I still do not own Halo. I have rewritten the two human characters as ODSTs instead of regular marines, as that would make more sense for the type of mission they were on. What's going on Sangheilios in Halo 4, Glasslands, and The Thursday War is scarily similar to a real world phenomenon called "The Arab Spring." Not that I have played the game yet or read Thursday at all or Glasslands in its entirerity. Plot Summaries on Halopedian and selective reading on a kindle counts!
The baby coughed again. Esther looked at the child's face. She knew nothing about Sangheili health, but she could tell that the child was not doing well. Jules was piloting the SKT-13 shuttle back to the Aanrar Shipyards where the prowler they had arrived on, UNSC Big Iron was docked. Getting to the shipyards was the easy part. Once there, the two humans knew that they would have to convince the ship's AI to help them or they would be unable to make the slipspace jump. They had both acted on instinct when they saved this child from the Kaidon and hadn't thought of their next steps after getting out of Sangheilios' atmosphere. Jules had been the first to speak.
"We can't make it to Dimona without a ship, and we can't make the slipspace jump without an AI."
Esther had slapped herself on the forehead. "What have we just done? There is no way we can get this baby to safety on our own!" Taking the child had seemed so right…Esther had no compassion for the Sangheili nor had she ever had children of her own to know what motherly instinct felt like. Still, something in her gut had said, "You must rescue this child."
"Why did you do it?" she asked Jules.
"Because no kids deserve to be abandoned."
"Even Elites?" She asked.
"Even Brutes and Jackals."
"Well," Esther said, looking into the child's spilt pupils as it yawned and briefly closed its eyes. "We can't abandon it now. How are we going to get Dante on our side?"
That brought them to the present. Dante was the AI on Big Iron. He was only three years old, but he was already exhibiting eccentricities. If there was any question of rampancy, he would have been terminated . Nevertheless, he openly questioned the captain's every third decision. He was given the name Dante because of the immediate association that name had with the Inferno. The soldiers on board had to be ready to unleash wrath and punishment on the Covenant during the war. But he seemed to resent that association of his name. Dante the AI liked to remind people that Dante the author had also written the Paradiso. The AI had long been interested in the different cultures of the Covenant and hoped that there would be an era of peace now that the war was over. Still getting him to aid the two ODSTs in taking over the ship was going to be easier said than done.
It was now, for the first time since the Covenant had slaughtered her family, that Esther prayed. Then she had prayed for the ability to avenge her family. However, the more Covies she killed the angrier she felt. Now for reasons she couldn't explain, she saw this little Elite she held as a baby that she wanted to keep safe, not a monstrous enemy. She held the baby close and closed her eyes, but she surprised herself by praying aloud.
"Please G-d, if it is your will that we get this baby to safety, please enable us to do so."
Jules, a Baptist, joined her in prayer. Not knowing whether or not she was Messianic, he was hesitant to add in the name of Yeshua HaMashiach. He did however add silently in Jesus' name. He did this for his own prayer, but was confident because of Esther's faith in the same God, that He would hear her prayer, even if she did not know the Messiah.
The shuttle reached the Aanrar Shipyards. By now the Ambassador had alerted the crew of the Big Iron. They would likely be sent to the brig the moment they stepped on board. If they could get Dante to consider the child's welfare, he would no doubt not shut up about the child. That might get people on the bridge thinking. As they stepped out of the shuttle in Big Iron's hanger bay, the remaining ODSTs s stood waiting for them. Jules held only his M7S Caseless Submachine Gun, while Esther held her weapon in one hand, and held the baby Sangheili close to her chest with the other arm. The two expected to meet raised guns when they came out, but what they found was just the opposite. The other ODSTs were just standing there. A Caucasian American named Phil addressed them.
"You guys are in so much trouble right now, I think you can both kiss your military careers goodbye! But-"
"This baby is not going to back to Sangheilios to be killed, or to an ONI lab!" Esther declared.
"The baby is going to be fine-"
Esther could not believe his words. She had had the bitterest experience with the Covenant but everyone on that ship except Jules had lost someone in the war. How could she expect them to give a rip about the baby when she had so surprised herself? While this was going on in her head Fill had continued speaking.
"The Arbiter was the first person the Ambassador spoke to. He is speaking to Lord Hood now. Until Hood makes a decision, nobody is doing anything with the baby except give it medical attention."
Esther silently mouthed, Thank you, G-d.
"Arby wants the little Elite baby to get a human education, live with humans, and come back to Sangheilios in thirty years." Phil looked down in disgust, almost as though he could spit. "We don't see any Elites offering to take in our war orphans."
"I can't see why we would want them to." Esther responded.
"You are going to be court marshaled," he said and then turned to Jules, "Both of you." Phil snatched the baby from Esther's arm and raised his gun.
