Galaxy 07 - Part 2 - Sanctuary
Posted By: Jillybean<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 12 November 2003, 4:12 PM
"The prophets are not happy." Ishe' Manatee rested his talon like hands on the window ledge and peered into the green park. The small human beside him laughed, a strange, high-pitched noise that would always set him on edge.
"When are they ever?" She turned her head to regard him.
The Elite was not yet accustomed to her blatant disregard for authority. He was learning, however, and his front mandibles twitched slightly in his own version of a smile.
"Indeed. I fear they will not condone our . . ."
"Agreement," Daxia said simply. "I never thought they would. Are you still okay with it?" She turned more fully towards him and again Ishe' Manatee was taken aback. The small human often inquired after the Elite, even though the Elite had pledged his loyalty to her.
"I am . . . sworn," he answered. His tone carried a slight hint of reprimand. "I will not go back on my oath."
"Alright Ish." Daxia rested a hand on his scarlet armour and patted in a friendly way, the way he had seen her act around her marines. "I know you're loyal. But I understand that it's difficult for you."
"I have made my choice. Whether or not my bond brothers follow is their choice. I have little use for Prophets any longer." Ishe' Manatee bowed his head then turned and slowly loped off.
Daxia stayed by the window and gazed out onto the alien Forerunner world. A completely foreign moon was starting to peer through the lilac clouds, though the sun still blazed strong. She heard the distinctive gait of a Forerunner approaching and remained perfectly still.
A little monitor was guiding this Forerunner through the Sanctuary and they paused by her.
"This is a curious anomaly," the monitor was saying. "This human should not have been brought to the Sanctuary. The AI construct, Cortana, was innovative enough to rescue this specimen, and the specimen we saw earlier, and bring them with our fleet. This human is an unsuitable example of life on a human planet however, she is too contaminated with our intervention."
If she stayed still enough they would leave her alone. The Forerunners were only interested in behaviour. There had been one time when they had tried to watch Corporal Nadia and Doctor Gordon during "an intimate act that implies love and the intent to procreate."
Not on this planet, sunshine.
The Forerunner and monitor moved on, Daxia ran hands through her short blonde hair and sighed deeply.
Seven years. Three months. Four days. Three hours. Seventeen minutes.
The pilot walked the long corridors of Sanctuary and reached the patio with it's little fountain. The sound of the gurgling water was strangely comforting and she sat on the stones, tracing her fingers in the chilled pond.
When she had first arrived in Sanctuary she had been blinded to it's purpose. She had grieved for her own galaxy, now lost to them forever. John had found them quarters and convinced the Forerunners to install holographic transmitters in the building so that Cortana would have free roam over the place. With Cortana's aid, John took a head count of every human alive on Sanctuary. He also counted every Covenant, and got into a few battles with them too.
At first, Daxia had not cared. She was convinced that she was some sort of curse. Anyone who got close to her would die. Her parents when she had been younger, the Pillar of Autumn, Lara O'Flynn, her sister. They were all lost to her. It didn't seem, to her, that she would have John for much longer either. So it was best to separate herself from him and the world, then at least she wouldn't notice when they all died.
And then John did something quite remarkable. He had never allowed her to compromise his mission, or to interfere with his status as the Master Chief. But Sanctuary changed him, after a few years of paranoid watching, he seemed to come to terms with the fact that for him: the war was over. Gradually, when he was convinced there were no Covenant or Forerunner or humans in his vicinity, John-117 began to relax.
The years started to accumulate and Daxia was forced to snap out of her depression. Those in Sanctuary started to build a community for themselves and John began a Boot Camp - just to keep the humans on Sanctuary fit. And one day a scarlet armoured Elite walked towards their little congregation and asked to go on the morning run.
Ishe' Manatee was still one of the very few Covenant who had recognized that the war was over. Ishe' Manatee acted as a link to the Prophets, who still declared humans as filth. The Elite had lost his religion long ago, however, and he preferred the physical activity that the Boot Camp presented to him.
