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LORC: Beginnings Act 1 Pt 2
Posted By: HWPD<Disaster.nick@gmail.com>
Date: 11 August 2015, 4:49 am


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Naki 'Cimutee
First Solar Cycle 192 Cycles 9th Age of Reclamation [August 22, 2525]
Covenant Special Sciences Ministry, High Charity
Special Operations Science Student Naki 'Cimutee



Michelle shot up out of the covers. Sunlight streamed though a window with a red hue. The room itself seemed purple and small indigo lights glided over the opposite wall.

"Ugh... I don't remember going to sleep," she thought to herself, absentmindedly rubbing her head in confusion, but then stopped suddenly. Her head didn't feel right, she had no hair. A quiet gasp escaped her and she felt her mouth split apart. Michelle screamed and leaped out of bed. Her legs went out from under her and she fell to the floor. Breathing heavily in panic she looked to her hands, she almost screamed again. Two thumbs and two fingers on each. The hand of an Elite.

"Holy shit, holy shit! This can't be real can it?!"

She flexed her fingers and just stared at her hands as moments passed. She was scared, tears dribbled down her new face and into her palms. But then suddenly she felt a strange feeling of calmness come over her. Like this was meant to be, and that she should stop worrying about her sudden transformation. She sniffled and wiped the remaining tears away and attempted to stand.

Her legs wobbled underneath her as she stood back up fully and she gripped a small table for support. Michelle wobbled over to the bed and sat on the edge.

Suddenly she felt as if something else had control, and there was a ton of pressure. She flung herself onto her back and lied there, pressed on the bed. Memories poured into her mind; moving memories of an Elite child running through deep forests, homes, fields, into the arms of a Father and Mother. Her name, Naki 'Cimutee; her relatives; visiting a shining city called Varo; the culture of the Sangheili. Then there was more; languages and histories from recent times flowed through her head. It was almost as if something was holding back, easing the memories like a refresher as slowly as it could. She took a deep breath as the pressure subsided and the memories slowed. The something that had eased up the flow seemed to step back and fade slightly into the background.

Rubbing her head again she stood up and stretched, after being forced back into that position for a while. When she attempted a step forward, she found that she could walk fine. She could move her mandibles and form words. Michelle, or whatever she was now, could easily read what the alien text had said, and even understood exactly what it meant. She glanced at the window, its color hadn't shifted or changed its angle since she had woken in the room a little over an hour ago. Walking closer she saw an unlabeled holographic control panel floating on the wall.

Curiously, she could not remember what the panel did. "Perhaps whatever held back the memories is still trickling them all in." She thought. "Hence why I can not remember everything about what I am doing here."

She cautiously pressed a green button. The red hue sunlight disappeared and revealed a massive purple city. High Charity sat before her in all its glory. Michelle, now Naki sat on the window sill and marveled at the vehicles flying through the air and at the huge Forerunner Dreadnought in the city's center. Part of her knew this was her normal view, amazing as it was, yet another part made it feel like she was seeing it for the first time. Behind her the door chimed open. She jumped in surprise and hit her head on the window jam. Standing in the doorway was a Grunt pushing a hover-cart. When he saw her standing there he yelped.

"Sorry Miss Excellency! Nipap hoped to have armor cleaned before you rise," he cowered behind the cart, legs trembling.

"Um, go on." She told him, memories slowing coming back from the fog that was her past.

The Unggoy pushed the cart up to a socket in the wall and quickly waddled away. The cart started to rise up the wall, once vertical the lid opened revealing a shiny lime green set of armor.

"Oh that is a very nice color," Naki giggled, Her mind bringing her back up to speed on how to maintain and operate the systems functions.

There was a ping behind her and the wall of indigo lights formed into a computer screen. A message had popped up from her field teacher, SpecOps Science Major Agu 'Roniee. Naki remembered her as a tall female, who wasn't afraid of anything they could find in a Forerunner ruin, however her human half reminded her of the potential existence of the Flood.

Naki,
Forerunners be praised. Another scouting party has discovered more Forerunner ruins on a planet in the Sanctum system. The Hierarchs want our team to go investigate. I know you need to finish your other studies but I'll have you excused. These ruins look like they still may be in working order. Look at it this way: if everything goes as planned, you might be able to graduate a few months early.

