Week 121: Sympathy for Revenge

Prompt: Revenge is probably one of the most common themes in any media format. A driving force behind many character's motivations, its an emotion most of us can sympathise with. While its common to see the beginning of this sequence of events, and the ending of it, rarely do we get to see the emotional and physical toil it takes on a person, whether they're finding the motivation to keep going with their revenge, or how they go on with their life when it is over and done with. As the usual, roughly 1000 words.

Start Date: January 19, 2019

End Date: January 27, 2019

  • Best Served by SilverLastname
    • This was a really great read from start to finish. Aside from the odd janky sentence here and there, from a technical perspective it was great. The descriptive nature of the story sets every scene, as it goes, so even with jumps in the narrative, we still get a crystal clear picture of each scene as it happens, from the bombing, to their revenge, to boot camp, to the diner, and beyond. Its also got a great, and very fresh take on the subject. We often see Insurrectionists swearing vengeance on the UNSC, or humans swearing vengeance on the Covenant, but so rarely do we get a revenge narrative aimed at the Insurrection. Even the formatting used helps to drive the narrative, using text formatting to show the jump between past and present. Even if it creeps a bit far over the (roughly) 1000 word limit, I think its well deserving of this week's winner.
  • A Chance by Spartan-D042
    • As expected, a good read from D042 that takes us directly into the psyche of Cody, through a simultaneous look of the physical aspects of his revenge, and the psychological drive. Its a great spin on the revenge theme, where his driving force isn't simple bloody minded revenge, but an ever present fear of seeing his loved ones without seeing them avenged. Its a fresh spin on the revenge theme that certainly separates it from the normal revenge schlock, and was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to see for this Weekly. My main feedback would be that, and I fall prey to this myself, is that the characters are introduced by name, and little beyond. Even with familiarity, some good descriptors to set the scene, and set the character works wonders to transplant the reader.

Week 122: Round the Twist

Prompt: Weird stuff happens. Its a fact of life. You've probably seen something weird yourself. But what happens when that weird gets real, and real threatening? Halo is no stranger to the weird either. The otherworldly horror of the Flood, Gravemind projecting itself into your thoughts, or even the stranger threads in the Forerunner trilogy, as the Lovecraftian horror of the Precursor's plan comes to fruition, even costing the sanity of some characters. From our own users, we've seen the strange, bordering on supernatural, like our Halloween tales, The Silent Garden, and beyond. Some of this inspiration has been drawn from SCP - Secure, Contain, Protect, an urban fantasy dealing with the strange, and paranormal. Some of it has also been taken from the weird hellscape that is late 80s early 90s children's TV too. So, in roughly 1000 words, I'd like to see characters reacting to the strange, the odd, the bizarre, or downright horrifying. Whether this is a perfectly normal event that's been skewed to seem paranormal, a paranormal event with a logical explanation, or strange, with no explanation, anything goes for this.

Start Date: January 27, 2019

End Date: February 3, 2019

  • Never Odd Or Even by SilverLastname
    • Slipspace drives are weird. And I like that we get to see one being weird. Its got that feeling of existential space terror that really gets your hairs on end, knowing that there's no escape, from something that is totally unexplainable. And the cyclic ending, that brings us back to the beginning of the story almost perfectly, is a great ending and beginning, a good ouroboros twist. Its aa really deserving winner, and really encapsulates what I imagined for this Weeks entry.
  • Comeuppance by Spartan-D042
    • So this was a great story to read. The story is well paced, it really takes us through a tale of vengeance with a really satisfying conclusion. Great efforts have been taken by the writer to guide the reader to the conclusion, and connect the dots along with Teka. I really liked the the overall 'three act' layout to, to take us through the stages of vengeance. However, because its over 2000 words, and not really on subject (might have been better for last week!), I'm going to have to take it out of the running.

Week 123: Tanks, forward!

Prompt: Tank beats Ghost! Tank beats Hunter! Tank beats MEXT! Tank beats everything! Tanks are, undeniably, great to play with, and terrifying to fight against. Your task these week is roughly 1000 words detailing a story about tanks. Commanding tanks, fighting against tanks, tank on tank action, heck, even repairing tanks. Give me something tank centric, and you've got a week to do it. Armoured fighting vehicles only.

Start Date: February 3, 2019

End Date: February 9, 2019

  • Contact, Operation: Horseshoe, No Rest for the Weary, Remembrances, and New Dawn by SilverLastname
    • So, you've continued to show off your really strong world building, and produced not one, but five works demonstrating it. The individual stories vary from traditional to novel in approach to the topic, and each fit the topic too. My only complaint would be the use of the weekly to submit a story in five parts, rather than five individual stories.
  • A Well-Oiled Machine by Ahalosniper - Winner
    • There's something really satisfying and evocative about three Spartans working together to make a tank work. Its a really great microcosm of shenanigans, bullshit, and a good old charge at the end, to create a story that really gives us a fantastic take on the topic. An enjoyable read, that keeps us withit from start to finish, and works great as its own little self contained episode.
  • Third Battle of El Alamein by EvenManatee887
    • So, with this, the story does stray a little from the topic. Tanks are second fiddle in the story, and sort of exist as passing mentions, or in the distance. While there's some good dialogue, it sort of serves as a build up to something that starts and ends very quick. Remember that its a short story contest, building your story as a self contained short story would yield better results, rather than compacting a larger event.

Week 124: Step out of your shell

Prompt: Spartans are undoubtedly the stars of Halo. All but one of the game features them as central protagonists, and alone or together, they're a big draw of the universe. But sometimes, I've seen Spartans play second fiddle to the armour they inhabit. As iconic as MJOLNIR is, I'm looking for stories that take Spartans out of their armour, and leaves them naked to the dangers of the universe. Lets put the super back in super soldier, and see Spartans out of armour (MJOLNIR, and SPI, anything that needs batteries), and fighting tooth and nail.

Start Date: February 9, 2019

End Date: February 17, 2019

  • Warm Welcome by Spartan-D042
    • A great read, that perfectly captured the spirit of this Prompt. A single spartan, with just his senses, training, experience, and augmentations. Great pacing from start to end, and an exciting description of combat that flows well from start to finish. It really shows off the mentality and strength of Spartans, even without their armour, and as a bonus I got to read about some BDS mooks job super hard.
  • Endgames by SilverLastname
    • While Endgames is very mcuh a story written to your strengths, I feel it drags on a little bit. In the short, punchy world of the weekly, the story feels a little slower and sedate, and aside from the energetic final portion, a lot of it carried on with the Chess set as the central element, which sort of derails the objective of the prompt.
  • Rival by Spartan-D042
    • Compared to your other entry, I feel this one might be a little lacking. While the intro is good, and strong, the fight with it is the direct opposite of your previous entry. It is a little confusing, and hard to follow, and I think the attempts to be deliberately vague with their identity worked against you. Otherwise, the story was very visceral, especially in the final stages, really gave oomph to the fight.
  • Ambush on Ihsir by Alaska013
    • So, I would be thinking this is probably your first entry? As your first attempt at a weekly, its an impressive effort. Your writing sets the tone, and takes us to the events with some great descriptors to highlight exactly what is happening and where. Combat was good to follow, and gave us a sense for the battle, which is sometimes tricky to pull off. A few things to bring up though, was some of the sentence structure seemed a bit off, like "All of time got seemed to get even slower from his point of view", as well the story had some pacing issues. It felt like efforts were made to cut it to size, leading to a few moments where some changes, like the armour explodes, or Reff shoots the ODST, and it seems to carry on without really responding to that. It seems like it was cut down to make the length. With this, you only have a short prose, and it might have been better to focus only on the first fight and omit the second, or combine first and last to make a more satisfying story. Otherwise, its a great first attempt, and you've got the makings of a good writer.

