Blunt Instruments

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The cover of Blunt Instruments as illustrated by Bryn Casey.

Blunt Instruments is the sixth short story in Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe. Written by Fred Van Lente, the story shows SPARTAN Team Black when the demolition of a Covenant Beacon on Verge goes terribly awry.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Sometime during the Human-Covenant War, Team Black is sent to eliminate a heavily-fortified Covenant Beacon within the ruins of Ciudad de Arias on the UNSC Colony world, Verge, in order to cut off supply of Helium-3 to Covenant ships blockading Tribute.[1] While finding a safe room for Team Black to sleep in before the Op, Black-Two discovers a mutilated Yanme'e, nicknamed Hopalong, lying on its back and struggling to help itself up. When Black-Two decides to flip the Yanme'e over to gain intelligence, Hopalong upgrades her translation systems so that they could communicate.[2] Because Hopalong was a prisoner to the Covenant overseers, it decides to co-operate with Team Black so that it can free its fellow inmates. Although Team Black is uneasy with Hopalong's presence, Black-Two convinces her squadmates that they can trust the alien.[3]

The next morning, Team Black proceeds with their mission in destroying the Beacon with a C-12 "blow-pack".[4] Hopalong guides the Spartan Fire Team through a wrecked apartment complex's basement, where a tunnel has been hollowed out by Yanme'e inmates.[5] Thought to be uninhabited, the team soon discovers hundreds of sleeping Yanme'e nesting throughout the tunnel.[6] After making it through the tunnel unscathed, they engage the Covenant forces.[7] Hopalong then uses this chance to free the Yanme'e inmates, and Team Black then realizes that the Yanme'e used for excavation were not actually slaves, but hostile prisoners.[8]

When Team Black is assaulted by a swarm of Yanme'e, they lose contact with Black-Three.[9] While Black-One and Black-Four make their way to a train to evacuate the area, Black-Two goes to find Black-Three who is struggling with the Yanme'e.[10] She manages to save Black-Three, and she tells Black-One to start the train while being attacked by Yanme'e with grappling devices. Black-Two and Black-Three make it aboard the train after using the detonation device as a distraction to the swarm.[11] Team Black then rides the train to be picked up by a Pelican dropship in a safe landing zone.[12]