Hunt the Truth Season 1

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An endorsed poster for the first season of Hunt the Truth. Art by Rudy Slama.

Season 1 of the audio drama Hunt the Truth started on March 22, 2015 and concluded on June 14.

Season 1 Plot summary[edit]

Main articles: Transcripts, Blog posts, and Twitter images

Episode 00: Primer[edit]

"What began as a high-profile hero story quickly turns into a full-blown investigation. Sources claim they know the “real Master Chief”: The boy, the soldier, the hero…the traitor? But who’s telling the truth?"

Benjamin Giraud gives a brief history of himself and states that he has been tasked with creating an in-depth profile about the Master Chief.

Episode 01: A Hairline Fracture[edit]

"Master Chief was born in the metropolis of Elysium City. Then known as John, he grew up like any kid in the Outer Colonies. Childhood playmates and school teachers share charming stories. But what happens when a single document throws everything into question?"

Benjamin interviews people who know of John's childhood on Eridanus II. He finds Deon Govender, who used to teach John in Elysium City Primary Education Facility Number 119. Benjamin also interviews John-117's childhood friend Ellie Bloom, who tells him about how she used to play with John and another girl named Katrina. He also managed to find a victim of the InsurrectionThomas Wu. Benjamin later finds a document stating that John died in 2517 at age six, contradicting all the other information Benjamin had discovered.

Episode 02: Bad Records[edit]

"An obscure record from the far reaches of the galaxy contradicts everything. Government officials and conspiracy theorists weigh in. Stories of a remarkable young man are once again torn down by conflicting accounts."

After finding a document stating that John had died at the age of six, Benjamin calls Michael Sullivan to see if he can help make sense of the inconsistency. Sullivan reminds Benjamin that most records from the glassed Outer Colonies are usually "a mess." Realizing this to be true, Benjamin then reviews a message he had received from Mshak Moradi, a man who had been sending Benjamin a message every day for the past two months without getting a reply back from him. Mshak had guessed that the government told Ben that the information wouldn't add up because it's from a planet that had been glassed. Ellie Bloom had also stated how hard it is to find information from a glassed planet.

Ben boards UNSC Unto the Breach in order to interview Gabriella Dvørak, an ONI Vice Admiral who claimed to have encountered John. Dvørak tells Ben about how she took part in saving a thirteen-year-old John among many other prisoners of rebels in Elysium City during the Insurrection and that John appeared strong compared to the other prisoners. She also stated that John told her that his parents had died a few weeks before he was freed. Ben decides to interview Deon Govender again. In their interviews, both Dvørak and Govender state that John's will to survive inspired them.

On his return home, Benjamin was called by Ellie Bloom, who was told by her friend Katrina that John died when he was six. Again faced with inconsistent information regarding John's death, Benjamin calls Katrina so she can explain what had happened. Her explanation of John's death at six years old was so detailed that Ben didn't believe that he could disregard her information. Katrina also stated that John's parents where alive in 2528, four years after their death as stated by all of the other information he has been given.

Episode 03: Critical Condition[edit]

"Conversations with retired military paint very different pictures of John. More questions arise about John’s home planet and his involvement in a violent training incident. The cracks in the official account widen, and Benjamin is drawn in."

Confused by conflicting information about the Master Chief's parents from Katrina, Benjamin has his friend, Ray Kurzig, try and find information to prove that the story unauthorized by ONI to be false. Ray found that the information was actually true, confusing Ben all over again. Ben later calls Sullivan to help clear the confusion, but just like in their previous call, Sullivan says tells him the "glassed planets have bad records". Trying to forget about the conflicting information, Benjamin interviews Jakob Walker, a retired Navy soldier. Jakob talks about how he and John trained together on Reach and John's natural leadership. Later, Mshak Moradi gives Ben the contact information of Anthony Petrosky, a former Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. He retold a story about a 12 or 13 year old John fought four other ODSTs in a fight, resulting in half of the men being killed and the other two being injured. This had also contradicted Ben's information, since it he originally was told that John finished boot camp at the age of 17. After the interview, Benjamin let's Ellie listen to his first episode. She insinuates that both Deon Govender and Thomas Wu lied in their interviews since boxing was forbidden on Eridanus II and Insurrectionists didn't abduct any of Elysium City's citizens. After trying to call both Deon Govender and Gabriella Dvørak and getting no response from either, Ben calls Thomas Wu to prove Ellie wrong. Thomas eventually began accidentally contradicting some of the things he said in his previous interview. Soon he became angry with how Ben was trying to pry information out of him and hang up. Ben then came to the realization that the entire interview was done through Waypoint, meaning any military personnel could have heard the interview.[1]

Episode 04: Crossing the Black[edit]

"Rumors of discontent across the military and rumblings in the Outer Colonies are detected. A mandatory meeting at ONI branch headquarters takes an unexpected turn."

