I've been communicating with Chair, via my private e-mail account, for a while. I posted most of the e-mails on the regular HBO forum, but DHalo suggested that I post the entire thing here to make it easier to find. So...here they are:
Oh, and you may want to start at the bottom and read up. not exactly the most intuitive, but I don't have all of the original e-mails anymore, just the most recent one.
I'm going to add any new interactions as single posts on this thread. Makes it a little cleaner, I think.
I try and take everything you say with a grain of salt. You're under incredible pressure right now, I know. Things can't be easy for you. Your frustration must be through the roof, and you're dealing with a spook. People talk with us differently than they do others, and it's just something that I had to get used to. So don't fret, I didn't take it personally. I'm sorry for my own tone, as well. Just like you, I'm on edge.
As for your question, I'll be honest; I have no idea. Like I said, I'm not a technical person. I'm more HUMINT than anything else. I'll try and see if I can pass it around, though. See if anybody can get an answer for me.
On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 1:15 PM, M. Cory Noel <email@example.com> wrote:
I apologize if my previous message was abrupt. I meant to sincerely thank you for the information you've provided, and the risks you've taken, in spite of me asking the wrong questions. The information you've given me for the armor is interesting, however. I was hoping for something that would help to explain the EM anomalies that the Theseus and station have been experiencing. Or perhaps a reason why our "visitors" seem able to interact with physical objects (like beating the hell out of three of my crew) and then turn around and phase through walls as though they weren't even there. Even as I type this, it sounds ridiculous, but there you have it. I'm going to pass this information along to Hive and Helen and see what they can make of it; although, I'm sure Helen already has access to it, and if she does know of some such magical system, then she will very politely inform me that it is classified.
Something did just occur to me though; could the shielding system have been modified to generate an EM discharge? I seem to recall a theoretical paper I read during the war that had to do with guesses on how the Covenant shielding functioned. Didn't understand most of it, but I do seem to recall magnetic fields being important somehow.
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 01:35:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Kavacha
It's called stalling. I'm not good at it.
Yes, I've been stalling you. That's because technical things were never my forte. I stare at this stuff and my eyes start to cross. I could copy and paste it all, but that would leave both of us in bad spots. But fine, I'll try and pass along what I can in condensed form. Note that this applies particularly to F484; there were quite a few variants and kits available.
HMD: The HMD utilized an IFF system that would highlight enemies or friends, a low-light mode that would recreate the environment as if it were day, a complete weapons link (when applicable), linking to all on-board systems, a display for video, and a variable interface.
Comms: A modified uplink system for high-density burst communications, a COMSAT linking system, IR link systems, a blackbox comms resource jammer, three external connections ports, an induction interface, an arm-mounted external computing system, and a port to attach an extra comms suite if need be. It was said that he could receive and communicate halfway across a planet, more if there were active COMSATs or drones in the sky. In an emergency, he could act as a local battlenet hub.
Sensors: Visual enhancement/analysis package, sound enhancement/analysis package, radiation detection systems capable of identifying the kind of radiation, radar, forward ladar, motion trackers, an IR suite, a UV suite, two different spectrometer suites to boost the visual enhancement/analysis package, two different mass spectrometers (a laser mass spectrometer attached to the arm which he was reportedly looking into a way to also turn into a weapon), two quantum mirrors.
Armor: The "outermost" layer was a fairly thick layered titanium alloy which had undergone molecular alignment. Underneath was a titanium nanocomposit bodyglove with mounting ports for the heavy armor and heat-dispersement applications. The bottom layer was hydrostatic gel. Finally was the shielding system, which is woefully out of date by modern standards.
Motive: A reactive metal liquid crystal layer was connected to the CNI through the neural induction circuits. This allowed a boost of reaction time, added about 500 kilos to their lifting capacity (which is impressive, considering how much the armor weighed), and a decreased strain on the wearer.
Compu... Nevermind, I can't even look at that without a headache.
Power: Don't ask. I can't even get a peek at the power systems for these things. It says that he could operate for two months without needing a recharge, which indicates batteries or the like, but... Wow. I can't even begin to contemplate how they'd hold that kind of charge. Though there is a mention somewhere about something to do with rotating carbon-nanotubes.
A full medical suite capable of holding and delivering up to 25 different medications, and approximately 36 doses of biofoam, depending on the wounds received. Also food packs able to keep them fed and hydrated for a week when combined with the water reclimation systems.
