- "My fellow Covenant, today is not a sad day, it is not a day of death... it is a day of hope. Of a new beginning. Rejoice my friends and remember me! Remember this day always! Let me be your enlightenment. Let me be your beacon. When you are lost in the dark, let my light guide you... to salvation!"
- ―Varine Zembenee...
Part I: The Beginning Edit
Early Life Edit
Varine was born in Iruiru. His parents were both respectable solders in the Covenant military. Varine's father was an Ultra in rank and his mother was a Major. Both were highly respected among their peers.
His parents were overjoyed to have him, they had high aspirations for Varine.
Growth and Childhood Edit
They watched Varine grow over the years. He was an awkward child though. He was... bigger than most other sangheili. Varine was 9 feet tall and weighed in at a whopping 334 pounds. Varine was a force to be reckoned with. He was bigger and stronger than most of his species. Varine found himself to be interested in the arts as he grew though, he could draw and paint quite well. Years passed and Varine grew older and wiser, but still found himself to care for nothing more than arts and music. His friends always told him that he was to be a mighty warrior in the Covenant, but Varine found war repulsive. He hated the thought of killing or causing harm to others. Some thought he was crazy, most thought he was a coward. Varine did not care though, he didn't need to.
Soon Varine grew older and his parents convinced him to attend Iruiru's war college.
School of War Edit
He accelled in this college. Varine was faster, stronger, and smarter than most others; but he was miserable. Varine found no enjoyment at all in his activities at the war college and he did his best to graduate quickly.
A Final Resort Edit
In a few years time, Varine found himself trying to become an artist, but the field was harder than he thought. No one paid any attention to his works. Varine soon found that he had no other option... the only place he would fit in was in the Covenant military. The only place he hated, but he had to.
Part II: Protecting Sector V-77 Edit
Activities in the Covenant Edit
Reluctantly, Varine became a solder in the Covenant military. After seeing his incredible performance records, they eagerly took him in.
His first mission was horrid. Varine was given his first suit of armor, that of a minor. He put it on, anticipating his first mission that the Covenant assigned him. Varine sat on a chair, he held the helmet in front of his face, staring into it's blank glare. The purple light in the room gave the helmet an eerie reflection. He hung his head and tenderly slid the helmet on. Varine felt... ashamed to wear it.
First Battle Edit
Then the pilot called his name, "Varine! Get your hide over here, we have to take off now!" Varine reluctantly boarded the Phantom.
Varine looked around the Phantom, there were numerous other elites, mainly minors like himself. They looked scared. Then an ultra came in and began breifing them, "We are here as re-enforcements to guard a forerunner relic! The ground team is having a bit of trouble with some bloody humans. Mainly standard infantry but I'm hearing rumors of SPARTANs being present, that means watch yourself or you'll regret it!"
Then the pilot interrupted, "we're landing!"
The ultra finished, "remember: shoot for open spots in the armor like the neck, stomach, joints, or the head! If you play smart, you get to play another day! Now show me why they call us elites!"
The elites on board roared in pride. Varine was quiet though, he clenched his carbine, holding it close to his chest. With a jolt, the phantom landed and the other elites began to leap from the phantom one by one. Varine followed.
Varine landed hard on his feet; he looked back to the Phantom. It dropped off the last of it's cargo and flew away. Varine then looked around. The sky was overcast and a heavy rain fell, sprinkling his armor with bubbles of water, he was in a mountain-like terrain. Varine walked to the edge of the cliff and looked over, he felt sick to his stomach once he saw the way down.
Then an elite grabbed his shoulder, "do not be distracted first-timer, we have worse things to worry about."
"What were those SPARTAN things that the commander was talking about?" Varine asked.
The elite chuckled to himself, "Ha! A SPARTAN is a fearsome human warrior, they are said to have the strength of ten Elites and the speed of a Banshee! I'm just messing kid, they're not that good, but don't misunderstand me, they are a force to be reckoned with."
Varine felt a small shiver of fear slink up his spine.
"Come on," the elite said, "we have a relic to protect!" With that, they turned around and ran with the other Elites.
They traveled for a few minutes to the north, soon they found the relic. It was a mighty pillar with numerous symbols on it, they glowed a bright blue. Surrounding the pillar were the dead bodies of elites and Grunts, their blood blending into the rain on the ground. Varine felt a horrible sorrow, he hated to see death.
"The humans have slaughtered them, we were too late... they will pay for this!" The ultra said.
Suddenly, a thin line of smoke whizzed through the air and blew a minor's head off.
"Sniper!" the ultra yelled, "everyone get to cover!"
Varine crouched behind a large stone, and the other elites effectively found cover too. The sniper took shots as they ran, but missed.
Varine stayed put for a long time. After a few minutes, he gained the confidence to slightly peek over the rock he was behind. There were about twelve humans, all armed with SMGs and assault rifles running out of nearby bushes. He saw an elite behind him pull out a beam rifle and shoot at a far cliff.
"Sniper down!" he yelled, "move forward!"
Varine and the other elites jumped from their cover and began spraying plasma at the marines. The twelve marines easily dropped. Then another set came out of the bushes and then another. It was an ambush.
Varine joined the others, firing his Carbine at the Marines. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. He looked to his left and found a marine with a combat knife rearing back to slash him again. Varine caught the marine's arm as he brought it down to hit him. With a tremendous burst of effort, Varine lifted the marine over his head and brought the marine's back down on his knee, breaking the marine's spine.
Varine dropped the limp body and began to fire at a marine who was trying to take cover, killing him with a shot to the lungs. With that, all was quiet. The onslaught of marines stopped and an eerie quietness replaced them.
Then the ultra began to speak, "that'll teach them!"
Varine then noticed a flash of movement in the corner of his eye, he looked up to see a SPARTAN with a combat knife preparing to jump down from a cliff on top of the Ultra.
"Commander," he yelled, "look out!"
He was too late though, the SPARTAN jumped down from the cliff and plunged the knife into the ultra's back. The ultra would not go down easily though, he rammed his elbow into the SPARTAN's gut, stunning him. Then he pulled the knife from his back and cut the SPARTAN's throat with it. The ultra then fell to the ground and died from blood loss next to the SPARTAN, he looked to the stars in the night and passed peacefully.
Varine and the other elites were shocked. They did not get much time to rest though. Suddenly two other SPARTANs armed with shotguns ran into battle from nearby bushes. They killed about three elites instantly and went to battle the others.
Varine took cover, he hid back behind a large rock for about six seconds, the sounds of dying elites penetrating the air. Soon all was quiet. Varine gathered the courage to rise from his cover. It was all clear. He looked at the body of one of the SPARTANs. He was dead. Then he picked up an energy sword that one of the elites dropped. Varine looked around more... all the Elites were dead, but something was missing. Where is the other SPARTAN?, Varine thought to himself.
With a bang, Varine felt a sharp pain in his back. He turned slowly to face the SPARTAN who shot him. The SPARTAN stared with a cold look of uncaring at him as he slunk to the ground. Varine closed his eyes. Then he tried to fight the urge to sleep, he fought with all the will he had. With a flash of yellow, he opened his eyes.
The SPARTAN had his back turned, he was calling the UNSC head quarters. "The area is secured," the SPARTAN said.
Then Varine lunged at the SPARTAN, he tackled him to the ground with a massive amount of force. The SPARTAN punched Varine in the side of the head, Varine quickly absorbed the blow and began to strangle the SPARTAN. The SPARTAN quickly grabbed Varine's arms and slowly started to pull them off his neck. The SPARTAN had unimaginable strength, he threw Varine off of himself and grabbed a pair of combat knives. Varine quickly took his energy sword and blocked a slash from the SPARTAN. Varine returned with a vicious swipe. The SPARTAN ducked and rammed one of his combat knives into Varine's upper leg. Varine roared as the pain surged up his body. He backed away, blood squirting madly from his wound. Varine knew he had to get the knife out. He gripped it's hilt firmly and with a great amount of effort yanked it from his thigh. The pain was tremendous when the knife slid out.
Varine slowly looked up to the SPARTAN, his eyes gleamed a bright-blue in the night air. The SPARTAN ran at Varine, preparing to put the knife in Varine's neck. Varine raised the knife he pulled out of his leg above his head and threw it with all the force he could muster at the SPARTAN. The knife sailed through the air, spinning wildly. Suddenly the SPARTAN stopped, the knife hit him directly in his forehead. The SPARTAN trembled and fell to the ground. Varine took his energy sword and walked to the SPARTAN's body lying on the wet ground. Varine raised his sword and jammed it straight into the SPARTAN's back. With a groan of pain, the SPARTAN went limp.
Varine pulled his energy sword out of the SPARTAN's back. He raised it high into the air and gave an ear-shattering roar of victory.
Then the SPARTAN's portable radio-phone began to transmit a message, "SPARTAN! Report in!" the voice on the other end yelled.
Varine picked up the radio and spoke into it, "You won't be seeing him anytime soon," Varine said, "now, human, mark my words: you will pay for your heresy!" After saying so, Varine, crushed the radio in his hand.
