Chapter1: Reconstructed (year: 3554)
"I am the mind, the power, the grave; I consume all life and don't do it for pleasure but for reason. You will feel dumbstruck; you will feel dead as our flood spreads your world...
"Sergeant they're everywhere! Overwhelming! Fall back!"
... You won't last long for our civilization, our plan, our genocide...
"No! Corporal, hold your ground, suppressive fire!"
... We will soon be done here and will move on; your strength in numbers is a myth! An old legend long and past, you walk thinking this will go away, it's only a bad dream, no! We won't stop until your all thinking the light won't last forever, ever...
"Get it off me!" "Hold still God damn it!"
...no! You will not last...
Chapter2: Along set the charges
3 times we fight this war; hoping one of them will be more and less casual. That's how we though, we gave you a choice to move, one only one and you chose not to accept but decline. You never solve things easier but only ask for pain but oh dear humanity one cannot feel safe to accept an offer forced by pointing machine guns and so resulted in this. Your population on earth over the last 5 years dropped over 1.5 billion with 17 billion roaming in fear elsewhere. 300million of them we transformed into the life we are. However we see our planet or this one, there is another out there, one that we focus all matter on, the ring world, halo. As we soon leave this planet we leave Penitent Tangent, a social life, part of the covenant in which people will fear, a mastermind of Spartan and forerunner. He will burn those to the ground of which will be risen to our ring world far away.
Our heart and soul is with you penitent, failure is not an option, so don't decide. We met as foes penitent, but this world will make us brothers.
Chapter 3: LIVING LIFE SLOW
Everyone makes mistakes, some bigger than others, alike me I am recoverable I can remove history from its past however one cut so deep it couldn't be erased. Mandicant Bias was my one mistake to rise, the only one undead beast that nearly killed me in persuasion of the humans now all my prove themselves worthy of a resurrection. Mandicant Bias however was still controllable, he was crumbled back to his dead land underworld were we will await his judgement. All I ask from Penitent Tangent is to obey and complete. The life living slow is a life only I can give you, it won't hurt and its free, all I ask you humans is to choose the right path, follow my judgement and pass into a life you will never end in, one disastrous and one with freedom. The forerunners heard your message humans, they gave you peace and protection from death, but what, they miraculously disappeared 1000 years ago and left worlds in which when fallen into the wrong hands can destroy all existence, and do you call that protection? Follow me we will take things slower.
Chapter 4: LIVING LIFE FAST
There is an alternative as there is to every choice, you can join us and prevail, a longer life free from control and sickness or you can stay humanly and suffer a fate worse than Reach. You all remember Reach, the Spartan construction military bases that stole your children at the age of 6 to create them into mass killing machines which were known as unstoppable but were killed by the covenant in which now fear us being the flood mind we are. You are all slowly being poisoned by the air we exhale and as long as we are here your earth will burn under a rest mist transforming you beautiful blue green planet. With the power of us and the undead Gods we will light the towers from their unreachable ring worlds and end the prophecy as planned, simple as one two three however it's up to you…
Chapter 5: FIRST SIGN OF ODYSSEY
"Gravemind, my master I come forth to ensure you a safe escape as the UNSC fall under my feet. They will burn under the coming fire; their world will burn as all before them. I will push boundaries and bring back Mendicant and we shall burn him until the tears from his eyes evaporate before they fall" Penitent exclaimed. "Penitent the ring world isn't safe anymore, although you have the humans occupied and distracted on earth, Reach and Aggisas whilst ongoing reinforcements pile in, the transformation between races isn't fast enough, hurry with them and bring the rest of us here, we need this ring world safe without threat, the tower has already been revealed to the humans."
Being the messenger and actor of the Gravemind isn't an easy job, he asks one than demands another, you have no choice once you're his you're his, he can read your thoughts, your plans, your death and resurrection. If he wanted you dead your life was his, if he wanted you to be resurrected and killed over and this repeated, whose there to stop him? That's my thought, no one. No one but something he cannot read, Aggisas, Reach, the humans, these are the only links that could destroy him. However they do not one of us can help without being detected by him, he'll have you killed where ever you are he's like a living reaper. In one sense he thinks he's doing a good thing to the galaxy by eliminating the humans. Thinking that when he does there will be no need for the rings, no need for us or him, could this be an answer, or a mistake.