Spec-Ops Science Major Agu 'Roniee


She pressed the reply button and began to type out a proper response. "Sounds exciting Excellency, when and where do we leave?"

A few minutes later the reply came back, "After first meal, meet in the courtyard. The others will be there as well."

Naki walked over to the armor and stripped out of the night gown she was wearing. She slipped the body suit on and looked herself over in the mirror. "Hmm, not bad," she thought to herself, and she gave it a nod of approval, something she always did before suiting up. Putting the rest of the armor on was tricky but once all the straps and latches were secured she was ready to go. Grabbing an old book and a Data-Pad she headed out her door. On her way out she passed a plaque and mentally recited the oath almost as instinct. She smiled as she spoke the words in her mind, what was left of her human self slowly fading away.

"We are here to aid the Hierarchs in the exploration and study of the Gods' artifacts they left behind. To advance and continue the march to Glorious Salvation! For the Journey, for the Covenant"

Naki walked through the halls of the university of the Covenant Special Sciences Ministry, a group dedicated to teach select Sangheili about medical treatments and sciences. To keep things simple, the ranks were copied from the main military. She was training to be a field researcher, someone who goes into the area of interest before it is secured and possibly participates in combat, so she was grouped into the Special Operations division. If she was to be someone who came in after and was at the site long term, she would have been in the standard division.

"Well great... combat." She thought. "At least it doesn't seem that we've met the humans yet." Naki stopped in her tracks. Her mind raced again, her memories continued to conflict and it was hard to remember whether or not her dream was reality. "Gods...was it all a dream? Being Human, growing up as a Human. Nick…was he even real?" It bothered her, she may never know if it had been real or not. However this was real at that moment and required her best attention.

She recomposed herself and continued through the hallway following her memory to the Cafeteria. There were other species of the Covenant in the halls other than her. The part of her that still claimed that she had been human was fascinated by them all and everything she was doing. "Gods, Nick would have loved to see all this. He would be amazed at what it all looks like in real life." She giggled at the thought. "He being that character of his, that Ryau Cinotee and me..." She paused in her steps. "...Naki Cimutee..." Her, Naki Cimutee. Her, Michelle. Naki was her Sangheili persona, now it was her. Both minds called for the same person under different names, one for Nick, the other for Ryau, it seemed that she would know which were real. Both were.

The view off the balconies before the Cafeteria was breathtaking. Much better than that of her small window that viewed only part of the city. These balconies overlooked all of it, the city so large that there was a fog over the middle. She checked her data-pad and hurried into the cafeteria. The room was busy. Sangheili and other members of the Covenant hurried about and got food from a counter nearby.

She walked over and grabbed a plate of Salam'is, Munta sausage wrapped in pancakes. Naki payed the cashier and headed for two other female Sangheili that seemed familiar. Kalo 'Namea and Ser`a 'Veluman, both wore the same type and color of armor Naki wore. She remembered coming here alone and meeting those two in her first class, then she found out they all came from the State of Zelso. She set her tray down and plopped down at the head of the table.

"Well good morning Naki." Kalo said. "You're up late."

"Yes, I did not...sleep well last night." She ate some of the Salam'is and her human mind fell in love with it. "But I am much better now."

"Good, we have that last unit trip today." Ser`a said as she ate her breakfast. "We need to leave soon, Science Major Agu will be waiting at the landing pad soon."

"I'll finish my meal and then we can go meet her." Naki said. She munched away at the breakfast wrap and placed her tray in the receptacle. "Now we may go." They headed out the door and headed towards the courtyard down the hall. In the lush green courtyard, a single Spirit sat on the platform. Two Male Sangheili waited by the lowered drop bay. She remembered the one in dark green armor was SpecOps Science Major Agu 'Roniee and the other was a young Ultra, Ttpa 'Sojomee, their military escort.

"Ah, you three arrived much faster than the others." Major Agu said. "We will be leaving shortly."

Naki nodded and joined her Sangheili self's friends in the crash-seats. She strapped herself into the seat and talked with Ser`a and Kalo about medical classes until the other group of students arrived.