Varine called in for a phantom and was taken to High Charity to meet the prophets, there the Covenant praised him for his achievments by throwing a parade in the city streets. The prophets then gave him the rank of an ultra and the upgraded armor of an ultra.
Other Battles Edit
All the other battles Varine wass ordered to participate in were victorious. Varine had never known defeat.
That was about to change though...
Protecting Sector V-77 Edit
Same Elite, New Mission... Edit
After becoming a successful warrior, Varine felt satisfied. He was still not happy though, just because his rank and position in the Covenant changed, didn't mean that his heart changed. Varine was still a tender person.
After at least twenty-three successful missions, the prophets assigned him what they said would be one of his most vital missions. He was to guard a Covenant encampment on a lonely planet somewhere off in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way. Varine did not take them too seriously, he just saw it as any other mission: kill and win.
The next day, he suited up in his white armor. Varine just had it polished and his suit was looking better than ever. He once again slid on the helmet. It fit firmly on his head. Then Varine took his weapons: a carbine and his trusty energy sword. Varine boarded the Phantom that would take him to the planet.
Varine noticed that about three other Phantoms were coming too, all loaded with elite majors. He got the feeling that this was an important mission.
Varine and the other majors on board were soon greeted by a zealot who briefed them as always, "okay, this mission is highly important as you all know. Failure... is not an option. Failure... is never an option. We are going out to an isolated planet, there is a Covenant base there and at that base, we are dissecting an extremely important artifact. You will die to protect this artifact from any humans. Yes, we do have confirmed reports of humans being present on this planet and yes they have small groups of SPARTANs; but no matter! This artifact will be protected! We're going in now! I hope you're ready!" With that, the Zealot walked away.
Varine felt a cold chill of fear. He had not fought another SPARTAN since his first mission as a minor. That first mission scarred him badly. Varine had nightmares for many nights. He was horribly afraid of SPARTANs.
With a thud, the Phantom landed... it was time to battle...
A Warm Welcome Edit
Varine climbed out of the Phantom. He activated his energy sword and looked over to the Zealot, "commander," Varine said, "are you positive that there are SPARTANs present?"
"Hmph," the Zealot grunted, "scared?"
"Of coarse not!" Varine rebelled.
"Then let us make haste," the commander said, "the base is only a few miles to the East."
Varine and the other thirty or so elites walked for hours. The environment was not much to look at either, a barren desert. They sloshed through the sand, the harsh sun beating upon their backs; but our warriors did not falter. They walked and walked until they spotted a large, hexagon-shaped object in the distance.
"That's the base!" the commander said.
The elites were relieved. They pulled out their weapons and began jogging towards the base, motivated with new energy.
Varine gripped his energy sword tightly, nervousness gnawing at him. Varine hoped with all he could that the marines wouldn't attack the base. He knew that an attack was unavoidable though.
By the time they reached the base, two elite honor guards were present to greet them. "Welcome," one said, "I take it you're our re-enforcements. Come this way please."
Varine and the other elites patrolled the base, looking along the horizon, trying to spot threats. Varine knew the humans would come... the humans always came. He looked to the sky, not a cloud in sight. Varine hated the heat, it was horrible to him and with all his armor on, it was even worse. Varine tried to think of being somewhere else, somewhere cold and windy. It didn't help though. He paced along, eyes scanning the horizon. Varine still remembered his battle with that SPARTAN. He never wanted to do it again.
Then someone tapped him on the shoulder. Varine turned around to find a minor standing behind him. "Hello Varine, I hear many good things about you," he said.
"Who might you be?" Varine questioned.
"Oh, I am Caran 'Bendomee of Sanghelios. This... is my first mission, I heard there were going to be SPARTANs, I was becoming nervous. I just needed to talk to someone to get my mind off of things," the minor said.
"Ah... I remember my first mission. It was horrible," Varine said, "my whole squad was killed and I barely survived."
"I've heard, most have, you're like a hero to us," Caran said.
"Thanks," Varine said, "but I don't feel heroic. What we do is wrong, killing... there's not much rewarding about it... "
"I... I never thought about it that way. To me... it was just a job. In the end I guess you're right," Caran said.
Varine was surprised, "you're quite open-minded aren't you? That will serve you well in the future."
"Thanks," Caran said. Then Caran heard something, it was a soft hum... like that of an insect's wings beating. "Do you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Varine said. Then he heard it too, "wait... yes I do hear it... " As he said this, all the other elites patrolling looked to the sky.
Then one yelled out, "look! Pelicans! Everyone, ready your weapons!"
Caran and Varine looked to the sky to see about four Pelicans coming in fast. They were preparing to land near the base.
The elites all gathered around Varine. "Leader," one said, "what are your orders?"
"Spread out, don't give them too big a target, lay down suppressive fire and don't let them retreat to bring back re-enforcements!" The Elites all spread out. Caran was about to leave but Varine stopped him, "you stay with me!" Caran obeyed and loaded his Needler.
The pelicans landed and multitudes of marines swarmed out. The elites began to shoot at them and the marines returned fire from their assault rifles with haste. Varine pulled out his feul rod cannon and blasted at some ODST troops. The green beam sailed through the air and took out three of them. Varine was covered by Caran who sprayed multitudes of needles at the marines. It was an uphill battle though for Varine spotted five more pelicans coming in. He had to stop them, Varine released four shots in succession towards the pelicans, three of the shots hit one of the Pelicans, it veered to the left, hitting another pelican, both went down in flames. Varine quickly reloaded. Then he saw a marine rushing him with a Battle Rifle. Varine aimed his cannon and blasted the marine's leg off.
Caran on the other hand, was handling himself quite well for a beginner. He had picked up a Plasma Rifle and was dual-wielding it with his Needler. Caran released a rain of needles and plasma towards the rushing marines. They dropped like rain.
Varine pulled out a plasma grenade, he lit it, and yelled, "look out, it's alive!" Varine threw the grenade through the air. It sailed towards a marine preparing to snipe an elite. The grenade landed onto him and stuck to his leg.
"Get it off!" the marine yelled before he was blown apart.
Varine watched as a frag grenade was returned. It sailed towards him; Varine quickly rolled away. The grenade exploded, killing an elite and doing a small amount of damage to Varine's shields. Varine was quick to get back on his feet and activate his energy sword. He took a quick look around the battle field while he could. Bullets and plasma bolts whizzed through the air, marines and Elites battled each other.
Then Varine saw an ODST trooper preparing to give Caran a shot from a shotgun to his back. Varine dashed as fast as his legs would carry him. When he was close enough, Varine rammed the sword straight into the trooper's back.
Varine looked around again, the field of battle was quiet. All the marines were dead. Many of his elites were dead too though, about half of his thirty elites were dead or being carted away on stretchers.
Varine then said, "is that all of them!?"
"No!" An Elite Major yelled, "look! a Pelican approaches!"
Varine looked to where the elite was pointing and found a lone Pelican flying towards their location. Varine pulled out his fuel rod cannon and prepared to fire at the ship. Once he was ready, he let off five shots into the air... the green beams became smaller and smaller as they flew away. Soon they disappeared from sight and the pelican was still flying strong. It made a quick dive as the elites shot their carbines at it and the pelican landed about twenty feet away. The hatch was soon pouring out none other than... SPARTANs.
As the SPARTANs poured out, Varine ordered all the elites to fire at will. They unloaded an unreal amount of shots towards the swarm of SPARTANs.
There were about sixteen SPARTANs and fifteen elites. Overall, it was an uneven fight but the elites tried anyway. The SPARTANs rushed them, firing their weapons and readying their combat knives. The elites drew their energy swords.
They ran at each other for what seemed like forever. When they clashed, it was epic. The elites and SPARTANs wildly swung their weapons at each other. SPARTANs and Elites exchanging swipes at each other.
Varine rushed a SPARTAN as he drew his combat knives. Varine swung at his back and the SPARTAN blocked it with one of his combat knives. The SPARTAN then took his other combat knife and tried to stab Varine in the gut but Varine blocked it with a twitch of his wrist. Varine then swung with all the force he could and severed the SPARTAN's combat knives. It seemed as if he had it in the bag until the SPARTAN ducked low and tackled him to the ground, knocking his weapon away. On the ground, the SPARTAN punched Varine in the side of the head. The SPARTAN then took his severed combat knife and stuck the hot end (caused by the energy sword) into Varine's stomach. It hurt madly. Varine rammed his knee into the SPARTAN's chest and smacked both of his steaming knives away. It was time for hand-to-hand combat.
Varine grabbed the SPARTAN's shoulders and threw him off. The SPARTAN and Varine were both quick to jump to their feet. The SPARTAN was first to charge, he attempted to tackle Varine again, but Varine dropped as low as his knees allowed. Then, as the SPARTAN flew over him, he stood quickly upwards, ramming his back into the SPARTAN. The SPARTAN fell down and pulled out his magnum. Varine rolled out of the way to avoid the bullets flying at him. The SPARTAN then had to reload, by now he was on his feet. Varine charged at the SPARTAN. The SPARTAN had to think fast. He reared back his magnum and threw it at Varine as hard as he could. The magnum whizzed through the air and hit Varine in the side of the head. Varine's vision went blurry and he fell down. Once his vision cleared, the SPARTAN delivered a painful curb-stomp to Varine's chest. As the SPARTAN prepared to give Varine another kick, Varine grabbed his foot and twisted it with all he could. With a crack, the SPARTAN's ankle broke and he fell to the ground screaming in pain. Varine seized this opportunity to grab a Battle Rifle. He pointed it at the SPARTAN's head and fired, slamming three shots into the SPARTAN's forehead.