Chapter 6: INSTALLATION 03
The ring worlds work all the same way each carrying a tower and its index protected by its sentinel being. Each being has the weight of a brain but the power of an exploding sun. In the sense it chooses it victims and persuades them into activating the ring killing everyone including the sentinel. It's like a suicide ritual of peace to the forerunners, the creators. However the sentinel has many names, humans call them by their names, Covenant call them oracles and flood don't give a damn. Only thing that you can basically do to stop an oracle brainwashing you is to ask them histories about the ring worlds and creators. Some stories so interesting people risk lives going up there to listen to a lifetime of dreams.
"Penitent the tower is under attack by the Aggisas Fate and the Adolof Decodbry to the east. Boxed in by many thousands, we need you and the fleet to attack from behind now, slip space rupture will do, steal a cruiser and get over here" "I'm on my way master, they will not succeed"
The Aggisas Fate is a capitol ship from the human legendary planet Aggisas. Based on their likings of peace it is very rare this starship is ever seen in combat. The Adolof Decodbry is a UNSD assault cruiser from Reach. A planet glassed to its core, however this ship survived my masters expectation is to destroy and cruiser not mattering how tough of a fight. I had a plan to rid this world of my master. I've seen the light ahead according to Gravemind's theory. A light so bright not even he can resurrect its power. My thinking, if the humans got a grip on Gravemind I could leave them to destroy him but I can't even think about doing so it that deadly of a plan, all things you do or think impact on your survival, he could rise you and kill you in less than an hour of recruitment if your bad enough. I follow along with a message I'm my pocket reminding me to follow to be safe. I don't want to take any risks until I'm free; I would try my weakest to defeat the humans however I would be decommissioned if so. I being stuck on earth helplessly trying to defeat the humans and commandeering a ship isn't doing me any good. My mind has just lost the enjoyment in war the humans are weak the flood have an overwhelming strength. Walking through the corridors of one of their defending cruisers casually walking through crossfire as the flood whip aside marines and corporals of the UNSC i feel a very forceful power pushing me away from the bridge of the cruiser however not strong enough to keep me going backwards, it was an unexpected but familiar force. I've felt in before when i was created it was the same feeling i received when my brother changed sides to the humans. Considering we are oracles from two different ring worlds our precursor masters created us so that if we were to turn hostile to one another a force would indicate our presence whilst attempting to pull us apart. It was Mendicant Bias, struggling to pull aside the bridge doors as the force became extremely forceful there he stands struggling as I am.
"Mendicant Bias!" I grinned "Penitent, what a surprise to see you here isn't it brother" he replied "not so surprising I have to kill you brother, take your fleet and go, I don't want to do this" hoping to myself he would listen and walk away "you and me both know this won't work, we will both walk in, but only one will walk out" I had hoped for the worse I'm from installation 03 and Mendicant 05 having one entire installation apart the force wasn't entirely overpowering, we could still get close enough to fight. "Very well brother".
