HALO: If I Were Your Hero
Book 1

"Stand, Five Feet High"

Politics (Part 1)

High Charity
Arrival at Delta Halo

"Do you copy? Come in!" The shout was frantic and eager. Every elite in the communications hall peered toward the image of Regrets battleship as it lifted away from the massive crater where the temple once stood.

"We copy, commander." Came a shaky reply over the transmitter. The elite commander peered into the video display, and released a heavy sigh. His white armor glowed softly in the dim lights of the communications hall. At his side stood two elites, each displaying three parallel purple bars upon their right chest; the purple bars of the Mirratord. They were more then simple Special Operations warriors, they were best of the best and served only the high council; in secrecy and stealth.

A video display showed the elite ship master of Regret's battle group, and the commander once again felt an uncomfortable sensation. "Where is the holy one?"

"Commander, forgive me." The elite ship master lowered his head, filled with shame. "We could not retrieve his holiness in time. The high prophet of Regret was slain by the demon. We destroyed the temple as the demon attempted to flee... "

"Damn it!" The commander shouted through his war torn mandibles. He slammed his fist upon the control panel and huffed in disapproval. Another elite stepped close to him and placed his hand upon his shoulder. The commander turned and looked into the eyes of the Mirratord Second in command; Rin Simyaldee.

Simyaldee had always been a good friend and a worthy leader of the Mirratord. His placement as the Mirratord Second, essentially the leader of all operations assigned to the Mirratord, was well earned. The secrecy of the Mirratord was the council's most guarded, and the Commander enforced it with brutal effectiveness; Simyaldee and the Commander were the most feared warriors on any battle field.

The commander looked at the hand of his friend and understood Simyaldee's intent. The death of a hierarch would not go unpunished, not if Truth had any thing to say about it; now was not the time to loose his focus and unleash his anger.

The ship master nervously continued, "Commander, we awaited the arrival of your phantoms and your warriors, but we received a command from the other Hierarchs. They ordered the destruction of the temple and the demon."

The commander clicked his two right mandibles together in thought. He looked back to the video of the ship master and realized that something more was happening behind the scenes, and the Hierarchs were directly responsible.

"Very well. Send several brigades of troops to the structure just beyond the Quarantine Zone. Make sure they are your most loyal soldiers and do not relay the coordinates to anyone. That will be our fall back point. I will send more troops soon."

"Commander, for what reason should..."

The Commander looked up the screen and nodded softly, "Trust me. I only hope that my fears to do not come to fulfillment."

"Yes commander."

The video faded and the Commander turned to Simyaldee. "These events will not fare well for the council."

Simyaldee spoke softly, "They have been observant of the hierarchs for quite some time. Perhaps now is the time to begin our operation."

"No." The commander thought hard and nodded for Simyaldee and the other Mirratord warrior to follow. They traversed out of the communication hall and spoke softly when they were alone. "For too long the council has feared this day. There is no telling what the hierarchs will do now that one of their own is dead. The demon has once again shamed us."

"Yes, but the demon is surely dead. Killed when the temple was destroyed. I only wish that I had been there to face him before his death."

"I too brother. We have seen many of the demons die in this war, I am sure that another one will rise in its place. We will get our chance to face the demon, unless this Sacred Ring claims us first. But no matter, we will not begin our operation just yet. Let us go and speak with the Hierarchs. Even at this time we must seek their council."

Simyaldee agreed, but his heart was filled with doubt. "I fear it will not go well."

- - - - - - - -

Sanctum of the Hierarchs
High Charity

Truth floated toward a central pedestal and power downed 343 Guilty Spark. Guilty Spark suddenly stopped speaking and Truth turned to Mercy. The mood in the room was dreary, but not do to Regret's death. The information they had just recovered from Guilty Spark was most alarming and upsetting.

Truth rubbed the stubble upon his chin, "It would seem that our great leaders decided to make sure that only the Reclaimers can fire Halo. Their faith in those creatures knows no limits."

"We should have been done with them when we had the chance." Mercy barked.

"Indeed. But let this not alter the grand design. We will achieve our goals. But first we must do something about the elites."

"Their faith in us is waning. They will see through our deeds in time. Thanks to the humans' interference."

"Yes." Truth sighed. "The humans. Damned reclaimers."

"Silencing the heretic was a bold venture, and will sway many of the elites for some time, but I question this current move by the elite high council. What do you think?" Mercy questioned as he floated closer to Truth. Truth looked out of the massive view portal to the spinning ring world beyond. Halo floated majestically beyond in all of its awe inspiring glory.

