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Holy Hunt : Prelude
Posted By: OpeningAct<moores@no12tudor.plus.com>
Date: 2 December 2004, 9:15 PM

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Holy Hunt


Covenant Council's Fleet, Ninth Age of Reclamation
Prophet's Private Chamber
Outskirts of Unknown System

      There was a hiss as the door depressurised and swished open in a purple flash of light. The occupants of the hallway ahead turned in unison to get a glimpse of the newcomer, a large Brute materializing as the light faded. The burly ape marched up the slanted passage, confidently striding towards his destination - he wore the fatigues of an honor guard, the yellow and orange luminous headdress upon his wide skull illuminating the path ahead.
      His grim faced brethren, positioned down the sides of the corridor, thumped their fur-covered chests as their superior passed them by, showing their respect. The Brute returned the strange salute, continuing his climb up the sloped corridor. He reached the top, coming to a broad and beautifully crafted door, guarded by two of his underling honor guards.

      "Venerus, guardian of the council most-high, reporting for a summit with the honorable Prophets of Punishment, Conquest and Bereavement" he announced in a deep voice which resounded throughout the hallway.
      The two Brutes nodded, staying silent. In harmony, they parted letting the ape through. Venerus pushed the doors open and was hardly surprised to see a stunning chamber lying before him, lined with the kind of pillars you would expect to find in an ancient temple. The High Guardian strode through as the pair of Brutes shut the double-doors behind him.

      A tranquil hymn hung in the air around Venerus as he trod down the path leading through the many columns separating the chamber. It calmed and soothed his soul, resonating through the astounding hall. Ahead Punishment, Conquest and Bereavement sat atop their golden anti-grav thrones - Conquest was stationed at the front of the triangle, his slender neck protruding from his scarlet cloak as he sang the holy hymn. A giant viewscreen stood behind the trio, the rest of the fleet slowly floating across the void. Venerus approached the honorable Prophets and bowed, his forehead touching the marble flooring. Conquest abruptly ended the hymn.

      "I have come before you, ancient Prophet's, just as you requested" the Brute exclaimed, rising from the floor.

      Conquest hovered forward on his anti-grav throne, until he was directly in front of the Brute.
      "We are very grateful that you come to our aid in this dark hour, High Guardian" the Prophet proclaimed, raising his claw.
      "Your protection ensures us of our safety" Bereavement added.
      "But it is not why we called you to our court" Punishment declared. Venerus was still slightly perplexed at why the three Prophet's talked in that manner. It had been disturbing the first time he had come face to face with them but finally he was beginning to become used to the custom.

      "Dark hour, Excellencies?" Venerus asked, questioning Conquest's remark, folding his massive hands behind his back. The Prophet's turned their attention to the viewscreen.
      "Look at what the council has been reduced to" Conquest cried out.
      "Drifting across the universe hiding among a fleet of destroyers" Punishment pronounced.
      "The council is used to grand halls, not these confined chambers" Bereavement concluded angrily.

      "The Flood have cast us out of High Charity" Conquest exclaimed.
      "Even now they haunt the dark corners of our cruisers" Bereavement announced painfully.
      "Infesting the shadowed hallways" Punishment finished. Venerus face stayed straight and emotionless.
      "You wish me to do something about the Flood?" the Brute queried.

      "No, we've already sent many warriors to their deaths battling the Flood aboard the ships" Bereavement proclaimed.
      "The parasite shall remain dormant for now" Punishment decreed.
      "The Flood are numerous but not overly intelligent, unlike the Elites, High Guardian" Conquest assumed.
      "The Heretics" Venerus breathed.

      "This is Ika Riilantamee" Conquest announced, a hologram appearing on the arm of his anti-grav throne. The towering Elite wore light blue armor plating, a shark fin-shaped headdress sitting upon his alien skull, his piercing black eyes peering through the slit in the faceplate.
      "The former High Guardian of the Council" Punishment stated.
      "Now the leader of the most dangerous Heretic faction known to the Covenant" Bereavement declared menacingly.

      "He wishes vengeance upon the council that exiled him" Punishment pronounced.
      "He has sworn to slay every last member of our ranks, including ourselves" Bereavement decreed.
      "We wish for you to do something about this Heretic, High Guardian" Conquest proclaimed.

      "I have pledged to protect you Holy Ones, but I am no bounty hunter" Venerus said sorrowfully.
      "We recognize this, High Guardian" Conquest admitted.
      "You have vowed to protect the council and nothing else" Punishment declared. The Brute stared on still slightly puzzled.
      "But what if this time, the two were one in the same?" Bereavement questioned. "By killing him you would be protecting us from harm." Venerus nodded, satisfied.
      "I understand, Excellencies" the High Guardian stated. "Where do the Heretics hide?"

      "A frozen moon in a distant system is their home, a place we believe the forerunner might have once graced with their presence" Conquest announced sagely.
      "A previous encounter with the Humans in this system has littered the moon with the wreckage of over one hundred vessels" Bereavement decreed.
      "This holy Graveyard of cruisers is where they hide. We want the site quelled of the Heretic scum" Punishment made known, his deep voice echoing through the chamber.

      "Do you accept this task, High Guardian? Will you bring back his head?" Bereavement acquired. The Brute pondered his decision for but a moment before giving his answer.
      "Yes, Excellencies, I will" Venerus replied.
      "Then we decree you with the grand destroyer, Chronic Enforcement, to assist you in accomplishing your mission" Punishment announced.
      "Let your conquest be swift" Conquest said.

      The Brute bowed once again, before turning to leave. Conquest's wise voice echoed over his shoulder.
      "You mustn't fail, High Guardian" he exclaimed. Venerus smirked.

      "I shan't."

      The Chronic Enforcement sat ominously among the rest of the fleet, the immense cruiser a fearsome opposition. Thick alien armor guarded the colossal hull from any damage, as did a shielding system which could take a direct hit from a Human Magnetic Accelerator Cannon. Six extremely powerful, large plasma turrets belonged to the vessel's armory, giving the ship offensive supremacy. The Chronic Enforcement would take a tremendous battering before it would be defeated.

      Slowly the massive cruiser moved out from the rest of the fleet as the council floated onwards. Slipspace ruptures began to appear on the bow of the silvery craft. In a flash of light it, and its crew of honor guards, disappeared.

      Soon it would emerge on the other side of the slipspace stream, in the system of the Graveyard. Then the adventure would begin.