|This article, Andrea, was written by Spartan 501 and Dennis Powers. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.|
Created in 2536 to monitor the growing satellite network around Installation X, Andrea started life as a simple Station AI, doing nothing more than crunching data, with no form of self-awareness. However, when Michael Harrington began giving her more processing power to expand, she began to grow, and became aware of a "self". She began to study Harrington, as well as using spare time to think about things and learn how to talk. She talked to Harrington for the first time; saying "Good Morning". Station AIs generally could not talk, so this was a unique occurrence. They became fast friends during the days of solitude on the ring. When the UNSC Fearless returned in 2537 to the ring, Andrea downloaded herself into Harrington's suit. She was an invaluble asset in the days to come.
Over the next few days as they traveled to meet up with Strike Team Delta, the group that would bring them up to the Fearless for debreifing, Andrea learned about human emotions, and they bonded as they made their way across the ring. When they finally arrived at the strike team's location, tradegy struck. The strike team was dead, and in his anger, Harrington killed their killers, a covenant ambush party. As they moved forward on foot, they discovered a Forerunner power core, and Andrea, as her programming dictated, began to explore it, and accidently overloaded the core, killing the army of Covenant surrounding it.
However, they were discovered, and Banshee fliers followed them over their journey across the ring. They were headed downspin to the drop pod's location, where they hoped Strike Team had hidden it. Harrington greived thhe whole way there, he had lost a good friend named Jacob during the ambush. As they made their way across the ring, Andrea shielded their Warthog from sensors, and gave Harrington the inspiration to find the drop pod. Andrea scanned for a space of nothing the size of the dropod, and found it quickly. However, an energy spike drew their attention, and they went to investigate, and found a huge energy cannon. But they had to warn the fearless; they set off for the drop pod once again. When they arrived they found it was damaged, but Harrington began repairs. BHowever, it was interrupted when six banshees came in at them, and they activated the thrusters early, on a course for the Fearless.
Then everything went straight to hell. Andrea detected a large energy spike, and sure enough, the Covenant had fired the cannon. The EM waves knocked out everything but docking thrusters on the pod, and they fell back towards the ring. They landed in a snowy patch of the ring, and Harrington was knocked unconscious. Andrea, as a last resort, took control of the suit, and brought him to safey before the pod exploded.
Andrea then waited for Harrington to wake, and when he did she told him that they had to move somewhere different. However, he fell asleep once again, and when he awoke a second time, they headed off across the snowy expanse. The BioSuit Harrington wore was notouriously hard to control, and Andrea began to try and help him, and with her helping him through his neural lace, his control increased.
They began making their way across the ring once again, and during the trip, Andrea learned some parts of Harrington's past. He was from Carter's World, a small moon orbiting gas giant. It had been glassed in 2532, and he had been injured in the battle, as well as having lost his first life and childhood sweat heart: Andrea King. Andrea also wondered where Harrington was headed. However, she found out soon enough. They reached the old survey sight, and discovered two Covenant elites scouting it. They engaged the Covenant, and killed them with a combination of luck, surprise, and Andreas help. After reaching the hog, they found that now that they had a transmitter, the Satelitte Network had gone battle encrypted. Andrea began attempting to decode the encryption, but with the limited processing power of the suit, she could not do it very quickly.
However, she was able to decode some of it, and she discovered that the Fearless had retreated from the energy cannon, and the Search and Rescue team dispatched to find them had crashed. She told this to Harrington, and was shocked when he headed off with her, telling her "[it] was time [they] put their newfound relationship to the test."
They made their way to the energy cannon, and Harrington asked if she could interface with the cannon and overload it like she had done before. Unfortunately, they were jamming around it, so she would have to be in contact with the cannon's computer. She watched anxiously as Harrington made his way stealthily into the base and got inside the computer terminal.
