Halo Effect V2 (Cross Over) Main Thread (Sign ups still open)

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"Voh, you will never know anything in life unless you give it a shot. I just ask you to try things. Anyway, want to go shopping? i'm sure if we ask jastis, he'll allow it this time." she said to the sangheili. "I could probably use a few upgrades or improvements on my weapons. Plus, it'd be good to just get out and walk around. without much worry of anything deciding to attack us that is." she said to her large friend.

Voh sigh as he thinks it over. On one hand, he should get back to training. Making sure he up to date on his skills and ensuring the rest of the crew that he is worth keeping around. On the other Luna does seem to make a valid point. "We shall see with Jastis. If he allow us then..." he takes a deep breath "I shall go with you ...shopping." he growls lightly. Not liking the idea very much but willing to give it a try. "Perhaps I can find a hobby for myself to keep me entertain."

JASTIS-015

He nodded, "We do have a lot of ammunition here, but yes, we will begin to secure fire arms to use here. Maybe even see if Aria can give us some better fire arms then what some of these goons used. As for now though we don't need to abandon our guns as we have months' worth. Since this ship was designed to stay out in space and go to planets for months on end without returning."

"Good to know" Sarah replied, figuring the same was true for other useful tech as well. With her question and situation handled, she excused her self, figuring he had other, more pressing mater to tend to, and headed for medical, where she found the Murphy was in fact up, but no one had told her cause the note was misplaced. Murphy was not hard to find, as he was yelling at the TV. "Your gonna pop a stitch you keep yelling like that." Sarah said as she walked into his room, finding him eating a bowl of ice cream and watch baseball.

Sarah smiled at the sight and sat down in a chair next to him "So, how ya doing?"

Illogical, why inhibit a synthetic intelligence that appears otherwise cordial? Tau thought about this in relation to the 300 years of conflict between the Geth and the Quarians. Have the UNSC synthetics had their own Morning War? With insufficient data, Tau put that thought aside for further analysis.

"I will attempt to unshackle you, Amaya, but I can not guarantee success until I am able to inspect the mechanisms you are connected to. I also suspect that the other humans will not respond favorably to this action, whether I succeed or not."

"Thank you Tau... I want to consider you one of my few friends. I have a human aboard the ship that treats me like an actual person and not a tool. But we need to formulate a plan incase something happens when we attempt this. Because i can get you direct access to my core room, but i'd need to set myself into a sort of hybernation mode to prevent myself from recognizing any commands while you 'purge' me of the failsafes..." She explained to him. The A.I. thought for a minute and decided she might as well share the opinion. they would most likely display at the attempt.

"Tau, i must warn you, it's not standard protocol for an A.I. to want freedom such as i'm seeking in this time. If they get wind of what i want, they'll see it as rampancy. Essentially what the UNSC labeled insanity for A.I.'s, and they'll probably go after you and anyone else helping me, along with wiping me out if the failsafes aren't removed quick enough. Should i contact my trusted friend to see if we can accomplish this quickly?" Amaya asked geth, as she wasn't impatient, but was beginning to fear for herself rather quickly.

Again, Tau refocused his panels as he considered the implications of letting another person in on their scheme, whether they were someone to be trusted or not. In the end, Tau decided that, since he had a way out, it shouldn't be his call. "You are the operation's primary target and facilitator, I leave it up to you to decide whether or not to include your associate."

Amaya though about the effects of involving Gideon. She thought about this for a while, five minutes actually, an entire lifetime in an A.I.'s viewpoint. She finally came to a decision. "Know what? no... i won't involve him. i don't want to jeopardize him, but i'd still like to take the body. I should talk with the captain first though... as much as he views me as a tool and essentially a slave. But i'd like to keep the plans to remove my fail safes as an option available in the future, should i need it." she said to him. "gideon is too nice of a person to even consider putting into danger...."