Week 125: Journey and Salvation

Prompt: Last few weeks have been UNSC heavy. Lets get some spangly purple space aliens in here. You can write about any member of the Covenant, of any rank. The only rule is that it has to take place during the final Age of the Covenant, the Age of Reclamation. Your timeline is from Truth, Regret, and Mercy ascending to their thrones, to the end of the war.

Start Date: February 17, 2019

End Date: February 24, 2019

  • Prey by SilverLastname
    • Another really solid performance. The story sets a great dichotomy between 'Zafamee's life on Sanghelios, and his role as a warrior, with great scene setting that's come to mark your stories, and the short and brutal combat between him and four luckless UNSC soldiers is a great battle to read.
  • Eye for an Eye, Plus Some by Armorheart
    • I think this is your first entry? In which case its an entry to be proud of. You've set a good idea for it, that doesn't follow normal expectations for this story in a good way. Its enjoyable to read, and transports us to the battle. Some things of note, would be the formatting is a little off, and some extra paragraph breaks would make it a little easier to read, and some of the descriptive text falls a little flat, like for instance descriptors used for the Spirit. Some of the sentence structure is a little confusing, for instance the sentence about dropping off warriors may have better served to be broken into smaller ones. One of the key ones, that everyone does on their first go, is the story pacing. The key to short stories is creating stories to the size, and because of this it feels like the ending is sudden and unintended, like you hit your word limit there.

Week 126: Slings and Arrows

Prompt: Time for something a little different. Some of you may already be familiar with Halo Fanon:Mythic Requisitions, where you can add REQ weapons that fit with the style of weapon you'd find in Warzone. Your challenge these week is to add a REQ item to this article. For this, you need a name, rank, REQ level, a quote (no more than ten words) and a description that gives a brief overview of the item's role, and a brief description of it's function (no more than 100 words). It must be a newly added weapon or vehicle. Best of luck!

Start Date: February 24, 2019

End Date: March 3rd, 2019

Week 127: Lets get tactical

Prompt: After a weekend of rediscovering the joys, and miseries of Rainbow 6: Siege, I wondered how this kind of battle, a small scale operation between terrorists and counter-terrorists, could be applied to the Halo universe. We've briefly seen similar things in Contact Harvest, and a few other pieces of Halo media, but I'd really like to see a user's take on it. You've got 2000 words to depict a short, brutal siege between UNSC special forces and Insurrectionists over hostages, or a bomb, intelligence or something similar, fought over single building/compound/something of similar size. Best of luck!

Start Date: March 3rd, 2019

End Date: March 10th, 2019

  • Keep Moving by Delta Pistol
    • A good solid outing from yourself. A tense fight through a rebel compound, and into the bunker. The fighting was easy to follow, the concept simple but well executed, and with a good and solid ending. The only improvement I would perhaps suggesting is a greater use of descriptors. There was a lot left to our imagination.
  • Scoped by SilverLastname - Winner
    • A really novel approach, taking us through a hostage crisis step by step. The moment it all comes together is a really satisfying ending. My only suggestion would be that the shifts of POV were a little jarring. Using some clever formatting might have made them a little easier, like the moments it shifts to the sniper, using italics.
  • Knock, Knock by EvenManatee887
    • So, a excellent outing from yourself. My strongest recommendation with this is simplifying and streamlining the story. You might have done better by focusing in on one of the fireteams on their own, rather than spreading yourself out. The result is several streams of less memorable action.

Week 128: It belongs in a museum!

Prompt: There's a trope on this wiki. Its not a trope I particularly like. The idea of somebody carrying some ridiculous antique revolver/M4/family Katana, kinda sits uneasy with me. But what if it could be done right? Some old, antiquated piece of kit being used to settle a dispute, to escape, to kill an enemy. An old hunting rifle, a sawn off shotgun, a big chunky revolver, even something antiquated in a contemporary setting, like an old out of date ship, a ancient M6 pistol (Its been around for a century!) or even a set of Mk 4 MJOLNIR used after the Great War has ended. Also, must adhere to canon. 1000 words, have fun!

Start Date: March 11th, 2019

End Date: March 16th, 2019

  • Legacies by SilverLastname
    • A great read that set us in the desperation of the collapse of a colony following a Covenant attack, and with great pacing. But, your story was 700 words over the limit, so I'mma have to disqualify this entry.
  • Laconic by EvenManatee887
    • Its great to see improvement in your work, where you're getting better at setting the scene, and creating a more engaging narrative, and creating a narrative that better fits the Weekly limits. The narrative is pretty inventive, starting with a the present, a flash back that then brings us back to the present. Some of the sentence structure early on is a little janky, so its a little hard to follow and I had to reread it a few times to quite get what was happening. I think that may be a consequence of cutting the story length to fit.
  • The Late Summer Hunt by Timothy Emeigh
    • So, a great read that really hit the theme I had in mind. Old meets new as Elena combines traditional tools with new tech in a great read. It really shows that a lot of effort has been put in, with a lot of the details of the dog being spot on for real life. This level of research, and the general level of polish to the writing, really earns its spot as this week's winner.

Week 129: Goliath, meet David

Prompt: A tale as old as time. The little guy takes on the big guy and wins. Against all odds, they scrape a victory against a seemingly undefeatable enemy. Maybe its because I've been watching Godzilla films non-stop for several weeks, but the story really speaks to me. I want a 2000 word story where the 'little guy' takes on the 'big guy' and wins. Maybe a Frigate winning a duel against a battlecruiser, a human defeating a Brute, a Grunt defeating a Spartan. A one on one fight where the victor is significantly smaller and weaker than the loser.

Start Date: March 18th, 2019

End Date: March 24th, 2019

Week 130: Improvise. Adapt. Hopefully don't die

Prompt: Sometimes shit breaks. And sometimes its important stuff. The engine, the firing mechanism, the macguffin that will win the day, you name it. And fixing that all important device requires some inventive thinking, whether that's a paper clip in the right place, holding it together with bubblegum, shutting down life destroying apocalypse weapons with just your shields, or infecting the alien mothership with a Virus from a Apple Powerbook. In 1000 words I want your characters to encounter a malfunction that totally derails their plans, or otherwise places them in jeopardy, and they have to get creative to fix it.

Start Date: March 25th, 2019

End Date: April 1st, 2019

Week 131: BFFS

Prompt: Everybody needs a friend. Chief had Cortana, Holmes had Watson, Mettermeyer and Reuental, that tree Bob Ross is painting. The objective of this week is to show the strength of friendship between two friends, however you want, in 1000 words.

Start Date: April 2nd, 2019

End Date: April 8th, 2019

Week 132: Post-Human Rights

Prompt: Time for a change of pace. Some of you may remember a few years ago 343i advertised a position by asking for an essay exploring the topic of the Mantle. For a very special weekly, we're looking at that again. The topic of this essay are smart A.I., and the morality surrounding their creation, use, and then decommission. Is it humane to use a living brain to create a machine, at the expense of human. Is it enslavement to force this post-human into service? When that machine has serviced its purpose, and is no longer functioning, is it decommissioned, euthanised, or even murdered? These are all topics you can argue for, against, or both sides. As a special, this weekly is capped at 10,000 words, but you do not need to hit that limit. You also have an extended period. It is to be done in an essay style format.

