Sea of Steel: Part 11
Posted By: Omniscient<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 27 August 2001, 12:53 am
Section Two: The Discovery
Location: Aircraft carrier Alcatraz, Sector W, Halo.
Tsheac was seated at the head of the table in the debriefing room. Sitting around the other chairs were the Captain, Patrick, Louis, and the other commanders, including Bruce Gail who jumped for the Red's throat when he first saw him. It took him a few minutes to be contained after Tsheac had easily tossed him aside. Bruce now sat at the other end of the table, his knuckles white as he gripped the arms of the chair tighter and tighter. He recognized Tsheac as the Red that killed most of his men back in the woods, and he wasn't about to feel any forgiveness for this defector. Nevertheless, he followed protocol and controlled himself.
The two seals guarding the door periodically glanced down at Tsheac, who would scowl at them and they would immediately look up straight again, and hold their assault rifles a little tighter. Patrick started off, by explaining how they found Tsheac, and then he let Tsheac tell his own story. Tsheac spoke about the fleet, but did not mention that Klesk was his brother.
"You expect me to believe this red bastard?" Bruce commented after Tsheac had finished. This soiled marine commander had seen his share of Covenant trickery throughout his time on Halo, and he wasn't about to give into something.
Tsheac hissed at him. Louis couldn't take it, and he was edging more toward the marine commander's side. He unholstered his pistol and pointed it directly at Tsheac's head. Tsheac stared Louis directly in the eyes for a seemingly eternal period of silence. Finally Patrick said, "That's enough, Lieutenant. Lower your weapon."
"Make him take off his armor," said Louis. Tsheac was still wearing the normal Covenant armor, and Louis realized that he could activate it and kill everyone in the room before the guards at the door could slam enough rounds into it to destroy it.
"Tsheac," said Patrick. "Take it off. You understand the risk we are taking." Tsheac stared at him a moment, not wanting to lose his pride and give in to the wishes of human scum. But he knew at the same time that he would have to help them for them to help him. He slowly stood up and unfastened the different metal plates. One thing about Covenant armor, is that they don't wear anything underneath it. It was an interesting lesson in anatomy, seeing a fully grown Covenant elite standing naked before them. Restored to his natural state, he seamed nothing more than a wild animal that somehow evolved to walk on two legs. But now the awesome power of his muscular structure was fully realized, as well, and Tsheac did not seem any less intimidating. The guards removed the armor plates from the floor and set them up on the table, so that the humans could get a good look at its composure.
"Take it to the lab to be tested," ordered the Captain. "See if we can find out what this is made of." Bruce picked up a thigh pad, it was surprisingly light and thin, yet he knew from experience that it could deflect bullets. "How does this protect you?" he asked.
"Strong metal. Better than human alloys" Tsheac replied. The commander continued, "Oh, really? With your permission, General, I'd like to run a little test here." The General looked at him, confused, but nodded. He had an idea of what Bruce was up to. Bruce stood up and held the armor thigh plate out to his left. "Louis," he said, "take your pistol out again and see if you can't put a hole right through the center."
"Yer crazy!" said Griffith. "We already know that thing can deflect bullets! Why risk someone getting killed by a ricochet just to try to prove a point?"
"Fine," said Gale, "Leave the room if you want. I think this purple-blooded bastard has something else up his sleeve."
"I don't have any sleevesss," said Tsheac, hissing again.
"Shut up you!" Bruce demanded, and turned back to Louis. "Lieutenant? Any day now." It was now apparent that no one was leaving the room, as they seemed to have some kind of hidden confidence in Bruce's surety. Louis didn't even stand up; all of a sudden his gun flashed out and BAM! The armor piece flew from Gale's hand and clattered on the metal floor. Louis looked perfectly normal again, his pistol already holstered. Tsheac hated to admit it, but he was impressed by this demonstration. But now scared that the humans would learn how this armor really worked.
Gale stooped down and lifted up the thigh plate and chuckled a little. "Nice shot, Louis! Look at that!" He held the plate up for all to see. There was a hole right through the middle. Griffith was shocked, as were the rest of the officers present. The guards were still amazed by Louis' skill with a sidearm. They were glad to have him as their leader.
Bruce walked back to his seat, but he did not sit down. Instead he leaned forward with his arms straight against the table and stared down at Tsheac. "Now, Tsheac good boy, what is it that really makes this armor work? Eh? Fork it over, buddy!" Tsheac looked from right to left to right again until he finally realized that none of these people would help him. They were still all his enemies.
"Energy," he muttered. "It is useless without energy."
"And where does that energy come from?"
"No!" Tsheac could not give in to this, as if it was some all-important Covenant secret. He just couldn't bring himself to cooperate.
"Tsheac," said Patrick. "We brought you here peacefully because you agreed to comply with us. Now, we can turn you into a prisoner of war and torture you for information, or you can continue to go along with us peacefully." Tsheac looked at the General, then to Bruce who finally took his seat. He waved his hand in front of his chest, "Here," he said.
"Hold it, Gale!" Patrick said before Bruce could get it out. "Tsheac, you mean that the armor gets energy from your body?"
"No. From inside me. But it is not of me. Technology inside me."
"Can you . . . get it out?" asked the General, hesitating.
"Was put in through a capsule. It grows inside blood. Electrical current in my veins." There wasn't anything that Tsheac was holding back on now. "It is activated by adrenaline, but it drains out of the armor when the armor is hit."
"Jesus," said Rawlins, who until now had remained quiet the entire meeting. "No wonder we never figured it out. This is the craziest thing I've ever heard."
"No crazier than how you got here. Please, do not do test on me," Tsheac pleaded.
"Don't worry. We wouldn't know how," said Patrick, leaning back in his chair. "Gentlemen, this meeting is over. Louis, have your men escort our guest to his quarters and lock the door. We'll meet again at 0600 tomorrow to discuss the plans for finding this "secret". I'm sure you can be of some help to that, Tsheac."
"I will give you access to all Covenant data. I do not know where or what it is, but I have maps of the entire ring from when we searched for it."
"Good. Do you need anything for the night?"
"Good. Let's go, people." The officers stood up and and left through the door where the guards were, who came forward to escort Tsheac to his quarters. Griffith ran over to Louis in the hall after the Captain and General Hall had gone their way.
"Hey, Louis. You up for a game o' poker tonight with me'n the boys?"
Louis shook his head, but then he looked up and said, "Hey, why the hell not?" Griffith patted him on the back and the two walked off to join the other seal commanders.