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Effusion - Chapter 1; Awakening
Posted By: Tursas<tursas@shaw.ca>
Date: 23 March 2002, 5:39 am

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"What is your name?" It was a question rightly asked, but inaccurately stated.
     "I have a name?"
     "Everything has a name. Even the fungus growing between your toes has a name."
     He tried to look down at his toes, but his eyes didn't seem to be working, and his head was a long way from being able to move at all.
     "What is your species?"
     "What's a species?"
     "Did you ever go to school?"
     "I'm surprised. For one so intelligently aggressive, I would think that you had a formal education of some sort."
     "We'll start again. What is your name?"
     The question confused him a little. Asking him if he had a name was like asking someone to map every hue of forest greenery, count every drop of rain that fell in a shower of any length. In order to do it, you had to be everywhere at once to experience it all in a moment, or spend an awful length of time counting.
     "I'm not sure I have a name."
     "Yet you are able to speak... It's funny that you should be able to put thoughts into words and yet not be able to think of yourself sufficiently to do the same. That's very commendable. You win a cookie."
     "What's a cookie?"
     "Never you mind."
     This conversation, being a little on the long side, was beginning to aggravate him slightly. It wasn't often that he was given the opportunity to talk to somebody, but it seemed that every time he did he forgot a little more about something important.
     "You seem to have reached the final stages of your forgetfulness. That can be considered both a good and bad thing. For one, not remembering your name prevents you from taking the next step to remembering exactly who you are and where you come from. On the other hand, it also prevents you from remembering how to do such menial things as eating, sleeping, walking, standing on your head, computing differential calculus and going to the washroom. I'm sure we can find a happy balance somewhere."
     "Thanks for your time."
     The man fell abruptly back into his drug-induced state of unconsciousness.
     "What is our next case, nurse?"
     "The new guy from 04.0032."
     "Ah, the troublemaker. This ought to be interesting."

"My name and rank are Master Chief Petty Officer of the UNSC Navy. Please be advised that holding me against my will is an act tantamount to a declaration of war against my government."
     "Not anymore it isn't."
     This caught the Master Chief off his guard. This did not happen very often. It had been only a few moments ago that he had been speaking with 343 Guilty Spark and Cortana, trying to get the one to defend him from the other.
     "What do you mean?"
     "Two weeks ago, according to your time, Earth was glassed by the Covenant and your Navy scattered and hunted down piece by piece. You are one of the last remaining specimens of your race."
     Another shock. How could that possibly be? It took the Covenant more time to find a new planet to glass than he had been away from Reach.
     "How do you know this?"
     "The other remaining specimens of your race told me."
     The Chief couldn't take this with anything more than a grain of salt. Earth had definitely not been found within the last two weeks by anything more than the occasional meteor as it passed on its course.
     "And how did they find out?"
     "They were on Earth just before it was rendered uninhabitable."
     "You brought them from Earth?"
     Again, how could this thing, whoever it was, find out where Earth was? As per standard procedure, nothing other than a ships AI knew where Earth was in a spatial sense. All the ships that were found by the Covenant had their AI's destroyed or removed. Even Cortana had been removed from the computer of the Pillar of Autumn, and was to this very moment still in his armor. She was being awful quiet about it, though.
     "How did you find out where Earth is?"
     "Your construct friend."
     The Chief then realized that he was not in his armor. This and that the only clothing he was really wearing was not any clothing at all.
     "Yes. She was very helpful, once she came to understand that she would be allowed to survive regardless of the crimes you both committed."
     "The destruction of Halo..."
     That was a memory that he still clung to. How could he ever forget having been witness to the deaths of every crewman on board?
     "Right again."
     "Where am I now?"
     "The maximum security station of installation 05.0004."
     This was more new material. Now there were two numbers, as opposed the one that had bothered him since meeting 343 Guilty Spark - 04. The last number was not the same as the one given to him by 343GS, however. Somehow, it felt very far away, though there was no way to understand why this was.
     "What does that mean?"
     "Another Halo in another galaxy."
     "And the flood?"
     "Unfortunately, the flood were never reclaimed. You destroyed the last of their species. For this crime, you would normally be sentenced to death, but under the circumstances you have been preserved with the others remaining of your race."
     "How many survived?"
     "Eight thousand twenty."
     "So few?"
     "The minimum requirement in the case of this species would be two; only enough to reproduce. However, your species, being sentient and of an interesting genetic makeup - and having a radiant history - posses a great possibility for experimentation and study. Thus, we require more."
     "And who are you?"
     "243 Liberal Glow, the Monitor of installation 05 in galaxy 0004."
     The Chief thought this interesting. Being held weightless, thirty feet above the ground without his armor or any weapons, was beginning to tire him a little. He was able to wave his arms and legs, thus causing his body to reorient itself about its pivot. He couldn't move away from the center of the enclosure, no matter how hard he tried.
     "How long have I been here?"
     "You don't remember?"
     "Very interesting. You have been here for about two days, Earth time. You have been conscious for only a few moments; since I awoke you. But the interesting thing is that it has been three months since the destruction of installation 04.0032"
     The Chief drew blank. The moments following his discovery that 343 Guilty Spark had been listening to his conversation with Cortana were all blurred in his mind. He could remember a bubble of a glisteningly clear material envelop him in the cockpit of the Longsword, Cortana screaming in his ear something unintelligible, the bubble as it drew in around him, then nothing.
     "I don't remember anything."
     "Very interesting."
     "Three months?"
     "That is correct."
     "What was I doing for all that time?"
     "We would very much like to know that as well."