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    Into the Heart of the Covenant

    Freelancer Operative

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    Into the Heart of the Covenant

    Post  Manny on February 17th 2013, 9:42 am

    Prologue: The Plan


    ONI officials wait inside a room while chatting at a round table. A large figure wearing a suit walks in and stands at the front of room, waiting for everyone to quiet down. Once everyone was silent he began to talk.

    "Alright people, as you may know we are at war with an Alien alliance called the Covenant. They are superior to us in many ways, but we will find a way to win this war. We're not going down without a fight, at least not while I'm around." The large man looked at each ONI official in the eye when he said this. Some of them had looks of confusion on their faces.

    "How are we going to win this war? Blood, sweat and tears, like every other war in history. War is a concept that does not change, even if the enemy isn't even human. The tactics used in war haven't changed either. Perhaps the methods have changed but the idea is the same." The man stopped again to make sure his audience understood. Many of them simply nodded.

    "The best way to defeat an enemy is to know them, study them, and exploit any weaknesses found. With this idea in mind I am proposing that we send one Spartan to each Covenant species' home world in an effort to gain more intel on the enemy." Many of the men and women there simply stared at them as if he was crazy.

    "Now I know it seems suicidal but this is ONI, and now one has to know. Now considering this is a close to suicidal mission I propose we send Spartan 3's. It is what they were made for after all." Some people still looked doubtful so the man continued to talk.

    "Don't be mistaken though, we will not be pulling just any Spartan 3's. Each will be chosen as a child, trained, and given equipment specific to their mission, their mission being the planet they will be sent to. These Spartans will be given the best training, the best education, and the best technology available. We will give them everything possible to help them survive." Again, the man saw doubtful faces in the room

    "I know this is risky, and expensive. We can just ignore my plan and continue to blindly fight the Covenant. A couple years ago you thought there was a "Covenant" home world! Now just look how much progress we've made with our intel, and that's just based off what we've seen off the battlefield. It's a gamble yes, but if it pays off the rewards will be huge. So tell me ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to put everything on the line for humanity. Those marines out on the battlefield sure are, how about you?" The man looked each man and woman in the eyes. There was a moment of silence when a woman with blond hair spoke up.

    "I approve of the plan." She looked at her fellow ONI members.

    "Do you remember when people thought the Spartan 2 program was a huge waste of money? They said it couldn't be done, that it was impossible. Now look at them! They are out their fighting a war we would have lost already if they weren't around. Hell we have one right here in front of us. Now he is offering humanity one last chance to gain the upper hand. Spartan-324, I approve of your plan. How about the rest of you?" The women stared at her colleagues. As she stared each one in the face a chorus of "Aye's" could be heard.

    "Thank you, now if all of you could please sign the document I would be most grateful" Spartan-324 said he passed around the document.

    "Now I'm going to need seven volunteers to help me look for these new Spartans. We're going to go to quite a few locations. If you ever wanted to travel all around Earth, now's your chance." Seven hands went up as he announced his request.

    "Good, now here are your orders" the Spartan said as he handed each a folder. Each ONI agent looked at their assignment.

    "Looks like I'm going to Japan, always wanted to go there" murmured ONI agent Derek as he set off to find the child who would be sent to Sanghelios.

    Last edited by Manny on February 17th 2013, 10:19 am; edited 1 time in total
    Freelancer Operative

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    Chapter 1: Jei

    Post  Manny on February 17th 2013, 10:18 am

    Derek stepped out of the airport to see 26th century Japan. It had high tech sky scrapers and roads that were multiple levels. Things were very confusing in Japan but he knew where to go.

    His mission wanted him to find a boy with Samurai lineage. If the child was going to be sent to the "honourable" Elite home world he would need to know a little something about honour. The Samurais were known as honourable warriors in their time and their descendants learned the same values from a young age. After much research in Japan two weeks before he had narrowed his search down to a boy named Jei.

    He was a martial arts prodigy and he was of Samurai lineage. He flew back to ONI HQ and reported his finding. ONI and the Spartan agreed and sent him back to Japan.

    Now came the tricky part, taking the kid. Most Spartan 3's were orphans but not, Jei. No, no, no Jei had to have a family to even know anything about Samurai honour. So Derek had to do things "old school".

    It was around midnight and Derek was suffering horribly from jet lag, but it was now or never. Derek climbed up the window and grabbed Jei. Jei started to struggle and gave Derek a karate chop to the back.

