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- "Time and time again, we will be judged. We will be asked if we regret anything. I don't know what you're answer will be, but I will say "No, I don't." In our existence, its survival of the fittest - regrets and thoughts will slow you down, making you almost doomed to fail. That is why I'm successful - I'm not weighed down like so many others are."
- ―Chal, who was doubted to be effective by a client.
An independent privateer could make a lot of money by the chaos offered by the post-war era. The various warlords had a lot of jobs that made these opportunists plentiful, with only those with the best reputation could rise to profit off the bigger jobs that more respectable clients offered. In that respect, a hunter that goes by the alias of The Abandoned has become a commonly-mentioned name. Specialising in bounty hunting, sabotage, and theft, this shadowy Sangheili is known for only his loyalty to the money, and his lack of ethical concerns for even his own species makes him highly efficient.
- Sev: "I never asked the gods for a daughter. She is a dreaded target for me, and to my enemies it is one I cannot ignore. She will be defenceless to any foe that should bypass me or... even you."
- Falia: "I can handle myself! But yes, I can't deny she is a vulnerability. She'll need to learn how to defend herself at least."
- ―Falia and Sev discuss what to do regarding the security of Aina.
Chal, or Aina as she was originally called, had a somewhat unusual childhood. Though it was customary for offspring to not know their fathers, Aina's parents made the decision to leave her in the care of her uncle, Guru 'Kosuvee, and her aunt, and had been told that her real parents died when their clan was ambushed by ambushed by rivals over territory and resources. Here, she experienced a somewhat normal childhood, being taught to help out with housework as often as she could and how to act more feministic that was socially-acceptable in Sangheili society. As she got older, her 'aunt' (in reality her biological mother) began to arrive more frequently, and with her uncle's assistance, trained Chal rather harshly in the art of war. It was Falia who demanded that she learnt how to drive many of the vehicles the Covenant used, should she have to flee for some reason. She had never seen Falia's husband, who was spoken in soft whispers around the house, or at least whenever they began talking about him in her presence.
She could never understand why uncle Guru rarely allowed to venture out without his permission, though she solemnly obeyed his rules without question. It was one reason why she preferred aunt Falia when she comes around; she allowed her to socialise with the other kids. During those occasions she tended to stay among the other girls, though she always felt she was the 'odd one out', with the other young girls preferring to be still and talk instead of running or chasing each other around. It was because of this she began to play with boys her age, doing well in succeeding in hitting the pests that plagued the neighbourhood, or hiding in the park. That's not to say she didn't make any friends with other girls her age; its just that she enjoyed the activities the boys did.
- "There is no choice for you to make here. Find uncle Guru, he'll keep you safe."
- ―Falia fights to allow her daughter to escape.
After theand the events on , the city was thrown into chaos. Her neighbourhood was divided, with Sangheili and fighting each other in the chaos of the . Her home and keep were bombed by Jiralhanae loyalists, who sort to kill the Sangheili families while their husbands and fathers were busy attacking other locations. Most of the Sangheili families formed a single pack, with the elderly males and mothers valiantly defending the children while escorting them to the evacuation transports. Though only a handful utilised weapons stronger than a , the sheer amount of armed individuals did stop most Loyalists from attacking the pack.
All that changed when aslipped into the station, bypassing the station's defences and crashing near a Sangheili evacuation point. The pack quickly realised it was carrying the . Though the defending mothers managed to beat off the initial attack, as more bodies were added to the collective, they managed to overwhelm the defenders, forcing the children to flee in all directions to escape the carnage. Most were simply absorbed into the collective, some were massacred when they boarded accidentally the Jiralhanae transports, only a very small amount made it to the vessels. Aina was briefly reunited with her uncle when he returned to save Aina and her mother. He attempted to carry her out to a private transport, but a massive lunge by a number of forced Guru to let Aina go, promising to make meet him when they got off the station. With all the negativity being caused in the chaos, Aina sadly doubted this.
When she made it to the hangar, she was worried to see the last Sangheili transport lifting off. Desperate to leave, she attempted to jump on-board the transport; it left before she even had the chance to. With Jiralhanae on one side and the parasite on the other and both closing in fast, Aina took the risk to operate an advanced, a fighter she was taught how to operate, but never actually flew it herself. In an attempt to flee, she accidentally crashed into a number of ships and Loyalists, but by a miracle the Seraph's hull held together and she managed to escape the dreaded station. Tired and relieved, she fell asleep in the cockpit.
