Wages of Sin

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Wages of Sin is a short story in Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, released exclusively in the separate Volume II edition. The story is the first-person narrative of the Covenant's Minister of Discovery in his last moments.[1]

Plot synopsis[edit]

Having locked himself in his office during the Flood assault on High Charity, the Minister of Discovery begins to write a testimony on a piece of parchment. He begins by stating that although he knows that no one will be around to read his words, he hopes that his confession will atone for the wrongs he has committed. He describes the holy city of High Charity—now being consumed by the Flood—and recounts the history of the Forerunner ship at its heart. He then describes how the ship's technology allowed the ancient Reformists to build their own starships, allowing them to spread their religion; he also mentions that the technology of the ship and other Forerunner relics pushed the San'Shyuum down a path of conflict, as they were quick to use their gods' "gifts" to build weapons of war. He acknowledges, however, that the creations of the San'Shyuum and their Covenant were never as powerful as the Forerunner devices they were based upon, and that some technologies—such as hard light and Forerunner alloys—they could not replicate at all. The Minister then gives his first confession - that he tried to advance the Covenant's understanding of Forerunner technology, and thus allowed them to wreak destruction upon the galaxy with their weaponry.

The Minister notes that High Charity's systems are failing, and that it is growing cold. He goes on to discuss how the Covenant abhorred the idea of artificial intelligence, forbidding the use of AIs with the exception of "lobotomized" intelligences used for astrogation. He laments this fact, as he believes that it put the Covenant at a disadvantage against the UNSC and its AIs. He also reflects on the "insanity" of the so-called Oracle, in truth a fragment of Mendicant Bias, that rested within the ship at High Charity's heart.

The Minister's confession turns to the subject of the religion he and his fellow "Prophets" preached to the Covenant. He explains how the Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee discovered flaws in the Covenant's belief system during his mission to Installation 05, revealing that the Great Journey was a lie. The Minister reveals that the San'Shyuum were, in fact, fully aware of this deception: the Great Journey was a fabrication from the start, and while the Covenant's client races may have benefited from the religion's teachings, the San'Shyuum always knew that their followers would never achieve godhood.

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