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Episode 13: In the Bag

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Episode 12: Full Payload

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The Story of FERO (Season 2)

Episode 13: In the Bag
Cover artwork for Episode 13: In the Bag.
Series overview


Hunt the Truth


Season 1

Episode specifications



Air date:

June 14, 2015[1]

Run time:



Episode 13: In the Bag was the thirteenth and final episode in the first season of the Hunt the Truth audio drama.[2] The episode was released on Soundcloud on June 14, 2015,[1] as a two-part release alongside the penultimate Episode 12: Full Payload. The two-part finale's release coincided to release the day before the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) showing for Halo 5: Guardians on June 15, and the release of the novel Halo: Hunters in the Dark on June 16.[3]

Official summary[edit]

Every story has a villain. Today, we meet ours.[4]

Plot summary[edit]

ECB News goes live and Benjamin Giraud is introduced by the host, Charles Kesler. Before Ben can start speaking however, news comes in that the Unified Earth Government has cleared the Master Chief and has placed charges on Sapien Sunrise. Ben starts by saying that the ambassadors on Biko petitioned the UEG for support due to a massive security threat but the UEG ignored them. Kesler says they are still working on trying to figure out the legitimacy of the files Ben sent them. Ben asks where Ray Kurzig and Anthony Petrosky are, and Kesler tells him Ray is unavailable and Anthony will be patched through shortly. Ben starts telling him about how he was hired by ONI to make a profile on the Master Chief but found out the truth about his interviewees and the Chief's origins. "Deon Govender"'s rehearsal is played, showing he is in fact an actor. After outlining the SPARTAN-II program, Ben tells Kesler to check the files, but Kesler says they discovered the files are dated 40 years ago but only created 2 months ago. Ben demands Kesler get Anthony on the line. Kesler agrees to patch him through. However, instead of telling the truth, Anthony says he was undercover, trying to gather information on an insurrectionist group bent on starting civil war between colonies by smearing the Master Chief. Ben, knowing ONI is coercing him into saying this, begs him to tell the truth, but Ben gets his mic cut. Anthony goes on to say he never witnessed the events on the UNSC Atlas nor ever met John-117, and he was just dramatizing old military ghost stories that no one believes. Anthony's signs off, and Kesler demands Ben tell him where he got the "fake" records from. Ben tells him he found them in an abandoned ONI facility on Bliss, and Kesler shows him footage of him inside the facility. Kesler says the facility has ties to an insurgent named FERO, who was the arms dealer for the Sapien Sunrise members who attacked the embassy on Biko, and that the weapons found in the facility came from the same place that the weapons used in the Biko attack came from. Ben accuses them of falsely labeling him a terrorist, but Kesler tells him that is not the case. Kesler then shows footage of the ONI agents searching for Ben, calling them members of Sapien Sunrise, much to Ben's frustration. Ben demands he give him proof of Ray and his family's well being. Kesler tells Ben that Ray is alive and well and that he gave them detailed information on how Ben fabricated his evidence. Kesler goes on to condemn Ben as a traitor and Ben is taken away against his will into federal custody. Kesler apologizes to everyone who had to witness the events.

Petra Janecek, now recording her own audio log, exclaims how ONI have laid all the blame at Ben's feet and now that the problem is resolved, the Outer Colonies will come back into the fold, and the anger will die down. She says how they used both her and Ben, and that she now realizes that the server on Bliss was bait, and now she is going to continue where Ben left off, but this time doing it ONI's way.

Audio transcript[edit]

(ECB theme song plays)

  • Charles Kesler: Welcome back. Later in the show, we'll be continuing our Day of Remembrance Coverage with more survival stories from the labor camps. But first, we have an exciting ECB exclusive: journalist Benjamin Giraud is here to talk about his story that has been making waves throughout the colonies and here on Earth. It's called Hunt the Truth: The Story Behind the Master Chief, and Ben is here to tell us about some exciting developments. Welcome to the program, Ben.

