Phoenix Logs/Campaign Logs

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Main Campaign[edit]

The Signal[edit]
The Healing of Old Wounds I
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Journal of Nathaniel J. Palmer, Archaeologist, Henry Lamb Research Outpost. Personal Diary Date: 03/16/2558

The will and resilience of life never ceases to amaze me. Infinite permutations of bacteria, animals, and plants all exist as a direct result of the endless struggle and adaptation against a hostile universe. This installation, light years from the galactic center, is a paragon of that fact. When we first arrived here, the Ark had suffered great wounds from our war against the Covenant, and so we activated dormant retriever sentinels and deployed them to strip-mine lifeless planets for the materials needed to repair the installation. Like watching a sleeping giant nudged into wakefulness, the reconstruction slowly reached full automation until we were no longer needed to guide the sentinels and could simply sit back and record the wonder of a world being reborn. [1/3]

The Healing of Old Wounds II

It has been three months now since we established the outpost, and each day we wake up to some new, shift in our surroundings as its Sentinels repair and rebuild the Ark around us. I have witnessed dense forests spring up from pit-black, barren terrain over the span of a week and monitored a particularly virulent strain of weed checked by the reintroduction of voracious, insectoid parasites before it could strangle the budding plants nearby. [2/3]

The Healing of Old Wounds III

My role as an archaeologist has been inverted. Instead of peeling back the layers of the past to reveal hidden truths, I watch and document those layers being placed and marvel at the subtle ambiguities. More than anything, I want to tell my family back home about the wonders I've seen, but for now I have to be content with news from home until the confidentiality contract is lifted. So much to talk about - we could learn so much here! [3/3]

A New Bridge to Cross I

Journal of Nathaniel J. Palmer, Archaeologist, Henry Lamb Research Outpost. Personal Diary Date: 04/02/2558

Isabel, our new smart AI, has embraced our new home with a wonder and enthusiasm that matches our own. She is a young AI and this is her first assignment but even so, her excitement for discovery and investigation is infectious among the team. I even caught Brewer, the most jaded of the scientists here, swapping jokes with her while they worked. Although we are hesitant - and too worldly - about admitting it openly, it feels like we are on the cusp of a new era. [1/3]

A New Bridge to Cross II

The Human-Covenant War often felt impossible to win, or at least, would be so prolonged that as a race we would end it exhausted and broken, retreating back to our own galaxy, cowed by the power of a greater enemy. Instead, it proved that there was always hope, and that even enemies can become allies.

Now the war is over and events have brought us to the Ark. Peace reigns, and we have the time and resources to unlock some of the mysteries of the Forerunners. We've been mired in war for so long -perhaps now mankind can focus on development, on self-enrichment, for a change. [2/3]

A New Bridge to Cross III

As I have cataloged the marvels of the Ark, I've come to realize it is not simply repairing itself from the ravages of the war, but remains remarkably adaptable to change. Only this morning, I watched in awe as giant tectonic plates rearranged, shifted and unfolded to form a new pathway across a chasm.

My amazement at the size of these things was only matched by the naturalness of the movements, as graceful as a flower opening in time-lapse. If eon's-old technology can move with the present, if it can adapt and change to work in harmony with the universe, then perhaps we can learn to evolve as well. [3/3]

A New Enemy[edit]
The Graveyard
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Palmer, Nathaniel J. Archaeologist, Lamb Research Center. Personal Diary Date: 11/28/2558

Fifteen of us managed to escape the attack. I still don't know if anyone else made it out.

We were returning from a survey expedition when we heard the first explosions.

I ran back, following the plumes of black smoke rising into the evening sky from just over the bluff. Sounds of UNSC gunfire were soon drowned out by the too-familiar whine of plasma weapons, confirming our worst fears.

As we looked down at the horror below, we saw several hulking outlines move amongst the shadows. Jiralhanae, I think. Brutes. They were everywhere. The air was filled with the smell of burning ozone as a couple of bright, electric blue shapes arced their way toward us. We scattered as the plasma blast hit, vaporizing the trees nearby and showering us with ash and debris.

We instinctively turned and ran. My ears were ringing and the ground shook, but we somehow managed to stay together. I yelled at everyone to keep moving, to not look back no matter what. But when the firing stopped I couldn't help myself, I turned around and witnessed the orbital plasma bombardment of our home firsthand. It didn't last long. I didn't need to. But the finality of it will be forever seared into my memory.

We've been on the run for three days now. The grime and smoke and ash clings to our clothes, our hair. We sleep in shifts, but not for very long. Every sound wakes us with a start and we expect to see the enemy bearing down on us.

We don't know where we're going but we've found some temporary shelter amongst some old wreckage from the last time humanity was here - skeletons of the past.

I can't help but think of the people we left behind. Will the Ark simply clean them away as it repairs itself? As if they never existed, layering fresh grass and fauna over their graves until the scars are no longer visible? They should not be forgotten. I think of you and I pray we are not at war again.

Rise of Atriox I
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ONI Section Zero Board//Surveillance transcription of internal communications between subjects 'D' and 'S', 02.15.2550 0313 hrs//Full transcript available on request//

['D'] Whatever it is you woke me for it had better be good. I have a 0600 with Zero and I'm going to need my full four hours to keep ahead of them.

['S'] Yes, sir. It's one of the Unggoy we captured. It's offering information in exchange for a deal.

['D'] A grunt? Why are you wasting my time? Those things don't know HOW to tell the truth. Besides, something that far down the chain won't have access to plans. Not beyond kitchen duty anyway.

['S'] You're right, sir. But it's not about the Covenant. The Unggoy says he was snatched from the Covenant. You remember the attack on Carter Guard Armory six weeks ago?