- Aina: "This ship's supplies are only supposed to be used on one pilot, not three. Give me a good reason why I should not kill you now"
- Gurgap: "I-I know how to fight. Yes, I was military warrior. Oh- I also know little 'bout maintenance and repairs."
- ―A nervous Unggoy justifies his right to live
Aina woke up to the sound of a motion sensor going off. Taking a, she discovered an named Gurgap and another Sangheili youth called Bora. Though she tried to kill them to promote self-preservation, she couldn't bring herself to do it. Though still wary of Aina, Gurgap decided to teach her and Bora all she knew of ship navigation, and even some tips of how to operate the fighter better. Unfortunately, the Seraph's miniturised slipspace drive couldn't make the distance to any other worlds on its navigation database. Not only that, but the emergency rations were almost out by the end of the second day. They needed to escape now, or otherwise they risked dying to starvation.
Their salvation came in the form of an infectedwas detected leaving the city-station. Wasting no time, she flew the Seraph in one of its hangars. Here, Gurgap revealed to the frustrated youngster that he was a terrible shot, missing great clumps of infection forms. Despite this, Aina's recent morale breakdown meant she was worried she was unable to kill the parasites, so left Gurgap to do this. Things were looking grim until Bora convinced Aina to use the Seraph's cannons to blow down supporting pillars, blocking the entrances and killing most of the undead horde.
The group then assigned each other different roles; Aina was tasked with using her limited mechanic skills to repair the Seraph, while Bora checked the supplies of the ship, and Gurgap searched around for additional supplies, as well as setting up additional barricades to stop the Flood from getting into the hangar. Gurgap managed to salvage a number of useful objects, such as additional rations, extra weapons and even intact vehicle parts.
Despite the precautions in place, the tenacious parasite did eventually burst through, prompting the trio to quickly scurry to the safety of the Seraph. Almost on cue, a weak shockwave ruptured throughout the ship - the result of the transition from slipspace to realspace. They blasted their way out of the hangar, fleeing away from itsand towards the closest established Covenant colony - , on of the two moons of .
Stranded on Csodaszarvas
Their arrival at Csodaszarvas wasn't exactly a landing, with the Seraph's makeshift repairs falling apart upon re-entry. They escaped largely intact, albeit with some scratches, and quickly discovered it crashed conveniently close to a human facility. They ignored it for the time being, moving towards the illegitimate town of Par-Kurr-Va. They had originally planned to trade many of the damaged components from their ship forto buy food and perhaps better parts, but a problem arose early on - no-one was interested in the junk. In the end, a profit-obsessed business being bought the junk, but they were shattered were it wasn't enough to cover the consumables. As Aina's and Bora's instilled Sangheili standards did not permit them to steal, they reluctantly forced Gurgap to steal some supplies for them.
The two youths realised something was wrong the day Gurgap was sent into the town to steal supplies, though Aina didn't act when Bore suggested that it's harder and more time-consuming than it looks, and continued outfitting the old outpost to support them in the long-term. When he didn't come back hours later, they agreed to search the settlement under the cover of night, where they found his body in a trash can. They buried him as soon as they could, mourning and burying him in the traditional Sangheili style. Though his death put them off becoming thieves, their hunger forced their hand. Though their inexperience at first meant they were almost shot or stabbed in their early years, Aina realised they could use tag-team tactics to distract the guards. On the first attempt, Bora was able to keep a merchant occupied enough for Aina to remove a security lock and make off with a larger payload. They frequently switched roles, with Aina's skill as a mechanical hacker frequently changed for Bora's abilities as a stealth expert. Even their ability to speak Sangheili came in handy, where the inhabitants couldn't understand them. Very quickly they became successful, and used some liberated components to continue repairing their Seraph, which they now christened the Fortune's Victor.