Still haunted by the realization that the military could have heard his unsanctioned interview via Waypoint, Benjamin begins to fear that the conversation will get flagged by ONI. Ben calls Mshak Moradi, trying to get more information from his conspiracies. Mshak tells him about how the local soldiers are becoming restless and that the cause of this was Master Chief going AWOL. He even said that people are questioning the Master Chief's motivations. He also stated that many other factors where beginning to scare him. Ben had to end the call when he received a message from Sullivan stating that Ben had to travel to ONI's Boston Headquarters. Ben quickly realizes this is because of his recent interview with Thomas. After arriving in Boston, Ben goes to a nearby pub and meets up with his old friend Petra Janecek. While speaking with her, Ben begins freaking out about the situation and Petra informs him that the military is watching them and will start listening in if he gives certain visual cues. Petra admits to Benjamin that she has no faith in him successfully releasing his whole story. Just so he doesn't lose all of his information, Ben sends all of it to Ray. After he leaves Ben notices an obsidian sidewalk around the ONI campus. He also notices that nobody else dared to walk anywhere near it and that no birds were in any of the nearby trees. Ben walks past the obsidian to enter the facility.[2]

Episode 05: Out of Time[edit]

"A visit deep inside ONI branch headquarters brings unexpected results. A voice from the past returns. And an in-flight incident sparks a flame that can’t be put out."

After sitting uncomfortably in an empty waiting room, Benjamin is finally let into the office of Michael Sullivan. Ben was still worried that his conversation with Thomas Wu was flagged. After a short conversation with Sullivan, Benjamin is taken to interview Franklin Mendez, letting him lose worries about being flagged. Franklin told Benjamin about how powerful John became after his augmentations and how he was a natural leader at a young age. When Benjamin asked Franklin about how heavy a burden such as protecting an entire galaxy must be, Mendez became defensive. The interview was quickly brought to a halt when Mendez apparently had somewhere else to be and could be interviewed again later.

After Benjamin asked Sullivan where the rescheduled interview will be, he basically fired him and told him to transfer all of his recorded interviews to ONI. This made Benjamin realize that his interview with Thomas probably was flagged after all. On the ride back home, Benjamin heard a familiar voice. He recognized it as Jakob Walker, a man who he had interviewed shortly before. Interestingly, Jakob said he was permanently stationed near Saturn. Also, Jakob dressed a lot better than he did during the interview. As Benjamin greeted him he appeared stupefied. Before Benjamin could question him further, he was sedated by a flight attendant.

When he woke up back home he had a terrible headache. His recorder was left on after he was sedated, so he listened to the file. Apparently, after the flight attendant sedated him, two agents (presumably from ONI) came and gave him even more sedative, explaining Benjamin's headache. The men even called him "Ben" as if they knew him. Irritated by the lack of respect, Benjamin cancelled the transfer of his interviews and instead uploaded them so that everyone in the galaxy could listen to them.

Episode 06: Boxing Story[edit]

"With major questions about the Master Chief now out on the open network, a flood of feedback and theories come in from all corners of human space. Rumors spread that ONI has fabricated elaborate lies, but why? What are they covering up? Has the investigation now put everyone’s lives at risk?"

Benjamin gets many messages from listeners, criticizing his interviews. Many of them are negative, but some are positive. He gets a message from Sully, disappointed that he missed the deadline, possibly still not knowing Ben uploaded the interviews online. Ben begins listening to even more of the messages sent from his viewers, going into seclusion for a while. In some of the messages, people state things corresponding with the story Ben got from his unsanctioned interviews. A lot of people also stated that Deon Govender was a "liar", scaring Ben since he seemed so honest in his interview. From there, Benjamin begins his search to discover what happened to John between the ages of 6 and 16. Many of the messages from listeners state that Deon is a real person and that he would be about 85 year old at the time of the interview. Ray arrives at Ben's home with news that Jakob Walker and Gabriella Dvørak's information is legit. Ben disagrees, considering how odd Walker was acting during their last encounter. Soon after, Petra breaks into Benjamin's apartment, annoyed that he released a recording of his last conversation with her. She threatens to kill him. Soon after, Mshak Moradi revealed that he was listening to the whole conversation through Ben's ComPad and cause his encounter with Jakob Walker on the plane. He also reveals that he was contacted by someone named "FERO" who he has never really spoken to. Petra and Ray leave, wanting nothing to do with Ben's story anymore. Before he leaves, Ray says that the real Deon Govender died seven years prior. Mshak also informs Ben that FERO will be contacting him soon.