An external hard case on his leg, magnetic weapons holder strips, hardpoints for webbing attachments and an under-shoulder pistol case, focused sound speakers, wide-area speakers, an anti-vibration system for stealth, pressure relay system, pressure seals, O2 recyc system and reserve air for up to 15 minutes without external support...
Honestly, Captain, what exactly are you looking for exactly?
On Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 1:35 AM, M. Cory Noel <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I've spent a while...absorbing the messages you've sent me listed below. I recall my original inquiry was concerning the technical capabilities of Kavacha Armor. In response you have given me stories, descriptions, and impressions, all the while side-stepping my requests. Upon review I can only conclude what you seem to have understood from the beginning: it's what is inside the armor that I need to understand. Thank you for the guidance in spite of my self-imposed ignorance. These days we tend to rely so much on technology that we forget what we are capable of without it.
What questions am I not asking? What details have I missed? Perhaps I just need to sleep.
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 01:21:28 -0500
Subject: Re: Kavacha
Oh, you have no idea how cathartic these messages between us are. I have spent the last god knows how many years being treated as a thing due to my expertise rather than a person. To be able to communicate with somebody who treats me as a person, a useful one but still a person, rather than someone who's slightly less than a dumb AI... It's nice.
After all this is over, if at all possible, I'll be part of your debriefing team. You'll know it's me; I'll ask you to please sit in a chair.
Then I'll let you know my name and rank. For now, though, it's still slightly too risky. After then, though, I'll take you for drinks. I'll claim it's part of the debriefing. ONI has gotten used to me doing unorthodox things -- it's part of the reason why I'm such an expert on F484. They won't raise a fuss, even if we don't talk at all about this whole experience.
Orion-IVs were the only iteration that didn't have the luxury of retirement. Of the G-1 IVs, there's four on active duty and another three on ice. Of the G-2 IVs, there's twelve on active duty and another two on ice. Right now, there's 28 G-3s, and another 48 on ice. Those who are in the fridge are awaiting treatment to guarantee their survival. I'll get more into that later. My pacing might be frustrating, but I have my reasons.
That said, they're all mostly restrained to being... What's the phrase? Rear Echelon Mike Foxtrots? Mostly in the planning department. When you break somebody down, turn them into a weapon so efficiently that they can no longer lead a civilian life, what do you do with them when they can no longer serve? They need that sense of purpose. They need orders. They need a mission.
To an Orion-IV, the mission is their world. Take them off duty and lead them to their own devices, and they start to go crazy. It might take a week, it might take a month, it might take a year, but you can just feel it. They'll eventually start planning their own missions, no matter how minor. Everything becomes a mission to them. To see them without an assigned mission... You can feel it. There's something in their eyes. A sense of hopelessness, of being lost, of crushing defeat.
No Covenant or insurrectionist ever defeated an Orion-IV, Captain. The best that they did was kill them. No, we defeated them. We defeated them by creating them, by letting them get older, by destroying anything that wasn't combat readiness.
I have to keep reminding myself that I'm saving this bottle. It gets harder the longer this goes on.
On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 12:05 AM, M. Cory Noel <email@example.com> wrote:
Someday, you're going to have to give me your actual rank, so I can address these e-mails with a proper sign of my respect. Or, you could address me on a first name basis, since all I have for you is a pseudonym. Albeit an appropriately vague one, given the situation, but a pseudonym nonetheless. On to more serious business.
Is there any way you can get me a list, or even just a ball-park figure of the remaining active Orion-IV's? Are there any that have been officially removed from active duty, but are still physically capable soldiers? I'm worried about any soldiers that may have suffered mental breaks; it would hardly be surprising, after what they've been through. I certainly wouldn't want any additional harm to come to them. I'm not sure how I would go about detaining a fully in control Orion-IV, much less one who has no compunctions about harming his allies. I'm sorry to continue pressing for information on Kavacha, but I am still curious about the specs on F484's armor, if you've had any luck tracking it down.
I still have a few cards up my sleeve...
Sicurezza e pace,
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 03:30:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Kavacha
How much more than coffee are we talking here?
You're listening to too much propaganda. You'd think that ONI got it straight across every world, but noooo. Some paper pushing SOB has to go and decide that his story will fit the world he's stationed on better. Trust me, this happens more than you'd think, and it's damned annoying.
