1134: A New Covenant – Chapter FourPosted: August 8, 2015
Previously in A New Covenant…
“Nothing much happened at all, really.”
Yeah, pretty much. The main characters traveled from Delta Halo to Earth and hooked up with the Master Chief, who abandoned his position a dozen meters from the leader of the entire Covenant in order to attend a strategic meeting at which he gave no input, all while the Forerunner Dreadnought just sort of dicked around and maybe glassed Cleveland or something. Sergeant Johnson then got replaced with a Care Bear, and all outward or inward methods of differentiating the Arbiter from R’tas Vadumee were gradually erased.
“In chapter 4, the old disclaimer gets some new material tacked onto it:”
The Mirratord and the character Simyaldee is the sole property of Soulguard. I’d like to thank him for allowing me to use them. Cloaking technology is the property of CII. I’d like to thank her for allowing me to use it.
Judging by what I could find of these other authors, neither deserves the disservice of being in a Half-Jaw ‘fic.
Chapter 4 is called “The Forerunner” (as though there were only one), and the rating of the story has been changed from PG to T, I guess because the author realized that Halo is a video game and not a movie?
“That, and ‘Reclamation’ is still misspelled.”
The Arbiter was on the bridge of the Cairo talking with Lord Hood. The Arbiter turns to look out a window
“And, as usual, we open with a tense shift.”
then says in a solemn voice, “Lord Hood, the Engineers have completed all repairs to the Cairo. Your MAC guns have had a plasma emitter added to them, they will now send a round of plasma following the MAC round.
Ok, this just seems like a very dubious technology to me, but I can’t find anything immediately wrong with it. I guess they just set up a plasma cannon right next to the main gun and hooked up the fire controls?
Also we have equipped the station with multiple plasma turrets. The station is now more lethal than before.
As opposed to keeping it at the same level of lethality as before?
“Just be glad he didn’t make it less lethal than before.”
Also the shields have been enhanced to give greater strength.
Greater strength to… something, anyway.
“I really don’t want to know what.”
The Engineers have become accustomed to the systems of this station they will remain. With your blessing we are sending a group of Engineers to do the same to the other stations.”
Lord Hood replies, “Do as you wish.”
“Because it wouldn’t be A New Covenant without some Pointless Logistics.”
Just then the Arbiter’s com link came to life.
Oh, shit. I knew I’d left that spare Allspark lying around somewhere.
On the other end was Onno Rjosee, the young radar specialist, saying, “Arbiter our long range scans have picked up multiple slip space ruptures five hundred units away. ETA six units.”
So, if a ship massing one hundred and eighty units is fifteen units away from a unit of Marines, has three twenty-four-unit engines currently running at a temperature of four thousand units, and exits Slipspace traveling at eleven units per microunit fifteen units above the horizontal… how many units of fuel will it need to burn to get to their location within twelve and a half units?
“Wait, are these metric units or Hierarchic units?”
The Arbiter looks up and relays the message to Lord Hood then says, “Time to see what she is made of. The other stations will be having repairs done as they are needed. The alterations will come later. Onward to victory. I shall return to the Seeker of Light and see to the destruction of the Covenant fleet.”
Lord Hood looks at the Arbiter and says, “Arbiter, you are an important Elite. Your place is here on the Cairo by my side. Not out there where you could get killed.”
“Ah. Interesting! The easy part of the alliance is behind them, and now the humans and Elites are going to have to face their first real cultural hurdle- Sangheili lead from the front, and human officers generally don’t. It’s possible that by talking it over they can come to some sort of understanding, or perhaps earn a deeper appreciation for the elements of their cultures they do share, or it could be the first indication that, while they have a common enemy in the Covenant, humans and Elites are simply not compatible.”
Or, it could be ignored and never mentioned again!
The Arbiter looks at Lord Hood as he rubs the bandage covering the place where he once had the Mark of Shame, then turns to see Commander R’tas walking in and says, “My old friend it brings me great joy to see you. Are your prosthetic mandibles working fine?”
Now that‘s a pick-up line if I ever heard one.
“And my mandibles are working perfectly, thank you very much.”
Commander R’tas replies, “They are fine. Brother are we going to join the others on the Seeker of Light?”