Episode 07: Who's Listening[edit]

"In scanning the slush, Ray makes an interesting discovery. Petrosky returns to tell a terrifying truth about the origins of the Spartan program. And FERO finally surfaces, helping concoct a plan to expose ONI’s ugliest secrets."

After multiple failed attempts at contacting Mshak, Ben begins to get worried something might have happened to him. Ben gets contacted by Ray and they arrange to meet. Ray tells him that he managed to uncovered an ONI record on Jacob Walker and found the supposed former soldier was neither retired nor in active duty. Ray also managed to analyze the voice from the recording of Ben's interview with Jacob, and matched it with the voice of Jacob in a commercial for a car dealership. With this revelation, Ben contacts Anthony Petrosky again, and asks him to reveal to him the rumors surrounding the SPARTAN-II program. Ben learns about the flash cloning and takes time to think over what the clones would have had to endure. To Ben's relief, FERO finally contacts him. She tells him Mshak has been tracking the "deep-space anomalies" he mentioned, and that she has a way to reveal what Ben has found. She tells him that in order to make an impact, he would need to tell powerful politicians who have been kept in the dark what he has found, and to have ONI brass in the same room so they don't have a chance to cover it up.

Episode 08: Drip, Drip, Drip[edit]

"FERO drops a bomb that ripples throughout human-occupied space, calling the Master Chief’s allegiances into question. Did the Master Chief do that? Or are there more nefarious elements at play?"

Waking up, Ben finds he has been messaged by Petra multiple times throughout the night, telling him to call her. After calling her back, Petra, angry at Ben, demands he give her an explanation for what has happened. Petra, realizing Ben is confused, tells him to check his feed. Petra hangs up and Ben checks the news. He finds a story that was leaked to the public saying the Master Chief attacked a political negotiation between the humans and Sangheili on the Outer colony world, Biko. According to the leak, the Master Chief killed several humans, captured the head of the negotiation, Richard Sekibo, then proceeded to escort the Sangheili delegation to safety. With Petra relaying condescending comments politicians were making on Earth, Ben starts to get annoyed, but he is suddenly cut off by a supposed communications failure in his quadrant. Needing to make contact with Mshak and not willing to wait for the communications problem to be solved, he packs his things and heads to an undisclosed location.

After setting up, Ben finds a message from Mshak, telling him to call him. Ben calls, and Mshak tells him that the Inner colonies want the Chief dead and that tensions are heating up in the Outer colonies in reaction to both the leak and Ben's latest audio log. After listening to Ben's past audio logs, Mshak compiled all cases of exotic pediatric autoimmune disorder (the same disorder John's clone developed) and created a relatively accurate star map showing the distribution of selected Spartan conscripts. The map showed ONI heavily favored the Outer colonies when selecting candidates, leading Ben and Mshak to believe ONI did this due to it being easier for them to cover their tracks. Mshak then tells Ben about two Spartans who committed suicide after encountering their clone.

Later, FERO contacts Ben again and explains the situation. She tells Ben the Chief will eventually be vindicated and that when that happens, ONI will suffer from it. Ben is told the meeting with the UEG senators and ONI brass has been scheduled and that when the time comes, FERO will hack in and get Ben an unbroken feed to tell the senators what he has found. Ben calls Anthony Petrosky and asks him if he wants to help corroborate his story when breaking it to the senators, to which he agrees. FERO informs Ben there is one more leak, security camera footage of the Master Chief attacking the human delegation on Biko.

Episode 09: Phantoms[edit]

"A new report surfaces about a Spartan abductee, but there’s no time to check the facts. FERO is missing, and the Senate meeting is about to begin."

With less than two hours left until the senate meeting starts, Anthony Petrosky records his recollection of the events that happened on the UNSC Atlas in 2525. With time running out, Ben anxiously waits for Mshak to send him compelling enough evidence to show to the senate, but Ben instead gets contacted by Katrina. She tells him she fears for her life because of the tension heating up in the Outer colonies and the New Colonial Alliance rallies going on, and that she is constantly getting communications failures. However, before she can continue, she is cut off. Mshak finally sends the files, including a recording of police radio when the Spartan who encountered their identical twin was found dead from a self-inflicted wound. Mshak tells Ben to find out what's going on in the Outer colonies as soon as he can, but FERO cuts him off. FERO tells Ben she has hacked into the meeting and that once he is ready, he can start. FERO patches him through and Ben introduces himself and the purpose of his announcement, and then plays Anthony's statement. Ben then tells the senate of the kidnappings, cloning, training and biological augmentations that the SPARTAN-II program comprised of, just in time before the feed was cut.

