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- "You angry I kill him. But he trying to kill me! I kill one Demon, one. He kill how many Grunts, million billion? Million billion unable to kill him, me just the lucky one! He the real murderer!"
- ―Ten to Cortana, 2552
"Ten" (true name unknown) was an Trident of Revelation, serving with them temporarily until reaching a promotion to .who fought in the from to . Formerly a soldier of the Zamam clan, he was an unofficial member of the
Captured fromat the age of four and sold by to the Zamam clan of , "Ten"'s first years in the Covenant were spent as a worker on the plantations, owned by wealthy aristocrats. Their clan kept the peace on their keep of the northern Chachu islands, which had a tri-keep alliance formed after many civil wars. As an indentured farmer, Ten was expected to provide the workload of ten Unggoy, the number of which he had been scheduled for delivery with to the Zamam, except that the poor conditions during the voyage rendered him the only survivor. After fourteen months of farming, his stay ended after a nasty accident that badly injured the kaidon's headwife. As punishment, Ten was sold to the Covenant military, where he spent the next three years of life struggling to survive amidst the chaos of war.
- "Your overgrown "mother" thought that she could steal and keep her end of the bargain just the same simply because of a "loose end" on our side. What she did not understand before her doom was nigh was that this was no mere "tit-for-tat" bargain, this was our Covenant. And in that Covenant your end is all that gives your life meaning. To forsake your end is to forsake your life, to preserve it is the will of the righteous. Her end was not preserved, for that she dies with it."
- ―Special Ops Sangheili Krar 'Zakatmee
Ten was born on Balaho in the year 2545, well into the darker days of the Human-Covenant War. His clutch was born in the keep of Edomea, who ruled her prosperous tribe within in the Threshold Valley. Like all Unggoy clan keeps, half of his clutch was expected to be sold to the Covenant Empire in exchange for protection to their matriarch and their tribe. However, Edomea was entering a period of heavy pregnancy, and as the winter was approaching expected a great need of storehousing to ensure survival during the forecoming months. When the Kig-Yar traders came in ready to buy their slaves, Edomea refused to sell to them, responding violently when the traders protested.
Eventually, military intervention was required, and a Sangheili trident was dispatched and stormed the keep. Their invasion provoked chaos in the clan, resulting in two of Special Ops dead and roughly four dozen of Unggoy killed. In the end, the half-clutch requirement that the traders had come for had to be filled with one-quarter of the entire remaining tribe, including some of Edomea’s previously established home clutches and long-time workers necessary to service her.
Edomea and her tribe ended up starving through winter, and then the following spring being overpowered and killed by the neighboring matriarchs Chalkea and Po Kom. Her deported kin, meanwhile, were sold as usual to various parts of the Empire. Even so, their unfit nature thanks to the scrounging nature of the deportation resulted in nearly two-thirds of the captured slaves dying before delivery. Of the ten Unggoy that Ten was intended to be delivered with to his buyer at Sanghelios, he ended up being the only one.
- "Do not expect us to pity you just because you are a survivor, Unggoy. Make your life worth something first."
- ―Chuka 'Zamamee
Ten’s buyer was the Sangheili Chuka ‘Zamamee of the Zamam clan, whose estate was held on the mountain fields of the northern Kachu islands. His arrival to the estate was met with immediate annoyance, as he was the only one of ‘Zamamee’s ten ordered slaves to arrive. As such, he was expected to fill up their entire workload, while the other previous bought slaves would attend to their former tasks. These workloads included the tending of the southeastern fields, the maintenance of the shrubgrain vaults, and the shepherding of the beefing livestock. Of the former of the three he would work with the others as a team, on the latter two however he was expected to have them completed by himself.