Start Date: April 12th, 2019

End Date: April 29th, 2019

  • The Continued use of Smart AI in UNSC Service by Timothy Emeigh
    • While I didn't look for something created as an in universe setting, your work was certainly better for it. Of the two, this was a much more focused, with a direction it maintained from start to end, and gives a great insight to the UNSC's continued military use, and requirement of A.I.s.
  • The Study of Smart AI (TPF) by ThePeteFiles
    • While undoubtedly the more metaphysical of our two essays, I feel that it lacked the laser focus of the previous essay, and while it undoubtedly delves into a much heavier topic, the execution of it is somewhat lacking.

Week 133: Microfiction for Big Heroes

Prompt: This week, we're doing Microfiction! For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of it (also known as drabble), it is 100 words to express a story in it's entirety. Your story must have setting, at least one character, some kind of conflict, and a resolution. Other than that, the rest of it is for you to decide. Any entries over 100 words will be disqualified.

Start Date: May 1st, 2019

End Date: May 6th, 2019

  • Fools (TPF) by ThePeteFiles
    • My main feedback for this is that it didn't really seem to fit the category, of a story with a beginning and a conclusion. It just feels like an acted out scene, and it also feels like, in order to complete the scene, something was cut, because some of the dialogue doesn't seem to have context, particularly the last line of dialogue.
  • Shell by SilverLastname
    • A really great entry giving the after effects on battle, and its ongoing effects. A deserving this winner
  • Faceless by EvenManatee887
    • A good entry, and although I think it's a little ellipsis heavy, it was a great introduction to the Ballista project for me.
  • Exposed by Distant Tide
    • While it starts very strongly, especially getting dialogue down to a tee, and setting the scene really well, the last paragraph is probably the part that knocked it out of the running for this week's winner. The grammar and punctuation are a little off, so it reads in a very stilted manner. The second comma and first period are the parts that break that paragraph down
  • Sacrifice by S-D379
    • Its not often we get an entry about a canon character, but this one was certainly worthwhile! its got a great level of focus, the tone really works, but there's two parts that stick out. Injuredly isn't a word, as far as I can tell. I'm sure you might be thinking of a similar word, but its not coming to me at the moment. Also, the third sentence doesn't quite make sense. I don't know if it's supposed to be a run on, or if there's something absent, but it doesn't seem to work.
  • Faith by LegendOfElTopo
    • Faith is a subject we don't see much of in Halo, or HF, but I really like this interpretation. In the face of absolute annihilation, Morgan simultaneously denies the existence of god, and makes a prayer to god, giving a great sense of duality. This is easily the runner up for the week, and a great entry.

Week 134: Were it so easy

Prompt: War is over! Except there's several billion dead, a few dozen worlds melted to glass, and an awful lot of bad blood. And now we've got new neighbours responsible for that whole war. Peace was never going to be easy, and being neighbourly even less. We're back to 1000 words this week, and your goal is to show Human-Covenant relations in a post-war era. The race, the context, and nature of the story are up to you, so long as it is post-war.

Start Date: May 12th, 2019

End Date: May 19th, 2019

  • The New Normal by StoneGhost
    • A good, and enjoyable read from start to end. This story takes a keystone moment of the war and really boils it down to a soldier's experience. Your army experience definitely shines through in the Marine's mannerisms and experiences, and it really illuminates a new viewpoint.
  • Forsaken by EvenManatee887
    • Your writing is improving, and this is a great litmus test of that. You set the scene, you described the scenes and characters in great detail, the story had a defined start, middle, and end. A lot of the mechanics of writing are coming together. My only comment is that the speech given to the protagonist by the human feels somewhat... stilted. Like it doesn't quite fit with the scene or story.
  • Belong by SilverLastname
    • This was a novel take on the prompt, taking our opposing races far from the battlefields of old, to a very different battlefield. It's hard to critique this one as everything felt pretty solid, and was an enjoyable read.

Week 135: A Time To Binge

Prompt: Distant Tide here, taking over this Weekly! What a depressing galaxy our characters live in with no culturally-significant media to devour through, or, at least none that we actively discuss. With Game of Thrones coming to an end, maybe its time for us to stop bingeing and to let our characters binge themselves. 1000 words, as per usual; write about an in-universe cultural past time or activity that a character or characters enjoy indulging or taking part in. It can be a canon or fanon thing, however, I prefer it to be relevant to a society's popular culture: some form of media, fiction, activity, sport, etc. This should not be their occupation, nor something they have to for the sake of others. This is their fun time, for them, make the most of it.

Start Date: May 20th, 2019

End Date: May 27th, 2019

  • Ricochet by SilverLastname
    • Another excellent piece by Silver. This piece doesn't need much explaining in regards to setting, I think that would be called normality for Silver's pieces given his skill for creating anthological narrative shorts that simply stand on their own. Ricochet creates a nice piece regarding the life of a former athlete too injured to continue his sport but still in love with it nonetheless. It's a nice feel-good piece with solid grammar and solid description. This piece says what needs to be said and nothing more. A solid entry for this Weekly. Also liked that the protagonist was named Rico, as if short for "Ricochet."

Week 136: Happy Birthday!

Prompt: In honour of the birthday of your benevolent overlord Bureaucrat Ajax 013, your goal this week is to celebrate the birthday of one of your own characters, in whichever method would suit them best. Whether their birthday is spent among friends, in isolation, or on the battlefield, even celebrating the birthday of one who passed on. You have 1000 words to celebrate with!

Start Date: June 3rd, 2019

End Date: June 9th, 2019

  • Spartan-Issue Only by StoneGhost
    • Jorge is the man. We really don't get to see that enough. But this is a great interaction between two men, spartans no less, followed by further family relations. Overall a great read reflecting on family and happiness.
  • Welcome Home by KingOfYou115
    • A solid entry, with a good overall narrative flow. My main critique would be that some of the dialogue could do with some attribution and description. Is it Hall saying this? Is he angry, is he shouting? These work for setting the scene for the reader and placing them in the story.
  • Andra-D054/November Sixth by Distant Tide
    • Well shit. I guess people died. Well, birthdays are never opportune times. We take a nose dive into Andra's mind with a vividly detailed story of how this has left Andra, and her reaction to the world around her. It also shows those little things that can turn it around. Over all, a great entry.
  • Fireworks (IA Excerpt) by Kobold Lich
    • Sometimes people seem to miss the mark with Spartans, with them being high fiving dudebros. You certainly did not. The almost robotic, and methodical Spartan nature is excellently displayed, and well written conversation between two characters, something sometimes drawn on for too long, or broken.
  • Officer Entanglement (TPF) by ThePeteFiles
    • So, i struggled a bit with the present tense, more a personal thing than anything else, but I loved the dialogue between Sam and Mathilda, and the story elements and scenes existing purely in their minds.
  • Confinement by SilverLastname
    • As always, an enjoyable read, sitting us in the seat of a wayward Spartan the duplicitous ONI agent. As always, you paint a great picture of your characters, and frame the story in an excellent manner.
  • One Year More by Timothy Emeigh
    • So, I'm not super familiar with the Maponos/Sirona setting, but thankfully you've not really steeped that story too heavily in that setting, which is always a good thing for these kind of short stories. The story does a great job of setting us in the world of these characters, with excellent and continuous uses of descriptive language gives the reader a solid vision of the story. overall, a solid entry.
  • Lost, Found, Lost by LegendOfElTopo
    • A great bit of novel story telling, showing a Spartan's life, from their first brush with the Covenant, to their training, the first mission, and eventual reunion. The story has great pacing, and really shows a Spartans growth from start to present, and the effects on their life style. Pacing is spot on.