['D'] I'm still trying to make up the losses from the fallout. They took everything we had and left no survivors. I've never seen the Covenant take our gear like that before. Are you telling me we have a splinter group to contend with now?

['S'] Maybe. Whether they're our problem too is another matter. I started doing some digging and the group's targets seem to be chiefly Covenant. I guess hit what you know, eh? Anyway, I pulled the security vids of the raid to get the Unggoy to identify the leader.

['D'] And did the grunt ID? Do we have a visual?

['S'] Pulling it up now. It's a little blurry, but what you're about to see is the leader, a Jiralhanae, fighting a squad of ODSTs. There's a lot of blood, sir. It's not an easy watch.

['D'] Good lord. Is he beating that ODST with...? Do we have a name?

['S'] We do, sir. From the Unggoy. Says his name is Atriox.

['D'] Make sure no one else talks to that grunt. I want this compartmentalized. Some at ONI will see this as a problem to be fixed, not an opportunity. Find out all you can on this Atriox and keep me informed.

Ascension[edit]
The Turn of the Screw
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Palmer, Nathaniel J. Archaeologist, Lamb Research Center. Date: 01/17/2559

It has been two months since the attack and our group has atrophied to eight. Four disappeared one night while the rest of us slept. Each of them had argued with us that week about returning to the base to see if they could reopen the portal, so I can only hope they left in the night to go back without us. Three we lost to thirst, hunger and the elements. I am ashamed to notice that our smaller group is now more manageable - finding food and water is easier with fewer mouths to feed.

During this time, the invaders have not been idle. Yesterday we stumbled upon what seems to be some kind of transport route, moving resources they're mining to supply their forces. The lanes sprawl out across the land like a spider web, with all the grace and aesthetics of Forerunner design.

We rested and argued for a while about which direction to head in. There was a real danger we could accidentally stumble upon an enemy base, but that could also lead to supplies, perhaps even a vehicle we could steal.

We are hungry and exhausted and cannot last much longer in the wild. One of us, Brewer, said as much and not for the first time raved about surrendering. We thought we had talked him out of it but the next morning he had gone. If he had successfully surrendered he could have given away our position, so we had no choice but to start moving immediately.

We look for cover but avoid the trees because I have seen strange shimmers and movement amongst them. I am scared and tired and want to give up. But that won't get me back to you.

Rise of Atriox II
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ONI Section Zero Board//Surveillance transcription of internal communications between subjects 'D' and 'S'. 11.17.2550 1453 hrs//Full transcript available on request//

['S'] Sir, did you receive the report on Codename: Slow Dive? I thought you should see it.

['D'] I did, although I'm not sure why I'm looking at it. Hit and run, neutralize Covenant forward outpost...break it down for me, what am I missing? Why is this an ONI concern? Did we lose anything vital?

['S'] No sir - in fact we suffered no casualties at all. When the team arrived at the outpost it had already been wiped out. Every Covenant dead, every weapon and vehicle gone. The only vehicles left look to have been sabotaged.

['D'] Crossed lines happen all the time. I take it you've already had a discrete poke around the other departments. Did we have a Spartan black ops mission there?

['S'] No one's heard a peep, sir and l was very thorough. I've annotated the report for you. The ballistics report confirms the majority of the damage came from spikers, brute weapons. Remember our discussion about Atriox?

['D'] Ah. You think this could be his work. What did that Grunt call them, 'The Banished'? Still out there, are they?

['S'] Once I saw the ballistics report I requested the last six months of mission reports—under a proxy of course—and I believe I've found other similar incidents; five months ago a rookie marine trips an alarm during a mission against a Covenant training camp. The team dig in, fearing the worst but no Covenant troops respond. The team sweep the camp only to find a few dead Sangheili in a warehouse. Everything else is gone, vehicles, weapons, even the rest of the Covenant that were stationed there. Once I started looking I found five other similar cases, all against Covenant targets.

['D'] So he's not just stealing armaments, he's recruiting. At the moment he's still using guerrilla tactics, which means he's still small time. Still, I'm impressed he's still alive. If he's got a grudge against the Covenant we may be able to use his attacks to our advantage, coordinate our operations with his raids. See if you can find a pattern, I want us to follow him more closely. Who knows, we may be able to come to some kind of agreement.

One Three Zero[edit]
Alice-130 Report #1
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Spartan Alice-130, Spirit of Fire Red Team. Date: 03/28/2559

This is senior chief petty officer Alice-130, recording status report. Operating comms silent.

I managed to hold them off as long as I could while the Pelicans carried out Jerome and Douglas, and once they were clear I spotted a Ghost, commandeered it and made for the nearest portal. There was a brute coming through from the other side, and I have to admit, his surprised expression as he bounced off the front of my Ghost was very satisfying.

The Portal transported me a couple of clicks away from the main force, so I stashed the Ghost in a nearby cave and took up a watch. After a couple of hours perched in a small indent of a cliff face, the hostiles had moved on. A caravan detachment had captured some of our troop from back at the outpost and were taking off in another direction of the main force, so I've been tracking them, maintaining comms silence until it's safe to contact the Spirit of Fire.

One more thing - although the hostile forces consisted of both Unggoy and Jiralhanae soldiers they're not kitted out like any I've seen before, and the taking of prisoners is unusual behavior for the Covenant. It's unclear yet whether this is some kind of subfaction or new enemy force. I will continue to make and log these reports until contact is reestablished. Alice-130, signing off.

