|This article, Halo: The Damned, is currently under active construction.|
|This article, Halo: The Damned, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Halo: The Damned follows Kasr 'Revsaree as he not only tries to avenge his people in the midst of the Brute's genocidal betrayl but also break through one enemy's territory to another to deliver a most important message. A peace offering.
Halo: The Damned
Halo: The Damned
Chapter 1: Betrayal
Kasr ‘Revsaree cradled the wound in his lower abdomen, the spike in it still boiling hot. The wound would not kill him, not today. Zarpa crouched down beside the corpse of Tawag and gently brought his fingers of his eyes, shutting them. Kgaswa reloaded his needler then looked around.
“Sir, the Jiralhanae, where are they?”
“They have retreated with their tails between their legs, the mongrel bastards.” Major Idatesee said, walking up towards them.
The floor was blood stained, patches of purple and vibrant blue blood covered every surface. The normal sheen of the purple walls was dulled by the blood. The Battlecruiser, the Night Bane, was now a battleground, not against the humans, but against the Jiralhanae. And Sangheili in dark green armour with silver decorations knelt beside him and laughed.
“This is no serious injury my brother.”
Kasr looked to the Sangheili and clicked his jaws. He was a strange one amongst the Sangheili. While many in military training focused upon ending the lives of the enemy, he focused upon saving the lives of his brothers, though he himself had proven himself in combat. His position was deemed ‘undesirable’ by the society norms of the Sangheili. He removed the spike and began to seal and dress the wound.
“You best go see the commander… he is worried about you.” He whispered
“My brother… has enough to worry about.” Kasr said somewhat uncaringly
“Go ease his worries, he only cares for his younger sibling.”
He stretched himself out and then looked across the deck. This had previously been a recreation area but now… it was something different. About three hours ago a communiqué from the San ‘Shyuum of Truth was broadcast to every ship in the fleet. The Sangheili had betrayed the Covenant and attacked the San ‘Shyuum. No matter what had been said, now the Jiralhanae were attacking the Sangheili. In two hours the fleet was either decimated or the ships were being battled for control. The Sangheili had only just defeated the Jiralhanae held ships and now focused on securing the last few. Swarms of Unggoy forced onwards by the Jiralhanae charged forward, followed by the Jiralhanae. Only six Lances had been on hand to deal with the offensive. That has only six Minor Sangheili, Three Majors, six Major Unggoy and Twelve Minor Unggoy. They had gone up against triple their number. They had just five Unggoy and three Sangheili left. Now their reinforcements had arrived and the ship was secure. Kasr could breathe a sigh of relief. He did however, cede to his brothers request. He travelled to the bridge of the cruiser, and armoured room deep in its bowels. There holographic screens glowed brightly and displayed information on the battle at hand. On the central pedestal a single Sangheili stood, bedecked in golden armour. He turned at the arrival of Kasr and opened his arms wide and walked towards him.
“Little brother, you are safe!”
“Thanks to the sacrifice of my comrades. We held the deck against their offensive.”
“Well done Kasr, how many did you send to hell?”
“I believe my lance took down 13 Unggoy and 7 Jiralhanae.”
“Impressive. I think you are deserving of a promotion.”
Kasr sighed. He never wanted to be a warrior. He just wanted to follow a simple life. Of all things he wanted to be an artist. There was few in the Sangheili race that approved of such things. However, though he lacked an interest in military matters, he was excellent at them. It was after all, in his genes.
“Brother, come with me.” He said, bidding Kasr to follow him to his chambers. A Major Sangheili stood guard outside and saluted him as he past him. Once inside he pulled off his helmet and laid it down upon his tactical holo map.
“Things… look bleak…” He said his voice down-heartened. He pressed a number of holographic keys and a hologram of a Sangheili appeared. He bore silver armour, not of an Ultra but of the Spec Ops commander of the Covenant.
“Brothers, the San ‘Shyuum and the Jiralhanae, they have betrayed us! I declare a call to arms, we must rally our fleets, counter attack them! The Great Journey, it was a fabrication, a lie! The Halos are not the key to the great journey, this has been told to me by the Arbiter, he lives yet, hunting down the Prophet of Truth!”
Kasr crossed his arms and looked to his brother, Ero ‘Zemsaree. Though terming him brother was some what incorrect. They were half brothers, same mother, and different father. While they were both raised by the same man, Kasr’s real father was a Swordsman, Aru ‘Vesnakee. His older brother was still extremely protective of him which sometime smothered him but he knew he only did it because he cared.
“The admiral of the fleet was slain by the Jiralhanae, as was the Councillor with us but… we avenged their deaths, we boarded and captured the vessel carrying the San ‘Shyuum. Now I am in command of the fleet… the other ship masters are less experienced than me. I will be transferring across to the Assault Carrier soon but I have something for you brother.”
He brought up the holographic display of the fleet, showing the fleet and the world they orbited. On the surface a Jiralhanae force defeated the Sangheili forces and took control of the surface. It was a jungle world where they had been excavating a forerunner temple. He had never held much reverence to the Forerunners or they Great Journey, his family was made of sceptics but to let to Jiralhanae control it was stain on their honour.
“So what is it you wish me to do brother?”
“I want you to go in on the assault force, help to take back that structure. I am sending in a strike force, led by the Ultra, Kadonaee. I want you to go as his second in command.”
“What are the force dispositions?”
“Our first wave is an assault pod force, 15 Sangheili, they are to secure our landing zone, next wave is our dropship infantry, led by you. Four dropships, you will have a Lekgolo pair. You will make way for our landing of Wraiths.” Kasr nodded and saluted him.
“It will be done brother.”
He left and walked forward before gripping his wound. It would not matter, there were Jiralhanae to defeat.
Chapter 2: From Heaven
Kasr felt uncomfortable in his crimson armour. He felt undeserving of his rank, he had, after all, most likely been promoted by his brother because he could abuse his position of power. He always talked about it like that to others but many saw him as deserving. He twitched his jaws them tightened his grip around his plasma rifle. This was the command Phantom, with the officers awaiting landing. There were four other Major Sangheili and their Ultra commander. On with them was their Lekgolo pair, a fearsome pair of walking artillery platforms. Also with them were a handful of other Sangheili, including the healer who had helped him earlier, Jado ‘Vraestee and a pair of Spec Op Sangheili who didn’t reveal their names. Their sole purpose was to act as their scouts and forward sniper.
“What is the situation?”
“We have neutralised their anti aircraft defences in the clearing, come and land.”
Kasr gave his rifle one last check. It was fine. Something worried him about this mission. He was about to finally loosen up a little when there was a serious of dull thuds, followed by explosions and the Phantom shook wickedly. The side exploded outwards, blowing the ramp out and sucking one Sangheili straight out into the air.
“They have hidden positions, deceitful beasts!” the pilot called out.
Another Sangheili was almost sucked out when a Lekgolo out stretched its shield arm and caught him. There was another burst of flak and the ship lost all control. Kasr simply held on. The crash was terrifying, the cockpit dipping into the ground and being sheared off then the Phantom flipped twice before coming to a rest on its belly at the edge of the clearing. There was a single grunt of pain as Kasr gradually recovered to his senses. Kadonaee briskly held the spike of metal sticking through his chest.
“Accursed Jiralhanae… they have caused me a dishonourable injury, Healer, quickly, help me with this so I may exact my revenge!” The Ultra demanded
Jado moved over to him and shook his head.
“I am afraid, it is fatal… if I remove this spike… you will bleed to death. There is nothing I can do.”
“Ugh… I will not be so easily defeated. Not yet.” He Grunted. He looked to Kasr than made him feel uneasy then tossed him his Energy Sword. He caught it deftly then looked between the sword and Kadonaee.
“Lead us… to victory…”
He pulled himself off the spike and stood up for a few moments and roared in defiance before falling to his knees. Blood gushed from his chest. He looked to Kasr and gave him an almost soul piercing look.
He fell down and finally died. Kasr looked at the blade then attached it to his thigh and looked to his comrades.
“We shall enact his final desire. To war!”
The Sangheili roared in defiance and the Lekgolo gave a terrible rumble sound. The Lekgolo pair knocked away the wreckage and trotted out, followed by the Sangheili and met with the Sangheili who had gone in on the first wave.
“What has happened, I thought you silenced their guns?”
“They must have more, hidden in the jungle!”
Across the clearing the rest of the first wave helped the Sangheili and Unggoy of the second Phantom but the third was no so lucky. It had exploded, showing the clearing with parts of it and the fourth was missing.
“This is acting commander ‘Revsaree to fleet, delay the third wave!”
“Why, what is the problem?”
“They have more heavy guns, hidden in the jungle. Until we deal with them, we cannot do anything more.”
“Understood, good luck.”
He clicked off his comms and then looked to the wreckage of the Phantoms. Neither would fly, ever again.
“Take the plasma cannons from the wreckage, we can still use them in battle.”
“This is the Phantom gunship Vengeful Falcon, you have hostiles, incoming.”
“What of you, what happened?”
“When the artillery started going off I got low, I am coming in for landing now.”
A Phantom gunship based over head and circled round briskly before it neared the surface. The ramps dropped and the Sangheili and Unggoy onboard disgorged and took cover.
“I will remain on station, my heavy arms will be an aid.”