(ECB theme song plays)

  • Kesler: Oh, Ben, sorry. We've just got a breaking development from Biko. After a tight-lipped investigation, Magistrate Laurel Adams and UEG officials have just released additional security footage and autopsy reports from the embassy massacre, issuing a joint statement that federal charges have been filed against an extremist group called Sapien Sunrise, effectively clearing the Master Chief and the Sangheili of any wrong doing. The UEG called the massacre "an attack against peace" and vowed to continue supporting local diplomacy with alien delegations. Freshman Senator Andrew Del Rio also came forward to recant his earlier condemnations, calling the Chief a perinatal hero, and saying quote, "Every statue of him is a monument to be treasured." Now quoting to his office as of this morning the senator is taking some time off for unrelated family matters. Wow. Well, Ben, you've been working on the Master Chief's profile for... a while.
  • Giraud: Um--
  • Kesler: What do you make of all this?
  • Giraud: Did you ac-- did you actually believe the Chief did that?
  • Kesler: Well, Ben, my speculations about guilt are irrelevant.
  • Giraud: Well, it's classic ONI half truth. Yes, was the hero on Biko, but the Sapiens couldn't have done it without the UEG. If you pull up the Adams conversation thread from the from the files I sent you'll see what I mean.
  • Kesler: Oh, it appears we're still processing the files. Just for a moment--
  • Giraud: It's fine. I can just pull it up here.
  • Kesler: Oh, ok.
  • Giraud: Huh. Sorry, I'm-- I'm having issues with it too. Oh, they better not have-- I can't even-- Hold on-- hold on-- Let me try it again. Let me try it again.
  • Kesler: So wait, let's back it up just for those unfamiliar with your story.
  • Giraud: Ok, look--
  • Kesler: Are you saying--
  • Giraud: Sekibo asked the UEG for security help before the talks and they rejected it flat out. Could have prevented a couple dozen deaths, but they didn't even read the request!
  • Kesler: Let's--
  • Giraud: And-- and-- and now they're peace partners with Adams?!
  • Kesler: Now hold on--
  • Giraud: I mean, come on!
  • Kesler: You're saying the Biko embassy made a federal security request, but was left vulnerably because the senate refused the request without proper deliberation?
  • Giraud: Arrogant negligence is what I'm saying.
  • Kesler: Right, but the embassy hasn't said that.
  • Giraud: Not to reporters. Well, not to anyone anymore now that they're in on it. They took whatever Earth table scraps they could get, um... I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I have a question. Where is Ray Kurzig?
  • Kesler: Um...
  • Giraud: I mean he sent you the files, right?
  • Kesler: Yes, we received your files, but--
  • Giraud:And-- and now he's not here. He was supposed to meet me here.
  • Kesler: Let's move on, shall we?
  • Giraud: What about Petrosky? Is he gonna disappear too?
  • Kesler: Corpral Petrosky is being patched through shortly. Let's change gears.
  • Giraud: Yes, of course. Sorry.
  • Kesler: You were originally hired by ONI to do this story, correct?
  • Giraud: Yes, that's right.
  • Kesler: And, what happened?
  • Giraud: Well, I stumbled on several inconsistencies between the sources and they fired me.
  • Kesler: You were fired for finding inconsistencies?
  • Giraud: No. Look, don't act that surprised. You and I both know ONI makes you twist the story just, ya' know, to placate, but this Chief story... I'm telling you, was a whole other animal. At first, the cracks were small but then it got worse and worse until nothing made sense and I tried to fix it, ya' know, I-- until... until I found out the truth. The sources they'd given me were fake. They were actors. I mean, not all of them. Some of them were just real people who just needed a push and others just had no problem feeding me the elaborate lie, but seriously, actors! How devious is that?!
  • Kesler: We're still working to verify the legitimacy of all of those files, but we have the video queued up. Would you like to introduce it?
  • Giraud: Yeah, absolutely! So you're-- you're about to see the actor who played Deon Govender, John's supposed childhood boxing coach. This guy had me hook line and sinker, and then I found this video of him honing in on his performance for the role.
