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- "Bloody sneaky creatures. They're like ghosts, smoke even. They slip through your fingers every time you get close to killing one. Best assassins I've ever seen."
- ―ONI agent
The Aruli (Aquae sicarius, meaning "assassin of water"), initially recognized as Gremlins by the ODSTs of Benjamin Janson's squad, are an amphibious crustacean-like species. They are the newest species to be utilized by the Covenant against humanity. Although not officially part of the Covenant, they are in fact galactic mercanaries that are hired by various species, factions and organizations throughout the Milky Way. Because of their mercenary status and similar skill set, the Aruli had extensive partnership with the Kig-Yar. As of 2532, they were planned to become officially indoctrinated into the Covenant, however, interference caused by Benjamin Janson in Halo: Victor would halt this process. After this, the Aruli race was presumably purged by the humiliated Covenant.
Contact with the Covenant
The Aruli were first encountered by the Covenant in the year 907 AD. At that time they werein terms of technological achievements. First contact was surprisingly peaceful until the Covenant requested that the Aruli join the Empire. The Aruli politely declined but instead offered their services to the Covenant as mercenaries and assassins to handle operations too delicate for standard Covenant infantry and in exchange they requested advanced technology and prisoners of war to use as gladiators. The Covenant agreed and the Aruli became the Empire's hired assassins.
26th Century and Human-Covenant War
By the 26th century, the Aruli had become almost as advanced as the Covenant Empire in terms of technology and had become popular galactic mercenaries favored by numerous organizations throughout the Milky Way. The Aruli were not introduced until later in the war and they played a major role in assassinations, special and black operations and occasionally security. They took part in specialized missions far too delicate for Covenant special operations forces and far behind enemy lines. Rarely actually seen by UNSC forces, they were often referred to as "ghosts" because of their skills in stealth and assassinations. Being a very specialized fighting force, they never took part in any front lines operations and only received orders from the Prophets themselves.
Anatomy and Physiology
Aruli are an amphibious bipedal crustacean-like species. A fully grown Aruli adult on average stands at about 5 foot, ten inches and weighs typically at around 70-80 kilograms. Aruli are strictly herbivorous creatures and have five mandibles. However, unlike Sangheili, the inside of these mandibles have no teeth. Instead of teeth, the Aruli use a very small "beak" inside their mouths to crush their food.
The gills of an Aruli are located underneath its chin. The Aruli also have a streamlined head and a thin membrane in between their toes to help propel them through the water faster and are just as manoeuvrable in water than on land.
Aruli have enormous red eyes, two tridactyl hands, "bladed" arms and two digitigrade legs as well as two small, unused pairs of tridactyl hands located on their abdomen. Aruli are extremely fast and manoeuvrable, their natural speed and agility exceed even those of Spartan standards, being able to run in bursts of speed of up to 80 kph and jump extraordinary heights. They are, however, not very strong and while their natural speed gives them an edge in hand-to-hand combat, an experienced opponent can dispatch them.
There are no obvious physical differences between male and female Aruli and both genders are actively used as soldiers and assassins. Sexism does not exist in the Aruli culture, as both genders look physically identical and are only recognised among each other by a pheromone emitted by each individual. This pheromone is undetected by any other species and it details the individual Aruli's gender and age to other Aruli.
An Aruli's eyes are one of its greatest assets and can perceive both polarised light and hydro spectral colour vision. The eyes of an Aruli are compounded and possess over 7,000 separate ommatidia in each eye. Specific parts of its eyes are specialised to view infra-red and ultra-violet light. Their eyes retain an eerie, deep red colouration. Numerous humans have voiced that the Aruli's eyes are perhaps their most frightening aspect. Supposedly, most fauna native to the Aruli homeworld share similar eye traits and sight.
Throughout their history, the Aruli had never formed any major religions of their own. Even so, they never displayed much interest in science or making discoveries either. Instead, the Aruli's twisted psychology makes them a generally aggressive, self-centered species with no regard for others. For thousands of years, their prime form of entertainment was forcing enemies to take-part in gladiations or duels against themselves or seemingly impossible odds. The Aruli also found that they had a knack for taking part in reconnaissance mercenary missions, and had considered such activity a pleasurous pastime.
