1127: A New Covenant – Chapter Two and Three

Title: A New Covenant
Author: Half-Jaw
Media:  Video Games
Topic: Halo
Genre:  Adventure/Sci-Fi
URL: Chapter Two
Critiqued by AdmiralSakai

Hello, everybody! And welcome back to a thrilling double feature of A New Covenant. Last time, we got to see a bunch of humans and Elites stand around in the Delta Halo control room and try to figure out their own tortured origin story as mutual Forerunners or something, while Commander ‘Vadumee rescued a pointless OC offscreen. I can assure you, it only goes downhill from there.

Gul, you pumped for this?

I’d rather rip my own spurs off and swallow them whole.”

I’ll just take that as a yes.

We open with the exact same disclaimer as the previous chapter, followed by the exact same date-and-location stamp, meaning that the only difference at all in the first 60-or-so words is the fact that Chapter 2 is named “The Great Journey To Earth”. Even “Reclamation” is misspelled identically.

A motley assortment of Ex-Covenant and Humans were outside the control room. A group of Grunts were running around a trio of Marines trying to get them to play tag. The irritated Marines were beginning to wonder if the Grunts were a group of school age kids playing in the rain rather than the cannon fodder of the Ex-Covenant.

I would just like to note that the Grunts never stopped being cannon fodder through the change of government. They’ll still be expected to die in huge numbers so that the Sangheili officers in the second echelon don’t have to worry about any stray bullets damaging the finish on their armor. Truly, the Covenant military is a charming organization.”

They all stop as a Phantom slowly descends to the platform close to the destroyed door of the control room.

The Arbiter is the first to gracefully come out

Now now, let’s not give the Arby/Chief shippers any more ammunition…

followed by the rest who survived the Brutes assault inside. The multitude begins to cheer. R’tas Vadumee quickly comes down the gravity lift to greet the Arbiter, and then sees how many that is in need of evac.

The grammar in this thing are really terrible in some places.”

Blah blah blah, we get some pointless logistical crap about how many cruisers the Sangheili control and how many Phantom dropships it will take to load up the surviving ground forces.

Amazing. All the thrills of a mid-level officers’ meeting.”

That, and even considering the Covenant forces, there are only like eight people left on Delta Halo who aren’t Flood or dead, so I utterly fail to see how there could be any issue about getting the single Phantom needed to carry them.

Then…

The Arbiter starts thinking of his home world. He wonders if he would ever see the lush green plains, the beautiful blue oceans, and the thick green forests of Sangheil. Too long it has been. The war has kept him from his beautiful home. The Arbiter makes a vow to himself to return to his home world as soon as he can, which he hopes is as soon as he helps save Earth.

Mostly in character, although Vadam Keep (where the Arbiter is originally from) is a fortress built into the side of a mountain and is consequently a bit short on plains, oceans, forests, or really anything else other than rocks and death.

That said… *gives Half-Jaw’s effigy a sound thwapping with Halo: The Cole Protocol*… the Elite homeworld is called Sanghelios, you idiot!

It continues to amaze me how these ‘fics can recall miniscule details of Elite society, but fumble extremely basic information about them, especially given that everything about this story drips with Elite fanboyism.

This, of course, coming from the man who went to the trouble of determining the exact terrestrial star designation of the Palaven system, while simultaneously turning Councilor Tarren Sparatus female.”

Hey. You of all people should know there’s a big difference between simply forgetting textual information and willfully disregarding it in order to promote your own objectives.

‘Good,” answers the Arbiter. Then quickly adds, “Get on the com and tell the cruisers to make preparations for a slip space jump to the Human home world, Earth.

Why does this sound like expospeak done for the reader’s benefit? Like we wouldn’t know that the human homeworld was Earth and had to be told in a way that had minimal impact on the narrative?

You know, if this Half-Jaw was in fact a young alien with a limited grasp of human culture, it would really explain quite a lot.”

We will be going there to deal with Truth and the rest of his Covenant. Now, let’s get off this blasted ring.” R’tas orders the other Phantoms. The first of the Sangheili and Humans follow the Arbiter and R’tas up the gravity lift.

The Sangheili and the Marines that are left at the evac site keep a close eye out for any Brute forces that could be hiding in the trees and the mountain cliff areas waiting to try something. The Humans and the Ex-Covenant start to mingle with each other. Mostly they are trying to ease the tension. All are trying not to get wet while they wait for their ride.

They’re waiting for evac while on hostile ground with a high probability of being spotted by enemy snipers, and their most pressing concern is being rained on?”

A red armored Sangheili walks up to a Marine and says, “Nice weapon. Do you know how to use it?”

Which is an open invitation to crystallize old hatreds into a bloody shootout if I ever saw one.”

The Marine looking at the carbine he got from a flood combat form says, “Yeah, but if you would like to show me that would be great.”

He wants to be shown how to use his weapon, again, even though he already knows how.

This is sounding more and more like the setup for some really terrible porn.

The Marine sensing the Elite was a little uncomfortable with small talk as he was.

It took me about ten minutes to parse it properly, but yes, this is actually a grammatically correct, if horrifying and ultimately meaningless sentence.”

Yeah, basically: The Marine, who was sensing the Elite somehow (presumably with his eyes!) is, in his current state, uncomfortable with small talk.