The Cartographer[edit]
The Blinded
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From the journal of Orda Val 'Saham, Sangheili Guard 03/04/2559

How my ancestors would envy me. I have walked within the cavernous corridors of one of the fabled cartographers on the Ark, a place long considered only in legends. I still feel strong emotions here, for so much of the history of our race is intrinsically bound up in it. But those emotions are not those of my ancestors.

No longer do I feel the religious reverence or feel humbled in the presence of the ancient's structures and monuments. Gone is the comforting certainty of a shared destiny and the peace and connection between brothers that comes with it. Instead, when I close my eyes and breathe in the air around me, I smell only machines. I remember how many hundreds of thousands of our warriors fell—how many were sacrificed for a journey that never existed. I feel anger and a deep sorrow for a race that has lost its way.

Even now, long after the Prophets' lies have been revealed, the ripples of that revelation continue. I have become estranged from my family, who even after the truth has come to light, refuse to fully renounce the ancient doctrines I have brought shame upon our name by offering up my blade alongside my brothers...for hire.

Battle and conflict is in our blood, our very way of life, and that is the only truth I can now find. I cannot wait for another holy war, not will I be duped again. With Atriox there are no lies; he speaks like a warrior. He wished to break free from the yoke of the Prophets, so he did. Would that we had joined him earlier. Now he offers us a way to keep our ship and our crew together and I can think of nothing more truthful to fight for right now. The Shipmaster brought us through the war and to this place alive where so many others have perished. He asked us to follow him once more, and I will.

The Telegony
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Professor Ellen Anders, Civilian Consultant 500493, Spirit of Fire. Date: 03/29/2559

As we continue our campaign against Atriox and the Banished, I continue to discover more about the Forerunner's history and the Ark. Ever since Red Team rescued Isabel, I've been pouring over her notes, trying to catch up on as much history as possible. There are so many intertwining stories and revelations that each new piece only throws up more questions, sending me darting down another branch of investigation.

I am trying my best to remain focused, but it's hard not to wander occasionally when something intrigues. However, my passion is tempered with my responsibilities to the rest of the crew.

Although I am still a civilian here, I've been through too much with these people to not consider the Spirit of Fire home and its crew family. Now I can help them by beating Atriox in the race for knowledge. It's the only way to keep them...and me...alive.

Lights Out[edit]
A Split Heart is Easily Conquered
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From the journal of Orda Val 'Saham, Sangheili Guard 03/30/2559

This may be my last entry. The humans reached the Cartographer and by now have no doubt discovered the location of Atriox's reinforcement portals. I admire the humans' courage and skill as warriors; they are just one ship, but fight as fiercely as an entire fleet! If their leader is as shrewd as he has appeared so far, then he will understand the value of the portals and they must be the human's next target. They're likely already striking out to destroy them.

I have been ordered to defend the portals and must report to Decimus. This gives me grave concern. When we first arrived at the Cartographer, I was among the Sangheili who were to sweep the area for hostile elements and as such I was privy to Decimus' movements.

He is Atriox's right-hand and pledges loyalty to the Banished, but as I watched him walk among the ancient's halls I recognized the awe and reverence in his eyes that I once saw among my own clan. I saw that fatal longing, that tragic need to be once more struck dumb and blind by the promise of a wondrous destiny. If we are to succeed, Decimus must purge these old conflicts from his thoughts. A warrior's heart must be certain if he is to survive, as doubt is a surer killer than the sharpest blade.

Rise of Atriox III
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ONI Section Zero Board//Surveillance transcription of internal communications between subjects 'D' and 'S', 05.06.2553 1702 hrs//Full transcript available on request//

['D']...what's the name of the ship? Something pronounceable, I hope.

['S'] The Enduring Conviction, sir. A CAS-class assault carrier. The Conviction and its Sangheili commander have been known to us for some time, we've lost quite a few ships to it over the last four years. According to our intel it's the largest ship Atriox controls now.

['D'] He's amassing quite a fleet. This must be the ninth raid in as many months. Still, he's never gone for something this large before. How did he raise enough troops to capture and then crew a CAS-class carrier?

['S'] We're piecing together what we can, sir. From what we understand, Atriox and a small group of his warlords were captured during a raid on a former Covenant air base and taken aboard the Enduring Conviction. Twelve hours later, Enduring Conviction broke formation and contact with the rest of the fleet it travelled with. The Conviction was hailed, warned, and then fired upon when it ignored orders. The Conviction performed evasive maneuvers, returned fire and escaped. It was an impressive move...and it's one we've seen before during a battle with the Conviction two years ago.

['D'] Are you implying the commander was still in control?

['S'] It's possible, sir. It's unclear who's giving orders to these Sangheili ships now and his crew was fiercely loyal. If we knew that, then Atriox would have. What if Atriox planned to be captured by the Conviction so he could get close to the commander and get him to defect? It may have even already been planned and this was just a cover.

['D'] An assault carrier and its crew. Atriox has just painted a very large target on his back, he's going to want to lay low for a while. Keep track of known Sangheili, let's see if this snowball turns into an avalanche.

From the Deep[edit]
A Warning
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Balkarus, Brute captain. Transcription Date: 03/30/2559

Attention all Unggoy!

As captain of this pitiless rabble I have the displeasure of having quarters closed to you whelps, and so my ears are tainted with every cowardly whisper and idiotic rumor that is spread among your number! Recently a poisonous tale has become popular among you little ones, a tale that has resulted in two - TWO- attempted desertions! This threatens to undermine my authority and is an insult to the name of the Banished and Atriox himself. I am here to crush that rumor before it results in any more disobedience.