  • Simon Kensington (recording): (in character) In Elysium City, people just disappeared back then. I rem-- (out of character) Uh, what's that? Mm, well, ok, ok. Cause he's cracking here, right? Right, alright, cool. But, uh, we're still good with the working class serving barbecue granddad overall though, right? Ok. (clears throat) Yeah, I'm bringing the waterworks with this guy. (in character) In Elysium... In Elysium...
  • Giraud: Ok, you can stop it there.
  • Kesler: That's-- I-- I don't know what to say.
  • Giraud: I know!
  • Kesler: (sighs) We are here with Benjamin Giraud for this breaking story. The team is working diligently to verify all the evidence and documentation that Ben has provided surrounding his story, if your just joining us.
  • Giraud: And-- and-- and-- here's the disgusting part, right? The real Deon... is dead. That's how far ONI was going to cover this up.
  • Kesler: So what exactly are you saying they were covering up? Why would ONI go to the trouble of furnishing--
  • Kesler: Ben, sorry to cut you off. First of all, what you describe is unconscionable. And if true, we're not talking about deceit here. What you're asserting here are capital crimes against humanity.
  • Giraud: Completely, that's exactly where I was, but I brought files to--
  • Kesler: Hold on, before you continue, I'm getting word that our team has just finished reviewing your files, including what we just watched, some of which are dated from forty years ago. And I'm wondering, how do you explain the fact that all of the files you sent were created in the past two months.
  • Giraud: What?
  • Kesler: Ben, I don't know what kind of game you're playing here but none of the seals are real. You've provided us with fabrications.
  • Giraud: What? No!
  • Kesler: The interviews, the documents, all of it.
  • Giraud: No, no, no, no, that's not true, Charles--
  • Kesler: Now I don;t know what you're trying to do here or why you think you can come on my show--
  • Giraud: (chuckles) That's insane! Charles, how can you even interview--
  • Kesler: I'm- I'm at a loss. Did you think that we wouldn't check?
  • Giraud: Wait-- wait a minute. Hold on. If that was somehow true that I'm some mastermind who made this all up, why would I come here and admit my own crime?
  • Kesler: I have no idea, Mr. Giraud! Exposure, fame, ego? All of the above? (chuckles) It wouldn't be the first conspiracy theorist who had come--
  • Giraud: I don't-- no, that-- listen-- that's not--
  • Kesler: See, on my program we actually vet sources, which is why I'm close to throwing you outta here.
  • Giraud: I'm here, Charles, trying to expose government sponsored mass kidnappings and child murder! Is that worthy of your program?!
  • Kesler: Well, Ben, that would all be very brave of you if hadn't completely fabricated it for your own self interest.
  • Giraud: You don't believe me! Petrosky can verify all of this! Get him on the line! Ask the eye witness! Can your guys handle that?!
  • Giraud: Thank you. Finally.
  • Kesler: Anthony, hello.
  • Kesler: The honor is ours. It's always good to see a veteran in uniform.
  • Petrosky: It's alright to be here.
  • Kesler: If we can just jump right in, you've been working with Ben.
  • Petrosky: Uh, yes, I've been in contact with Mr. Giraud for several weeks now.
  • Giraud: Anthony, just tell them about the augmentations. They're trying to spin everything at me.
  • Kesler: Mr. Giraud, you've been interrupting since you got here. Don't make me cut your feed.
  • Giraud: Ah, d--
  • Kesler: Sorry, Anthony, in what capacity did you contact him?
  • Petrosky: Three months ago I contacted, uh, Mr. Giraud as part of a special investigation.
  • Giraud: What?
  • Petrosky: The UNSC had been monitoring a new sect of violent Insurrectionists bent on starting inter-regional war.
  • Giraud: No. This is now something we've discussed.
  • Petrosky: My assignment was to infiltrate the group and expose a plot to smear a high profile military figure.
  • Kesler: The Master Chief?
  • Petrosky: Yes sir.
  • Kesler: So you were undercover?
  • Petrosky: Yes sir, I was posing as a disgruntled veteran sympathetic to extreme Insurrectionist ideology.
  • Giraud: Anthony, what are you doing? Anthony, Anthony, what are you doing?!
  • Petrosky: And contacted Be-- Mr. Giraud and, uh, convinced him I demonize ONI.
  • Giraud: Anthony, don't do this.
  • Petrosky: I earned his trust helping him fabricate a statement that I had personally witnessed proof of atrocities.
  • Giraud: Anthony, don't do this!
  • Petrosky: It was part of Mr. Giraud's--
  • Giraud: Please don't do this, Anthony!
  • Kesler: You are out of control!
  • Giraud: Anthony, I don't know what they disgruntled you with! Don't--