Major Agu signaled the pilot and hopped aboard. The Spirit's doors closed and it lifted off. Ultra 'Sojomee stood in front of the hatches. "The Mercy and Betrayal has just been finished and is fully equipped with artifact storage bays, black-out labs and cell blocks, and hazardous material labs if they are needed. It will be the home of the highest graded student at the end of your learning period."

"Hmm, that seems like something I should strive for. Having a ship's lab resources to myself to find out whatever happened to Nick and I would be useful." Naki thought to herself.

The Spirit flew out High Charity's airlocks and towards a CCS-Class Battle Cruiser with certain markings that Naki understood as labeling the ship as a Science vessel. The Mercy and Betrayal's polished hull glistened in the sunlight of the nearby star. The Spirit glided into the hangar bay and the Battle cruiser sped into a Slip-space jump. They were split into two groups, the SpecOps Science students and standard science students. Other than Kalo and Ser`a, there were only two others in Naki's group. Both, Naki remembered, came from wealthy merchant families in the upper wards of High Charity. Their families wanted them to excel at something different than their families profession.

"Oh I can't wait to see this. Forerunner architecture is so awe inspiring." One of them said, a female named Ream.

"Aw, I know, sometimes I pray that I could paint scenes as beautifully as the Gods could construct them." Ser`a said.

They followed Ultra 'Sojomee as he led them to their Common room along the belly of the Battle Cruiser. Naki set her book and Data-pad down on the bed and sat down around the holographic table. Her friend Kalo went to work on a small Arum, while Ser`a and Ream activated the holographic table and loaded up a strategy game. Naki laughed in her head as the game reminded her of Halo Wars only all Covenant units. Ttpa left the room and a Science Minor entered the room.

"I am Science Minor Undi 'Telotee. I'll be watching over you four." She said with a sigh. "We'll be arriving in the Sanctum system in just a few days. Study up on the common technology and language. That is all." Undi walked through the room and went into the back room reserved for the common rooms chief officer.

Naki flopped back on her bed and took a nap, eagerly waiting for the coming years.

Two Cycles later [2 Days Later]
First Solar Cycle 194 Cycles 9th Age of Reclamation
CCS-Class Battle Cruiser- Covenant Science Vessel Mercy and Betrayal
Special Operations Science Student Naki 'Cimutee




The Mercy and Betrayal had entered the strange alternate dimension of slip-space two days before, on its way to a newly uncovered Forerunner structure on the Sangheili colony of Sanctum. Naki sat in her bed to read through her notes on previous ventures to Forerunner ruins. She remembered everything, and it was starting to feel more like her memories, but there was still that steady question in the back of her head.

She joined the Covenant Science Ministry after she turned eleven cycles old, which her human half thought was too young. However, her Sangheili half said that she was not in the military, but in a specialized school and she would not graduate and become a full scientist until she turned eighteen.

Her internal argument was cut short when the room's chief officer, Science Minor 'Telotee, wheeled in a cart with a few dishes of food. The Mercy and Betrayal was not entirely finished yet, the Commons were still unfurnished. So the food was brought directly to the common rooms.

"Alright, dish up." Science Minor 'Telotee said. "They say today's dish is ZupChau'Nia and Iruno bread." Undi took a dish for herself and headed back to her room.

Naki hopped off her bed and dished up her dinner. Her Human mind identified the ZupChau'Nia as a type of clam chowder and Iruno bread was like garlic naan. She scooped the chowder and dumped it on her tongue that emerged from her throat. She thought the food was pretty good, but her mind also told her that she had had better back at home with her parents.

One of the other girls, Ream, called over to her. "Excuse me, Naki? Do you want to play me?" Ream was sitting at the holographic table and had the strategy game loaded up.

"Hmm, I haven't played before, but I might as well." She replied. Naki walked over and took a seat opposite Ream at the table.

Ream started the game and a virtual battlefield appeared on the table. The infantry lances Naki got right away appeared on the back of the map, their projection was angled so that Ream would not be able to see them until one of her units got in visual range. A small screen also appeared in front of both girls so that they could control and move their forces without the other seeing them do it.

"Oh well, I'm not that good either, Ivra defeated me twice yesterday." Ream said.

"Ah, alright." Naki plopped down her base and began to construct an armor column of Wraiths and Spectres. Her infantry scouts moved through the forest, advancing to the large city in the center of the battlefield.