Week 137: Hammer of the Gods

Prompt: MJOLNIR armour is cool. You can't deny it. Which brings us to this week. Your task is to create a suit of MJOLNIR as an article. For this, there is no limit to word count, the only requirement is that your suit as a history, a role, features, and notable use. However, there are rules

  • It must be canon. If I have to NCF your article, you will never hear the end of it
  • It must be MJOLNIR designed for a Spartan. No armoured dogs or I'm sending you to the bad place.
  • It must be original. Please no older articles or recycled articles.

Start Date: June 17th, 2019

End Date: June 23rd, 2019

  • ENTERPRISE-class Mjolnir by Distant Tide
    • A wonderfully composed article, that perfectly fits a MJOLNIR suit. Colourful history, a focused design, and components are all brought together to make a pretty deserving winner.
  • MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor/GRD by Spartan-D042
    • It feels that you may not have finished it, but lets go over what we have so far. The early steps of the articles are there, but the expansion, polish, and finish is missing.
  • PRAETORIAN-Class Mjolnir by SilverLastname
    • While a good entry, the article overall felt a little unfocused. Like it couldn't quite settle on a direction. Some of the paragraphs felt out of place, some of it didn't quite mesh where it was, and the 'design history' section probably could have been split with a 'features' section would probably would have cleaned it up quite a bit.
  • COSSACK-class Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor by EvenManatee887
    • This was a really good job, and an excellently polished piece of work. There's tech there without going into babble, there's cool bits and pieces of tech, the suit has an interesting history and design, and a cemented role. My only criticism would be the volume of tech, especially the ones lifted off other variants

Week 138: Last Goodbye

Prompt: Life is full of hellos and goodbyes. As this will be my last Weekly for the foreseeable future, we'll focus on goodbyes. Specifically the last goodbyes. Whether this is two trainees saying good bye as they prepare for augmentation, only for one to wake up, a soldier holding their comrade as their life ebbs away, and two brothers parting ways in the Blooding Years, or a mother waving to her son as he leaves on the last evac shuttle. Make it sad. Make it heartfelt. Bonus points if you make me cry, I dare you. Limit is an extra special 4000 words, however you don't need to meet that. Your story can be in any format you wish.

Start Date: June 24th, 2019

End Date: July 7th, 2019

  • Left Alone by Timothy Emeigh
    • so another great entry on the saga of Sirona and Maponos, and a great entry overall. My main feedback would be the opening of the story felt much stronger than the tail end, which felt perhaps rushed? Or at least felt there was less attention given to it.
  • Gone by Spartan-D042
    • The entry really drives up the oomph factor, with a really strong theme from beginning to end, and the toll of loss on a Spartan. The emotional impact feels real and visceral, and really gives the story that emotional edge. However, it is let down by some spelling and grammar errors (IE, "the alarm instead his helmet droning", "e’d liked it"). Despite these flaws, its probably invoked the best response in me, which is why it is this week's winner.
  • One Last Time (TPF) by ThePeteFiles
    • A difficult choice between family or friends, made all the more difficult by the Created messing stuff up. A great read of somebody's difficult choices leading to that final good bye.
  • Recollection by S-D379
    • I guess Deryck is getting the chance for a final good bye he might not have gotten. I think it may miss the topic of a last goodbye, but it certainly does tuig on the heart where it needs to.

Week 139: There’ll be Another Time

Prompt: Hey it's D042 here to run this weekly after Ajax's stepping down, I figured I'd try my hand at this. Death, it inevitably comes for us all, sometimes peacefully in our sleep, sometimes...less peacefully. In the Halo universe people die, a lot, but some go out in a blaze of glory. For this week’s prompt, you must all satiate my bloodlust for dead Spartans (okay fine, non-Spartans too) and write me the best last stand you can. It can be for an existing character or a new one, in just about any conflict, all that matters is they die in the end, and do so in a defiant fashion. You wanna write it for the fight scene? Go ahead. You wanna focus on how they feel in their last moments, how they hope it's all worth it or just how much they hate someone? That's fine too, surprise me. Around 1000 words if you can.

Start Date: July 11, 2019

End Date: July 21, 2019

  • Observation by SilverLastname: So, I really liked this piece, and I don't want the fact that it won by default to take away from that. As is the usual with Silver, this was incredibly well written. I really felt the panic and desperation in Lione's actions. The description of the combat was visceral and satisfying, and paired with the ending it really highlights how humanity's defiance would've left an impression on species like the Elites. Great piece, and a worthy winner.

Week 140: Executive Order

Prompt: The Halo-Call of Duty rivalry, a staple of arguments between middle school boys (at least in my experience), but wouldn’t it be great if we could all just get along? This week write me a story set in an action set piece that might be more at home in a COD setting. Super-spooky black ops? Do it. Attacking a launch facility held by *insert bad guys of your choosing here* about to launch an INKV? Be my guest. Get crazy, get over the top, get tacti-cool marines. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 words please. Start Date: July 22, 2019

End Date: July 28, 2019

  • Midnight Storm by KingOfYou115: Okay, so I loved every single piece submitted this week and choosing between them was frankly agonizing. What stopped this one short is that my oppressive word limit didn't let us see the operation beyond the initial bits of it. Still, hitching a ride into the most secure prison ever on the outside of a ship to break someone out is very CoD, and I love it. Really would love to see how the rest of the story unfolds.
  • Epimetheus by SilverLastname: As per usual, Silver, for all his procrastination in writing articles, has given us another great piece. As you'll see with the other pieces, I was reduced to nitpicking in order to choose between these pieces. The action is visceral and hard hitting, and the sp00ky setting was great. I literally had to ding it because your Spartan didn't kill anyone and CoD's version of war has such little regard for human life its laughable. I feel if you're gonna do real well with week 141's prompt.
  • Going Dark by EvenManatee887: Dudes in suits doing the murdering, I love it. Only criticism is that I guess that it seems kinda jumpy? The paragraphs are very short so it was a little confusing for me to keep up, that said I blame myself for my word count limit. Still really good stuff and another testament to the progress in your writing. You really really captured the over the top tacticool stuff I was looking for, and as I've said I've been reduced to nitpicking.
  • Another Night on the Town by LegendOfElTopo: So, you went a kinda different route with this in how you wrote it. For the most part you achieve your goal, the action is tight and frenetic. That said, I got a lil confused with it as the frenetic nature of the writing made it somewhat hard to keep up and it didn't come off as CoDish as I'd have liked. Again, I've been reduced to nitpicking, I am sorry. This was a really good piece, and I can't wait to see more from you.
  • Follow the Leader by Actene: Don't you have a novel to write? Who told you to haul off in here and write this, we have to know what happens to Andra, Simon, and Cass! In all seriousness, I really liked this, obviously the ending took some major cues from CoD itself, but it captured the over-the-top-ness pretty well and the action was nice. The mysterious villain in evil looking armor flanked by shadowy mooks executes a perfect trap on the unsuspecting good guys? Love it. What really gave it that tiny edge above the others is that it told the complete story without feeling rushed at any point. Honestly this was hard, you guys are all quite good at this.

