Were It So Easy
As promised, here is the Halo one-shot. The next chapter of A New Beginning will be out by Friday as well. Nothing to really say except I hope you enjoy it as it is the second time I had to rewrite something on FF so far. Check out WarlordFil's Rules of Engagement for a good Human Male and Female Sangheili story!
Disclaimer: I own nothing, all characters copyright of Bungie and 343 I guess.
Only a handful of people were on the hill right now. Lord Hood was there and so were the Marine Honor Guard. Other soldiers who were in the area also attended the small dedication ceremony but there weren't many. Two people did look out of place for such a ceremony but they looked odd for different reasons.
The Master Chief just stood there in his Mjolnir Mark XI armor looking like a green statue while his companion, merely called the Arbiter, stood in a silvery ceremonial armor of the Sangheili. As they both listened to Lord Hood's speech, many thoughts were running through the Arbiter's mind. 'What does this mean for my people? We depended on the Prophets for so much and now…' She couldn't finish that train of thought. When the war first broke out, many Sangheili scoffed at the females decision to enlist but when they discovered that while the humans used primitive weapons compared to them they fought like rabid animals back into a corner. That "never give up" attitude the humans employed cost them many lives and eventually the males welcomed female Sangheili into their units. She had worked herself to the bone to get her own command, only to have it be taken by the same human she stood with. When she was offered to be the Arbiter she reluctantly accepted and soon found herself back in command with greater authority than she previously had but now it seemed hollow.
The Master Chief was thinking about how much longer he would be of use now that the war was over. "They won't have much need of me anymore." He said to his A.I. companion Cortana. "I'm a soldier and nothing more."
"You'll be fine Chief, the war might be over but I have a feeling we are far from done." Cortana replied smoothly. She was talking about the rebuilding process and the Chief had to agree with her. There was so much to do before humanity could reclaim its previous might and the Chief knew it would take decades before they could be halfway back to before the war. If the Chief lived to even see that part, he would consider it a great feat. The Convenant still remained but it would implode quickly with Truth's death and the Prophets lies being silenced. "We are still alive John and that is what we should be happy about right now." She finished.
The Chief paused when she said that. She only used his name when she was really emotional and this was one of those times. She was right after all, they were alive and the war over but that also meant the Elites were a different story. He looked out of the corner of his eye to the Arbiter and wondered what was bound to happen with the Sangheili race as a whole. Would they wish for peace even after their respective races had killed each other for years or try and take revenge for their fallen.
The Arbiter could feel the Chiefs gaze on her as they continued to watch the ceremony. She knew what he was thinking about and truthfully she was just as concerned as him. The Sangheili weren't known for showing mercy and she didn't doubt that there would be calls to continue a war with humans on Sangheilios within months of their return and if left unchecked it could split and ultimately cripple their race. "We will try our best to avoid another war with your species." She said quietly to the Chief. "I can't speak for the war hawks however."
The Chief inclined his head slightly. "I won't pretend that humans won't do the same. The biggest problem will be quelling anyone trying to start something." He replied just as quietly.
"It's up to the brass Chief. The hawks may cry all they want but ultimately it's the UNSC who decides military decisions." Cortana told him.
"I never thanked you for pulling us out of the aft section of the Dawn." The Chief said. "We would've been stuck in wherever it put us for a long time."
"I simply made a decision that carried great risk. Being the Arbiter means that I would sent on suicide mission after suicide mission in the Covenant's hope that I will die. If I failed to pull you out, then I would live with great shame that I couldn't save humanity's hero or I would be stuck with you in there." She said as Lord Hood droned on. "I wouldn't allow that to live in my conscious when I could've done something to prevent it."
Cortana jumped into the conversation. "The Chief never thanks anyone. I guess you're the exception now." She teased and unknown to them both, the Arbiter turned her head slightly to hide a slight hue appearing on her face.
"I believe I thanked you a few times during the war Cortana." The Chief replied with a small trace of humor. Slowly but surely, Cortana was changing him; he rarely joked or smiled unless it was with his team but after hearing about Onyx he grew cold to the world again. The old Chief who was trained to take victory at any cost was slowly being phased out for a new Chief. It would take more time but that was all they had now.