He looked to the Phantom gunship as it rose back up. It was an enigma amongst Covenant air powered. It was essentially and overpowered dropship, like the early Phantoms and the later, it mounted a nose plasma cannon and a rear pair of guns but instead of plasma cannons it mounted two fuel rod guns. Like the later models it sported a pair of side decks but these had been up armed with two plasma cannons each.
“What can you see brother?”
“Three choppers, followed by two Prowlers and a Wraith. There are Banshees also, be careful.”
“Take cover in the wreckage of our phantoms, get the fuel rod guns trained on the Wraith. Use the plasma cannons for their choppers.” He ordered the Heavy Unggoy and Sangheili who had taken the Plasma Cannons. He then turned to the Spec Ops Sangheili and pointed to the top of one of the wrecked Phantoms.
“Engage your stealth, get up there, take aim for the Prowler’s gunners. We can make use of them later.”
“It will be done.” They said, turning and moving away. One of the Majors moved up and clicked his jaws in an agitated manner.
“Why must we capture their vehicles? I would rather walk a thousand units than drive that with one.”
“I value survival and completion of our mission over honour, I will not let it be the death of us.”
The Sangheili looked at him and gave a huff, part respect, part admission of defeat. He went with the others to take cover as the thrum of crude engines neared them. A chopper burst into view and began to drive straight between the downed ships, followed by the others. There was a burst of fire as the plasma cannons opened up, bathing them in scorching hails of searing plasma. Plasma fire from pistols and needlers opened up, followed by deadly accurate Carbine fire. The first was simply swamped in fire and destroyed and the next had its driver killed. The third arrived and immediately drove straight to the second Phantom and was flipped by a Fuel Rod strikes, sending it tumbling end over end. The Jiralhanae was thrown free and then killed by Carbine fire from the Healer. The Prowlers came into view and did as Kasr expected. He had to fight with these beasts before, on another battlefield against the humans. He watched as they drove straight at the human squads moving around cover. They drive into the middle of them and disembarked then got annihilated in streams of fire. They stood no chance. He had to follow in later to mop up but by then the humans had left. He saw the Jiralhanae use this tactic again as they drove their two prowlers between the Phantoms and disembarked. Only the gunners remained in but they were quickly silenced by two streams of purple light. The six that had dismounted charged his Phantom. Most were gunned down, one even exploded from the sheer volume of needles stuck in him but one, a captain, charged in with his Spiker, raising it like a hatchet. He never stood a chance. Kasr cut him from his right shoulder to his left side, dismembering him with the Energy Sword. There was no going back for him now. He reaffixed it to his thigh and ran to the cover of the Prowler as plasma mortars rained down, almost blinding him. There was a terrific explosion, narrowly missing a Phantom. A second blob struck the other but its hull still hold firm, at least for the time. Fuel Rod guns were fired back, striking one and damaging before the plasma cannon pinned them. The Lekgolo barged their way out and fire their guns, hammering the side of the wounded thing, piercing its hull and destroying it. Its fins blew off in a ball of purple fire and fire burned up and out of its turret. The other turned as the Lekgolo guns recharged and its gun’s axis lowered to aim straight at them. It couldn’t miss them. A large shadow passed over head and shot several balls of sun hot green fire down onto it in quick succession, punching through its hull and destroying its fragile internal systems. It exploded violently, sending chunks of metal high into the air. The gunship circled around as the three banshees descended on it. Plasma scored its hull and several fuel rod strikes hit its hull, to no effect. Kasr ran to the Prowler and immediately leapt into its turret and turned it on the target. He began to fire, as did Jado in the second Prowler, followed by some of the ground positions. The Phantom circled and lowered one of its gun ramps and opened fire with its two plasma cannons and its nose mounted gun as the Banshees past its flank. It covered in a wave of blue-purple fire and destroyed, sending its molten debris to the ground. As one broke off to run a strafing run Kasr and Jado took it out with combined fire. One slipped in on the side and pelted the area with fire and a pair of fuel rod shots. It passed over the Phantom wreckage and suddenly seemed to spin and then opened up. The Jiralhanae pilot fell out then the ship climbed back into the air.
“We have a Banshee.” The Spec Ops spotter reported. That was impressive.
“Land her, let another pilot take her, we have a new task.”
“I want the wounded and the Unggoy to remain here, you too Healer, entrench yourselves, be ready.” I want someone to mount up into the Banshee, guard our Gunship. I want our Majors and Spec Ops on the Prowlers, leave me a seat, all the unwounded Sangheili to that Gunship. Pilot, did you triangulate were those guns are?” Kasr said calmly and coolly, like he was born to battle and to lead.
“Yes, three of them, hidden in a disguised clearing, some 700 Units away.”
“Stay low, remain on station. We will hunt them down.” He said, walking out to one of the Prowlers. The Spec Ops sat on each of its personnel sleds while one of the Majors sat behind the wheel. Kasr climbed into its gun turret and tried to get comfortable. The thing was designed with Jiralhanae in mind and was uncomfortable for is Sangheili physiology. He finally managed to squirm into a comfortable position and began to train the gun around. The other was armed up as one of the Sangheili took a Fuel Rod gun from an Unggoy and then they moved out into the Jungle. He swivelled in his gun, constantly scanning and then there was a buzzing in his communicator.
“100 units to the clearing, eyes forward!”
He looked intently as the trees cleared and the three bronze coloured tanks lay silently in the grass.
“Brother, drive by the backs of them and we will destroy them!” One of the Spec Ops yelled, leaning off slightly. They screamed into the clearing, the tanks slowly turning to face them. As they screamed past the closest one the Spec Ops officer leapt off, clinging onto the back. He hammered his fist into the ventilation fan on the back, causing it to pop off then threw in a plasma grenade before leaping clear. It exploded, the guns being blown off then the forward fins before the main body exploded. Lines of plasma erupted at them and Kasr returned fire, peppering the gunner. A plasma bolt hit his shoulder and a few hit lower on the Prowler, not bothering him. The Major swung it around to provide maximum protection for himself then drove it straight back into the battle. The second Wraith exploded under a full magazine of Fuel Rod Cannon fire, the green blobs burning into the unfortunates hull and exploding on the inside, blowing it open. The third one tried to traverse to face the two choppers surrounding it but the second Spec Ops Sangheili had leapt off and destroyed its event as well, blowing it to pieces.
“This is acting commander ‘Revsaree to fleet, the ground is clear for third wave. We need men evacuated for medical attention, they are wounded.”
“Affirmative comrade, prepare for reinforcement.”
The Spec Ops Sangheili mounted back up and drove back to the clearing where now Four Dropships, hastily repainted green circled around before each deployed a Wraith along with more Sangheili and Unggoy. He was still in acting command so he would have to lead them onwards.
“What knowledge do we have of their defences?”
“They have entrenched several plasma cannons in the crest of the valley around the excavation site, they are well entrenched.” The pilot of Vengeful Falcon reported
“Good thing you brought excavators.” A Sangheili chuckled, patting a Wraith.”
Kasr looked as a wave of friendly Banshees passed over head and then made up his mind.
“I want our Phantoms and Banshees to go forward, pin them down, once our Wraiths reach the bottom of the valley blow a hole in their defences, we will storm it, Lekgolo then Sangheili. After we secure their position, take it and then push into the crater.”
There was a unanimous reply of ‘Yessir’ and the Phantoms and Banshees pulled off to engage the enemy defences. Kasr turned as the Wraiths began to close in. He and his Sangheili fell into line behind it, using the Wraiths as mobile cover. Ahead plasma began to exchange fire, as the Banshees strafed the ground and Phantoms bombarded them. Soon massive globs of burning white plasma filled the air, hammering the dirt and metal below them with sun hot force. Soon two of the bunkers exploded, their internal ammo stores being hit by a piercing plasma bolt.
“Advance, take the bunker!”
Kasr took the sword from his hip and ran up, taking the lead s the Sangheili and Lekgolo broke from cover. Jiralhanae chased their Unggoy out first and Eight and a half foot of honed iron strong muscle hit 1.6 meters of Scales and cowardness. Kasr smashed right through them and speared their captain though the chest then lifted him up with his sword and threw him into his comrades. Two Lekgolo ploughed through the Unggoy, sending them flying. One batted away a Jiralhanae Minor with its shield like he was no more than a toy and then both charged their guns. Kasr ducked to cover as two streams of fire filled the tunnel, killing the Jiralhanae officers. He smelled charred hair, their unwashed, matted fur creating an offensive smell, even before burning. He shrugged this off and then charged forth, followed by his comrades. The tunnel was empty and it led right into the dig site. He had let the heat of battle and the natural head strong nature of his race get the better of him. He raced past as an ancient forerunner defensive measure came active. A shield door that would stop all passing through. The Lekgolo charged into it harmless, roaring him frustration at their inability to help their officer. He ran out of the tunnel before he realised he was alone and the Jiralhanae had trapped him. He looked as a dome of energy surrounded the temple, stopping his brothers from coming to his aid and then to the Chieftain laughing at him along with his pack.
“Foolish Sangheili, your honour always gets the better of you.”
“Filthy beast, you will get what is coming to you!”
“You will only get damnation when the great journey begins!”