Week 141: Wax on, Wax off

Prompt: LegendOfElTopo here, hijacking the weekly while D042's off being cooler than me. This week, we ditch the weapons and keep it simple - our prompt this time is about hitting things. I'm after a thousand(-ish)-word long work that pivots around melee combat, whether that means an energy sword duel or a drunken brawl at a bar. Not to say that you can't have gunfights involved, just that the story hinges on a good old-fashioned brawl. Possibly an armed one, at least.

Start Date: July 29, 2019

End Date: August 4, 2019

Firstly: guys, what is up with these pictures?

  • Duel by Brodie-001: While I'm sure there's far more in everyone's shared universes (and on the site in general) that I haven't yet seen, it's always nice to see more Spaghooli action. Bringing us there and into the moment worked well, although the opening was a little confusing and on the ambiguous side - is the story set directly after the broken siege, or is the tale of the battle (and duel) being told later on? Still, that was the only real hiccup I found in the piece - some of the later descriptions tended to draw on a bit, and lack the punchiness that you bring it to a close so well with. A worthy winner this week, but watch your back!
  • Catharsis by Spartan-D042: This piece aims for the head as far as the prompt goes, and it's fighting all the way down. The combat is excellent, the action fluid with quick, strong pacing, and it was easy (and fun!) to mentally picture all this going on. Cody's slow descent into amusement and malice through the fight is great, and - while I'm not awfully familiar with him in wider works - this stands on its own very nicely. However, the biggest strength of this piece is also its biggest weakness; there's little other description to flesh out the story, other than Cody's changes and a bit of context for the fight at the very end, which I think undermines it. Blow after blow after well-choreographed blow - but tell us a little more!
  • Volleyed and Thundered by EvenManatee887: Your characters are definitely coming on a lot, and I really like that. Bodark's character is a lot firmer than she used to be, and the interplay between her and Jericho in particular stood out to me as working well. On the technical front, however, the dialogue still feels stiled (especially with the other members of the team, who seemed to be more just "chipping in") - as previously, I'd recommend reading the lines aloud to see where natural pauses and gaps lie, then adding in punctuation to match. The latter half of the piece, with the meat of the fight is a very nice window into just how tough it would be to fight a Brute, and how much punishment they can take (about 350 words' worth, it seems!). The fight feels like it gets heavier and more brutal over time - which is certainly fitting, especially with everyone's injuries by that point - but towards the end it does threaten to slow the pace a little. Bodark's voice is as strong as her fists, just keep the narration punchy!
  • Sparring by SilverLastname: This is... interesting. Although disqualified, it's definitely the strongest of the entries, both with the tension building up, the intensity and pace of the fighting, and the payoff at the end. It's quick, it's brutal, its pacing hits the banace between weight and speed right on the head, and you can feel the anger coming through. On the flip side, well, double the word count is quite a margin to go over by, and personally I still feel like you could have brought it down to fit - maybe not into the strict 1k, but certainly out of disqualification territory. You could cut away the first section and simply start after Kennedy's first spar, for example, and although the story would still lose something, the remainder would still work just fine and be a strong contender for this week. A weapon to surpass Brodie! At least, with the fat trimmed off.

Week 142: Who the hell is Dustin Echoes?

Prompt: Cool guys don't look at explosions, but who cleans up after them? This week we're going to look at the aftermath of all these super cool, dramatic action scenes, and what gets left behind. The post-war UEG trying to clean up a glassed planet? The burning aftermath of a raid on a Covenant world? Civilians keeping their heads down after Innie/UNSC violence comes to a head? The floor is yours. Word count is relatively flexible, especially with how description-heavy this can get, although the target is still very firmly 1000.

Start Date: August 5, 2019

End Date: August 11, 2019

  • Earth Stands by SilverLastname: Well, first things first. Coming in a hair under 2k is definitely pushing flexible a little bit, but I'll let it slide, because this is a great piece. While it certainly wasn't what I expected based on the prompt, I very much enjoyed the insight into the chaotic mess of a colony refusing to come to terms that they might have lost, then with the payoff at the end that was teased from the very moment I thought to myself "wait, 2553?. The descent from "we need to keep order until they come back" to "they might not come back", and going right to the edge of despair very much gives a Lord of the Flies tone to it, and were it not for the constraints of the word count it might be interesting to see how much further that would've gone before the naval officers find the boys on the beach. A win by default, but a very strong win nonetheless.

Week 143: Tick, tock.

Prompt: How long is a minute? Is it enough to tell a story? No flashbacks, no "3 weeks earlier...", no last-episode-recaps. The prompt this time is simple - to tell a story that takes place within the space of one minute, in-setting. A gunfight seemingly in Spartan-time, a dogfight stretched out into hours by G-forces pulling blood from your head, or an AI casually deciding to binge-watch everything on Waypointflix a thousand times over to pass the time: you have 60 seconds, a target of 900 words, and a hard cap of 1,200, to tell your tale.

Start Date: August 12, 2019

End Date: August 19, 2019

  • Rogue Runners by SilverLastname: Funnily enough, that cover image is exactly what I'm gonna do if you keep disregarding my word counts - a hard cap is a hard cap, dammit! Jokes aside, this is exactly the kind of frantic, fast-paced, adrenaline-heavy action I was expecting from this...except that the entire story was to take place within one minute, without any kind of buildup beforehand.While the interaction between the two Rogue Runners(?) and the writing of their little escapade was strong as always, I do feel that the characterisation and pacing of your previous few entries have stood up much stronger; maybe it was because so much of the word count was taken up by action or the build-up to their heist, but there wasn't quite the history-beneath-the-surface of Sparring, nor the simmering tension of Earth Stands. Good, but I reckon you can do better, word count or not.
  • Emergence by Kobold Lich: This is the polar opposite of Silver's piece, and while I had teased at the idea of an AI in the prompt, I was not expecting something at all like this. The idea of a mind being born is quite a strange one to write about, but this pulls it off, and it even does so well. The steady stream of consciousness, the flickering between slow pondering and frantic concentration, the hundred and one identity crises that would arise from being made in such a way - old, yet new - just fit. However, what I would say weakened your entry the most is the lack of context - there's so little information given about this AI from the outside world, of Lucy and Daniel and the Spartans to protect (unless they are one and the same). I'm aware this is meant to slot into a wider setting/universe, but since the rest of the collection seems to be of short stand-alone stories, I'm mostly reading it in that light - and in that light, it seems a little lacking in substance, especially to the background. A fascinating picture of an AI coming into the world - but tell us more about the rest of it!

Week 144: Ulysses... shrugged?

Prompt: Well, it's time for the Jack Bauer Power Hour, twenty-four times in a row. This time, you're stretching things out, writing a story across a full day, or as close as you can get to it. Combat, command, or just a comfortable day-in-the-life, it's up to you. This time, you have 1500 words as a target, and 2000 words as a hard cap - timestamps and section titles excluded (don't abuse this guys please i beg of you).

Start Date: August 19, 2019

End Date: August 25, 2019

  • Independence by SilverLastname: I can tell - especially from the lateness of the hour that you've posted this - just how much work was done in order to cut this down to the word count, and it definitely shows. While it's a comparable length to your previous entries, I feel like it definitely moves at a quicker pace - especially in the assault on the Temple Relay - which is good, since the punchiness of your action scenes can be inconsistent on occasion (Sparring hit the nail right on the head, while Rogue Runners felt more cumbersome). That being said... it's another case of missed prompt this week, I'm afraid. Six hours doth not a day make, and I feel like more sections could've been included, maybe by trimming more from the intros to each part - maybe some of the terrorists prepping beforehand, maybe an interlude before the meeting, maybe the impact on civilians, and so on - just spreading the story over more time to break up the short action-y set pieces.