It's one thing that you would kill an enemy general to keep your ranks up although to kill your brother is another thing, I don't have much problem with doing so because we are immorally half-lives however we have the same blood and once spilt will never wash out of the other I always thought It'd be my fate to die however my brother other ambition. Adapting to the pressure of the dividing force i relaxed my muscles to settle in with the force rather than fighting it. Other than rifles and handguns our only means of long ranged attack is the laser eye our forerunners gave us all those years ago as a means of protection against hostiles however it drained a large matter of stamina. Looking directly in each other's eye both struggling to keep balance I give my attempt to charge my eye laser as Mendicant was able to instantly cast his. Taking one large blast to the chest lifting me off my feet throwing me with the dividing force smashing into a wall couldn't hurt any more than it does now. Weakened by the blow I lift myself slowly off the floor keeping a sharp eye on my surrounding as Mendicant no longer appears when I last saw him. Darkened in the bridge of a cruiser damaged by internal flood hosts every corner and turn was darkness. The cold feeling you get when you leave light or heat before you I feel more and more as life and death could jump out at me any second with another deadly blow. Taking one more slow step forward crushing the ceiling debris another red laser is shot out from a darkened corner plunging in with my left shoulder throwing me once again in the direction the force is pushing me
. Accepting my fate of yet another deadly blow weakening me severely I was somewhat surprised about Mendicants strength to walk towards me without a single loud breath of exhaustion. As he walked closer and closer the force became stronger and stronger giving me an advantage as to his positioning as he charges his laser light one last time I jump up off the floor, both hands shoving his chin upwards causing him to blast apart a rugged piece of loose ceiling, diving out of the way as Mendicant spends his last few seconds gazing at a splintered ceiling that soon impaled him in several places. As the ceiling hit i felt a large exempt from the dividing force. Mendicant exhaled more and more faintly I walked over to his side in shame. Kneeling over to mend to his wounds he grabs my arm very sharply and whispers to me "take my place Penitent, don't follow the Gravemind" before I was able reason with him the light in his eyes had dimed and the force was no longer in place, my brother had passed. Risen from the grave the depression i felt but not the sorrow as the Gravemind programmed me to substitute sorrow with depression so i wouldn't show weakness however it would boil inside me to create anger was unbelievable. I wasn't in Graveminds dimension so i was able to think freely for once and all the anger built up over time i wanted to expressed personally with Gravemind however i wasn't able to hand it down to him myself. "Take my place" I quote my brother was the only thing that really stuck in my head as an opportunity to destroy Gravemind.
Chapter 7: THE TOWER ISNT BIG ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF US
Captain of a commandeered cruiser with the body of my brother behind me I blast through slip space to the co ordinates of installation 03. It never felt so strange to be back home however it was good though i was the only one who completely understood every code on thing ring world. I had to focus my mind back on the mission as I was now within the Gravemind's dimension. Crashing the cruiser into the Cliffside i made my way to the tower examining the war torn space above. In the distant islands of this region high power laser rifles and Gatling guns had been discharged on hordes of flood attempting to complete their mission trying to destroy all sentient beings. The tower had been severely damaged as the blast proof walls had been ripped right off. Severed bodies of human and flood combine a wretched smell odorising the entire hallway leading up to the control room. As I reach up to the last step a human commander of the Aggisas Fate is thrown from a distant figure down the stairway behind me. Peering into the darkness to discover the Gravemind examining the controls of the ring worlds i find he is trying to tamper with the towers neural content.
"What are you doing Gravemind, wasn't your mission to capture at least one of them and force their doom upon them with this ring" I spoke disappointedly. "Penitent i feel discomfort in your mind, what is it?" as I look at him closer and closer the anger builds up but i have to pause it down to not blow my cover so i response kindly. "Never matter it will only slow us down" the Gravemind grunts and says "I tried to apprehend them however they managed to shoot themselves as if they knew what I was intending to do, they die in pride thinking by completing their action of faith to their people will save them but no there is still another 17billion to choose from, as you said I only need one".
Chapter 8: TURN OF THE ALLIED
I was given a rank to general however I needed some precursor generals to take over the roles while Gravemind had the humans on the run to their ships so I take in my mind that Gravemind can understand what I need, 3 generals of mass destruction, 3 generals of the covenant now undead in 3 different forms. These should keep you miserable humans occupied, take heave humans, we shall not be so forgiving when you come up to us and beg for surrender, for your destruction is the will of the gods, shall you survive would be my heresy. Upon reclaiming the index from my head brother's body I think of all the times I've had to repeat this session of destroying a life to retain another. The index in my hand however was another thing I must have destroyed this life before in order to keep both lives alive, taking it from my brothers hands I throw it firmly into the water to see it sink to its mysterious abyss. While the humans were on a retreat I had no other mission however to eliminate all hostiles back on earth. The leap of faith I throw myself into for this Gravemind is unimaginable, I do it without love or passion but of responsibility and to survive. The 3 precursor generals I have unleashed upon earth and as myself knowing the extent that Gravemind knows where I am, I follow in their lead to finally end this war with the humans once and for all.
