Epsilon Eridani System, 6 months ago...
Sangheili ships were a common site in the Epsilon Eridani, or as it's more commonly known, the Reach System. A great number of these ships were civilian, tourists from Sanghelios and her colonies come to visit the site of the bloodiest battle in the Human-Covernant War. Other ships were trade vessels, packed with the wares of the Sangheili Empire and ready to turn a profit. However, on this day, there was one ship that was in the system for neither of those reasons. This ship, a small, unassuming frigate speeding towards one of the many defence platforms in orbit above Reach, was carrying a very secretive and valuable cargo.
In a meeting room onboard the station, a man watched as ships flew by in silence. His admirals uniform was crisp, clean, and his hair was well trimmed. In his hand was a datapad, containing reports of attacks on colonies, human and Covernant. Then, he heard the door into the room open, and with measured steps a Sangheili entered the room. His armor was silver, adorned with golden patterns, and clasped to his shoulders was a simple red cloak, the tail of which barely reaching the floor. The Sangheili walked to a spot besides the human, but remained slient, observing the planet before them.
Then, after a few moments, the human turned and spoke.
"Thank you for coming, Admiral," Admiral Steven Hackett, extending a hand towards the Sangheili, who had turned to face him.
"The nature of your summons necessitated my presence, Admiral," Imperial Admiral Rtas 'Vadum replied, taking the human's hand with his own and shaking. Turning away from the vista of Reach, the two made their way to the room's table, Hackett seating himself on a chair on one side, while 'Vadum kneed in a way that was comfortable on the other.
"I'm sorry about that. We don't have any Sangheili chairs on the station," Hackett said. 'Vadum waved off his concern.
"It is a small matter, and not one that demands my attention. What does demand my attention are your reports," he replied, a hand absent-mindedly scratching at his missing jaw. Hackett nodded and pushed the datapad across the table to the Sangheili.
"Raids on border colonies. Human, Turian, Sangheili. Seems to be no pattern. Little to no evidence, or survivors, left, but we do have video from one colony," Hackeet said, as 'Vadum selected the video in question and growled at what he saw.
"Brutes," was all he said. Hackett nodded.
"Now, Brute pirates are normally brutal and violent. These Brutes, though... they're looking for something. And they are not operating alone," he said. 'Vadum nodded, having reached the same conclusion as Hackett.
"The Terminus Systems. A group or individual seeking something in these colonies, using Brutes and their ilk as their tools," the Imperial Admiral said. "But how does this meeting help us?" Hackett chuckled darkly, then pushed another datapad towards 'Vadum.
"From this point onwards, this meeting never happened. This is ONI's plan, not mine," Hackett said. 'Vadum nodded, then read the datapad's contents. As he read it, his jaws slowly moved into an approximation of a smile. Finally, he set the datapad down.
"I like it. It's risky. Could bring ruin down on both our heads," he said, standing. Hackett nodded, standing as well. The two walked to each other and shook hands once more.
"Black ops are always risky. But the prize... Might just be worth it."
Undisclosed Location, Present Day...
"All troopers to your stations. Prepare for combat drop. I repeat, all troopers to your stations. Prepare for combat drop."
"Yesh, we get it already!" a voice shouted over the announcement. Its owner was a human, with dark brown hair that at one point was cropped back, but now had grown far longer then any respectable commander would allow. His eyes were a deep blue, and his face was hardened, but handsome. He rolled his shoulders, before tightening the straps of his armor. Said armor was jet black, the only colouration on it a white skull painted onto the right shoulder and chest, and a small ace of spades symbol on his wrists. Then, once he was happy with his armor, Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Operations Chief James "Ace" Buck banged his helmet on the table in front of him, gaining the attention of the 5 other people in the room.
One was carefully cleaning a ODST Valiant sniper rifle on top of a crate. His armor was scuffed, dented, and had dirt stains on the chest and knee plates. His hair was a dirty blond, his focused eyes a deep blue. His armor also had a white skull painted onto the chest, as did the armor of everyone in the room. However, his armor also had small burning bullets on the shoulder armor. Gunnery Chief Jacob "Hotshot" George looked up for a moment, before returning to his task.
