Eve of Fate
Well, I'm back. After... a year? Two years? It's been awhile...
First, I would like apologize, but people who have read Eve of Fate probably have heard them all - school, life, etc, etc, et-after-freaking-cetera. If anybody decided to read my profile, some may have read about me reediting/rewriting Eve of Fate. Well, it's true, and I have spent whatever time I can set aside to recreate a few chapters from the beginning to about Chapter 10, 11, or even further. I have decided to reedit after a whole myriad of things came up. First, I would like to do some explaining as to why I decided to embark on a massive reediting and rewriting phase. I read other fics in the Halo section, some really good ones that I won't mention here, but needless to say, they were simply amazing works of art. I envied the authors for being able to create such works of literary art, and I envied their stories for having such strong and complex plots, but it unnerved me a lot more. I began to look back at my own work and I felt it wasn't anything at all. Compared to everything else, it was my product - a mediocre and haphazardly written 'story' using methods, styles, and elements that I still haven't changed upon since elementary school. Here I was - a high school student that enjoys and excels in English more than most of my other peers, reading and writing a story that I had made with ideas I should have grown out of. Reading the other fics made me feel worse about myself, and my ability to write - because part of me kept telling myself that I couldn't match them, and there wasn't anything I could do.
It sounds bad - I have an extremely low self-esteem, a product of growing up without 'proper' praise. I was practically lied to about how good my abilites really are all throughout my life, only to receive the brutal truth later and be forced to make a complete about-face to adjust to it. Worse, everybody I had ever met then proceeded to criticized me - my apparent lack of hard work, subpar marks, and, what my parents describe, a 'stupid, pointless, and useless' need to write fanfiction. The fact that my parents, who knows only a bit of English, kept telling me that I have no chance of writing, hurt the most. I will admit, I broke under all of that. I was made to think that I wasn't anything special or unique, and that the only thing I could do for anything was to work hard and receive nothing, all because I wasn't born to be smart or anything other than an average joe. This, as well as many other things prolonged my writing block. I now understand the type of stress that Bungie feels, when they can only do so much and receive so little back.
But I kept to my writing. It is my release. I looked over my fic, and began to think about what I really wanted to write - the scenes and words I never managed to put on the page. I then had the idea to edit my story - bring it up to an acceptable level of grammar and design. My edit turned into a rewriting. There was so much more I wanted to write, and I now had my chance. I wanted to make Eve of Fate something more - something better. Authors will have their grand works, I have my Eve of Fate.
My rewriting isn't done yet - this is all I have done so far that I wish to release, amidst the stress and horrors of life. I present to you, not the greatest thing ever written, but the method and result of escape that I have pursued. I wanted to show the edited rewritings because I've delayed too long, and I want to get back into the writing process. Also, it's a bit selfish, but I do miss getting reviews...especially when life for me is taking an entirely negative turn, I need a bit of encouragement, even if it comes from a simple 'good job', 'great work', or something like that.
For those who have waited - thank you. For those who wish to read more, I can only hope that I have done my job rewriting parts of segments of my work.
And thus ends my preamble. In the ending notes, I will try to describe the motives for whatever edits and such I made. All those who have read my story before, I hope you enjoy this. For any new people reading my story now, I hope you like it, and I hope its pacing won't disrupt your enjoyment of it. So, here it is, my prologue, to Eve of Fate.
Prologue: Bitter Memories
"Wait, I'm picking up movement. Stay alert Spartans."
"What was that, stray plasma? It's gone now."
"It couldn't be – the area is clear. No Covenant forces within our immediate vicinity."
With that, the Spartans continued their advance towards the city.
"Hold up – we've got a patrol, inbound – one Spectre and a half dozen enemy units, approaching fast."
"Take up defensive formations Spartans! Take them out."
Silenced shots broke through the air, while blood was spilled against the cold earth. The Covenant patrol, realizing they were under attack, returned fire. The blue and purple glows of plasma burned along the landscape, alerting nearby Covenant forces camped inside the city, and ruining any chance of a stealthy insertion.
"Grenade! Take cover Chief!"
A single plasma grenade was thrown, igniting seconds later. The resulting explosion lit the area up, and for a brief number of milliseconds, the silhouette of the Master Chief was seen.
