Mken 'Scre'ah'ben

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Mken 'Scre'ah'ben
Biographical information

Homeworld:

High Charity

Species:

San'Shyuum

Gender:

Male

Political and military information

Affiliation:

Title:

 

High Lord Mken 'Scre'ah'ben, the Prophet of Inner Conviction, was a high-caste San'Shyuum politician who lived during the San'Shyuum-Sangheili War and in the founding years of the Covenant.[1]

Mken 'Scre'ah'ben served as the Minister of Ministry of Relic Safety in the Covenant High Council. Throughout his career he led the Mission to Janjur Qom and oversaw the Rending to deal with Sangheili rebels who opposed the Writ of Union, all the while being confronted with much internal political opposition within the Covenant. As a High Lord, a founding member of the Covenant High Council, and a friend of a former Hierarch, Mken 'Scre'ah'ben proved to be a very powerful figure in the face of adversity.

Biography[edit]

Early career[edit]

Mken was born on the Forerunner Dreadnought occupied by the Reformists. Early on, Mken 'Scre'ah'ben dreamed of a career as a relic historian and spent a significant amount of time studying Forerunner designs and holographic imagery of the San'Shyuum homeworld Janjur Qom.[2] He attained the title of the Prophet of Inner Conviction because he was known for holding sermons emphasizing intrinsic purity.[1] At some point, the High Prophet of Excellent Redolence and R'Noh Custo had planned to kidnap females from Janjur Qom to help prevent inbreeding on the Dreadnought. However, Mken informed the other two Hierarchs and Excellent Redolence was overruled. Excellent Redolence and R'Noh Custo pretended to shrug off the matter, but both conspired against Mken.[3] Mken was once unfairly placed on the Roll of Celibates, but he managed to remove himself from it by speaking to the San'Shyuum that headed the Roll.[4]

During the San'Shyuum-Sangheili War, High Lord Mken 'Scre'ah'ben was present on the Planet of Blue and Red overseeing a battle against the Sangheili based there in 860 BCE. Mken and his military advisor, a Steward, personally descended on the planet's surface in a drop pod; the High Lord had insisted that they land on the planet's "purple line", a narrow band where the light of the blue and red stars that illuminated the world mixed. Mken consulted one of the Eyes—San'Shyuum battlefield intelligence drones—to observe Sangheili movements in the area. As he was organizing a counterattack against the Sangheili forces using Sentinels appropriated by the San'Shyuum, Sangheili assassins struck against the two San'Shyuum from an underground tunnel. The Steward was killed while 'Scre'ah'ben was able to retreat into his pod and to orbit where he ordered the Forerunner Dreadnought to fire upon the Sangheili forces on the ground, quelling them for the time being. Mken saw potential in Ussa 'Xellus, the innovative commander of the Sangheili troops in the region, and hoped he might be able to convince 'Xellus to act as a liaison for peace between the San'Shyuum and the Sangheili.[5]

The Covenant[edit]

After the signing of the Writ of Union, the Prophet of Inner Conviction—now Minister of Relic Safety—met with Qurlom, the Minister of Relative Reconciliation, and GuJo'n, the Minister of Kindly Subjection, about a dissident movement among the Sangheili lead by Ussa 'Xellus in 851 BCE. The three Ministers then received a Sangheili treaty commission within the Forerunner Dreadnought, now already resting in High Charity, the latter still under construction. The Sangheili commissioners assured the San'Shyuum that Ussa and his followers would be wiped out, but Inner Conviction noted that it could simply make them martyrs.[1] In 850 BCE, the group reconvened to discuss the death of the Covenant's spy that was hiding among Ussa's group. One of the two commissioners, Commander Viyo 'Griot, confirmed that Ussa and his allies had fled their outpost on Sanghelios and fled to an unknown world.[6] After the meeting, he returned to his residence in the Compartments of Comfort with Qurlom. Qurlom informed him that the Hierarchs of the Covenant established a new Ministry—the Ministry of Anticipatory Security—and its Minister was R'Noh Custo. Inner Conviction believed that the new Ministry was created by the High Prophet of Excellent Redolence as a way to remove any personal or political threats from High Charity.[7] Mken discovered that his spouse, Cresanda, was in a fertile cycle and, despite worries of Mken's former position on the Roll of Celibates, Mken succeeded in impregnating Cresanda.[8]