But it was more than just a single terminal. It was a hub of all data on the planet; and Harrington's and Andrea's minds were pulled intot the machine. In such a rich expanse of data, Andrea's programming kicked in, and she attempted to understand all of the data. It was too large, and she began coming apart. However, by concentrating on Harrington, she was able to keep together. When they emerged from the data array, they found themselves surrounded by the group of AIs known as GAIA. GAIA was the ruling intelligence on the ring, and did not want to interfere with the battle by taking down the Energy Cannon. Andrea managed to make him stop the cannon by persuading him that the battle was an anomaly, and thus must be corrected. When they emerged from the computer, they began making their way to the surface. They emerged to find a huge group of marines had taken the cannon from Covenant hands, and they were brought to the Fearless to meet the captain.
Up there, Andrea met the AI Kaylee, and the two became friends. After meeting with the captain, Andrea and Harrington went to a funeral service, then went for a checkup in the cryo bay. They received an upgrade for the suit, which made it easier for Andrea and Harrington to interface. They then met with the captain in Hangar Bay Eight, where he gave them a stripped down Longsword Fighter/Bomber called the Tranquility. On board the ship, she chose her name after Harrington's dead wife.
They returned to the surface, and to Outpost Rio, and spent their next few months there. However, several days after they had returned, Andrea began detecting began detecting bio near the energy cannon. Using the satellites to track this, she found that Chief Petty Officer Alex Hicks had been stranded down on the surface. She followed him using a half a dozen satellites, and when he started getting pursued by a hunter, she used the sattlites to generate an EMP pulse which made the comm unit he was carrying erupt into static. She listened to his last testament, which he was recording using the comm unit and unwittingly transmitting to the satellite network.
After several weeks of this, she and Harrington departed using a MJ07-Wasp to retreive the Petty Officer. After he pushed the hunter off the cliff, Andrea introduced herself, and told him of what had been happening. They then returned to the outpost, and stayed there for several months, and were joined by Hick's wife and daughter.
Several months later, things began to heat up again. A group of three covenant pickets entered the system and began heading for the ring. Almost everyone but Harrington, Andrea, and a group of marines stationed to man the energy cannons were evacuated to the Fearless, which then went and hid out in the thickest part of the nebula surrounding Installation X. However, Andrea and Harrington had one last job to do.
A group of ODSTs were surveying inside a valley were scans couldn't penetrate, and were communications were limited to just a few hundred yards. Andrea and Harrington were assigned to go to the ODSTs position and inform them of the situation, wait until they finished their mission, then bring them back to the outpost until the danger had passed or the marines shot down the Covenant group.
The duo made their way to the valley in their warthog, but stopped in the entrance and noted that the watermarks indicated that it had once been completely submerged for centuries. Andrea used satellite images to figure out that it now emptied on a regular basis, and that the tide completely flooded the entrance for days at a time. As they made their way inside, Harrington pointed out that the wildlife in the entrance was higher than usual. As they made their way further inside the valley, Andrea found she could no longer reach any of the outside world in communications, and she suspected that some sort of dampening field.
Once there, Andrea noted that the ODSTs did not seem to like them very much. Harrington informed her that the Spartans and ODSTs had a long standing feud, and that they thought he was a Spartan because his BioSuit made him resemble one. During the next night however, Harrington and Andrea met Sargent Timothy Roberts, a man who did not share the ODST's normal dislike for Spartans. Andrea liked Roberts immediately, and said as much. However, there first meeting did not last long. A young corporal named Anthony Ruben fell, and was knocked unconscious. In a private conversation, Harrington pointed out that he should have been protected by the armor he was wearing, but even that was damaged. Andrea herself pointed out that the puncture wounds on his armor were not consistent with the fall.