The Elite takes the carbine explaining the use of each button and how to properly aim the respected weapon. The other Marines and Elites see this going on and decide to join them. Both races who for so long have fought each other now take turn explaining the proper use of their weapons.

Because nothing says ‘a little R&R’ like a rehash of your boot-camp weapons course.”

On the Covenant cruiser, Seeker of Light, the Arbiter and Supreme Commander R’tas show Commander Keyes and Sergeant Johnson the bridge. R’tas looks around the computer filled room. Almost every terminal has a Sangheili posted there. Commander Keyes, astounded by the multitude of the bridge’s size

That word does not mean what you think it means.

says, “I could send for some of my people to fill the empty terminals.”

Commander Pharr turns to Commander Keyes and thoughtfully replies, “Thank you. That would be wonderful. Since the betrayal of my people we have been a little short handed.

Directly contradicting the previous statement that most stations on the bridge were occupied.

Oh, by the way, welcome aboard my ship. The Seeker of Light.”

WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT IT’S CALLED! If you were just going to tell us in dialogue anyway, why have your awkward little digression?

Supreme Commander R’tas, taking control of the matter at hand, says loudly to the radar specialist, “Report.”

The crimson clad Sangheili major, Onno Rjosee, whose family has been in the Covenant military for many generations,

and who is completely irrelevant to future events,”

says, “Sir a group of heavily armed Brutes are closing in from the east and a massive flood army closing in from the south. They will be there with in fifteen units.”

R’tas slams his fist angrily on the desk in front of him and lets out a curse in his native tongue. Commander Keyes, a little nervous by the Elite’s show of anger, says, “Our people are down there both yours and mine. They don’t have enough ammo to fight such an army. They will be slaughtered.”

You’re eight people going up against an entire Flood horde (and also some random Brutes) with nothing but the equipment on your backs, and you’re worried about your ammo supply? One would think manpower, air support, or a defensible position would be a more immediate concern.

Speaking of air support, if they’re still fifteen “units” away (however long that actually is), what’s stopping you from using your ships’ main energy projector to incinerate the lot of them?”

R’tas replies by asking the communications officer, a young blue minor named Oyho Guasee, “How many are awaiting a Phantom?”

Minor Guasee, still a little uncomfortable with Humans being on the bridge says, “Enough for two Phantoms, Sir.”

Commander R’tas, showing signs of fatigue, orders loudly, “I want two Phantoms down there getting every one off that damn ring and I want it five units ago!”

How is this something the top-level commander needs to be giving orders about? You’ve got forces on the ground with the enemy closing in, and troopships in your hangar fueled up and ready to evacuate them. It seems like the course of action is pretty damned clear.”

The Arbiter and Sergeant Johnson look nervously at each other as they stand near the door to the bridge. Then Johnson says laughingly as he nudges the silver Elite,

I love how both Rtas and the Arbiter are referred to as “silver Elites”. If that keeps up, they’re just going to fuse into a proto-Gravemind and be done with it.

“Arbiter, looks like Half-Jaw has everything under control here. Where would one go on this boat to have a little R-N- R?”

Which is a really weird way of writing the expression out (but not unattested). Although it does sort of fit with Johnson’s usual drawl when he’s being particularly smug. Not entirely sure why he’d be being smug here, but I suppose he has as much of a right to it as anyone.

The Arbiter looks at the dark skinned Human and says in a serious tone, “I wouldn’t let Commander R’tas hear you call him that. He lost his mandibles to the Flood.”

Something that happened in a tie-in comic from 2006. Again, how does HJ know this, but not the name of the Sangheili homeworld?

Then adds with a hint of laughter in his voice, “But between the two of us the name suits him well. As far as RR, I don’t know what you mean.”

Mostly because you have yet to spell it correctly in two mentions and as many variations!”

Sergeant Johnson says while trying to hide his laughter, “R-N-R, rest and relaxation.

Because the first thing they taught us in boot camp is that “and” begins with ‘n’.”

What do you Elites do for fun? That is when you’re not kicking the shit out of us Humans.

The Arbiter thinks for a moment. He kneels down to Johnson’s height and with much enthusiasm says, “Come with me.”

Please, oh please oh please just keep your respective pants on!

The Arbiter takes Johnson down the purple and gray corridors of the cruiser. Every where Johnson looked there was work being done.

Work?”

Yeah, you know, things, and stuff. Getting done. By people.

Just then he looked up to see a giant glob floating over head. If was like it was gliding on the top of the wall.

And unless the Seeker of Light has monorails in it, I have no idea how that is supposed to work spatially.”

He turns quickly and says to the Arbiter, “Oh shit! What the hell is that?”

The Arbiter looks in the direction Johnson is pointing and sees an Engineer working on a broken light. He replies, “That is one of our many Engineers. They keep the ship working. They know every system and structure on board.”

And the Covenant First Readers Book continues!

The Arbiter was just about to go into a little more detail when they were interrupted by a commotion behind them. They turn to see a Grunt running as fast as its little legs could carry it and a black armored Elite chasing it screaming, “Come back here cannon fodder when I get you I’ll rip you into!”

And we get more proof that the Covenant caste hierarchy is still alive and well, even if the Elite didn’t get to finish his sentence.

I’d assume it was rip you into pieces, but you never know…

I was going to guess ‘rip you into two identical Grunts, each half your mass’… but I suppose yours works too.”