All the work he needed completed daily did not give him much time to eat or sleep, and leaving any of them unfinished would get him punished and leave him with neither. To cope with this, Ten ended up having to sleep in the barns rather than the Unggoy compound, wake up the earliest of all the servants, while there still two suns set, and then take regular naps midday after refilling his methane tank. For feeding he relied on foraging, using the regular mealtimes to complete his tasks instead, and instead eating from the fruits and vegetable portions of the areas he harvested. Ironically, this routine actually ended up making him a lot healthier than most of 'Zamamee's slaves, a fact that never fully occurred to him.Among the other Unggoy Ten was at first treated stereotypically as “the new guy”, who they resented the idea of having to train. He was also given a wide berth by being a “clans Unggoy” who had been bought directly from Balaho, while most the team here had been bought while still an egg or else sold from other plantations. Eventually, they warmed up to him as he slid into his new role as a “go-fer”, the popular nickname for a “tool retriever.” His fellow Go-fers included Bapat, also known as “Pocket”, and Murr, the orneriest of the group. "Go-fering" was still looked down upon as a lowly job since it was most often given to those the main group wanted to keep away. Nevertheless, as a tool retriever Ten felt more than grateful to be in some way accepted.
One of the harshest figures to him, however, was Dayab, the chief Grunt and Zamam’s 2nd-in-command as a slavemaster. Dayab would often taunt him, assign the hardest tasks in the midst of Ten’s duties, ignore his requests and make fun of his ideas, and derogatorily remind him of his insufficiency at completing the tasks his full team would have done had they survived. Because Ten looked up to Dayab as an example of stature, his insults would instill an inferiority complex in the young Unggoy. It was because Dayab that the new slave gained the nickname of “Ten”. Dayab had been sent to retrieve the ten slaves from the traders, but when finding one had no interest in learning the young Unggoy's name. The nickname of "Ten", as a reminder of his status as the lone survivor, quickly stuck among the other slaves there, so Ten never got the opportunity to tell them his actual name. Over the years Ten himself would forget at times what his real name was.
The Sangheili themselves he saw little of, Chuka especially, because the adults' police work was usually done in the night, and in the day the Unggoy were encouraged to stay out of the family. The first time he did encounter them was an early morning, where he found Chuka’s headwife out in the fields taking a walk. Choosing to respect her privacy, Ten kept his work at a distance, though eventually her idling in the pastures ended up delaying his work by a full hour. The second time, it was the Zamam children who, one morning while their Unggoy jester was sick, styled themselves as Ten’s “overseer” and began berated him to obey them as “slavemaster”, a game that amused Chuka. The only silver lining from the Zamam children, to Ten, was that they would occasionally reward his "tricks" with scraps.
After 11 months of farming by himself, things had only gotten worse. Despite his best efforts to keep up the pace of a ten Unggoy workload, Samcha was still falling behind every week. The grain and fruit fields were being farmed in a zig-zag manner, the Suibordi livestock were regularly left in the pastures unprotected, and the interior of the barns were now cluttered and with tools lying about. Output-wise, Samcha was succeeding in producing the daily farm quota, but had to leave too many of the maintenance tasks incomplete to provide them. This left him on a shaky foundation, he knew, and when the time came for inspections, all they would need was a single error for his inadequacies to be caught.
Punishment and Training
Eventually, it happened. The Zamam headwife was found unconscious and badly injured after entering the Suibordi barns and accidentally springing one of Samcha's anti-predator traps. Quickly learning of this, Samcha was given lashes with a pike, then "gaspburned", where his methane supply for the next month was poisoned with a painful oxidant. But the real penalty came in the days that followed, when the closer inspection of his farming areas found all the trick machines and cut-corners tactics he had been using to try and finish up his tasks quickly. The discovery was a heavy blow to Samcha's reputation. Decided unsuitable for even a farm position, Samcha was nearing consideration by Chuka and the Zamam for execution.
Surprisingly, it was 'Zamamee's wife herself who interfered on his behalf. After regaining consciousness, she urged her husband to not kill Ten, claiming wandering into the trap was her own fault. Although she softened her husband's fury, it wasn't entirely quenched. Instead Ten was scheduled to be sold to the Covenant military in three months time, once the fleet came to their sector again. The men and slaves of the Zamam clan would come along, but only for a few battles, while Ten's stay with the fleet would be permanent until death.
A few changes thus occurred to Ten's weekly routine. First was that he had to attend martial training daily in preparation for becoming infantry. The lessons were attended by the other Unggoy and clan sons as well, some days spent doing heavy exercise, others watching the Sangheili young adults as they were honed into warriors. Through the course of the training, Ten and the other slaves learned to handle weapons, assemble in files, and focus fire on a single target.
