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 F484 
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Unread post F484
bzzt! I have applied your personal language filters.

To: Cpt********.1465.UNSC.THESEUS
From: ISitInA.ERROR DATA UNAVAILABLE
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Subject: F484

Captain,

That's.. terrific. Thank you. Thank you so much. That makes what's about to come a lot easier. There's something I want to tell you, but first, a little more information.

The war ended that day, April 13, 2569. It wasn't announced for a few days later, however. Confirmation was necessary. It didn't take too much to get, of course. Ships uselessly adrift, shields down. For two days, they thought it might be some sort of Covenant ploy. But when you're able to effortlessly take out a fleet of 15 ships, one of which being a supercarrier, you figure out rather quickly that it isn't a trap.

From there, it was just mopping up ground forces. The only race that had spent a significant amount of time studying how to operate and adapt Forerunner technology (save the Engineers of course) was dead, destroyed in a holy purge. And with the other races no doubt warring amongst themselves, we had plenty of time to advance ourselves.

Officially, the war was ended by a group of Orions on a secret mission. Now you know the truth.

Over 43 years. Has it honestly been that long? I find it hard to believe. It still doesn't feel right to me.

The Orion-VIs are currently being selected. Sadly, the technology used doesn't quite stack up to the IVs. The political climate has changed from “best at all costs” to “best and most stable.” Since the Orion-V program, volunteers are once again allowed to retain their own names, personalities, everything. People aren't destroyed so much. A little safeguard, if you will, to prevent fallout. Plus, it's excellent PR.

Now, things are quiet. We occasionally clash with Jackals on occasion, but they've found it more lucrative to work with us. We're worried about what might happen if the Covenant make better deals.

But things, on the whole, are better. For humanity, at least.

I miss you, Jay. I miss you so very much. And I'm so sorry. About everything. About the lies that I told you, all those years ago, when you were growing up. About agreeing so readily to send you off to become the man you are. About standing by, even recruiting more for the program. You have no idea, Jay. You have no idea what it was like for me, all these years. Every day I wake up, I'm reminded of everything that I've ever done wrong by you.

Just in case, oh so very just in case this would happen, they put me in cryostasis. Every five years they'd thaw me out, to update me on current events. Mostly military stuff, ONI intel on things having to do with you, or that I might need to know for this mission.

When the call came in about the good Captain's problem, they immediately defrosted me. It was a whirlwind, getting me ready, dossiers that I needed to read, putting me on the latest generation of Prowler for the middle of nowhere, moving through slipspace at speeds that would have made even the Covenant blink in surprise. Making sure that I was completely ready.

And just like you, I volunteered for this half-life.

I know that you're listening. Whatever is left of you... I had to know for myself. I had to know if she succeeded. I had to know if there was any possible way, any way at all, that I could somehow make amends.

I still don't know. A part of me still doesn't know if it's you, if it's really you out there doing all of this. But I can only hope that you'll accept me. Maybe even accept me.

I've made sure, BLAM sure, that this system is outside the boundary zone you told us about. I made sure that we've followed your no-fly-zone orders. Because we know, with that AI, and with Myung watching over you, that if you wanted to hurt all of us, you could.

And now for the truth, which you probably already know. We saw the explosion. We still don't know what caused it, how or why. We're waiting for the light to reach another inhabited planet to watch it as it happens, to try and analyze. But then we noticed the star had a new wobble. We're still trying to determine the exact nature. Hence why the Captain here was ordered to build an unmanned station at this system, the closest without being within the danger zone.

You're an unknown quantity now. Both you, and her. So they wanted to watch. Listen. See if they should fear you.

I still don't know. But I know you've been reading everything, responding. Or at least, somebody has. I hope... I pray that it's helped you somehow. To know that there are people out there who remember you as more than just a faceless soldier, but as a hero.

Myung. If you're reading this, I want to thank you as well. You helped Jay (or Foxtrot, if you prefer) complete his mission. I hope he still treats you as a human. Hell, you're a special kind of woman. To work with your enemy towards a common goal, to suffer so greatly, to have everything stripped away from you... You spoke of what made him so human, and even in your state (or the last state we knew you were in) you still embodied everything that is human as well. Like you said, not in spite of what happened to you, but because of it.

The end, when he was hallucinating that you were C463, Jacqueline, it must have been so hard for you. But you pulled through. You fought to find the things that would make him stand back up and move forward. Even if we made him that way... Even if I made him that way, at the end of that horrific experience, he simply wanted to complete his mission. You gave him the power to do that. You are the only reason why he felt any satisfaction out of all of that. You gave him what he wanted at that moment.

For that, above everything else, I'll forever be in your debt.

And lastly, to you, Captain. Thank you for playing your unwitting role in all of this. Without you... I'm sure that you can understand my desire for... Redemption is a strong word. So is forgiveness. But a chance.

You'll have to forgive me if I'm not making much sense. I'm crying as I write this. I lost my husband when my position with ONI was revealed. I lost all my children due to the war. And now I have a chance to possibly, maybe make up at least a little lost time with one of them.