The rumor is of an enemy warrior, so called 'The [UNKNOWN TRANSLATION]'. It has been said that this '[UNKNOWN TRANSLATION]' is responsible for the deaths of our comrades at the ancient's water treatment structure and the loss of several captives. According to you superstitious fools, the '[UNKNOWN TRANSLATION]' single-handedly fought our bravest Jiralhanae before freeing the human captives and then led a path of destruction leaving not one of our warriors standing! The worst versions have the '[UNKNOWN TRANSLATION]' being unstoppable, a ghost or even the same Demon that defeated the Covenant curs!

This ends now. The death of our warriors and loss of captives was due to an accident, probably caused by some lazy Unggoy neglecting its duty! From now on, any talk of this phantom '[UNKNOWN TRANSLATION]' will result in several of you pathetic creatures being hurled to the bottom of the nearest ancient chasm as a warning. Let that be the end of it.

One last thing - the execution of the deserters will happen in one hour, all are to attend.

Hold the Line[edit]
Rise of Atriox IV

ONI Section Zero Board//Surveillance transcription of internal communications between subjects 'D' and 'S'. 12.21.2553 1702 hrs//Full transcript available on request//

['D'] What are these? Wraith tanks? What's this other vehicle? I don't recognize it.

['S'] Not many people would, sir. Those are Banished Wraiths, the other thing we're not sure about, some kind of airborne artillery. With the war over, there's an awful lot of materiel out there for the taking. No Covenant also means Atriox can stop running.

['D'] But if the Covenant are gone what's he fighting for? I guess he could be making a bid for Doisac. Brutes don't have a strong leader to stabilize them since the war ended, and that's a good thing.

['S'] I don't think so, sir. Throughout the war he was always about raiding, about building up his army. He never struck directly against the Covenant unless there was something to gain from it. Never took territory, never made demands or speeches. He kept as low as he could, a small target. Now his targets have become more focused, less hit and runs than surgical strikes. And he's still recruiting. Even some of the Lekgolo are joining him now as well as more ex-Covenant who don't want to stop fighting. The Covenant was never the target. They were just convenient suppliers. He's just getting started.

Chrysalis

Professor Ellen Anders, Civilian Consultant 500493, Spirit of Fire. Date: 03/30/2559

I've been examining data pulled from the amber lake and cross-referencing it against Isabel's information banks on the Forerunners. I couldn't help but draw a parallel with the amber that fossilized long dead species on Earth. Except on Earth, those biological relics were preserved where they fell. Here, despite all appearances, everything has been constructed and planned. The Ark is part of a larger plan spun by the Librarian, and the UNSC archives say this was a plan for humanity.

New Mombasa was the first city to have an orbital elevator, but also the site of the portal that first led to the Ark. Was this all part of the Librarian's plans? Could she have manipulated our evolution just so we would discover the portal?

If we are to be these 'Reclaimers' as so often claimed, does that mean we are predestined to follow a set path or are we merely being guided to assume a greater role in the universe? On the one hand, it is thrilling that we may be finally uncovering the great questions as to why we are here, but it also scares me. It feels like we're preserved specimens under the surface of the amber lake, observed by some great, unknown eye.

I need to get back to work, but I have to come back to this when we have time. If we have time. Back to it, Ellen.

Under the Dark[edit]
A Small Sacrifice

Teranus. Jiralhanae guard. Transcription of audio report. Enduring Conviction. Date: 12/07/2558

Captain, how much longer must we put up with these Sangheili mercenaries? They are as haughty as their kind ever was during the Covenant. Despite how they have debased themselves for Atriox.

True, their ship is impressive; when I think of the punishment we dealt to the humans pitiful outpost great peals of laughter burst from my lips. How they ran like tiny insects, hopelessly lost and panicked as if we had poured boiling water into their dirty little nest! Yes, we burned that place. Of course, many of the Unggoy under our command were obliterated as well, but you cannot have a feast without breaking bones! Our soldiers knew the risks and were willing to die for our goal and the Unggoy - well, they are merely fodder, willing to hurl themselves to their deaths as long as there is someone to command them to do so!

Not so with these POMPOUS Sangheili! They declined our invitations to celebrate the destruction of the human's outpost. It is untrustworthy to have mercenaries be so squeamish! War is not about honor, but about who climbs out of the pit alive at the end! The end of the Covenant has freed our race, but it seems to have imprisoned theirs.

That is all, my shift is over and I must go now to find some Unggoys to beat for sport.

Rise of Atriox V
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ONI Section Zero Board//Surveillance transcription of internal communications between subjects 'D' and 'S'. 05.06.2555 1702 hrs//Full transcript available on request//

['D'] Play it back to me, let me hear what we got.

"You wish to know about Atriox and his Banished? The Covenant's dirty little secret. The Jiralhanae they could not control. When I joined the Covenant I was young and easily led. Even back then he had already passed into legends and whispers. A monstrous savage who railed against those who would show us the way to the Great Journey. What a fool I was. I was there when they tried to execute him. Many have said the same but I speak the truth. His crime was to question the Great Journey. To question the Prophets as they sent wave after wave of his kind to die. With each battle he became harder, his dissent louder until the Covenant had to silence him.

He was to be executed for heresy; for bringing shame upon the Covenant and doubt to weak willed minds. I was working some menial task nearby when they brought him in. Bloodied and fresh from the fight. He showed no fear—it was as if there was too much rage inside him for any other emotion. As the executor brought down his blade, Atriox rose, killing his would be killer. The other Brutes fell upon the rest of the guards—such savagery. Years later I heard Atriox had engaged the services of the Enduring Conviction.

I wonder, would the war have ended sooner had he led the Covenant? Or would it still be raging? I say this—do not underestimate him. I know you humans. There is honor in you, but there is equally deceit and I know how you nurture your plots. If you try and harness his power. He will burn you. Atriox works for no one. He may not be the Covenant, but he is not your tool."