FERO informs Ben that he is now under their protection. Shortly after, Ben receives a message from his bank, informing him his account has been disabled. Ben also finds a message from Mshak, telling him he will meet him the day after tomorrow to tell him something important. Not willing to wait for Mshak, Ben tries to call, but can't get through to him, he finds he can't get through to anyone in the Outer colonies. A delayed message from Katrina arrives. Katrina tells Ben that there is violence breaking out all over the outer colonies, but once again Katrina is cut off. Ben has no choice but to wait for Mshak, but he never arrives.

Episode 10: Gag Order[edit]

"Freshman Senator Andrew Del Rio wastes no time turning Biko into an anti-Chief campaign, but news from the Outer Colonies tells a very different story. With the truth about the Spartan program hanging in the balance, how far will ONI go to bury it?"

Ben, with no choice but to stay put in fear of capture by ONI, secludes himself inside his undisclosed hideout. Ben listens to a speech made by senator Andrew Del Rio, who condemns the Master Chief, and calls him the "Fallen Spartan". The tripwire Ben set up outside the apartment was suddenly set off, catching Ben of guard. However Ben quickly realizes it is Ray. Ray assures Ben he took every necessary precaution to get there and that he has news about the incident at Biko. Ray shows Ben a message from the Sangheili delegation at Biko saying that both they and the Master Chief had nothing to do with the massacre and questioning the UEG for doing nothing while the population of Biko calls for unjust blood. Ray tells Ben that the footage showing Biko as peaceful is a loop of old footage, and that he managed to track down a fact-gatherer named Ravi, who captured video evidence of protests, riots and martial law happening on the planet. Ray tells Ben that Sekibo's men want to clear the Sangheili but have been silenced by the UEG, and that the real perpetrators of the massacre are a group of rebel extremists called Sapien Sunrise. In return for this, Ray asked Ben if he could call Petra and see what they were saying on Earth. Ben called her, but before he could say anything, Petra interrupts him and tells him she has a lead he might be interested in, Ben agrees to it and Petra sends him the details: an anomaly on the glassed planet, Bliss, with a 72 hour time window. Ben heads back to his home to gather the remaining money he has, but when he arrives, he finds his entire apartment gutted.

Episode 11: Down To The Bone[edit]

"The window on Petra’s lead is closing. With only 72 hours to get past ONI and into Deep Space, it’ll take a miracle–or a timely intervention–to keep the story on track."

Deciding to stay in his apartment, Ben hears voices outside. Coming to the conclusion that the voices are of ONI agents, Ben quickly runs into the hallway outside his apartment and hides in a random room, trying to make as least noise as possible. Ben hears the ONI agents searching for him and he quickly tries to run up a stairway, and is grabbed by the agents, but FERO runs in just in time to kill the agents and then tells Ben to follow her. They find a place where they can talk, and FERO gives Ben a bank account with an abundant balance. FERO tells Ben she will be going dark, but Ben tells her to hold out on her plan for a little while. They part ways and Ben heads to the freighter which takes him to the location of Petra's lead, the human colony world, Bliss. After arriving on the planet, Ben heads to the location. With less than 1,200 feet to go, he is hit by a huge silicate storm but manages to reach the glassed building and kick out a window to get inside. Ben, realizing the building is an abandoned ONI facility, starts to search around. When he reaches the bottom floor, Ben finds shelves stacked with firearms, but turns around to find an operational relay interface. To his surprise, Ben is able to connect his comm-pad to the relay. He finds recordings from alternate views of the incident on Biko, as well as evidence against his interviewee's stories. He also finds details on the SPARTAN-II program and John-117, confirming the rumors Anthony told him about. Ben downloads all the evidence but starts getting hit with corrupted files, so he immediately disconnects. With all the files he needs safely with him, Ben heads back to the settlement.

Episode 12: Full Payload[edit]

"Petra warns against the dangers of going public, but the gears are already grinding on one last, big plan. It’s time to burn ONI once and for all."

With the evidence he needs, Ben calls Anthony and asks him to help him once again. Anthony agrees, and Ben tells him where he needs to go. While heading back on the freighter, Ben calls Ray and sends him the files, asking him if he can forward them on to select people. Ray, with his wife and daughter off-world to escape ONI, doesn't have the choice to turn back, and so agrees. Ben tries to get in contact with Mshak, but once again fails. Later, Petra calls and Ben tells her what he found in the facility and that he plans to expose ONI live on ECB News the next day, however, Petra disagrees with his approach, but Ben assures her he knows what he is doing.

Episode 13: In the Bag[edit]

"Every story has a villain. Today, we meet ours."

ECB News goes live and Ben is introduced by the host, Charles Kesler. Before Ben can start speaking however, news comes in that the UEG 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 and Anthony 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"'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.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Hunt the Truth - Episode 03: Critical Condition
  2. ^ Hunt the Truth - Episode 04: Crossing the Black

External links[edit]