Beside Hotshot, leaning against the wall, was the team's combat medic. Corporal Goltia "Dancer" Moyle was busily tapping at her omnitool, her brown hair tied back into a ponytail. Her armor had a picture of a dancing woman on it; rumor was that she posed for the small painting herself. Anyone who dared to ask, however, quickly found that the young Earthborn put an emphasis on the "combat" part of her job description.
Across from Dancer, seated on top of a box that had, in four different languages, "CAUTION: HIGH EXPLOSIVE" printed on it, was the 'token black man" as he refered to himself as; Service Chief Tyron "Boomer" Wayneson, the team's explosives expert. His armor was, naturally, decorated with a depiction of a mushroom cloud. Presently, Boomer was petting his pride and joy as if it were a pet: A prototype for a weapon labelled the M-920. Painted carefully onto the side of the weapon was the word "Cain".
At the far end of the room stood the team's last two members: Two Sangheili that were worlds apart. The first was decked out in Special Operations armor, painted black with a white Shangheili skull painted onto the chest. Gruff, to the point and serious even by Sangheili standards, Yors 'Gorhoasai leaned against the wall. In the middle of his lifespan, he prefered to let his actions speak, and enjoyed making his point with his energy swords, one attached to each thigh, a habit that earned him the callsign "Bladerunner".
The other Sangheili was completely different. Heas 'Jwanspon was a young Shangheili major who followed the "Squidhead" youth cuture. Bobbing his head in very human fashion in time to whatever music he had playing in his ears, the young warrior wore a custom made combat harness with more powerful shields then those of his elder. A necessity of his role; Shock trooper. To this end, Heas had beside him a "plasma minigun", as he called it. Callsign: Thumper.
As the team turned their attention to the centre of the room, a glow materialized on the table in the centre. After a moment, it solidified into a figure. The figure was a male human, and was dressed in a simple business suit.
"Bravo Squad. We're heading to a small Sangheili colony not to far from here on the edge of Empire space. According to reports, the colony has been occupied by pirates consisting primarily of Brutes. We want to know why," said Keyes, the Shadow of Dawn's AI said.
"Orders?" Yors asked, the gruff Sangheili whacking Heas over the head, rousing the younger Sangheili from his music.
"Go in hard, go in fast. The Shipmaster has requested that you, and I quote, "Slaughter each of every last one of those fucking Brutes"," Keyes replied. Ace nodded.
"Drop time?" the Operations Chief asked, grabbing his helmet.
"20 minutes. We slip in two."
ONI REPORT: THE SHADOW OF DAWN
The Shadow of Dawn is, alongside the SSV Normandy, one of the most advanced ships in Citadel Space. It's also the most advanced ship no one has ever heard of. Constructed in [REDACTED], this high tech stealth frigate combines the heat sink technology pioneered for the Normandy, with Sangheili cloaking technology and weaponry.
Completed 4 months ago, the Shadow of Dawn is a Human-Sangheili Black Ops vessel, and is outfitted as such. Geared towards avoiding fights rather then winning them, the ship's primary purpose is getting it's compartment of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers in and out of operations. When forced into a battle, however, the Dawn does have formidable plasma torpedoes and a mass driver at its disposal.
Fittingly for a ship that doesn't officially exist, the Shadow of Dawn breaks no less then 20 Council laws regarding the 314 Relay Races, the most serious of these being the bans on Slipspace drives and Artifical Inteligences. The ship's primary Faster Then Light drive is a Sangheili-built Slipspace drive, which completely outstrips standard mass effect drives. The ship's resident AI, Keyes, provides ground teams with Overwatch and intel, and, when needed, can control the ship's weapon's targeting systems.
In the event that the Shadow of Dawn is captured by a Citidal Race ship or fleet, the ship's self destruct will be activated by Keyes, setting off a medium yield nuclear device inside the ships hull, eliminating all evidence of it's existence.