Varine quickly felt a sting of pain as a SPARTAN slashed him in the side with a combat knife. Varine reared back and swung the Battle Rifle at the SPARTAN. The Battle Rifle hit him so hard that it's stock broke over the side of the SPARTAN's head. Suddenly, another SPARTAN jumped onto Varine's back. The weight was tremendous. Varine's knees trembled but he soon steadied them and threw the SPARTAN forward. As soon as he did this, the other SPARTAN had recovered from the hit with the Battle Rifle and put him in a headlock, attempting to break his neck. The other SPARTAN then got up and began beating Varine in the stomach. Varine was double-teamed.
Then all of a sudden, the SPARTAN's grip ceased and a carbine shot flew into the head of the other SPARTAN punching him. Varine turned to face his savior... it was Caran.
"Thank you," Varine gasped.
"Don't mention it," Caran said.
Caran and Varine looked around. All the other elites and SPARTANs were dead.
"We... we won!" Caran said.
As soon as he said this, an energy sword plunged through his stomach. Caran's purple blood spilled onto the ground... then the SPARTAN revealed himself. He pulled the sword out of Caran, allowing his dead body to fall to the ground.
The SPARTAN then raised a magnum to Varine's head and said, "I am SPARTAN F71, you are hereby under custody of the UNSC."
Varine was shocked, "why?" he asked.
Then a rage filled inside Varine. A rage like no other, not a rage of anger, but a rage of a friend lost.
Varine slowly looked up.
"You'll have to come with me now!" SPARTAN F71 said.
"No," Varine said.
When he said this, Varine threw his energy sword straight at F71. F71 quickly ducked and pulled out an assault rifle. He fired away, rounds slamming out of the barrel. Varine walked forward, his shields completely absorbing the rounds. Varine reared his arm back and hit F71 with his forearm. F71 fell to the ground, his assault rifle flying out of his hands.
F-71 grabbed a nearby energy sword and leapt to his feet. Varine picked up his sword as F71 got up. Varine swung at F71, F71 blocked the swipe with a quick flick of his arm. F71 lunged at Varine, preparing to ram the sword into his gut. Varine leapt out of the way just in time and slashed the back of F17's leg. He fell to the ground, gripping his wound. Varine grabbed the back of the SPARTAN's head and rammed it into the sand. Varine lifted his energy sword over his head, planning to put it through F-71's head.
F71 then lifted his leg out of the sand and rammed it into the back of Varine's leg, causing his legs to buckle. F71 took this chance to snatch Varine's energy sword. He pulled it back and swung, slashing Varine's throat.
Varine slunk to the ground, clenching his bleeding neck. He lay down, this was the end... he had failed... everything went black.
Becoming an Arbiter Edit
Varine was running, he couldn't stop, his feet wouldn't let him. He ran not looking back, not thinking, only breathing. Only hearing the footsteps behind him. Suddenly, he felt someone tackle him from behind to the ground. It was a SPARTAN, in green armor with a scar across the right side of his chest plate. He pulled out a magnum and shot Varine, everything flashed white.
Varine opened his eyes. He was lying on a table, his armor was gone and a bright light was looming over his face. Varine turned his eyes away, the glare was too much. He saw some elite honor guards waiting for him across the room. They walked over and put shackles on his hands.
"W-What is this!?" Varine said.
"Come with us," one of the honor guards said.
With that, he got off the table and followed the guards into the hierarch's private quarters. Varine walked down a long hall lined with honor guards, all staring forward with a blank look in their faces. Varine and the guards went through a door. At this point, the guards unshackled Varine and left the room. Varine walked forward, not knowing where he was. Then he saw the prophets: Truth, Mercy, and Regret. He fell to his knees to bow. The prophets all turned in their chairs to face him.
"Welcome Varine," Truth said.
"Do you know why you're here?" added Regret.
"No, please mighty prophets, tell me," Varine said.
"You," Mercy said, "are here because of your failure to protect Sector V-77."
Then Varine remembered it all. The attack, the SPARTANs, his supposed death. Varine felt his neck, a welt-like scar wrapped across his throat.
"You, were lucky we were able to save you Varine," Regret said.
"And in all rights we shouldn't have saved you! You have lost us twenty-nine of our Elites and one of the most important relics we have found so far!" Mercy said.
"That," Truth said, "leads us as to why you are here..."
"Why?" Varine asked.
"The council has made their decision to have you burned at the stake... but... we have better plans for you... " Truth said.
Varine was nervous, "tell me!"
"We want you... to be our Arbiter," Truth said. As soon as he said this, A coffin-like container rose from the floor and opened. Inside was the mighty armor of the Arbiter...
Varine got to his feet and slowly stumbled up to the armor. He took the helmet and stared into it's empty eyes. Varine looked to the prophets in disbeleif. "I-I can redeem myself?"
"Yes," Regret said, "but you face immense challenges, I bet you won't even make it another day!"
Varine put on the helmet, "that, prophet, is a bet I'm willing to take you up on... "
Part III: the Arbiter... Edit
Attacking the UNSC PrideEdit
A Look in the Mirror Edit
The prophets sent Varine back to his room. Varine dressed into his armor and walked down the halls. All the Covenant he passed stared in awe, realising that yet another arbiter had been chosen. It was shameful to Varine, but the Covenant began cheering as they watched their new arbiter stride down the hall. Varine was embarrassed and hung his head.
Varine finally reached his room and shut the door, leaving the noisy crowd outside. There he sat on his bed until the late evening just thinking about his life, his legacy, what he had done so far. Varine wasn't pleased... he was a killer, a murderer, a fiend. Varine got out of his bed and dressed out of his armor. He put it on a shelf and walked over to his mirror. Varine looked at himself... he was a disgusting sight. A welt on his stomach and a scar across his throat. Varine walked over to his armor and stared at it. The empty eyes of the arbiter helmet glared at him, clawing at his insides. Varine couldn't look at it any longer, he lay back down in his bed and drifted to sleep.
Battle Plans Edit
Varine awoke, he wasn't satisfied though. He hadn't had a good night's sleep. Varine remembered that the prophets wanted to brief him of his new mission.
Varine rolled out of bed and looked towards the arbiter armor... it was glistening as it always did. It was like destiny, this armor was what Varine was now... an arbiter, a hero. He put it on and walked out the door.
Varine walked down the halls to the prophet's quarters, the Covenant stared at him in awe as he strode. Varine looked up, the lights on the ceiling shone brightly upon him. His armor lit up like a flame in the light.
"This," Varine muttered, "is what it feels like to be a warrior... "
Varine walked into the prophet's room, they were all around a table, waiting for him. "Good," said Truth, "you're right on time."
"Now," said Regret, "let us get down to business... "
"What is it you would have me do?" asked Varine.
"The humans," Mercy said, "they must be stopped... and we think there's a way."
"It won't be easy though," Truth said, "there are many hurdles and barriers that await you on the road ahead."
Then a holographic image came up over the table. It was a UNSC frigate, on it's sides was: PRIDE. "That," said Truth as he pointed to the image, "is the UNSC Pride. One of the UNSC's most proud and formidable frigates, the Pride holds valuable information about the humans. We know it!"
"What does this have to do with my mission?" Varine asked.
"We can't afford to battle the Pride and the surrounding UNSC fleet," said Truth, "we'll have to risk sending you in on a pelican that we confiscated from the UNSC. That way, you can sneak in disguised as one of their own. You would pass their defensive lines and board the UNSC Pride. Once aboard, you will fight your way to the head of the ship where the data should be stored. Then we will bring in our strongest fleets to attack the UNSC fleet while you escape and bring the data back to us!"
"That sounds dangerous," Varine said.
"That's why you're here. You, Varine, are the arbiter! You will set off tomorrow," Truth said.
With that, Varine headed back down the halls to his room...
Gearing Up Edit
Varine awoke, he was tempted to close his eyes... he almost did. Then it hit him, the attack. Varine sprung out of bed, filled with new energy and hope. He fitted into his armor... lastly, Varine took the helmet. He stared into it's blank eyes. The helmet seemed to have a distinguished look of it's own. It's blank stare gripping Varine's soul, refusing to let go, refusing to let him stop beleiving that he was the arbiter, upholder of the Covenant. Varine proudly put the helmet on and looked in the mirror. He saw himself as a true hero, the metals of the armor glistening in the light. Varine walked up closer to the mirror and looked at himself long and hard. Then it hit him: his beliefs.
Varine looked to the floor in shame, "what have I done?" he whispered. Slowly he looked back up, ready to face himself... to face his worst enemy. Varine saw himself in the armor, staring back. He couldn't take it anymore. With a burst of rage, he punched the reflection and shattered the mirror. Varine gained a grip on himself again and sat down on his bed, wrapping his hands around the back of his head and staring, thinking, wondering, why?
