Part 2: Why hello again...
Age of Reclamation
CCS-Battle Cruiser Mercy and Betrayal
SpecOps Science Major Naki 'Cimutee
Naki typed away on her data console coming up with a mass message to send to the warriors aboard the Mercy and Betrayal or any through out the fleet stationed over the Human planet they called Standard IV. She had finally received permission from the High Prophet of Truth to begin the first test of the Forerunner device she had discovered on the Sangheili colony world Sanctum years before. She had noticed it seemed like many projects similar to hers were being authorized to be tested in secret, and the small board that made up the Sangheili half of the Science department was small enough that secrets like that spread rapidly but never out of their select group. She was pretty sure not even Regret or Mercy knew about Truth's pet projects. Satisfied she finished it up and away it went.
:T: [all active duty]
:S: Voluntary Position opening
I am opening up a voluntary position for recovery of subject for a medical
experiment, Special Operations preferred. It pays well. I will offer more
information upon acceptance.
She didn't expect many replies over it, not many warriors would like to deal with any medical experiments, let alone actually leave the subject alive. But there were always the few that would. Sure enough, a reply came almost right away.
"Hello, Dr. Cimutee. I am Special Operations Major D`rok 'Tallaham, I am responding to your message, is there a location and time where I should meet you?"
"I'm not a doctor..." Giving it a moment, she looked up D`rok. "Hmm," she mumbled to herself. "Tried near the start of the war for unauthorized use of space craft, use of Human technology, and suspected heresy. Huh, thats not something you see everyday. He's exactly what I need for this." She quickly typed up a response. "Very well, I'm located in the front end of the Mercy and Betrayal near Armory 4b, my name is on the door. Any time is fine." She dressed up in a fresh uniform and a few minutes later there was a knock on the door. "Hello, I'm presuming that your are D`rok."
"Yes Miss Cimutee," he responded. "Would you mind if I took you out to N`vek's?"
"Oh," she was a bit surprised. "Of course, just a moment." She went back to her room and grabbed a large case and followed him out.
"Let us go," he said calmly and walked down the corridor. They arrived at the central common area and he brought her into the nearby N`vek's Diner. Once they were seated they were brought a round of water. "So, Miss Cimutee. What is it you wish to do?"
Naki got serious. "Well, my project requires a test subject. A Demon"
He chuckled and set his water back on the table. "A Demon?
that is a bit of a stretch, correct?"
"Well I read you killed one in your file."
He sighed. "That was, over... twenty cycles ago."
"Still, once you know, you don't forget. Its like a survival instinct."
"I would like to forget it..." D`rok raised his hand to his right eye.
"How is that supposed to be possible? They never seem to be asleep, which is strange. For human standards."
"Well that's why I'm giving you a heavy tranquilizer, enough to bring down a Mgalekgolo for a few hours."
"Will that pierce its armor?" He asked.
Naki pulled up a Fuel Rod Gun."That's why you use these first."
"...How did u get that in here? Surly your breast can not conceal that weapon," He smirked.
She was slightly surprised he would make that comment."Its unloaded and I have authorization to carry it around."
"Well I recommend you put it away... I am not supposed to handle such weaponry around 'fellow' covenant."
She laughed, "Well that's why I have it."
D`rok smiled at her. "Well then it is not polite for table manners." A waiter approached and they each ordered some Zupp Chau`Nia.
"So, how do you know so much about human patterns?" Naki asked genuinely curious.
D`rok got tense "Anyone in my experience and position with have watched their enemies closely.... the humans. As I've read on side of.... a black human craft, have a saying. Keep friends close and enemies closer. I...assume I just pay attention," he smiled weakly.
"Hmm, very well." She said, but she thought,"Bull shit, hes lying,"
He paused for a moment and changed the subject. "Are you....married?"
"No, but I do not wish to be, not yet that is."
"May I ask why? I'm curious," He leaned forward and locked his fingers together with elbows on the table.
"I am...waiting for someone I know to turn up" Naki said quietly.
D`rok chuckled loudly. "The 'silent stalk' game I see. Hmm, what is your age?"
