Sangheili means Elite, Unggoy means Grunt.
"Beautiful…" the Sangheili murmured to himself.
Rerek had to agree; the sight that lay before them was most impressive. A spherical object, pulsing with blue light, hung in the air over a bowl-shaped indentation in the floor. The object appeared crystalline, like a ball of frozen water, yet it had a sleek metallic surface veined with small grooves forming geometric shapes, and its light seemed to suggest a flame burning somewhere beneath the surface.
"Yes, I shall leave at once to alert the Prophet of this glorious artifact," the Sangheili said confidently. "Rerek, stay here and make certain no others claim this find."
"Yes, Excellency," Rerek said. He watched as 'Kepmakee took his leave. After their Assault Carrier, the Divine Justice had shot down a Human vessel; several units had been sent to scout the area for enemy survivors. Rerek had spotted a small crevice in the hillside and had encouraged his leader to search it. He felt a burst of pride knowing he had helped uncover an artifact of the Forerunners, even knowing 'Kepmakee would take all the credit. He did, after all, exist to serve the Covenant.
He turned back to the artifact. Its beauty was unmatched. Rerek had to get a closer view. He took several steps towards the sphere, until he was right against the edge of the bowl. As he gazed at the artifact, his foot slipped over the edge. Instantly, the artifact flared with light and boiled as if it were liquid. Terrified he had damaged it, Rerek leapt back, silently praying to the Forerunners. The orb shot out a beam of light, striking his chest. Intense pain spread throughout his body, causing him to collapse. Even as his vision went dim, he took one last look at the ball, only to weep in dismay. The artifact was no more than a burnt shell.
Rerek awoke to the hum of a healing chamber. He opened his eyes to see the violet interior of one. How odd… Such things were usually only given to high-ranked Sangheili. To allow an Unggoy its use was unthinkable. Something was wrong…
It all came back to him with a jolt. The orb, its beauty… and its death. With a click, the chamber raised to reveal a Sangheili dressed in the white armor of the Special Forces.
"Unggoy," the Sangheili growled. "You have committed a grave crime and must be punished accordingly. Follow me."
Although he knew his punishment for the destruction of a Forerunner artifact would be horrible, he followed without pause, for he was a servant of the Covenant. The Sangheili led him into what he knew to be an execution chamber, and told him to enter a cage in the center. Gripped with misery he followed his orders and stepped inside of it, hearing it lock automatically. He was left alone with his fear for the next several minutes, managing to find some small comfort in the fact that the cage was built for a Sangheili and was thus too large to be as uncomfortable as intended.
Then, the doors opened and in walked several Honor Guards… and a Prophet. He averted his eyes and saw an Unggoy enter from behind him, holding a holographic recorder. He turned back as a Sangheili stepped forward.
"The noble Prophet of Valor is here to witness the execution of a heretic, an Unggoy who has destroyed a valuable Forerunner artifact," the Sangheili stated. "Unggoy Rerek, do you have anything to say?"
"No, Excellency," he said simply.
"Then let us proceed." The Sangheili tapped a symbol on a control panel, causing his cage to ignite with orange flames. The pain was intense and he did not hold back his screams.
After what seemed like hours but what may have been minutes, the flames vanished. The cage opened and the white-armored Sangheili stepped over to him with an energy blade in his hand. So this is it, he thought. But it was not so, for the Sangheili merely cut off his chest armor to reveal the burn the artifact had given him.
"How do you feel?" the Sangheili asked him mockingly.
Shame at my failure, he felt like saying but instead answered truthfully. "Dead, Excellency." For life in such utter pain was not life at all, merely an imitation of its potency. Let us end it…
"Indeed," the Sangheili laughed. "Feel lucky, heretic, for you are the first Unggoy to receive this gift since the Age of Conflict."
Gift? Rerek thought wearily as he struggled to remain standing. He peered at the Sangheili approaching him, carrying a staff. The staff was raised to reveal the bottom; glowing with heat, it bared the Mark of Shame. Rerek moaned with pure despair; the Mark was a curse given to the greatest of heretics, denying them entry into the afterlife. He would never enter the methane-filled paradise and rejoin his family, he would be lost. He could do nothing as the Sangheili slammed the seal into his chest with malice.
His own screams filled his ears, and he shut his eyes tightly as the Mark burned through his entire being. He worked to open his eyes and saw, not the Sangheili brandishing the Mark, but the artifact, pure in its beauty, striking him with the wrath of the gods. This is not real, he realized amidst the fog of agony. My eyes are not open. For he was still in the execution chamber, receiving the horrible curse. I am going to open my eyes, he ordered himself through the haze. Open your eyes! But as his true eyelids began to move, he felt the darkness overtake him.