Week 145: Remember Reach?

Prompt: Slipspace rupture detected. Since we're coming up to the minus-533rd anniversary of the Fall of Reach, that's going to be your prompt this week. It's arguably the turning point of the Human-Covenant War, and there's plenty of stories to tell - of Spartans roped in from far and wide to try and stop the bleeding, of civilians caught up in the chaos, of Shipmasters caught off-guard by the ferocity of the defence, or even of those on a far-off front hearing about it: all I ask is for it to be centred around the Fall, and for it to take place in those critical three days, from the RED FLAG briefing on the 27th to NOBLE Six's last stand on the 30th.

There's no target word count here, since I'd like to see a big variety of takes for this prompt, both long and short - but 4000 is the hard cap, for those of you with a habit of trying to squeeze War and Peace into the usual 1000-ers.

Start Date: August 26, 2019

End Date: September 5, 2019

  • Flight by Brodie-001: 0/10 no slipspace cave This is certainly the most conventional piece out of the three, but does well at what it sets out to do. Kane's voice is strong throughout, and fights and the means of their escape are all firmly believable - which is no small feat when we're practically at the same time and place as Lone Wolf - while the callback of the Day feels fitting to me (despite not being familiar with the Sigmaverse). However, while probably a product of the limited word count, I found that most of the other characters only seemed to have token appearances, without any of the depth afforded to Kane, Jax, and to a lesser extent Mack; some of the description could have been traded off for giving the others more flavour, although I'm aware that 4k words is a bit tight. A lot of people crammed into relatively few words, but a solid tale of Sigma's escape.
  • Memories of Reach (TPF) by ThePeteFiles: While not taking place directly during the Fall, I rather enjoyed this piece. The exchanges between Oriana and Clayton, flipping back and forth from tit-for-tat banter to concern and care, felt real and genuine, without the melodrama that this kind of tale could easily spiral into. Sure, there was still room to expand on the story and the memories further, but honestly I feel like short and sweet works just as well in this case - you've written a story pretty much as effective as the others in less than half the word count. The dialogue helps bring out the characters well, although I would just say to double-check a few lines, since there's some technical slip-ups that make things clumsy sometimes (especially earlier on, when the two are setting off and Clayton's asking after her); with just a little more polish this could definitely have been a winner. A touching piece about the scars of the war only let down by a few slip-ups in wording.
  • All Under Heaven by SilverLastname: "I'll try spinning, that's a good trick!" This was not what I expected from, ahem, shitting out 4k words of [space combat], but it's damn good. With barely anything on the background of the ship, her captain, or her AI (other than what we see in canon), you still keep us in the moment, and in the heads of the two fighting furiously to keep the Heaven in the fight. There's tactics deliciously reminiscent of - yet not quite the same as - some of the daring spacebattle moves we see in canon, all held up by description that never loses track of itself, even in three dimensions. I'd probably pick away at how overly bombastic the Captain seems about yelling commands back and forth (especially, well, lobbing garbage out of the airlocks), or how Kepler somehow just loses track of the situation halfway through, but it carries itself well enough to largely overlook those and the odd technical sticking point. Oh, and it's magically within word count, too :P A furious battle, punchy writing, and a very welcome return to Weekly form.

Week 146: Burying the, ahem, energy sword.

Prompt: ODSTs looking on Spartans as lab-grown freaks. Inter-service rivalry. Sangheili fighting alongside humans, whether either side likes it or not. There's plenty of Truth and Reconciliation in Halo, but this time I'd like you to write about folks holding a grudge; more specifically, both sides of said grudge being forced to work together. I'm not bothered about any great big cliché kiss-and-make-up ending, though - you're free to do it if you'd like, but you're just as free to have them walk into the sunset and never meet again, or even to have one kill the other partway through. But for now, it's time for up to 2000 words all about allies of convenience, and whatever antics they get up to.

Start Date: September 6, 2019

End Date: September 15, 2019

  • Unshaken by SilverLastname: I'm...honestly not sure what to say about this one. It seems to be going in a bunch of different directions at once, and does this with varying degrees of success - the opening narration of Nathan emerging from the pelican crash feels a little clunky, although it picks up a lot more once the fighting starts. On the flip side, while the duel between him and the Zealot, the two of them ending up on the same side didn't feel particularly smooth to me; just suddenly, dinosaurs and then they're all chums in time for another fight scene. The silent, unspoken agreement could've worked, but it didn't really have anything to build it up beforehand - no pre-existing animosity, no personal barrier to overcome beyond them being on opposite sides; not much of a grudge, I suppose. Certainly as far as the execution goes, the later fights and the aftermath are all clean and nicely executed - and I love the recreation of the back-to-back from The Covenant, but thematically it feels a little too wide of the mark.

Week 147: Back to school

Prompt: Term's back in full swing, for those of us still in education, which means this week's prompt is simple - learning, training, education in general. Whatever the characters, whatever the context; anything from Spartans going through basic, to innies trying out some shiny new toys they bought on the black market, or cadets studying Reach's fall years later. 2000 words again: you may now begin writing.

Start Date: September 23, 2019

End Date: September 29, 2019

  • Asphodel by SilverLastname: A most interesting read, this time, with two equally inscrutable characters taking centre stage instead of action. Once again, I must protest about the length of the piece - a large portion of the opening could have been trimmed down, at least to my eyes - although the simulated battle and "interview" were all much more lively (yes, even without an actual fight like I usually get everyone to write!). It's fun to see the balance of power suddenly swing in the opposite direction towards the end, and it's firmly enjoyable while setting up a springboard for any number of tales about either of them. Lovely, if long.

Week 148: What's the Story?

Prompt: It's ya boi ElTopo back at it again with another, uh, format screw-y prompt. This time, I'd like the story told in the form of an after-action-report, a recounting of what happened from a person (or people) who were there. Anything from a Captain's log of a spacebattle that's been heavily polished by ONI to publish as propaganda, all the way down to a wounded ODST spitting frustration into his helmet voice recorder after a TREBUCHET raid gone wrong. 1500 words as a goal, 2000 as a hard cap.

Start Date: October 6, 2019

End Date: October 20, 2019

(weeklies will still be going up on a weekly basis, but I'm extending them to let busy people get their ideas in)

  • ONI AAR Operation: ILLUMINATION by SilverLastname: ONI meets Internal Affairs, and I love it. It's a rather interesting concept, the UNSC's dirty work being dug up, especially by committee rather than Benny G in HTT. The framing communiques honestly contribute the lion's share of the story - for large portions of the log I was thinking "hang on, this is rather going dreadfully smoothly and sensibly for an ONI op" and that it was pretty dry - only for suspicions to be confirmed with the little kicker at the end. While it definitely is a secondary factor compared to the overall writing quality, I have to say that the presentation - formatting, header/footer, and signature to boot - were all excellent, too.
  • UNSC Sphinx - Combat Report-July 18, 2544 by Falkeno: Generally, my personal preference is to steer clear of directly using/involving canon when writing, but in thise case it's definitely done well - the AAR format helps avoid a lot of the common pitfalls involved with it (dialogue and characterisation, in particular). However, there's still a handful of quibbles that you might have missed, at least as far as tone goes - the AAR being written entirely from an omniscient third-person recount of events means that the sudden talk from Cmdr. Jiron's perspective ("I set course...", "...myself and my crew...", etc) felt somewhat jarring. The switch between referring to the Spartans by name or number also seemed awkward, and the detail in certain bits (particularly Joseph being shot and Sheila's death) felt at odds with the broader, sweeping description of "what happened in general, overall" that the rest of the AAR serves. Still, a strong piece from you, especially for an awkward format-screw-y prompt!