Hmm. Given that Grunts are roughly spherical, the two might end up with the same volume, too.

The Grunt not slowing at all yells back in its squeaky voice, “You’ll have to catch me first.”

As they continue their walk down the long corridor the Arbiter shows Johnson where key points of the ship are.

Good. So that when things go south with these allies you’ve known for all of ten minutes, the Marines will know exactly where to place the charges.”

They come to a gravity lift, one similar to the one on the Phantom but a little smaller. The Arbiter looks at Johnson and says, “Get in.”

They go up two levels and get out. They turn right and go to the end of another busy corridor. They come to a stop in front of two big doors. The Arbiter places his hand over the control panel on his right and the doors silently open.

Because we really needed explicit, GPS-style directions for how to get from this part of the Void, to that part.

The Arbiter motions for Sergeant Johnson to come inside. When Johnson walks in he is astounded by the scenery of the room. The Arbiter looking slowly around the room says, “This is one of the Sangheili environmental chambers. It is made to look like one of the many plains from my home world of Sangheil. I brought you here, since we come from the same type environment.”

Ok, so the Covenant has freaking holodecks now. That’s… great, I guess?

Sergeant Johnson, trying to keep his cigar from falling, thoughtfully says, “Thank you.”

Sergeant Johnson looks around the room. There are trees and green grass every where. In the far off horizon he sees beautiful majestic mountains. In the center of the room there is a beautiful lake with crystal clear blue water. The Arbiter motions for Johnson to come toward the lake. Both were breathing in the cool crisp air. They silently walk to the shore of the lake and have a seat on the grass at its shore and lean back on their elbows.

This is getting increasingly slashy.”

Sergeant Johnson says in a relaxed voice, eyes never leaving the lake, “This is nice. It reminds me of a beautiful lake in Kentucky.”

The Arbiter says in a questioning tone, “What is Kentucky?”

Johnson says slowly, “It’s a state in the United States, on Earth,”

And you’re from Chicago, you idiot. In the United Republic.

after taking in another breath of cool air, he thinks for a moment and looks at a very relaxed Arbiter and continues, “Arbiter, on the ring I said I don’t like you. But I didn’t know you. Well, I was wrong. I want to apologize. When I’m wrong I say I’m wrong. I think we could be really good friends.”

The Arbiter, a little choked up, turns to Johnson and says, “I accept your apology. I would be honored to call you my friend.”

Sergeant Avery Junior Johnson, ladies and gentlemen. This was how he was introduced.

Men, we led those dumb bugs out to the middle of nowhere to keep them from getting their filthy claws on Earth. But we stumbled onto somethin’ they’re so hot for that they’re scrambling over each other to get it. Well, I don’t care if it’s God’s own anti-son-of-a-bitch machine or a giant hula hoop, we’re not gonna let ’em have it! What we will let them have is a belly full of lead and a pool of their own blood to drown in!”

And this is what he’s become.

Sergeant Johnson props himself up on one elbow and says tom the Arbiter, “When we get done dusting the Covenant’s ass on Earth. I’ll show you the lake in Kentucky I was telling you about. I’ll even show you how to catch a fish.”

The Arbiter replies, “I would be honored. And maybe one day I could show you my home world of Sangheil.”

IT’S. CALLED. SANGHELIOS.

Then we get yet another paragraph of pointless logistics as they determine how the fleet is going to get to Earth, and a Marine shows up just to complain about the Elites serving them worms for meals because they were stupid enough to not bring their own rations and trust alien food.”

Commander Pharr, having over heard the conversation between the two Humans clicking his mandibles in laughter turns to the two Humans and says, “If I may be of assistance, maybe you should try the dried meat and sweet bread. It may be more to your liking than the stew worms. There’s also many varieties for fruit and vegetables we use for snacks in the mess hall also.

Why do the Sangheili have an almost exactly human diet? I thought it was strange when I first heard that humans considered nothing but fruit and grain products to be a perfectly acceptable evening meal, but the novelty does tend to wear thin after a while.”

Yeah, we’re not exactly talking cane whiskey and eyeballs here. Still, I guess even really boring, unimaginative worldbuilding is better than none at all, right?

No.”

Please take it easy when it comes to the Brute brandy, the only thing good to come from them, and the Sangheili beer. Both contain a high concentrate of alcohol.”

I for one prefer the Kig-Yar Cocktails and Prophet Port.”

Then we get yet more logistical crap as they decide how they’re going to get to Earth, and the awkward sentence structure makes it seem like they want to stay in Slipspace longer than is necessary in case there are Covenant hiding… in Slipspace. That, and they’ve already started calling their trip to Earth “The Great Journey,” instantly and inexplicably replacing its canon meaning as the activation of the Halo rings.

There’s also an interesting point that Half-Jaw realizes and the canonical game does not- since the UNSC is known not to have efficient FTL communication technology in the Halo 2 era and it’s possible the Covenant doesn’t either, it is very probable that UNSC and Sangheili forces will still be fighting each other weeks or even months after the Delta Halo alliance. But nothing, of course, is ever made of it.”

To Be Continued…

And since these chapters are incredibly short and immensely boring, we’re lucky enough to get to read two today!

That is not a good thing.”