It did not take long for the small task force of Spartans to finish the rest of the patrol. After the last Elite fell, Spartan-104, Fred, noticed something was wrong.
"Master Chief, respond."
No answer. The others tried to contact him, but they too had no luck. They checked the area he was in last, just before the plasma grenade went off. Curiously, there was no trace of a body, let alone any remains of a grenade.
"Where's the Chief?"
"The mission was a failure – according to satellite intel the entire city has been destroyed, along with the resistance fighters we were to have rescued. The Spartans were called back as soon as the Covenant was aware of a rescue attempt," an officer reported to the brass on the Security Council. "In addition to that, the infiltration team has lost one shortly before being ordered pull back, Master Chief Petty Officer Spartan-117, now declared MIA."
"Yes sir, missing in action. No remains or traces of the Spartan were recovered, or found. As a point of interest, satellite intel over the area at the time only found three Spartans, with Spartan-117 missing with no trace inside an area of nearly 200 miles."
"That settles it then, Halsey's freaks are no good to us anymore" a single voice spoke, belonging to a dangerous man.
"What are you suggesting, Colonel Ackerson?"
The Colonel stood up from his seat, inciting silence from the Security Council.
"First, the Spartans are unable to make a covert insertion into the area, and now, it appears that one of them has deserted us in this time of crisis."
"What was that?"
"Gentlemen, it is clear – one Spartan has deserted us. What will prevent the others from doing so? And particularly following this incident, can we trust them enough on missions such as this?"
Silence filled the room, and not a soul dared to speak up after the Colonel.
A young marine sat at a table and wolfed down his pack of rations. Moments later, another marine sat down next to him and whispered into his ear.
"Hey, did you hear? The Chief chickened out on us."
Staring at his comrade with a skeptical look, he argued back.
"No way, he's a Spartan. They don't get scared."
"Oh, if you've been hearing what I've heard from some of the Helljumpers, he's run off!"
"It's not possible, it isn't…"
Within days, conversations similar to it were being said all throughout the military. Within weeks, the trust that the UNSC held in the Spartans, the last saving grace of humanity, was slowly disappearing.
Colonel Ackerson strode into the room where the Security Council was holding its meeting. It was to discuss the need for alternative special weapons programs.
His special weapons programs.
The propaganda worked like a charm. Officers within the UNSC were skeptical of the Spartans now, while the grunts in the Corps distrusted them further. The Spartans weren't needed anymore – all that was needed now was him.
"Colonel Ackerson, we have reconsidered your proposal," a General began. "How soon can we expect them on the field?"
"Not long General. The sooner we replace the Spartans, the soon we can end this war."
"We've lost contact with positions worldwide! The Covies are assaulting with everything they've got! MAC guns, generators, and defensive positions are gone sir!"
"What about Ackerson's SpecOps? What the hell are they doing?" an admiral demanded.
"They're all gone sir – wiped out. They were supposed to be defending the platforms. They have been either overrun or were taken out by the Covie cruisers. They're moving in coordination with each other. It's complete bedlam over our frontlines."
The admiral clenched his fist and gritted his teeth.
The Covenant were past their defenses too far, and they could now take down the remaining human forces a single strike.
The UNSC's luck had run out.
A gold armoured Field Commander stood at the bridge of his vessel and observed the systematic bombing of the human's home world. The sight of the human's home world being destroyed beneath superheated plasma was breathtaking and every bit of it felt sweet. It wasn't in the sheer chaos alone, but rather, in the flawless tactical planning and thought that led to it.
The entire en massed attack was his brainchild – for too long have the Covenant fought against the humans with miniscule force, applying it at select fronts in delicate, yet useless efforts. It resulted in nothing but severe losses over meaningless ground.
His tactic was different – he would require a single coordinated push against the human defenses. Their anti-ship weaponry had to be defeated at all costs, so to allow the Covenant vessels a proper advantage. The tactic was to smash the human defenses and keep attacking – leave nothing standing.
It was painfully simple, but the timing for it made it even better. As far as the commander was able to tell, the humans were falling apart politically. It was the almost laughable nature of the humans - how even in the face of extinction they would still operate according to personal desire and greed. This greed left the armies of humanity untrusting in each other – most particularly between the general forces and the near godlike Spartans.