As one of the few gangs of its type in Par-Kurr, the pair never expected much resistance from the shopkeepers. With this in mind, Bora encouraged Aina to begin raiding the local slaver depots. Nine months later, in mid-2553 they challenged themselves to raid a large cargo-ship which was suspected to carry not only valuable ship systems, but also slaves. Staying out of sight, the plan was that Bora was to inspect the materials and if possible disarming the locks, while Aina would override the ship's locks and release the prisoners, creating a diversion while they took off with the computers and components. Unfortunately, they never considered the ship carried older criminals, and they were forced to abandon most of what they planned to steal. During the escape, they ran into a young Kig-Yar slave named Mud, so-called because he was found in a muddy puddle when his master claimed him. Though they never trusted him because he was a Kig-Yar and only reluctantly accepted him because their personal honour demanded it, he proved to them how useful an extra hand could be. Over the months, Aina allowed other members to join despite the extra food they would require to support themselves.
Having a larger group from a number of different backgrounds who had problems trusting each other did eventually escalate into conflict. After they took a job and it turned into a trap, they abandoned one of their friends in January 2555. The gang split into three groups, with Aina and Bora still had the largest splinter at four members including themselves. The sour relations did turn violent, and the three now-separate gangs led attacks on one-another's territory, including one where Aina was almost killed in her sleep. She advocated to leave, and picked a target which would surely get that action to happen as soon as possible.
Raid on the Merchant's Guild Headquarters
The raid on the Merchant's Guild in December 2554 was long-planned, and had been on their hit-list since they first arrived. In Aina and Bora's eyes, this would be their ticket off-world. While they had repaired their fighter well enough to get them off the moon, it lacked a functioning slipspace drive. The only place where such devices were easily available were located at the Merchant's Guild of Csodaszarvas' landing platforms. The plan was for Bora to infiltrate the lower building and shut down the security systems and defences, while Aina led the remaining gang members to override the encryption on several shuttles and fly them out of there, eventually dropping off their slipspace drives near the hideout and dumping the shuttles elsewhere. Stolen communications equipment would keep both teams in touch with each other.
This particular mission conflicted with those normally undertaken by the group, which relied on quickly storming the store and making off with whatever they could in record time. For this reason, Aina's group was particularly anxious and impatient. After an hour of no contact, Bora finally assured it was safe for Aina to hack the shuttles, relieving the concerns shared by the group. They quickly scaled the tower, wasting no time and immediately began to decrypt the shuttle's security while her friends planned out the defence. Soon after Bora arrived, the first platoons of the Merchant's Police arrived. Despite Aina's abundance of stolen weapons, the thieves were bad shots, and here she witnessed the deaths of one of her friends. After a number of minutes, and making progress on the lock, she was almost hit by a plasma burst, so Bora had to take over while she held off the police.
- Ania: "You Nishum, why did you leave? You never even gave me enough time to board the shuttle!"
- Police Officer: "[Looks like they weren't your friends after all. Give up, because they are not coming back to save you]."
- ―Aina is caught by the Merchant's police forces
Thanks to their combined efforts, they both managed to unlock one of the shuttles, and the group quickly rushed aboard. Aina was the last to board, covering their escape and keeping their 'hosts' occupied. She was stranded when her gang unexpectedly activated the shuttle and left before she could board. Faced with little choice, she surrendered to the Merchant's Police, stunned by the betrayal of her most loyal friends.
- "You Gurvra were threatened by a group of juvenile Sangheili, and this, this female gave you most of your trouble? Hehe, I'll buy her off you, if only to show you later when I break her spirit!"
- ―A slaver agrees to purchase Aina, underestimating her.
Locked in a heavily reinforced cell guarded by no less than two officers, Aina struggled to come to terms with both the imprisonment and the betrayal. She attempted several break-outs when she was there, attempting to escape long enough to find out why her friends abandoned her. However, the maze-like layout of the basement and her unfamiliarity with the building meant she would always eventually be caught. Other times, the three officers sent to guard her would end her escape before it even began. During her imprisonment, the heads of the Merchant Guild knew that she served no use and had to get rid of her; her execution would just result in anger against the Guild, and her lack of discipline would become a source of rebellion. Thus, they marketed her to potential buyers, hoping to get her off their hands as soon as possible. They eventually convinced small-time slaver Chur'R-Chok to buy her off their hands, though they never mentioned Aina's intelligence or desire to escape.
