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12/19/2004 10:19:12 PM
[b]This is a story of a Sangheli who changed the course of Covenant history forever. The Heretic. [u]Step of Silence, Ninth Age of Reclamation, aboard Covenant destroyer "Joyous Apostle" in orbit above Basis and the ruins of artifact "Halo".[/u] Ship Master Muda 'Onnomee sighed and clasped his mandibles. He and his ship, the Joyous Apostle, had been scouring Halo’s debris field for Covenant survivors under the order of the Prophet of Humility. They had made a makeshift camp on Basis, which was littered with wreckage and debris from the destruction of Halo. Muda bared his fangs in anger the humans had defiled the Holy Ring, killed his brethren and destroyed it, along with most of the Covenant fleet in this system. He had been here for several cycles now, and was growing increasingly edgy and eager to return to the front lines of the conflict. He asked his second in command, a veteran Sangheli called Tola 'Kamkamee what this status of the scanning was. Although there were more than a trillion floating objects out there, the Forerunner scanners they had obtained eons ago worked very well. The scan would be complete in a few units. 'Onnomee read the scanning monitor in front of him, written in the elaborate Covenant calligraphy. There was something out there. Something was moving [u]Rotation ETA-CONDITION, Extract from logbook of 343 Guilty Spark. Transmitted/volunteered. Among ruins of artifact "Halo".[/u] Oh dear. Everything is in a terrible state. Installation 04 has been destroyed, and I am left with nothing but a few Sentinels, Enforcers and thought propulsion. There is no protocol for this sort of occurrence. I must resort to my own thinking….. [u]Rotation Error. Time/date anomaly, suspected 1 week discrepancy between last logbook entry and current entry.[/u] Excellent. It appears help is on the way. END TRANSMISSION. [u]Step of Silence, Ninth Age of Reclamation aboard Covenant destroyer "Joyous Apostle", in Geo-synchronous orbit above Covenant camp on Basis.[/u] The Joyous Apostle was like a shining silver whale as it orbited gently above Basis, the light reflecting off it coming straight from the gas giant Threshold. The scanning room had seen something. Something that moved. Seraph fighters were now on patrol to find the exact location of this anomaly, and identify it as Covenant survivor, human scum or otherwise. An entire wing of six Seraphs, teardrop-shaped Covenant fighters tumbled together in perfect formation as they sped toward the vague location of the target. Since it moved, scanners could not track it as well as a stationary or slower moving object. They had been given a relatively small area for searching though, and the Seraphs, commanded by the Ship Master himself, dodged to avoid a kilometre long piece of metal, one of thousands in Halo's debris field. At the controls of his fighter, Muda 'Onnomee eyed the both his scanner and the space ahead. His training had told him one thing. Be prepared for anything. Suddenly the scanner showed seven blips, directly ahead of his position. He had just clicked his radio on to tell his squad when one of them was struck down by an enormous metal machine. The rest of the Seraphs immediately tumbled aside and narrowly missed the volley of laser and rocket fire. 'Retreat to the Apostle' Muda barked in his guttural tongue. The Seraphs sped back to the Joyous Apostle, the engine cones glowing bright as they flew. Muda knew that if there were Forerunner machines in Halo’s debris field, chances were something else would be here too. He had heard the briefing from the condemned one, Orna 'Fulsamee, who had failed to protect the Holy Ring from the humans. He knew what to expect around the ring. An Oracle... [u]Deployment + 00.20.23 Enforcer FY 597, in debris field of artifact “Halo”[/u] The Enforcer known as FY 597 had been deployed from standby status for only 20 rotations when the robotic mind spotted a hostile contact, a ship identified from databanks as a “Seraph”. FY 597 took careful, computerized aim, and fired. The unshielded, unaware Covenant ship burst into shattered pieces, venting atmosphere and plasma. The pilot, semi-conscious and almost dead, had pushed forward on his controls, and with the last ounce of life left in his eyes watched his Seraph dive toward the unsuspecting Enforcer… [u]Deployment + 00.21.23 Enforcer FY 597, in debris field, artifact “Halo”[/u] FY 597 had seen the Seraph coming for him, on fire, venting plasma madly, and its computerized mind was sending reflexes to its engines. A second too late… The Seraph impacted on the Enforcer’s right “arm”, tearing it off completely and severing the engines on the back. FY 597 spun wildly, careering into a hundred metre long piece of metal. The shield held for a tenth of a second before the entire back of the Enforcer was crushed into oblivion. [u]Step of Silence, Ninth Age of Reclamation, at Covenant base camp on Basis.