Days later, he was contacted by R'Noh Custo, the new Minister of Anticipatory Security. Custo told the Prophet of Inner Conviction that he was aware of Cresanda's pregnancy and threatened that his new ministerial role gave him the power to put Mken back on the Roll of Celibates. However, Custo offered 'Scre'ah'ben an opportunity to prevent Custo from doing so. The Minister of Anticipatory Security and the Prophet of Excellent Redolence wanted Mken to lead a team to Janjur Qom to obtain a Forerunner Luminary and a group of voluntary female Stoic San'Shyuum to return to High Charity for breeding purposes. Custo told him that in the grotto of the Great Transition on the planet, the Purifying Vision of the Holy Path would be found with the Luminary. Custo claimed that he chose Mken for the mission because of his knowledge of Janjur Qom and his past military experience.[9] However, Mken was not willing to go on the mission and scheduled a meeting with the rest of the Hierarchs, hoping that the other two would persuade the High Prophet of Excellent Redolence against the mission. However, only the Prophet of Inner Conviction, Excellent Redolence, and the Minister of Anticipatory Security were present. Annoyed, Mken requested to speak with all three Hierarchs to explain why another San'Shyuum would be more fitted for the mission. However, Excellent Redolence insisted for Mken to lead the mission and threatened him with execution if he continued to resist. Realizing that he was violating several protocols, Excellent Redolence instead ordered the Prophet of Inner Conviction to either lead the mission or else face an "unbiased" trial that would likely place him back on the Roll of Celibates. Mken reluctantly accepted to lead the mission.[10]

Mission to Janjur Qom[edit]

Main article: Mission to Janjur Qom

The Prophet of Inner Conviction went aboard Vengeful Vitality‎, a stealth corvette, to begin the mission. Other members of Mken's mission included the San'Shyuum Captain Vervum L'kosur and Mleer, the Sangheili Trok 'Tanghil, Ranger Vil 'Kthamee, Ziln 'Klel, and Loquen 'Nvong, and the Huragok Floats Near Ceiling. Upon arriving at Janjur Qom, Mken had Vervum monitor transmissions on the planet to study their technology and language. Shortly after, Mken led several members of the corvette's crew in a dropship to the surface of Janjur Qom in the Reskolah region.[11] The dropship landed outside the grotto of the Great Transition and Trok 'Tanghil was left to guard the dropship while Mken led the others towards the grotto. After traversing through a dense jungle on the planet, the group came across the grotto and a seemingly dead end. Floats Near Ceiling approached the wall and inserted one of its finest cilia into it and eventually opened a hidden doorway. Inside the hidden room, the Huragok activated a device and a hologram played that showed the Halo Array.[12]

However, a group of Stoic warriors had discovered the group's position and waited for them outside the grotto. Mken had Floats Near Ceiling activate another device that presented the Luminary. The Prophet of Inner Conviction took both devices himself. However, Vervum betrayed Mken and revealed himself as an agent of the Ministry of Anticipatory Security. Vervum and Loquen held Mken, Vil, and Floats Near Ceiling at gunpoint and had disabled the weaponry on Mken's chair. Vervum ordered Mken to give him the Forerunner devices, but Inner Conviction refused to comply. As Loquen fired in an attempt to kill Vil, Vil avoided the shot and wounded Loquen instead. Vervum attempted to kill the Sangheili with his chair's weaponry, but Floats Near Ceiling closed the door between the traitors and Vil and Mken. As the passage closed, Vil fired at the entrance of the grotto to attract the attention of the Stoics.[12] The Stoics attacked Loquen and Vervum, and the latter was killed while Loquen was captured. As the Stoics departed the grotto, the Huragok reopened the door and the trio left. Although Inner Conviction wished to return to High Charity, he knew that if he did not return with the San'Shyuum females, he could be put on trial by the Hierarchs. The three returned to the dropship and 'Tanghil piloted it to the village of Crellum to retrieve the females.[13]