Kasr growled. The Jiralhanae had him trapped but the Jiralhanae had other things in mind. He opened a broad comms link and spoke clearly.
“Ero ‘Zemsaree, we have your brother prisoner… come down alone if you wish to get him out alive.”
“No don’t its-!” Kasr yelled out before a Jiralhanae Stalker smacked him in the stomach. Several more uncloaked and restrained him. He sank helplessly to his knees in defeat. The shields parted, if temporarily to let his brothers Banshee through and it circled to the ground. The canopy slid up and he slipped out and walked to the Jiralhanae.
“What is it you want? Transport out of the system, weapons, food? Because if so… you will get none.” Ero said bluntly
“A duel… the losers race must retreat.”
Ero looked at him before smiling intently. “Agreed. I will meet you in hell after I die of old age!”
“Hah! We shall see about that!”
Both charged and both met each others weapon, with Ero’s sword blocking the Chieftains hammer. He knocked the Jiralhanae back and off balance and then swept past him, cutting his said then cutting his back. Shallow wounds. He was playing, not fighting. Or buying time. But as he and the Jiralhanae backed off, the Jiralhanae choose to play dirty. His arm twitched and he was covered in an aura of white-blue light. He charged recklessly at Ero who charged back. He slashed at his midriff but his blade was disrupting, making it flash brightly and fade. The Jiralhanae smiled and smashed him to the ground with his hammer. Kasr heard bones break and shouted out but was silenced by a Stalker. He continued to beat Ero, pummelling him to dust before preparing to deliver the killing blow. He placed his heavy foot on his chest and drove his hammer in line with his head, preparing to knock it off like a ball.
“…now….” He gurgled
Above them a blur of light emerged, gradually showing a Phantom. The Phantom gunship. The Chieftain was distracted for a few vital seconds, enough for Ero. He took a plasma grenade from his belt, activated it and tagged it to his foot.
“Good luck my brother!” He shouted before the grenade went off. Both were consumed in a ball of blue fire, leaving no remains for burial or honouring. Kasr howled as streams of plasma and fuel rod fire swept from its guns, damaging the generator that kept the shield active. Sangheili leapt from the Phantom into combat and smashed the Jiralhanae aside. Kasr saw the inactivated hilt of his sword in front of his and leapt for it. He took it and then cut one of the Stalkers in two then stabbed another in the head, killing both. And hour later, every Jiralhanae had been exterminated. It was brutal and methodical, leavening none alive. Kasr kicked the last Jiralhanae from his sword and spat on his corpse.
“Commander ‘Revsaree, the facility is secure, what are your orders?” A major asked, picking his way past his bodies.
“Cleanse the site of our dead and our gear, get their bodies ready for storage. We are returning to Sangheilios.” He said, looking to the burnt spot that was his brother.
“By your word sir, I will tell the fleet commanders.”
Chapter 3: Regroup
Kasr looked out the window of the ship and gazed at the slowly rotating image of Sangheilios. The ruddy red soil looked beautiful in the blood red sun of their system. He crossed his arms and stepped away from the window and to the Phantom awaiting him. The Phantom Gunship had him indebted. As he stepped on he moved up to the cabin to see the pilot face to face. He was covered in his flight suit, obscuring his face.
“I wish to thank you again… for saving my life.”
“Do not trouble yourself brother, I did what any Sangheili would do.”
“… What is your name?”
“Tal’Era ‘Vanouee, sir.”
Kasr nodded and went back to his single seat. He needed to conserve his energy after all. He was going to meet the council.
After the fleet had returned from their mission Kasr was immediately requested to see the council, but not on the case of his brother and the battle. It had made him curious and frightened at the same time. The Phantom was going directly to the council chambers, a tremendous silver tower that existed before the San ‘Shyuum came. He had only seen it once, on the day before he left for his first tour of duty. He had completed it, he had completed too many. He grew tired of fighting the humans, weary of the murder. He never viewed this war as just, the humans had never offended the San ‘Shyuum, or the Sangheili. However, this is the way it would be. As the Phantom came in the pilot turned to him and then released the doors. Kasr gave a curt nod then leapt clear of the Pelican. He landed on the finely tiled flooring and seemed to twist on it uncomfortably. He felt just by looking at it he was damaging it. He shrugged this off and trotted across the hangar to a single councillor flanked by two Lights of Sangheilios warriors, a order of warriors dedicated to protecting people, much like the Honour guards, though they often saw combat.
“Kasr ‘Revsaree?” The councillor asked
“Yes sire.” He said, saluting
“No need to salute, I am not a soldier. My name is ambassador Onat Jis ‘Lonavroo, follow me.” He said politely, bowing
He turned and walked along with his guard into the council chambers, a monolithic and dizzying helix of grav pods where a Councillor representing every region of Sangheilios and her colonies stood, gazing down on him, each flanked by various guards. Many Major must have been condemned to death here for some magnitude of failure. He kneeled immediately and his head almost touched the floor.
“I beg for your forgiveness councillors, my transgressions against the journey will not occur again.”
Almost directly opposite him Grand Councillor Accla ‘Jar Vor Rojasee, sat in the throne reserved for Supreme Councillor and flanked by Honour guards. He looked to him for a moment then lowered his head again. He stood up and walked towards him, even his shadow frightened him. Together with Xytan ‘Jar Wattinree he was a legendary commander, winning battle after battle for the Covenant but when Wattinree was reassigned to the far corners of the Covenant Rojasee dropped out of military and joined the council, part out of wish to remain in control and a place of power and part to bide his time. He saw this coming. He had gotten many of the best councillors ‘delayed’ or reassigned from High Charity when he could, but he could only save so many.
“Rise, Major Revsaree.” He said, his voice free of anger, or hate.
Revsaree looked to him then stood up and looked almost in shock.
“Am I… not here to be punished?”
“No, you have come here because you have been recommended for a task that will decide the future of our race.”
A suicide mission? He did not wish to become a martyr or an Arbiter but he finally welled it up in himself.
“What kind of mission… and why me?”
“You have been recommended because you were one of the few Sangheili black listed on both the sympathisers list and the list of sceptics. Any higher ranking and you would have been executed a few years ago. But no. These two things will come in need now for the task at hand.”
“We have a task for you that is perilous, near suicidal and most importantly, will decide our future.” A high councillor said
“Whatever it is you wish of me… I will do it.”
“Excellent. You have temporary command of the vessel the Dishonourable Assassin, a stealth destroyer. You have a simple task, break though to the sector designated and deliver a message, along with several data cubes of information.” He said, pointing to a map of the arm of the galaxy where the existed.”
“But that… that is a human held system. Who am I to deliver this too?!”
“The nearest human warship. It… is a peace treaty.”
Kasr almost froze and then began to stumble over his words. He could not believe this. For over 25 cycles they had exterminated their kind. But now. They were going to ally against the common and greater foe. The San ‘Shyuum and their Jiralhanae. Kasr nodded.
“You are to escort the ambassador here to human space for requests for cease fire and secure our future.”
“Do you really… view the humans so highly?”
“We have no choice. We cannot fight on two fronts. The Jiralhanae caused grievous casualties at the Halo ring and even more at Joyous Exultation. We cannot waste our numbers, we must regroup and re-ally.”
“I understand councillors, I will bring the humans our treaty.”
“To secure their peace treaty we have important files in those data cubes. Technology, battle information, Friend or Foe signals, communication methods. Should it fall into Jiralhanae hands it would be disastrous.” A council shouted to him
“More so than trusting those base animals?!” a high councillor spoke up. Accla silenced him with a stare.
“We are preparing a push into the system beyond, a Jiralhanae controlled system. It is then that you will slip by. You can assemble your own crew, organise them as you see fit. You have access to the Battle Net for picking your soldiers.”
Kasr couldn’t believe it.