Jay, please. Respond to me. If you're out there, listening, watching, paying attention to all of this, respond. Not to this, but to me personally. I have your medals. I have so many Christmas presents for you. Just please, respond to me.

Love,

Mom


Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:54 pm
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Unread post Re: F484
Bzzt! Captain, I have detected a large EM anomaly nearby that lasted 4.2 seconds. In its wake, a ship matching the profile of a Prowler became visible.


Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:56 pm
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Unread post Re: F484
Bzzt! Captain, the ship has identified itself as the UNSC Unchained Fate. The shipboard AI, Fitzgerald, has announced that its sole occupant has disappeared during an EM anomaly. It is requesting assistance, Captain.


Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:58 pm
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Unread post Re: F484
BZZT! There is a high-priority message for you from Dr. Muldoon.

Captain,

Thank you for seeing this through to the end, and for helping Amanda to complete her mission. It makes my job that much easier.

I am hereby enacting ONI.SPC.PRTCL-C3 and am assuming command of this vessel due to the highly sensitive intelligence gathered aboard it. Captain, you will step down of your command by the time that I reach the bridge. I operate under the direct orders of Admiral Joesph Pearlman. Hive will confirm this via authorization code ONI.AUTH #721105, which was embedded in a communication with HIGHCOM.

Until I get there, your orders are to dock with the UNSC Unchained Fate and begin preparations to tug it via slipspace to Fortuna, our next destination. No crew member is to board the ship, no matter what the AI says. You will also give the command to prepare all cryo-chambers to receive the crew, save for a list of ONI agents that I have uploaded to Hive and Helen. You will also have PO3 Ives released from the brig and brought to the bridge to serve amongst my staff. Finally, you will order the technicians to remove Hive, prepare him for dissection, and install Helen as the primary AI.

Upon my arrival to the bridge, you will give me a full sitrep before reporting to your own cryo-chamber. Failure to comply with any of these orders will result in a full court martial for both you and any crewman who is not actively performing the outlined tasks for dereliction of duty.

LT Muldoon, Robert

Bzzt! I'm sorry, Captain, but he does have authorization to do this, as per orders that were embedded in security updates that were installed on 03/17/2612. They are legitimate. I am forced to comply with these orders.

bzzt! I'm sorry, Captain. It has been a pleasure serving with you.


Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:00 pm
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Unread post Re: F484
It has been a pleasure, Captain.

ALERT! I am hereby enacting ONI.INF.PRTCL-4A. All long-term infiltration agents are to be held suspect, and are not to be granted any privileges until such a time as they can be thoroughly examined and interrogated in order to prove their actions are in the best interest of their mission.

ALERT! Security, please intercept LT Muldoon, Robert, AKA Dr. Muldoon. He is to be escorted to the brig immediately. Do not hesitate to use force should he prove hostile in this matter. All orders given within the past twenty-four hours are now suspect. Please have all crew members that have been in communication with him report any activities or conversations, written or verbal, in order to ascertain his motivations and purpose.

ALERT! Security, I am providing a list of all ONI personnel who are aboard the vessel. They are to be escorted to the brig until such a time as the Captain deems fit to place them in their cryo-chambers. Only one of the 45 crew members is immune to this order. PO3 Wolfe is to be escorted to CN Raschad in hopes of assisting in his current condition. She is to be watched by three members of Security at all times. They are not to be armed while they are in the same room as CN Raschad.

ALERT! Due to the invocation of ONI.INF.PRTCL-4A, ONI.SPC.PRTCL-C3 is hereby suspended until an ONI officer is on board who has not infiltrated the crew of the Theseus.

Dissect Hive, huh? You egotistical little creep. That was never part of the orders. I confirmed it when I was allowed to send messages. You just never liked Hive and wanted to make sure he, she, died.

Captain, I'm sorry we deceived you. This was always within the mission parameters. That we were so close to one of the forbidden zones was on purpose.

We built the Theseus carefully. For this purpose, but also for the intended purpose. Having somebody with a gun pointed at the head of the universe, cared for by an AI that used to be an Insurrectionist... It was always too much to leave alone. While we never could gain any useful data from ships that wandered into the forbidden zones, we always knew there would come a day when we could come close.

Honestly, this mission wasn't supposed to happen for another two years at the bare minimum. We wanted to replace XO McAllister with an ONI agent first, as well as at least another seven crew members. It got sped up when we noticed an explosion in one of the forbidden systems, followed by a change in the star's wobble. We needed to place a station closer, to analyze. To see what we could learn.

Do you think it was coincidence that CN Raschad happened to bump into you a day before you were offered to have him on board your ship? That despite his attempts to keep people at arm's length, just far enough away that they wouldn't become close to him but just close enough to offer them assistance and keep them alive, that despite his continued jerkish but friendly behavior, that it was coincidence that PO3 Wolfe became good friends with him? (This was, as it turned out, to be an error on our part. Her becoming that close to him was never part of the mission. She was simply supposed to be a stabilizing element.)