[/u] The Covenant camp on Basis was in disarray. What had turned into a routine search and rescue mission had now changed. Something was out there, and it wasn't friendly. All available Seraph and Archangel Pilots were ordered to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. The Sangheli and Unngoy left in charge of the ground forces were uneasy. Daily, sandstorms raked their camp, and even the Sangheli, in their ornate fabricated huts, weren’t safe, lest of all the Unngoy, who simply had to find shelter under a turret or tarp and wait out the storm. Morale was low. They needed something to fight for. They would get it. The Covenant communications centre, in a heavily fortified base on Threshold’s moon, was in constant contact with both High Charity and ships in the field. As soon as the 5 remaining Seraphs docked in the Joyous Apostle, news of the Oracle’s presence was broadcast first to Basis and then onto High Charity, However, fate has a way of intervening, and it was at that moment that a flare from Threshold rendered all log distance comms from the Halo system useless. It also shorted out the long range Battle Network, making the task of contacting anything outside the system all but impossible with their systems. [u]Step of Silence, Ninth Age of Reclamation aboard Covenant destroyer "Joyous Apostle", in Geo-synchronous orbit above Covenant camp on Basis.[/u] Aboard his own ship again, the Ship Master wasted no time increasing patrols in the Halo system and finding out where in the massive debris the Holy Oracle was hiding. He included the area where they had been attacked in the patrol routes and sent quite a bit more firepower than needed on the route. Still, as the Prophets said “Better to pay for it now and not twicefold later”. If he lost a few ships in capturing the Oracle, it meant nothing on the rewards that would be showered upon him when he returned to High Charity with the one they had been searching for all this time. The one that could unlock the secrets of the Halos. [u]Archangel Tango 4 (Translated roughly from Covenant communiqués and dialects) en route to Nav point 03, on patrol from Joyous Apostle.[/u] As part of the new Unngoy training program, Takap had been taken from his pack just weeks after being born. Because of the young age in which his kind were conscripted from their homeward into the Covenant and their unique eating style, all Unngoy not into maturity would be issued with “food nipples”, cheap, easy alternatives to a real pack mother. Takap himself was piloting a modified Seraph, called an Archangel, which Unngoy were trained in to bolster the losses sustained during the campaign at Reach and Sigma Octanus. More and more ships now were needed, as the humans had proven themselves capable of holding their own in even the most tenacious ground and space combat. Tall, green clad demons would jump into the heat of battle and slaughter thousand of his brethren, The only way for a comprehensive victory for Covenant forces was to take planets in orbit and burn them into glass. Takap, one of the brightest new recruits in the Academy, had been trained in limited ground combat, but he was a pilot at heart. Although Unngoy never seemed to be at all better to Sangheli, they were used in numbers to confuse the human forces so the better, well armed Seraphs could destroy them. Without warning, the diminutive alien noticed his scanner pulsing gently, indicating a solitary, small, contact right ahead. Takap had been there when the Huragok brought in the pieces of the downed Seraph, so he immediately sent a short range comm to his superior at the Joyous Apostle. Official wheels begun to turn and Takap was promised a squad of Seraphs as backup within minutes. That wasn’t going to be enough time; however, so showing an unusual amount of bravery for an Unngoy, he activated his thrusters and moved closer to the object, claws steady on the firing controls…. “Hello! I am 343 Guilty Spark! I am the Monitor of Installation 04. Do you require assistance?” The sounds echoed through the Archangel’s speakers and Takap, with a trembling claw, radioed the Sangheli again “Contact! We got contact! Big BLUE thing! Help! Help!” Units later the Seraphs arrived and 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor of Installation 04, Holy Oracle of the Covenant was taken away…. He had some questions to answer. [u]Step of Silence, Ninth Age of Reclamation aboard Covenant destroyer "Joyous Apostle", in Geo-synchronous orbit above Covenant camp on Basis.[/u] Muda ‘Onnomee was very confident as he strode down the corridors of the Joyous Apostle. The Oracle was captured, and he would reverently ply it with questions. This would be woven into his battle poem, and all generations of his family would know his name. First though, he needed to check both the status of the ship and the camp on Basis. His Sangheli came first, before himself.[/b] [Edited on 12/19/2004 2:42:03 PM]

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