"I am forty-five if you must know"
He sipped his water. "I apologies, it is not my place to ask." Their food arrived and they talked a bit more and then D`rok turned. "It is a bit confusing to me..." He trailed off.
Naki finished her sip of the soup. "What is?"
"I don't know why, but I have the feeling that the title N`vek's is familiar."
"Hmm I don't know why but its a popular restaurant all over Sanghelios."
"That is most likely it. I just ended my sixth tour of duty."
"Ah I know, I read your file." Naki said.
"Alright what don't you know about me?" He closed his eyes.
"I only know of your military service, as far back as you seem to materialize out of thin air around the beginning of the war."
"You probably know my hoof size, correct?"
"No, I only glanced at your file"
"And it was only military," she added.
"Very well," he paused and finished the soup. "When am I expected to retrieve the demon?"
"The rest of the team that we have selected for combat leaves tonight, you will be with them." Naki informed him of more aspects of the plan.
"And upon what human planet do I trespass my boot?" D`rok asked.
Naki stared at him, thinking,"are you fucking kidding me." Yet on the outside she remained calm and answered his question. "The one we're orbiting."
"What is the name, doctor?" He asked softly.
She mentally slapped herself in the face. "Wow I'm an idiot. But I'm still not a doctor!" Keeping calm again, "They call it Standard four."
"I have never heard of it." He paused, "well... it has been a delight, miss."
"Yes it was."
"I have..." He looked down at his watch. "Seven hours before I must depart."
"Yes you do, a Sub-commander will be in charge of the basic combat remember that"
"Sub-commander who?" He asked.
"I have no idea, that was handled by the Ship Master."
"Alright," he stood up. "Thank you, miss Cimutee, I will handle the bill."
"Very well see you later." Naki stood and departed from N`vek's, heading back to her room. She sat at her desk and sent a message to the rest of her staff that the project was on track.
July 2 2552 0:00
In orbit around Standard IV
Nick's eyes blinked slowly as he came out of unconsciousness. He didn't know where he was, the light above blinded him and made the figures above him black silhouettes. From his position on his back, it felt as if he was on an operating table. "What, had the entire thirty year Halo thing been a dream, brought on by an anesthetic?" He could feel a slight tingling along his left arm.
The figures above him moved and noticed that something seemed off. He couldn't understand what they were saying. Slowly the gibberish started to resemble something he had heard before, they were speaking Covenant. One of the operators blocked the light and came into focus. An Elite. He tried to move his arms to the side, but only his right arm responded and it swung into the gut of an Elite standing there. Things clattered across the floor as the unsuspecting Elite stumbled back. One of the Elites looked surprised when they saw his face and quickly walked away. Nick attempted to sit up but as he lifted his head a punch to the face sent him right back down again. Then something cold pressed against his forearm, there was a pinch and he was out cold once again.
Nick again began to wake slowly, however when he did his left arm felt fine and he was slumped in a chair not built of his physiology. Nick had no way of telling that three more days had passed. He looked around the space he was in, a holding cell. An energy barrier shimmered in front of him and reflected off the purple walls. Definitely Covenant made. He was wearing the simple gel suit that he wore under his arm but the left side was cut and singed. He pulled the gel suit down to his waist and looked over his left side. A scar ran from the top of his shoulder, down to his stomach and back up around the other side. All the skin on that side was pink and felt soft over the strong mussel underneath. Light glinted off something to his side, he turned and stared at a set of jet black Elite armor, it was a type he hadn't seen before when he was in combat but it was familiar, and it was missing a forearm guard. After a few moments there was the unmistakable sound of hooves on deck plate. Three SpecOps Elites stood outside his cell with wrist blades active. "This is how I die..."
One of them stepped forward and disabled the energy barrier. "You will come with us Human," He snarled in English.
For just a moment Nick contemplated whether to try to fight them or go with them. But he could not find a scenario where he would survive. There was only one clear choice so Nick stepped foreword out of the cell. The other two SpecOps Elites moved in behind him and they shoved him foreword. They took him through a hallway and came to what looked like a science lab. There was an observation room in the corner, one way glass kept him from seeing who was inside. The SpecOps Elites strapped him to a table in the middle of the room. On the table beside him a Needler-like device with a few different color needles sat next to an Elite Forearm guard.