Kasr paced in front of the monitor of his temporary quarters. It was a large room in the lower sections of the council tower, meant for dignitaries. He had never know this much comfort since leaving home. He looked back to the monitor and stroked his neck. He needed a crew of two hundred, he plan to stock them with as many Sangheili and Lekgolo as he could. He brought up a list of the warriors recently returning form the battle and highlight several. He highlighted the Spec Ops soldiers, Jado and Tal’era and moved them over, along with the Vengeful Falcon, then began to pick out a number of Majors, Spec ops and a few specialists he had met during those battle and were noted as ‘sympathisers’. He also highlighted three of the most loyal Lekgolo pairs currently available, attaching one pair to himself then attaching two to one of his units. He over looked his force now and sighed. ‘Not enough’ he thought. He was filled with doubts and worries about this mission, and doubts in the council. Was it really wise giving him command? He looked over his roster to the 10 Helios guards of the ambassador and then to the ships compulsory crew. Engineers, some Yanme’e who had not been told of the split, Unggoy but then there were a few Sangheili. He had 30 pilots from the Akunda Flight Legion. A near legendary legion of pilots with a K/D ratio of 7/1, a rarity in the Covenant. While the Seraph was well armed, quick and shielded, it was not match for the human ship they named the ‘longsword’. However, to achieve such a good K/D ratio they must either have out numbered them or out manoeuvred them during battle. Or, there was something else. He looked to the details of the group and clicked his jaws. Ten Tarasque-class Heavy Fighters and twenty Gigas-class Fighter-Bombers. Impressive but older vehicles, usually phased out at the San ‘Shyuum’s will. Then he saw a single entry. An Ascetic. He had heard of their kind in history class. They were present before the Writ of union and were solely devoted to the Sangheili state and protecting the Sangheili race and the culture, a sort of not so secret police or propaganda leaders who would lead by example, provoking loyalty in the Sangheili around them. He knew that a few remained, in relative hiding from the San ‘Shyuum, some would come out to preach then hide again. Now they had returned to a legal status. He was glad to have this one on. His name was Urva ‘Fenottii and his information was impressive. A former field master with several distinctions under his belt, he suddenly dropped from active duty and then appeared now and then on Sangheilios, preaching ‘heresy’. He was nine foot tall and an apparent blades master, making him easily one of the most potent fighters onboard. He was here to provide moral support, to instil loyalty to the Sangheili race and to ensure the council’s will be done. He made the final additions to his fleet and stood back, looking over his roster. It was impressive, but he did not know if it would be enough. Something nagged at him though. Why was he chosen? There must have been a councillor, higher officers, and Spec Ops commanders, others more capable to do it than him. Somebody must have pulled some strings. Or felt pity for him for the loss of his brother. Or felt angry at him for some kind of failing. He then set to organising his equipment roster. Plenty of plasma rifles, needlers, carbines, a few particle rifles, fuel rod cannons, plasma cannons and plenty of grenades. He organised some extra superfluous equipment as well, including some active camo generators and then discovered some access to new armour. Though new wasn’t the right word. Old Assault Harnesses, that significantly reduced kinetic damage were available, so he organised to have some of those taken aboard, along with anti gravity harnesses. He stood back and at last tightened his jaws, a sign of satisfaction. He almost shut it down when there was a buzz from his door. He looked to it and then to his plasma rifle. He could never be to sure. He clipped it to his thigh and moved to the door and pressed it open. He was met by the chest of a Sangheili who was too tall to even step through the door way. He somewhat barged in, stooping low to get in.
“’Fenottii sir, a pleasure to see you!” He said, trying to be sincere to the fearsome looking Ascetic.
“Enough with the niceties.” He said, walking past him with his hand on his sword.
“What honour do I hold for this meeting?”
He walked to the window and looked out then moved back. Years avoiding the San ‘Shyuum’s assassins would do that to a man. Kasr quickly looked to the door and then settled his hand around his plasma rifle. The door was still open, it should have shut by now. They were automatic, letting any life signs through.
“You’ve been followed!”
He levelled his plasma rifle and sprayed the room with searing bolts of fire, scorching the walls and burning the furniture. He took a few steps back before ducking it to cover and let loose a few blind bursts. ‘Fenottii stood with his arms crossed and chuckled.
“Your every bit your father.” He said, looking down at him “Its okay men, you can reveal yourselves.”
Kasr looked, slightly unsure of what was going on when several Sangheili deactivated their active camo in front of him. They were clad in grey-black armour that was distinctly more streamlined than that of the common Sangheili Combat Harness. They certainly knew what they were doing to get in here near undetected.
“What is this Ascetic?” Kasr said out of turn
“The newly formed Commando Unit, a pre Covenant unit that has now been reformed. They specialise in raids and assaults, more so than the silencers of the Spec Ops and the Assassin stealth Sangheili. They, and several other Spec Op units will be attached to us.”
“Several others like me.” A voice said behind him. In a second, a blade was wrapped around his neck.
“Impressive. Who is it I have the honour of meeting?”
“High Assassin Kurg ‘Helzazee, at your disposal.”
“Sir, you do realise we are only going in to deliver a peace treaty?”
“These are our back up, should something go sour.”
“Is it really necessary?”
“There is a high chance we will encounter Jiralhanae forces, and these men are itching for a fight against our enemies.”
Kasr looked to them and nodded. They had his approval. He should never say no to such high quality soldiers willing to join his unit.
“When do we depart?”
“The fleet prepares to move tomorrow, we will go with them then, sneak around those foolish Jiralhanae.”
Kasr looked to them and nodded. It was time to test his metal as a commander.
Chapter 4: Brute Strength
Kasr stood at the bridge of the Dishonourable Assassin and looked over the view screens. Several majors sat at them checking their controls. Ahead of them a sprawling screen of shimmering purple-silver swam outwards. A line of similar ships faced then and they began to turn to broadside. He listened to the fleet communications intently, keeping in touch as the battle raged.
“Ship master, Jiralhanae are turning to broadside, orders?”
“We stay behind the fleet. It is their job to destroy the enemy.” He said confidently, watching as the Sangheili fleet split into two, both halves circling around the enemy on broadside and then one section remained behind. Their ‘heavy ships’. Their Energy Projectors were charging up, most likely aiming for their enemy counter parts.
“Okay, engage active camo, prepare to loop around the far planet. Once their fleet begins to break in combat, prepare for jump.”
“Yes shipmaster.” His helmsman said, pulling her around. He winced as the screen filtered several Energy Projector bursts. He watched as the lances of silver light bisected several Jiralhanae flagships. He looked away as they reach plasma torpedo distance. Bands of flaming red charged upon each others flanks and then released into balls of blinding red light. He looked back to the screen as they contacted and began to damage the other fleet.
“Report!” The Fleet Master demanded
“Seven ships destroyed, eleven damage, one catastrophically so, twelve Jiralhanae ships inoperable, more damaged.”
“Our sniper attempt brought four of their flagships offline, the two others are crippled.”
“Excellent, all ships, break and engage, fighters engage enemy interceptors and protect our ships. Flagships, advance to flank speed, prepare to hit them on broad side when we enter range.”
Status reports range out amidst the fleet as ships entered into close range fights, exchanging pulse laser bursts and plasma cannons at short range. He watched as the Sangheili ships out manoeuvred the Jiralhanae ships in ‘packs’, destroying the Jiralhanae ships that went out on their own in search of personal glory.
“Bring us around, I want her moving to full speed and our slip space jump co-ordinated for when we pass their fleet.”
They passed over the battle and settled peacefully until one of the bridge crew raised the alarm.
“Ship master, two frigates with fighter support, they have picked us up, they are detaching from the fleet and encroaching on us.”
“All fighter crews, prepare for combat! Once ready and launched, we will hit them on broad side.”
The ship began to lurch to the side and then small specks filtered out of her flank.
“This is flight master ‘Argonyee, your orders ship master?”
“Immediately disable their escorts, get to work on one ship, we will target the other.”
“Considered it done ship master.”
He watched as they danced a lethal close range dance of death, the Tarasque Heavy Fighters going in first, taking several blows to their shielding but giving out twice that amount of damage, thrashing the first wave of Seraphs then moving behind the third wave as the Gigas Fighter Bombers got into lethal dog fights with the second wave, tying them up as the Tarasque fighters cleaned up. Soon the fighters broke, over whelmed and then they turned onto one of the frigates, launching strafing runs on its blind spots. They hit them with plasma bombs and heavy bursts of plasma fire at close range. The shielding burnt bright silver then faded. Bursts of blue light marred the surface of the Frigate then it suddenly lurched.
“Ship master, we hit their primary plasma conduit, pressing the attack home!”
The Dishonourable Assassin was already turning to hit the second frigate when the first spiralled out of control, fires raging through its decks uncontrollably.
“Plasma Torpedoes to full, hit it directly in the nose!”
A band of light gathered along the ship’s side and then two plasma torpedoes flared out. Kasr smiled as they streaked out but the plasma torpedoes veered off course, making him curse.
“Counter guidance! Curse those treacherous thieves!”
“Charge the pulse lasers, prepare for ramming speed!”
“We will hit their shielding then ram them!”
“Might we offer a better solution?” The flight master radioed in.
“Anything to help us.”
“Hit their shielding, we can hit their counter guidance systems.”
Kasr thought for a millisecond then nodded to his weapons officer. Several streams of blue-purple lasers lashed out, scorching the shielding and causing it to flash a brilliant white then it failed. A number of bright blue explosions sparked along its deck and it lurched heavily to the side. The plasma torpedoes, previously spiralling into the darkness of space responded to commands again and sharply turned towards their target. They both slammed into its port side, burning into its hull and igniting plasma conduits, fuel, gas and ammo stores and blowing the vessel in two, sending its two halves spinning out from the epicentre, still burning from the plasma torpedoes. Kasr looked to it and sighed with relief.
“Charge the slip space drive, let’s leave it to our brethren to clean this up.”
Kasr slunk into the ship master’s chair and rested his head in his right hand, resting that in turn on the arm of the chair. The ship seemed to lurch suddenly and then was thrown into slip space in a haze of blue light.
The Fleet Master looked from the main view screen of his command ship as the Jiralhanae fleet broke and was annihilated, ship by ship. There was a flash of blue, marking his secondary objective as complete.
“Prepare the fleet to return to port, for repairs…. When we get the signal from our brother, we will need to move out.” He said to his comms officer and then crossed his arms. He hoped the council knew what they were doing.
Chapter 5: Brotherhood
Kasr sat comfortably as the ship slinked out of slip space and then straightened up as she swung around the far orbital of this system.
“Arrival confirmed, beginning system wide sweep.”
“Order both the Ambassador and ‘Fenottii to the bridge.”