A tone sounded in her headset and announced that her scouts had located a Forerunner artifact, and gained her side three hundred extra credits. She moved the scouts to the top of a mountain and her visual field expanded. Ream's massing troops were revealed just out side the city. Naki guessed she was going to rush with infantry. She guided what Wraiths and Spectres that she had completed to attack Ream's forces. It was a long path, but when they got in range, virtual plasma mortars rained on the infantry. Ream's forces scattered and retreated back into the shadows, only to appear again on the other side of the city. Ream had flanked her armor and counter-ambushed her. With her Wraiths destroyed, Naki pulled her infantry and Spectres back to her base to rearm and repair. After a few moments she sent them in for round two, only with an escort of Banshees and Phantoms.

When she approached Ream's supposed base of operations, she was greeted by an army of Fuel rod wielding Unggoy. "Oh come on." Naki groaned. The Unggoy opened fire and practically vaporized her entire force. Her Banshees were eliminated by Ream's anti-aircraft turrets, all of her forces were eliminated and left nothing to defend her base. Three Locust appeared from behind her base and opened fire. While the base was being destroyed, Naki managed to get a demo team created and dropped in at her scouts' location.

Ream destroyed Naki's base at the same time Naki's demo team blew up Ream's. The once the game clock hit zero, they were stuck in a stalemate. The table winked off and Ream nodded. "Good game," she said.

"Likewise," Naki replied. She was not a strategist, there was a reason why she was becoming a Scientist.

The ship suddenly shuttered and the lights dimmed. "Attention! Exiting slip-space in five..." Again the ship shuddered and they dropped out of the alternate dimension.

Science Minor 'Telotee pressed some buttons and a star map appeared on the table. The voice of their teacher, Agu 'Roniee, played as well. The map moved in accordance with her voice. "The new structure is located on our colony of Sanctum. It's located behind one of the ancient water reservoirs. An overflow of the bowl washed the soil away last week." She said. "The facility is showing some signs of activity. Much better than anything else we've found on the planet, as you know." The projection changed to a scan of the surface, "It seems awfully large and extended far below the local town. However, the active systems are preventing us from managing to get an accurate scan. Whoever wants to go in the first group, meet us in the starboard hangar."

Naki wanted to see this new place and she packed up her gear. She followed Undi down to the hangar bay, Ream and Ivra followed close behind. Kalo and Ser'a stayed behind to investigate the ruins from the scan, they were not as interested in physically going down yet. Ultra 'Sojomee and SpecOps Science Major 'Roniee waited beside the same Spirit as earlier, crates of science equipment in the classic purple cases were stacked along the inside.

"We're ready." Ream said, hopping aboard the Spirit with the others.

"As are we, let us go." 'Roniee said. Agu and Ttpa also stepped aboard.

Naki strapped in as the Spirit left the Mercy and Betrayal's artificial gravity and headed down to the surface. The ride was smooth, it was a clear day on Sanctum, the only clouds were high level and very thin. Screens on the Spirit's hatch showed a city of Sangheili design on the rim of a forest. Just as they approached the landing site, they flew over a large reservoir that had to date back thousands of years, now abandoned, but also the cause of their being here.

The doors opened as they were set to land, and Naki could see the top of a classic Forerunner structure, geometric, but bare of ornamentation. The Spirit bumped the ground and the hatch opened all the way to the surface. She hopped out and was guided by the site's manager with the others to a set of prefab structures where they could stow their gear and rest later.

The site manager did not hold a rank, he appeared to be a civilian, a local most likely. "We have not managed to explore that much of the holy temple, only the foyer. I am glad that the Council has decided to respond to our request of a Science detachment."

"Show us the entrance, we should begin before dark." Agu said.

"Yes Major," the site manager lead them down to the base of the structure, a dirt path had been excavated to a door. "It was open when we found it." He said.

"Set your data pads to mapping, we should get a basic layout from where you go. Explore on your own, it will go faster." Agu told the group of young scientists.

Naki nodded and followed her into the structure. The door was a different type of design than the kind she remembered, both from her Human memories of the video games and her Sangheili memories of past science excursions. It was more ornate, less bland. Symbols were carved into the jam and a single glyph glowed dimly above the door.