CHAPTER 9: INSTALLATION 14
"Penitent I fear this cloud will block our paths and that you will deceive me. I've heard you moan about the responsibility you hold, was your brother's death too hard for you to cope?" "No master I will serve you until I die" i exclaimed nervously "that doesn't matter; life or death will bring great judgements on those who are born alive not restored." "maybe master I was unpleased of the actions that were taken against our enemy" "or maybe I was overzealous Penitent, but you me both no Mandicant had to be stopped" "yes master" "you are not accepting however declining" "I was only, no…" "Penitent I only gave you one acceptation, that was to defeat the humans, are you going against you judgement? Breaking the bond of all rules?" Gravemind responded harshly "No master I will serve" i screamed "lies, lies! You do not need me nor do I need you, you are dead not alive, you cannot turn the key to light up the rings. You defended it against improper use by the humans however now that I have found where you hid the index you will need to turn the key, however to do so you will not need your minions because they are like you, unusable and dead, nothing more, you will be set as a public display, you will be left behind as all other pass into the light of our world, you must bring us a mortal, as your punishment for your incompetence." "Yes master"
CHAPTER 10: SECOND SIGN OF ODYSSEY
Gravemind is no trick, he lives off the mistakes you cause and he has displayed me amongst heroes. I am not an ally to neither him nor heresy, I am amongst those who have been undecided, if I'm to keep in my head I need this mortal safe, but how to get them without any dramas will be hard. Earth holds many forms however to kidnap one of a whole fleet will be an easy slip; an attack with my minions will distract the audience as I snatch their main lead of action, preferably a captain or leader. My plan isn't as I was hoping; I wasn't going to make it up until I was in enemy territory, the one place Gravemind can't hear me think. I found the enemy and their leader it was only a matter of time. Jumping into the light grabbing their leader in a headlock threatening to harm is offended I spit the words "I only came to talk but if you wanted more out of this I am still happy to burn you all" "lower your weapons, let him speak" the commander spoke worriedly. Lowering their weapons they've agree to listen and I've agreed to let their leader go." My Gravemind can't hear me here and wants me to draw you closer to installation 14 or 'halo' however I need your leader as fake bait to make it look as if there is not plan behind this. Gravemind wants you as leverage to make you all stop as we turn the index, burn us all but no. as we have her you can find Gravemind's lair and burn him to the ground, I just happen to know where it is." "Hahaha is this some joke? It's clearly a trap men waste him" as all members of their platoon raise their weapons their commander steps forth. "Stop I gave you an order to lower your weapons!" she declared. "Installation 03 when you enter the library in attempt to capture the index it hovers above a large metallic trench, what lies below is what we seek it is no ordinary trench it was specifically designed for the Gravemind in his earlier years, a tunnel system. At the very heart of that tunnel you will find a pit of lost souls, bodies basically piled up, if you were to cause a catastrophic explosion to destroy the bodies it will bring him down." "Ok we'll get our battle plans sorted out but why are you doing this?" "my Gravemind is a great leader, you cannot defeat him without me, however he is leading us into a fate, a sacred journey to salvation, that is a lie he wants us to detonate halos ray to destroy us all, I can't let this happen, ending the war by killing you will only get me and my race killed as well so I need your help to stop it, do we have an agreement?" "You have our word..." "Penitent is my name". Diving out of the hanger bays of their battle cruiser refuelling I still am a vicious hunter to the humans so in my attempt to escape id have to avoid sentry guns and more to escape their military docking bays. I had the advantage of the night however I didn't have the advantage over their thermal sightings. Several patrols I waited as I finally managed to escape the base. Walking through the highlands of Africa i spot on open flatland on the side of the hills and towards the centre a stone like structure that goes by the name of a memorial in human terms. Looking at the tomb names that represented people who died in the 9rth age of reclamation remembered this was the time of the legendary war between the covenant and humans, when my precursor form once took his original form. I found the names 'Commander Keyes' and 'Sgt. Johnson', very familiar names however I wasn't exactly able to depict who they were but something that really did stand out to me was the initials '117' scratched into the side. With most of the human race depleted on this world the skies were more visible at night and the galaxy took form in the cleanliness of the atmosphere. An unusual quality I found I was struck, amazed at this particular sighting and an unusual presence overwhelmed me I was no longer afraid of the Gravemind I was happy, my depression had left me as I gazed deeply into the stars of the skies in amazement. I felt to doors of hope opening to this weak race, Humans it feels like a dream, a premonition of a time not so distant from now, a time where the forerunners chose this race out of all the mighty races this galaxy has to offer however it wasn't out of happiness it was out of grief. Suddenly i zoned out of this trance to the reality of the same female commander i threatened before.