Then an honor guard knocked at his door, "come Varine, you're late!"
Varine got up and took one last look at all the shards of mirror on the ground. He saw himself in all of the shards, staring back. Varine walked outside.
Varine followed the honor guard all the way to the prophet's chambers. He looked at the crowds in the city streets, they were cheering like mad. They knew what Varine was about to do, they did not know how he would do it though. Even Varine himself didn't know that.
The doors to the prophet's chambers slid open with a hiss. Inside were Truth, Mercy, and Regret. They were all waiting for Varine. Truth motioned to the honor guard and he left with haste.
"Come Varine, let us not waste anymore time," Mercy said, "we have much to do." As soon as he said that, a figure arose from the city streets... it was the Pelican. Elites and grunts worked tirelessly as they loaded it's weapons and prepared it for the assault.
"Now," said Truth, "the Pelican is ready for you. I give you my blessing and wish you the best of luck."
With that, Varine got into the cockpit and flew out of High Charity...
Long Ride Edit
Varine watched the stars as he drove the Pelican. There were so many in such a huge place. There was something about space that intrigued Varine. It was so beautiful and so powerful.
Varine stared into the stars for a long time, soon they became blurry as tiredness began to overtake Varine. He drifted into a quiet rest.
There he rested for about twelve hours, ignoring the universe around him. Ignoring the pain and suffering of a life of war. It was the most peaceful sleep he'd had in a long time. It was time to wake though.
Varine's eyes slid open when the alarms in his pelican began to ring. He didn't know what was going on. Varine looked at the controls, all was fine. He only knew the basics of operating a pelican. Varine had no idea what to do. Then the ringing stopped... all was quiet.
Varine looked at his navigation systems. "Only two more days until I reach the fleet...
Varine slid back into his chair and stared into the stars, enjoying the peace.
Facing the Pride Edit
For two more days Varine drifted, quite a long ride when you have nothing to do. Varine leaned forward and looked closely. Then he saw it: the UNSC fleet. They were all gathered around a large red-colored planet. He figured that they were probably mining the planet because ships don't usually hover around populated worlds.
Varine then picked up his radio and messaged the prophets, "I'm approaching the UNSC fleet now. I must ask, what exactly am I retreiving from the Pride again?"
Truth answered quickly, "you're going to board the Pride and find the data that contains the coordinates to the human home world. It's important that you do not fail."
"I won't," Varine answered.
Then he put down the radio and flew into the UNSC fleet. The other ships flew past him and Varine slunk into his seat, hoping to go unnoticed. He was quite tense with fear.
Then Varine saw it: the mighty Pride. It was a massive ship compared to his pelican. He flew towards it and the Pride allowed him to come on board.
Now Varine's mission had begun.
Journey to the Source Edit
A Flashy Introduction Edit
Varine landed the pelican in the docking bay and watched as numerous humans approached his ship. Marines were pacing about the complex as well, probably on their patrols. Varine took his energy sword and loaded his carbine. He then ducked into the back of the pelican before the humans got too close.
Varine opened the back hatch of the pelican and activated his active camo.
The humans came around to the back of the ship and a marine began to speak, "what's your business here? You didn't even give us a radio signal!" Varine did not answer. "You hear me pilot!?"
Varine slipped around the marine and put a carbine to the back of his head, "don't make a move," Varine said as he deactivated his active camo.
The other marines ran up to the scene and aimed their assault rifles at Varine, "Lower your weapon!" one of the marines said.
"Make me," Varine replied.
The marines lowered their rifles reluctantly, "just don't hurt him," the sergeant said, "... what are your demands?"
"Take me to the place where you store your data," Varine demanded.
The other marines eyed the sergeant, "what will we do Sergeant Jameson?" the sergeant stared with a glare of hatred in his eyes. Then he had an idea... a risky one, but he knew that he couldn't let Varine have any information. It was a risk worth taking. He raised his pistol and shot Varine in the arm.
Varine growled as the bullet was absorbed by his shields. "Bad idea," he said as he put a round in the marine's head.
The other marines opened fire in sheer outrage. Varine jerked around as the bullets penetrated his shield. He managed to grab a plasma grenade and activate it. Varine rolled over to the sergeant and placed the grenade on the side of his head. Varine then lifted him into the air with both his arms and hurled him at a large group of marines... it made quite a mess; limbs and blood flying in all directions.
Varine saw another squad of ODST troops running towards him from across the docking bay. His muscles were on fire, he couldn't take another fight. Varine ripped off a vent cover and crawled into the shaft.
Mouse in a Maze Edit
The ODST troops aimed their weapons at the open vent shaft. One of them approached the vent and partially crawled inside.
"All clear," he said.
"Shouldn't we go get him!?" another trooper asked.
The commander picked up his radio, "get me a SPARTAN down here ASAP!" He put away the radio and rubbed his head in frustration.
"How in the world is a SPARTAN supposed to get up there?" a marine asked.
"All I know is that he can't have his armor, he'd be too heavy. We'll have to give him something else." The commander growled, "ugh, that stupid elite just couldn't stay put! He had to run off like some freakin' pansy!" He put the radio to his mouth again, "what's taking so long?"
Then a SPARTAN grabbed his shoulder, "SPARTAN F71 reporting for duty Commander Branks!"
Commander Branks turned around to find F71 in his Mark V MJOLNIR armor. "Get to a locker room and get changed into something smaller!"
"But sir," F71 said, "there's nothing else that fits me."
Commander Branks talked into the radio again, "there's nothing that fits him! Do I have permission to send him in as he is?"
The person on the other side of the radio sighed in hopelessness.
"Look, every second we waste here is another second that elite has to get further away," Branks said.
"Hold on," the person on the radio responded, "we have an issue in cafeteria S03! Send F71 down there now!"
Branks motioned to SPARTAN F71 and he obeyed.
Commander Branks stared at his feet, "he's like a mouse in a maze... "
"A really big mouse," said one of the ODST troopers.
Food Fight Edit
SPARTAN F71 moved down the halls as fast as he could, his assault rifle beating against his chest as he ran.
F71 skidded to a halt when he found the entrance to the cafeteria. The lights in this section of the ship were dark and blinking, something bad had happened. F71 cautiously stepped into the cafeteria room, inside it was completely dark, not a thing could be seen. He turned on his assault rifles flashlight. The flashlight revealed a horrible scene of violence and death.
Directly in front of F71 was a man whose upper body was shoved into an oven. He was burnt to a crisp, pieces of dried blood and skin lying on the ground near him. F71 pointed his flashlight away and clenched his stomach in an effort not to vomit. He couldn't hold it back, F71 ripped off his helmet and threw up all over the floor. When he finished, he just stayed there on his knees, staring at the burnt corpse, the smell of cooked flesh floating about the air.
He pulled his helmet back on and looked around, all the people in the cafeteria: cooks, diners, all of them were dead. Their bodies laying all around, blood on the floor, splattered on the walls and ceiling too.
SPARTAN F71 had never felt such a fury as the one he felt now. He slammed his foot on the ground and yelled as loud as he could. A few moments later he got a hold of himself, panting with anger and exhaustion.
Then he heard a plate drop to the floor in the kitchen, SPARTAN F71 pointed his weapon's flashlight to the door that led to the kitchen. He approached it slowly and twisted the handle without making a sound. SPARTAN F71 cringed as the door made a loud squeal when it slid open. He stood silently, pointing his flashlight in the corner of the room at the broken plate. Then F71 noticed a light switch next to him, he eagerly flipped it up and the lights came on.
Despite the chaos outside, the kitchen was perfectly clean, not a speck to be found. Then a whimper came from the corner of the room; SPARTAN F71 turned around to find a woman cowering on the floor, she was covered in blood and the left side of her face was badly bruised.
F71 rushed over to aid her, "are you alright ma'am?"
The woman didn't speak, she just began to drool on her lap. Suddenly the lights turned off. SPARTAN F71 didn't move, he didn't want to leave the woman alone. He began to rummage through his first aid supplies. The woman began to cry.
"No no no, don't cry, everything's going to be fine," F71 said as he pointed his flashlight at her.
The woman began to sob louder and she slowly lifted her arm, uncurling her finger, pointing behind F71, "he's here... "
"Who's here?" F71 asked.
"The dragon," she said. Then the woman went limp and died.
F71 slowly turned around, leaving his flashlight off. He stared into the darkness where the woman had pointed, waiting for something to happen.
Slowly, two bright yellow eyes opened and gleamed from the darkness, staring him in the face. F71 raised his flashlight to the figure and found it to be none other than Varine...
F71 didn't have time to react, Varine smacked him over the head with a frying pan. F71 laid on the floor, his head throbbed with pain. It felt like all the blood in his body was pooling in his cranium.
Varine grabbed F71 by the back of the neck and slammed him into some nearby cabinets, knocking away his assault rifle. Varine raised his carbine and prepared to open fire. Before he could do so, F71 grabbed a pair of cutting knives and smacked the weapon away. He gave Varine a slash to the arm and then a slash to the face. The swing to his face was so hard that Varine flew out of the kitchen and into the cafeteria, landing on his back. Varine slowly rose to his feet and removed his hand from his face, revealing a large scar that went all the way from his brow to his upper cheek. It even cut through his helmet. Luckily Varine's eye was fine.
