Aeron Solo: Halo, Bungie, Microsoft, Homeworld II, Relic Entertainment, Sierra, and any and all related companies, images, characters, topics, scenes, locations, and other such things, do not belong to me.
Relics of the Past
It was a time for death.
Ever since the destruction of the Halo ringworld, the high council of the Covenant had grown fearful of the humans, forcing into battle still more of their resources. Each and every day, more and more brave Elites, Grunts, Jackals, Hunters, Engineers, and all manner of sentient beings that made up the Covenant were sent out to war.
Each and every day, more and more of them did not come back.
Though the Prophets and Brutes denied it vehemently, whispers and rumors abounded among the lower castes and even among the soldiers. Even the prophets were growing nervous about the impossibilities that were rumored:
The Covenant itself would be destroyed by these "Humans."
Normally, they would not trouble themselves with this idle gossip. After all, the humans were nothing more then over-evolved monkeys with primitive tools, barely capable of independent thought. They squabbled like a flock of Legthanokiso over a scrap of meat, were (on a large part), very weak physically, and still used gunpowder weapons. When the Prophets had set their sights on the human worlds, they had expected swift and unparalleled victory.
That is, until they encountered the Spartans.
When the Spartans first clashed with the Covenant, the Covenant had thought that these fleshlings would be no different then any other members of their pathetic race. This changed the first instant that one had single-handedly slain a squad of Elites, Grunts, Jackals, and had used their own weapons to do it. The Spartan then went on a rampage against them in one of their own tanks.
Worse for the alien collective, there were HUNDREDS of these beings. Thusly, special orders were received by the units of the Covenant:
SHOOT THE SPARTANS FIRST.
While simplistic, almost idiotically so, the plan was a success, of sorts. Kinda weird, but with the Covenant's guns trained on these "Demons," as the Prophets called them, they fell one by one.
And so it went. System by system, the Covenant annihilated all human life, carving a swathe of destruction across the galaxy. The Spartans began to falter. Humanity began to lose hope of ever beating the menace from the stars.
Then, from nowhere, a shocking wave of news passed through the Covenant:
The sacred ring, Alpha Halo, had been found- and destroyed- by one of the last of the Spartans. A green-armored Spartan with a blue holographic female companion. The demon of all demons.
This was the Master Chief.
However, before the Master Chief blew up Alpha Halo, multiple files and computer systems were recovered from the holy ring, and among them was a list of coordinates of Forerunner sites. While the list was far from complete- the list was missing many known Forerunner temples and cities- it did reveal several sites that had never been discovered, including those a Galaxy away.
With the promise of Forerunner supertechnology at the other end of the line, the Prophets assembled what was to be known as the Holy Fleet of Exploration, created and maintained for the sole purpose of recovering the Forerunner technology.
And so they appointed an Elite, Shen V'Klek, to lead the fleet to glorious victory...
"Go, and may the light of the gods guide you on your quest!" the old prophet hissed at Shen in his Golden armor.
"And may the will of the gods be carried out by their children," responded Shen.
"FOR THE GLORY OF THE COVENANT!" Shrieked the assembled crowd, completing the ritual.
Shen turned on his heel and stalked out, his two-meter tall bulk accompanied by his two hunter bodyguards.
He waited until he was well out of earshot of the grand high council, Shen turned his head almost imperceptibly, his four jaws opening and closing in the strange way of speech his people had developed over the millions of years of their evolution.
"So, what do you two think of this new assignment?"
The hunters stared straight ahead, as they had been taught all throughout basic training. The taller of the two was named Tuikandra Dolo Skaina, Tui for short, and was de facto leader of the ground forces of the assault group. His mate, Lakara Dolo Naida (La for short), walked next to him, shorter but stronger then her husband.
The three had formed a strange friendship over the years. Since the alien-worm collectives known as hunters had been assigned to Shen's command almost fifty years ago, Shen had learned to trust the two, knowing them both to be wise and strong warriors, each having single-handedly killed a Spartan each, a feat which usually took several squads of Elites, countless grunts, a Scarab, and numerous other personel. In return, they had found someone both could trust, someone they could look to for a fresh perspective when their own viewpoints differed. So when their commanding officer asked them in this way, they knew that military protocol wasn't necessary, since he was addressing them as equals.
Tui spoke first, saying each word with deliberate caution. "Shen, you are wise and a fine warrior. You know that we trust you…"
La finished for him. "But we think that this is a suicide mission."
"I suspected as such as well." Shen murmured. "After all, few of the ones who defended the Prophet of Regret from the Demon's desecration are still in service…"
"Yes, the others have been 'retired,' or blamed as heretics." La added.
"While the useful ones have either been reassigned, such as the Arbiter," Tui finished, "and guess how many of the defenders of the Prophet are on this mission?"
Shen let out a mirthless laugh. "Counting us, all of them?"
La shrugged as they rounded a corner into the hall that led to the shuttles to their new command. "All but the Arbiter, retirees, and the Heretics."
"So we'll all die, then."
"Not nessecarily, commander." Tui reported.
The two others stopped and stared at him.
"Well, I took the liberty of looking over the mission schematics. There ARE Forerunner objects at the other end of the jump coordinates. If we were to bring them back…"
Shen grinned. "We'd be welcomed back with open…" he glanced at his companions, thought of the various races that made up the covenant, then looked at his arms. "Well, we'd be welcomed back as heroes, at least."
La smiled (in her way), and hummed. "And if it's REALLY big, we might each get our own battle groups, or even our own spot in the council for helping them achieve the Great Journey sooner…"
Shen began to jog to the shuttle, smiling with both of his pairs of toothed appendages. "Then what are we waiting for?"
The hallway was filled with thuds as the Hunters' massive feet struggled to keep up with the Elite's much lighter footsteps.
Aeron Solo: I just wanted to take a brief pause to dedicate this story to Sithking Zero, who came up with the initial idea. He was unable to continue, but has permitted me to continue in his stead. Many thanks to the author who started it all, and I will carry on the tale of these brave Covenant militants.