"If you've come to reject the proposition I had set before don't waste my time with excuses, spit it out" i glanced angrily. "I'm sorry Penitent i just followed you to see if u were actually going to betray us or not when I noticed you in some kind of peaceful trance". Knowing humans habit of showing emotion i slumped back down on the memorial and gazed back up at the stars. The commander being 6 feet shorter than i am also slumped down next to me gazing at the sight of the Milky Way. The commander asked me "what are you?" I replied "well I'm supposed to be your worst nightmare. What is your name human?" She looks up at me as i look down at her and she smiles happily "my name is Jacqueline, Jacqueline Keyes. I have the same blood as the one in scripted on that memorial just 8 generations after". I didn't understand how she didn't feel angry or depressed about the fact her hugely great grandmother was dead but instead she was happy, i don't understand how the human brain works or my own i just know they for their weaknesses. One of those things ill just never understand about how they work however i just have to admire and be jealous about the fact humans are able to produce all emotions, a feeling unlike any warlord such as myself could every experience. "I am Penitent Tangent, in the 9th age of reclamation which is a stage of warfare favoured and used by my people which resembles the time in which everyone on the memorial once lived i was what the covenant called 'oracles' or what you called 'monitors of the halos', however i am now resurrected, undead and posses a potentially flood-bound body". "Look Penitent I'm a commander, I've led men into battle and walked away with their body bags, I've seen my fair share of death to know when someone is upset about something. What is it? What is bothering you?" Keyes responds to me sorrowfully "what i thought my leader was; Gravemind, isn't who he really was, he was driven into warfare and lived through the 1st age of reclamation, the war between the flood and the forerunners, ten thousand years before our existence. He rises his army up from the grave. The reason he is a well kept leader is because his army share no emotion, when their best mate dies next to them they continue on fighting not even knowing he existed. They have no emotions but i think i am starting to feel some. I feel the suffering your race goes through the more i reflect upon my brother's death". I finally replied sorrowfully "who was your brother?" Jackie asked with a tear i her eye "Mandicant Bias, he was the prototype of me in forerunner structure; I was the flood he was the cyborg. An exact replica of me but part of the UNSC, I believe he felt emotion throughout his existence because as I watched him die he didn't do what all of us do which is ignore their existence. He looked at me and told me to change sides, to take his place upon the UNSC". I lost the trance and the clouds began to hide the skies so i dismissed myself thinking Jackie as I returned to my ship to make my way back to halo and confront my nemesis discretely.
CHAPTER 11: EMOTIONAL SUSTENANCE
I've made my way back to Gravemind; i have to let my mind go blank. "Gravemind, our conflict on earth is finished the humans have nothing left shall we leave them be? Is genocide really necessary?" I negotiated meaningfully "As a flood-mind I learnt about them and their gods, what a felony! It wasn't their belief yet it was their option. If there ever was a god that could protect them then I wouldn't even think of a genocide however there isn't and so what can protect them? Nothing, the genocide will go ahead now not later!" "Yes sir with what army? The flood is raiding the ark to defeat the necromancer and the rest are guarding you as we speak". "I shall respond to this with an undead army of shade, banshees and wraiths. Tell the generals and prepare the army, this will buy us a day to prepare so get to work." I am now outside Gravemind's reach and have told the generals, without an Intel update the humans will vanish under the forces of the undead army. It's about time right now that I told them how to kill Gravemind. Meeting up again with the humans filled me with rage however I saw a new light in them. There was only 5 hours before the new day turned so the plan was a small strike force stealthy slipping past the undead while they attack earth, now enough time for the flood to react on the situation, he will be finished.