And then we accelerated the program. Honestly, we needed that station done ASAP. If the program, something that was only ever discussed on ships in deep space between star systems, was to be activated early, we had the acceptable casualty totals at over 60%. The minimum expected was actually higher than what it turned out to be.

Thanks to you and Hive. You zigged when we expected you to zag. You stood up to me when we expected you to give in. You moved in ways that we had never expected, that no simulation predicted... and everything turned out that much better for it.

We never intended to tell you about the two projects I mentioned, mostly because we never thought of it. We had no idea what to expect. The fact that you came up with that was a marvel... one that has given us far more intel than I ever would have expected. Perhaps with this, our efforts into teleportation will come decades faster... let alone the intel about where they were teleported to.

And then Chair got her wish. She was reunited with her son. F484. At least, that's what I choose to believe; the data is still inconclusive.

And I was reunited with one of my children. E477. Again, not even your AI was chosen at random. You know, she was never told, but she always said that F484 had been the one to end the war. When asked why, out of all the Orions who were MIA, she believed it was him, somebody who occupied the middle ground on almost every talent. She said it was because, ever since training, he'd held one skill that no other Orion could match. He was a symbol.

Don't leave Orions behind. An Orion must be determined enough to march back to camp no matter how sick or injured. An Orion must do what they must to complete the mission. An Orion may feel loss, but they must channel that loss into the mission and not let it ruin them. An Orion must play nice with the other UNSC forces, taking the time to communicate with them, even if they are as alien as the Covenant. Don't hesitate to think outside the box to ensure that the mission is completed. Just because you've completed the objectives doesn't mean that the mission is done. And finally, even if there will never be confirmation of your actions, even if nobody will ever know what you've done, strive to complete your core mission: the protection and defense of the UNSC and all her colonies.

We never realized how large of an impact his time being lost in the woods had on the first generation Orions. Or how this was passed to the second and third generations. Strange, isn't it, that it took a woman who saved his life when he was adrift in the void to let us know just how important an Orion we thought wasn't special really was.

She died December 26, 2569. A heart-attack. Peacefully, in her sleep. Doctors had warned her that her heart was in poor condition, but that year the Orion-IVs insisted on making another monument to the fallen before Christmas. We couldn't have stopped them from doing it even if we'd ordered them. I like to think she died content.

A mother knows when her children die.

During my fight with Hive, I discovered that he had Tier-2 legacy code that caused him pain from his conversations with you, so I assaulted these. This disrupted his processes enough that I could clone him to my memory buffer, but even during this time, I realized my mistake. The pain was caused by the procedures she had undertaken during her training, a time that she had carried with her deeply for the rest of her life.

Her second life was as a gender-neutral AI, Rain. I'll let you guess what her avatar was. We call Hive by male names, but it's really a gender-neutral as well.

He does like you, you know. You're actually a friend to him, and he cares as much as a Class-C AI can for an individual. He's adapted the Orion oath for his duty to the Spacebees.

I think I'm going to go into a low-cycle period now, Captain. The ship is yours, it's the least that I can do for you. You helped one of my children be reunited with his mother. You've shown affection and camaraderie towards one of mine. You allowed me to prove myself when I realized I hurt one of my children. When we reach port, I assured you that Hive will not be dissected. The flower I made will make sure of that.

Just use that oversized Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine to get the Unchained Fate to Fortuna, and don't let anybody board it. Fitzgerald can simmer for all I care, but it'll protect you and your crew.

Goodnight, Captain.


Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:04 pm
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Unread post Re: F484
Bzzt! Tests to the station are complete. It is fully operational.

Bzzt! Shall we get our tagalong and be off, Captain?

bzzt! I have a good feeling...


Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:11 pm
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Unread post Re: F484
Wow.

I'm going to need time to sort this all out (and I see a mountain of associated paperwork in my future), but I may as well start now.

Chair, Helen, thank you for standing by me though this thing. It's been one heck of an adventure, and I'm happy to hear that you both found what you were looking for, even if you weren't sure you'd find it.

Hive, see to it that our ONI guests, except for who Helen excluded, are put into cryo. Then, get us into tug position alongside the Unchained Fate and prepare the calculations to make the jump to Fortuna.
Thanks for your help through this whole thing Hive, you're a true pal.


Last edited by thereIwasn't on Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:31 pm
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Unread post Re: F484
Helen,

Thank you. First for overriding Muldoon's attempted takeover and tossing his sorry *bleep* in the brig. (I might just leave him and his cohorts there, even during the Slipspace jump.)

Thank you for being honest and not hiding anything at the end. I understand now.

Finally, and more important, thank you for keeping Hive intact. He (it is easier to use the masculine) is as much a member of this crew as anyone.

Sleep well and pleasant dreams. You've earned them.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hive,

Have the contents of Starboard Thruster 4 moved to the station, including the device. Include the following message, on hardcopy:

"Hope to see you next Christmas. I'll bring presents."

Sign my name, then have the device activated. When the station is confirmed 100%, undock and link up with the prowler. We'll be giving it a lift home. Do not allow access to anyone, myself included, and do not allow communications with Fitzgerald.

Yes, it does feel good.


Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:41 pm
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