“Yes ship master.”
Kasr stepped off his chair, touching down onto the deck and lent in front of the tactical display. It drew up an image of the system, the detail increasing with every second. He observed it with a heavy scrutiny. The third most planet was habitable, if barely, that’s where the humans would be. However, more worrying, something else appeared, heading in system with increasing speed.
“Ship Master, three Jiralhanae Battlecruisers detected, we are also picking up human vessels, they are out gunned.”
Kasr was deadly silent before his jaws finally moved again.
“Full speed, advance on the enemy. We must support the humans.”
“Yes ship master.”
The door to the rear of the bridge opened and both the Ambassador and ‘Fenottii walked on.
“What is the situation?”
“We found humans, defiantly, but they are on the verge of destruction, we must advance quickly if we are to aid them.”
“Do what it take, we must secure the foundation of an alliance.”
“I am not sure of squandering our troops on engaging Jiralhanae forces head on.”
“When we get a more detailed view, we will decide a course of action. Take her in, silently and swift. We must not alert the Jiralhanae.”
The ship suddenly lurched as the Engines activated, propelling the ship forward as fast as it could go. They took the shortest route possible, veering to avoid the gravitational pull of a gas giant that could give away their position. As they approached the planet the situation became apparent.
“Confirmed… we are too late. Reading no human ships, only two battlecruisers.”
“Bastard Jiralhanae… they overwhelmed them before they had a chance.”
“We should try another system, try more searches for human.”
“No Ambassador, there are still humans here!”
“On the surface, there is a city!”
“Ship Master, we should not help these creatures, we are better off waiting for others.”
“No! Take us into low orbit on the far side of the planet, take us in low and keep stealth our top priority.”
The helmsman nodded and lurched her towards the planet, bringing her upwards to literally throw her through the atmosphere.
“What are you planning ‘Revsaree?”
“We will help the humans in anyway possible, no other opportunity. If we help them in their time of need, it will be the surest sign of our convictions.”
Urva released a short and chilling laugh. Kasr flexed over the tactical display and brought it into a smaller view. Within an hour they where only three kilometres from the human city, floating peacefully above the war zone. Kasr looked over the tactical display, looking at the Jiralhanae units move too and fro. The Jiralhanae were too stupid to change their friend or foe tags, leaving the Sangheili a perfect understand of their position.
“So, how grim is the situation.”
“The Jiralhanae control 78% of the city exterior, 34% of the interior, human forces are holding them back, the Jiralhanae are dedicating their forces to ground attacks, no aerial support.”
“Pathetic beasts.” Urva snorted
“Ship Master, we have intercepted a human communication, wish to hear it?”
“This is Brigadier Jason F. Cotter to any UNSC forces, we need immediate support, Jiralhanae forces jumped in before we could begin evacuating the civilians. We still have Shipment 67 groundside, we need to get these to Red-0114 IMMEDIATELY! This is a top priority evacuation request, we can hold a maximum of eleven hours before Jiralhanae forces breach the third defensive perimeter. If they do that the shipment and the last of the civilians will be lost, we’ve already lost the refugee camp on the west side, I repeat…”
“This sounds quite important to the humans…”
“If we repulse this attack…. We will have the humans trust…”
“And if we do not?”
“We will have to work much harder for it.”
“I purpose we drop straight in at their third line, help hold it.”
“We go into a two pronged assault, an armoured spearhead from the south as our main force, strike at their vulnerable logistics positions and storm inwards, our secondary force however, will retake that refugee camp.”
“Waste precious resources saving their civilians? We need their soldiers!”
“If we help their weak and needy, they can be sure of our peaceful intentions.”
“Why did you become a soldier, you would have been a much better diplomat.” The Ambassador chuckled
Kasr huffed. He turned back to the display then his jaws parted in a smile.
“Attacking this refugee camp could possibly be the best test for our Commandos. Its deep in the Jiralhanae controlled territory and we have no support.”
“Okay, I will lay out the plan now. Our primary force will hammer into their east flank, smashing their vulnerable rear lines then retaking the exterior and paving a bloodied path into the interior to support the defensive lines. I want all fighters deployed, hit their armoured columns with strafing runs and remove any Banshees and Phantoms you encounter. As for our secondary force, we will go in riding on our newly modified Phantoms, they now have active camouflage so our landing will be undetectable until we fire. We land just fifty meters outside of the refugee camp, we go in invisible to their foul eyes and secure the exterior gate and then push in. Our Phantoms will remain above us to cover us and evacuate the humans.”
“And as for the humans? What will stop them shooting us?”
“Leave that to me.” The Ambassador said confidently.
“As for me, I will go in with the Commandos. If anything, to ensure they do not harm any humans.”
“Heh, you think our warriors are so blood thirsty?”
“The campaign against the humans has been long and bloody, both sides hold grudges, one more so than the other.”
Kasr held his finger to his helmet, indenting the personal communicator ‘on switch’.
“Jado, get ready for combat, ensure you get a stealth generator.”
“Yes ‘Revsaree.” He replied.
Kasr finally seemed to loosen up then looked to the Ambassador.
“Whatever you are going to do, I suggest you do it now.”
The ambassador moved past ‘Revsaree and leaned over the communications holo panel. He seemed to hesitate and held down the button usually used to transmit messages on the nearly disused MASER dish usually used to send humans insults before battle.
“This… is Onat Jis ‘Lonavroo, high Ambassador of the Sangheili race. To all human forces, we wish to help against the Jiralhanae menace, respond.”
There was a long breach of silence, Kasr thought he could hear human swearing but then the voice of their leader returned.
“Please confirm… Sangheili? What’s happening?”
“We are coming to your aid, we will send you’re our Fried or Foe identification.”
The Ambassador nodded to the comms officer, who sent it across and then waited again for a response.
“…We have the package… picking up your identification, any method of telling your vehicles apart? And where are you attacking. And most importantly, why are you helping us?”
“Let me handle this matter.” Kasr said, moving back into his chair.
“The Jiralhanae and San ‘Shyuum have betrayed us, we have left the Covenant and wish an alliance. As for our vehicles, they haven repainted green, many of our infantry still carry colour co-ordination but you can still tell us apart from the stinking Jiralhanae. As for our attack, we will hit their primary armoured columns from the air then we will launch an armoured push up to your positions. We are launching a secondary attack to liberate and evacuate your Refugee Encampment taken by the Jiralhanae.”
“Your forces may be better spent else where. The Jiralhanae… don’t leave survivors.”
“The Jiralhanae are most likely going to use them as meat for their bellies, but we may still save some yet. We will not let them have their way with innocents.”
“Why didn’t you think like that when you glassed our worlds?”
Kasr was silent, as was the entire command deck before he swallowed the lump in his throat.
“We have done terrible things, this is just the beginning of our repentance.”
“I hear you, we will give you the access keys to our comms… I hope you are speaking the truth.”
The comms cut out and Kasr clenched his knuckles.
“It is now or never, all Sangheili to your stations, prepare for war!”
There was a general roar over comms from the Sangheili as they moved to their positions, the majority of the main force heading to the grav lift while the commandos stormed to the Phantoms, ready for war. Kasr, Urva, Jado, Kurg ‘Helzazee and one of Urva’s squads mounted up on the Vengeful Falcon and in Sangheili military tradition rode out first. He buckled up into a seat and stiffened as she dropped out of the ships rear docking bay and went out, running silent. Ahead of them a wave of Tarasque and Gigas fighters fanned out and began to dive bomb, strafing the exterior ruins. Jiralhanae and Unggoy ran for cover as plasma bolts the size of Ghosts struck the ground, making burning craters where they struck. Charred body pieces and molten armour flew into the air. A Gigas passed over head and let loose and torrent of small plasma orbs which struck the ground and ignited into intense flames, swallowing whole armoured columns in sun hot fire, puncturing armour then blowing them apart from the inside. Plasma torpedoes streaked out as fighters strafed more columns, puncturing armoured vehicles and blowing them to pieces. Phantoms sprawled about, dropping off troops but were punctured by bursts of plasma and showered the ground with fragments of armour or fell to the earth a burning wreck. Kasr hung onto the brace of the Phantom Gunship as it rocked about, throttling quickly towards the drop zone. Kurg seemed to become restless then moved over to the cock pit.
“Pilot, pass by that building, our information says it’s a Jiralhanae strong hold.”
“What do you plan to do sir?” Tal’era ‘Vanouee asked him
“Do what I do best. Assassinate enemies of the Sangheili state.”
Kasr let a short, bitter laugh out then nodded to Tal’Era. He turned back to his view screen and pulled her up around the buildings roof and lowered the right bay door. Kurg leapt from it and to the building before activating his active camo. The bay door closed back up and the Phantom throttled back up. Kasr limbered up to the cock pit and looked over the shoulder of Tal’Era. The drop zone came within sight.
“A Minute to drop my brothers!”
The Commandos suddenly made a last minute check of their equipment, checking their rifles, carbines, needlers and swords. They checked each others equipments then their active camo before moving to the bay doors.
“Active camouflage!” Urva roared. That would have probably been heard by the Jiralhanae more than the Phantom.
