|This article, The Orionus Chronicles - Part 1: The Beginning, was written by 144-Patient Appelant. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The United Galactic Alliance, the most powerful multi-species conglomerate to take shape since the Covenant, has protected the Orion Arm of the Galaxy for more than half a century but when an unknown enemy begins attacking their worlds, a conflict that may mean their end evolves. The Orionus Chronicles tells the story of the beginning of the Orionus War and, in conjunction, the events that will come forth later on.
In 2634, Council Hall of the Orion Center was packed with the UGA's finest. They were there to deal with a dire situation, hostile vessels began attacking small colonies on the edge of their territories. The debate on what to do about this unseen enemy lasted for hours but the decision would ultimately shape what happens to the Galaxy.
Sol 'Vadum shuffled in his council chair, sitting as if uncomfortable. His left mandible twitched as the debate went on and on. His neighbor, Councilor 'Folan glanced over, trying to listen to the debate and see what was wrong with Vadam at the same time. "Councilor, are you alright," asked the half-concerned councilor. "Uh, yes 'Folan. I'm fine," replied Vadum in a low voice. It was obvious that Vadam was growing more and more impatient and his attempt to let the other councilors speak was becoming increasingly impossible. He watched as councilors bickered on about the issue at hand.
"Obviously, we need to track the enemy down and exterminate them. This shouldn't even cause for debate," barks Councilor Paxton.
"This is a volatile situation, Councilor Paxton. Sending a fleet could cause another war and that is something we don't need right now," said Councilor 'Resum in rebuttal.
"Than what do you think is the best action to be taken," replies Paxton.
"We send a peacemaker fleet. The sheer size and number of our ships will be enough to scare whatever enemy it is into submission," adds Councilor 'Derum.
"How do we know that these, these things, will back down. We need to do more than send a fleet, we need to send an entire army," shouts Paxton.
"Paxton, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you want much more than the ensurance of our colonies," says Councilor Vasser.
"Your damn right I want more! They attacked our homes, our children, our lives! Don't you understand, If we don't deal with this problem now, It will escalate until it's too big for any of us," growls Paxton."
"If you want war, fear mongering is not the way to get it. The possibility of them waging a full-scale attack on us is a great concern but we must think first. Our people still suffer from the scars of a previous war. Tossing them into another conflict could be disastrous," says Councilor 'Derum.
"But doing nothing could prove even more disastrous," says Sol 'Vadum, finally losing his patience. "I commend your efforts to keep us out of another conflict but Paxton is absolutely right. If we don't take necessary action, this alliance may crumble into rubble.
The other councilors looked at eachother, realizing the truth in 'Vadum and Paxton's statements. The threat of a large-scale conflict was a dark nightmare that no one in the Council wanted to fall on their heads, but it's inevitability became greater. There was the conjunctive possibility that it was merely a few hostiles and that any conflict would be finished within a week so many retained their hope for a lasting era of peace. As the council session closed and the declaration to send a battle fleet was made, 'Vadum made his way to his council chambers only to be stopped in the corridor by Paxton.
Paxton approaches 'Vadum with a grin on his face and eyes closed as if carrying a sense of smug pride."Vadum, I wanted to thank you for-"
"Paxton, what is your agenda in this," interrupts 'Vadum.
A startled expression splatters across Paxton's face."Agenda? I have no agenda in war,"
'Vadum twitches one of his mandibles and stares Paxton down. "I've never seen you fight that hard for any cause. Either way, the certainty of war is not set in stone. Whatever you'll get, won't last," 'Vadum growls as he turns and walks away leaving Paxton with a sneering expression.
Only minutes later, an army is being prepared to be mobilized into the last known location of the hostiles, the Omega-7 System. As the 3rd Fleet of Justice is deployed, Marines prep and arm themselves for combat.
Aboard the mighty UGA Centurion, Captain Fields looks out through his massive ship's observation deck. The entire room is dark, save for the dim glimmer of light coming from the hologram projector. Behind him, the AI Magesty, appears.
"Captain, incoming unidentified objects. I can't quite get a beat on them. This may be it, Sir," says Magesty in a slightly monotone voice.
"Alright, looks like the big one," mumbles Fields to himself. He pushes the INTERCOM button next to him and clears his voice. "All hands, prepare for combat. Charge PAC weapons and shields. This is what we came here for."Just then, everyone aboard the ship begins to scatter as Fields' voice echoes through the corridors and barracks.
"Captain, objects are getting closer. I'm starting to pick up familiar identification. It is one of ours," says Majesty. "What?! Power down PACs. Bring us closer to that ship," orders Fields. "Aye sir," says Majesty as while fading away into a flicker of small lights.