The Arbiter says in a commanding tone as he glances at Lord Hood, “No brother we are not. We are going to help defend this station,” the Arbiter motions for Commander R’tas to walk with him, then turns to Lord Hood and says, “I will leave two Honor Guards posted with you. They will defend you in case we are boarded. They will die for you to live. But it would be hard for the boarders to kill them since they are the most skilled.
“Wait… so if the Honor Guards die so that Hood can live, and the Honor Guards are hard to kill, does that mean that Lord Hood is in fact in serious danger?”
Now now, Gul, you know logic has no place in a Half-Jaw ‘fic.
I will take two Guards with me. Although I don’t think I will need them since my armor has been upgraded. If you need me Commander R’tas and I will be in the armory.”
Lord Hood replies as he looks at the view screen, “Thank you. But if this station is everything you say. I doubt it will be boarded. By the way, let your ships know we can distinguish between them and the enemy. The program we uploaded to them also makes any Covenant ship without Elites on them show up as enemy.”
And I don’t think that HJ has any idea how hard it would be to actually program an IFF system to do that, even with 2550s technology. What happened to just flagging known friendlies one color, and maybe flagging enemy ships the sensor techs believe contain hostages in a different color?
“And what’s stopping the Jiralhanae from simply putting a single, drugged Elite on the bridge of each of their ships? If I had a large pile of comatose Elites lying around (and I’m not necessarily saying I do) it’s what I would do with them.”
As the two Sangheili walked out the door into the corridor they were met with a Grunt running at top speed with the same black armored Sangheili chasing it.
Something that, I’d like to remind you, happened two chapters and at least 48 hours ago. They may be tactically incompetent, but I’ve got to give the Covenant points for conditioning its troops!
Commander R’tas turns to the Arbiter laughs and then says, “Brother, if N’tas catches him. I feel for the poor Grunt. Maybe he can find a good place to hide.”
Now that’s just mean.
Everywhere on the massive battle station there were Humans and Sangheili working together. Most were doing fine, the thirty year war seemed to not matter.
“For some reason.”
However, there were a few that still held grudges, Human and Sangheili alike. With that there were pockets of hatred for the Sangheili who were indeed heavy hearted for trying to destroy their new found brothers.
“And apparently, there will never be any sort of accounting for the countless petty brutalities that took place over the last thirty years. It’ll all just be… how do you people say it, swept under the floorboards?”
As the Arbiter and Commander R’tas was walking toward the bridge from the armory they came upon the mess hall where a group of warriors standing in a circle shouting. In the center of the circle was a Human holding a knife and a Sangheili holding a bleeding cut on his arm and giving a war cry.
“Oh, hey, a sparring match! I used to spot these back when I was in the Army.”
If by “spot them” you mean stand ten meters away and shout unhelpful advice in a vain attempt to get one of the soldiers to sleep with you, then yes, you used to spot these.
“I thought I had that footage classified.”
Sergeant Johnson and Commander Keyes was walking up to them. The Arbiter and Sergeant Johnson went to the center of the group to investigate the commotion. Johnson starting to see red when he saw the marine’s bloody knife, said, “What the Hell is going on here?!”
The Marine said, “This Covie filth..”
“Covvie. Two ‘v’s. Slur properly, damn you.”
The blue Sangheili, still nursing his arm, said, “Who are you calling filth, you hairless Brute?”
Ok, that was actually a good line. I would maybe consider throwing in another adjective to accommodate for the fact that humans are about half the size of Brutes, but other than that I think it works!
The Marine turned to the Elite and said, “Why I’ll…”
What is this, The Three Stooges Join the UNSCMC?
Just then Johnson grabbed the Marine and said, “What the Hell do you think you are doing? Now will someone tell me what the hell started this?”
As if on cue a short curly haired Marine, named Corporal William Wheeler
“Who we are supposed to care about because… well, I really have no idea.”
walked out of the group and said, “Sir, I witnessed the whole thing. The Elites were trying to see what was in the vending machines. They wanted some fruit. When Private Marshall here and his buddies walked in and started saying ‘scum can wait for food.’ Then the Elites turned to walk out. That was when Marshall called the Elites ‘chicken’ the Elite turned and gave a cry that was when Marshall cut him.”
Ok, there’s one thing about this story that I just can’t see working.
“Is it that the Marines stick to generic insults and never once bring up anything the Elites actually did?”