An Elite wearing a white shirt lined with green came out of the observation room, Nick could clearly tell it was a female, she barked some commands and then went back into the room. Just before she disappeared inside, Nick and the Female's eyes met. There was something there, a flash of understanding, respect, remembrance. But the feeling was lost when one of the males grabbed the Needler-like device off the table and pressed it into his exposed skin on his neck. The male fired and one of the needles pierced his skin, strangely it didn't hurt. Then he was injected with the rest of the needles. When they finished draining, they just fell out of him and shattered on the ground. The Female came out again and picked up the forearm guard, Nick began to feel sleepy. She fitted it on his arm and leaned over his ear. In perfect English she whispered "Nick, I finally found you."
When she backed away the male had pulled out a blue plasma pistol. It was fired at Nick and there was a brief feeling of pain. The Forearm guard warmed and he drifted into a deep sleep.
Five Days Later
July 10 2552
Covenant Ship [CCS- Battle Cruiser Mercy and Betrayal]
Somewhere in Slip-space
"Ah.... my head is killing me!" Nick groaned while wondering why his mouth felt weird. He rubbed his head but noticed something was missing, his hair. He opened his eyes and looked at his hand. What he saw made him jump right out of the chair.
"Holy shit. I'm a fucking Elite!" Two long fingers and two thumbs adorned his hand and gray skin had replaced his old skin. He looked down at his leg and sure enough there was the digitigrade leg of an Elite. He took a step foreword and collapsed to the floor. "Damn..." He stood up again and practiced walking around the chair. It was awkward at first but after a few minutes he had the hang of it. There was a mirror in the corner and he shuffled over to it. Looking at his new reflection, he found himself still wearing the gel suit but it was stretched almost apart. Nick started to flex his mandibles in any direction to see how he could control them. Then out of nowhere someone spoke behind him causing him to jump.
"Having fun, Nick?" It said.
Nick swung around and saw the female that had been in the observation room. "What? How long have you been there?!" He found himself not speaking English but speaking the Covenant language.
"About five minutes, and before I answer you other question, you need to know. I am... Michelle," She said.
"I...I don't understand."
"When we got separated after playing Halo, I woke up as a Sangheili on High Charity and you were nowhere to be found."
"Only one person would have known about that. I can't believe its really you," Nick murmured. "I woke up at the Spartan training camp on Reach."
"It's so good to see you again," she said opening her arms and they embraced in a hug. "When I saw you in the lab I started thinking that day that we were pulled in here." They took a seat at the chairs in the cell and continued to talk away.
"I never forgot you..." he said quietly taking this moment.
"Nether did I. But what do you think?" She asked gesturing to her body. "The Sangheili look pretty good, huh?"
"Hell yeah! Even better in real life. Well at least when they're not trying to kill me." Nick said, his mind sort of returning to its state before the war. "How the hell did this happen?"
"Well, you are the subject of Project Leau, but before I tell you more you need to know that the Prophet of Truth is going to ask you a series of questions on Earth's defenses."
"I wouldn't know that, he would have wanted a Captain or Admiral. I've been on Standard for the past few years."
"I know, on a ship that we boarded we recovered files about the Spartan team on that planet. That's how we knew about you and why you were chosen." She sighed, "now I'll explain what happened. A few years ago my team and I found a Forerunner facility."
"Go on," Nick said.
"Well in the database there was a reference to a device that could change the species of the user. After more exploration of the structure, I found it. Eventually Truth put me in charge of finding a way to make it work. Then somehow, be it fate or chance, you became the test subject and that is the device on your arm now.
"Amazing, that is quite the story."
Before she could continue, Michelle placed her fingers against a headset and listened to something. "I'm sorry Excellency but it seems that the rooms electronics have malfunctioned." She winked to Nick, "Yes I'll relay the Hierarch's offer." Michelle pressed a button on the headset and a small blue light turned off. "The Prophet of Truth would like to offer you a deal. Due to the fact that Truth is preoccupied. He wants you to accept the teachings of the Covenant and pledge to fight for them then he could, say, allow you to live among the Sangheili as you are now. But I guess we'll fig-" She was interrupted by Nick.
