Chapter 1

The young woman sat on a stool in front of the cluttered table, the room being lit by only a single overhead panel. Parts and tools scattered around the spherical object lying there. A power cord snaked its way from said object down the table and across the floor, disappearing into the shadows towards its outlet. Her face was covered by a welding mask as she welded a section of metal into place, dark brown hair held back in a ponytail. She set aside the welder and rose from her seat, walking over to a control panel on the far side of the room.

She turned back to look at the object, finger hovering over the power transfer switch. She noted with amusement that she looked a lot like a holovid mad scientist at that moment. Activating the transfer, she watched as the sphere hummed back to life, the center glowing blue. The sphere started to levitate, its "eye" blinking and focusing as it came fully online. The woman shut down the transfer and turned to fully face the sphere, lifting her mask. Her brown eyes fixed themselves on the sphere's "eye" as she stepped closer, watching as it took in its surroundings. It finally settled on her face, peering at her intently.

"Hi," she greeted. "My name's Jaina. What's yours?"

The sphere's "eye" stared at her, its center light adjusting focus rapidly. Garbled electronic noises were emitted from hidden speakers, seemingly trying to respond to her question. After a few moments, a male voice spoke.

"Greetings, Reclaimer! I am 343 Guilty Spark, Monitor of Installation 04! Well, former Monitor, I suppose, seeing as my Installation was destroyed."

"I was wondering why you were so beat up when I found you," Jaina mused. "Wait, why did you call me 'Reclaimer'? I told you, my name is Jaina."

"But you are a Reclaimer," Guilty Spark insisted as he floated towards her. "Inheritor of all my makers left behind. But you already know this," he said, confused.

"Um… no one told me?" Jaina half asked, not sure what the Monitor was getting at.

"Hm. Curious," he said. "But I suppose, given your age, you may not, in fact, be aware."

"I'm not that young," Jaina retorted. "But why don't you fill me in on this whole 'Reclaimer' thing?"

"Of course, Reclaimer," Guilty Spark chirped, "I would be delighted!" He spent the next two hours informing Jaina of his creators, which once ruled much of the galaxy; of an ancient human empire that once ruled over an entire galactic arm, and fought Guilty Spark's creators, the Forerunners; how the Forerunners robbed the defeated humans of their worlds and de-evolved them; of the Flood, and Halo; of how a band of Reclaimers and the Interlopers pursuing them fought on Installation 04 and released the Flood, and how one of the human soldiers singlehandedly stopped the outbreak – by destroying the Halo.

She listened to the Monitor's tale of his encounters with the Reclaimers, and the Interlopers. The Covenant, as the Interlopers called themselves, worshipped the Forerunners, and mistakenly believed that the Halo Array was a gateway to some higher plane. She heard of how the Covenant fractured, and was drowned in civil war, the separatist faction allying with humanity, and the final battle that was waged on Installation 00, the Ark. Her expression was one of fascinated horror as Guilty Spark ended his story. Her eyes were wide, her skin pale. Her stomach churned at the thought of something as horrifying as the Flood, or as vile as the Covenant ever existing. She was equally sickened by the Forerunners' treatment of humans. It was small comfort that they supposedly regretted their actions towards the end.

She numbly fumbled with the power cord still attached to the Monitor as he finished with, "—and here we are." She looked at his "eye", still processing all she had just been told.

"I think I need to lie down," she said at last.

"Oh my," Guilty Spark said, concern in his voice. "I seem to have flooded you with too much information for your processors to handle. Shall I bring you to your quarters, Reclaimer?"

"You don't even know where they are," Jaina said.

"On the contrary, I accessed the central computer of this installation while recounting my experiences. I know exactly where to take you, Reclaimer."

Jaina gaped at the Monitor. "Ah… I think I'll walk. Thanks anyway."

"As you wish, Reclaimer," he acquiesced. "In any case, I will escort to your dormitory before I inspect this installation. After the recent catastrophes that have occurred, it is evident that this installation is in dire need of defensive upgrades. I must gather data in order to prepare those upgrades."

Jaina opened her mouth, and then closed it. She had a feeling that there would be no stopping the ancilla, as he had called himself. Taking off her gloves and welding mask, she set them on the table and turned to the door, waving for Guilty Spark to follow her, the ancilla humming all the way to her quarters. It was an odd tune, but not unpleasant.

When they reached her room, Guilty Spark bade her farewell and floated away, humming the same tune. She closed the door behind her and collapsed on her bed, still trying to absorb all the information she had learned today. After several minutes of contemplation, she shot straight up as she realized something.

Kriff! I forgot to tell Uncle Luke!

And with that, a new saga begins! (Props to anyone who gets the reference) Be sure to read and review!