She was packed into a cage during her transit to Levus, a dead world which has little value to any major government. As soon as she was moved into the pressurised complex and Chok unlocked her cage, she lunged at him. Chok dodged her effort, before retaliating with several strikes from a leather whip. When she eventually gave up, she was led into a small room which was occupied by five other aliens of varying ages; the eldest was easily over twenty. All were female. Over the two long months, her time was split between learning Kig-Yar and being moderately beaten to break down her resistance. During her captivity, she was known to be overly aggressive to her enemy, even while being chained by the neck to the wall; he installed a full-body restraint to prevent this. Worse, she assisted no less than four riots in her first five weeks. After the last riot was put down, Chok grew tired of her behaviour and subjected her to torture. He cut into her with a sharp blade multiple times, then he burnt her with a heated piece of metal to inflict severe first- and second-degree burns across her right arm and leg.
While he expected her behaviour to change immediately, it only strengthened Aina's resolve to escape. She quickly encouraged her cellmates a plan to sabotage the facility and cover her escape. Breaking down the cell door with their combined strength, she moved with the two most trustworthy in her group to damage the security systems while the rest tried to free the other slaves. The actions were anything but subtle, apparently setting off a number of internal alarms which brought Chok's attention. While Aina's sabotage bought her time to attempt to escape, the small number of countermeasures which remained and Chok's own intervention allowed him to isolate the rioters from the rest of the slave compound. This was what Aina was waiting for. She and her saboteurs quickly located and fought their armed opponent with no less than broken metal bars in an attempt to keep him controlled enough to deactivate the remaining countermeasures and unlock his ship. Her allies were reluctant to help her thanks to his lethal, forcing Aina to subdue him alone. While it was clear that Chok's swift and heavy swipes with his cutlass gave him an edge early on, it was when Aina was suddenly held by her allies which allowed him to disarm and knock her out.
Now realising that Aina and her colleges were a threat when together, Chok separated had them isolated from each other, before each became a subject of varying levels of torture. It might have been surprising that Aina was subject to less extreme pain than the others, though its possible he may have intended to once she recovered. Despite this, he continued to try and condition her in private, still trying to break her until mid-February 2555 a government official had him assassinated. If Aina and the other slaves believed he would free them, they were devastated when those that suggested he free them were openly executed.
"The Venezian Venturers"
Only slightly less muscular than a typical Sangheili, Chal was a member of a sub-species of Sangheili who were adapted to the cold climate ofand other colony worlds. As such, she readily displayed many of the traits carried by that sub-species; larger and thicker scales, very light skin tone and slightly fat appearance. However, she wasn't typical of the sub-species, as her higher amount of darkened spots along her arms signalled that she was the product of interbreeding between the mainline race as well. Like most of her appearance, she inherited her distracting bright blue eyes from her biological father, Sev 'Ikavowattinrzo. Though sometimes mistaken to be part of the subspecies due to her lighter skin, her mandibles and face were similar to the main Sangheilios subspecies and lacked the more insectoid appearance of that the former displayed. Her career as a gladiator and later mercenary has gained her more than her fair share of scars, something seen very rarely in females, where their expectation was to stay at home and rely on their husbands for protection.
- "Loyalty to the mission is one thing - loyalty to a person is quite another."
- ―Chal warns one of her clients.
In many ways, Chal was unique for any Sangheili; this no doubt had many connections with her early life. Because of her early training focus, she displayed many traits more commonly displayed in boys of the same age; she lacked most patience or modest traits that most other girls her age displayed, and grew bored if there was nothing to do, such as in conversations. Like her parents, she was stubborn and rarely tried to fit the general stereotype that most of her species saw her gender as. She was known for her recklessness, charging straight into a fight without considering the fact it may be a trap - a trait which diminished in time. She was also very forgiving, and despite growing up in Sangheili culture, developed an early taboo against killing.
In her adult years, there was enough changes that she could be considered a different person. The violence she was forced to undertake and the stress from losing her family and friends meant she suffered from an inability to trust others, post-traumatic stress disorder and an urge to kill - traits which are borderline psychopathic. The latter required her to some weak illicit hallucination drugs to calm her mind when talking to clients or on infiltration contracts. This reliance on drugs left her with little in the sense of right and wrong or even personal honour, leaving her with few morals to distract her and had no qualms with ensuring almost-full loyalty to those with money. She was no longer reckless, instead preferring to scout around to check on the full capabilities of her opponent, though if she doesn't take her drugs at regular intervals then she would become more desperate. Paranoia resulting from betrayals means she's uncomfortable with others knowing too much about her, and later began planting false information to confuse what were the facts in the sea of lies. It was no secret she was vengeful, enough that she allowed it to be known to reduce the likelihood she'll be betrayed, though still maintains that precaution anyway. This trait extended to when she would immediately kill someone on the spot if they shot at her by accident.
