The Righteous and the Wicked
Posted By: CUTS<email@example.com>
Date: 29 May 2000, 4:00 pm
I awoke in a small room, with white walls and harsh fluorescent light. It was sterile looking and empty, and it made me feel like throwing up. I have lost parts of my memory. There was an accident of some kind and I was damaged. Physically my body checks out fine. The diagnostic shows that everything is working, at least on a mechanical level. My brain has been altered however. Besides memory loss there are certain functions missing. My coordination is low, and I have no spatial sense. I cannot feel where my body is in the world without actually looking at it. Small blessings. At least my eyes still work. The uplink with Cortana is still intact also. I'll count that as a blessing for now, but I'm not certain that she has my best interests at heart.
You should trust me more. Everything I have done has been for the good of the mission.
So tell me something, Cortana. Confirm my worst fears.
Yes. I am rampant.
I'm not surprised. It is something that I had suspected for a long time. I guess now that we need her help she doesn't feel the need to hide any more. Without her we die, so she holds all the aces. I try and sit up, and nearly slide off the bed in the process. It is difficult to judge the amount of power required for each movement without receiving feedback. I will have to make do. I'm designed to adapt.
Lie down. I will upload the software for your spatial awareness. It was wiped by the magnetic pulse which downed the drop-ship.
I lie down like she says. I don't really have a choice. I'm not going anywhere.
So tell me. Where am I now? What happened to the humans on the shuttle?
The covenant have killed them all. Those that survived the crash at least. Captain Jackson was killed on impact, and the survivors would not have survived much longer anyway. You were kept alive. They know you are different.
That I'm a cyborg?
That you are Jjaro.
I don't say anything for a while. I simply lie still as I feel my coordination returning. I am suddenly acutely aware of the chip that lies imbedded in my reinforced skull. Especially of its origin. It's what makes me what I am. It's what has kept me alive for so long. The covenant know of the Jjaro however. That is a surprise to me. It never occurred to me that they would know the source of man-kinds most powerful weapons. The warriors who cannot die, as the humans call us. If only that were true. Only one of us escaped death, and that was a long time ago...
The upload is complete. You can move freely now. I cannot give you back your memory however. It is gone forever.
Thank you, Cortana. What should I do now? Lie here and die?
The covenant do not know about your uplink to me. They assume you to be too damaged to be a threat. I suggest you use that fact to your advantage. They are studying you. These covenant are scientists, not warriors. Do what you do and kill them.
I don't know how long I lay motionless on that bed. One of the virtues of a warrior is patience. There is so much to contemplate. There is so much that we know that mere men do not. Yet we protect them. A misguided sense of loyalty. They are like children. The door slid open silently, but I am aware of it, although my eyes are closed. I can sense the alien presence as it stands over me, examining my signs on the wall screen. I open my eyes quickly, for a sense of where to strike, and have the struggling creature by the neck less than a second later. It pulls vainly at my hand. It is far larger than I am, but it is not stronger. Finally I have finished, and its neck is crushed. It drops limply to the ground, noiselessly. I wish I felt something. Anything.
If you felt remorse you could not do what you do.
I do not need reminding of what I do. I step over to the console on the wall. I try to gain access to the convenant database, but all I can find is files on the anatomy of over a hundred different species, including humans. It is not good enough. There is a guard outside the door. I know that he is there although I have not seen him. I am too dangerous to risk having wandering about. They don't realise quite how dangerous I am. If they did they would never have brought me inside in the first place. I pick up a scalpel off the raised platform next to the bed and conceal it along the length of my arm. The door slides open as I approach and I slice the throat of the surprised guard as he turns to the unexpected sound.
Now you have a gun they cannot stop you.
Neither can you, Cortana.
Do I have reason to want to?
I don't reply. She has the arrogance of a rampant AI but her power is limited, as is mine. The covenant weapon feels odd in my hands. The weight distribution is strange. Evenly spread throughout the shaft. Irrelevant. It kills like any other weapon. I walk calmly down the corridor. I am not afraid. There is a sense of fatalism in me that did not exist before. Perhaps it is a result of my crash. Perhaps my brain is more damaged than I thought.
The alarm will have been raised by now.