They entered on what could possibly be an old balcony, what was left of a railing was protruding from the dirt wall. Naki turned her data pad to mapping and it blipped online. She started down a hallway, heading towards the Sangheili settlement they had flown over earlier.

Ancient windows and skylights had broken away centuries ago, and dirt had poured into the hall, small shafts of light and water dripped through tiny caves to the surface. Some of the planet's florescent cave fauna grew in the dirt patches and in places the dirt had accumulated in the wall cracks. The holes to the surface were perfectly round until they broke out to air, where they became slightly jagged, as if someone was trying to keep this area livable but secret. Naki looked down at her data pad, it echoed a pulse and the area in front of her appeared on her map.

She zoomed out and saw that the others had gone far off in the complete other direction, she was the farthest out too. "Well great... all alone..." She mumbled.

Suddenly something pulsed blue across the top of her vision. Lights flickered and a door slowly eased shut somewhere behind her. Something spoke out of a speaker. Then a trail of grimy green line lights pulsed along the floor. She cautiously followed them, they lead her down another hallway and a ramp. Behind her, another door creaked shut, cutting her off from the last hall. The trail of florescent fauna eased out of existence, the only illumination came from the pulsing green lights.

She came to a room, the line of lights led to a single console on the wall. When she approached it, the screen flickered on with a pulsing dot. Against her better judgment Naki reached out and touched the dot. There was a flash, and she felt nothing. "Strange... feeling nothing... how does that work? But I can think. Hmm." She thought in that nothingness.

She could not tell how long she was in that nothingness, but she suddenly found herself on the floor, in another room. Naki stood back up and looked at her data pad. She was deep below the center of the facility, far away from where she had just been a few hours before according to the data pad's clock. Screens lined the walls, one was displaying a brain, with two graphs slowly starting to match up. Another showed a silhouette of what she assumed was her, it was a small female Sangheili, standing beside a tall female humanoid shape. Data and information on the other screens covered a door that was locked and glowed bright red.

There was a beep as the graphs on the first screen matched up. Naki glanced back at that, but dropped onto her knees as something buzzed in her mind. She screamed and clutched her head with her hands, it was like the sudden memory refresh she got when she woke up on High Charity, but far more painful. Information flooded her mind. She could not make sense of it. Equations, compositions, maps, blueprints and ideas hit her like an Assault Carrier. She curled into a ball and cried.

Time passed and the pain began to fade away. Something beeped. Naki wiped the tears from her eyes and sat up in the room. She took a drink from her water pouch. That pain had been unbearable, but now that it was gone, she started to feel better. She also seemed to be thinking a bit different, her human and Sangheili point of views seemed to have finally merged, she was not getting two trains of thought arguing anymore, but one voice, one her.

Her data pad beeped again, she looked down and saw that she had been transmitting for the last hour on the group's communications channel. Her screaming had been broadcasted to everyone's headsets. Naki switched it off transmit.

Almost immediately Agu called over the channel. "Cimutee!? You've stopped transmitting. Are you alright? Where are you, we can not find a path to your location! Cimutee- Respond!"

Naki waited a moment and keyed her response. "I...I am alright." she said. "I'll try to find my way out of here.."

"What happened? Are you able?" Agu asked.

Naki shuffled over to the door, it blinked to green and slid open. Allowing her exit. "I do not know. I maybe found a teleporter and then I received a lot of pain. That is all I remember" She rubbed her head under her helmet. The hall outside the doorway lead her to a ramp. She walked up and found that the ramp ended at a floor hatch that opened as soon as she placed her hand on it. The hatch opened to the same dirt and flourescent plant-filled hallway she had adventured down earlier that day.

Naki hopped out and bumped into Ultra 'Sojomee and the site manager. "Cimutee, are you alright?" Ttpa asked.

"Yes, at the moment." Naki straightened herself.

"Well Major Roniee wants you to be examined by the local doctor. If you are fine with that." Ttpa said.

"I think that would be a good idea... I do not know what happened down there." She pointed down the passage. Ttpa lead her out of the old ruins and to the prefab tents. Naki laid down on a cot while the site manager went to town to get the doctor. When they returned, the site manager had a female in a tunic and sash with him.

"Hello, I am the local doctor. How are you feeling?" The doctor said. She pulled out some equipment and did some scans.