During the night, Andrea quietly observed Harrington and Roberts bond, as Harrington told him things about his past he did not normally talk about to anyone but Andrea. The next day, they began a trek to the science facility. It was down a gorge and across a narrow bridge. On the way there, Harrington began to be fatigued, and Andrea asked him to let her take full control. However, Harrington merely wanted to stop and rest, and as they passed a large structure where the sound of running water could be heard plainly, they stopped. Andrea had been wondering why the night earlier Sargent Roberts had called Harrington an angel, and she asked about it. He told her that his home planet was actually a small moon orbitng a gas giant, and the unique radiation had slowly evovled some of the humans into "perfect" humans. Only these perfect children were seen by offworlders, giving them the reputation of angels. Andrea asked Harrington was an angel, and he answered "hardly".
When they met back up with Roberts, who had come back to check on them, Harrington asked what it was, and Roberts said it was a water diversion unit. Andrea took careful scans, and concluded the same thing without a word. When they finally made it to the bridge crossing the river that flowed through the valley and connected the science facility to the other parts of the valley, they found it was still midday. Roberts said that is had something to do with the fact that the valley was an enclosed system, and it trapped all the moisture from the stream. Andrea had already detected large bio-mass signs in the valley, and Roberts confirmed her suspicion that all the animals stayed in the valley. Andrea commented that the valley seemed familiar to her, though she could not remember where.
When they made their way inside, Andrea found her scans were distorted, to her shock, everything read as biomass. They continued making their way down, and when they opened a door they were greeted by...a dead body of one of the sentries. Harrington found a helmet camm, and Andrea interfaced with it and ran the video feed for Harrington and her to see. And then they discovered the creatures. A group of small bulbous pods attacked the sentries, and Andrea realized what the Forerunnes had used the valley for. They had to get out immediately.
Andrea listened as Harrington told Roberts to get everyone out, and Andrea told Roberts to listen to him. Andrea watched as Harrington got Roberts and the remainder of his squad to move, and began watching the movement scanners to find the creatures-bio scanners did not work. When one of the flood attacked Roberts and threw him off the bridge into the water below, Andrea told Harrington that he was still alive. Andrea watched, and realized before Harrington or Roberts did that there was something in the water that made the creatures not want to touch it.
She watched as the humans wired the bridge to blow up, and helped Harrington escape from the blast. She then began to analyze the creatures, but all of her findings were inconclusive. However, she did realize one thing; that whatever had gotten the Corporal during the night might've been what got the scientists. Informing Harrington of this possibility, she helped him run his fastest to get back to the base. They got there barely in time; the mutated corporal was about to kill the Lieutenant when they killed it.
Harrington then explained all he knew about the creatures, and Andrea revelaed herself to the Lieutenant. The creatures were spreading, and Andrea, using satellite photos, was able to confirm that they were doubling every day by consuming all the animals in the valley. The Lieutenant wanted to pull out immediately and nuke the valley from space, and though it was a good plan, they could not leave yet. Andrea explained that the tide had come in, and doing quick math without thinking, she predicted it would not leave for another two days. During the next night, Harrington and Andrea talked about what would happen next. The Fearless would not be able to come back for at least another week, and Andrea calculated that if the creatures escaped the valley, all life on the ring would be consumed within six months.
During the night, a heavily mutated combat form attacked, killing several marines, as well the Lieutenant. Roberts was injured, but Harrington managed to kill the creature with a flamethrower. Harrington however, was extremely sad. He wondered why there had to be so much death in his life. Andrea tried to help him, but it wasn't enough. However, when Roberts talked to him, Harrington managed to pull through, and accept the leadership role that had been thrust upon him. As the humans prepared themselves for more assaults during the night, Andrea was reminded of how much she liked Roberts, and she wondered what they were going to do to pull through.
Harrington went down and finally told the ODSTs that he was not a Spartan, and began issuing orders to fortify the base. Several minutes earlier, Andrea came up with an idea for a surprise for the creatures; they would wire a warthog to blow with enough C-12 to flatten the entire valley, and in the meantime Harrington would gather as many explosives as possible and blow the water diversion unit, flooding the research center. Andrea silently hoped that this would bring down the interference around the valley and allow her to transmit and give her full access to the satellite network. Roberts was the one who would have the special assignment.