The group landed on a beach near Crellum. As they made their way into the village, they met Lilumna, the "leader" of the female San'Shyuum that wished to go to High Charity. After Mken told Lilumna that she would not be a slave on High Charity, she signalled to the rest of the females. The other females arrived on top of a tamed ilpdor named Erb.[14] As the group passed through a jungle to return to the dropship, they were attacked by Stoic forces and their folasteed mounts. Mken ordered the females to hide behind Erb as the Covenant forces engaged the Stoics. The folasteed tore apart the captured Loquen in front of them. As the firefight continued, Ziln 'Klel was killed and Trok was injured. Suddenly, Erb charged at the Stoics and folasteed and killed them all. Eventually, the survivors and the females returned to the dropship and headed to the orbiting Vengeful Vitality‎.[15] Once they were aboard the corvette, Trok prepared the ship to leave the system while Mken went to check on the females. As the corvette left the planet's orbit, it was struck by a Stoic missile. Mken realized that the damaged sections of the ship was located close to where the Luminary was being stored and the females. He had Mleer and Vil escort the females to safety while he attempted to recover the Luminary. He put on a pressure suit as he made his way to the dropship. However, one of the females, Burenn, was trapped in the same compartment as Mken as the door had randomly closed before she could make it to safety. Reluctantly, Mken saved Burenn and brought her to safety, but the Luminary was sucked out of the ship and burned up in the planet's atmosphere. The damaged ship then returned to High Charity.[16]

The Rending[edit]

"You have always found your own path, following your own heartfelt beliefs. You have fought bravely; you have evaded us with cunning, with forethought and wisdom. You have greatness! I wish we could have that same greatness within the Covenant. You are greater in your way, than any San'Shyuum I know."
— The Prophet of Inner Conviction, to Ussa[17]

Upon his return to High Charity, he was put on trial before the Hierarchs for his loss of the Luminary. Due to the testimonies of the Sangheili crew members and the intervention of Qurlom, Mken was absolved of his sins and the Ministry of Anticipatory Security was dissolved. Qurlom then revealed that an Ussan traitor, Salus 'Crolon, had been captured and the coordinates to Ussa's shield world refuge had been discovered. The Prophet of Excellent Redolence decided that Mken would lead the mission to the planet, since he was responsible for Ussa's escape back on the Planet of Blue and Red—although, it was likely that Excellent Redolence hoped for Mken to die during this mission. After a Covenant fleet was assembled, with the carrier Pledge of Holiness—crewed by the surviving crew of Vengeful Vitality‎—serving as Mken's flagship, the fleet departed for the Ussan system to eliminate the rebels.[18] After interrogating 'Crolon, Mken decided to attempt negotiations with Ussa to prevent damaging the world's Forerunner relics in an invasion.[19]

Mken contacted Ussa through a holographic transmission, while alone in his personal quarters. Mken gave him an offer: if Ussa and Sooln turned themselves in, the rest of the Ussans will be free to live on Sanghelios. Knowing that his people would still likely be killed, Ussa instead offered to hand over relics to the Covenant each solar cycle if the fleet withdrew. Mken told Ussa that the Covenant would not agree, and insisted that he surrendered for the sake of his people. Again, Ussa declined and the transmission ended.[20] As the Covenant military invaded the shield world, Mken received one final transmission from Ussa. The Sangheili warned Mken that he was about to destroy the shield world, and suggested for him to pull his troops off of the shield world or they would die. Mken, trusting Ussa, complied and all Covenant forces returned to the fleet in orbit around the world. Moments later, the shield world appeared to explode as Ussa initiated its "Disassembler process"; unbeknownst to the Covenant, the Ussans survived aboard large freight movers as the shield world fragmented itself into habitable sections hidden by the explosion's debris. Although Mken believed he spotted the freighters within the debris of the world, but chose to ignore as he knew Ussa would not present a threat to the Covenant. Mken then ordered for the Covenant fleet to return to High Charity.[21]