Things started to degrade, the Grunts died and Cortana started failing. Sixteen humans died of the influenza that swept through Sanctuary one hot summer. Daxia realized that she could not, in all good conscience, allow human kind to die with her. They started to form a resistance, the few humans and Covenant who could.
With the promise of a new war both Ishe' Manatee and John snapped back to their soldier mentality. There were no more lazy nights with Daxia's lover and the only thing she could do with a blindfold on was reassemble a machine gun.
But it was nice to have a purpose. An aim.
It was nice to lead an army once more.
John-117 was doing press-ups in his quarters when Daxia entered. Their quarters were quite large, since none of the other humans had been willing to argue with John to contest the space. Precious few Covenant had argued either. Daxia sat on the bed and watched him with a sly smirk on her face. He tried to ignore her and finish the exercise, but it wasn't what she had in mind. He found he had to make a more conscious effort to count the number of press-ups as she hummed under her breath.
"Was there something you wanted?" He asked after a while. She smiled happily and lay on her stomach to watch him.
"Maybe," she purred. "But actually, yes. Ishe' Manatee says the Prophets are getting annoyed at our human efforts."
"If they're happy here, then they can stay here," John grunted and propelled himself to his feet with one last push-up. He snatched a towel from the back of a chair and wiped the back of his neck. "It's not our problem."
He quick marched to the shower and switched it on. The Forerunners had been rather thoughtful in their arrangements, even though if they had adhered to their principals they would have left their specimens to fend for themselves in Sanctuary. But who was an unsuitable specimen like John to argue? The Forerunners had a loose set of moral values, ones that John's feeble human mind could not hope to grasp.
"You do care," Daxia called from the bedroom. "You wouldn't get angry if you didn't."
"I'm not angry," John retorted. He would have pretended he hadn't heard her . . . but with his hearing it wasn't very believable, and Chief Mendez had never supplied any tactics for dealing with an angry Daxia.
"Of course not," Daxia muttered.
"I'm not!" he insisted, before realizing he could have pretended not to hear her mutter.
"I know!" Daxia called back. "Why would you be?"
John rested his forehead against the wall of the shower and tried to fathom exactly what it was in her tone that made it sound like he was a lying, cheating bastard. When he needed a voice to play conscience, he asked Cortana.
"Good evening." The AI's pleasant tones came from outside the shower and he groaned.
"Cortana," Daxia began warmly. "Nice to see you out and about. How are you feeling?"
They were ganging up on him. It was another test, yet this time there was no one to tell him how to win.
"I have been . . . better . . . in the past few weeks." Cortana's reply was slow and careful. The AI had to shut down the thought processes that sprung to her mind with every comment. It was difficult to try and keep on track of the conversation when she began a billion others with every subroutine.
"Good," Daxia murmured. She was silent and waited for Cortana to come around to her reasons for visiting in her own time. It was best this way. Cortana didn't recall her reason until John returned from the shower. Cortana seized upon the other thoughts in her head and ruthlessly squashed them, concentrating on the important thing.
"I found ships. Lots of them. Human and Covenant. They're hidden in orbit above Sanctuary, they're part of the Galaxy 07 exhibit." She looked to John and then frowned. "There was something else, but I've forgotten it. I'm sorry."
"That was enough Cortana," John assured her. He turned to Daxia. "Looks like your favourite Covenant is going to have to overcome his morality issues. We'll have a briefing in the morning run. Tell everyone."
"Yes sir," Daxia said. Her tone was laced with sarcasm and she saluted him lazily from the bed.
"Snap to it Commander," he growled.
"You'll pay for this," she called as she reached the door.
"I'm counting on it."
"And they say you're not human." She paused at the door to blow him a kiss, turning to go back into the corridors.
She yelped as he dragged her backwards into the room.
"But-" her protests were muffled by a kiss.
"Cortana's gone to think about the universe. There's still time before dinner," John hinted playfully. "I'll show you just how human I can be . . ."
"If you insist," Daxia giggled.