His farm work received the other change. Dayab had been demoted and was now forced to work with him, having been blamed by Chuka for not keeping a closer eye on the new slave. Predictably, Dayab heavily resented Ten, keeping the two from working together well. Additionally, Ten was now under the personal command of Chuka 'Zamamee's headwife, the Lady Laconi. He had been put under her private ownership with the intention of her getting to punish him exclusively, but instead she turned out to be a charitable mistress. Her "supervision" of Ten gave the Lady an excuse to exit the house more, where she could be under her own leadership and away from submissive routines she had to comply to under her husband. While in some ways still prejudiced, and still treating Unggoy as inferior, she appreciated Ten for his knowledge of the fields and contributed as she could to his workload so that he could spend more time giving her tours of the estate's farmland. In the end, the two developed an amicable friendship, and Ten never forgot how she had saved his life when she could have let him die.
Personality and TraitsSamcha’s naivety was his largest trait; he never lost his hope in trusting people. Despite his fears and wracking worries about the present, deep down he held a hope within him that things would turn out better in the future. He was always fully in the mind of a servant, having been trained that way like all other enslaved Unggoy under the employ of the Covenant, and even more so since he had been raised under a matriarch. It was his hope to perform his tasks faithfully for his masters, that he might be valued by them, and so assist in whatever great purpose they had been planning since the beginning. This "Great Purpose" was always his way in explaining the actions of those above him to himself, and fully expectant that they had so led him to always trust them.
Too often, though, this led to his exploitation at the hands of others. Many of his masters rarely expressed any regard for him, and most often viewed him and all other Unggoy as a tool to perform their lowliest tasks. Samcha took their abuse without question, but it slowly began to wear on him, building resentment, especially when he saw those he admired giving others the affection they would never extend to him. By the
As for his motives in battle these were highly mixed in question. Samcha understood there was some sort of social conflict at the heart of war, but whatever it was always seemed very vague to him. Under Chuka 'Zamamee he would be taught about how the Humans been heretical towards the Forerunners, but fear of battle after first taste of it led him to rather fight usually simply for the sake of survival. This drive for survival would remain his highest motive for many battles and it would take a very long time before he would choose his ultimate master to be the Covenant.
Combat ExperienceLike other Unggoy, Sacha was inexperienced in battle, and his various masters had taught him nothing. Combat-wise, he was ineffective, and only succeeded in bringing down foes by himself when armed heavily, such as with Plasma Grenades or in a Ghost. Weapon-wise, he relied on the Plasma Pistol, but it rarely did him any good in battle. Despite his ineptitude in combat, Samcha ended up surviving skirmishes manifold times, if only out of luck or from allied assistance. The only way he could guarantee that survival was to remain fighting with the main force, or, as the traditional mantra went, "Move with the Horde" Remaining fighting together as a total infantry was the only way Unggoy like he could win battles, and thus would allow him to live for a little longer.
A few times though, he had been faced with the impossible. Once he found himself left alone in the deserted city, which was due for glassing by the approaching cruisers. Another time he found himself on the receiving end of a Spartan, who delivered what should have been a killing blow had it not accidentally glanced and then mistaken him for dead a few seconds later. Several further times had him cornered by a Falcon, attacked by a starving Brute squad, out of methane, and even betrayed by his fellow Unggoy soldiers to be a distraction.
Throughout all those times Samcha had survived the encounters, and the question of how he had done so disturbed him greatly. The effects of it were clearly not absent for him, as he suffered often from frequent headaches, occasional nightmares, and a gnawing feel of guilt, that his life hadn’t been worth it. In battle it haunted him, and he often wrestled with the constant fear that kept to pushing him to seek survival, against the desire to fulfill his proper duty to the Covenant. In all his battles he never gained the proper response to his dilemma, but following them would always pledge to do it better next time.