The next day Andrea and Harrington set out for the water pipe, and Andrea used her scanners to tell Harrington when the creatures approached. Andrea was very nervous, and had wanted to bring some ODSTs with them, but Harrington had refused. One of the creatures ambushed Harrington, and Andrea couldn't detect it because she could not distinguish them from the rest of the bio-mass in the valley.
Harrington killed one, but the otherone hit him in the hand and numbed his fingers. Harrington asked Andrea to pull the trigger, but due to her programming, she could not take a life. However, Roberts and several ODSTs saved them and killed the creature. Afterwards, Harrington asked her about why she had never brought up the programming proabition, and Andrea, embarrassed, could only respond that it had never come up before.
Several minutes later, twin explosions rocked the ground, and water began to fill the valley. It had begun. Marines began taking defensive actions. Roberts kept aking Harrington what he meant by "everything on the ring had a purpose" and Harrington told him that he had been bugged by the water marks on the rocks ever since he had entered the valley. Andrea explained to Roberts that the ring had only been in the gravity well of the gas giant for around 200 years. The valley was never meant to have an opening, the gravity was now giving it one. Andrea realized if the humans could get out, so could the creatures.
Several minutes later, the dampening field went off, and Andrea had full access to the satellite network, as well as being able to trasmit. Andrea immediately composed a message and sent it to Arthur, who sent it up to the Fearless. It was the request for the Fearless to return to the system and nuke the valley. She also learned that a surprise attack with the energy cannons by the marines had destroyed the three Covenant Pickets.
Not long afterward, movement was detected on the scanners, and the first assault by the creatures began. However, they stopped for unknown reasons on the ridge ahead of the base and did not attack. The reason was revealed quickly: a diversion. Harrington and Andrea rushed to help,and Harrington planted a charge that killed off the creature attack force at the flank. With the loss of so many, the remaining creatures retreated. Andrea realized that they were absorbing battle tactics from those they'd consumed, and that they had attacked were the humans were storying their extra arms.
Andrea began asking Arthur to task satellites to observe their position, and learned that the tide would not be out for another day. More ODSTs were put on watch, as tension rose. During the night, Andrea visited Roberts over his comm, and talked with him. They had a long talk, and the two of them began a deep friendship. She learned about his past, and he learned about hers.
The next day, the creatures began making dashes at the wall every few minutes; they were clearly testing the defenders defenses. The human snipers kept the flood down, but tension steadily rose. Several hours into the morning, Andrea detected a large group of the creatures heading for the base. The humans prepped, and the battle began. This time it was not a single attack at a single point, but a swarming of dozens of different areas, with far superior numbers to before. As the battle raged, casualties mounted, and several times the creatures almost breached the base. Friendly fire also started, as rogue grenades and rounds fired in desperation killed their own allies. Finally, at a terrible cost, the creaturs were pushed back.
But they gathered once more, this time ready to attack with their full numbers. However, they decided they still had one chance, the explsove laden warthog. They rushed to arm the timer, but to their horror the timer had been destroyed, and would have to be set off manually. Andrea and Harrington were going to stay, but Roberts revealed he was infected, and he stayed in their place. As the ODSTs and Harrington evacuated, the flood attacked once more; this time with all the numbers at their disposal. Andrea stayed with Sargent Roberts during the assault, and aided him as he manned the chain gun and cut down the flood. Finally, he detonated the bomb when Andrea informed him that they were all inside the valley, ending the threat of the creatures.
It took them two days to return to the survey sight and get a ride, and another three to make it back to the Outpost. When they finally did, the Fearless returned several days later, and the ODSTs now opted to stay at the outpost, where Hicks and his family had returned, and where there families began to set up homes.
Several weeks later, Harrington loaded a huge amounts of rations into a 'hog as well as a thermal generator, and set off for one of the areas that still remained unscannable. Once there, Andrea watched as Harrington led an elite around, making it waste ammo then stunning it, and leaving it with all the rations they had packed. They then returned to the outpost.