Chapter 3 is called “The Arrival”, and other than now being set in “Sol System / Earth Orbit” (like it’s an either-or choice or something) the header is completely identical to the previous two, right down to the legalese and the misspelling of “Reclamation”.

We open with more plot regurgitation, specifically a version of the ending cutscene of Halo 2 where the offscreen sensor technician has been given both a name and a sex change for no readily comprehensible reason.”

Then we get to see the Elites arrive, establishing their forces at twenty-six ships of unknown configuration-

I think I got the contract to make most of these… yes, those out there are genuine PCC-designed, built-with-pride-in-the-turian-hierarchy Ship-class ships!”

– and we get reintroduced to the Arbiter and Rtas, who are still just being referred to as “the silver Elite” and “the white Elite” in the apparent hope that they will fuse together into a single mass. They literally say “we come in peace”, and then when Admiral Hood (the bald guy) asks John-117 (the armored guy on the Forerunner ship) if he can trust the Elites Miranda Keyes just cuts him off and starts apologizing for them:

“Lord Hood, you can trust the Elites. They helped us stop Halo from firing. Now they are here to help us again. Lord Hood the Elite’s eyes have been opened. They are truly sorry for what they did to the Human race. They have vowed never to harm another Human.”

… if I were Admiral Hood, I would have no choice to assume that the good Commander was suffering from some sort of extremely-rapid-onset Stockholm Syndrome and order the flagship boarded in order to get her back.”

I’d just open fire.

In the back ground on the bridge of the Covenant ship everyone are making preparations for the up coming battles. The communications officer Oyho Guasee, comes up to Commander Pharr and says, “Sir, if we have any space battles how are the Humans going to know our ships from the Covenant ships?”

IFFs? How do they work?????

Miracles all around us!”

Commander Pharr, realizing the importance of the question turns to Guasee and says, “We will have the Humans tag our twenty-six ships so we show up yellow on their screen instead of red.”

You literally just thought of that?

How did you people ever achieve interstellar flight???

The Master Chief, still on the Forerunner ship radios Lord Hood saying, “On their Holy City I saw the Brutes killing the Elites. I think they are sincere.

You’re forgetting the part where both factions were also trying their hardest to kill you.”

Have them use their comlink to let their warriors know of an end of hostilities toward the humans and to assist us. I would accept their alliance if it were me.”

Sentence structure makes it seem like the Elites already want to send out this message, but the Chief has to remind them to use their communications equipment and not just open the hangar doors to yell.

Considering what we’ve seen of their mental capacity so far, this is probably exactly what is going on.”

The Arbiter hearing the Demons voice gets on the radio and says, “Demon,” then with a laugh in his voice continues, “At least we didn’t blow up another ring. However, we just need to blow up an Ark.”

Why are you blowing it up when you know nothing about it? You don’t know what it looks like! You don’t know where it is! You don’t know how to destroy it! You don’t even know what it does!!!!

The Master Chief recognizing the voice says, “An Ark? You will have to explain that to me later.”

Well, the actual Ark is basically a big structure that fabricates new Halo rings and holds some other vaguely important artifacts… this version is anybody’s guess.

Commander Keyes says to Lord Hood, “Sir, are you going to accept the alliance or not?”

Lord Hood replies with skepticism in his voice, “Yes for now. But if they break it them all bets are off.”

Yes, that’s… generally how alliances work…”

Commander Keyes says, “They won’t be breaking it. And sir, get the Master Chief off that ship. He needs to be present for what we will be telling you.”

Ok. So… you have Spartan John-117, Earth’s single greatest military asset, currently on the hyperdestructive Forerunner starship that also happens to hold the single surviving leader of the Covenant… and your decision as a high-ranking UNSC Navy officer is to take him off that ship so he can attend a meeting.

Truly, the defense of Earth is in the most capable of hands.”

Lord Hood gets on the radio and says, “Master Chief get off that ship and onto the Cairo ASAP,” then says, “Elite ships you may dock. Commander Keyes when your ship docks, I want to see you and your party in my ready room to fill me in on what is going on. And don’t make me wait.”

Shouldn’t that Dreadnaught be, you know, attacking right about now? You’re going to have to deal with it sooner or later before it glasses a major population center.

Commander Keyes turns to the Arbiter and says, “We are going to have to prove it to them. Do you mind subjecting yourself to a DNA test along with myself?”

Let me reiterate here. In the 30 years of the Human-Covenant war, while the UNSC was actively developing bioweapons, fighting for its very survival, and occasionally experimenting on its own people… nobody ever thought to take a dead Elite and run some basic genetic tests on it until now.”

The Arbiter replies, “I don’t mind. If that would prove to them that we are sincere then I’d be happy to.”

Commander Keyes looks at the Arbiter and smiles then says, “That would be great. You will not be alone. I’ll be there with you. And let’s not forget we will both have our little friend the Monitor.”

Miranda, we went over this in The True Meaning Of Christmas. The Arbiter is not a three-year-old child!

At least the Arbiter is implied here to be appropriately squeamish about medical treatment- Sangheili do have ‘issues’ with that branch of science… although one wonders how invasive a genetic test could possibly be.”

I could think of some ways…

Get your mind out of the gutter.”

Commander R’tas looks at Commander Pharr and says, “Prepare the ship for docking.”

Commander Pharr replies, “Yes, sir.”