The divisions of the Orion-IVs was less strict than you might think. Some were Navy and some were Marines, yes. Actually, most were Marines. The Science Corps were Navy though. If you asked a member of the brass, they'd tell you that this was the best way to do it and that it should follow strict blah blah blah. There are two words for it, and I don't think you own any cattle.
Whenever an Orion was fielded, they had complete operational control. The best of the best, utterly brainwashed into complete devotion to the UNSC. No Orion has ever gone turncoat. Ever. That should say something. So it didn't matter if a member of the Science Corps (like F484) met up with a group of Marines. He told them to jump, they asked when they could land.
There were other divisions, naturally. Mostly based on specialty. There was one that was even Air Force (I can't remember which they called him offhand, I'm afraid. I think it was something like Deployment Corps or something silly like that.), but he... Let's just say that the records he set have yet to be broken.
In the end, to the Orions, such divisions didn't matter. Decentralized command structure. The right man (or woman) was always in charge. Always. They didn't bicker or argue. For five years they learned what each other were good at. Instinct told them who would give the orders on a moment's notice. Even with his tendency to go 404, F484 ended up giving a lot of orders. When the a guy suddenly gets a boatload of intel and starts saying that an apparently empty building is a tier one asset, you follow his lead. Even if he is three miles away.
Orions these days... They just aren't the same. God. They're like... shadows. Memories. They're all about protocol. It's drilled into them, you see. They aren't programmed for it or anything (extensive brainwashing isn't allowed anymore, just a hardcore version every soldier gets) but they spout it off all the same. They aren't as quiet, aren't as synchronized, aren't...
They're great for propaganda, but the IVs? Everybody agrees. If a IV walks into a room, you know it. If a IV says something, you listen. If a IV tells you to do something, you do it. Those few in active service still... Those are the real masters of propaganda. They just have that presence. You know they're more capable than anybody else in the room. Just keep them in their armor. They don't look at you -- they look through you.
I'm rambling again. It's late, I'm tired, and I'm prepping one last thing for you tonight. It's not much, no files attached. But it's my last note about their training. From here on out... I'd say the fun begins, but I can't. I watched what they went through, what they consider fun. I hope that I never see that as fun myself.
I know I'm slow, and I'm also offering you a lot of intel that you probably don't care about, but please understand. I have my reasons. By the end, I hope you'll agree that this was the best way to do it.
Also, getting fancy with you words, eh? Careful. I'm fluent in more languages than you these days, and I might enjoy proving it just a little too much.
P.S. If we ever get to meet in person? Golga Dark Brew, Ferus Crystal Brandy, and if you can find (and afford) it, pre-war Gershwin Family Red Wine. Preferably 2498, but that's harder to find than a natural blue rose.
On Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 2:09 AM, M. Cory Noel <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Let me start by saying how much I appreciate your timely response, especially with sensitive material such as this, not to mention the strain it must be causing toward your other duties. I think I'll owe you well more than a coffee by the time this is over. That being said, I do have some additional requests. I remember rumors during the War, after the Spartan-II program went public, of what their armor could do. I wrote most of it off as hyperbole or propaganda, but I'm curious as to the similarities between the Spartan-II armor and the Kavacha used by the Orions. Were the Spartan-II's part of the Orion Program, or were they in any way related? I find it hard to believe that two separate "super soldier" initiatives would be funded during wartime, with no cooperation between the two. In addition, I'm curious as to the existence of a Science Corps within the Orion Program. I suppose I shouldn't be, considering they were working to push human physical and mental abilities to their very limits. Were there many strict division's of the Orion-IV program? And which of these, if they existed, did our elusive F484 belong to?
Thank you again for your assistance.
Cura Ut Valeas,
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 13:59:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Kavacha
Give me a bit on that. The iteration of Kavacha armor that F484 used was modular. The basic model that was worn by Science Corps Orion-IVs was some pretty technical stuff to start with, and F484 was especially insistent on having his own specifications.
In all honesty, the Kavacha armor that's used today owes a lot to the Orion-IV Science Corps. Their technical feedback, suggestions, and field modifications both for their own armor and other roles proved to be invaluable. I wish I could pass along the tech specs that some of them drew up. There's one in particular... I wish we wouldn't have lost him. His final submitted ideas were beyond anything that we can still comprehend. We thought for a long time that it might have been madness, but a recent breakthrough shows that his ideas for a new type of kinetic reclimation system might be possible.
But I'm rambling again.
