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Zudo - Part1: The Creation
Posted By: Hunter<samage2k@hotmail.com>
Date: 7 June 2003, 11:41 PM

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**Ok, here's the introductory gubbins - this story is another example of me trying to write truly unique Halo fanfics, my previous one being the unique but utterly disastrous XP-42 (but hey, when you're mildy drunk after a party, you try writing better!) I am 100% sober writing this, if you think it's rubbish, well, you're probably right, even in non-drunk mode, British 17 year olds can't write all that good fanfics. Anyway, enough excuses for a poor previous fanfic and onto this one. This fanfic aims to explore the question first raised with Cortana - "is it right to give a mechanical entity a personality?" Well OK maybe it's just me asking that question, but anyway, on with the story...which by the way has very little to do with the plots of Halo, Halo2 (whatever its plot is), or any of the Halo books.**

Z.U.D.O - part 1 - The Creation.

It is 5 years since Halo was destroyed. Humans from Earth have since established secret colonies upon moons that lie between Earth and the place where Halo once was. These colonies are self-sufficient and contain secret military science facilities, where top-secret projects take place, in the quest to develop better weapons with which to win the war with the Covenant with. In one of these colonies, on a small moon called Hope, the Master Chief and Cortana have resided for the last 3 and a half years, both of them constantly being upgraded and improved by the top military researchers on Hope.
As the Master Chief walked along the bridge of the colony one day, he could sense that there was an added element of excitement among the researchers. Wondering why, he decided to ask Dr Hussar Molotov, a Russian scientist who was head of the new-developments department.
"What's with all the excitement about?" enquired the Chief. "Have you had another "flaming" good idea?"
"Very witty, Sir" muttered Dr Molotov (who had heard all the jokes about his surname at least a thousand times over) "But yes, I have indeed had another breakthrough. If you'd care to follow me down the lab, I'm about to unveil my latest creation."
Dr Molotov and the Chief walked down several corridors into Dr Molotov's laboratory. In there were several scientists standing around a large bulky object covered by a sheet. They were all pointing and discussing with each other what it could possibly be. Dr Molotov stood in the centre of the circle, next to the object. The Chief assumed a position within the circle of onlookers.
"Scientist, researchers, cyborgs," began the Doctor, "I present to you what could perhaps be the biggest breakthrough in our technology yet!"
He tugged the corner of the sheet, revealing...a Warthog ATV. The scientists and researchers all looked stunned, then looked at the Doctor as if he was mad. What was so revolutionary about a Warthog? They had been around for years!
"With all due respect, Dr Molotov" began the Chief...
"Let me guess" interrupted the Doctor, "What's so good about a Warthog?"
"Well, yea." said the Chief.
"This is not a normal Warthog. This particular example has been fitted with a prototype Zero-failure Universal Data Optimiser, or ZUDO for short." explained Dr Molotov.
"What does this ZUDO thing do?" asked a researcher from the crowd.
"It basically means I am able to perform tasks beyond that of a normal ATV" said the Warthog.
All the researchers and scientists gasped in unison
"Did that thing just talk?" asked one, in awe.
"Yes, I did," replied the Warthog "And please, call me by my code name, Zudo."
"O..O..Ok, Zudo" stuttered another scientist, who was obviously shocked by this sentient machine "What sort of tasks can you perform that other vehicles cannot?"
"I can direct my operator to target areas, warn my operator of enemies in the vicinity, transmit and receive encrypted radio messages, translate any langage into any other language including most Covenant languages and even provide light conversation. You wouldn't believe how demoralising it can be for some soldiers who are stationed at solitary posts for days upon end."
"Anything else?" asked the Master Chief.
"Well, there is this..." said Zudo, and with this he (Zudo is referred to as a "he" because his electronic voice sounds slightly more masculine than feminine, despite the Doctor's best attempts to make it neutral) started up and slowly drove around to a shooting range at the other side of the large laboratory, within the "testing area". Zudo's gun then slowly swung around and sprayed all the targets with machine gun fire. The most amazing thing was that Zudo had had no input from an operator whilst doing any of this.