"I feel...confused. Physically I think I am fine, but mentally I feel like I do not understand something. That I should be remembering something but I can not remember what it is." Naki said.

"Hmm well as you said, you are physically fine. I am not picking up any abnormalities. But I do not have the equipment to analyze your mental health." The doctor said.

Major 'Roniee entered the tent. "It may have been that she ran into one of the Gods' disorientation fields." She said. "We looked in the room you were in. It also appears that you stumbled upon what seems to be a damaged trans-location pad. That may have been the origin of the pain you experienced."

"Do you mean a um...a Dazzler disorientation device?" Naki said slowly. She was confused, she had no idea where she had got the name from. However something was telling her that it was the correct term for the effect her teacher was referring to, but not what she had experienced.

"A what?" Major 'Roniee responded. "What is a Dazzler?"

Again, Naki responded with knowledge she did not know where it originated. "Uh...a Dazzler is a camouflage device...that hmm." Naki paused for a moment. Then continued slowly reciting the information that seemed to appear out of nowhere. "...it causes visual and auditory delusion made by the Forerunners. So as you called it, a disorientation field."

"I...I have never heard of such a thing. Where did you learn of this?" Major 'Roniee asked.

"I am... unsure. I do not know where it is coming from." Naki shrugged, unsure of herself.

"Hmm." 'Roniee glanced at the doctor and the medical equipment in her bag. "You should remain up here for the time being. Until you feel well again and are not spouting random information." 'Roniee said with a nod of affirmation.

"As you say, Major." Naki replied.

"I will also stay here and keep an eye on your monitors." The doctor said. "Just in case something happens."

"Thank you ma'am. May I explore the area around here at least?" Naki asked.

"Yes you may, as long as you stay out of the structure." Major 'Roniee said. "Actually what does the doctor think?"

"Well my scans show no abnormalities whatsoever. As far as I can tell there is nothing wrong with her." The doctor said. "She can do what she wants."

"Very well." Naki stood up and followed Major 'Roniee out of the prefab tent. However, she turned off the path and headed down a smaller one into the forest. She walked a distance from camp to the large abandoned water reservoir. Small waterfalls cascaded over the edge where constant water flow had eroded away the stone.

Naki walked over to a ledge and stripped to her under clothes. "A dip in the cool water should ease some of this tension and help me relax" Naki thought to herself. She slipped into the water and sat along the stepped edge. She relaxed there until the system's sun began to set bellow the forest tree tops and Major 'Roniee radioed her to return to camp.

"Alright Major, I'm on my way back." Naki stood up and stretched. She looked around for something to dry herself off with. A large fuzzy leaf her mind recognized as the type used to make towels and other garments, hung from a vine between some trees. Naki reached up and plucked the large leaf from the vine and held it in her hands. "Well if they make clothes out if it, I think it'll be fine." She said to herself, drying off.

6 Solar Cycles later [8 Years Later: 2530]
Seventh Solar Cycle 112 Cycles 9th Age of Reclamation
Covenant Holy City, High Charity
Special Operations Science Student Naki 'Cimutee



Naki itched her sleeve. She still had a scar left from that body wide rash she got from using the Venro leaf to dry off, she ended up itching for weeks. She had not known that the leaves needed to be treated before they were good for cloth. She, and her fellow students, had just completed six cycles of science education and were ready to be dispatched to the various projects and research positions throughout the galaxy.

Naki heard her name being called and walked into the large amphitheater of the Covenant Science Ministry. "Now, Special Operations Minor Naki 'Cimutee. She has passed all tests and earned the right to be stationed aboard the Science Vessel, Mercy and Betrayal." The San `Shyuum announcer said.

Naki nodded, and received her dark green helmet from Major 'Roniee. "Thank you Prophet of Tolerance." Naki nodded and bowed to him.

She had been interviewed by his group seeking out bright Sangheili and Unggoy for the translation of Human communications, but she had to play dumb so there would not be any suspicion and she did not get picked. However that was before the High Prophets, Regret, Mercy and Truth rose into power.

"My pleasure, Minor 'Cimutee`ee. You are now part of the grand Covenant military. May you follow the path to glorious salvation." He said.