"I think we should make a political move of power." Truth smiled. "Affective immediately the Brutes will serve as our personal protectors. Remove the elite Honor Guards."

"Yes, this will shake them to their core. The feud between the brutes and elites will be fueled indefinitely. Perhaps the elites will rebel against us..."

"And that will provide excellent cover for our plans." Truth smiled softly at this thought, the death of their brother, Regret, would play into their plans more then they thought possible. Mercy sent the transmission to the council and awaited a response. "Also send for the Arbiter. We will send him to retrieve the Icon. He will surely die on this quest."

"It is only a matter of time before the elites voice their opinion on this matter." Mercy gloated as he gazed at Halo's magnificent lines. "I have also sent for several skilled brutes to come and take the place of the elites guarding our chamber..." A loud beep filled the room and both Truth and Mercy turned toward the chamber door.

"Who is there?" Truth questioned.

"Your holiness, it is I, Commander of the Special Operation forces." The elites deep voice softly echoed around the room.

"Ah, yes Commander. Please enter." Truth looked to Mercy and they both nodded; agreeing to remain silent of their plans. The door to the Hierarchy's chambers parted, and in walked three elites. The leading elite wore the white armor of the elite commander and he was followed by two special operations elites. "This is an unexpected visit. We were in the middle of discussing our new arrangements with the council." As the elites neared Truth and Mercy, they all lowered themselves to one knee and bowed their heads respectfully.

"May I ask, your holiness, what plans?"

Truth floated forward, "We have selected new guards to protect us. The elites have been told to step down as our Honor Guards."

The commander stood tall as shock filled him, but he remained calm. "Your holiness, surely the council..."

"We are the leaders of this Covenant, Commander, or have you forgotten." Truth stated firmly. "The brutes are now our honor guards."

Mercy then interrupted, "I have just received word from the council. They are not pleased and are threatening to resign from the Covenant High Council."

Truth shook his head in a displeased fashion, "It seems that the elite council does not favor our decision, commander. But we stand by it. Tell them the events that has transpired here and make them understand."

The commander held back his frustration, "This is unprecedented... unacceptable."

"A hierarch is dead, Commander." Truth replied directly, not showing any sign of compassion. The doors parted once more and the Arbiter walked in behind the three elite warriors, but held his position close to the door. He listened intently but did not speak.

"His murderer was within our grasp. If you had not withdrawn our phantoms..."

"Are you questioning my decision?"

"No holy one. I only wish to express my concern that the brutes..."

Truth waved his hand and silenced the commander in mid statement. "Recommissioning the guards was a radical step. But recent events have made it abundantly clear that the elites can no longer guarantee our safety."

The commander lowered his eyes, knowing that there was no longer any use in arguing. "I shall relay your... decision, to the council." The commander turned and began to walk out of the chamber; Simyaldee and the other warrior followed closely behind. As they approached the Arbiter, the Commander nodded toward him but continued to walk out of the Chamber. The Arbiter returned the gesture then began to walk toward the Prophets as the Commander and the two Mirratord warriors made their way to the chamber door.

They passed through the door and to their shock, the brutes had already taken the position of the Honor Guards. The brutes snarled as the three elites walked passed, but the Commander and Simyaldee showed no fear. The other elite warrior was young in the Spec Ops ranks and fresh from his induction into the Mirratord. He placed his hand on his energy sword hilt and Simyaldee placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Be calm, young one." The commander stated from in front of him. "Your anger is clear even when I'm not looking at you. You must remember your training. These brutes can smell your fear and nervousness." The young warrior lowered his hand from his hilt and they walked to a clearing, away from the brutes.

The commander verified that they were no longer within range of anyone and then spoke softly, "We don't have much time. The council must be informed immediately. Second, gather the Mirratord and get as many member of the elite council off of High Charity. Take them to the Knight and Piercing Arrow. Young one, contact Doz Yammaeda and tell him to prep the base for my arrival. He'll know what to do."

Simyaldee nodded to the Commander, "What do you think is happening?"

"I'm not sure. But I feel that a change of power is occurring. If so, then none of the elite councilors or the honored will be safe here."

"What about the councilors and honored warriors that have been sent to watch over the control room on the Sacred Ring?"

"We will do what we can for now. But first we must set up camp and prepare our base of operations. I will go with a platoon and see to it myself. Second, the Mirratord is in your hands. Guard the council as best you can." The three warriors parted ways, racing through the corridors of High Charity and unaware of the mission the Arbiter had just been assigned.