Author Topic: Precious Cargo - Chapter 24 - He's Not Heavy  (Read 2649 times)

Offline jokerman

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Precious Cargo - Chapter 24 - He's Not Heavy
« on: December 08, 2009, 06:29:43 PM »
<boring stuff>
The following story is copyrighted material and all rights belong solely to the author.  Any reproduction or republication of any or all of this publication without the explicit and expressed written consent from the author is strictly forbidden.
</boring stuff>

Chapter 24 - He's Not Heavy

As the Spartan carried the body of the Elite off the Phantom, the crew of the Shadow of Intent eyed him cautiously.  The Spartan gently placed the body down and backed away.  

“The Shipmaster has fallen in battle, betrayed by a Brute that attacked him from behind like a coward”, the Spartan said.  He did not think the crew would believe him and fully expected to be executed there on the deck to avenge the death of their leader.  He was too tired to fight.  And after battling the Hunters and the Gravity Hammer, he doubted he could take them all.

The crew stood and looked at the Spartan.  The Spartan looked up from his fallen comrade and saw that the Elites were not looking him in the eye, as before a challenge.  The crew was looking at his left shoulder and chest armor.  He looked around and they were all looking at his armor.  

The Spartan looked down at his chest and saw the Elite’s blood.  On his armor was not only the Elite’s bloodied handprint but a design that the Elite must have drawn there as he spoke his final words.  Looking up, he noticed a similar design on most of the crew.  The one on his chest was slightly different but definitely the same design.

The crew gathered closer to the body of their fallen Shipmaster.  They all bowed their heads and began in unison to sing.  The Spartan felt his hair stand on end as he heard the crew.  They began low and lifted their heads slowly as they sang.  

They were singing the Elite’s name, his… entire… name.  From the ancestors that came before him, to the house that he was born into, to the battles he had won, and he death that he had met.  They proclaimed his entire name for all to hear.  

Tears welled in the Spartan’s eyes and dripped down his cheeks.  He dared not remove his helmet to wipe his face for fear he would break the solemn mood.  He was familiar with the singing of the name of a fallen hero but had never had the privilege, the joy of actually hearing one.  Of all the Spartan had seen, of all the horrors of war, all the pain that he had experienced, all the violence that he had known, this seemed to wash through his body and fill every inch of him with a feeling of… hope.

As the end of the song echoed in the large docking bay of the Assault Carrier, the crew quietly picked up the body of the Shipmaster and carried it off the deck.  The Spartan stood for a moment and then turned to get back into the Phantom.  Only the First of the ship remained with the Spartan.  As the Spartan began to step aboard the Phantom, the First said, “What are your orders, Shipmaster?”

The Spartan stopped and turned around.  He looked but saw no other crewmember.  The First was bowing to the Spartan with his hand at his chest waiting for a response.

“What?” the Spartan replied.

“Your orders, sir?” the First answered.

The Spartan did not speak but stood unbelieving.  The First continued, “I received a communication from the former Shipmaster at the end of your battle.  It was to be viewed by you and me in the case he did not return.  Perhaps we should view it now, Shipmaster.”

“Yeah, let’s see it”, the Spartan finally said, slightly confused.

Walking over to a nearby console, the First manipulated the controls and suddenly, a holographic image appeared.  It was the Elite, bloodied by the battle and fighting for his breath.  The image of the Elite seemed to look directly at the Spartan.  The two remaining mandibles began to move and the image said, “If you are seeing this Spartan, I have fallen.  The task now comes to you.  I was sent to this place to acquire an artifact from the ring before the Brutes could retrieve it.”  

The image flashed momentarily as the sound of a Gravity Hammer rang in the distance of the recording accompanied by a Brute’s yell.  The Elite then continued, “The artifact contains the necessary information, to complete the mission.  Now, you must continue what I could not.”

“After the fall of Truth, one of his subordinates proclaimed himself as his successor.  He named himself, the Prophet of Redemption.  He intends to complete Truth’s work and send us all into the Great Journey.  This has created a greater division in the Covenant Races, the Elites on one side and the some of the Brute tribes on the other.  Many of the tribes have always hated us for their defeat and incorporation into the Covenant.  It appears this is their revenge.  They intend to destroy the Covenant Races, the Hierarchs, and even themselves, if necessary.  The destruction of the galaxy is the price they seek.  The other races are split among us.  Trust among the Covenant races has become a rare commodity.”

“When the Ark was destroyed, an ancient temple said to have been built by the Forerunners was activated.  We had all called it a temple but now we know that it is a ship built thousands of your years ago that had set in that place so long that the surroundings grew into and around it.  During the explosion of the Ark, the temple… ship made contact with a Forerunner installation, a colony.  An active, fully functional, and occupied Forerunner installation.  It is thought that when the Earth ship opened the Slip Stream and the Ark exploded, it tore a hole through subspace that allowed the signal to be received.  The Oracle from the Forerunner ship said that the signal was affected by some kind of temporal splintering but that it would be able recreate the incident to allow the ship to make the journey to the installation.  But in order to do so, it needed the artifact.”

In the background of the recording, a long Brute howl echoed as the Elite continued,  “You must stop Redemption at all costs.  He must not be able to complete his task.  The humans cannot be involved in this.  The truce is too new and delicate.  The Brutes will jump at any chance to destroy the treaty.  You must do this without the help of your kind.”

“I have given orders to my troops.  I have bequeathed to you my title, ships, and rank.  I misjudged you before but now know you to be a great and honorable warrior.  I know you will not fail.”  

The Elite then placed his right hand on two places on his chest.  The Spartan was intimately familiar with Elite physiology and knew these were the locations of the Elite’s two hearts.

His hand placed in the second position, the Elite bowed his head and said, “My fathers, my sons, my family, my entire race thank you for what you are about to endure, Brother.”  The Elite remained bowed for several seconds.  

The Spartan felt his heart swell.  This Elite, the very one that was his mortal enemy, called him, ‘Brother’.  This was a term that was not used lightly.  This was the highest complement the Elite could have bestowed.  The word, ‘Brother’ echoed in the Spartan’s head.

The Spartan looked at his chest.  He now recognized the markings the Elite had written in his own blood.  In the Elite’s dying moments, he had given the Spartan a position in his house, his family.  In the Elite’s death, he had given the Spartan, a name.

Finally raising up the Elite said, “There is something else.  The Earth ship that opened the Slip Stream was severed in two.  One part held the Arbiter that I spoke of earlier.  That part continued to Earth and began the end of the Great War.  The other part, according to the Forerunner ship, went to the installation.  That part of the Earth ship contained another Spartan.  The only other of your kind that I had met until this battle.  He may still be alive.  During the memorial, the humans referred to him as ‘117’.  May you be victorious, Brother.”

The image shimmered and faded.  The Spartan looked away and said to himself, “117? …no…”

« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 06:24:02 PM by jokerman »

Offline Liam

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Re: Precious Cargo - Chapter 24 - He's Not Heavy
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2009, 09:24:18 PM »
Bravo Bravo  :thumbsup: another masterpiece jokerman, well done. ( And all the chapters names were very nice, choosing a beatles song for the last chapter, nice touch  :winkgrin: )

I'll let ya take a break for now  :LOL: But I want to see more masterpieces outta you, you have a real skill here  d_b

 :LOL: Looks like I jumped the gun  :P Oh well, I'm glad ta hear ur making more  :drool:

May 13, 09-Got Halo
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June 24. 09-Joined Forums
August 9th, 09-Applied to be PR
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Nov. 12, 09-Earned Lil Tags!
Mar. 26, 10-Earned Big Tags!
Jan. 3, 11-Stepped Down from BFM
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