Within mere hours, the defenses of mankind were smashed through by superior numbers. The last defensive emplacements and commanding positions fell not long ago, as did the last of humanity's stalwart defenders – most particularly, the Spartans, all of which had wreaked havoc on the Covenant for countless years.
"Commander – incoming message from the Hierarchs! It is being broadcasted openly!"
The commander curiously looked on as a hologram of the Prophets Hierarchs was displayed.
"All forces halt your attack at once! Spare the human home world! Commander, destroy any vessel that still fires on the planet! Halt your attack, immediately!"
With that, the attacks stopped. The commander followed his orders and destroyed all ships who continued their attack. Shortly after, another order was given. If the order to halt the attack was alarming by any means, the next order was of complete shock.
The Field Commander relayed the order to the rest of the soldiers under his command. He then proceeded to his Phantom to make landfall on Earth and oversee what needed to be done. Along the way, the Field Commander, one by the name of Nosla 'Yuteryi, shifted from varying degrees of anger to simple fuming.
The order was simple – secure the remaining humans and keep them contained inside a selected city.
A small group of soldiers rushed under the cover of both darkness and the urban environment of the city. The City was in a fairly unknown region of Eastern Europe, and its name had already escaped the memories of the humans forced to live inside of it. It was once a fine metropolis, much like the rest that dotted the landscape of Earth in the 26th century. Currently, it was in complete disrepair, with the towers and structures falling apart from the brutal years of the war. Luckily for some, a complex tunnel system existed beneath the city.
Slipping between shadows and various cover, the team made its way to an apartment building and up several stories without disrupting the inhabitants. The lead soldier carried over his shoulder a body wrapped in a blanket, while the others carried small firearms still left from the war.
As soon as they reached a certain door, the lead knocked and spoke his entry code. The door opened, and he walked inside, only to be met with a confused group of other soldiers.
"What was this?" a soldier asked, keeping his voice down. "We lost six guys out there, and for what, Stacker? Tell me."
Stacker ignored him and carried the body into an empty room and laid it down on an already prepared bed. The others walked in and observed what Stacker was doing.
"We lost six guys for a body?" the same soldier asked. He reached out at the blanket covering the body and unfolded some of it. As the soft material rolled off, the soldier gasped at what he saw.
"We lost six good men so she could live, Hawkins" Stacker replied.
The soldier said nothing and looked on in shock. There was no denying it – the sleeping figure with short dark hair, angular beauty, and an already familiar visage only reinforced the thought.
Cortana slowly woke up. She blinked a few times before yawning and slowly prying herself out of her bed. Setting her feet against the floor, a shiver went up Cortana's spine.
The floor wasn't furnished, and was primarily a piece of rough hardwood. On top of that, it was really cold.
Wrapping her arms around herself, Cortana looked around at her room.
The sun was just rising outside. The rays of light shined through the cracks in her window, illuminating portions of her small room. Her tiny room, along with most of the apartment she lived in was quite rundown and on the verge of ruin. The wallpaper was peeling off, and cracks in the roof and walls weren't the least bit comforting.
"Cathy, are you up yet?"
Cortana got out and quickly picked up a pair of cotton pants hanging on the side of her bed. When she slept, she mostly slept in a shirt and a pair of underwear. As she put her pants on, she replied back.
"I'm up Connor, just give me a second!"
As Cortana got out of her bed, she combed back her tousled hair with her hands. She looked at her mirror hanging on a wall and inspected her image. Anybody looking at her would see a healthy, young, and possibly attractive, twenty year old girl. Her smooth pale skin and rosy cheeks were flawless, and were complimented nicely by her short dark hair and crystalline blue eyes.
As she reached her slender hand for the rusting door knob, she sighed. Sometimes, it seemed as if her room was in an alternate world, and the world outside was some place completely different. In the end, it was.
It was thirty-five years after the end of the Human-Covenant War, and the Covenant had reigned supreme.
It began shortly after Cortana and the Master Chief got back from Halo. The Covenant had figured out the location of Earth, and while Cortana coordinated forces from a secured command post, the Master Chief and his Spartans fought on the ground.
The initial misfortune occurred when the Master Chief and a few Spartans were sent to rescue a besieged gathering of resistance fighters in the United States from the advancing Covenant. The fighters were well aware of the tactics the Covenant used, and being unable to hold the area, their information, as well as their lives, was of great importance for the UNSC.