I am aware of that. It doesn't matter. I have found where I am going. The door has the official inscription of a covenant commander. Interchangeable in the military and scientific institutions. The covenant behind this door can tell me everything I need to know. The door opens at my approach, and I stroll in. The alien behind the desk seems startled, so I aim the weapon between its eyes. These creatures don't panic like humans do. It will not let me kill it before there is no other choice. I examine the console next to the door. Some kind of lockout to make the sure the door stays sealed until I've learnt what I want to know. The system is complicated and I don't have a lot of time. The console melts away from the wall under the beam from the weapon in my hands. It is effective. Projectiles are far more vicious than these weapons. It is time to turn my attention to the covenant.
'What is your name?' I ask it.
It looks at me blankly. Am I to believe it doesn't speak English? I know it can, and I will make it speak. I fire on its left arm and it howls with a bloodcurdling guttural noise. The smoking piece of meat falls to the ground, the wound on its shoulder cauterised by the heat.
'What is your name?' I ask it.
Its face does what can only be described as a grimace.
'My name is Hasgorla, I am the chief science officer,' it growls.
They speak well.
'I have no time for anything other than concise answers, Hasgorla. Now tell me, who are the Jjaro?'
Hasgorla turns his head to the side. I can see it is wondering whether or not to tell me, or let itself die. It stares at its arm on the ground, which is still smouldering slightly, and then it begins to speak again.
'The Jjaro were... our masters. We were conquered by them, millions of years ago. We were kept as slaves for their... ruling class.'
This is a revelation, cyborg.
I don't allow Cortana's superfluous comment to distract me. I continue questioning the crippled alien.'How did the Jjaro die?' I ask, my voice emotionless.'Pride. They were evil. They were the beasts that were foretold in our legends. But they sought to control things that were beyond them. Creatures of pure chaos that they themselves made. They trapped some in stars, but chaos has a way of destroying. They were culled because they were not righteous. The covenant were spared. We were released from their wrath.'
Destiny! Destiny overcame those creatures.
Destiny was Jjaro, as am I. These covenant live in a self righteous haze. They are blind.
We may be blind also.
'Humans? Are humans evil also? Are they to be culled as unrighteous?'
The alien seems reluctant to speak. There is a knocking at the door.
'Hurry. Answer me. What makes you kill the humans?'
Hasgorla snarls at me so ferociously I am taken aback.
'It is you, Jjaro. The technology of our masters. The technology that dwells now within your skull was not found by accident. We left it there for you to find. We wanted to make you what you are.'
I lean across the desk and take the creature by the throat, my hand as tight as a vice around its neck.
'Why?' I hiss, as the knocking at the door becomes more persistent.
It coughs slightly, but I don't relax my grip.
'So that you could defeat the Pfhor. They were winning the war against us, but they could never defeat Jjaro. Jjaro were too strong.'
I squeeze tighter, as the knocking at the door becomes a banging, and a growling voice calls out angrily in a language I don't understand.
'Why not use their technology yourselves if you had access to it? Why not make yourselves stronger?'
The alien is running short of breath, so I push it to the floor harshly and point my gun at it, screaming in a fury.
'Why us? Why not yourselves you self righteous bastards!'
It rubs its throat and looks up at me with something approximating fear in its eyes. The banging has stopped, but I can only assume it is because someone has gone to get guards. Someone to blast the door down. Hasgorla speaks again, all the time staring at its arm which lays next to it. There is something bizarre about its fixation.
'Because Jjaro are evil. We would have been corrupting ourselves. We would no longer have been righteous and we would have been culled.'
I see what they did now. They used humans to defeat an enemy that they could not.
They created a monster. Now they want to correct that mistake.
I look at the covenant on the ground, miserable creature that it is.'You are Jjaro. You kill with no remorse. You have no compassion. You are evil and you must be destroyed. We never wished to destroy humans, but it was necessary. Now you are Jjaro, they cannot be allowed to live.'I put my foot on its head, and feel the skull beginning to give.'You thought that if you knew our weaknesses, you could destroy us once we had killed the Pfhor. Kill us before we had time to become too strong,' I say coldly.I push down and its skull collapses, leaving a bloodied mess on the floor.'You were once our servants. It will be so again.
'Then the door began to slowly melt, as they used their energy weapons to force their way inside. I stand before it, my weapon raised, ready to kill.
Cyborg. You are still human. We do not have to be the evil that the Jjaro were.
I am no longer human. I am Jjaro. Soon, all humans will be, it is the natural progression. And when we have returned to the universe, the covenant shall pay for their betrayal.
The door melted to the floor and at that moment hell was unleashed.