['S'] That was all we could get out of the Sangheili, sir. He wouldn't say any more without us answering some uncomfortable questions so we let him go.

The Foundry[edit]
Enduring Conviction Battle Reports
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Various Battle Reports, Banished station Delta.

Incoming: R-5557-4452: We have spotted a small human vehicle force on the southern spire near the ruined human settlement. No sign of a larger strike force, but all Banished forces in the area should be ready to mobilize in the event of a larger human assault.

Incoming: R-6001-4452: Humans routed from the area, many dead. One of their demons immobilized, the other missing, presumed dead. We have secured prisoners for interrogation and sport.

Incoming: R-6029-4452: The humans launched a surprise assault against Decimus' salvage operation. Superior numbers forced Decimus to return to base. Decimus has been ordered to report to Atriox immediately. All Banished outposts to be on the alert for further human assaults.

Incoming: R-6042-4452: Supply deliveries along the southern Spire supply-line have slowed significantly. Rumors delivery outposts have been lost to human forces. Temporary re-route of emergency supplies underway. We also have reports of several communication blackouts at one of our settlements, seems to be a small second force operating independently of the main enemy force. Reinforcements sent down to bolster our bases there and eradicate this problem.

Incoming: R-6066-5012: Cartographer lost to the enemy. It is believed humans managed to recover information from Decimus' base and location of portals controls now compromised. Decimus reassigned to protect likely portal targets.

Incoming: R-688-5014: Loss of captives to the guerrilla force. No survivors, but garbled reports from the Unggoy forces of a '[UNKNOWN TRANSLATION]'. Rumors of this '[UNKNOWN TRANSLATION]' are unsettling the Unggoy forces and there have been several desertions. Suggest deserters are executed as an example and anyone spreading rumors of the '[UNKNOWN TRANSLATION]' are punished.

Incoming: R-7012-5093: Reinforcement of outer portals underway. Enduring Conviction has finally been ordered to engage the human ship directly—although Enduring Conviction's shield is under assault from an enemy ground cannon. All local Banished forces to mobilize and neutralize enemy threat immediately. The Huragok onboard assure us that the cannon is little threat to the hull of the Enduring Conviction, but losing our shield could leave us open to other attacks.

Incoming: R-7013-5093: Enduring Conviction has lost all shields. All available Huragok to be assigned to repair duty immediately. No sign of orbital counter-attack, assault against Spirit of Fire continues.

Incoming: R-7016-5093: Alert! We have been...

[REPORTS END]

The Snake that Eats the Tail
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Unknown Author, Installation 00, Date: 01/14/2555

Once again, the humans have damaged Installation 00 with their war, like chidddlren allowzed to run rampnt and uncheckedd.

Correction: [Like children allowed to run rampant and unchecked]

Are these truly the ones destined to carry the Mantle? Perhaps it is heresy to question the Librarian's plans, but one's thoughts do tend to wander and dwell on forbidden thoughts when one has been left alone for so lone

Correction: [long]

How long has it been now? No matter.

I cannot help but question the wisdom of my masters. After all, there have been countless battles and each time the only difference seems to be the names of those involved.

Can the universe really be shod and bridled like some common beasts simply to serve the wants and needs of petty organic life? I have had time to do little but watch as events unfurl and to my senses there has been no advancement. If a rock is cast into the water, no matter the weight or the force of the one who hurls it, it creates a few ripples quickly subsumed by the calm of the lake itself. Is the purpose then to simply upset the stillness, albeit temporarily?

If so, then surely it is a selfish, prideful need for immortality in the sentient beings. A need which we should not encourage. After all, they only hurt themselves.

No, the real truth is that the universe is cyclical and must maintain its stillness, infinitely returning to the source. Installation 00 must be maintained and returned to its former state and those that have done it harm must be dealt with.

It is time for me to get to work.

The Halo[edit]
Rise of Atriox VI
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ONI Section Zero Board//Surveillance transcription of internal communications between subjects 'S' and 'D', 03.15.2558 1702 hrs//Full transcript available on request//

['S'] Sir, it's me. We've lost him. He's completely disappeared.

['D'] You can drop the 'sir', I'm not your boss anymore. remember? I take it I know which 'him' we're talking about?

['S'] Every one of my sources say the trail has gone cold. Those that are still answering my calls anyway. Without ONI channels at my disposal the only people talking are those who owe me favors.

['D'] They don't need us now their war's over. Forget about it.

['S'] Forget it? Atriox has assembled an army somewhere out there and we still don't know what he's after. I've got connections on Doisac and he's become a symbol to the Jiralhanae. A new leader to rally around. While we've been fighting the Covenant, he's been growing and gathering his forces. The last time we heard from him he had captured a whole host of Hugarok. Forerunner engineers. You know what those things can do?

['D'] Listen, I stopped caring when they cut me out. They pull me up on a few shady deals after what they did with the Spartan IIs? Hypocrites. They ask you to get your hands dirty and then they're too good to shake your hand. The only reason I'm not in some detention station is the stuff I have on them. So let them find out about Atriox in their own time. Don't call here again, we're done.

Last Stand[edit]
Beyond the Edge
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Captain James Cutter, SN: 01730-58392-JC, Spirit of Fire, Date: 04/02/2559

Once again, I say goodbye to a colleague and friend. The new Halo installation has disappeared through the slipspace portal. Far out of reach of Atriox's hands. But it took Professor Anders with it. I know the Professor will be okay, her intelligence and resourcefulness will see her safely back to her lab in no time, but I will miss her and our family is a little smaller without her.

