader asked me, (What is your name?)
I stuttered, 'My name is Johan Black, scribe to the settlement of Chiron, on the planet of Harvest. Who are you?'
(My name is Lachesis, Atropolos of The Pilgrimage , cruiseship of the Covenant fleet.)
'And what exactly is an "Atropolos"?'
(We are the religious leaders of the Covenant races, and are gifted with occasional glimpses into the near future. To your people we would be known as prophets.)
'What is this "Covenant" you speak of?'
(The Covenant is the name for the collection of races that have been united in their support of their gods, which have all turned out to be very similar in descriptions and roles.)
I was beginning to feel sick in my stomach. Lachesis' echoing voice in my skull was also beginning to give me a splitting migraine. I knew I would not be able to continue this conversation for much longer.
'Why have you taken us aboard your cruiser, Lachesis?'
(Ancient carvings on the walls of the Ancients on our homeworld told of great destruction to our people, brought by creatures that greatly resemble your race. We are verifying these prophesies.)
'And if the carvings are accurate?'
(Then you and your fellow humans shall be destroyed.)
At this point in time, I passed out cold from the extreme pressure my brain was under.
I woke up back in my holding cell, and tried to get rid of the pain with sleep, despite being repeatedly questioned by my companions.
DIARY ENTRY No. 7
DATE: 03 / 01 / 2521
Again I was taken away from my cell and companions by the two guards from the previous day, but to a completely different part of the ship. We entered another massive room, only this time it was completely bare, save a large desk in the middle of the room, which I guessed belonged to Lachesis. The walls, to my astonishment, were completely lined with intricate pictures and diagrams. The guards left the room.
'Are these the carvings of the Ancients?' I asked.
(Yes, although these are mere casts of the originals.)
'May I by allowed to inspect some of them?'
(Of course. Mind you, most of these would make no sense to you whatsoever, but there is a couple that would greatly interest you.)
Lachesis hovered over to a portion of the wall. I realized that there were deep lines running vertically down the walls, to separate different stories from each other.
Lachesis pointed to the top left point of the "page", and said, (Start here.)
'Before I begin, what year does this prophesy occur in?'
(In human years, it would begin four weeks from now. But please, start reading.)
I began to decipher the carvings, and have written them down in chronological order. They are as follows:
1. Humans land on an unknown planet, and begin to barter with the Covenant. Peaceful interaction seems to be in place.
2. Humans have some disagreement with the Covenant and leave the planet, while the Covenant begins to manufacture weapons of war.
3. The humans return to the Covenant homeworld and catch them off guard, and mercilessly slaughter all.
4. During the planetary battle, a small fleet of Covenant ships flee the planet, and start to colonize a nearby planet.
5. The humans find the new planet, and obliterate it with an orbital strike. There are now no Covenant left in the universe.
I stepped away, sadly shaking my head. 'No. We wouldn't do such a thing as genocide. We'd at least leave all civilians or stop the slaughter if the Covenant surrendered.'
I noted that the ship the humans arrived in was unmistakably a Halcyon-class cruiser, a ship that had only just started being produced by the UNSC three months ago.
(Do you deny these are humans in the carvings?) Lachesis asked.
'They are definitely humans,' I replied, and realized what I had just admitted to.
'But please, let this village live! We are pacifists, and would never partake in any kind of war.'
At this I dropped to my knees, out of exhaustion or just to be in the position of begging.
Lachesis seemed to smile, although to a human child it would probably scare them to death.
(We shall see, Johan. We shall see.)
Lachesis clicked his fingers, and the Elite guards took me back to my cell.
In my cell, my fellow villagers were hungrily devouring fresh fruit, vegetables and bread, such as carrots, lettuce and eggs. I guessed the food had been taken from our village stores, and helped myself to some bread and lettuce, and for the rest of the day thought about what had just happened.
DIARY ENTRY No. 8
DATE: 04 / 01 / 2521
Today I was allowed to explore the rest of The Pilgrimage , but on the condition that wherever I went, an Elite bodyguard was to go with me. Lachesis explained that there were many Grunts and Jackals, that, should the opportunity arise, would happily kill me and send my flesh to a skin-trader on the Covenant home world, which I found out was called Laomedon, or in the Covenant language, "Place Of The Ancients".
My bodyguard's name is Lychaon, and he is known to his people as a "Keeper of Light" or, in their tongue, Angelius. His armour is midnight blue, with bright turquoise crooked lines running across it, resembling lightning flashes. He stands one foot above me, with a powerful physique, and is armed with a plasma Kraken rifle, a specialist version of the plasma rifle, with the difference being that this rifle fires its payload with enough force to throw a man back ten feet. The rifle hangs around Lychaon's stomach, attached by a black, leather sling that comes over his neck.
Today I was astonished to see Elites training on their rapid assault vehicles, known as Ghosts. They are very fast and maneuverable, and heavily armed. Lychaon took me down onto the training ground, and as we reached the field, I suddenly realized a Ghost was heading straight for me. I screamed to Lychaon for help, who fired a shot at the attacking Ghost, which was hit on its protruding wing right in front of us, not a metre away from crushing me. This caused the vehicle to spin around 180 degrees and hit the ground in an explosion of blue flames.
The rider was thrown from his saddle, and as he hit the ground Lychaon was already on him, swinging the double-handed Kraken rifle into his stomach, cleaving into the Elite's stomach with the serrated and long bayonet. By the end of the savage beating, the Elite was dead and Lychaon was standing above the broken body, panting slightly with battlelust.
"That was Creolen, a devout soldier of the Covenant, who, as you can tell, believes that humans should be killed like animals," he explained in his low, growling voice.
I asked, "Are you hurt at all?"
He shook his head, but at the same time grimaced as he pulled a smoking shard of metal from his arm with a wet tearing sound.
"Not any more," he replied, with a barbaric grin.
After this encounter I was taken back to my cell for security reasons, and the rest of the day was extremely uneventful. I now realize that this ship is a dangerous one, and that any Covenant is potentially a threat to my fellow villagers and myself.