Nope. Why do the vending machines on a military defense platform serve freaking fruit?
Sergeant Johnson looked at the Elite and said, “My apologies some of our people don’t know how to leave the past there,” then he turned to Corporal Wheeler and said, “Could you show this honorable Elite to the sick bay so he could get his arm fixed.”
Oh god, Sergeant Care Bear is back!
Come on, you dumb apes! If you want breakfast, you’ve gotta say “please” and “thank you”!
“That is unimaginably disturbing.”
Corporal Wheeler saluted and said, “Sir, yes sir,” then said to the Elite, “Follow me.”
And any credit for properly portraying the Sangheili fear of medical treatment is going… going…. gone.
Commander Keyes walked up and looked at Private Marshall and said, “For your conduct here today you and your group will be spending two days in the brig.
“In the middle of a pitched battle for Earth.”
If this happens again then the punishment will be more severe. These Elites are trying to make amends for what they have done they don’t need the aggression you if this alliance is going to work. We need everyone Human and Elite alike working together not against one another.”
Commander, I think your hinge-head fetish is showing.
“Nothing, really. I just think you should be a bit more careful with the mandible-based slurs.”
Private Marshall couldn’t believe he was being punished
“I can’t believe it either.”
said, “But ma’am the Elites killed your father and you are taking up for them?”
Commander Keyes looked angrily at the Private and said, “I’ll have you know it was the Flood not the Elites that killed my father.
“True. The Elites ‘just’ prosecuted a genocidal war that pulled your father away from his family, shot down the frigate he commanded, captured and tortured him, shot at him with every intention to kill when he broke out, lead him directly into the Flood outbreak, and held down his men long enough for him to get infected.”
If you want you stay in the brig to only be two days then I suggest you keep your mouth shut,” she looked at Johnson and said, “Take them to the brig.”
Sergeant Johnson said, “Yes ma’am.”
All hail the Elites. Anyone who questions shall be punished!
The Arbiter looked at Commander Keyes and said humbly, “Thank you for all you did.”
Just then the intercom came to life saying, “All hands to battle stations. Prepare for battle.”
“It’s. About. Damn. Time!”
The Arbiter turned to Commander R’tas and says, “Let’s get to the bridge.”
On the bridge of the Seeker of Light, Commander Pharr looks at the radar specialist and says, “How many ships are there?”
Onno Rjosee replies, “It’s a small fleet. About eighteen ships. Our twenty-six ships could take them on. Their greatest weapon is a plasma turret.”
That is just sad.
“I am imagining a fleet of eighteen Covenant tugs, all of their engines slaved to a single point-defense plasma turret cabled in place in the center. And I’m laughing.”
Commander Pharr says, “Get me the Arbiter,” he turns to the view screen and says, “Arbiter, our fleet can and will destroy the enemy. You won’t need to worry they will never break the perimeter.”
The Arbiter replies, “Very good. I’ll be watching from here.
God, even the characters know this is going to be a curb-stomp battle.
“And yet they still aren’t actually doing any fighting!”
Commander Pharr says with enthusiasm, “Seeker of Light out. We will let you know as soon as the battle is over.”
The Arbiter, Commander R’tas, and Lord Hood turned to watch the battle from an observation window in Lord Hood’s ready room.
“Sitting around drinking cane whiskey and licking each other’s bulges, instead of being on the command deck ready to give orders like proper officers.”
But the battle was over before it even started. The Forerunners didn’t fire the first shot. The small fleet of enemy ships appeared to blow up for no reason.
WE’VE BEEN DICKING AROUND FOR THREE CHAPTERS WAITING FOR THE COVENANT FLEET TO REACH EARTH AND START FIGHTING, AND IT FINALLY DOES… AND THIS IS IT??
Commander Pharr, on the Seeker of Light, was watching this in total shock. Suddenly five cloaked ships appeared behind where the small Covenant fleet once was.
And who are these douchebags?
“Wait, if they’re still cloaked, how can you now see them?”
Commander R’tas went to the bridge and said almost yelling, “Hail those ships!”
Bridge officer Messer said, “Sir, on screen.”
On the view screen was a Sangheili wearing black armor with purple stripes. Commander R’tas’s mandibles dropped with shock. Simyaldee, the black armored Sangheili was the first to speak.
And he is just… given a name without ever stating it.