Varine clenched his fist and, with all the might he could muster, gave F71 a crippling punch to the head. SPARTAN F71 couldn't stay awake, he felt himself slip into unconsciousness. Everything went black.
Bad Ideas Edit
Varine stared at the SPARTANs body. He just laid there, motionless. Varine's knuckle throbbed, punching a metal helmet wasn't one of the smartest things he had done. Varine looked at his knuckles, blood was dripping between his fingers, he had to leave before he bled on the floor anymore. He pulled off a vent's cover and climbed inside, leaving F71's body alone.
This... was one of Varine's biggest mistakes.
F71 felt someone grab his shoulder and call out his name, "Jeremy, wake up."
He jumped to his feet and turned around... nothing. Nobody was there. Jeremy was confused, the voice sounded a lot like that of his friend, Angeline.
Angeline was the pride and joy of Jeremy's life. She was another SPARTAN soldier and a good friend of Jeremy's. They had shared many missions together.
F71 clutched his head, the migraine was coming back again. For most of his life, Jeremy had suffered from random migraines and hallucinations. It was a problem that only he knew of. bright yellow circles of light fluttered about in his head. He closed his eyes, trying to escape them but they did not leave.
Jeremy fell to his knees and smashed a hole in the floor, "Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!"
The pain eased, the images vanished. It was such a relief. Jeremy rolled onto his back and relaxed his body. All he could do is stare at the ceiling.
Suddenly it hit him, the elite! F71 jumped up and took his rifle off the floor. It was still dark in the cafeteria, he flipped on his flashlight. Jeremy looked around cautiously, passing over the dead bodies of the marines, searching for the elite.
Then he saw an open vent on the ceiling, "he must have one up there!" Jeremy brought up his holomap and traced the path of the vent shaft... it led to the maintenance room. Jeremy dashed out of the cafeteria and down the hall.
Varine slowly inched his way through the tight ventilation shafts, trying to be as quiet as possible. He saw an exit to the shaft ahead of him. With motivation to leave the cramped vents, he crept faster.
Varine reached the exit and looked down, it seemed to drop into some kind of maintenance room. No armed personel could be found. Varine knew that this was a vital place to the frigate.
Perhaps there's an engine of some sort in here. Maybe I could cut off the power! With that thought, Varine smacked off the vent covering and jumped down into the room.
About twelve maintenance crew were present. They all screamed and ran from Varine. Varine knew that he couldn't let them get away, he pulled out his carbine and shot all of them.
With all the humans dead, Varine looked around. A loud noise was emitting from a large mechanical device in the far corner of the room. It looked like a sort of engine to Varine, he approached it with caution. It was huge compared to him.
Varine pulled out all the weapons and explosives in his arsenal. He had two fragmentation grenades and five plasma grenades. There's no way the machine can stand this... Varine thought to himself.
He placed four plasma grenades and two fragmentation grenades into an open spot on the engine. Varine stepped back and thew his last plasma grenade at the other group of grenades. It was a direct hit.
Varine ran as far away from the room as he could, down halls and through rooms. Trying to escape the blast.
Within five seconds the grenades exploded. The blast was quite massive, taking out vital parts of the main drive. Pieces from the first main drive then flew in all directions, crippling the second main drive and an auxiliary drive.
Going Down Edit
Varine could feel the blast from twenty feet away. He found another ventilation shaft. "I can't take vents anymore!" he screamed. Varine continued on down the halls and killed all humans in his way.
After a long while, F71 arrived at the maintenance room. Jeremy was horrified at what he saw: the main drives and an auxiliary drive were completely destroyed. Ashes surrounding them.
"The elite must have done this!" Jeremy said to himself.
Then it struck him: without the ship's engines... there was no power. He figured that there would only be a few more minutes before the ship completely died.
F71 radioed in to the command crew, "hey guys... we've got a problem in the maintenance room!"
One of the crew responded, "we're aware of that! We're doing all we can to keep the ship from going down! Just be patient!"
The flight deck was utter chaos, people were running around, screaming, crying, praying for mercy.
"We have to activate our backups! We're too close to the planet, if we lose power it will pull us into it's atmosphere!" a crewman said.
"We'll only have enough power to pull us away from the planet's pull. If we got far enough away, we risk colliding with the fleet! We can't risk that!" the commanding officer replied, "just... do your best to land her on a flat surface!"
"Sir, we're heading straight into a mountainous area! The nearest flat surface is... eighty kilometers away!" another crewman said.
The commanding officer put his hands over his head and slunk to the floor. He began to sob.
The others knew there was nothing they could do to save themselves. They all just say there staring at the floor. The frigate was nearing the planet.
Varine ran down the halls, it was odd... all the marines were gone. There was nobody to stop him.
Then someone came in over the speakers, "attention all UNSC Pride passengers and crew: our engines have failed and we're approaching the mining planet. Please make your way to the nearest escape pod. We ask that you remain calm and obedient so that we can save all lives possible. Thank you for your cooperation."
Varine felt a shiver of fear jerk inside him. Then he saw a sign up ahead, it pointed to the left hall and read: EVAC SHUTTLES.
Varine ran as fast as he could down the hall.
SPARTAN F71 heard the intercom message too. He brought up his holomap again and found the shortest path to the escape pods.
The were directly down the hall to his right. F71 threw away his weapons and sprinted as fast as his legs would carry him.
Varine was almost there, he could see an open pod. Suddenly his weapons fell to the ground, Varine knew he couldn't go back for them.
Varine reached the entrance to the pod. He opened it's doors and leapt inside. Varine took a seat and buckled himself in.
All of a sudden, F71 barged into the pod and shut the doors behind him, unaware of Varine's presence.
F71 turned around and found Varine sitting in the seat in front of him. They both stood in shock of each other.
Jeremy thought about the situation for a moment... if they fought in the pod, they might damage it and then they'd both be doomed. "Wait," F71 said, "let's just get along for now okay!?"
Varine was amazed, he had no idea what to do. "f-f-fine," he stuttered.
With that, F71 took a seat on the other side of the pod and they both launched towards the mining planet.
Part IV: Final Struggle Edit
Eye to Eye Edit
The sky was a dark red that day on mining world V-L34. The suns beat down on the barren surface. Not a cloud was present.
A miner strode across the valley, he was on his lunch break. The miner pulled out his box of cigarettes and looked inside, one left. He figured it would be best to save it for later but he couldn't overpower the urge, he had to have a smoke. The miner lit it and leaned against a large red stone.
The poor man had been on V-L34 for about three weeks now and he missed his family very much. It's all he could think about. He hated this place since he arrived. It reminded him of Mars, bleak, empty, and red. The miner's name was Timothy, he didn't like his job much but it paid well so he lived with it. He inhaled the smoke, it felt wonderful. He felt like a dehydrated man drinking a bottle of sparkling water. Timothy tilted his head back and closed his eyes. He felt the heat of the earth below him... it was soothing. Timothy slid to the ground, he was exhausted from a long day's work, it was warm against the stone, Timothy figured he would just rest a while.
Suddenly a deep moaning sound blasted his ears. Timothy opened his eyes and looked to the sky. He was horrified. A UNSC frigate was approaching the planet, a silhouette of fire surrounded it.
Timothy ran back to the base to alert the other miners.
Varine and F71 sat in the escape pod, waiting for it to hit the planet. Neither dared say a word to the other.
F71 finally mustered the courage to look at the elite. To his curiosity, F71 found the elite to look different from most others he had seen. He had an elegant set of silver armor on, he was bigger, stronger looking. Jeremy had never seen an elite wearing that armor before... perhaps he was a special rank.
Varine glanced at F71 and quickly looked away when he noticed F71 staring back.
Then the pod jerked around wildly and smashed into the ground. The lights inside turned off and the pod's doors blasted open, luckily both Varine and F71 had survived.
Varine and Jeremy walked outside and stared each other in the face, hatred swelling in their eyes.
Varine clenched his fist, his fingers pressing into his palm. Then he looked to the SPARTAN... it looked... familiar. "What's your name?"
F71 was in awe, now that he could see the elite in the light... he remembered him. "Y-y-you're supposed to be d-dead... what are you?"
"I... am Varine, the arbiter of the Covenant!" Varine said with a sense of pride, "and who might you be?"
Jeremy knew it wasn't a good idea to let the elite know his identity... but he felt an urge to tell, "I'm SPARTAN F71."
Varine stood still as a stone. He stared blankly... recalling... remembering.
F71 walked up to him, "you awake?"
Varine then remembered: F71 defeating him, waking up in the hospital, and... becoming the arbiter. "You... you did this to me! You killed Caran! You made me the monster I am! It's YOUR fault!" Varine dropped to the ground and curled up in a fetal position. He began to sob.
Jeremy was confused, "what? I didn't do this to you! You did it! You killed those people on the frigate, you killed my friends! My friends were on that ship! You killed them all! How do you dare say I made you do this!?"