CHAPTER 12: THE EMPTY GRAVE
Leading the humans through the endless network of tunnels, the reeking stench of a million dead corpse's I've never been into the Gravemind's keep before as we approach the main hallway leading down into his hold i notice the technology down here is different to that of the other tunnels. Strange unique languages are carved into the walls that i recognise and it reads 'the point of no return'. The walls had strange marking patterns which appeared to be rubble layers of architectural design by the forerunners. They built this place as a dungeon for the Gravemind, a network maze of tunnels kilometres in the ground. I approach the main chamber and see Gravemind equipped ready for battle.
"Hello Gravemind "i yelled "i had a strange feeling you'd be down here" "Think deeply Gravemind, what am I doing?" i replied "i know you Penitent, your kind. They all manage to cope being what they are but you had to be more than that, you wanted to be everyone at once; a human, a flood and a forerunner but i resurrected you and my plans for what you are remain as i intended". Gravemind summoned flood spores which spontaneously spawned all sorts of floods from combat hosts to archers. The humans and i charge head first into an intergalactic battle deep below the world in a place Gravemind grew and marked, a place incredibly evil in which every move below the ghostly fog can mean your sudden death. The Gravemind took his stance far above us all stretching to eighty four feet high. His ancient ten thousand year old weaponised tentacles protrude out of the ground in one matter the attack. Keyes and her army of marines manage to push fourth through the barrage of flood and shoot their way through tonnes of merged corpses forming this unearthly dome. Blasting apart the ceiling with my laser light in attempt to somehow collapse the tentacles hoping the fall would kill them as they become vigorous and sharp. As i close in on Gravemind he becomes scarcer and directs his fire towards me. Diving and dodging tentacles light sharp as spearheads i run at full blast with no second thinking at Gravemind. All i wanted to do was end it right here and coronate the human's owner of the galaxy. Less than ten metres away i take a massive leap whilst charging my eye laser as strong as i could. Gravemind has formed his hand into a much smaller version of the large spearhead tentacles and as i jumped towards him blasting apart his body mass as i take on large impale to the chest. The humans had defeated the flood and surrounded the Gravemind at gunpoint. Gravemind and eye lying on the floor gasping for air fighting for which one of us survives longer. The tentacle has gone right through my left lung and was detached off Graveminds mass; the blood has begun flooding me on the inside. The blasting impact of the laser has torn Graveminds chest right up to his lower neck apart and veins of an unknown origin was now visible. Gravemind turned slightly towards me and as do i in return "emotion is your weakness i don't understand why you begin to show such humanly qualities, had you forgotten this you would have been in a much higher choice of command" Gravemind gasps and faintly i think to myself what rank i would be in Graveminds eyes compared to the rank of my true leaders, the Forerunners. "Your rank Gravemind is no match to the rank id receive from my true leaders, the Forerunners, the Humans and your army is proven most useless dear Gravemind". Neither one of us could keep alive and shortly Gravemind was completely motionless and as for me it was only a matter of time...
… The Grave was destroyed along with Gravemind, the flood and Penitent. He died a happier soul knowing that with the galaxy's power in the humans control they can strive closer to finding the true secret behind mysteries of the halos. The generals of Penitent, the resurrected former covenant hierarchs Truth, Mercy and Regret remain in lead of the remaining flood forces which evolved impulsively once Gravemind died. Not completely taking the form of a flood they could think proper and control their own moves. The humans took Penitent's body back to earth where Keyes buried him by his father's memorial on earth. The war between the humans and the potential threats was not diminished but simply prolonged up against a new form. The Demonica.