A Necessary Truth

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"Halo is space opera with an edge, the kind of gritty universe where moral dilemma is as important as physical peril. I love working in that kind of milieu. It gives me the freedom to do things like putting Veta Lopis — an ace detective with her own concept of justice — in command of a Ferret Team of fourteen-year-old Spartans. When you get a chance to do something like that, you never know quite what's going to happen in the story. But you do know it’ll be fun to write."
— Troy Denning[1]

A Necessary Truth is one of several short stories in Halo: Fractures: Extraordinary Tales from the Halo Canon. Written by Troy Denning,[1] the story follows Veta Lopis and the Ferrets during a training mission gone awry three months after the events of Halo: Last Light. A Necessary Truth is followed by the full-length novel Halo: Retribution, which continues the Ferret team's story.

Plot synopsis[edit]

On October 14, 2553, Veta Lopis and her Ferret Team are participating in an Office of Naval Intelligence training exercise against Oscar Squad at UNSC Recreational Facility 6055-NA-A on Neos Atlantis. Lopis is overseeing her subordinates in the officers' club, with Ash-G099 and Mark-G313 posing as freshly-graduated ODST lieutenants while Olivia-G291, undercover as a slightly older Navy lieutenant, is talking with a man who arouses Veta's suspicions due to his suspiciously civilian-like manner.

Lopis is sold a drink by a server she notes as being curiously inept, only to find Olivia and the man have moved to another location in the club where she cannot directly observe them. Shortly after, Olivia begins to behave erratically while the man begins to ask her questions about the SPARTAN-III program and Gamma Company in particular. Realizing Olivia has been drugged, Lopis orders Ash to create a distraction while having Mark arrest the man. The woman who served Lopis earlier steps in Mark's way to stop him, only to be knocked down by the Spartan, who then proceeds to haul the man out of the club. As Lopis makes her way to Olivia, another man steps in her way. Believing him to be responsible for drugging Olivia, Veta punches the man hard in a kidney, incapacitating him. Lopis announces that she and her team are from FLEETCOM's Criminal Investigation Division to the various onlookers, and orders a pair of ensigns to hold the server. Veta then escorts Olivia into the hotel suite the team is using as a safe house and administers a countergent to the nicothiotal the Spartan has been drugged with.

As Olivia recovers, Mark and Ash return to the hotel suite, an incident having occurred on the way. Before Mark and Ash can fully explain themselves, they are joined by Rear Admiral Serin Osman, accompanied by Oscar Squad's Commander Svenson—the man Lopis struck in the bar. Svenson claims to have witnessed Mark and Ash carrying a body and demands an explanation. A brief argument ensues between Lopis, Svenson and Osman, with Lopis firmly defending her team and maintaining her subordinates have done nothing wrong, even as Osman has Svenson leave the room to speak with Lopis and the Spartans privately. Osman then departs as well and gives the Ferret Team two hours to resolve the situation.

Ash and Mark explain what happened; Mark was attacked on his way out of the club by the server who attempted to stop him earlier. When he attempted to use the man he was carrying as a shield, the man resisted and Mark struck him, which unexpectedly killed the man. By this point Ash arrived and the server fled the scene. Ash and Mark disposed of the man's body through an airlock, but when they returned to sanitize the area, they found it had already been cleaned.

As the Ferrets investigate the victim's personal effects, he is discovered to have been Spencer Hume, an investigative reporter who had been publishing exposés on ONI. Using ONI's Facial Recognition Database, Mark's assailant is identified as a former ONI commander named Ota Gallo, now working for Dark Moon Enterprises, a recently-established private security company that has expanded considerably in the previous months. Aware that Gallo will not leave without recovering Hume's belongings, including his COM pad, the team lure the rogue agent into the suite with a message, a copy of which Olivia sends to Osman. Gallo and a pair of armed men attack the suite soon after. After Ash and Mark eliminate Gallo's henchmen, Gallo attempts to throw a grenade into the suite, but not before Olivia throws a knife at her. As a result Gallo is blown apart by her own grenade while the Ferret Team survives, although Olivia suffers considerable injuries.

Following the attack, the team promptly attempt to evacuate but are met by Admiral Osman at the elevator. Expressing distaste at the carnage, Osman questions the Ferrets about their resolution of the situation and asks Lopis what truly became of Hume. Lopis frames Gallo for Hume's murder, claiming she killed Hume to prevent him from naming her as his source. Osman is visibly incredulous but appears satisfied with the explanation, sarcastically asking Mark to verify Lopis' story—which he does without hesitation.

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