Kasr patted Tal’Era on the shoulder then activated his own. He swung around an abandoned parking lot before swivelling to the ground. More Phantoms did the same , disengorging invisible Commandos to the field of battle. Kasr leapt out at the head of his men, with Urva standing alongside him.
“I will keep watch from the air, you shall be covered at all times.” Tal’Era said, bringing his Gunship up.
The commandos quickly sprinted from their LZs to the outside of the compound, unspotted, largely due to the Jiralhanae being occupied with the air assault. Kasr ducked down behind one of their burnt out warthogs, the smell of human roast filling his nose. He observed the two Jiralhanae that patrolled around the entrance, idly chatting about the humans they had killed. Immediately both seemed to raise their arms to their necks and gurgle as bands of blue light cut into their necks. The energy garrottes almost decapitated them and silently killed them in moments. They trotted up to their breaching positions, applying anti matter charges to the heavy doors to the building. They took cover as the charge eradicated the doors in a brilliant flash of blue-violet light. They charged in, plasma bolts flying and short range. The Kig-Yar and Unggoy securing the outer sections were caught completely off guard. They were cut down in seconds. A lance of Jiralhanae arrived to check on the commotion but were ambushed from behind. Kasr heard bones crack and flesh burn as many were torn to ribbons by elegant plasma weapons. He moved up to the door and ducked down as a pair of boiling hot metal spikes whizzed past him. He immediately returned fire with his plasma rifle, many commandos following suit. A gaggle of Jiralhanae, lead by a Captain with a Brute Shot held a rudimentary barricade. Suddenly, above them glass shattered and energy tethers and plasma grenades fell to the floor. There was a serious of guttural howls and then the distinct whine and explosion of plasma grenades, followed by short, controlled plasma bursts. However, their bold manoeuvre left them open to the sudden counter attack launched by the Chieftain commanding this pack. He charged straight at them, his energy shield overcharger on full active. Most tried to retreat back to cover but would of never had done so unless one of the brave Commandos charged against him. Still stealth, he took him by surprise, tackling him back. Both his bodyguards looked on in dismay then proceeded to shoot at him, imbedding red hot spikes into his back. He howled in pain before being smashed aside by the Chieftain, like a broken toy.
“This beast is mine.” Urva growled.
The High Chieftain threw the last bloodied bone away. This human’s flesh was seared just right, to make it both tasty and finely cooked. Him and his pack chuckled at the unfortunate demise of this squad of human warriors, pinned in then attacked enforced. No chance.
“We will feast on the humans who hide in the centre of this ruin soon enough!”
“Is that a fact?” A strange voice ran out.
The window beside the Chieftain suddenly smashed and then a pair of glowing shafts of light cut a horizontal line across his head, from ear to ear. His head was sliced in two, with the two parts coming apart like a fruit as he fell. The pack suddenly roared and opened fire upon the window, lacerating it with spikes. One spike chipped the shoulder of some invisible, creature, forcibly decloaking it. They were met with the smiling grin of a silver Sangheili. He suddenly leapt backwards, clear of the building and into immediately freefall. The Jiralhanae chased him to the window, baying for his blood and continuing to fire down upon him. As he fell, he slowly became invisible against, still grinning like a lunatic.
Urva strode forward, deactivating his active camo then bringing out his plasma sword with a distinct hiss. One of the bodyguards saw him immediately and threw a spike grenade straight at him. He broke into a run, more or less running into it. It stuck into his shoulder and he seemed to stumble slightly but with sheer force of will he wrenched it free and threw it back at the Jiralhanae. It stuck into his chest, with it turning to the right to absorb the force of the impact. He would have faced his Chieftain if he hadn’t gone in to one of their loping charges and as the grenade exploded, tearing his body in half, dozens of spikes perforated his fellow body guard. The Chieftain came to blows with Urva, who seemed to roll under his swing, aimed for his head, and cut into his right leg, severing several vital arteries and tendons. The Chieftain clumsily swung around, missing him again. Urva brought his blade up, separating an arm. The Chieftain howled in anger and finally swung his hammer down on Urva. Urva leapt up, partially buoyed by the gravity bubble from the hammer, landed behind the Chieftain and in gracefully 180 spin came down to one knee, bisecting the Jiralhanae from his left shoulder to his right hip. He made no noise as his body slid into two chunks. He chuckled at a job well done. The Commandos filed past him, heading into the facility to mop up the rest. Kurg strode past him and stepped around the body of the Jiralhanae, preferring not to have the foul stench of his blood tint his feet and then looked at the hall where the Jiralhanae had come from. It had been a feeding frenzy. Stripped carcasses, grilled and charred bodies, some poor bastards still living. Admitantly, they had been doing exactly the same to them for years now, only from a distance. It was no different from ‘glassing’ to that end, slowly burning their worlds and people alive. Jado trotted past him and growled.
“Foul beasts. Have they no mercy for prisoners or the dying?”
“No but…. Neither did we.” Kasr said in a low tone
Jado shot a glare at him. He did not want to be put on the same level as these base creatures. He moved into the hall and immediately jumped when something moved beneath his feet. A human female, covered in scratches and cuts and only in bloodied rags of her clothing, cowered beneath him. They hadn’t gotten the chance to eat her, or perhaps, they had done worse. She curled up into a defensive ball as Jado kneeled beside her but seemed to loosen as her pulled a ragged bolt of material over her, used by the Jiralhanae as a pip, to cover her up then spoke soothing words to her, but not in Sangheili. He spoke in clear English, provoking Kasr’s translator to translate their language into his own.
“Do not worry. We are here to help.”
As Jado stood up Kasr growled. It was barely audible but Jado turned to him.
“Is something wrong comrade?”
“You are no simple healer…. Are you?” He interrogated
Jado just laughed and trotted away “I will clean up the wounded, any I can save, I will treat them. Those I cannot, I will give them a final grace. A quiet death.” He spoke in Sangheili.
Kasr grinded his jaws. Something was not right with Jado. Not right at all. At least he was going to go do his job. A silent death was one of the Healer’s most dreaded tasks. If a Sangheili was wounded in battle, with no chance of survival, he was given a pill that would quietly and comfortably kill him. Though not honourable, it was better than dying slowly, painfully in a pool of your own blood and giblets though many refused this as a consideration of honour, a pathetic final gesture to appease their own ego and the memories of them in those around the warrior before his death. As Jado disappeared into the distance Kasr tipped his head and pressed in the groove to activate his communicator.
“Helmsman? I need you to do something. Access the battle net and access the information about Jado ‘Vraestee. Look for any anomalies in his records.”
“Yes ship master.”
Kasr slowly released pressure on the communicator groove and then walked away.
He walked to the outside of the compound and then trotted out to the road. A Spectre pulled up at high speed, with the cockpit opening up. A Major Sangheili, the same as himself jogged out and over to him.
“Sir, a report from the armoured spear head, they are within one hundred units of the humans and closing. They will have them relieved shortly.”
“Excellent, make sure to watch you-” Kasr began before being interrupted by the sound of screaming and tearing metal. A Jiralhanae chopper ate its way through the Spectre, sucking the passenger on the right in and the gunner though the second passenger managed to leap clear. It spat out a menagerie of body pieces and torn metal as the remains of the Spectre exploded.
Kasr immediately ran to the road and began firing bursts of plasma at it. It turned sharply and seemed to stay still. He could here the engine running, building up power. The Jiralhanae was staring him down. Kasr took a sideways stance to the chopper and pointed his rifle at it with one hand. The Jiralhanae chopper set of, its wheel eating up tarmac beneath it. He could hear the Jiralhanae behind the wheel shouting obscenities at him. He continued to fire short burst but reached to his waist with his over hand.
“Commander!” The driver yelled as the chopper came within a unit of his body. He leapt clear suddenly but threw something with his clear hand first. A bright blue light adhered itself to the front wheel. It immediately went under and exploded when it reached the back of the wheel arch. The plasma grenade gutted the front end and threw the driver over the front and pile drived him into the ground. As the driver was about to sing his praises the distinct ‘‘snap’’ noises of spikers filled the air. Both of them took cover as the surviving passenger went to get aid.
“Commander, what is wrong?” Urva asked over the comms.
“Jiralhanae counter attack, they do not want to give up their larder!”
“Ngh, loathsome creatures.” “Maybe we can lend some aid commander.” Tal’Era said, swinging in low with his . At that moment the Vengeful Falcon swung in, and disengorged two Spectres from its gravity hooks. Both landed and immediately set into motion, parking end to end to block off the street and lying down heavy fire. The Falcon itself fire off several bursts of plasma on a broadside attack along with a potent volley of fuel rod blasts and flew in circles around their head.
“We are ready to evacuate the humans.”
“Excellent, have a small number escort them to safety, everyone else, repel the counter attack!”
Immediately Commandos filed out of the building and took cover behind whatever was available and began spouting bursts of plasma. Blobs of blue and green energy were exchanged with explosives and spikes in a brutal fire fight. The Jiralhanae had been running down the road when the Spectres had arrived and now took cover behind their own dead. Several more escorted the frightened humans to the drop ships, getting them on board before they fled to the Dishonourable Assassin, likely to receive good treatment from the ambassador. Their task was done, they were preparing to fall back now. The last few drop ships awaited them, along with more Spectres and Shadows, ready to ferry them out. As Kasr turned to signal a retreat an explosion beside him knocked him down. Though he was protected by his shielding he was on his face. He rolled over in time to see a Jiralhanae armed with a jumpack fall upon him like a bird of prey. At the last second he seemed to stop, maybe a unit above him, hanging in the air. He gurgled and then went limp. Kurg uncloaked in front of his and smiled broadly.
