|This article, Foundations/Schism, was written by UnggoyZealot. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|Date Published||August 29, 2018|
Schism is a short story in the Foundations collection that is about the Sangheili Fleet Master Oru 'Vanuxee as he desperately tries to prevent his fleet from being routed by the Jiralhanae Chieftain Gorvanus during the breakout of the Great Schism.
|98th Unit // Cycle 88 // Great Schism
Location: Intercession's Wisdom
Oru 'Vanuxee growled in pure rage as yet another holographic vessel blinked out of existence on the screen. That made three ships taken down by the treacherous Jiralhanae since they had attacked just minutes ago. The Great Schism had begun, and it was kill or be killed. 'Vanuxee knew this, and intended to kill. So this is what it comes to, hmm? Fine then. I will try my best against these vermin, but I am not prepared.
The Prophets had betrayed them- those worms of treachery! And to think that Oru had been the loyal Fleet Master and assistant to one of them! The Minister of Fervent Intercession would pay for this. He would pay dearly. When the Fleet Master found him, the San 'Shyuum would wish that he was already dead, for what 'Vanuxee would do to him.
"Fleet Master! The Gauntlet of the Ancients, Damnation, and Hellbringer are requesting orders on terms of engagement!" Shouted one of the bridge officers.
"Have the Damnation and Hellbringer flank the Jiralhanae fleet, while the Gauntlet pierces straight down the middle. Also tell the Keeper of Light to near us. They shall act as the final defense alongside our vessel in case we must have an honorable death."
The Major nodded and shouted the orders to Minors at the controls while Oru examined the screen. The two Heavy Corvettes flanked around the five Jiralhanae ships, distracting them just like Oru hoped. As they turned, the Gauntlet let loose its weaponry, slicing into the hulls of two frigates, while the Corvettes opened fire on the fleet's leader, a heavy cruiser. As they did though, the two remaining enemy frigates zoomed towards them, letting loose Phantoms that boarded the Damnation. 'Vanuxee's eyes widened. How could I have not foreseen this?
The Hellbringer continued its barrage on the heavy cruiser, but the shield seemed to be unfazed. Suddenly, Damnation ceased all operations, before turning its bow towards the fellow Corvette. The bridge crew all hushed waiting for a response. Then, it started to fire.
A pilot howled in rage at this turn of events, while Oru analyzed the screen, turning the the blip of the Damnation from ally to enemy. "So, they have not only stolen our resource and turned the tides in their favor, but they have also taken spoils of war. Sometimes, these Jiralhanae can be as smart as they are brutish. Tell the Hellbringer to retreat back to us."
The Major turned to 'Vanuxee with a solemn look on his face. "It is too late, Fleet Master. The Hellbringer is immobilized. The other enemy frigate has boarded." Oru responded to this with a mutter of disgust, changing the other Corvette's blip to an enemy too.
"Tell the Gauntlet to charge its plasma lance and fire at one of our own. At least we'll deny them their prize." The Major nodded and relayed the orders, the Fleet Master watching as the Gauntlet completely went through the shields of the Hellbringer, finishing it off with a burst of missile fire.
"What if there were still Sangheili survivors on that vessel, Fleet Master?"
"It would be too late for them nonetheless."
As Oru said this, the heavy cruiser moved to intercept the Gauntlet, ramming it lightly before immobilizing it with plasma fire. More Phantoms moved in, and Oru started to worry. Now only the Keeper and the Wisdom were left, against a small fleet. This would not end well. The Fleet Master gave his orders, and turned to the two Ultras guarding the gate and spoke. "Go to the Minister's quarters. Do not bring him to me. Just execute him where he stands. He will pay for his crimes against the Sangheili."
The Ultras nodded their heads grimly, and marched off to Intercession's quarters. As Oru turned back around, the Major yelled, "The Gauntlet is overtaken! The heavy cruiser has ignored the Keeper and is coming straight for us! The Keeper is now being overwhelmed by the remaining ships as we speak!"
'Vanuxee leaped out of his chair and stared at the viewscreen. The Major was right. "Fire all weapons! Destroy that cruiser at all costs!"
The command was obeyed, and soon the cruiser was crippled. As Oru sighed while he watched the Keeper of Light be destroyed by the rest of the fleet, suddenly a clunk sounded. "Cease," said Oru as he came to the realization of what had come. Despite their efforts, they had still been boarded. As he pondered this, Oru started to feel cold. He was scared. After all he had been through, this was how he would die. A great Fleet Master betrayed and slayed by his own allies. No... No... I cannot die like this, no matter what...
"Fleet Master? Fleet Master? You look distressed," stated the Major, staring into Oru's eyes. Oru regained himself and headed for the exit. "Nonsense, Major. I was just thinking. I will go to the armory to help mount a final stand."
The Major nodded firmly and returned to giving orders to the crew while Oru exited. But instead of going to the armory, he went to the lifeboat bay. If he lived, he would never be able to cope with this cowardly act. Never. Thank goodness that this ship has a San'shyuum on it, so there are lifeboats for the cowards.
As he neared the pods, the Major's voice broadcast above the ship-wide COM system. "We have been breached, I repeat, we have been breached! The Jiralhanae are slowly making it through to the quarters to the bridge! They have killed the Fleet Master's trusted Ultras and have abducted the Minister! that filth has escaped! But we shall stay, and fight with honor for our Fleet Master! We sha-"
The Major's voice was cut off by a loud clang, some plasma fire, and screams, followed by a crack sounding off a blood-curdling roar from the Major. Then all went silent. I am a coward for this. I am a coward!
As Oru conflicted over whether to die with honor or flee, an Unggoy accompanied by a Sangheili Major ran into the bay. The Major stared at 'Vanuxee, dumbfounded, and only managed to utter, "Fleet Master?"
The Unggoy ignored both of them and ran to a lifeboat trying to frantically open it as he laughed maniacally. "Who cares? Me just want to live!"
Oru slowly walked over to another lifeboat and typed in an access code, the doors sliding open. The Unggoy was oblivious to that, but not to the two Jiralhanae Captains that stormed in. "Capture them, none shall escape!"
Oru and the other Sangheili rushed into the lifeboat, and began to start the detachment sequence. As he watched the Unggoy run from the Jiralhanae, Oru shouted, "Get in, Unggoy! Before the Jir'a'ul come for us too!"
The Unggoy noticed him, and frantically scrambled over to the lifeboat, jumping in just as the blast doors closed on the Captains. They launched, and Oru watched the Intercession's Wisdom grow smaller and smaller through the viewscreen as they floated away. He gazed around at the rest of the carnage, and the Jiralhanae fleet hovering amidst the wreckage. 'Vanuxee suddenly noticed the broken and battered Gauntlet of the Ancients away from the group, revving its engines before escaping into slipspace.
At least one ship survived. Oru sat back on the lifepod's uncomfortable bench, alongside the Unggoy and the Sangheili, and pondered what would become of them now, as he set course for the nearest inhabited system in the lifeboat's system. As it launched into slipspace, He thought about his cowardice. I must do something about this. The Great Schism has cause me this cowardice, and if I do not find a solution, this continued cowardice could cause schism within myself.