But there is plenty to keep us occupied here. The portal to Earth is still closed, and as far as I'm concerned it should remain so until we fully evaluate the threat the Banished pose to it. However, I have ordered Isabel to start investigating the portal's controls in the event that we need to open—or close—it again in the future. The Ark is our new home for now and the Banished threat is too great to leave it unguarded until we establish contact with the UNSC forces back home.

For now, Atriox seems to be licking his wounds, but we know he still has forces active in the darkest corners of the Ark and it won't be long before he mobilizes them once again. This time we'll be ready for him.

Yes, I have said goodbye to another friend and we are again cut off from the rest of humanity, but this time it's different. We know that the Covenant war has been won and a new future awaits us back home—perhaps our families as well. For now, we have a new purpose, something to fight for. And we'll do it together on our new home.

Operation: SPEARBREAKER[edit]

Gatecrashers[edit]
A New Commander
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Balkarus, Brute captain. Recorded Date: 4/1/2559

Forticus, we have received the Huragok you sent us and have already put them to work around the operation site. I have tasked a Sangheili to look after them, for I cannot stomach to be around them for long. Simply the sight of the Sangheili communicating to those creatures with strange hand signals repulses me. I often need to punt three or four short ones into a deep chasm before my mind settles again!

I fear I would need to kick a thousand Unggoy into the depths to restore my peace of mind after meeting our new commander. While stationed at the raid camp, I heard utterings about a Lekgolo who had risen up the ranks to the standing of actually having Atriox's ear! I know these rumors to be true, and that it calls itself 'Colony'. I have only glimpsed its hulking form from a distance, but the others swear they actually heard it speak, or something close to a sound. I can tell many of the younger Brutes are nervous in its presence and guard their conversations, for if they are truly a hive mind, then surely all eels hear what one hears.

Atriox appears to have tasked Colony with investigating the ancient technologies here and restoring them for our own use. He, they - whatever it is - seems to have curbed its feasting habits and has already made progress in establishing a cloaking field over the site. Such power makes me nervous. The Lekgolo are formidable fighters, but sometimes I wish the Covenant had left them burrowing away amongst the relics like the worms they are. Still, if it gives us the chance to strike back at the humans, then I welcome it, but it is not the natural way of things!

I must end my transmission now: I swear I heard something slithering behind me.

Hold Fast
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Balkarus, Brute captain

Attention pack brothers!

The next Jiralhanae that comes to me asking for Unggoy replacements to bolster the one he has 'misplaced' will lose his tongue to my blade! I understand patience is troublesome for warriors such as us, but hurling the whelps at the cloaking field to watch them fizzle and pop is a waste of resources!

True, it is amusing and I am willing to turn a blind eye to the occasional 'accident', but as disgustingly numerous as the Unggoy are, our forces here are limited until the operation is over. Besides, the grating squealing of the pathetic ones are likely to attract the unwanted attention of the Sentinels, which will slow down our plans.

Until the operation is over, the cloaking field must remain in place, and we must hold here to ensure its function. Despite their weakness, the humans seem to have eyes everywhere and they must not find out our plans. Save your bloodlust for the enemy, or strive for patience until the operation is complete. We are close now, and it will not be long before we can indulge ourselves again. Stay your hand, pack brothers, and sate your urges with the knowledge that we will soon have vengeance on the humans for the loss of the Enduring Conviction.

Not on My Watch[edit]
Floats Low But Steady
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From the journal of Val 'Telram, Sangheili Guard and translator.

I was overseeing a group of Huragoks when I heard the shrieking of metal, an almost animalistic cry that pulled at my gut as the Sentinels tore the Enduring Conviction apart. I would have given anything to be with my clan brothers then, to die as a warrior's death among my brethren. Instead, I watched helpless as the Sentinels carved up the ship - my home and family.

The shame I felt nearly drove me to madness. It had been weeks since I had even unsheathed my blade, but they told me my skills as an interpreter were more important than my swordsmanship. When we left the Covenant to join with Atriox, we lost access to all logistics and docking support. No more repair crews, just the few Huragoks we happened to have on board when the Shipmaster pledged allegiance to the Banished.

My ability to communicate with the Huragoks, the sign language and the patience requiered to learn it, quickly isolated me from my own kind. While my brothers fought in battle, I was to work with the Huragoks to secure resources and unlock ancient technology. How I wished we had a Unggoy Deacon that could have taken my place. I felt less than a warrior.

Now at last I feel that vengeance and redemption is within my reach, and the instrument is the very thing that has separated me from my warrior brothers. Atriox has charged the mysterious Lekgolo known as Colony to seek out Forerunner weapons, and it has found a long forgotten ship. I have been assigned to watch over and communicate with a Huragok, which goes by the name of 'Floats Low But Steady' because of its habit of almost skimming the ground as it works. Within the span of a day, it has started 'talking' to the ship and the launching systems that hold it. I consider myself fluent, but there are occasional words I cannot accurately translate. The closest translations seems to be 'bloom', 'grow' or 'seed'.

The Jiralhanae look with disgust as I work with Floats Low as they fear what they do not understand, but they cannot hide their awe at the results. The Ship seems to grow and rebuilt itself from the very launch system, a spear to drive deep into the heart of our enemies.

A Tensed Bolt
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Unknown Author, Installation 00, Date: 29,823 BCE

It disturbs me to admit, but I always feel a wash of ennui after dismantling one of the Librarian's ship-seeds. As with all my master's designs, architecture and function balance in perfect harmony. It seems such a pity to put it back in the box.