Phil ordered the other ODSTs to take them to the brig.
"So, ONI gets it after all," Jules said.
Esther bowed her head in defeat.
"I am still trying to convince my people that an alliance with yours is in everyone's best interest," Thel Vadam said across the viewscreen to his human counterpart, Fleet Admiral Terrance Hood. "Admiral, you know as well as I do that if the fighting continues, your people will likely win but only after scores of unnecessary deaths."
The Canadian Admiral shrugged. "You are stating things that I already know. How does this pertain to the diplomatic incident that has just happened?" Hood was hesitant to cast blame on the kaidon, the ODSTs or even the ambassador, as he was unsure what he would have done in any of their positions. Despite his hesitance to make a moral judgment, he knew that the ODSTs had violated the chain of command and that they needed to be punished.
"This child presents our alliance with something that it needs. A story of a human disobeying orders to help an innocent Sangheili child, whom she did not hold responsible for the wrongs my people did to yours. A lie that the San 'Shyuum spread was that not only were humans unclean, but that they desired the destruction of all other life. Your soldier has already proved in the eyes of some of my staff, that teaching is false." Thel was being very careful in what he said here. Some saw it as demonstrating that humans wanted peace. Others saw it as an outsider butting in to Sangheili matters. If Thel could get the Sangheili to simply view humans the way the Sangheili viewed the other Covenant Species, as inferiors but not automatically deserving of destruction…that was progress in his book. This Esther Brooks would probably be hacked to death on Sangheilios but her actions disproved what some of the wilder opponents of the alliance in 'Mdama were screaming.
"You want to turn this child into a publicity stunt," Hood nodded seeing where Vadam was going.
"Admiral, I do not want to see anymore needless deaths, of my people or yours. I am willing to do things either of our cultures considers shameful if it will help this alliance become accepted." Hood nodded in agreement.
"I am not sure whether Brooks or Medows should take custody of the child, but they should both be court marshaled. One should take the child to raise-
"The female. That would seem most correct to the Sangheili."
Hood knitted his eyebrows at Vadam. He cleared his throat and then continued, "Brooks will take the child and she will be supervised by a government officer who will give monthly reports to someone on your staff," Hood said.
"Very well, Admiral. Thank you for seeing the merit in this little scheme." Hood closed the link on his side. Thel sighed and put his head in his hands. This child represented so much hope to him for his world. The days of being a warrior society had to come to a close. If the Sangheili were to survive, they needed skills in the sciences. While this child could not learn everything they needed to know, he could one day show the Sangheili the benefits of a human-style education. For the Sangheili to one day be able to stand on their own, was Thel's greatest dream.
Dr. Zudakis looked at the child as it lay on its bed in sick bay. Having seen no battle since the war ended in November, hence no injuries, the doctor had the entire sickbay to himself and the child, apart from the occasional interruptions of the ship's AI, Dante. Dante, appearing exactly the famous portraits of his namesake, with robes, a cap and a laurel, projected on the doctor's desk.
"So what do we know?" he asked the doctor in his native Greek.
"We know that the child is male and that his shoulder can be corrected with surgery. He is also suffering from a bacterial infection of his lung."
Dante arched his eyebrows, "Will our antibiotics work on Sangheili pathogens?"
Zudakis stroked his graying goatee as he answered, "Inoculating humans against extraterrestrial pathogens is one of the earliest things we had to do when we began colonizing other worlds. But applying our medicine on an extraterrestrial patient has never been done before."
Dante wrinkled his forehead and said, "Wouldn't the Covenant have used interspecies medicine?"
"Yes, in fact they did. Though the Sangheili routinely eschewed Doctors, they understood the premise of inoculation and had their DNA combined with vaccines. However, this case involves treating an infection that's already occurred."
The child coughed interrupting Dr. Zudakis. The doctor and the AI both looked toward the child and back to each other.
"There is less fear of our antibiotics not working on the microbes, than of our antibiotics also destroying the patient's lung tissue. However, I don't see any other choice."
The doctor returned to the little patient's bed. He gave the child a shot which caused it to cry out. He looked down at the child. That Sangheili would abandon their infants should how cheap they considered life. While it was hard to condemn this little one, Zudakis thought, what kind of being would it be if it grew up? Could it overcome millennia of genetic predisposition that made compassion an alien concept? In any event, they would soon know what Admiral Hood had decided. Until then, Zudakis would try to keep the baby alive. The only real question was whether or not the earth antibiotics would have an adverse effect on the Sangheili body? He would keep the baby in sick bay until its symptoms stopped. Then he would move it to his quarters until he received word from Captain Huang. If it showed nothing abnormal within the first twenty-four hours of this shot, everything was likely to be okay.