The Centurion slowly creeps in closer to a drifting, mangled UGA frigate, the UGA Chariot. Majesty reappears shortly after with news for Captain Fields. "Captain, I am getting no reply from communcation attempts. Power in the Chariot is reading 9%. I am reading faint life signatures aboard the ship. Should I board?"
"Yes, let's get whoever's in there on this ship pronto," answers Fields. The Centurion flies next to the Chariot and uses it's powerful boarding hooks to draw the frigate in closer. Just then, the frigate launches it's boarding hooks, driving them deep into the hull of the Centurion. The ship shakes from the impact. "Majesty, what's going on," shouts Fields.
"The UGA Chariot has interlocked itself to our ship. Boarding pods from the vessel have also been launched," replies Majesty, still monotoned. Fields' eyes widen and his heart skips a beat. "Damn it, it's a trap. All hands, begin anti-boarding procedures. Don't let anyone on this damned ship," commands Fields over the INTERCOM.
Marines from allover the ship grab weapons and storm through the ship, securing areas of importance from damage. As the boarding pods clamp down onto shuttle bays and hangar doors, the areas are swarmed by anxious marines.
One soldier, James Spellman, was far more battle ready than afraid. Sweat beaded down his forehead and tickled his eyebrow. His heavy breathing began to fog up his helmets visor and he steadied himself. As the sound of the pods cutting through the shuttle doors was heard, marines raised their rifles all in conjunction, aiming steadily at the door.
James' heart began to pound through his chest as everything stood completely stil and silent, save for the cutting away at the dors. Just then, in a flash, the shuttle doors bursted inward and two marines were hid by part of the large door.
Smoke filled the doorway and nothing was seen except for the projectiles being fired at them. James fired into the door but as his comrades fell back, he was also forced to fall back. "Spellman, get over here," shouts another marine, Michael Lee.
James tosses himself behind a supply crate and creeps along the floor to Lee's position behind a barricade. They fire into the doorway until all opposing fire seems to stop but then, a hideous creature jumps through the shuttle doors and fires two explosive rounds into a crowd of marines.
The blasts are enough to knock James backward to the floor. Lee grabs him by the arm and easily pulls him up to his feet and they continue firing on the enemy. Meanwhile, other groups of marines are faced with even greater opposition as familiar enemies mow their way through the ship, Brutes.
Captain Fields has made his way to the command deck and has been trying to order his ships to assist him, to no avail. "Dammit, they must've cut our communications. For all the rest of the fleet knows, we're doing fine."
Majesty looks up at the frustrated Captain saying "What should we do sure."
Fields looks down at his hands for a moment then out of the window. "We get everyone off of this ship. Give the evacuation order."
"Aye, Captain," says Majesty as the AIs image fades back out into nothingness.
Seconds later, Majesty's voice is heard on the INTERCOM system. "Evacuation Order Number 2314-590 is underway. All hands, report to safe zones in Sectors A, D, and K. This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill."
After Majesty finishes delivering the order, Fields lowers his head, takes off his hat, and runs his wrinkled fingers through his thick, grey hair. He looks around at the deckhands still working to shut safety doors around the ship. "That means you all too. Report to the safety zones and get out of here."
As James hears the evac order, he contemplates whether or not he should stay and fight. He fires off a few rounds into the incoming hostiles and ducks behind the barricade. He looks down at Michael Lee, who received a large spike projectile to the throat. He lets out a sigh and pulls out a grenade. "This, this is for you."
James kisses the grenade, pulls the trigger, and tosses it over the crate then ducks back behind it and clinches his muscles tightly. Two seconds later, a blast sense James and the body of Michael flying into the opposing wall. As he falls to the floor, he looks up and sees the scattered remains of some enemies.
He continues to look as a large beast thuds through the enflamed corridor towards him. He begins to pass out before the creature reaches him but before losing consciousness, he hears the sound of automatic weapons and shouting and he feels something grab his shoulder and back.
When James awakens, he's on an escape shuttle. He's laying on a gurney and facing out of the shuttles window at the Centurion. Explosions are seen exhuming from it and around it as it is caught in the middle of the 3rd Fleet and an unknown enemy fleet's battle. He watches as the two fleets begin to advance toward eachother before pasing out again.
At first, 'Vadum lowers his head in sorrow then he quickly raises it. "Wait, did you say the Centurion? A 117-Class Dreadnought?!"
'Goram clears his throat in anxiety and replies. "Yes sir. Apparently, they caught the Centurion offguard by using the Chariot as a, what would the Humans call it, a Trojan Horse."
"This is...very unfortunate," says 'Vadum in a growling voice.
'Goram takes a step forward. "That isn't the worst part, Sir. Intelligence claims that the attack was carried out by the Jiralhanae!"