"I'll accept that offer." He said simply.
"That was a quick answer," she said.
He shrugged. "The whole Covenant is going to hell in a couple of months, so if I join it means that all I need to do is say I denounce my 'sins' and conveniently miss during combat and then I'm alive and well."
"Hmm, I've never thought about it that way." She pressed the blue button on her headset and told the person on the other end his response. "He said yes Excellency. Oh, very well bring them in." She turned off the mic and looked at him. "Do you have a name that you would like? I am Naki 'Cimutee by the way."
Nick thought hard for a moment, trying to remember something from his past. "Ah, yes Naki. If I remember correctly then I'd like to be Ryau 'Cinotee."
"That seems like it works. Family of Cino, Tee means smart. And I don't believe that there is a Cino family, but let me check." She pulled out a Covenant data pad and pressed a few buttons. "Good, as far as our databases go, there is no family of Cino. So I guess that'll change now. An Unggoy deacon will be down in a moment to begin the procedure."
A few moments later a Grunt wearing a tunic waddled in and began to preach about the Great Journey and their Gods The Forerunners. Nick, now Ryau sat with the Deacon for what seemed like hours. He asked questions, gave answers and semi-followed along. Finally the Deacon preformed a ceremony and once he was finished he gave a cheerful chirp. The Unggoy stood and waddled over to the door where Ryau noticed that a Sangheili priest stood and nodded.
"Ryau Cinotee, you have been accepted into this glorious Covenant. You must never tell anyone of your change or you're past experiences unless ordered by the Hierarchs, the High Council or your Monitor." The Priest said. "Recite the writ of union...All who walk the blessed path will find salvation, even in death. Out of darkness, these blades will light our way. Glory and honor guide our ascension. On the blood of our fathers on the blood of our sons. The true devotee honors our name with actions, not words. Victory is secured not from the throne, but from the front lines. With this sacrament of blood we journey into the divine beyond." Ryau recited what the Priest had said and they placed a band around other wrist.
"Are the any questions Ryau?" A Sangheili in white armor lined with green decals asked.
"Who is my Mentor, and when will I begin training?" Ryau asked.
"Science Major Naki 'Cimutee will be monitoring you progress and you will be saying at her home. Your training begins immediately."
"Of course Excellency." Ryau responded
The Sangheili chuckled. "You catch on fast." The few Sangheili and Unggoy that had accumulated to watch the introduction of a new member of the Covenant left the room. Naki lingered behind as the rest left as well, however the white armored Sangheili waited at the corridors entrance.
"Well that was a long process. But I'm glad I passed." Ryau said to Naki.
"Yes, that is good but you need to get on to that training, I'll see you when you come to my cabin tonight. Oh, your augmentations are gone due to the transformation. Just though I'd let you know," she said.
"Um, thats good to know. Who is the white armored guy waiting for me?"
"He is Ultra Zeik 'Carunmee, my departments military-science relations director, he's the one who will make sure you integrate into the Military well."
"Ah I see, well see you tonight. I hope." Ryau said walking to the Ultra.
"Are you ready Ryau?" The Ultra asked.
"Yes I am. Ultra."
"Good, follow." The Ultra took him through the ship to an open room with a painted circle on the ground. He removed his armor and set it aside."Step inside and we'll begin."
Ryau stepped into the circle and was immediately punched in the gut. He doubled over and fell to the ground. "Damn..."
"You must fear nether pain nor death, rise above it and cast it down. Now stand and ready yourself."
"Okay..." Ryau stood again and took a normal combat stance. It felt awkward in this new body but it was the only one he had learned.
"No no no. Take a stance like this." The Ultra put his hooves and body in a fashion he had seen many Sangheili take upon entering hand to hand combat with a Spartan. "Now hit me." Ryau took a swing and hit the Ultra's chest. Yet the Ultra remained still, absorbing the impact. The Ultra hit Ryau across the head. "Take the stance."
Ryau took the stance and the Ultra swung from him. He grabbed the Ultra's arm and he flipped him over his shoulder. Ryau put his hoof on the Ultra's chest. "Well?"