As Lord Hood finished his speech, the Honor Guard did a Right Face and began the 21-Gun Salute for those lost in the Human-Covenant War. The hill grew quiet and solemn as the final part of the ceremony concluded and many began their trek back to the Pelicans in the distance. Lord Hood took the time to approach the two. "I remember when the war first started. I hated your kind and I can never forgive you for what your race has done to mine, but thank you for bringing him back." He told the Arbiter.
The Arbiter glanced at the Chief before replying. "I don't expect forgiveness but we will do what we can to earn a small amount of it. We were being lead blindly and it cost us all more than anything. Before the war started, we were the ones who began questioning the Prophets on why you all weren't permitted into the Covenant and maybe if we pushed harder this could've all been avoided."
Hood inclined his head as a gesture of respect. He would always hate the Elites but that wouldn't cloud his judgment if they wish to seek peace. Both races needed each other for right now and holding a grudge wouldn't help at all. "Chief I want to speak with you back on the Cairo when you have a chance. You need to be debriefed and tell your side of the events in the final moments in the Ark." He told the Chief."
"I'll be there sir." The Chief said as he saluted Hood as Hood saluted him back. As the Chief watched Lord Hood depart he had a small feeling that Cortana was right. This wasn't the end, not by a long shot.
"The majority of our fleet will return home while a single ship will remain as diplomats for a while." The Arbiter said while shuffling her feet a little. "You wouldn't want to but I hope you will visit it under peaceful terms this time." She finished awkwardly before she too departed to a waiting dropship.
"If I didn't know any better Chief, I would say she was asking you to visit her." Cortana teased him as the Chief just shook his head. "Talk about a big ice breaker, I didn't even know he was a she."
The Chief had just narrowly avoided being ejected from the Dawn by a Scorpion and crawled his way to back to the terminal as he sat on the other side it he waited for the inevitable. He knew the ship wouldn't last the ride back as he could already hear the metal tearing apart. He glanced back at the doorway that the Scorpion tank covered and wondered how long before the ship split.
"If we don't make it." Cortana began but the Chief cut her off.
"We'll make it." He said simply.
"It's been an honor serving with you Chief." Cortana finished sadly.
The Chief was exhausted and his eyelids began to droop. Normally his suits adrenaline systems would kick in but the Scorpion had damaged his suit and the system was fried. Just as he was about to collapse he felt himself being pulled and his eyes shot open. The Arbiter was trying to get him up and to the door.
"Come on, we don't have much time!" The Arbiter shouted as she tried to carry the Chief.
Despite being exhausted, the Chief couldn't help but silently thank the Arbiter has he tiredly lifted himself from the ground. Before he moved he made sure to grab Cortana from the terminal and moved with the Arbiter to the door. The Scorpion was blocking it but the combined force of both the Arbiter and the Chief ensured that it would move and eventually they pushed it aside. As they hobbled down the passageway they heard metal creaking all around them and soon enough the saw the ship being pulled apart. The Chief lost his footing on an exposed piece of metal and the ship split apart at that moment.
'I guess this is it.' He thought as he closed his eyes again before he felt himself stop. He opened his eyes to the sight of the Arbiter clinging on to a beam of metal in the ship as the Ark was closing fast all around them.
The Arbiter didn't know she was doing this much for a human but she wouldn't let him go that easily. She was determined to bring him back when she had failed to bring back Johnson as the Chief called him. She wouldn't allow the last human she knew to perish like this.
"Don't worry about me!" The Chief yelled but he was treated to a weird expression from the Elite. Her mandibles were split into a weird way that reminded the Chief of a human smile.
"Is the Arbiter smiling?" Cortana asked in shock.
"Were it so easy." The arbiter replied as she used all of her strength to pull" himself" and the Chief back into the ship. As they clung to the side of the ship, there was a bright flash of light and they both knew no more.
The Chief came to a couple hours later. As he slowly picked himself from the floor he looked around to see the Arbiter also waking up. "Did we make it?" He asked Cortana.
"Scanning. Planet life confirmed Chief, we're back in Voi. We made it back!" Cortana said happily.
"Any incoming rescue ships?"
"A few Chief, but it's going to take some time for them to open the ship. The door is currently underground so they would have to cut a hole into it." She replied calmly.
"Did we make it?" The Arbiter said reluctantly.