As soon as I can get confirmation on the modular systems and field modifications that F484 used, I'll let you know. I had to pack in a hurry and a lot of my notes are in disarray. This AI they assigned me is being especially unhelpful. Reminds me of somebody I worked with during the war a little too much for my comfort.
On Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 1:06 PM, M. Cory Noel <email@example.com> wrote:
I just wanted to make sure you got my earlier request for information concerning Kavacha armor. I've re-listed in below just in case. I know I've been pressing you for updates lately, but things are starting to get a little tense here. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the entire crew of the Theseus.
If it's possible that we are dealing with F484, or even another ORION, I need to know what their specific iteration of Kavacha armor can do. Can you get me design specs, or even just descriptions of the armor's capabilities? Specifically, things like: reliability in hard vacuum, EMP discharges, independent air supply, shielding, stealth materials, optional equipment or personal customization by the Orions? I know this information is highly classified, but I'll take whatever I can get. That means everything from technical specs to first-hand accounts to battlefield rumor. As you said, I need to know what I'm dealing with.
Also, My e-mail containing my prompt will be below her response, in the same post. Might be a little confusing, but I'm trying to preserve my integrity, so I don't want to edit anything.
Re: Kavacha (From Isitina to M. Cory Noel) 6:11AM
I don't often admit to this, but there have been a lot of tears lately. For me, the war ended not very long ago. Going over all of this, I'm reminded of a lot of things... I had a lot of friends, a lot of family who died in the war. I was never on a planet during an attack. I'd learn about their deaths by reports. This... It's bringing a lot to the forefront. I keep thinking back to my boys. I've reread all their favorite books here recently. Paper copies, honest to god paper copies. I feel a bit better after that, but...
The training is different. The procedures are different. There was a total shift in protocols and procedures. Things aren't so invasive now. This may sound horrible of me, but in a way I find it sad.
The very same horror that the IVs experienced made them noble in a way. At least to me. There's something special about them that I'll never be able to put into words. Something that goes beyond the brainwashing, beyond the training, beyond the augmentation. They were something special. Plop one down next to a V and you can't help but feel that the Vs are a joke.
There's still IVs on active combat duty, you know. Even at their age, they lead the Vs. Even at their age, they still out perform the Vs. They're the old war horse. And when the VIs go active, nobody has any doubts that they'll be second fiddle to the IVs as well.
When the IVs look at the newest generations of Orions, they look... Sad. The IVs were all family. They were all forged as family, to view all Orions as family. Blood looks out for blood, after all. But ONI doesn't do that as heavily any more. The best analogy that I have is the prodigal son. They're part of the family, but they keep themselves apart from it.
At least, that's how the IVs see it.
Simply put, the procedures are lighter, the brainwashing is lighter, and they expect the Vs and the soon to be VIs to perform just as well as the IVs. The IVs are now the benchmark -- even the worst IV that's combat worthy is capable of shredding a V. Almost the only things that they have in common are the five years of training, the armor, and the name.
Great, now I've got a bitter taste in my mouth again. If Ball were still around, I can only imagine what he'd say.
I look forward to meeting with you in person, Captain. I promise, I won't be such a fuddy duddy trapped in the past when we meet up.
On Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 11:45 AM, M. Cory Noel <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I'm sorry for drilling you for information outside of your specialty; I know how draining that can be, constantly getting asked questions that you can't answer. I do appreciate your efforts on behalf of the Theseus' crew, and myself specifically. You are doing more than I could have expected, and this has been far more helpful than almost all of my general interactions with the entirety of ONI over the years. Before we jump into this, how are you doing? It's been stressful enough for me, but at least I am nearby where the action is happening. I can't imagine how frustrating this must be for you to get all of the information secondhand.
A while back, you mentioned the current generation of Orions; how after the Orion-IV's they were something less than they used to be. I know you tried to explain it to me before, but I guess I'm having trouble understanding. Are the differences in the Orion groups due to different training regimens/programs, quality of candidates or instructors, or lack of field experience in our relatively peaceful recent history? I know that what was done to the earlier Orions was horrific, so I wouldn't be surprised to discover the training was somewhat less demanding now than it has been in the past. Also, I am curious as to which generation of Orions is the most current one, and to the nature of their interactions with the other, earlier Orion generations.
I know I just asked a lot of questions in a pretty short time, but remember, I am going to make good on my promise of coffee...Golga Dark Brew, if I remember correctly.