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 The Big One 
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Unread post The Big One
To: Cpt********.1465.UNSC.THESEUS
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Subject: The Big One

Captain,

I'm still working on the Helen problem. Like I said, I still have a couple of favors that I'm trying to call in, but people... Well, you know how it is, I'm sure.

Now for something that gave me nightmares.

Though ONI had secretly known about select artifacts and structures on Reach for some time, it wasn't until 2559 that “the big one” was discovered. (Big doesn't refer to the size. We'd actually found arguably larger structures.) While we had until that point been only able to make blind guesses as to the true extent of this ancient technology, this showed us that what we thought was beyond our wildest imagination.

That structures could last unattended for thousands of years is one thing, but that they could continue to be powered and in operational order was another. (From my understanding, we're still a long ways from being able to figure out exactly how they're powered.) However, the true marvel wasn't in that this half-buried structure existed, but what was inside.

Technically, inside is a bit of a misnomer. Though, yes, it was inside the structure, it wasn't. Some of the best minds slamming their heads together have come up with the following theory: somehow, the ancient aliens who created these structures found a way to create a stable, self-sustaining slipstream rupture that our sensors were unable to detect. It's also suggested that their slipstream doesn't work like ours – from our analysis of the Covenant ship we captured, we discovered that they move through slipspace far faster than we do.

(Yes, the Covenant used reverse engineered versions of this ancient technology. That's how these stupid zealots were able to create technology more advanced than what we have. Well, unless you count some science labs that have been able to reverse engineer their tech. The shielding that Kavacha armor became so famous for is actually reverse-engineered and improved Covenant technology utilizing the research we already had. That's what took it from "possible but impractical" to able to be mounted on a suit of armor.)

What we do know for sure is that what seemed like a kilometer of a massive hallway lead to a whole new place, in a system far, far from where you started. Something that would make Larry Niven soil himself, if he were still alive. A ringworld, which we dubbed “Halo.” The name alone caused quite a stir, but the implications of its existence just about tore our nerds apart.

I should let you know that all this is horribly classified, by the way.

The Halo wasn't a ringworld like how Niven envisioned it, sadly. The size wasn't quite right; it didn't encompass the entire Goldilocks zone of a star. However, it was still massive, large enough that it looked like a thin strip at the top. It had its own ecosystem, with a climate compatible with the human biology. The purpose, at least when it was fist discovered, was unknown.

Given the job of your ship, I think that you can appreciate the sheer marvel of such a thing. Not only did it last since the age of the of these ancient aliens, but it still seemed perfectly functional. Gravity caused at least partially by spin, true, but still, in a manner of speaking that only makes it all the more impressive.

Unsurprisingly, while everybody who knew about it in the scientific community was chomping at the bit to get on it, very few people were allowed at that point. We still knew nothing about what was there. There could be more Covenant, those who made it could be over there and hostile for us hitching a ride on their junk, we didn't know. (Honestly, considering how deeply the “tunnel” was buried, revealed only by aggressive mining and a lucky accident, the fact that we found it by chance at all should have impressed them.) Therefore, we sent in the experts who could handle themselves if something happened.

The Orion Field Science Corps.

Returning from Operation: MJOLNIR (which was a stunning success on the ground, but ultimately failed due to insufficient Naval support), F484 was originally scheduled to immediately leave for Operation: GOJOE. This, needless to say, was immediately canceled. He, and twelve other Orion-IV soldiers, were slated to go through this portal, to this new world, and try to find out if it held some key to defeating the Covenant.

Some wished that it would contain a weapon that could be used. These days? We wish it wasn't.

Sincerely,

Chair

P.S. Call me a bitch for ending it there if you want, but what can I say? I'm a sucker for drama. Besides, that dread you just felt? It's appropriate.

P.P.S. Did I mention that all this is horribly classified to the point where there's a surprisingly large number of people at HIGHCOM who don't know about it? Just wanted to remind you about that.

*************
Note by Hive: Captain, I have encountered additional encrypted data within this message. The encryption keys are old enough to be added to my own databanks upon my creation due to our frequent status in the outer regions of humanity's occupied zone, in case we encountered any of the number of missing ships from the war. Below is the unencrypted message.
*************
If it wasn't, would you have been able to do what you did? Could you have saved us?
*************


Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:04 am
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Unread post Re: The Big One
Chair,

While your dramatics would normally be welcome on a routine day, I'm getting faced with some unsettling events on my ship. So would you please spare me the headache and give me the whole story, or as close to whole as you can get?

What is the current status of this tunnel? Did the Covenant find it when Reach fell? And when did F484 begin his operation to investigate it?

Sorry if I'm a little at ends right now. I'm just stressed.


Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:27 pm
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