The Chief inclined his head a short nod as the Arbiter relaxed and gave him the Sangheili version of a smile again. "Thank the gods." The Arbiter replied.
"It's going to take a while for rescue." Cortana said as the Arbiter did some stretching to loosen up.
"It is of no matter. The fact that we are safe is more than enough." The Arbiter said as she began to do a series of stretches that no normal Sangheili could do.
Cortana was getting a little confused. She knew that a normal Sangheili soldier couldn't do half the exercises that the Arbiter was doing and that was what bothered her. One other problem also presented itself at the time; why was the Arbiter shorter than the other Sangheili they encountered? "How are you able to do that? Sangheili shouldn't be able to bend like that." She voiced her thoughts.
The Arbiter snorted at her statement. "Females are shorter and as a result are more limber than males."
Cortana's confusion grew before shock entered her. "You mean that you….."
"Are female, yes." The Arbiter cut her off with only a shrug. The Chief merely shrugged his shoulders. Being female didn't mean you couldn't fight, his squad more than proved that.
"But normal Sangheili society doesn't allow females to serve in the military." Cortana said with her head reeling.
"If it were the early stages of the war you would be correct. When we discovered that you humans fight like there's no tomorrow we had to change many customs to ensure we had the numbers to sustain combat. Females were accepted into military training quickly after that. I worked myself to the bone to become a Zealot and led my own fleet. Then you both came along and destroyed my career on the ring." She said bitterly. The mark would never disappear but thankfully with the Prophets lies being discovered her mark of shame became the symbol of the Elites. They would wear it forever as a sign that they were fooled and disgraced but lies.
"If you all weren't trying to destroy everyone in the galaxy then it wouldn't've happened." The Chief said.
"Lies told by the Prophets. I felt a great deal of satisfaction when I stabbed my sword through his gut." She smirked as she remembered the scene. The sight of the Prophets eyes as his plan failed gave her great pleasure and she felt the approval of her fallen comrades that died for these lies. They were avenged and she helped make it happen.
"What about the rest of the Covenant?" The Chief asked as the Arbiter gave another snort.
"An annoyance at best. They will splinter and fight but if they do not lay down their arms then they will meet the same fate." The Arbiter replied.
"One day we will have to settle this once and for all." The Chief said heavily.
"And I will welcome that day demon." The Arbiter said without venom for once. She would forward to that day to prove who the best was; her or the demon.
"If you both are finished planning your honeymoon, we have company outside the ship." Cortana said as she felt numerous Pelicans drop around them. Their rescue was here.
The Chief merely shook his head at Cortana's antics. He had grown use to her jokes but he did offer a small smile at her attempt to lighten the mood. The Arbiter on the other hand had turned away to hide a growing blush on her face. Female Sangheili only chose those males who had proven themselves in combat and she wouldn't lie by saying the Chief wasn't desirable in that aspect. If his feats ever made it back to Sangheilios then he would never have a moment's rest, despite never seeing his true face. It only added to the mystery of the demon and many females would jump at the chance to solve it. The thought of another female taking him made her mood go sour for some reason.
The Chief watched her go before walking to the last Pelican in the clearing. He had a debrief to attend and then it was time for some R n R. As he was walking away, Cortana decided to add one last comment. "You know, it wouldn't be a bad idea to visit her Chief. Who knows what we could discover while on board their ship this time."
The Chief only sighed at Cortana's antics. "If there is a diplomat party going there then I will request to be on it but for right now I have a debriefing to go to." Cortana wouldn't give up her stance of going but the Chief had a sneaking suspicion she had an ulterior motive. The question is, what is it?
And cut! I have decided to make this a multi-chapter short. When I started on it I tried to incorporate everything and it left me with a badly written one-shot and so I decided with the re-write to split it up. This is part one to explain how the Chief made it back and next will start the diplomatic visit to the cruiser and we get to see some Sangheili attempts at courting from everyone's favorite alien! Stay tuned for part two next week and for the next chapter of A New Beginning this Friday!
I know we have one confirmed female Sangheili picture but for this story's sake imagine the females as the same as the males except they are shorter than males and are more flexible. I apologize of the Chief seems kinda OOC in this but I am trying to make it seem like Cortana has been able to change some of his personality from emotionless machine to human being. It's a work in progress so don't judge too harshly but constructive criticism is always welcome!