The bridge on the Seeker of Light was a very busy place. Communications were coming and going. Coordinates were being received and sent. Every place Sangheili and Humans were getting everything ready.

So, they’re doing Stuff.

And Things, we can’t forget the Things.”

To the Sangheili it felt like a homecoming. They were now excited to see Humanity. Their hearts were heavy because of the way they tried to kill off their brothers, but now that has all changed. they are ready to prove themselves as a means of repayment.

Mhem.”

Oh boy, here we go again…

You people were at war less than one day ago. There are mortally wounded soldiers lying in military hospitals right now who have yet to die from the plasma burns they received from Sangheili rifles. Half of New Mombasa is still actively on fire. Arguably, both of you have been through much worse than the Second Contact war, and… well, there’s no easy way to say it. Humans and turians are both modern, civilized cultures, and Sangheili aren’t. It took forty years and a war with the asari just to get our governments talking to each other, and while the camaraderie that followed was… miraculous, it was incredibly tenuous at first. We had to earn it. And in no way do the Elites even deserve it.”

The Seeker of Light docks with the Cairo.

Oh, crap, another tense shift.

Temporal sickness bags are under the table to your right.”

Commander R’tas and the Arbiter follow Commander Keyes and Sergeant Johnson onto the docking bay. Commander R’tas says to Commander Keyes, “We could send for some of our Engineers and get the repairs done. That way this great station doesn’t fall if the Covenant tries to attack soon.”

THE COVENANT ARE ATTACKING RIGHT NOW!!

I’ve just noticed that all characters are constantly referred to by their full titles and never anything else.”

Thanks for pointing that out, Commissar Gul Palavenus Rillek.

Commander Keyes says, “Yes, that would be nice. I’m sure Lord Hood would appreciate all the help he could get. Let’s tell him when we have the meeting.”

The group made their way through the partially destroyed station. A young female Marine named Heather Carter met them at the door of the waiting room and said, “Have a seat there will be a small delay. Lord Hood and the Master Chief are on their way.”

It’s an active military station, not a medical clinic.”

The Arbiter and Commander R’tas started talking to each other as they were looking out the window. Commander R’tas says to the Arbiter in a very serious tone, “Arbiter, I told you once the armor suited you but it can not hide that mark.

A statement that made sense at the time, as the Arbiter had just received something appropriately called the Mark Of Shame. Here, however, he may as well be talking about the exquisitely detailed human penis Private Bradley just scratched into one of the mess tables.”

Well they mark doesn’t suit you at all. You seem to have been chosen for great things. The Sangheili are whole again. The sacred armor does suit you. I’m happy to call you my brother.”

Whatever.”

The Halo series usually shows rather than tells us about character development, which apparently makes some people think it doesn’t have any.

This is worse.

The Arbiter replies, “I’m honored to call you my brother. But we are treading on uncharted territory here. What if this Lord Hood rejects us?”

Sergeant Johnson overhearing this comes up to the two Elites and says, “If he rejects you then I’ll have to kick his pansy ass.

Ok, I imagine we all have pretty thick skins here at the Library, but it’s just damned jarring to have Sergeant Johnson switch from talking like a cut-rate therapist to casually dropping actual, real-life slurs.

As far as a mark, what kind of a mark do you have?”

A single tear formed in the brown eyes of the Arbiter

Because Elites have tear ducts now.”

And are willing to use them.

as he thought about the pain and torture he went through.

Trust, us, it’s nothing compared to we’re going through now.

Feeling a little uncomfortable talking about his shame

*snigger*

finally says, “I was branded by the Prophets with the Mark of Shame, for the destruction of the first Halo. I shall have to bear this shame for all time.”

Sergeant Johnson looked up at the tall Elite and says, “You mean like a scar? Hell, we have medical technicians here on the Cairo that could remove it.”

… which you refuse to avail yourself of because you’re a high-ranking Elite and distrust the practice of medicine with an intensity bordering on the religious.”

The Arbiter, finally letting everything sink in, his eyes wide with shock and his mandibles moving into a grin, feeling almost excited says, “Can it be so? Since our faith was false could my soul really not be marked also?”

or… that could happen.”

Sergeant Johnson says, “I’m not religious but I do know that a soul can’t be marked by a burning of the flesh. Besides a soul can be cleansed by praying anyway. But I said I’m not religious. I’ll take you to a person who could answer all those questions when we are done here. Then we will go have that scar removed.”

That’s it. I’m calling it. Master Sergeant Avery Junior Johnson was killed in action on Delta Halo, and Half-Jaw replaced him with a Care Bear.

Untitled

Commander R’tas looked at the Arbiter and says, “Brother, if this works could you show me? Maybe they could help me with my mandible problem. I’d love to eat again and not make a mess.”

Actually, it is a damn good question how something like a Sangheili eats.

I cannot imagine it is a pretty sight.”

Sergeant Johnson said to Commander R’tas, “Hey they could fix your mandibles too. We have prosthetics and can make prosthetics for damn near any part of the body. Teeth too,” with that said Johnson proceeded to take out his bottom teeth.

Ok, I have no idea why Johnson’s prosthetic teeth would be removable, but even though nothing like this is ever mentioned in canon I’ll give HJ credit for it- with all the action he’s seen, it makes a lot of sense for Sarge to be mostly metal at this point. Here, have a Redemption Cookie.