    "Come here you little brat" Derek said as he fell in pain, but managed to get back up and subdue the child. He pressed a chloroform cloth up to Jei's face and Jei went limp.

    He passed the child to his "abduction squad" who quickly dragged Jei into their large van. Within the van was a portable cloning device, developed by ONI. It looked like two giant pods side by side. Each pod had vital sign readings and other medicinal information. Jei was put into one pod of the machine and then a flash clone came out the other pod. The flash clone was asleep like Jei was so it more or less flopped out of the pod.

    Derek lifted up the clone, climbed up to the window again, with some difficulty, and put the clone back in Jei's bed.

    "Alright boys, let's move out" Derek said as the van started up and drove away. They drove to a private airport where a jet from ONI awaited them.

    "You guys here with the kid?" the pilot asked.

    "Yeah, see?" Derek said as he gestured to the child in his arms.

    "Fair enough, alright let's get back to HQ so ONI can turn this kid into one of best soldiers ever seen!" the pilot said as the jet lifter off.

    -ONI HQ-

    "Well, well, well, there's the new Spartan" Manuel said as Jei was dragged in by Derek. Jei screamed, spitting into Manuel's visor.

    "What did he say Sensei?" Manuel said turning towards the Sensei.

    "He says 'Who are you'" the Sensei translated.

    "Hello Jei, my name is Manuel. Now things might seem scary at first but I promise you, if you behave yourself nothing bad will happen. You'll get lots of physical exercise, a good education, and become...a superhero! You will defend Earth and all her colonies....or something like that. Point is we'll treat you real nice if you behave. Understand?" The Sensei translated while Manuel had been talking. Jei just yelled at the Spartan

    "What does he want?" Manuel asked in frustration.

    "He says 'you're lying, you have no honour'" the Sensei replied

    "Well I'm sorry to hear that but you're going to have to stay here, wether you like it or not" Manuel sneered in Jei's face. There was no language barrier there, Jei understood perfectly that the Spartan was in charge, not him.

    The next thing that happened surprised everyone in the room. Jei got out of Derek's grip, punched him in the face, and round house kicked Manuel in the chest. What Jei didn't know was how tough MJOLNIR armour was. Jei collapsed on the ground, feeling extreme pain in his foot.

    "God damn it! ONI isn't going to like this delay. Derek! Get me a medic, NOW!" Manuel ordered as he scooped up Jei in his arms.

    "Look kid, we're not getting along right now. Maybe we never will, but I will promise you one thing. I'll always have your back" Manuel said to Jei as the child went unconscious.
    Manuel walked down the halls of the hospital located at ONI. Everything was spotless and white; the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the staff's clothes..even Jei's doctor, all of it white! Manuel wished that he had worn his armour so his eyes wouldn't hurt. He could just polarize his visor if he had brought along his armour but he had decided to wear normal clothes to not scare the kid.

    Approaching the doctor he saw that his nametag said Chris on it. He seemed busy filling out some medicinal forms and prescriptions. Before they doctor could walk away Manuel called him over.

    "Excuse my doctor but I'm looking for a patient. His name is Jei; he's about 7 years old. I was told that you were his doctor?" Manuel asked uncertainly.

    "Indeed I am what you like to know?" the doctor said as he kept on filling out reports.

    "First of all I would like to know why you don't look people in the eye when you're talking to them" Manuel said. The doctor immediately stopped writing and looked at the Spartan with both an annoyed and slightly embarrassed face. Upon inspection of the Spartan's size his eyes grew. "S..sorry about th..that sir."

    "No problem doctor" Manuel smiled as the arrogant doctor stared in fear at him. "Secondly I want to know how his foot is doing. I need to get him to start training as soon as possible." The doctor could tell by the tone in the Spartan's voice that it was urgent.

    "Alright, I'll lead you to his room" the doctor said as he walked into the elevator. On the way up the doctor said nothing. Manuel stood there wondering to himself how people could be so close yet so far away from each other.

    The elevator finally reached the 7th floor where Jei's room was. The doctor led him to a room that said 777 on it. Manuel and the doctor entered the room in silence. Jei appeared to be sleeping in the bed. Manuel sat down next to the bed.

    "Doctor if you wouldn't mind I'd like to be left here alone" Manuel told the doctor.

    "No problem, I'm busy anyways" the doctor said in a very indifferent tone.

    As the doctor closed the door Jei woke up. He looked around the room, almost checking to make sure something wasn't there. When he saw Manuel he smiled.