“Need some help commander?”
“Yes, quickly, we are pulling out, we are preparing to assault the last defences of the Jiralhanae.”
“Excellent, I will accompany you.”
The Vengeful Falcon hovered above them for a few moments before the gravity lift went onto full reversal, pulling them up. The two Spectres immediately fled, scooting away down the road, full leaden with Commandos. The Falcon took to the sky, followed closely by Phantom transports and nimbly picked their way through the skyscrapers. They swung in low, coming up to the devastation wrought by the Jiralhanae. Whole city blocks reduced to piles of rubble. As they swung in there was a series of sounds, like distant thunder claps. The Phantom to their left immediately tipped as its left engine failed, or more correctly, was missing, replaced by a burning hole.
“Enemy anti aircraft, going down!”
That was Urva’s transport. Kasr gritted his teeth and immediately ran to the open gun bay to view its rapid descent. It ploughed through a few still intact building, slowing its ascent and leaving long gouges and then pulled off and hit the ground, leaving a deep and long impact trench before coming to a halt.
“Urva, what’s going on?!”
He heard coughing and the sound of dying electronics but them a short and bitter laugh.
“I commend my pilot’s soul! We live yet!”
“Good, break through to the humans line, hold with them, we will meet later!”
There was a lengthy silence until he replied with a firm ‘okay’
“We are at the LZ, prepare to dr-” Tal’Era began before being interrupted by sound of the second Phantom Transport exploding. It span to the ground, trailing plumes of blue smoke before impacting with a second, minor explosion.
“Clear the wreck, clear the wreck!” Kasr heard, along with shouts, though both were drowned out by the sudden and violent explosion caused by two bright lances of green light piercing and destroying the now empty Phantom.
“Scarabs, two of the monsters!” Tal’Era shouted, swinging the Vengeful Falcon about.
“Second team, status?!”
“The majority of us are alive and well, what are your orders?!”
“Do you still have your energy tethers?”
“Use them to climb onto one of them, sabotage its power core!”
“As for the other?!”
“Once you have dealt with the first, we will approach that beast!”
The Falcon Swung about, entering high speed manoeuvres to evade the torrent of fire. Both of them focused their fire on them, they didn’t stand a chance. Then they started working together. One spat a stream of plasma at it, forcing them to bank into the path of the second. It began to glow an ominous green when the front plasma assembly exploded violently, thought not damaging it, it did pause and change its aim. A human tank rumbled out of the ruins of their defences, spitting explosive rounds into it. Following more of their fearsome Warthogs then something that amazed Kasr and the other Sangheili. Several of their small, reconnaissance vehicles, barely armoured and meant for unarmed spying and quick transports sped out, with human warriors wielding heavy weapons clinging to the back. They winded in between the legs of the mighty Scarabs, launching missiles into their vulnerable legs and underbellies. They quickly became confused, allowing the Commandos to cove the ground up to the nearest Scarab and throw the magnetic locks for energy tethers up to the deck. They quickly began to wind themselves up, boarding it in a vicious and swirling melee of plasma swords and plasma knives, cutting into the hapless Jiralhanae, Kig-Yar and Unggoy. They quickly annihilated its crew then pushed to the power core and rigged it with an Anti Matter charge. They leapt clear of it as it, seemingly in full knowledge of its coming destruction, reared onto its back legs and let out a long, synthesised roar before exploding violently, vaporising its rear end and leaving the front half in tatters. Suddenly, barrage after barrage of plasma smashed into the rear gun of the Scarab. It caught fire, with liquid plasma leaking from it then exploded, showing the Scarab in chunks of metal. It continued on, trying to attack the humans attacking it from below.
“I shall get you as close as possible, prepare for combat!”
The bay door dropped and Kasr gripped onto his plasma sword. As soon as it began to hover over the Scarab he leapt, followed by Kurg and one of the commandos. Kasr was inelegant with his attack, simply landing on a Jiralhanae and stabbing it in the chest. Kurg was much more elegant, stabbing them as he fell and slicing them apart. The commando used a small weapon, colloquially known as the Plasma Knife. It was best described as an extremely sharp plasma blade. Though it posses the bulge around the hand the blade, the blade was much shorter. Along with that the handle was vertical to the blade, allowing swift, slashing and stabbing movements. The Sangheili wielding it cut into the first Jiralhanae to emerge from the deck, slashing the arm holding his gun then his throat in a clean, crisp motion. Kurg charged into the under belly, screams accompanying him. Kasr and the commando pushed to the back, obliterating the two solitary guards there then planted and activated an anti matter charge. Kasr leapt clear, followed by the Commando, with Kurg bursting out of the lower deck amidst a shower of body parts. There was a distinct ‘whine’ as the anti matter charge reached critical then gutted the Scarab. The Commando caught his breath and was helped by Kurg to his feet.
“What’s your name, warrior?”
“Alivora ‘Jadatokee” He panted
“Excellent work, you have done your unit pride.”
Kasr looked up to the approaching Phantom and almost smiled until a lightening bolt of pure green struck its side. There was an explosion and it listed to its side badly, its engines whining to keep it up.
“We’ve lost engine two! Engine power ratio is out of control, loosing power!”
“Evacuate, we will deal with this beast!”
There was no response as Tal’Era fought for control of the ailing Phantom and pulled her away, the engine whining badly and belching smoke. Kasr turned as the Scarab pounded right over the top of them. Its sole concern was breaking into the human defences.
Not if the humans had anything to do with it.
Kasr looked on as their tanks shielded their smaller units, with their tough armour taking a plasma bolt then retreating to safety. Their lighter units, not all meant for combat, such as their scout vehicles, coined ‘Mongooses’ and one of their Warthogs, made for carrying personnel, weaved between their legs, shooting high explosive devices into their legs. They knew where to attack and how much force to apply. Kasr smiled at their profound tactics. That was the only reason the humans survived this far. Because of tactics and sheer tenacity. Where the Covenant had numbers and technology, almost every human warrior was ready to lay down their lives for their comrades and for their race and from a squad based to fleet sized actions, their tactics where indispensable. From the tactics exhibited now, to their feared defensive ‘kill zones’ and a tactic he heard they used at a artefact world where their navy was covered by their large repair stations, allowing them longer to engage the Covenant ships where they fought best, in frontal assaults. He never understood why the San ‘Shyuum feared them enough to order their destruction. Only one other race got this kind of treatment, and for the reason that they were untameable, even in the face of total obliteration from orbital bombardment. Even the Lekgolo ceded then. Then again, the humans where much the same. They could not be so easily tamed. They learned from attempts at occupation that even their teenagers and old participate in guerrilla insurgency, and even their women fight, sometimes as good as their men. And of course, they had the demons. Creatures of near mythical powers that can out manoeuvre, outthink, and out fight even the Covenant’s best.
Kasr’s thoughts came to a close as one of the Scarab’s legs sudden exploded violently, the inner workings and gears destroyed. It buckled and came down to its belly as the auto repair systems worked feverently.
“Now’s our chance!”
Kasr charged forward to the rear bay where a gunner desperately tried to fight off the human vehicles, never hitting them. Kurg leapt up into the air, surprising the gunner and cut him from his neck down to his armpit, severing his head and arm. He pushed past the corpse and pressed home the attack. Kasr leapt up and stabbed a Jiralhanae through the chest then pushed backwards, impaling his comrade as well. Alivora leapt aboard and came blow to blow with a Jiralhanae. He swung a kick at the Jiralhanae head, who immediately ducked. It was a brilliant feint, allowing him to stab the Jiralhanae in the head, bringing the blade down upon his head, impaling his skull and jaw. He twitched on the blade and blood spilled out from his jaw. He wrenched it clean and followed Kasr up onto the deck. The Unggoy and Kig-Yar fled from them into the human’s guns. Kasr took out his plasma rifle and shot the core point blank, breaching the shielding and the defences, injuring the Lekgolo eels underneath and destroying the super cooling command system. The fled the stricken walker as alarms bell rang. There was a brilliant blue flash , knocking them to the ground and then fading.
“Such a deed strengthens the blood!” Kurg roared. He stood up and laughed as Urva arrived with his weary Commandos, having sprinted the 107 units from their downed ships.
“Did we miss anything?”
“Just three Scarabs.” Kurg smiled
“Bah! Such a shame!”
“Be glad you’re still alive.” Kasr grunted
Behind them, the first elements of their armoured push arrived, Ghosts sped up to them before parking in front of them.
“The Jiralhanae’s defence has fallen! They are scattering to the wind!” The Sangheili laughed before his face turned into a sour scowl. There was a whine behind him as the purr of a crude human engine. Kasr turned to face the three barrels of one of the human projectile guns on the back of a warthog. An officer, one of their ‘Brigadiers’ stepped out of the passenger seat, hand on his pistol and stepped forward. He assumed it must be the ‘Jason F. Cotter’ who requested aid earlier.
“So you’re the Sangheili that have come to save us?”