Sergeant Bear: “Coookieeeees!!!!”

OH GOD

Commander R’tas and the Arbiter look at the dark skinned Human in astonishment. Commander R’tas was the first to speak. He said with excitement, “I’m going. Prosthetic mandibles are better than no mandibles at all. Brother we are truly home.”

Unbelievable. Half-Jaw is now literally erasing character development.”

Just then the door opened and Lord Hood motioned for them to follow him. The group of two Elites, two Humans, and the Monitor followed him into his ready room and took a seat.

Must have been a pretty big seat.

Ha. Hahaha. Ha.”

They proceeded to tell Lord Hood and the Master Chief the events on Delta Halo and about all of them being Forerunner. Lord Hood looked a little skeptical but with the DNA evidence Commander Keyes brought with her he couldn’t deny the truth.

Unfortunately.”

The Master Chief looked at the Arbiter through his shield

Whatever the hell that means. Both the Arbiter and the Chief have shielded armor, but those shields are invisible and at the moment shouldn’t even be turned on.

then says, “Arbiter, lets finish this fight. Together.”

To Be Continued…

Sergeant Bear: “Yippeee!”

This will not end well.”

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34 Comments on “1127: A New Covenant – Chapter Two and Three”

  1. neji7hyuga says:

    …here we go.

    Neji: *sitting on floor meditating* I sense this is going to be unpleasant.

    It will be, have a bad feeling about this. *reads* True. The Grunts never stopped being cannon fodder. They die by the dozens in every fight.

    Neji: And when ninja get involved…

    They can rack up an impressive death count, though things can get sticky when tougher Covenant aliens get involved. *reads* Indeed, there was only about eight people left on Delta Halo that weren’t dead or amongst the ranks of the Flood. So only a single Phantom drop ship is needed to carry all of them off the ring.

    Neji- A Phantom can carry up to thirty.

    True, one could go for more, but it’d be crowded, and put more weight on the ship. Though that would only be done in desperate situations. *reads* That’s true also, the keep being built into the side of a mountain would be short on many things except rocks and death. *reads* Sangheil? It’s Sanghelios! I’ve read the info on the planet, not too bad of a place compared to a few death worlds I’ve heard of.

    Neji- Heard a few have carnivorous plants…

    Some do, would be a real pain to deal with. And that’s not counting the predators that kind of world would have. *reads* It amazes me too, how can so much be gotten wrong when they can pick up small details? I wiki hunt, quite a lot. And found small details. I wiki hunt in Naruto, Mass Effect, Halo…

    Neji- Research is vital, unless one wants to end up with a story like this or the other one with all the Japanese research fails.

    *reads* They need to sort out their priorities. I’d be more worried about Flood or Brutes or any foe finding us out there in the open while waiting for evac.

    Neji- One needs a defensible location, and figure out how to hold out. Otherwise they’d get overrun before help arrives.

    True. *reads* Indeed, why would they worry about ammo supply when they’ve got bigger problems against a horde and a number of Brutes of that size- manpower, air support, or getting a defensible position.

    Neji- Sounds like the group that would end up dead before my team and I can get to them. Then we’d have to run and let the Flood and Brutes have it against each other.

    It’s like a “too dumb to live” scenario… *reads* I agree, what’s stopping them from using the main energy projector to incinerate the lot of them? They can adjust the power setting, and use it for localized bombardment of enemy forces.

    Neji- Or have a CCS-class battlecruiser use the weapons on the underside to blast targets, just as effective.

    True, though lots of beam spam would be involved. *reads* Indeed, they’ve got the enemy closing in on ground forces, and Phantoms in the hangar fueled up and ready to evacuate them.

    Neji- Their course of action should be obvious. Take the ships down to the surface and evacuate those on the ground. And Phantoms have a good amount of firepower, and two turrets on each side which can be manned.

    *reads* Oh dear…I fear for Johnson.

    Neji- I have a bad feeling about this…

    *reads* I guess the writer has no sense of biochemical barriers…

    Neji- Indeed. Some types of Sangheili food are deathly poisonous to other races. And same for Humans, or any other race, some types of food may be poisonous to the other race.

    *reads* Silver Elite and White Elite? Fuse into a single mass? *shudders and reads*

    Neji- The mental imagery…unpleasant. Could have done without it.

    Things are getting unrealistic here, they already were but it’s really, really showing. The Humans and Elites were at war, and still are at this time. The alliance in Halo 3 occurred due to the Flood, and also sharing a common foe.

    Neji- An alliance formed out of necessity. After all, the UNSC have Master Chief and Sergeant Johnson, some of the best they have still alive. And Truth was going to do something that would have caused the end of the galaxy.

    A very dire situation indeed. All life in the galaxy was in peril, thus an alliance was needed. *reads* Don’t know how their IFFs would work…

    Neji- The reason why it’s important to explain things.

    Indeed, in addition, characters are being twisted so out of character.*reads* Hyperdestructive Forerunner ship? They need to deal with the ship before it glasses a major population center.

    Neji- True, and if it does that…casualties will be extreme.

    *reads* Hostilities should still be high right now, since less than a day passed. And it should be obvious the Covenant are attacking! There’s that Forerunner ship, what’s left of Truth’s fleet, and Covenant all over the ground.