Legacy[edit]

After the Rending, the Refuge's system was named the "Ussan system" by the Covenant and marked with a scarlet border—meaning forbidden by all. Ussa's rebellion was noted in the Notes on the History of the Covenant, written by Zo Resken—a descendant of Mken 'Scre'ah'ben.[22] Resken learned of Ussa and his history by the writings of Mken, who wrote of Ussa's possible survival and the Forerunner shield world that may be within the system.[23] Afterwards, during the Great Schism, Zo Resken and a group of survivors from the Fall of High Charity would re-establish contact with the Ussans and Ussa 'Xellus' descendant, Bal'Tol 'Xellus.

Personality and traits[edit]

Despite the bureaucratic nature of his work, Mken 'Scre'ah'ben was a venturesome figure, preferring to oversee ground battles up close rather than from the safety of an orbiting ship.[24] Unlike most San'Shyuum, Mken did not require the use of an anti-gravity chair at all times and enjoyed exercising his muscles by standing or walking. The Prophet of Inner Conviction was very patient and was very capable of suppressing his anger or personal opinions in front of higher-ranking San'Shyuum.[25] Mken occasionally indulged in self-deprecating humor among subordinates to lighten the mood.[26] As the Prophet of Inner Conviction, he often had to limit himself on how he expressed his emotions.[11] He cared deeply for his spouse, Cresanda, and enjoyed intimacy with her. He also reluctantly chose to save Burenn, knowing that the Forerunner Luminary would likely be destroyed if he did so.[16] Unlike most San'Shyuum of his time, Mken also held a begrudging respect for the Sangheili, particularly Ussa 'Xellus, due to the latter's tactical intelligence.[27] Unlike most members of the Covenant, Mken did not consider Ussa a coward when he fled Sanghelios, but believed the Sangheili insurgent was establishing a larger scheme.[6]

Mken 'Scre'ah'ben was interested in learning about the history and topography of Janjur Qom, the San'Shyuum homeworld. He even had a treasured garfren-fur bedspread in his home in the Compartments of Comfort.[28] He also enjoyed the sensation that occurred when a ship entered slipspace.[26] Like many Prophets, his spiritual title of the Prophet of Inner Conviction was ironic, as he had begun to question the validity of the "Great Journey" to an increasing degree as he investigated Forerunner relics, thus lacking true inner conviction. This was something he himself noticed, though at various points in his life, such as when he found the Luminary, he was indeed convinced of the Forerunners' holiness.[1] Although he was aware that the Halo Array existed, he believed that the installations sounded like weapons rather than the way to begin the Great Journey.[29]

List of appearances[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Halo: Broken Circle, Chapter 1
  2. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 4
  3. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 51
  4. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 54
  5. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, Prologue
  6. ^ a b Halo: Broken Circle, pages 44-46
  7. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 49-51
  8. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 53-55
  9. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 62-67
  10. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 71-75
  11. ^ a b Halo: Broken Circle, page 88
  12. ^ a b Halo: Broken Circle, pages 106-114
  13. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 117-123
  14. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 129-134
  15. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 137-142
  16. ^ a b Halo: Broken Circle, pages 146-154
  17. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 175
  18. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 161-165
  19. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 168-170
  20. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 172-176
  21. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 178-181
  22. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 185
  23. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 257
  24. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 8
  25. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 73
  26. ^ a b Halo: Broken Circle, page 84
  27. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 14
  28. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 129
  29. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 61