During the mission however, the Master Chief disappeared. There was no trace of him to be found. Prior to his disappearance, the Covenant were alerted to the Spartans presence, and they hastily began their assault against the resistance fighters. With the mission already taking a turn for the worst, command decided to pull the Spartans out, leaving the resistance fighters to perish against the Covenant.
Shortly after, more trouble came, this time from Colonel Ackerson, who had survived Cortana's fake order that sent him back to the frontlines. He began to argue for whatever reasons that the Master Chief had deserted the UNSC and that the Spartans being detected so early into the mission meant they were obsolete. He immediately started to spread propaganda against the Spartans, arguing further that his SpecOps programs were superior and would actually be able to win the war without 'Halsey's freaks.'
His propaganda did not help much either. Eventually, the opinion of trusting the Spartans were split and the decisions to accept Ackerson's SpecOps was made. However, right as they were being fielded, the Covenant struck with full force. Ackerson's SpecOps were too late, and the Spartans, already having been pulled back for reevaluation by the brass believing in Ackerson's lies, resulted in the complete destruction of the human defenses.
In mere hours, all elements of the UNSC had fallen, along with the Spartans and Ackerson's few SpecOps. With the defenses gone, the Covenant began bombing the planet freely and openly, without fear of getting shot down by ground based defenses.
However, the next part puzzled the surviving humans – the Covenant then stopped their onslaught, and landed troops to police the survivors into a remote city. Roughly ten thousand were allowed into the city, while the many unfortunate others were executed to control the population numbers.
Along with the executions, all AI's were ordered to be handed over for termination. Luckily, Cortana was smuggled into the city. While humanity was beaten, some did not give up. Those who did not formed various resistance groups to hopefully fight back.
About four years later, Cortana began to slip into a frustrated state of rampancy. In a desperate and nearly impossible attempt, a small team of resistance soldiers stole a new type of Covenant cloning technology that was able to create a physical body. They applied the technology to Cortana, and were able to produce for her a body, with her mind inside of it.
Ever since then, Cortana, now existing in a human form, inhabited an apartment within the ruined city, alongside a few people.
The first was a former soldier named Stacker. He was the older brother to the famous Sgt. Stacker, who fought on Halo alongside the Master Chief. Much like his brother, Stacker was a simple and effective soldier, but was calmer and less willing to fight due to his age. The last mission he had ever truly fought in was when he and a few others stole the cloning tech and saved Cortana. After that, he hung up his weapon and now rarely contacted the resistance with information.
Another inhabitant of the apartment was Connor, a roughly eighteen year old teenager. His light brown hair extended down to his ears and moderately over his dark blue eyes, which made him look like a good kid, especially to Cortana, but underneath, Connor was cold, harsh, and cynical, especially towards the resistance efforts. His past was a mystery that nobody understood, and even as he was loyal to Cortana, she too never knew of the teenager's past.
The last was another former soldier, one who went by the name of Rhineland. Of the three men, Cortana rarely saw him outside of his room and never even spoke to him. If he wasn't passed out, he was heavily intoxicated. Cortana did not know anything of his past, and she wasn't willing to ask around.
As Cortana stepped outside, she crossed over several worlds to one of great sadness and sorrow.
She was now in one thirty-five years into the future – thirty-five years after a Covenant victory.
End Note: This is my prologue. I tried to put more of a reflective view towards it, looking back at events that occured before. What I esentially did was combine the first two old chapters into a single one that began by looking into past tense, and then into present, and then the explanation. I felt that by doing this I could set up the situation and some of the characters, such as Cortana and 'Yuteryi better. It turned out to be a tad bit longer than I expected, but hey, nothing's perfect I suppose.
The key changes I made was remove the character 'Jim.' Who was he? If you don't know, that's why I removed him. He was a fifteen year old kid who hung around with Cortana, much to the extent of a big sister/little brother sort of relationship. But it didn't turn out well and I found only so few places to use his character. So, he's cut.
I also removed Cortana's dream sequences. It was a good idea...three years ago. Now, it reeks of a mix of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and other cliched crap, and I'm glad I cut them out.
Well, this is the prologue, and I hope it turned out well.