Aruli are considered to be an r-selection species and as such give birth to numerous offspring.
The Aruli originate from the planet Terrador. The planet is roughly thrice the size of Earth and is dominated by enormous freshwater oceans, with 96% of its surface consisting of it. Aruli on Terrador are more often found in the water than on the land and have massive underwater cities in which host billions of Aruli citizens.
Terrador's enormous oceans are home to many dangerous and enormous aquatic predators. The massive creatures that inhabit Terrador's ocean are infinite and differ greatly from each other. Ranging from microscopic plankton-like parasites to the gargantuan sea monsters the size of skyscrapers.
Even the technologically advanced Aruli never venture into waters that host such monsters, but in turn, the colossal monsters do not venture into Aruli occupied waters, as the Aruli are just about the dominant and technologically advanced species on the planet. However, the Aruli are closely contended by these sea monsters, as some species are capable of traveling across bodies of land for limited periods of time.
The Aruli have been able to survive on Terrador for thousands of years due to their speed, agility and intelligence. Their small size is one of their most important defenses as most of Terrador's ocean predators are far too large to even consider the Aruli to be a food source.
Political and military rank structure
The Aruli's primary leaders, up too forty-seven Elder are randomly selected from the oldest veteran candidates every year. The Elder make group decisions, and cast votes to enact new laws as a career. The Aruli Elder complete their terms in office by selecting fit members of Aruli society to serve in the Covenant military. Eventually, when this cycle in complete, most surviving warriors will become elected to become an Elder for one or more terms.
Aruli Spec Commando
Aruli Commandos are deployed in the same manner as their lesser infantry, nor do they fight in the same manner. Commandos are non-infantry troops, suggesting that the title of Commando cannot be easily achieved by their standard counterparts. Instead, Commandos are the most advanced Aruli in the field of reconnaissance. Commandos are usually deployed far behind enemy lines, solo, and are assigned a single top priority task, such as assassinations.
Aruli "Stalker" Zealot
Aruli Zealots are far more specialised and adaptable than their subordinates. They tend to trek to the farthest reaches behind enemy lines, before directing their fire upon their opponents, who aren't expecting to be shot from their own side. They utilise advanced active camouflages, as well as lightweight, yet durable armour systems. Zealot usually wield long-distance sniper weaponry, that is efficient in completing it's job of sniping without giving away the position of its user. Aruli Zealot are arguably the ultimate standard sniper infantry.
Aruli "Stalker" Officer
The more experienced Aruli Officers lead the Aruli Troopers in covert operations, taking position from the highest available perches on their own side of the battlefield. The Commando not only provide intelligence, but utilise long distance Covenant sniper weapons such as the Covenant focus rifle. Commando are equipped with advanced camouflage, while still utilising the same battlesuit as their more expendable comrades, the Trooper.
Aruli "Stalker" Saboteur
The special operations troopers of this warrior caste, Aruli Saboteur are deemed responsible for the disabling and disposal of enemy vehicles and aircraft using specialised Covenant weapons such as a Plasma Pistol, Fuel Rod Gun or Plasma Launcher. They tend to locate themselves on the sidelines of an open battlefield, while utilising poor camouflage, similar to the lesser Aruli Trooper. Even so, the Saboteur make up for this disadvantage with an advanced armour system, similar to the Zealot's.
Aruli "Stalker" Trooper
The most common and least experienced type of Aruli combatant. Despite them being the most inexperienced rank, they are hand-picked by the Aruli Elders to serve in the military once their training is complete. Standard Trooper tend to settle themselves on either side of the battlefield's outskirts, sniping with standard, medium range, non-automatic Covenant weaponry such as the needle rifle. Trooper forms are also capable of providing their allies with intelligence that they gather, allowing them to work as a collective, or a building killer. Aruli troopers are equipped with the standard poor camo, and generally weak clad.
- The concept of the Aruli was inspired by the Predator species from the Alien vs. Predator universe.
- The author is working on a hand-drawn design of this species.