He said, “Greetings Brother. I’m glad to see you alive. I’ll bet you are wondering why I’m not firing on the Humans but instead destroyed the Covenant ships?”
“Maybe because it’s been the better part of a day, and the two of you are officially allied?”
Commander R’tas replied, “Yes and how did you know where we were? Were there any other Brothers to survive?”
Simyaldee smiled then said, “We have been monitoring the situation since Delta Halo. We know about the alliance and our beloved race being Forerunner. We tracked you from Delta Halo. We were cloaked. We stayed just outside the asteroid belt and waited to see if any Covenant were coming. Yes we were able to rescue many from High Charity. Not just military and High Council but civilians and many females.”
See. See Elites talk. Talk, talk, talk. See Gul and Sakai bang their heads against the wall. Bang bang bang.
Commander R’tas relieved to hear several survived added, “Simyaldee assemble a small party and take a Phantom to the Cairo. There is someone I want you to meet. We will fill you in on everything.”
Oh, goodie. More exposition on what we already know!!!
Commander R’tas turned and went looking for the Arbiter so the Mirratord could update them on the activities. Since both have been Mirratord for many cycles. He was trying to decide whether or not to tell Lord Hood about the Mirratord. Then decided to discuss it with his Mirratord Brothers. Commander R’tas thought the Arbiter needs to know that not as many as he thought perished.
Ok, I didn’t read Soulguard’s ‘fics in detail, but I got the impression that the Mirratord were some kind of splinter group of Elites that left the Covenant well before Halo 2. Good luck figuring that out here, though.
Blah blah, we get a tiny sliver of worldbuilding as the Elites exchange greetings and actually perform a fairly decent and distinctive gesture where they grab each other’s shoulders, then they go to ‘Vadum’s private quarters because apparently he lives on the Cairo now and not on his own(?) ship.
Simyaldee bowing his head in respect as he walked up to the Sangheili wearing the sacred armor of the Arbiter then dropped to one knee and said, “It’s good to see you Supreme Commander Fulsamee. I thought you were dead.”
The Arbiter said, “As Supreme Commander Fulsamee it is best that I stay dead for now. I’m the Arbiter.”
Simyaldee replied, “To me you are Fulsamee. My old friend and brother. The Prophets were the ones who stripped you of your rank and name not the Sangheili. Now you are the leader of the Sangheili military, Arbiter Fulsamee,”
I have honestly never seen this in a ‘fic before.
You may recall from the True Meaning of Christmas riff that the Arbiter’s real name is Thel ‘Vadam(ee). Half-Jaw wrote that too, so presumably he knows this. And yet, here he’s gone and made the Arbiter a completely different person.
The actual ‘Fulsamee was a crotchety, racist naval officer who died back in the novelization of Halo CE and had extremely little screen time. ‘Vadamee made it out of that same battle, alive but disgraced. He was then publicly tried before the High Council, sent on a number of high-profile missions, and embroiled in the Covenant Civil War. The only time I could imagine anyone thinking he was dead was when Tartarus chucked him off of a platform in the Library, and he resurfaced maybe a few hours afterward. Did ‘Fulsamee fake his death somehow and then take over the Arbiter’s identity at some indeterminate point? Was ‘Fulsamee always alive, and ‘Vadam died at Alpha Halo, and then they thought the Arbiter/’Fulsamee died at some other point??
“It just raises too many questions.”
he then turned to Commander R’tas and said, “Commander, we rescued a Human Construct from High Charity. The construct calls itself Cortana.
It helped us destroy High Charity and Halo when all the survivors were transported.
Whoa. You idiots managed to blow up Delta Halo and High Charity?
The construct is driving my crew nuts. We downloaded her into this transport.”
Commander R’tas turned and radioed the Master Chief. He said, “Master Chief we have your lost construct. Could you come to my quarters ASAP?”
The Master Chief replied, “I’m on my way.”
And, just like that, the primary driving arc of Halo 3 is eliminated.
While the Sangheili were waiting for the Master Chief, Commander R’tas and Simyaldee proceeded to fill the Arbiter in on the Mirratord.
“And I can only wish that they had thought to extend the same courtesy to the reader.”
Then they talk about nothing, the Chief and Cortana are reunited and exchange two lines of dialogue, the party visits Hood’s ready room again, Spark gets bashed, it’s revealed that Truth was able to land his Dreadnought(?) and occupy the city of New Mombasa because nobody could be arsed to stop him, and they decide it’s time to talk about the Ark.