Varine spoke, "an arbiter... is chosen by the prophets. An arbiter is an elite who failed. When you defeated me... I failed. Then they chose me... they made me do this. I-I wanted to be an a-artist! I wanted to create! I hate this! I hate it, I hate it!"
F71 felt something... he felt... sorry for the poor creature. "Do you regret what you've done? Are you sorry?"
Varine stooped, "p-please, forgive me."
"Under one condition... "
F71 spoke again, "you're going to help me save that frigate." F71 extended his arm to help Varine up, "partners?"
Varine grasped his hand and stood up. "I'll join you."
Then F71 saw the frigate, it was coming dangerously close to the planet. "Varine, is there any way we can save that frigate?"
"One," Varine said, "but it's risky. Let's go!"
Saving the Pride Edit
Varine messaged the prophets, "I need you to do something for me."
Truth responded, "what might that be?"
"That frigate is heading towards the mining planet and the data is still on it. I was forced to come to the planet," Varine said.
"Fool! You were supposed to secure it!" Regret said.
"There was no way! Just help me save that frigate, If we don't have the frigate in somewhat good condition, we can't get the data," Varine said.
"We'll do what we can," Mercy said, "you better hope you die before we're able to get our hands on you!"
"They're going to try to do something," Varine said, "I hope it will work."
F71 turned around to observe the frigate's distance from the planet. "She's got about three minutes before she collides into the surface," he said.
"Are there any ways we can get airborne?" Varine asked.
"The mining facility might have a pelican but we'd never make it in time," F71 said.
Suddenly the sky lit up. The Covenant fleet had begun battle with the UNSC fleet. Varine looked to the frigate. Ten Covenant cruisers approached it, oddly they all had large metal attachments on the their undersides. Then blue lines of what appeared to be electricity came from the attachments and seemed to hook onto the frigate. Then Varine recognized them, they were gravity tethers. They were usually used to remove objects on the ground into the air, Varine did not know if they would save the frigate. It took a few seconds, then the tethers lit up bright white and the frigate began to pull away from the planet.
"Let's hope the humans aboard survive the movement. The gravity must be increased a lot, plus they're all being pulled towards the front of the ship," Varine said.
"God they must be in a lot of pain," F71 said.
Then a phantom approached them. It touched down and an elite came out to greet Varine but was shocked to find F71 standing next to him.
Varine killed the elite before he could do anything, "come Jeremy, let's go."
F71 took the controls and Varine sat next to him. F71 still didn't trust Varine, he never trusted him.
Varine grasped an energy sword he pulled off the elite. He felt so strange. Almost sick to his stomach. Varine looked to F71 who was driving the ship straight into the UNSC and Covenant brawl.
"What are you doing!?" he said.
"It's the shortest way, hold on," F71 said.
Varine slowly sat back into his chair and grasped the arm rests. He knew this wasn't going to be fun.
Dash Through the Fight Edit
The phantom cruised slowly toward the battle. A frigate was looming in front of them, suddenly the phantom shook wildly and a horrible blast went through the air as the MAC cannon fired. It crashed through a cruiser completely. The the debris started to be pulled into the planet's gravitational field. The bad news: Varine and F71 were in it's way.
"Pull her to the left Jeremy, do it!" Varine said.
"I'm trying!" F71 yelled as he pulled the controls to the left.
They were soon whizzing to the left, chunks if the cruiser sailing past them. Within a few moments they had gotten out of the way and F71 pushed the phantom forward even harder.
The phantom lurched forward and passed a pelican that was going towards the planet's surface. Varine watched it for a while. All went well until the pelican reached the same field of rubble that Varine and F71 were in. A piece of the cruiser's hull flew towards the pelican and blew right through it, not even slowing down. The pelican drifted towards the planet in a fiery mass.
Varine swallowed hard, that was quite a site. "F71, we need to get out of this now!"
"We're going to be here for a while, just deal with it! Don't worry I won't let us die!" F71 said.
"If you say so," Varine said.
The phantom cruised along the borders of the battle, Varine observed more of the action. Five frigates approached a set of twenty phantoms. One of the frigates fired off a MAC, directly hitting a phantom. The phantom blew up into chunks of fire and they collided with five other phantoms, destroying them all. Varine looked ahead, he saw the Pride, it was being toated away to High Charity by the cruisers.
Varine pointed to it and said, "there, go forward through the fight! We have to get to High Charity before they do. Otherwise all the survivors aboard will be slaughtered."
F71 looked to the stars with a glare of hope and determination in his helmet's visor. He surged the phantom forward. They began to approach a cruiser, it passed above them with a load noise, it sounded similar to that of a whale underwater. Varine looked to F71, he was undaunted by the distractions, he only focused on the Pride slowly being carted away.
"I'm coming," he muttered.
Varine noticed a group of pelicans in the distance, about five. "SPARTAN, I'm going to man the plasma turrets," he said. Varine pressed a button and a set of controls came up from the floor and rested in front of his hands. Varine grasped the sticks with a mighty force. He aligned his crosshairs with the pelican to the far right. Varine screamed in rage and pulled the triggers. Plasma blasted out of the turrets, flying towards the unsuspecting pelican. Soon a string of steaming plasma made contact with the pelican's side, crashing into it's wings and hull. With a twist of brutal fate, a single plasma bolt separated from the group and smashed right into the cockpit. The pilot was vaporized and the pelican collided into another. They both exploded in a red flame.
"Yes!" Varine howled in victory.
He aimed the crosshairs at the other three pelicans and opened fire. The pelicans retreated. Suddenly a frigate came into view and fired a MAC round at their phantom. It missed with a long length of space between the phantom and the round. The round flew towards the planet and smashed into it's surface.
F71 was angered, a passion and sense of fearlessness in his heart, he drove the phantom straight at the frigate. They almost collided with it's front but F71 yanked the phantom upwards. The frigate was below them now, Varine took this opportunity to pound a few rounds into the top of the frigate. Plasma bolts started to rain onto the frigate's backside, the crew could do nothing. Varine heard the sound of the plasma smacking into the frigate, it was horrible.
They had finally passed over it. Varine looked to his back to see if the frigate was at all hurt. It didn't show any signs of damage.
Varine looked forward again and began to randomly fire at the ships in the distance.
Then he saw an amazing sight: ten frigates lined up and were drifting towards another line of Covenant cruisers. The tension seemed to mount as all eyes looked upon the battle to be had.
Then Varine saw something, "look SPARTAN ," he said pointing at the distance, "High Charity!"
F71 looked at where Varine was pointing. In the space between the cruisers and the frigates was a small gray spot in the distance. It was High Charity! Then F71 realized that the Pride and the cruisers carrying it were ahead of them.
"Varine," F71 said, "we're going to have to cut through this fight to get ahead of them!"
F71 slammed the phantom forward into the fight. The frigates and the cruisers began to open fire as they entered the melee. Varine and F71's phantom flew by the MAC rounds and plasma bolts. It seemed to all happen in slow motion. Frigates firing, Frigates colliding into cruisers, explosions, death. All happened in a slow-motion ballet of fate.
Suddenly it all stopped. Varine and F71 had escaped the battle without a scratch. They almost screamed for joy... but then they saw the Pride going closer and closer to High Charity.
"Let's save my friends," F71 said as he pushed the phantom forward at top-speed.
Race to High Charity Edit
Varine saw that they had a while to catch up. He began to wonder if F71 was legitimate. "SPARTAN," he said, "tell me how you got to where you are now."
F71 had a cold blankness in his visor. He slowly looked to Varine, an eerie blue light reflecting off his helmet, "you shouldn't ask such... personal questions."
"How are we supposed to trust each other if we don't know each other?" asked Varine.
"We are not friends," F71 said.
"I thought... "
F71 twitched a bit, "SHUT UP!"
Varine turned away from Jeremy, afraid of his anger. They drove on, Varine stifled the courage to look at F71. It was strange... he was making small twitchy movements in his hands and all across his body. They were small, but distracting.
Then F71 shook violently and began spouting nonsense, "Don't let them take my child! Fire, fire, fire! You'll never capture me-dead all dead! Blasphemy! Madness!"
Varine grabbed Jeremy with all the strength he had to keep him from driving the phantom off coarse. As soon as he touched him, F71 was still, he was quiet, the twitching stopped.
"What's wrong with you!?" Varine demanded.
"Hm? Nothing, I'm good," F71 said.
Varine decided not to ask anymore questions, he just sat back in his chair.
"We've almost caught up to them," F71 said, "hold on, they're sending us a message. Listen."
A voice came in through the phantom's speakers, "pilot, present valid identification or desist your pursuit. If you do not follow either of these instructions, deadly force will be authorized."
The cruisers released the gravity tethers and began to drift towards the phantom.
"Varine," Jeremy said, "give me some identification."
Varine grabbed a radio and spoke, "it's your arbiter, let me pass."
The cruisers turned around and took their load with the tethers again.
F71 and Varine sighed with relief that the cruisers weren't going to blast them to peices. F71 let Varine take the controls and he hid in the back. Within a few minutes, they were entering High Charity.
Finding the SurvivorsEdit
Varine landed the phantom inside. He got out and watched the cruisers lower the frigate onto a huge platform.