    "Hi! I didn't expect to see you here! Shouldn't you be off fighting some super tough enemy or something?" Jei asked, full of curiosity.

    Manuel returned his smile and said "Well I should be but ONI prefers to keep me locked up for some reason. All the other guys get to have all the fun, but I don't mind. Wonder what Kill Team Zulu is up to these days. These days are never boring though, not with you to keep me busy!" Manuel laughed and so did Jei.

    "So how's your foot feeling?" Manuel asked Jei.

    "It's feeling a lot better, and so is my English!" Jei said very enthusiastically.

    "Your foot can feel better but your English can't 'feel' better. It's a verb used more often for things that are alive" Manuel explained to Jei. Jei looked down in embarrassment. "Don't feel bad about it though, you're English is excellent considering you've only been learning it for about 2 months. Sensei and your other teachers also said that you've been doing great in your studies. I'm proud of you; I want you to know that." Manuel said. Jei's face was full of pride as he smiled.

    "How do I say that my English has improved if it can't feel better?" Jei asked the Spartan.

    "Well you can say just that 'My English has improved', or 'My English has gotten better'. The more you speak it the more naturally it will come to you" Manuel responded.

    "Sensei always talks to me in Japanese though, should we speak in English?" Jei asked. He was a still a child and full of curiosity.

    "ONI would say yes, but I say no. Knowing another language is extremely important. It lets you communicate with even more people and learn new things. Languages are connected to cultures so the ideas of a culture are imbedded in the language. When you start to learn expressions in English you will start to understand that more. Languages open your mind to different ideas and you learn more than you ever could with just one language." Manuel explained to Jei.

    "Who am I supposed to listen to? ONI or you? You said ONI would say no but you say yes. I am confused." Jei said his face full of confusion.

    "I don't know. You're supposed to listen to ONI but they just see people like you and me as soldiers. I see you as a person, but the decision will be yours when the time comes." Manuel said. He hadn't really answered the question directly. He sidestepped it by explaining to Jei what each choice offered him. It wasn't his place to tell him what to do.

    "I don't understand" Jei said even more confused. Why didn't Manuel answer his question? Who was he supposed to listen to?

    Manuel sighed "Look Jei, for the time being ONI and I are going to agree on a lot of the same things so you don't have to worry about it. You will know what to do when the time comes. Your sense of honour will lead you to make the right decision." The Spartan looked troubled, as if he wasn't supposed to be telling Jei this. At that moment a nurse walked in to exam Jei.

    The nurse looked up from her worksheets to see the Spartan and Jei looking up at her. She had medium length brown hair and was at average height for most women. She was young; about in her late twenty's and had green eyes.

    "Oh hello, I didn't realize that Jei had a visitor. If you would like I can leave and come back later". Jei looked at Manuel, unsure of whether to send the nurse away. She was a nice lady and when Jei was lonely she would look after him.

    "No that's alright you can stay" Manuel replied. "Actually if you could perform your exam on Jei right now that would be great. I want to know if he is ready to start his training.

    The nurse looked at Manuel uncertainly. "Training? Excuse me I am not sure exactly what you mean by that but that doesn't like something child friendly." The nurse was young and she had always dreamed of having children. Jei was a nice kid and she hoped that her children would turn out to be like him. She didn't like the sound of training a child.

    "You don't know? Maybe you should ask Doctor Chris next time you see him. I was sent by ONI, your bosses, to check if Jei is ready for training. So if you could please perform the medical exam I would grateful. Manuel stood up to show that he had the authority here.

    The nurse performed her medical exam. She smiled at Jei but was wary of Manuel. He was awfully large for your average man. He also didn't look like Jei's father, they were of different races. Then again Jei could have been a mix but he certainly didn't look like it. She finished her exam and said "Jei is ready for physical activity. My only suggestion would be to take it easy at first. Jei would you like me to help you pack your things to go?"

    "No that's alright I'll do it myself. You've helped me a lot these past two months nurse Rachael." Jei said as he walked around the room gathering his things.

    While Jei was packing the nurse turned to Manuel. She wanted to get to the bottom of this. "Alright who are you? You can't be Jei's father and your training sound suspicious. What are you planning to do with him?" The nurse was protective of Jei and she wasn't about to let him go with some stranger.

    "Why can't I be Jei's father? Haven't you ever heard of adoption?" The nurse looked down at her feet embarrassed. "I'm just kidding!" the nurse looked at Manuel angrily.