“We must meet with your leaders immediately. We must pass on our news of alliance. Can you take us to your high command?”
“I’m afraid I am the highest ranking officer left here.”
Kasr sighed. A dead end. A Brigadier could not help them.
“But I can help you get to where you need to go.”
“Help is on the way. Ships should be arriving within two days.”
“In the meantime, they have two cruisers left, we best evacuate this world. Many of your civilians are already hiding upon our ship.”
After a brief communication for evacuation the Marines and Commandos began to leave. Alivora began to trot off when Kasr shouted at him. Urva was about to leave also but stopped at this notion.
“You fight well ‘Jadatokee. For a woman.”
Her eyes went wide, as did Urva’s.
“How did you… realise?” Her voice suddenly loosing its gruff edge
“A woman, hiding in our ranks?!”
“You put to much effort into maintaining that gruff voice. It’s obvious.”
“You know the place for a woman is to maintain the home while the men toil in war!” Urva said, his blade sparking to life. He began to stride forward when Kasr put hi hand out to stop him.
“Se proved today she can fight as well as any man. Besides, it takes strong women to give birth to strong warriors. There is no law against a woman serving, apart from the social stigma.”
Urva Grunted, part in anger, part in admiration of Kasr. “Ever the liberalist.”
He trotted off to their transport, Kasr watching him as he left and then turned to Alivora, who was on he knees, saluting him.
“I beg for your forgiveness commander.”
“No need, just keep killing Jiralhanae as well as that.”
With that she stood up and ran to the awaiting Phantom. Kasr looked back over the devastation them returned to it also.
Chapter 6:Safe in sound
Kasr watched from the bridge with Brigadier Cotter, Urva and Lonavroo as the two Battlecruisers glassed the world. Thankfully they had all the humans off, along with this mysterious ‘Shipment 67’, which they kept tightly under wraps. The humans were kept in one side of the ship and the Sangheili in the other, with any connections between the two kept guarded by the Commandos, as to let no trouble makers from both species into either.
Kasr flexed his hands then slumped in his seat.
“It’s been two days…. Where are your forces?”
“Our slipspace technology isn’t as effective as yours. We are affected by ‘tidal forces’ within slip space.”
“I hope your fleet is big enough.”
“So do I…”
By the moon of the fourth planet, there was a speck of blue. Immediately the bridge lit up with chatter.
“Eight human vessels, one unknown classification.” One of the bridge crew reported.
“Hold your position.” Kasr ordered, steeping the bridge back into silence.
The Battlecruisers held their position, moving to broadside and awaiting the coming UNSC ships. He saw the lead vessel was almost as long as a Battlecruiser, if not longer.
“They are closing to firing range…”
“Confirmed, the lead human ship just fired!”
They were positioned some 30 kilometres behind the lead Battlecruiser but weren’t prepared for the impact of that weapon. It fired its Mac gun, but this was by far not ordinary MAC gun. The round was larger, heavier and faster. It smashed into the underside flank of the ship and immediately penetrated both its shields, hull, hull again then shields, literally snapping it in two, with debris spraying out like blood from a wound. Pieces hit the Dishonourable Assassin prompting them into action. Their active camo was disturbed and now they had to strike.
“Engines to full, all power to counter guidance and plasma torpedoes, get us in broadside range!”
The ship lurched forward as the remaining cruiser positioned itself between the Dishonourable Assassin and the human fleet. It charge plasma Torpedoes on both sides but as they fired, all of them seemingly spiralled out of control. The other seven human ships pummelled it’s shielding, deactivating it in their barrage. Their plasma torpedoes soon turned around and smashed into the Battlecruiser, burning into its hull. The Assassin shot off two of its own, hitting it and burning them into the hull. It literally became a micro sun for a second before the plasma induced fires choked on the liquid remains of the ship and died out.
“This is Brigadier Jason F. Cotter, you wouldn’t believe what’s going on.” He laughed over open comms to the human ships.”
Kasr rested his weary eyes as Onat as the humans made a deal. They would transport the humans over to their own ships, the Assassin would lower its shield, active camo and weapons and follow them. Easy enough. Despite Urva’s pleas not to, they complied with the humans and soon followed them into the mysterious blue realm of slip space.
The trip was a week long affair, not his ideal trip time, but the human slip space engines were crude. Theirs were like a scalpel that cut into slip space precisely and surgically where as the human slipspace driver is like a hammer that hammers the cranium open with Jiralhanae force. The trip was to some extent, boring, as all they did was run battle simulations and drills, mostly fronted by Urva. Urva’s military dogma bored Kasr but he at least participated, if to appease him. When they arrived at their destination Kasr’s boredom soon turned to a sort of wonder/fear. It was a human sector alright, though there were no habitable worlds, dozens of stations strip mined asteroids and planets of every available mineral, along with massive solar energy converters sucking up massive amounts of thermal energy. More stations, dedicated to the mass production of war equipment and shipyards were held in a large web like structure. Ships, dozens of them, were being mass produced. The humans were preparing to either push the Jiralhanae out of their territory or one last desperate stand. Either way, if they wanted to stop them, the cost in blood would be heavy, for both sides. Kasr ordered the ship into dock at the nearest possible point, ready to move over and communicate with the humans over this peace treaty. Immediately she, the High ambassador and Urva look a Phantom, unescorted over to the station.
As the Phantom came into the landing bay, with the landing bay sealing behind it, they dropped out of the grav lift and over to a waiting flurry of UNSC officers. The first one to step over, the eldest and most highly decorated with their ‘medals’ saluted then, to which Urva and Kasr returned their races salute and the ambassador bowed. After the ambassador and this ‘fleet Admiral Marcus Vance’ exchanged words, they left to talk about their terms of alliance and sharing of technology. In the meantime, Kasr and Urva were invited to the officers mess, to which Urva only responded with a grunt but Kasr happily obliged.
Kasr sat with two navy officers and a marine officer, with him facing the curved windows facing out into space. He had only chosen water to drink, preferring not to try his luck with any of their drinks.
“And so we’ve been stationed here for three years, drilling as ships get made.”
“So…our tacticians were right. When your fleets were retreating randomly… it was leading us into this trap?” He spoke in English
“Uh… not exactly… that was called the Cole Protocol. It stopped the Covenant from following our retreating ships to military installations or inner colonies or… earth…”
“That has kept you hidden this last 25 years?”
“More or less…”
“And this Earth… what is the importance of this world? I heard recently the San ‘Shyuum of regret found it and claimed it as a holy world, which you had colonised.”
“Are you kidding me?” The navy officer laugh
“Damn, that’s some good spin doctor….”
“What do you mean?”
“Earth is our home world.”
Kasr was silent. The San ‘Shyuum were so full of lies, they had brought this race back to their door step for nothing.
“You know mate…” The marine officer began “Until I heard this morning… you guys were coming to help us… I thought…. I honestly though by this time next year… there would be no humans left.”
Kasr laughed and continued this chat with them, it felt like they had been allies forever. Or enemies. A station announcement rang out, with the human announcer stumbling over Sangheili names. He looked to Urva, who nodded and replaced his helmet and bade the humans he sat with farewell, as did Kasr. They moved away and out of the mess to the lift where they joined the ambassador.
“What is this?”
“Fleet Admiral Vance has had two joyous occasions within two days. Seems one of their ‘demons’ has arrived.”
“Maybe I will get to see what the look like beneath their armour!” Kasr laughed
“Maybe that is their skin!” Urva joked.
The ambassador didn’t laugh, he was too busy looking at something out of the window. He nudged both of them to look as something began to near the station. It was grey and distinctly human but… he had seen nothing like it. Its shape reminded him partially of a human eating implement, the fork, but missing the middle prong. Its most awe inspiring feature was its length. He could see one of their cruisers, just over 1 kilometre long, dwarfed by this monster.
“Marcus Vance calls it the Cole.”
“Cole? Why does that word seem familiar?” Urva said, tapping his helmet.
“Admiral Preston Cole, the first human admiral to encounter our fleets on the field of battle.”
“They say he is the only reason they have remained hidden for so long. He made virtually all of their military laws, keeping them safe up until now.”
“Names are powerful… and indeed, that is a wise choice of names.”
“The ship classification it’s self is called Myth… it is… frightening to think they had these things hidden.”
“We underestimated the humans so much…”
The lift came to a stop and they stopped their gawping and strode out. He saw Vance, striding up with two human females, one in clean and crisp black naval uniform and another in military camo gear. She was just short than Kasr but was well built. So this is what a SPARTAN looks like in the flesh. Just like any other human.
"Ah, meet our estee-"
"SIR GET DOWN!" The SPARTAN roared, like some great monster from the depths of nightmares, shielding Vance and drawing his side arm until the other female kicked it out of her hands.
"Stand down Spartan!"
"Wha, what?" slightly confused by the situation.
"The Sangheili, they have joined with the UNSC in our struggled against the Covenant."
"Spartan-070, this is Major Kasr ‘Revsaree, Major ‘Revsaree, Emissary of the Sangheili race, this is Spartan-070."
"A pleasure to meet one of your fearsome kind on friendlier terms." The Kasr spoke softly in english.
The SPARTAN hesistated but then smiled and shook Kasr's hand strongly.
"Its good to not be standing alone any more."