(feed cut off)

  • Kesler: Apologies. Mr. Petrosky, please continue.
  • Petrosky: I, uh... I helped Mr. Giraud construct dramatic interviews to make the revelation of his novels as entertaining and compelling as possible for his listeners.
  • Kesler: So you were helping make provocative statements for his show, but all the while you were serving the UNSC as in your role as an undercover agent? Is-- is that correct?
  • Petrosky: Yes sir.
  • Kesler: Was any of it true? Did you witness anything that would corroborate the rumors of the SPARTAN program, the abductions or--
  • Petrosky: No sir. I've, uh, never witnessed anything like that. I never saw a child with biological augmentation scars, and as to all the other stuff about ONI and the SPARTAN program, I was just dramatizing old military ghost stories. No one really believes those rumors.
  • Kesler: I'd imagine that would be difficult. Misleading the public, slandering a hero.
  • Petrosky: Yes sir. That's the hardest part.
  • Kesler: And you've never met John-117?
  • Petrosky: No, I have never met John-117, but I would be honored to one day. He is the greatest hero of our time... and I wanna go on record saying that.
  • Kesler: Well, thank you for coming on, Anthony, and thank you for your service.
  • Petrosky: Thank you.

(call ends)

  • Kesler: Ladies and gentlemen, if your just joining us, we're here with Benjamin Giraud covering this story as it unfolds live. Ben, do you have anything to say for yourself?
  • Giraud: I don't know what ONI did to him, but those are lies that he's been fed. They compelled a good man, a soldier to lie, to make me look like a--
  • Kesler: Ben, try and help you out--
  • Giraud: You know you're a puppet, right?
  • Kesler: Let's deal with facts.
  • Giraud: Perfect. Perfect.
  • Kesler: Can you tell me where exactly you found the files you gave us that you're saying came from ONI?
  • Giraud: You--
  • Kesler: If there's a time to divulge sources, Ben, it's right now!
  • Giraud: I'm really getting sick of this.
  • Kesler: That makes two of us.
  • Giraud: Listen! I don't know what the time codes say, but I downloaded those files two days ago from a server I accessed in an abandoned ONI facility on Bliss, o?
  • Kesler: You found your trove of government secrets in unguarded shack on a glassed planet?!
  • Giraud: I've seen the conspiracies you people pull together, I just never thought I'd end up embroiling--
  • Kesler: Mr. Giraud, I wanna show you something.

(starts video)

  • Kesler: This footage this footage was taken two days ago. Is this you entering the bunker on Bliss?
  • Giraud: What?
  • Kesler: The files you sent were all uploaded two days ago from that bunker we just watched you just watched you walk into.
  • Giraud: Wait, how did you get that footage? No, how did you-- how did you get this footage?!
  • Kesler: In a raid yesterday, local police found a large cache of weapons and that server of yours in that bunker. The property of the--
  • Giraud: Are you kidding me?!
  • Kesler: The property the bunker sits on belongs to a shell organization with ties to an insurgent named FERO, who earlier today was implicated by surviving members of Sapien Sunrise as the arms dealer who provided them with the weapons they used in the embassy massacre.
  • Giraud: You're trying to pin Sekibo's death on FERO? She wasn't involved in that!
  • Kesler: And the mods on those weapons came from the exact same place as the mods police found on the weapons in your bunker!
  • Giraud: Oh ok, I get it, I get it. Let me guess, I'm a terrorist who's been working for FERO this whole time? God!
  • Kesler: No. Apparently, your not working for anyone, Mr. Giraud.
  • Giraud: What? What does that mean?
  • Kesler: We also received this security camera footage from a few day ago showing two members of Sapien Sunrise entering your apartment building, where they say preliminary reports from the--
  • Giraud: They're not Sapien Sunri-- They were with ONI. They were ONI.
  • Kesler: They were murdered.
  • Giraud: They were murdered?
  • Kesler: What was it, hmm? A deal gone bad?
  • Giraud: They were ONI! They were coming to kill me! FERO saved me!
  • Kesler: And shortly thereafter, for the first time ever ONI agents got a hit on one of the proxy bank accounts used to fund FERO's terrorist activities near your apartment at an army surplus store! Here is a video of you making that transaction.

(video starts)