Prompt: It's that time of year again. You know it is. Sure, it's a week late, but oh well. As an extended weekly (but not a weekly? Monthly?), I'd like to see some scares going around. You might be asking "wait, but this is really similar to the Week 122 prompt!" and, well, it is. And honestly, I would love to see more of that, more fear of the unknown going, but even the more "mundane" aspects of the Halo setting from a different angle serve just as well in horror terms. Say it's a swarm of Yanme'e hunting down some unlucky NMPD officer though their hive, or a civilian seeing just what the huge hulking Hunters are really made of, or an ONI file classifying and describing the Flood in cold, clinical terms - a la the SCP Foundation articles and tales that Week 122 suggested as a jumping-off point.

And, flipping my usual policy on it's head - word count is unlimited, but all entries strictly must be in by the end of the month.

Start Date: October 6, 2019

End Date: October 31, 2019

  • The First by SilverLastname: Silver. I did not want to have an existential crisis during exam weeks. I am fully aware it's my own fault for taking so long with. But still.
I felt like the subject was handled very well. Title, setting, and date were all cryptic enough to hide the direction it was headed in for a good half of the story, and even when the clincher became apparent, the in-character slow realisation segueing into horror was delightful. I won't pretend that this is the first work I've read that approaches this kind of thing, but it's still an excellent execution of it for sure, and one where the depictions of real life falling away (rather than simply "seeing through the pixels") is deeply unsettling.
I'm a little less sure, however, about the Halo connection - I get the link with neural mapping and AI creation, hence "The First", but dropping back half a millennium and leaving the methods unspoken distances it from the cool logo we have here in the top-left. Then again, if that was the intention, then it's certainly succeeded.
  • Mother Superior by EvenManatee887: When this is all over, when the dust has settled - no matter what, know this one, immutable fact: you are better at writing dinosaurs than Silver.
So, here we have some good old-fashioned monster mayhem - everyone at each others' throats while being picked off one by one. First of all, I have to congratulate you on the overall feel of the piece - your stuff to date has sometimes had difficulty in nailing down a definitive tone when scene-setting, but here the overgrown, clingy, humid claustrophobia of the jungle comes across very well, rather than simply being plain description. Even when the clichés from the likes of Alien or Predator turned up to 11, the pacing is kept up and the tension remains.
What was possibly a little more lacking was a background to the story - what was going on, who these characters were, what they were doing there, and so on. Out of the quickly shrinking cast, I would pick out Annalice as being fleshed out well, conveying character with how she acted ("whispered to him in a quiet rage", "in a final act of defiance", etc) rather than, say, the more purplish prose of Martin losing his mind. Regardless, at the end of the day, I most definitely enjoyed this.
  • Pursuers by Distant Tide: Purely because you said you planned to hijack my weeklies and crown yourself winner, I'm not gonna- okay, no, I'm not that petty.
I'm the first to admit that I don't know jack about all the planning and interconnected stories and collab projects put together across this site (which is probably rather unfortunate, considering the next Monthly coming up), but I'm very grateful that everything was put together so I didn't need to. In particular, I found the feeling of helplessness setting in once on Reach to be executed very nicely, with Roxanne trying to free herself from the wreckage, and later trying to hide; the scene is set, the action is going, the blood is pumping and the panic is palpable.
I have to say, though, that while it fulfilled its role in giving the vital background as to what was really going on, the opening third of the story still felt like it was plodding along a little. The fear of being found from orbit isn't as explored, nor is the literal flight of the bumblebee, when there's still opportunity there. Also, oddly enough, when I first read over this my semi-conscious brain had the impression of crawlers on the space station, too, which jacked up the fear factor a fair bit, and confused me no end upon further readings.

Week 150: Ahoy There!

Prompt: In space, nobody can hear...well, whatever it is you're doing. This week's prompt is asking for stories and tales set onboard ships, inside that little Titanium-A (or nanolaminate) shell between squishy beings and the cold void outside. This specifically excludes space battles; but other than that, you're good with whatever - anything from frantic boarding actions to exceptionally boring drydock refits. Or anything in-between. Just 1000 words this time, though.

Start Date: October 15, 2019

End Date: October 27, 2019

  • Firebrand by SilverLastname: See, I knew Joe Staten didn't write a bunch of gratuitous food porno in Contact Harvest for nothing! Still, a very nice - whimsical, even - story, with little fragments of character to put together in practically every other line of the interaction. The whole setup honestly leaves me wanting to hear more about the background and general story surrounding them, purely based off theraputic cooking and a dumb bet. There's a couple of errors that could've been cleaned up with a quick once-over ("Thorn Breast" and "The bow bounced..." in particular), but otherwise no complaints!

Week 151: It's All About Perspective

Prompt: We all tend to stick to our own original works here on HF, both for the creative freedom and the ability to do what we want without the risk of changes to canon mucking it all up. This time, however, I'd like to see tales that are based on canon events, but written from another point of view (which can still be that of an original character) - for example, the Harvest Campaign through the eyes of a Spirit of Fire marine, or an Alpha/Beta Spartan-III meeting their end in their doomed final operations. Generally, as a rule of thumb, try to stick to major or notable events; it doesn't need to have had a whole book or game dedicated to it, but on the other hand something with nothing but a couple of lines on Halopedia isn't really note-worthy enough to reimagine for the purposes of this weekly (if in doubt, I'm entirely willing to hear out your ideas on the discord!). See what you can do with 2000 words.

Start Date: October 23 but please don't sue me for Weekly Neglect

End Date: December 2, 2019

  • Intent by SilverLastname: So this is basically what happened, right? Certainly not what I imagined, but very well done nontheleess, pretty much across the board. It's a very nice exploration of just how fast and surreal the last stages of the war must've been, while introducing and filling out characters surprisingly well in surprisingly few words. Truth and reconciliation or not, it stands very much on its own two feet, and there's just little details everywhere - the light yet formally worded banter between Sonev and Teral, the description of Arby's ornate armour, Lucy being caught mid-bite, Brian's dry throat and the surprise at his outburst - that really do bring it to life. All of these minutae flesh out what could so easily be a by-numbers scene about forgiveness (or lack thereof), and they just work. I'd honestly say this is one of your most enjoyable weeklies to date. (Doubly so if the title pun(?) was intentional).


Prompt: As Spooky Month (TM) comes to its peak - this time you're the scarer, rather than the scared. This week's prompt is all about stealth, sneakiness, surprise, catching someone off-guard, however mundane or dramatic the context and consequences may be. 1500 target, 2000 hard cap. Look behind you.

Start Date: Yes

End Date: December 2, 2019

  • Keep what you Steal by SilverLastname: Going from strength to strength, it seems. The step-by-step walkthough and talkthrough of the infiltration is very fun, and the verbal sparring between these two is plenty entertaining, too, as is the finesse of managing to come in the slightest of hairs below word count. If only we knew what the target to steal was - or looks like, at least...