What was surprising was that she was more heavily influenced by human culture than that of her species. Instead of relying on brute strength, she trained herself to be very adaptable and efficient to changing circumstances. Adept at sarcasm, inclined to cracking jokes and taunting her enemies in the field were also other traits she shared with humans. Unlike Sangheili military veterans, she is not above sacrificing others to ensure her own survival, though she does exhibit obedience to clients who hire her. Another more human trait is her willingness to lie, and has the ability to know exactly when others are lying. Human culture didn't just influence her habits, as her favourite music was late-twentieth pop and rock. She would play it when she was in the company of other mercenaries, though in combat turned it off to improve her concentration.
Strangely, she got steadily less proficient in her first language, Sangheili. Moreover, she was actually better at speaking in her second and third languages, Kig-Yar and English. As a result, she spoke with 'broken' speech in Sangheili which lacked compound words and words with sudden changes in sounds, so only used it for information-related communication. On the polar side, her extreme knowledge of those languages allowed her to not only add smart remarks, but also intimidate and apply sarcasm to her sentences - one of the few members of her species to know what sarcasm is. She was known at times for speaking in one language but using words from another at times, greatly confusing her clients and allies. Despite this, she was extremely proud of her language skills, and frequently tries to prove them with a very proper accent.
- "He... Does things his own way. Look, people tell me he's stupid and inexperienced. The first guy to try and prove that lost his hand in a split second. That's not being stupid - that's encouraging your foes to believe what they see."
- ―Anonymous mercenary, referring to Chal.
Her impressive close combat skills are the result of two things; the training from hired seniors, and her experience in the gladiator pits. Though physically inferior to the normal Sangheili male, she is still stronger and faster than any smaller species. To fight against stronger and better-armoured foes, she adopts a technique which keeps her very close to her enemies, reducing the space they need to build up force in their strikes, though can adopt other less-aggressive styles if need be. She almost never fights fair, either, striking for high-nerve areas to fill her opponent with pain, or pulling out a knife or gun to give her an edge in those situations. For ranged weapons, she can use any weapons she feels are important, though she is slightly inaccurate with sniper rifles and lacks some experience with demolitions. In any fight, her incredible tolerance to pain which resulted from her gladiator training means that she can take some serious wounds before giving up. As she is determined to be the very best at her profession, she never stops combat to taunt her opponent, though does yell those out during it, and never hesitates when she has the chance for a kill.
For other areas, she likes to think she's a survivalist. With a stronger stomach which isn't fussy with food so long as its edible, she is happy to consume scraps that others would throw away. She's hardy to tread or even live in all but the most uninhabitable environments, as her immune system is potent enough to protect her from most kinds of illnesses and diseases, as well as the better-insulating scales her sub-species boasts. Being smaller allows her to move quieter when she can, and can fit into slightly smaller spaces... Not as small as other species though.
- Salvaged Combat Harness: Though incomplete when compared to the original RANGER-class combat harness it was originally a part of, Chal's combat harness is a cobbled-together model that used bits and pieces from a variety of other systems, including a right shoulder from a Honour Guardsmen. The internals are heavily modified to increase comfort over long periods of time, though this meant turning the oxygen container and emergency generator into an optional attachment installed on her backside. The helmet's visor is more heavily reinforced and much later has its own weak shield overlaid on top of it, giving it superior protection to the normal battle armour. The armour's energy shielding is a strong class, equivalent to that of an Ultra or war-era Zealot. However, other useful systems, such as its energy gauntlets and additional armour protection have been sacrificed to increase energy efficiency, flexibility and decrease armour weight. Lastly, a voice modifier deepens her speech to something very similar to that of a warrior male, allowing her to masquerade as one in her occupation.
- ↑ Due to her mother's origin of the mainline Sangheili subspecies, emotional restraint and physical differences, Chal never suspected that Falia was indeed her mother
- ↑ Semi-quoted from Athena in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
- ↑ She could say sounds like 'Wot wot wot' just fine, but something like 'roar-wooot-roar' would be difficult