'Vadum's face bursts with first suprise, then anger. He strokes his helmet with his hand and rises from his desk swiftly. "'Goram, tell your men to set coarse for Sangheilios. It's time to inform the Arbiter."
After a few moments, a flash of light began to glimmer off the front of the Orion's Eye and the ship was sucked through Slipspace. Soon after, the vessel arrived in orbit around Sangheilios. The Orion's Eye wasn't the only ship there either. Dozens of ships orbited the planet, all on different agendas.
'Vadum looked down from the observation deck at the great planet. "Someone prepare a dropship."
'Vadum's dropship brought him outside of the Palace of Vadam, where the current Arbiter resides. He strolled down the long walk way, passing by dozens of armor clad members of the Order of Vadam, all standing as still as statues. He entered the palace and was taken by two other guards to the Arbiter's throne room.
Coming to the throne, 'Vadum bowed. "Arbiter, I bring dire news."
The Arbiter rises from his throne and walks down to 'Vadum. "Rise, my friend," he says while extending his arms. Vires 'Vadam was a large Sangheili and the son of the famed Thel 'Vadam. He took over command after the unfortunate death of his father. He loomed over other Sangheili but his immense size and ravenous features hid his true nature as a kind and gentle ruler.
"What is this news you bring," says 'Vadam.
'Vadum looks at him with worry deeply imprinted in his face. "A fleet, the 3rd Fleet of Justice, it's been attacked. The flagship was lost and the rest of the fleet was left severely damaged. The death toll is in the thousands and from what I understand, the Jiralhanae are behind it."
A look of shock appeared on 'Vadam's face like an electric jolt. "The Brutes! No one has seen them in decades." He looked down for a second then quickly adjusted his posture. "We must organize a council meeting. Head for the Orion Center my friend, I'll meet you there."
'Vadum nodded his head ecstatically. "Yes, Arbiter." He saluted Vires and marched from the room, shoulders cocked as if offered the throne. On the contrary, 'Vadam had a far more worried look about him.
'Vadam turned, facing away from the exiting Sol and glanced at the throne. He shut his eyes and inhaled as much air as he could, feeling his skin stretch against his ribs. "Father, I fear that I may need to lead our people into more bloodshed. Please guide me through this time."
He opens his eyes and replaces his appearance of stress with that of courage and confidence, the appearance of a leader. He turns to see another large Sangheili standing in the palace doorway, clad in ornate armor similar to that of the Arbiter. Vires approaches him while making his way toward the doorway. "'Umbras, ready the Order of Vadam. We're going to the Orion Center."
"Yes, Arbiter," replies the large Sangheili in a whispery, somewhat haunting, voice. Xenra 'Umbras has been the Head of the Order of Vadam since it's creation. Not only that, but he has been a great ally of 'Vadam's his entire life.
As 'Vadam left the palace and marched toward a private Eidolon, 'Umbras followed closely behind as did the members of the Order. Determination could be witnessed in 'Vadam's face and power was demanded by the sight of him with his powerful guards.
Meanwhile, 'Vadum was back aboard the Orion's Eye. 'Goram ordered his crew with urgent efficiency as everyone scattered in getting ahold of all of the Councilors. Even 'Vadum was working hard and organizing the meeting.
Urgency didn't come from the fact that the Abiter would be attending the meeting, urgency came because everyone aboard the ship knew that there woul be a declaration of war.After making a final call, 'Vadum lets out a large sigh. "It looks like you'll be getting your war, Paxton."
James Spellman awoke in an all-white hospital bed with needles in his arm. He looked around the room, moving only his eyes. Breathing was difficult and he gripped his chest. He felt a deep pain when he did and looked down to see red stained bandaging.
He began to panic and gasp for air. His heart rate skyrocketed and a nurse came in the room with a syringe. "Calm down Mr. Spellman," she says just before plunging the syringe into James' neck. The pain begins to fade and his heart rate slowly drops to normal.
As the nurse leaves the room, James is left questioning what happened to him. Struggling to think back, James remembers the sight of a giant approaching him through a burning corridor.
He also remembers seeing marines coming to his aid. "Oh man, I thought I was done for."
He sits up in his bed and remembers the sight of the Centurion burning in the line of fire from two armadas as one pours in from Slipspace.
Instantly, a shock goes to his system and he nearly leaps from his bed. "Oh my god, we're going to war."
Two other marines come in shortly after that, just a couple of the ones who saved his life. One of them, standing a good 6 and three quarters casts a looming shadow at the foot of the bed and the other, a skinny guy look at him with grins on their faces.
"Hey, Kid. You doin' okay," says the big guy. The other marine leans over the foot of the bed with a look of interest upon his face. "I thought you were done for sure."