    "Look stop messing around with me and tell me what is going on" Rachael was really angry that she wasn't being taken seriously.

    Manuel sighed as he pulled out his dog tags and showed them to Rachael. She gasped when she saw them. They were Spartan dog tags! She had heard all about them but she had never seen one...until now. She looked at Jei, and remembered how he had learned and recovered so quickly. She remembered the Spartan's question about "being ready for training". Jei was too young to be in the army unless...

    "You're going to make him a SPARTAN!" she yelled. Manuel looked around and covered her mouth.

    "Not so loud, this might be ONI's hospital but there are things that even regular staff doesn't know about." Manuel eyes were pleading her to not to stay quiet.

    "Why would I do that? He doesn't deserve that!" She said defiantly but in a much quieter voice.

    "Because he's our last chance in this war! He is going to serve the greater good and give us a fighting chance. You've seen the soldiers come back from the battlefield, burned and charred. Scarred for life and mentally unstable. Now you tell me, would you like to put an end to that?" Manuel asked Rachael.

    "Yes but, not him. Why him? Pick anybody but Jei he's a nice kid!" Rachael was begging the Spartan to not turn Jei into one of them.

    "Jei has the genetic requirements to become a great Spartan. We don't get a say in this, ONI does. Now you keep your mouth shut or ONI is going to make you life a living hell!" Manuel warned her. "DO NOT; I repeat DO NOT say anything about this!"

    Rachael was frustrated but there was nothing she could do for Jei. This man had authority over her and Jei. He was connected to her bosses. She didn't get a say in it. "Will you at least tell me how he's doing from time to time?" Rachael whispered.

    "I can't promise you anything but I can try. Getting emotionally attached to this project is probably one of the worst things you can do, but seeing the kids its hard not to. Believe me I know." Manuel said. "I'm the one training them so I'll make sure that nothing happens to him until he can take care of himself. Then it's up to himself to keep him safe" Manuel told her.

    That's when both Rachael and Manuel noticed Jei standing against the wall watching them. He had the look on his face that most children have after their parents have horrible fights. He was torn between which side to choose, and he was scared of his future. When Manuel had told him he would be a super hero he didn't believe it but he had never guessed he would be a Spartan! Jei didn't know what to do; stay with the nurse, or go with Manuel. Now was his time to choose between being a normal human or being a Spartan.

    "Look Jei, I know it seems scary but being a Spartan isn't all that bad. Look at me. Do I look like a bad person to you?" Manuel asked Jei. He held out his hand to a frightened Jei. He sat there holding his Samurai action figure unsure of what to do.

    That's when Rachael spoke up. "Jei, Manuel isn't a bad person but you're in a situation where you can't really choose what happens. Go with Manuel because he will take care of you the most. He knows what it's like to be in your situation so he'll understand you the most." Rachael smiled as she convinced Jei to take Manuel's hand.

    Manuel turned and looked at the nurse "Thank you". Jei took his hand and looked up at Manuel, then Rachael. "Alright kid let's go" Manuel turned to head out the door until Jei stopped him.

    "Wait!" Jei let go of Manuel's hand and hugged Racheal. Then he gave her his action figure and said "Someday I'll be big, strong, and honourable like my Samurai! Then you won't have to worry about me!" Jei didn't want her to worry about him all the time.

    "Thank you, Jei" Rachael said as she hugged him back. Tears were forming in her eyes. She knew that Jei might not live through the augmentation process she had heard Spartans went through. Even if he did he would be sent on missions with no guarantee of return. She smiled towards Jei because she didn't want him worrying about her either.

    Manuel watched and finally told Jei "It's time to go. Your training starts tomorrow so you get the rest of today off. We'll take that time to set up your room and tour you around the base." Once again Manuel held out his hand.

    Jei took his hand and together they walked out of the hospital. Rachael escorted them all the way to Manuel's warthog. Manuel and Jei got in and drove off. Rachael waved good bye until the Warthog was out of sight.

    She sat there wondering what would become of the Spartan and the Spartan to be. Then she returned to the hospital looking at the little Samurai in her hands. Looking at the warrior she really did hope Jei would grow up to be like one of them.

    (Big thanks to Doctor Jensen for being my editor for this chapter)

    Doctor Jensen
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    Re: Into the Heart of the Covenant

    Post  Doctor Jensen on February 21st 2013, 11:22 pm

    Ah, this story. Delightful. Your writing has come a long way since then, Manny.

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    Re: Into the Heart of the Covenant

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