"Using my logic processor, I can decide what to do in battle by myself if needs be, although my logic isn't perfect and I prefer to have an operator at my helm."
All of the scientists were amazed, even the Master Chief had to admit he was impressed. The scientists then all gathered around Zudo in a frenzy, admiring his circuitry and asking him more questions. The frenzy soon stopped when a large ball of superheated plasma hit the building, rocking it violently.
Then, over the tannoy came the voice of Commander Jeremy Smith: "The Covenant have discovered our base! We must abandon Hope immediately!"
The Chief felt slightly uneasy about the unfortunate innuendo of the order to "abandon Hope". The Chief sprinted into the Bridge and pulled Cortana out of the base's main computer, and inserted it into his helmet. He then ran to the docking bay, where a transport vessel was hastily being loaded with supplies, Marines, Scorpion MBTs, Warthogs, and the like.
Dr Molotov was in his lab still, trying to gather all of his files and inventions, to stop the Covenant from getting them. His luck ran out when an Elite entered the lab with a plasma sword in his hand.
"Feeble human" he boomed "Surrender yourself and those documents!"
"NEVER!" retorted the Doctor, still hurriedly gathering papers and gadgets together.
The Elite then lost his cool. How dare this weak old human disobey him! The Elite with no further warning lunged forward and stabbed Dr Molotov in the back. With a single blow he had killed one of the greatest minds the Earth had ever known. Zudo, who had seen all of this from around a corner thanks to his "eyes" which were two multi-mode cameras mounded beneath his headlights, seeing his creator brutally murdered, suddenly ignored his scruples about his first battle and charged at the Elite. The Elite stood still, looking very confusedly at the driverless Warthog coming straight at him. He didn't look for long. He was soon sent flying 20 feet by 3.25 tons of pissed-off sentient Warthog. As the Elite landed, Zudo slowly approached the dazed alien as it lay on the ground, and lined one of his front wheels up with the Elite's head. He then lurched forward, crunching the Elite's head and killing it instantly. Zudo then began to analyse the radio transmissions all around him. From this information he was able to decide that heading to the docking bay would be the best course of action. So, he started up and set off down the corridor, running over a Grunt as he went.
Back in the docking bay, the Sergeant was barking orders to the panicked Marines.
"Hurry up! We need to evacuate! You there, get your ass moving!". Presently, Zudo sidled up. "Who left this Warthog out here?" angrily asked the Sergeant as he turned around and saw Zudo, "Get it in the cargo hold with the rest!"
"Actually Sir, that's a prototype..." piped up a Marine
"Yes Sir" whimpered the Marine. He drove Zudo into the hold along with all the other Warthogs, and parked him at the end of the line of silent vehicles.
"Hey, wait, what's happening here?" cried Zudo as the hold bay closed, plunging him into total darkness.
"Why am I being treated so badly?" he thought to himself, "my behaviour protocols and logic processor haven't registered me doing anything which upset any of my human allies." It was then that it hit him, upon seeing his own reflection in the rear-view mirror of another Warthog, after flicking his "eyes" into night-vision mode to see in the darkness. Just like the rest of the Warthogs, he was merely a machine. A piece of equipment. An object, a faceless, genderless ageless object with no human rights. Zudo suddenly felt very depressed. Why had he been cursed with sentiency? Why had he been built to have independant thoughts, to have hopes and dreams? Why was he feeling depressed, why was he even programmed to have emotions? Why did he have a mind? All of these questions kept circulating through Zudo's memory chip and logic processor, but despite his logic he could not find the answer. He was sentient alright, but he did not consider himself to be truly 'alive'. With this, Zudo unhappily offlined to pass the journey time.
Meanwhile, up in the cockpit, the Master Chief was at the controls of the Transport ship. The buildings around were by now reduced to rubble, and the hangar in which the transport craft was located was about to collapse. Powering up the engines, the Chief muttered to Cortana "Punch it!". With this, Cortana powered up the ship's engines, and the ship flew out of Hope's atmosphere, just as the entire colony base went up in flames. The craft then shot off into deep space, into the unknown...

IN PART 2 - the craft reaches a deserted continent on a Covenant-ruled Planet.