    Neji- The way things are going in the fic, the Covenant might win…

    That would be true if reality were to ensue. Though considering the course of things…*reads* Indeed, the Halo series usually shows rather than tells us about character development. And I wonder why it would make some people think it doesn’t have any.

    Neji- No clue either. Maybe someone cast a mass genjutsu over them?

    That’s a possibility. *reads* What is happening with the good sergeant? Oh no…*reads*…I fear he did die on Delta Halo…

    Neji- That’s a major possibility, died and got replaced with a Care Bear.

    *sees Sergeant Johnson Care Bear* The mental imagery! My eyes! It’s genjutsu! *forms hand sign* Release! I can’t get it out of my mind! What have they done to Sergeant Johnson?!

    Neji- *puts hand on shoulder* I don’t have any idea. It’s just…*is at a loss for words*

    (did this again, it’s quite fun doing it this way with my favorite character.)

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      Indeed, the Halo series usually shows rather than tells us about character development. And I wonder why it would make some people think it doesn’t have any.

      Probably the twelve-year-olds’ doing more than anything else.

      • neji7hyuga says:

        That’s a possibility.

        Though, I wonder why twelve year olds would play Halo, considering the fact it is an M rated game. Unless they just read the wiki…

        And the Flood would likely give them nightmares.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        Are you not from America or something like that? Around here game ratings are very laxly enforced, and parents buy all sorts of extremely violent games for their ten- or twelve-year-old children.

      • "Lyle" says:

        Yeah. My 9 year old is not allowed to play anything higher than an E rating, with the exception of a Big Game Hunter game we’ve said is fine since it’s about hunting and not shooting people. His biological mother, though, tries to buy his love and he plays inappropriate games there like Arkam Asylum. He knows we won’t get him T or M games and makes sure if we go game shopping that he only asks for the E stuff. He’s actually quite a good kid.

      • agigabyte says:

        I’ve been playing Halo for a long time. Since I was eight. I could not, however, play alone or with the volume on until I was 10 (because of cursing). The flood never scared me, though, and I often laughed. However, Halo, Battlefront 1 and 2, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance were the only games above E10+ I could play for the longest time.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      Also, would you mind breaking up your comments into multiple posts? We’re much more sanguine about double, triple, or more-posting here than most sites, and it would make you a lot easier to read.

      • neji7hyuga says:

        I can do that.

        Was not sure if double or triple, or more posting was allowed. So I will do that from now on.

      • "Lyle" says:

        No limit on comments. Rarely, usually if there is an irate author involved, we might lock comments so no further posts can be made. But otherwise post as much as you want. I usually just post as I read whenever I hit something I want to snark at.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        What Lyle said. For reference, across all one thousand, one hundred and twenty-seven installments of snark, and all the extra stuff, we’ve had to close comments on a snarking exactly twice.

  2. neji7hyuga says:

    AdmiralSakai says-

    Are you not from America or something like that? Around here game ratings are very laxly enforced, and parents buy all sorts of extremely violent games for their ten- or twelve-year-old children.

    I am from America, but my parents did not allow me to play or get M-rated games until I was old enough, though before I was eighteen but was a teenager at the time I was allowed to.

    But then, not all parents are like that, as you said.

  3. neji7hyuga says:

    Lyle says-

    No limit on comments. Rarely, usually if there is an irate author involved, we might lock comments so no further posts can be made. But otherwise post as much as you want. I usually just post as I read whenever I hit something I want to snark at.

    I think I’ll do it that way, after all, there’s blockquotes to separate the part of the snarking from my actual comment.

  4. neji7hyuga says:

    Herr Wozzeck says-

    What Lyle said. For reference, across all one thousand, one hundred and twenty-seven installments of snark, and all the extra stuff, we’ve had to close comments on a snarking exactly twice.

    That’s not bad at all. I imagine some serious stuff went down in those two.

  5. agigabyte says:

    That’s it. I’m calling it. Master Sergeant Avery Junior Johnson was killed in action on Delta Halo, and Half-Jaw replaced him with a Care Bear.

    [Snip]

    Cain: *Wipes tea off screen* Well played, my friend, well played.

  6. "Lyle" says:

    Teeth too,” with that said Johnson proceeded to take out his bottom teeth.

    Yeah, my grandmother can remove all her teeth. They’re called dentures and I can assure you, for people who have built fucking spaceships false teeth are not that impressive.

    • GhostCat says:

      Unless the dentures are equipped with Bluetooth that allows you to steer the ship via tongue movements. I’d find that mildly impressive.

    • erttheking says:

      I’m pretty sure Johnson is supposed to be pretty damn healthy too, considering he’s still on the front lines. I know he’s canonically 68 at this point, but come on! He was part of the ORION project, the precursor to the SPARTAN project!

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      I was going more off of the amount of trauma he has sustained over the years- if he took a plasma round to the jaw or something his teeth would have to be rebuilt.

      Although having them be removable and not affixed to his skull poses a serious problem in that he really doesn’t need a sudden jolt to the head causing his teeth to pop out in the middle of combat.

  7. TacoMagic says:

    A red armored Sangheili walks up to a Marine and says, “Nice weapon. Do you know how to use it?”

    “Which is an open invitation to crystallize old hatreds into a bloody shootout if I ever saw one.”

    “Or, some porns start that way.”

    I’m gonna start dumping ice water on you, Swenia.