It is as if a mighty archer has flexed their muscles, drawn back the box to full strength and then suddenly frozen in full pose. The tension remains, the action and all potential postponed, perhaps never to be realised. The temptation to launch it and to break the stasis is strong, so I must busy myself with other tasks. However, every Refugia has some buried inert marvel of technology: weapons, ships, power sources - all patiently waiting to be put to use once again.

This is the way of things, and at least the ship is in sympathy with this installation. As with all the Librarian's plans, Installation 00 has performed admirably, but now it lays dormant, sleeping. It is my task to watch and maintain this installation should the threat arise once again.

Awakening the Nightmare[edit]

What Could Go Wrong?[edit]
Pandora's Box I
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Field report, comms officer G. Peterson, SF-193-938. Transmission date: 6/1/2559

We're two klicks out from the High Charity crash zone, but even from this distance it still dominates the skyline. I wish we had been around to see it hit the dirt, it sure made one heck of dent. It may have been the Covenant's capital city once, but now it's nothing but a giant reminder of their failure.

It's eerily quiet here, spooky even, and it's not just the story of the place. Approximately three-hundred meters around the crash zone all life stops growing, as if it hit an invisible line it refuses to cross. Might be intentional on the part of the Ark, but we don't know enough about the area yet to be sure. Greenery makes way to razed, blackened ground and trees look like used matchsticks, hacked off at the head and stunted. The creepiest thing is there's no sound from animals, birds, or even insects. Hard to say whether they fled the desolation or the sheer number of Sentinels swarming around here... [1/2]

Pandora's Box II

Field report, comms officer G. Peterson, SF-193-938. Transmission date: 6/1/2559

Isabel's reports from the war indicate that the strange dome over the remains of High Charity is some kind of protective measure the Ark's systems created after High Charity crashed. Something about walling off alien threats too big to quickly deal with otherwise, it definitely explains the Sentinel presence here. Regardless, after seeing what the Sentinels did to the Enduring Conviction, we're not about to anger these bees, no matter what kind of honey could be inside.

Our orders are to sit tight and observe. After Major Vaughan's close shave with that Forerunner ship, the captain has us watching all potential hot spots for Banished activity and oods are Atriox will make a play for High Charity. From what we've seen before, Atriox has no compunctions about messing with the Ark in order to get what he wants. [2/2]

Fighting Retreat[edit]
Brothers in Arms I
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Plipbab, Grunt coordinator at High Charity crash site. Transcription Date: 6/4/2559

Central base, this is Plipbab, reporting from the High Charity salvage operation. There was a tragical accident this morning, and, uh, we're going to need more Unggoy. Voridus has been experimenting with the wormguy weapons and so we were movin' some of his new incendiary jelly. Everything was goin' fine and I was bein' real responsible! Then one thing led to another and there was a big noise and it started rainin' Grunt gumbo, and you know it's never good when a coordinator is wading through little chunks of his buddies.

So I go to 'fess up to Ol' Angry Chops and I know he's gonna be in a punchin' mood, but he's doing argus with Pavium! Pavium was all like "WHY ARE YOU SO CHARGY?" and Voridus is all like "WHY ARE YOU SO BOSSY?" - somethin' like that, I got scared and I don't remember much. So now Pavium's in charge of the excavations at High Charity, but I think he's also makin' sure Voridus doesn't break anything important. Voridus is know for the breakin', so they say. [1/2]

Brothers in Arms II

Plipbab, Grunt coordinator at High Charity crash site. Transcription Date: 6/4/2559

So anyway, I says to myself, "Plipbab," I says, "this is maybe not a good time to give angry Brute commanders bad news" and I start sneakin' away, but Pavium smells right through my sneak and does a growl. So now I know I'm in trouble anyway, so I just tell him about the exploding Grunts and do my most bravest cower.

And I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be dead, but Voridus, he just starts laughing! And then Pavium starts laughin', and so I start doin' laughts too! And we're all havin' a great time and Voridus says it reminds him of a time he stole some Covenant weapons but they overcharged in the teleporter, and Pavium is laughing and says that he had to bail him out of that mess too, and then Voridus says it didn't happen like that, and Pavium says that it did, and then they're arguing again so I slowly stop laughin' and sneak back to my post.

So that's my story about when I didn't get in trouble and instead was best friends with Voridus and Pavium. Those guys are real scary - it's like the only time they're not fighting is when they're fighting with somebody else.[2/2]

Light the Fuse[edit]
Warped Reflections
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Plutus, Brute captain. Emergency signal. 6/4/2559

Voridus, this is Plutus! This is not a call for help, as I know it is already too late for us, but rather a warning. The Flood scourge has breached our base and I can hear the screams of my Jiralhanae brothers from the outer corridors as they fall to the monstrosities.

We were preparing the laser drills for power extraction when an Unggoy spotted the first form. We laughed at typical Unggoy panic until we saw a Wraith engulfed by a wave of seethering sickness. Our defences did little to stop the sheer numbers of Flood when they first attacked, swarming over the turrets and silencing them under mounds of filth. We fell back inside, but they crawled and slithered through the vents and cracks and our base became a slaughterhouse.

I watched as battle-hardened Jiralhanae screamed in terror as the Flood twisted their forms into horrifying new shapes, their eyes pleading for a swift death. Warriors I had fought side by side which turned upon me with unknowing eyes and terrible rage. I ordered the few survivors to fall back to the inner corridors as I planted my last cache of plasma mines, hoping to put an end to the torment suffered by those infected.

There were moments of silence after the mines exploded, which we used to count our numbers and weapons. We have not enough to hold for an hour, let alone push back this enemy. Already, the uncanny screams have started rumbling again, and the pounding has begun as they fling their battered and contorted bodies against the door.

We laughed at the Covenant rumors about High Charity, but they were all true. The Flood will consume all. You must...