Week 153: Spooks

Prompt: I'm back! And what do you mean I'm ripping off my previous prompts? No, no scary stuff this time, or sneaking around - this time I'm after stories about spooks in the spy sense. Stories about ONI fucking around with the UNSC's neighbours or their own citizens - or perhaps a band of pirates or innies who seem to be working suspiciously closely with one Covenant remnant or another. This time, 1000 words is your target, with 1500 as a hard cap.

Start Date: November 23, 2019

End Date: December 8, 2019

  • The Cost of Apathy by SilverLastname: I see the groundwork for more Epimetheus lore being laid down here, and I'm immediately interested as well as glad that I haven't missed everything - especially looking back at Operation: ILLUMINATION and the end result of this little endeavour. I like the setup here, as I do pretty much anything with ONI machinations, although I do feel like there were a number of missed shots in here. The selling point of "what is the cost of doing nothing" felt hammered in one or two too many times, and it somewhat felt like Daltona was simply there to point at the worst-case projection every time the rest of the board said "why should we let you do this?". They were a little easily convinced, too, although I'm aware that a word limit will do that to a flag officer.
  • Humanity by EvenManatee887: Singe the Hinge indeed. This is another impressive leap over your earlier works, both in structure and in story. Showing rather than telling of Lysander's reaction, the shock contrasting with the prepared determination only moments before, does a lot for the piece, as does the well-executed framing narrative of the debrief. There's just enough background to the story to know what's going on without hurting the pacing, just enough reflection to hit you without being heavy-handed, especially with that kicker of a finisher. There's still the odd technical flaw, but this is some of your best material yet.

Month 2: The Season of Giving

Prompt: Okay, we want more broad, flexible monthly gimmicks? Apparently we do. I dunno, I'm still trialling this thing out. This time, your only challenge is to write a gift to another fanoneer - a work set with their characters, ships, or even just set in their setting. See if you can get their tone right, their characterisation, their themes - and see if you can get the wrapping paper done right first time! Make sure to ask your fellow writers for permission to use their stuff - but Other than that, go wild!

Start Date: December 2, 2019

End Date: January 1, 2020

Week 154: (in which Leonardo DiCaprio is beaten up by a bear)

Prompt: Don't you know? Spartans never die. Not that you necessarily have to write about a Spartan, though - this week, we're after 1,000 words with someone long-lost returning, especially after having been presumed (or even left for) dead. After all, the Orion Arm is a big place, and there's plenty of room for people to slip through the cracks. Plenty more room for them to come back, "dead" or not. Y'know, a revenant.

Start Date: December 2, 2019

End Date: December 15, 2019

  • Phantasm by Spartan-D042: (in which Cody gets beaten up by one of cortabo's goons). Boy, he's looking fast and angry today. Well, even faster and angrier than the last time we saw him in a Weekly - and you're certainly just as good at fight scenes as last time, too. It's nice to see a Spartan so thoroughly outclassed but still fighting on through adrenaline and sheer Doomguyesque rage, too - and while there's definitely a scarcity of post-Created material (at least in Weeklies) this is a very interesting take on it, especially with something a damn sight tougher than Prometheans. Normally when entries are this far over-budget (in word count terms) I try to talk about what would be worth trimming away, and how it could possibly fit within the limit - but in this case I think that would simply be impossible. Hell, in fact I'd say the opposite, and ask for a little more; in particular, I think the context behind the fight scene is a little unclear. With Jamison, we heard pretty much exactly as much (and as little) as we need to, but for everyone else I feel like the stakes are robbed of a little emotional impact by not having so much background to what had happened leading in to the fight, the people who had been offed, and so on. Still, good, and interesting to see how he's going get out of this one.
  • Tachypsychia by SilverLastname:Dammit Silver, I swear I'm too nice to you. I can't outright call this one a winner, not with another bout of prompt-clipping, but it's still damn good. I'd never thought this would be he direction you'd take it, but your operating theatre has just as much tension as your firefights, if not more - and while Charles and his staff walk into clichés at times it's well-executed enough to pull almost all of them off. His rage and frustration are realistic enough to not feel excessive, the countdown is tense enough to not feel theatrical, and the obligatory touching moment at the end is tempered by the fact that there's still work to be done. I like this. This is nice. My only question is whether or not this is more Epimethius lore or not...

Week 155: Fixed Prompts #1

Prompt: Trying out a few new ideas - rather than offering a broad, general theme, I'm looking to try some weeklies based on more specific ideas; even quotes or phrases, more akin to traditional writing prompts. You don't necessarily need to include the specific line in your story - although you're welcome to sneak them into dialogue or description somewhere - you just need a thematic link, at least. Bear in mind that multiple writers can base their piece on a single prompt line! We're just working with the boring old 1000-word limit, though.

  • "Any world is a death world if you don't watch your step."
  • "Calling us vultures might be a little generous, actually."
  • "You are being hunted."

Start Date: December 9, 2019

End Date: December 22, 2019

  • Rats, Not Vultures by Actene: A lovely piece that follows the spirit of the Weekly as well as the word. Short, sweet, and an interesting take on the prompt given, using it as a launch pad rather than a box to work within, with just enough background to prior events mixed into the story itself. In particular, I rather like the interaction of Simon with "normal" kids (note the quotation marks), and I'd love to see that expanded on more and how it might end up affecting him.
  • Hunted (SilverLastname) by SilverLastname: Silver just because you use all three prompts doesn't mean you can use triple the word count.. On a more serious note, the whole point of the fixed prompts is for entries to just be inspired by them, and I'm particularly impressed by your weaving all three into one piece, even considering the length. Once again, your action's strong, quick, and punchy, although some sections strained belief - in particular, the intra-fight bantering seemed a little casual, a little glib (especially considering the stakes of the hunt). Plus, the full squad of a dozen SpecOps Elites working as one unit on their own also seemed odd and made the fight needlessly longer and harder to keep track of (although if there's precedent about the team size that I just haven't seen, I'll happily withdraw that critique). A solid piece, but perhaps overambitious in more ways than one.

Week 156: Goodwill to All

Prompt: Shock horror - now, not only am I asking all of you to be nice to each other with the Monthly, but this Weekly wants your characters to be nice to each other for Christmas, too! Honestly, just give us some wholesome stories for a bit, some niceness, some warmth, some comfiness; anything from family or friends slowly defrosting relations all the way to a full-blown christmas truce if you want. Another 1000 words, as always.

Start Date: December 18, 2019

End Date: December 29, 2019

  • Popular Demand by Actene: Cute? This is cute. I'm calling the cops. Once again, I'm lacking the knowledge and background here to really make the most of this piece (although I'm slowly picking some up through these entries), but it's still a wonderful picture of some warmth in a corner of the Orion Arm, and for some people, who desperately need them. A little bit of flavour for these two, and for normal live on such an otherwise chaotic world, is a joy to read. The back-and-forth between them feels natural for a pair this close, and the chilly gaffes and warm moments are loaded with enough emotion to give a feelgood payoff by the end of it.
  • Don't Say It by SilverLastname: One moment, while I frantically take notes about how to do timeskips and character growth properly. You have to feel for these two, truth be told; telling more Epi tales from a personal standpoint makes a nice contrast from the machinations behind it. The weaving between description and dialogue feels natural and fluid, as always, but in the final third it stumbles a little, with the dialogue in particular feeling a little stilted (although it's certainly hard enough to write for the circumstances it's set in). Still, watching the two starting close and drawing closer is more than warm enough, even drawing towards Reach's winter.

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