  • Giraud: O-- ONI had gutted my apartment, they sent people to kill me! She saved my life! She gave me some money! I was just trying not to die!
  • Kesler: We have all the feeds from the neighborhood, and the only people who entered your building that night were you and the two Sapien Sunrise members you murdered.
  • Giraud: They were not Sapien Su-- No. No, no, no, no, no, no.
  • Kesler: Look, Mr. Girud, FERO, whatever you call yourself, you've got the soap box you wanted.
  • Giraud: They're doing it. They're doing it.
  • Kesler: So if we can just skip to the part were you make your big rebel speech for all of civilization to here, I would like to end this circus of an interview!
  • Giraud: You--
  • Kesler: No?
  • Giraud: You don't-- Could you--
  • Kesler: Fine. I think I've reached my limit of sociopathic narcissism for the day.
  • Giraud: Where's Ray? What happened to Ray?
  • Kesler: Raymond Kurzig is just fine. We spoke with him yesterday.
  • Giraud: I don't believe a word coming out of your mouth.
  • Kesler: Ray did provide us with all of the files you'd given him, just as you asked, but he also gave us detailed information on exactly how you fabricated--
  • Giraud: I don't believe you. I don't believe you. Where is he? Where is he right now? I want proof that Ray Kurzig and his family are alive and well and moving freely. Get Ray on the phone right now.
  • Kesler: (sighs) After all the reckless accusations of atrocities and treason, your self-righteous truth hunt has hurled at innocent people, allow me to speak on behalf of our free press and everybody with a conscience in occupied space when I say, without qualification, that you are the atrocity, Mr. Giraud.
  • Giraud: ONI killed Mshak. They ki--
  • Kesler: And you are the definition of a traitor.
  • Giraud: Whether they put him in a black bag or through him in a hole, I don't know--
  • Kesler: Alright, that's enough.
  • Giraud: But now-- listen I've heard so much in the past few months, I know, I know what it means when I say the Chief is a hero! He's my hero! He should be everyone's hero, but you all turned on him! All you fair weather pricks!
  • Kesler: That's it, cut him off. Mr Giraud will now be exiting in the custody of federal agents.
  • Giraud: Make up your own mind! Decide for yourself! Do not just let them tell you--

(federal agents begin to arrest Giraud)

  • Giraud: Get off me!
  • Kesler: Cut his mic. Cut his mic. You're done!
  • Giraud: Listen and you will find the tru--

(feed is cut)

  • Kesler: I am sorry ladies and gentlemen. I would like to apologies to everyone who had to witness that. These are the dangers of live reporting. I am certainly not going to sit by and let that kind of deception takeover on my show. At least now we know the real story. I'm Charles Kesler, we'll be back after this.

(ECB theme song plays)

  • Petra Janecek (voiceover): (sighs) Everybody saw it. The Chief was cleared and the world blew up in Ben's face. And now we finally had a story to tell ourselves: the hero and the traitor. That was the story we really wanted to hear. And as far as ONI was concerned, that's all this was supposed to be. All of the ugly ONI rumors and Chief smearing would be laid at Ben's feet. He would be tarred and feathered. And with Ben as a sacrificial lamb the Outer Colonies would come back into the fold. Trade would resume, the Waypoint buoys would power back up, and all of that incendiary anger would just disappear into whatever hole they were throwing Benjamin Giraud into right now. Ben said it was his wounded pride, the way ONI tossed him aside that finally set him off. They used him. I had to hand it to them, however ONI did it, the way all those dominoes fell... was inspired. I always thought I was too clever for all that, but in the end I was just another pawn in their game, their master stroke. The server on Bliss was Ben's undoing, it was bait. Whether I was meant to take it or they knew I'd pass it on, either way, they played me. While Mshak and Ray and Petrosky and everyone else that came near Ben's story got shown the carrot or the stick, ONI hadn't offered me either. And since I didn't go down into their net, I'm free to walk away from all of this. I think deep down Ben really just wanted respect, but that's not ONI's currency. For them it's all about fear. But I'm not afraid. Not with what I've got. Ben was sloppy, but Ray wasn't. He sent the back ups to someone he trusted, too, just in case. This is my story now. My mission. So I'm picking up where Ben left off. I'm gonna carve out the truth, and I'm gonna put it on display. Not because of any sort of loft principle, no. It's just that wounded pride stinging me like it stung Ben. But unlike Ben, I prefer to do things ONI's way. And they're gonna wish I'd gone down in that net too. This is my investigation now and I don't give a rat's ass about respect. This story is gonna be all about fear. I'm Petra Janecek and this is Hunt the Truth.

Blog posts[edit]

The following blog posts were released on the Hunt the Truth Tumblr blog for Episode 13's release.

Live from Barrier[edit]

A screenshot of an ECB News broadcast on Barrier.
I guess it’s true what they say, glassed planets have bad records.[5]



External links[edit]

Preceded by
Episode 12: Full Payload
Hunt the Truth episodes
Episode 13: In the Bag
Succeeded by
The Story of FERO (Season 2)