"Very good... you are a quick learner. We will move onto weapons training." Ryau moved his hoof off the Ultra and helped him up. "This way." He took Ryau down to an armory target range. "What type of weapon do you prefer?"
Ryau shrugged,"Um, medium range."
"Very well, I believe the Type-51 Carbine is the one that would fit you." He pulled a Carbine off the weapon rack and handed it to Ryau. "Fire down range, we will see how you do."
Ryau gripped the Carbine, his new hands fit the gun way better then when he used to pick them up on the battlefield. He fired down the range at the human shaped targets, hitting them around the head or heart every time. He fired off the rest of the clip and handed the empty weapon to the Ultra.
"I see that you are already proficient in weapon use." He thought a moment putting one of his fingers to his mandible. "A SpecOps Major would be a proper starting rank for someone of your skills, and would not arouse much suspicion. Your mentor will give you a data-pad and ID once
I finish construction of your identity, how do you spell Ryau Cinotee?" He took out a data pad and took some notes.
"I believe it is r-y-a-u c-i-n-o-t-e-e, and this sounds very quick considering I just now joined."
"Well you must do something first, follow me." The Ultra took Ryau back to his old cell. Just then a group of SpecOps Sangheili brought in three Marines and shoved them to the floor.
"You will kill these three humans." The Sangheili ordered.
Ryau looked over at the Ultra, "I'm sorry but this is required by the Hierarch to test your loyalty."
Ryau looked back at the Marines before him. The SpecOps offered him a Energy dagger or a Plasma rifle. The two other SpecOps had their Carbines trained on Ryau's head should he try anything. He took the Energy dagger and looked it over. Death from it would be quick, hardly any pain, but messy. However this wouldn't be the first time he had killed his own kind, he had killed plenty of rebels before the Covenant. So Ryau knelt down over the first Marine and settled into that old mindset he had developed for those situations. The Marine looked like he had been used as a punching bag before being drug down to the cell and was almost gone already. Ryau quickly moved the dagger across the soldiers throat. Blood poured out of the wound as the Marine fell to the side. Before thinking he did the same to the other two. A part of him felt cold, the same feeling he got when killing anything, even the Covenant. "It's done..."
His face remained neutral as he handed the SpecOps back the Energy dagger, but he rejected it."It is yours now, you have shed blood with it."
Ryau clenched the dagger as the Ultra took him out of the room. The Ultra took him back to the cell he had woken up in and pulled a body suit out of a drawer. "Put on the armor, it doesn't have holes and doesn't make you look like an untidy runt."
"Very well, Ultra." Ryau took the body suit and stripped out of the gel layer. The Ultra handed him the individual armor pieces and helped him suit up.
"This... is how... you secure... the chest pieces." He grunted and pushed a latch into place with a click.
"Does it usually take more than one to suit up?" Ryau asked slipping on the shoulder pieces.
"No, just the first time. The armor needs to be set up for you and the clamps start a bit stiff." He typed some things into a control panel on Ryau's back and the air around him cracked with static. Moments later the energy shields shimmered around him and shrank in size to adequately shield Ryau. "Now press the flashing icon on your tactical pad."
"Ah I see." Ryau pressed the icon on the display that was imbedded in his left forearm guard and the shields shut off.
"That it you tactical pad, you can sync it with your data-pad once you are given one. Now follow me, I will take you to Cimutee's room." The Ultra took Ryau back through the ship, right to a room labeled Science Major Naki Cimutee. He knocked on the door and it slid open.
"Welcome Ryau, I'm sorry but they haven't found an extra bed yet so we're sharing for tonight." Naki said.
"Why don't they just bunk him with the rest of the warriors, he's learned fast." The Ultra asked.
Naki shot him a look that just shouted "Shut the fuck up." He backed off and she responded,"He needs to be kept for observation over night."
"Very...well, good bye." A hint of confusion in his voice and the Ultra walked off.
"So Ryau here is your data-pad." She handed him hand held device, very similar to its human counterpart. "I've loaded the information on Covenant for you to read, and there's another section on our current destination, Sanghelios."
Ryau looked up from the data-pad. "You mean I finally get to see it?"
"Yes Ryau, you do. And you're not a human either," she giggled. "Before you start reading, I think we've got a lot to talk about."