“Yes, Monitor. Now could you tell us the location of this so called Ark?”
The Monitor replied in a patronizing tone, “Yes. It is outside Carson City, Nevada. On the North American continent.
Canonically, the Ark (or more accurately the portal to it) is located in New Mombasa, Kenya. That makes actual sense, as the Ark is intimately connected to the fall of the Forerunners and their relationship with humanity, and humans are theorized to have originated in North Africa. But sense, of course, is something we can’t have in a Half-Jaw ‘fic.
“I do not know why or how the author chose Carson City for this. He doesn’t live there according to his profile, and it has no presence whatsoever in Halo canon. It’s the capital of Nevada, but that’s about all I’ve got.”
However it will take both brothers to enter it. That is it will take a Sangheili and a Human. Both must press the appropriate panels at the same time”
Given that the Forerunners are pretty paranoid, and the security on the Halo rings involved walking from the bottom of a giant fuck-off building (possibly contained behind an energy shield) all the way to the top in order to get an Activation Index, then going halfway around the structure to another building, passing through about seven individually-locked blast doors, and then putting the Index in the right slot just to fire the damn thing… this is honestly pretty lame.
Simyaldee said, as he shifted in the form fitting chair, “Does Truth know that the Ark isn’t in New Mombassa?”
Sergeant Johnson said as he moved next to the Arbiter, “If he doesn’t. Then he will soon learn.”
Mombasa has one ‘s’, Half-Jaw. Stop making such an “ass” of yourself.
“This also brings up an interesting point from the games, namely that the Covenant got the Ark portal’s (and Earth’s) location from a presumably Forerunner source, and yet despite humans having been connected intimately to the Forerunners they had no idea Earth was your people’s homeworld.
That said, one would expect that a Forerunner artifact describing only the Ark portal’s location and nothing else would at least be correct.”
Commander Keyes looks at Sergeant Johnson and said, “We shall send two squads of Marines and one Special Forces unit to New Mombassa.
Good luck trying to clear the Covenant occupation from the largest city on Earth with maybe fifteen guys!
We will send two Special Forces Units called RTU or Recon Tactical Units to Carson City.
“And there is no such thing as a Recon Tactical Unit in Halo, either. This sounds like a job for ODSTs.”
What, infiltrating and blowing up the ‘fic?
“Well, that too.”
Along with myself, Johnson, and the Master Chief.” then she adds, “Cortana, could you down load the exact location of the Ark to your data banks?”
Cortana replies, “Yes, ma’am.”
Commander R’tas adds as he looks at the map on the ready room wall, “The Sangheili will send two units and one Spec Op unit with yours to New Mombassa.
Oh, good, so now there might even be a whole fifty soldiers to fight the entire Covenant Loyalist Army!
They will assist in any way. May I suggest the Spec Op and the Special Forces units have a side mission. The assassination of Truth.”
Something you could have done THREE BLEEPING CHAPTERS AGO instead of holding a pointless expositional meeting!
Commander Keyes replied as she looked at the white armored Elite, “Mission accepted.”
Commander R’tas turns back to the map and continues, “We will send two Spec Op units to Carson City. N’tas Mormesee will lead one with his best warriors.
“A small error in the face of all of this nonsense, but if this ‘N’tas’ person is supposed to be a nephew of either the Arbiter or R’tas, he should have either ”Vadum’ or ”Vadam’ as his local name, not… whatever that M-thing is supposed to be.”
Also, shouldn’t everyone be dropping the -ee suffix from their names at some point? That suffix comes from service in the Covenant military, and in canon they all removed it shortly after the start of the Civil War.
Simyaldee will lead the other along with myself and the Arbiter. Onward to victory,”
Why are all three of your best officers leading the stupid diversionary feint?
“Because they’re all highly visible, and their presence will help the enemy swallow what is otherwise a transparent distraction?”
with that all the Sangheili gave a war cry that the Humans couldn’t help but join in.
Well, except for me. This human would just as soon go stick a power drill in his motor cortex.
“Turians are right out.”
The Arbiter looked at them all and said, “Brothers, let’s go. We must get to this Ark before Truth.”
“For some reason.”
To Be Continued…