The worst of it was when he had to kill. Like all Unggoy he rarely understood the fundamental conflict, but when the stakes came to his basic need for survival, he could turn monster, and even traitor. The darkest of it came during the Siege of Leslia, where he ended up strangling a boy in an apartment who tried to kill him with a rock, followed by dropping him out the window. A week later he ended up against three Brutes who tried to eat him, and with a crippled gas tank, drove off two of them after killing the third with a Shotgun. Samcha never truly hardened as a soldier, and his worst fear was that he'd be left alone to wander as that kind of monster forever, if all of his friends were to ever abandon him.
Health and Appearance
Health and AppearanceSamcha was a Threshold Unggoy, and being from a southern region tended to be darker in skin tone than most other Unggoy. His raising in a tribe-keep had also acquainted him with the nurtures of a matriarch, and as such was raised on the traditional diet of ovular queen eggs and snowscrub vegetation, a diet left out from all other Covenant Unggoy in exchange for the infamous "food nipple." Under the average lifespan for an Unggoy, Samcha had been roughly eight years old when he was sold to the Zamam clan and about ten a year later when he was brought to battle.
By the year 2552, Samcha had been present in numerous infantry engagements, and with the burns to prove it all over his body. His closest friend Gaafi often joked that Samcha was "growing darker every time I see ya", a quip that Samcha rarely appreciated. His vision and hearing had also heavily worsened, and he frequently suffered from headaches thanks to blunt force trauma, though afterward regular training with the Special Ops would help alleviate some of these symptoms.
Hobbies and HabitsSamcha often held a sentimental attachment to his tools, and could often be seen his spare time regularly polishing his equipment. A slight superstitious vibe went with it, and he hoped that with treating the equipment well that it would thank him and bring him good luck. After his move to infantry it was rare he would receive the same equipment, but he tried to cope this anxiety and simply move along with his new weapon.
Samcha also tended to be rather contemplative in his spare time, and overall was very down-to-earth as a person. This had complemented his simple work as a farmer and following his enlistment tried to seek a place regularly after battle where things could be quiet. Thinking about life tended to comfort Samcha and he felt that everyone should be given their own "thinking place' where they could regularly think of things by themselves or with others.
He also held a mild appreciation for art, a partial habit encouraged during his brief stint under the Lady Laconi. As such, drawing was a rare real pleasure of his he would get during his time in the Covenant infantry. When the opportunity and supplies could present themselves he would doodle, and a few of his drawings were occasionally passed about among the other Unggoy soldiers as part of their "underground" culture.
- "What is so different about Unggoy dying in this war?!"
- ―A Sangheili Major, enraged at Samcha taking up valuable resources and space while being treated in hospice.
Before his recruiting into the war, Samcha simply viewed all species as the same, and never quite associated himself with a certain type. Not until during the war did he begin thinking of himself as an Unggoy, after he discovered what it meant. To be an Unggoy to him was to be forever entrapped, forced between great evils and struggle to ally himself with the good, be protected by someone powerful, and perhaps be safe and in peace. Each one of them would all have to find their own way there, and to be a horde was to try and reach it together.
Occasionally, however, his view was not so pessimistic. Samcha longed to become an Unggoy Major, and perhaps lead his own squad into safety. However, this rank was impossible for him to achieve thanks to his position as infantry, since Unggoy there were appointed the position, not promoted, and without a clan nobody would be keeping track of him. His infantry role also kept his fleet deployment shifting, and as such he rarely got opportunities to acquaint himself with any fellow soldiers, most of which who were younger and just sold, and often of a lower intelligence.
- "Right in the sewers, just where I expected."
- "You expected me to get in the half of Spirit that crash-lands in river and gets washed down the sewers?"
- "I plan these things."
- ―Gaafi to Samcha during the Battle of Orville.
Gaafi was a Special Operations Unggoy, and the person Samcha trusted most. The two met after the First Battle of Leslia, the former having saved that latter from a UNSC frigate strike, and escaping on an Phantom to outside the city. Following the battle Samcha was introduced to Gaafi's fireteam, and let him participate in their covert op to infiltrate the city's hangar. Given their different ranks, the two's meetings tended to be sporadic, but if Samcha ever had a chance to see him, he would never shrink from the opportunity.