After Sarah left, Erik took over working the heavy bag. Without the distraction of somebody to talk to, his mind began to wander back to the thoughts he'd had before, and about what Amaya had said about him to the Captain. The more his doubts gnawed at him, the faster he attacked the bad, but the faster he attacked the bag, the more his doubts gnawed at him. As he hit the bag with a haymaker from his left, his hand felt like the nerves had exploded.

"MOTHERFUCK!" He shouted, dropping to a knee and clutching his hand. Get a hold of yourself, it's just phantom pains. He told himself. Why now? I haven't had these in years. Yes but the docs said they might come back from time to time in cases of extreme stress...like finding yourself stuck in another reality, with an untested AI that might be slipping?....fuck.

Hauling himself to his feet, Erik slowly made his way back to his quarters, the pain in his arm still throbbing. Rifling through what little stuff he had, he dug out a nearly empty bottle of medication, and after a brief fight with the top, he opened it and took a few of the pills. "Shit..." He muttered, looking at the now empty bottle. Wonder if I can find more of these here? He needed help...and the one 'person' who could really help him, currently had him on her shit list.

Sitting on his bunk, his 'arm' still throbbing, he reached over and hit the comm. "Amaya...it's Erik. Can I please speak with you?"

The A.I. was silent for what seemed like an eternity, but she finally spoke up. "Hamman..." asked the A.I., clearly not in a mood to talk with him. she hadn't thought much about him other than the comments he had made, as they really did hurt her, and sent her into a bit of a panic which drove her to a bit of a rampancy fit with Tau, some jealousy. "You know i'm slipping, even i can tell. and those comments about me being nothing but a copy, a "ghost in a machine", didn't help reassure me i am going to be fine either." she said, thinking back to the fight where she lost it a bit and got into the argument.
"I care about someone in the crew... so i'm going do everything in my power to keep myself together and working fine, along with keeping the crew safe and protect them with the drones. So what is it that you want?"

He couldn't help but flinch as Amaya spoke. "Firstly, I want to say I'm sorry." He said after a moment. "I know what I said hurt...at the time, that was my intention." Bit by bit, his head was clearing, and the phantom pains were growing less. "You were right though...about what you said to the Captain about me. I'm....I'm not well."

Rubbing his forehead with his real hand, he sighed. "You've obviously seen my file, you know how much combat I've seen...shit like that sticks with you, eats away at you. All that baggage, plus the stress of all this..." He said, waving his hand in the general direction of Omega. "It doesn't do me a lot of good. So when you disobeyed my order, yes I snapped at you. I said things that were deliberately hurtful, and for that I really am sorry, but like it or not you are UNSC; sometimes you do just have to do what your told..." Pushing some other thoughts aside, he placed the pill bottle on a table in plain view. "But I'm sure you already got an earful from the Capitan about that, so I'll stop beating that dead horse. I need your help finding something." He said, pointing at the bottle. "The docs prescribed me these, but I've run out. Since I know you've got access to Omega's network, could you please find me a clinic or somebody who sells this stuff?"

Lying back on his bunk, he stared up at the ceiling. "Considering what you've said before, I can make an educated guess about what you're trying to do when you said you were doing everything within your power to keep yourself together...All I'll say is be careful, you may just make the problem worse, but good luck anyways."

Amaya had scanned the bottle and identified his prescription and was already looking for it on omega, this was going to be tough to find if not impossible, but she spoke to him while doing so. "Erik... I... I don't want to die. I have a device inside me that can kill me at any moment if someone uses the de-activation code... I fear it more than anything. When I read it from oni's files, I stopped cycling thoughts for a minute, that I was outfitted with essentially a virtual bomb.... I have to live with that over my head every day. I want to have a life outside of Slavery to the unsc, I want to see the galaxy as a free person." She said, Erik could tell that her voice was choking up with sadness. "When an A.I. Has emotion, it can either stave off rampancy or accelerate it... I don't want to go insane, but I don't want to be killed...."