    “I wouldn’t worry, Spring’s long over.”

    Sometimes I wonder.

  8. TacoMagic says:

    “Let me reiterate here. In the 30 years of the Human-Covenant war, while the UNSC was actively developing bioweapons, fighting for its very survival, and occasionally experimenting on its own people… nobody ever thought to take a dead Elite and run some basic genetic tests on it until now.”

    Though, to be fair, canonically the UNSC has been demonstrably incompetent at reverse engineering as well as field engineering and research, so this level of ineptitude isn’t far off.

    • erttheking says:

      Not entirely true. They did managed to reverse engineer a good chunk of Covenant tech. Before the war they had to rely on rotating ships for artificial gravity, they managed to move past that from looking at Covenant tech.

      That and they figured out how shields work from the Covenant. It’s just that their pre-existing infrastructure couldn’t make it work anywhere except the ridiculously expensive power armor suits the SPARTANs used, because those things used up a lot of energy.

      They didn’t have much luck anywhere else though, you’re right there.

      • TacoMagic says:

        That and they figured out how shields work from the Covenant. It’s just that their pre-existing infrastructure couldn’t make it work anywhere except the ridiculously expensive power armor suits the SPARTANs used, because those things used up a lot of energy.

        That’s actually my point right there. The very idea that they could get it to work at the single combatant level but not capital scale is ludicrous at best. The amount of energy micronization you need to pull that off makes the infrastructure excuse absolutely idiotic due to the considerations of surface-area-to-volume ratio (it’s more than 1000x as effecient to try to shield a huge vessel than it is a person due to the volumetric difference allowing for many orders of magnitude more energy production). So you’re directly fighting against a property of energy density. It’s all well and good to say “It’s expensive, so it works!” but that’s like saying, “It’s extremely magical, so it works!”

        Not to mention they’ve had 30 years to play with the tech. Given 30 years to play with salvaged tech, they should be able to put together some pretty impressive stuff, even on the field. I’ll give them anti-grav, but the fact that there weren’t sweeping improvements being constantly retrofit into their equipment is just the writers trying to have it both ways (MC/Spartans need to be awesome, but humans need to be the underdogs).

        It was a nice try for Bungee’s writers, but ultimately it’s highly illogical when you look at it from an engineering standpoint. They might as well have said: “Master Chief gets shields because magic.” Really, I would have rather they not have tried to make MC’s shield make sense, since they don’t and they can’t. Or just go all the way and say he was raised by the Chozo and they gave him his armor.

      • TacoMagic says:

        It’s my engineering background. I can’t help but pick apart writer’s attempts to write believable future tech. And since writers often don’t come from backgrounds strong in technical knowledge, I find a lot of irksome holes all over the speculative fiction genre (Mass effect’s personnel weapons, for instance). Especially those like Halo where the protagonist exists more as an extension of Rule-of-Cool than anything else.

        The way they needed to go to make it plausible would have been to make the shielding system on MC’s armor a cobbled-together mess of technology they didn’t fully understand. That actually would have been pretty compelling to play if you couldn’t always trust your shields or your suit would malfunction and require repair if you took a hard hit. The armor he actually had was just too well engineered to be plausible given the rest of the canon.

        Now, if we go back to the premise of the UNSC being incompetent, or at least run by incompetents, the whole thing starts making sense again. And, since we’re talking about a large government entity calling the shots here, incompetence isn’t that much of a stretch. They’re going to put their money and tech in the areas that are flashiest and/or earns them high approval ratings rather than the places it’s really needed. Developing a line of super-soldiers rather than retrofitting capital ships with shields? Yeah, I could see that as a politically motivated decision.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        I am willing to give the UNSC a substantial pass for this sort of thing because we have no idea what Covenant shields actually are. It is possible that the increases in size of the shield itself result in massive increases in power draw that outstrip the inherent increases in efficiency coming from a capitol ship, that sort of thing (we never see a ship with multiple shield emitters, so I do not think they can “overlap”). It’s a technology sort of like mass-effect fields in that they can work most any way the plot wants them to.

        More broadly, the UNSC didn’t get a very good chance to acquire a lot of Covenant technology due to the enemy’s death-before-dishonor tactics and the fact that while a lot of UNSC territory was handed over to the Covenant the reverse occurred rarely if ever. The disparity in shielding technology may simply come from the fact that while the UNSC had access to a few intact Elite armorsuits, they were never able to capture a halfway-functional Covenant ship despite multiple attempts to do so.

        Lastly, in Halo 4 the UNSC did suddenly get much better at reverse-engineering Covenant and Forerunner technology- this turned them into massive Stus who beat back the Storm Covenant and a freaking Forerunner with disturbing ease.

  9. erttheking says:

    You know the humans and the Elites are getting pretty buddy buddy for a pair of races that had been in a state of all out war for the last two and a half decades.

  10. TacoMagic says:

    Actually, it is a damn good question how something like a Sangheili eats.

    “I cannot imagine it is a pretty sight.”

    Given their biology, the most likely seems to be swallowing things whole. Kind of like a snake or lizard. They might also tear off small strips of whatever they’re eating and swallow those, like predatory birds. The lack of a beak or any tearing implements makes this less likely than the first option from a natural standpoint. Culturally, the second option would likely develop as an eating method as agriculture became a thing.


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