[Transcription ends]

Tread Carefully
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From the journal of Suta 'Noram, Sangheili Guard 6/4/2559

Commander Pavium has stationed me at his salvage operation to provide security in case the humans try to interfere. Through the Jiralhanae are usually ruled purely by instict and rage, Pavium appears to have a strong tactical mind. Though he would kill me for suggesting so, he would make a fine Sangheili.

I stand guard as the jabbering Unggoy blast through the wreckage to clear a route to the ruins of High Charity, so that once Pavium and Voridus have looted the area around High Charity of its weapons, we may transport them out quickly and avoid the brunt of the Sentinels wrath.

Perhaps it is the offensive musk of the Jiralhanae or the insistent chattering of the Unggoy, but I feel uneasy. There is something wrong about this. We have all heard the rumors of what happened to High Charity, but we do not talk too loudly about them, for fear of giving them life. I see a glint of the same fear in the eyes of some of the older Jiralhanae, those for whom the Covenant is not just a distant memory.

When we joined the Banished, we set aside all Covenant lies and those guillible enough to believe in them. But now that High Charity looms over us like a giant dead thing, those lies do not seem so foolish. Are we not as guilty as the Covenant for ignoring the warning about High Charity as they ignored the tales of the Halo Rings?

One thing is certain. There is danger here. The Ark does not deploy its Sentinels without good reason and their numbers are many.

The Archive[edit]
Idle Hands I

Unknown Author, Installation 00, Date 12/13/2552

Recently I have had troubling thoughts.

I am caretaker of this installation and it is my duty to maintain the natural balance of things, and I have performed my task admirably. But what I have learned from this experience, this war, is the terrible cost of peace.

For millenia, all was quiet and still and the wonderful designs of this installation meant I had relatively little to do except making improvements and the occasional minor system repairs. The paradox is that the better I perform in my job, the less I have to do.

As a result, I am conflicted by the recent events on this installation. The damage caused by the invaders and their war horrifies me, but it has given me a purpose once again. The one constant is that this installation is the most important thing in the galaxy and I must protect it at all costs. The destruction that scars the place I am duty bound to protect has focused my thoughts for the first time in centuries, and so it is once again through conflict that I have found a renewed sense of purpose. [1/2]

Idle Hands II

Unknown Author, Installation 00, Date 12/14/2552

I have marshalled my sentinels to construct a protective quarantine shell around the crash site of the object once known as High Charity. If the Flood were to escape and infect this installation, then everything we fought so hard for so long ago would be jeopardized. This installation's primary purpose is to create the only weapons capable of stopping a mass Flood outbreak. Upon sealing the shell, my Sentinels will raze the perimeter and modify the refugia to ensure that no sentient life survives nearby. I must deprive the Flood of any host bodies in close proximity to their prison. When all this is done, I will keep a battalion of Sentinels on patrol in the vicinity, not only to guard against the Flood, but to guard against future invaders bent on self-destruction.

The destruction is regrettable, but I consider it a responsible pruning, necessary to the greater good of this installation. I only wish I had the resources to repair the rest of the damage wrought by the war. The moon at the center of the Foundry has been largely depleted, and without necessary support structures in place there is no way for us to find fresh sources for raw materals.

More frequently, the same thought occurs to me; this installation's purpose is to safeguard the galaxy, and therefore must be preserved against all threats. But the inhabitants of the galaxy themselves have proven themselves time and time again to be the biggest threat to this installation, their self-destructive actions apparently impossible to curb.

I shall pursue this paradox, for it is only a matter of time before I will be forced to address it tangibly [2/2]

Manifestation[edit]
An Uncomfortable Truth I
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Unkwown Author, Installation 00, Date 2/19/2553

High Charity has been successfully sealed, the perimeter has been razed, the Sentinel defences put in place, and the Flood contained. I allowed myself a small self-congratulation for a job well done, but now that the dust has settled I find my mind wandering into forbidden territories again.

Therefore, I have set myself the task of cataloguing and researching the Flood and its myriad forms. Of course this installation has full databanks on the Flood's history and the war my creator's waged against it, but there is always a small chance of new discoveries, even if it is simply reassessing old knowledge with the context of recent events.

Many regard the Flood as the ultimate representation of chaos, traditionally thought of as the enemy of the natural balance of the universe, a direct threat against the Mantle itself. However, with all things, what is chaotic can form patterns and purpose when viewed from a far or close enough distance. In fact, the most disturbing thought is the single-mindedness of the Flood, its one goal to subsume all sentient life, to make all as one. [1/2]

An Uncomfortable Truth II

From records I have studied, as the Flood grows closer to the critical density it absorbs the knowledge and intelligence of its hosts. As it grows in strength, coordination and self-awareness, it forms Proto-Graveminds and then finally the Gravemind itself. Once a Gravemind has been created, the Flood's race memory is re-established and it becomes almost unstoppable. This scenario is what led to the creation of the last Halo Array so many years ago.

From the perspective of the Flood, is this not attempt at bringing order to the galaxy rather than chaos? It is a dangerous line of thought, and I know there was another who fell into this trap and indeed became instrumental in the downfall of my creators civilization. Fortunately, my loyalty and duty to this installation precludes me from following that path.

My conclusions are still disturbing. The Flood are indeed the great threat to the galaxy my creators feared, but they are the truest to their nature. The Forerunners, the San'Shyuum, the so-called Reclaimers all declare peace through unity and civilization, yet endlessly make war amongst themselves and others. Wars fought in defense of their own independence while each forcing their own ideas of unity upon their enemies.

I stand here as a guardian of that chaos. It is an uncomfortable truth. [2/2]