To Samcha, Gaafi was an example of everything he should be, and hoped one day to become like him. He was strong, capable in battle, and boasted considerably more freedom as an Unggoy than most ever did. He had gained the respect of Sangheili, was capable of matching them in a fight, and even led his own lance of veteran Unggoy. In their career together, Samcha never once saw a single moment where the former found himself over his head, or unable to control his team, and as such could usually count on him to get them out of trouble. However, Gaafi did not appear to hold him in the same regard, and tended to greet him casually.
There other times, though, when Samcha worried about his friend’s decisions. Gaafi would commonly challenge the authorities, tended to be neutral and use morally-questionable methods, and even voiced his distaste at times for the war and its objectives. While he fought faithfully for the Covenant side all the same, it confused Samcha how little he regarded it, especially how little he regarded its leaders, the most important figures in Samcha’s life.
- "My children, do not forget our time together. Though you may have been sold, and thus lost our life as a tribe together, know that through it we may preserve that life for ones unborn, because you sacrificed yourselves to the Covenant."
- ―Edomea's farewell to her children.
Samcha remembered little of his life in Balaho, in part because of his youth, and in part because he had never expected to leave it. From what he could recall, it had been cold, but there had been a feeling of security and shelter. From the other Unggoy he met, few had been born on the homeworld, and even fewer raised for any significant period. It did, however, hold a place of significance of them, sometimes akin to legend. Some were envious of those who had lived there, but that privilege rarely did them any good beyond breeding jealously. Samcha never returned to Edomea, or Balaho, but that feeling of maternal shelter remained a heavy influence upon him.
Samcha’s first masters were the Sangheili, and remained so until the day of the Great Schism. While with Chuka 'Zamamee at his estate at Sanghelios, his policy had been just to avoid them, but in hopes of his work pleasing them, during the war instead he had to remain in complete attention of them. Very often he found the ones on the field to be dangerous, dismissive of companions, and often very quickly to turn wrathful when faced with their troubles. While short-tempered Sangheili in particular tended to be characteristic of the lower rank members, among the higher ranks he usually found their actions inspirational, though of course they would never go downward to acquaint themselves with his lower caste. It took several years before he ever made a close connection to any Sangheili and even longer to ever realize it.
The Lady Laconi was the wife of Chuka 'Zamamee, and she took Samcha under direct jurisdiction during his final months on the clan estate. While she held a certain degree of affection for him, years of xenophobic raising still rendered their relationship being "master-servant", and with never any knowledge of it as a deterrence. While the Lady would treat Samcha initially as merely the funny servant who tended her favorite fields, Sa,cha's reaction had been to almost revere her as a near-angelic figure. It was not until very much later that she would begin to confide in him about her very mortal troubles, and following these developments the two would slowly begin to see each other as equals.
- "They just leave me like last time. To them I'll never be worth it."
- "You’re worth it to me, boy. That’s why I’m saving you."
- ―Samcha and then-Lance Corporal Marrita Tiner after the Battle of Bethany.
Samcha followed his orders to enter battle against the Humans faithfully, but never understood quite why they were being punished. It was under the guidance of Chuka that he was told the reason, that it was for their disrespect of the Forerunners, that they had trampled their gifts, had spit on their grave. Even so, these facts usually were glossed over by Samcha while in battle, as his key objective became to survive for just a little while longer.
Two years of fighting them led him to fear them. He knew they had power, and even against the worst of the Covenant were ready to test it hard enough to make it bring out that worst in the first place. Many times they had outsmarted them, and he knew when it came down to it he could never outsmart them back. And he also envied them for their comfort, that they had a home that they could turn to, a home that they had fought for, and often wondered if given the same type of stakes whether he would do the same.
Samcha’s most important encounter with a Human, however, was at the end of the Battle of Bethany, where he was saved from imminent suffocation by a Marine survivor. The battlegroup had left hours earlier, and Samcha had been found lingering between life and death in the forest due for destruction. The two of them never saw each other after that, and Samcha never even saw which Human helped him, but the fact that one did so weighed heavily on him in his following battles.
- As a result of his upbringing on Balaho, Samcha possessed a strong ethnic accent, a fact that was persistently teased about by his farmmates.
- Samcha often desired to wield a , but he was never issued it.