James is still confused, probably on account of the drugs he's been pumped with. "Uh, hey."
Shaun and Li look at one another and laugh. Shaun turns and looks at James. "We might not seem familiar but we're the ones who saved your ass back on the Centurion."
Another average sized marine walks in the room. "You mean, you helped save his ass." Shaun and Li turn around quickly at the man who James heard about many times before, Robert Kennedy.
Shaun has a suprised look on his face. "Uh, Sir, we were just, uh-."
Kennedy closes his eyes and gives a grin. "Ha, save it big guy. You and Chan wait outside."
Shaun and Li hurry out of the room while Kennedy takes a seat on the stool next to Spellman's bed. "You alright, Spellman?"
James is slightly suprised that Robert knows his last name. "Have we met before?"
Robert rubs his knuckles, red and bruised. "No, but." Robert pauses for a moment. "I knew your brother."
James's eyes grow wide and his jaw drops slightly. Memories of his brother begin to fill his head and he can feel pressure building in his eyes. "You knew Mike."
Robert nods his head, eyes still closed. "He was a good kid. Shame what happened to 'em."
Memories of his brother filled James's head. "I know...I don't wanna talk about that now." He finally looks and notices Robert's hand. "What happened there?"
Robert looks down at his hand and a small smirk appears on his face. "Oh, this? Just a little mark from when I socked that big ass giant in the face about two seconds before he was gonna squish you."
A smile forces its way on James's face. "Thanks man."
"Don't thank me Spellman, after all you're gonna have to experience the war with the rest of us now."
James winces. "So there is going to be a war."
Robert stands up and starts toward the door. "Sorry, Spellman. Whats even worse is I've seen a few of those buggers during the attack. Well, I'll leave you to your rest."
As the door slides close, James looks down at his palms, situated on his lap. He then tightens them into fists and his heart rate begins to elavate again. "Don't be sorry. I've been waiting for my chance for revenge for a long time."
The halls of the Orion Center echoed with the howls and protest of disgruntled elderly people as the absolution of war seemed inevitable, especially after the realization that the Scattered played a part in the attacks on UGA property. Things would escalate much further after the meeting began.
Paxton felt much self-importance after his predictions for war seemed to be correct.
"Do you see! I told you this would happen but not a soul here wanted to believe me!"
Councilor 'Resum quickly interrupted Paxton's egotistical rant. "Paxton, I understand the feelings you must be experiencing right now but acting like a pompous moron is not a way to win anyone here over."
Paxton's arrogance quickly turned to hostility. "I am no moron. I am the one who warned of this, I am the one who wanted to send a strong force into that turbulent hell hole known as Omega-7, I am the one who wanted to protect our soldiers, and I am the one who should lead this council."
Suddenly, Paxton's motives became known to 'Vadum. "Now I understand. You don't want peace, you think that this war will somehow give you the opportunity to become a member of the Grand Council. This is peoples lives we are speaking of, Paxton not some....political gold mine."
Vasser finally grows tired of the argument. "I think everyone should settle down. It's clear that their are some....intense emotions swirling around but we need to remember why we're here."
A Sangheili councilor sitting in the corner tilts his head and leans back in his chair. "Why are we here?"
"We are here to discuss a galactic crisis."
Every head in the council room turns their head to see who the voice originates from. Looking up into a balcony overlooking the room, they see ten figures, nine of which are sitting in gravity thrones and one large Sangheili stands. It is Arbiter 'Vadam.
"Me and my colleagues are here to represent the rest of the Grand Council. I have called everyone here today for one reason; war."
Chatter and gasps begin to swirl through the room only to die down again to allow 'Vadam to continue.
"A mighty blow has been struck against us and we have lost...many. I know that there is some here who are aprehensive about beginning another war but I must share something that may sway you. The attack was not devised by the Yanme'e nor the Kig-Yar though they had much to do with it. Instead, they were being led by none other then the Jiralhanae."
An uprising of audible tension increased as anger began to fill the hearts of many in the room, especially the Sangheili councilors. 'Vadam quickly silences the uproar and continues.
"Now you truly understand, the enemy of our fathers and grandfathers has returned to take more of our lives. They have also recruited more allies and their viciousness is sure to spread through every corner of the known galaxy so you see, there is no way but war. A war that will stop this threat from ending more lives."
The Orion Council begins to applaud as 'Vadam looms over them, shoulders cocked. The realization of war has come to the United Galactic Alliance and as their armies begin to mobilize, the feeling that the war will be long and destructive is something that many feel. As news reaches the ends of UGA-territory, citizens begin planning for another possible economic depression. Life already begins to evolve into terror as the galaxy prepares for one of the greatest disasters to happen in years.