Then the prophets cam to him, "Varine," Regret said, "get inside that frigate and get out that data for me."
"Of course," Varine said.
Suddenly F71 jumped out from the phantom and killed an elite major.
"Guards," Truth said. With his command, twelve honor guards came over and shielded the prophets as they retreated to safety.
Varine threw his energy sword at one, the honor guard tried to block it but the sword cut through his staff and slit his head off with ease. F71 retrieved a needler from the back of the phantom and began to fire rounds at the charging honor guards. They dropped and exploded into pink clouds. Varine smacked one of their staffs into the air and plunged it into the elite's neck.
Soon all was quiet as the last honor guard dropped to his knees. F71 and Varine looked around. Everything was safe for now... they did not have much time though.
"Varine," Jeremy said, "we have to save the survivors!"
Varine nodded and they both climbed into an open spot on the frigate.
It was dark inside, the lights and power were all gone. Varine switched on his shoulder light and F71 lit his lights. They were inside the Pride's lower deck. All that lay around was debris and blood. No bodies though.
"Let's keep moving," Varine said as he activated his energy sword to provide more light.
Varine held his sword ahead of him like a torch, it gave off a bright light. They delved deeper and deeper into the wreckage of the Pride. It was horrible, there was blood, wreckage, and even some bones laying everywhere. No bodies though, no survivors.
F71 fell to his knees and huddled in a dark corner, "they're all dead," he sobbed.
Varine turned around to talk to him.
F71 continued, "we'll never find any survivors. All my friends are dead! God, why!?" he said staring at the ceiling.
"I thought you were a hero? A hero never gives up for what he believes is right, never! If you want to you can sit here and die all alone, but I will not let the survivors die alone," Varine said.
F71 looked up, "you're right! There are survivors! We have to save them!"
Suddenly a rush of footsteps could be heard down the dark halls. "Let's go SPARTAN!" Varine whispered. F71 and Varine crouched and snuck into a tunnel that was blown through the Pride. Perhaps it led to more floors. More survivors.
They crawled down this tunnel for a long time, filth and water covering them. It was horribly hot too; but our heroes did not falter, they stood up high and continued to search into the dark tunnel.
SPARTAN F71 stopped and rested, "I have to lay down for a second," he panted. Varine did not argue, he was quite tired himself. He say down next to F71. They both rested, enjoying the peace.
Varine began to speak, "Jeremy, of all the friends I've ever had... my enemy made the best." Varine hugged F71 tightly, "if we die... "
"No," F71 said, "father always told me that if you think you're going to die... then you will die." F71 felt odd inside, he felt... emotion... he felt true friendship. He gently patted his friend on the back as he cried, "we can do this man, stay with me."
Varine then stopped crying. He crawled back up again and turned on his flashlight. "Did you hear that?" he asked.
"No," F71 replied as he looked in the same direction.
Then a sound was heard. At first it was soft and unable to be heard clearly. Then it got louder and louder. It sounded like... growling, something was squishing, and snapping. Varine pointed his light to the left a little. Suddenly two bright yellow eyes gleamed at him. It was a horribly disfigured person, covered in dirt and blood. It was a woman, she was crouching over the dead body of a dog... she was... eating it. The creature... or person just stood there staring at Varine with a glare of focus in it's huge beady eyes.
F71 looked at her uniform, "Lord," he said, "that's Sergeant Brandi! What's wrong with her!?"
The creature wheeled it's head around and looked at F71, it screeched and charged for him. Jeremy had little time to react. As the creature tackled him, F71 took her by the arms and slammed her head into a rock. Oddly the thing wasn't dead yet. F71 grabbed it's head before it could get up. With a rage of hatred, he started to smash the monster's head against a hard piece of metal. He did this about twelve times until the creature went limp. F71 leaned back in shock.
"Oh god, are they all like this!?" he screamed, "hold on, I'm getting a radio signal."
A frightened voice could be heard over the radio, "come in, anyone please, we're people. You can't just let us die like this!"
SPARTAN F71 spoke, "you're not alone solder, what's your location?"
A fluster of animal-like howls could be heard wailing in the background, "thank you so much! We're at the pilot's bay, there's only four of us left. The others... have gone mad. They started ranting about how they were so hungry. Soon the darkness got to them and the just began to kill everything. Then they'd eat them and hunt for more. They've almost gotten past our blockade, please hurry!"
F71 looked to Varine, "Varine," he said, "how loud can you roar?"
"Loud enough to be heard," he said.
"I need you to roar at the top of your lungs right now!" F71 demanded.
Varine sucked in a great amount of air and let forth a mighty roar. It was so loud that it echoed throughout the ship.
"Okay Varine, let's go get those survivors!" F71 said with pride.
They ran down the tunnel and through halls of rubble for what seemed like hours. Coming closer and closer to the pilot's bay.
After many long minutes of running, Varine and F71 reached the entrance to the pilot's bay. At the entrance was a broken blockade made of sacks, books, supplies, even a dead body was in it. Oddly, the blockade was broken through completely.
"Oh no!," F71 said as he dashed into the room. Varine followed him.
In the room was nothing but destruction and death. Blood and peices of tissue covered the walls and ceilings. Suddenly F71 stopped cold in his tracks. What he saw on the floor crushed him. A creature was feasting upon the corpse of his friend Angeline, one of F71's most valued friends.
Shockingly Angelina lifted her arm and spoke to F71, "Jeremy...h-help me."
The creature ripped out a chunk of her leg and ate it, unaware of F71's presence. F71 was horrified and angry. He stomped his feet on the ground as he strode over to the creature. The monster turned around but it was too late. F71 grabbed it by both it's upper arms and lifted it into the air into a cross position. F71 stared it directly into it's eyes. He held it there for a moment. Suddenly he began to scream as loud as he could. It was a scream of hatred, passion, anger, love for a lost friend. F71 flexed his mighty muscles and began to pull the creatures arms from it's body. The monster thrashed it's head side to side in helpless pain as it's bones broke, muscles tore, and blood poured. All the while F71 was still screaming in outrage. Suddenly F71 gave a mighty tug and the creature's arms broke off. It fell to the floor, still alive it looked up to F71 slowly. F71 slowly ground the monster's head to a pulp as he rubbed his boot into it's face. The creature was finally dead.
F71 slowly walked over to Angeline and caressed her head in his arms. She stoked his face and said in her dying breath, "I love you Jeremy... I always loved you." With those words she died in Jeremy's arms.
Jeremy stood to his feet, crying like a child. He held his head in his hands and began to throw a tantrum. He threw bodies, furniture, computers, etc. Soon he got a grip of himself and looked to Varine. Varine was in shock of what just happened.
F71 began to speak, "I swear to you Varine, I'll make those prophets suffer a thousand deaths for every drop of blood they have spilled. I SWEAR IT!"
Final Run Edit
F71 pushed Varine aside and marched down the halls. He didn't look around he only stared forward in a trance of hatred. Varine was alarmed but he knew he had to follow. Varine couldn't stay here. He ran after F71 and followed him.
F71 made a left and saw a door at the end of the hall... it was locked. He motioned to Varine. They both steadied their feet and dashed forward. In an instant they tackled the door and it smacked to the ground.
They began to run, starting slow and coming to a full sprint. They dashed down halls, through tunnels of rubble, slid on corners as the ran. Varine didn't know where F71 was going but he followed, a man never deserts his friends. Varine followed F71 with sheer faith in him.
Jeremy was quite fast despite all the armor he had, it didn't even seem to slow him. Varien didn't know if it was strength, determination, or anger. F71 made a quick left into the armory room. Suddenly he stopped and began to eye the selection of weapons lining the walls. Assault rifles, SMG's, battle rifles, a few rocket launchers, countless grenades, sniper rifles, pistols, and a confiscated plasma rifle.
Varine took the plasma rifle with haste. Then F71 pulled down a a sniper rifle and handed it to Varine. After he did this, F71 began to eye the selection for himself. He pulled down a battle rifle and walked down the isle of weapons. Suddenly he halted at the sight of a SPARTAN laser. He slid his hands along it's sides, F71 seemed to be mystified by it's beauty. Quickly he took it and walked out of the armory.
Once again they were dashing down the halls. Varine's legs were on fire as he pumped them to keep up with Jeremy.
Jeremy activated his map of the UNSC Pride. He traced the route nearest exit. It was nearly 300 feet away. He traced more to find that there was a thin spot in the Pride's armor. It was in the left hall. He made a sharp left. Apparently the armor was thin because of a small explosion. Rubble lay around a large crater in the wall. F71 began charging his SPARTAN laser, not stopping. Three seconds later, an enormous blast from the laser blasted the entire wall off; F71 and Varine leaped through it to the outside.
They stopped, they were stunned. At least fifty elites and grunts were outside pointing their weapons at the two. F71 and Varine knew they stood no chance, they lowered their weapons and allowed an honor guard to take them.