Naki joined the group of her fellow graduates to the side of the stage. The Prophet of Tolerance continued to introduce the rest of the graduates and say where they were being sent or stationed. She looked up at the crowd and spotted her mother and father. Most of the other graduates had larger families here since they did not know their parents, just an uncle or aunt, however she was from the state of Zelso, where they put it in law that children needed to know their parents, and be raised by them. It worked well from what the history showed.

Her father, Ryka 'Cimuetaee, wore his fine crimson armor. It signified he was a Major in the Covenant military and he was due to ship out tomorrow. Once the ceremony reached its final event, all the warriors in the audience stood and saluted the graduating class. Naki and the others returned their salute before exiting off stage.

"Attention, all new Scientists should report to deployment points tomorrow, by mid day, to be dispatched to your new locations. There is a war on that hinders the journey." One of the other Science Majors announced to everyone.

Naki checked her data-pad and set a reminder for an hour before she was due there. Her mother had paid quite the sum to travel to High Charity for her graduation, Naki wanted to spend time with them before she was off to where ever she was heading. "Good bye Ser`a. Good bye Kalo." Naki said to her two good friends. "I'll see you two again some day."

"Oh of course you will." Kalo said.

"Yeah, at the meetings and when we visit home." Ser`a finished.

"Oh that is true." Naki said. "I forget that we live in the same state. Well see you two later then." They hugged and Naki headed out after placing her helmet with the rest of her new plain green armor. It was better looking than the lime armor that had signified she was a student. She found her parents waiting outside on the balcony over looking the large forerunner dreadnought in the center of the city.

"Naki, my girl. You did it, you've taken your position in the Covenant as I have." Her father said, placing his hand on her shoulder.

"You have done us proud. Even in Zelso, a female does not have many paths to take that will be as adventurous as this." Her mother, Na`an, said.

"Thank you mother and father." Naki replied, hugging them. "Now that I've finished my class work I'm going to be away even longer. Ser'a and Kalo both are taking positions back on Sanghelios."

"Oh its alright Naki. I'm sure you'll be around to see more of home some time soon. There may be more of the gods' structures still unexplored on Sanghelios. Even after all this time." Her mother said.

"You may be right. However, let us go. We do not need to say around here any longer." Naki ushered her parents out of the amphitheater. Once out the doors, her parents took the lead, and took her to a restaurant overlooking the lower gardens. They were a less prestigious version of the hanging gardens outside the High Prophet's sanctum.

She enjoyed the meal with her parents, as it was the first, and the last she would have with them for a while. Near the end of the evening, her mother sat down at a bench nearby Naki's small flat.

"Naki, your father and I have something important to tell you. We wanted to let you know before you ship off on your ship. Naki, you're going to have a sibling." Naki's mother said.

"A sibling?" Naki was stunned. She never expected she would have another family member.

"Yes, we just learned last week." Ryka said.

"That is great news. When are you expecting?" Naki asked.

"Four months. So unfortunately you and your father will be deployed when it is time." Na`an said sadly.

"Oh, well if I get leave by then, I'll try and come home." Naki told her mother.

"That would be excellent. However now it is getting late, your father and I should head back to our lodging." Na`an stood and payed the meals bill with her credit chip.

"Well I'll see you two later then." Naki said to them as they headed back to their room. Naki sat back down at the table and ordered herself her first strong drink. When it arrived, she paid for it and headed out onto the balcony. "Well, on to life." She toasted to the dreadnought in the city center. "Time to move on." Naki took a swig of her drink and coughed it back up.

The next morning, Naki had packed up the contents of her small room and headed off to the docked Mercy and Betrayal. She pressed her palm against the scanner and it took a blood sample to match against the one on file. The lone guard nodded and let her aboard.

The ship was quiet, just the hum of the power conduits and the echo of her steps could be heard. The Mercy and Betrayal had been completed six solar cycles ago, but it had sat unused as it over went upgrades and periods of no use until this day.

Naki glanced down at her data pad and followed the map to her office and cabin. When she arrived, she ran her hand over the holographic name plate beside her door. It read; Special Operations Science Minor Naki 'Cimutee`ee. Naki walked inside and placed her belongings on her bed. A few hours later, the rest of the crew boarded and took their stations. The ship was released from High Charity and it headed off to where the High Council needed.





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