They were led down numerous halls. An honor guard spoke, "you know Varine, we trusted you. We thought you would be a hero of the Covenant. We were wrong about you, Truth had a suspicion af your heresy from the start! They were kind to you, they gave you your life back and this is how you repay them. I'll make sure your friend here dies first and that you'll watch it! Then we'll hang you for all to see, an example to the Covenant that heresy is never tolerated!"
Varine slowly looked up to the elite and spoke, "It is better to die a strong man who fought for what he believed in than to live a weak man who wouldn't stand or defend another person for what he knew was right... "
The elite spoke again, "then I'll make sure you die."
Varine was dragged further down a hall, he looked to F71. The poor man seemed to have lost all hope. Varine whispered to him, "Jeremy,Jeremy do you hear me? Don't you give up on me now! This is NOT over!"
Jeremy looked to Varine. "Yes," he said, "it's not over... "
Then they passed a group of phantoms, all parked along a strip of metal extending from High Charity's inner wall. Varine looked to Jeremy who was looking back to him and winked. With a simple wink, Jeremy and Varine flipped the elites who were dragging them down the hall over their backs. Varine and Jeremy quickly grabbed their weapons from the elite who was carrying them They both ran to the phantoms as fast as they possibly could, plasma bolts chasing them along the way. They quickly climbed into the vehicle and started it.
The phantom slowly rose and F71 used the turrets to blast the ground troops to peices of dismembered flesh.
Varine quickly drove the phantom out of the wall and above the city. "Trust me," he said to F71, "I know the way to the prophet's quarters."
Varine thrust the phantom forward, it dashed through the air, there was so much room to move above the city. The Covenant in the city streets stared up in awe of the speeding phantom. Suddenly a Covenant message came in, "escaped convicts are above the city and are attempting to reach the prophet's quarters, all nearby units are ordered to pursue and destroy at all costs."
The phantom's on board computer began to show a hologram of a few banshees approaching their rear. It read: WARNING_INCOMING HOSTILES!
Varine made the phantom veer quickly to the right and face the group of banshees. F71 began to open fire upon them. Plasma rushed by the banshees, some made contact. The banshees were soon all falling to the city streets were they crashed into buildings and killed numerous Covenant. Those below were helpless as the falling banshees crushed them and all they knew.
Varine and F71 moved on as more vehicles came, but now they were getting stronger. Instead of banshees they sent other phantoms.
Varine maneuvered through them, F71 shot at them as they passed by. The phantoms began to shoot back with enormous force; they were able to send out twice as many plasma bolts because of their number advantage. Varine swerved to the left to avoid the weaponry, a few shots made contact but not enough to harm the phantom seriously. The ships began to exchange fire once again. F71 concentrated his fire on a particular phantom and brought it down quickly. It fell to the streets below. F71 took his turret and aimed it to the others, within a matter of minutes they dropped.
"That's all of them," Jeremy said, "let's head to those prophets now!"
Varine was silent, he stared at the monitor and saw a CCS-class Battlecruiser approaching from the distance. Suddenly it fired a plasma torpedo.
Varine slammed the controls as hard as he could. The phantom dived down to the city streets. By now F71 had noticed the cruiser too. They dived until it seemed that they were going to plow into the streets with the plasma torpedo following them the whole time, but Varine urged the phantom upward and it jerked away from the ground just in time. The torpedo was still following, but it didn't have enough power to turn up fast enough. It crashed straight into the streets, causing a massive explosion. thankfully Varine and Jeremy were far enough away that it only shook their phantom a bit.
Varine looked up to the cruiser, it was looming above. It didn't seem to know where the phantom was. Varine drove the phantom as close to the ground as he dared, trying to avoid the phantom. He and F71 both knew they had no chance of beating it. They cruised along, the Covenant in the streets staring as they did so.
They drove along unnoticed for the longest time. Soon they were able to reach a docking bay that was close to the prophet's quarters. They killed the few guards and exited the phantom.
It was time for some payback.
Reaping the Harvest Edit
Varine and SPARTAN F71 marched down the halls, never looking at anything except the door that led to the prophet's quarters. On they marched to the place that they both knew their destiny would unfold... That long walk down the hallway was intense, but it was a life changing and heroic moment for both of our heroes.
Varine pulled out his energy sword and kept his plasma rifle to his hip. Jeremy slung the SPARTAN laser over his back and cocked his shotgun. They approached the door. F71 tried to open it, but the large door was locked from the inside.
Then a squad of elites saw them and began to run down the hall after them. F71 spoke, "Varine, cut through that door! I'll take care of these dogs!"
Varine slammed his sword into the door and began to slowly cut a large hole in it. F71 slowly turned and began to blast shells at the oncoming elites. They started to slam onto the ground as the shells made contact. Once the last elite was left, F71 smacked him in the head with the butt of his gun and put a shell into his head while he was stunned.
"Hurry!" he yelled to Varine.
Varine almost had the door open. He slid his energy sword further into the door and finally cut it open. He kicked in the steel piece that he'd cut away. Jeremy and Varine walked inside.
Then they saw the prophets. All sitting in their thrones, looking away from Varine and Jeremy to the outside space.
Then Regret spoke, "so this is how it ends Varine. This is how you will be remembered: a traitor, a fiend."
Varine activated his energy sword, "no," he said, "I am the righteous one!"
Then Jeremy spoke, "you will all die for what you have done, and we shall be the ones to bring your deaths to you!"
"So be it," Truth said.
Then Truth pulled out a strange purple device and pushed a button on it. Suddenly Jeremy fell to his feet and began screaming in agony. Truth held the button and F71 kept writhing in pain. Then he released it. Jeremy laid still on the ground, steam coming from his body.
"What have you done!?" Varine said.
"Long ago," Mercy explained, "when we were first beginning to encounter SPARTANS, we were able to capture one. This SPARTAN that we captured was the one you see on the ground before you: SPARTAN F71. We were tempted to perform experiments on him to find out what made a SPARTAN so strong of a warrior. Later we came to the realization that we could use him as a spy. So we implanted our own controlling mechanisms and multiple microphones into him. We could see what he saw, hear what he heard, we could control him to do what we wanted! So we decided to use him on your mission. We wanted to see if you were a worthy arbiter. We wanted to see if you were faithful to the journey. We were controlling him the whole time. You see we had a suspicion that you weren't fit for the job so we wanted to test you. You, Varine... have not passed our test. With that, you must be punished."
Varine was too shocked to do anything, all this was a lie to see if he was worthy. He had failed. Slowly thirteen honor guards surrounded him. They put Varine in chains and began to drag him away.
Then he saw the prophets stab Jeremy's still body in the back, he cringed a bit... and died.
Varine screamed in hate, "NOOOOOOOOO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS! HE WAS MY FRIEND!!"
Varine hung his head and cried. The elites dragged him along many halls, his tears covered the path they took. Then the honor guards stopped and threw him into a cell.
They shut the door and poor Varine was left there to sob and think; and that's exactly what he did. How can this be happening to me? Varine thought, I was an artist, not a monster, not a heretic. I don't deserve this. By the forerunners, they have killed Jeremy, my only friend. WHY!? He was a good person!
Then Varine got up, he walked over to the mirror. Slowly he looked up, preparing to face himself once more. He saw it: himself in the armor. Tears came from his eyes, his armor was filthy and scratched. He ignored all that though, Varine only looked into his own eyes. He saw the pain, the hate, the anger, the sadness. He began to cry again and in a tear he was able to see what he truly was. Varine wasn't a monster, not a criminal, or a heretic. Varine 'Zembenee was a hero...
With those thoughts, he lay down in his bed. Knowing tomorrow was the day he would die, Varine didn't have a very peaceful sleep.
THE BEACON... Edit
The guards came first thing in the morning and woke Varine rudely. They let him keep his armor on. Slowly the honor guards dragged him down countless halls.
Varine was silent, not a thought entered his head. Today was the day he would die. Varine hung his head.
Soon they came to a large purple extension coming out of High Charity's inner wall. It overlooked the entire city. The honor guards dragged him to the very end of the extension, they pulled him to his feet and lifted him into the air. Then a pair of cuffs attached to a long wire connected to the ceiling dropped down below to Varine. The guards tightened the cuffs around Varine's wrists and motioned to a Jackal. The Jackal pulled a large lever and slowly Varine was risen about three feet from the ground.
Varine looked up to face the crowds in the streets. So many Covenant were below. All of them cheering and celebrating,. Every eye in High Charity was on Varine, anticipating his execution. Varine began to cry again.
Then an honor guard spoke, "you, Varine 'Zembenee, are hereby condemned to execution for your heresy against the entire Covenant. You may now entertain us with your final words. Go ahead."
Varine stopped crying. He looked to all the crowds. All waiting patiently and intently to hear his last words. Then Varine spoke, "my fellow Covenant, today is not a sad day, it is not a day of death... it is a day of hope. Of a new beginning. Rejoice my friends and remember me! Remember this day always! Let me be your enlightenment. Let me be your beacon. When you are lost in the dark, let my light guide you... to salvation!"
Then the Jackal pulled another switch, suddenly Varine lit up in a bright white light as the wires sent down electricity to shock him. The light produced from the electricity in him made Varine light up like a white ghost, it could be seen across the entire city. Oh how his light shone...
With this... Varine 'Zembenee died.