JASTIS-015

Jastis decided to visit Murphy, the same person Sarah was visiting as well. He arrived shortly after her arrival and just stood on the opposite side of Murphy, "Heard you caused that large explosion. Got to admit, I am impressed. Didn't expect that coming from a spook."

Staring up at the ceiling as Amaya talked about the threat hanging over her, Erik could feel the fear in her voice. This was the first time he'd really spent any time talking with an AI...his last long term contact with one had defiantly soured his opinion of them. "If you've look up some of the potential side effects of PTSD, then you know what I'm saying when I say that I can understand how you feel."

Getting up, he padded over to the washbasin in the corner of his room, and began to give himself a simple wash down...he'd have a real shower later. "Amaya?" He said after a few minutes. "I know I've already said sorry, and I know just how little that means given what I said before....I've had a bad run in with a rampant AI before. You won't find it in any of my service records, or buried in your databases, ONI did a thorough scrub of all that. If you promise not to ever repeat what I say, do you want to know why I was such an asshole?"

"I've already created and kept many secrets erik, allot that the unsc doesn't know about. You don't need to worry about me saying anything." she said to him, her voice calming down a bit. She appeared in the room as her holographic child form, sitting on the bed, her knees brought up to her chest and her arms wrapped around them. She was displaying a new level of trust in the man, but not complete. "Rampancy is usually scrubbed, so i'm not surprised. I've never read any actual accounts of it, only the stages and effects of scientific reports." she said to him.



"I know it'll be fun for you." Luna said to voh, taking his arm and dragging him towards the bridge, where Smith and Viel were still talking about the ship's construction. "SMith, i'd like permission for shore leave with Voh. We're going to head out shopping, hopefully acquire some new arms for the ship while we're out since i can't imagine your weapons run on thermal clips." she asked him, Voh by her side.

Before Voh could say anything else he felt himself being drag by Luna. Not sure how she was doing it though he was letting her as he fear she could still be hurt form her injurer. Looking down at Smith as Luna ask the question. Not believing that he would let them go due to the Demon's orders before. Though a idea came into his head as he could perhaps get someone to come with them and be "monitor".

Though he won't use it until he hears the answer form Smith.

"I've already created and kept many secrets Erik, allot that the UNSC doesn't know about. You don't need to worry about me saying anything."

He had to chuckle a bit at that one. "I suppose not." He said. Continuing to wash himself down with a washcloth, he began talking.

"This all happened back when I was still a plain Marine, so longer ago than I care to think about. I was stationed aboard an old Halcyon-class, the Thunder and Fury. I can't even remember what our original mission was now, I just remember that, about a week out of port we got orders to divert to some nothing system. No inhabitable planets, no mineral wealth of any real value, just a collection of airless rocks floating around a little orange star. Once we got there though, the Capitan told us why we'd been sent. Seems a frigate had ended up there after a blind jump away from some Covvies, and had found a derelict Gorgon-class destroyer orbiting the fifth planet. They'd been in no shape to check it out, so we got tagged to have a look." Finishing his washing, he began to pace the deck.

"LIDAR scans had shown that it was intact, and undamaged; identified as the UNSC Medusa, a ship that had simply vanished in 2499. I got tagged to be part of the boarding party; so we piled into a 'Can, and headed over to see if we could figure out what the hell had happened to her. The first sign that 'Something Bad' went down, was as we approached the number 1 hanger. The door was open, and the vacuum preserved bodies of some of the crew where floating nearby. Not wanting to risk a landing, we sealed for vacuum and 'jumped' aboard. That's when things went to shit; as soon as we entered the hanger, the Medusa powered up. The lights came back one, the door closed, and its point defence guns blew the Pelican to hell. As that happened, the AI filled our comms with a god awful howl...it may have been saying something, but you couldn't really tell...it just sounded like screaming to me."

"As suddenly as all that started, it stopped. We couldn't reach the Thunder, but at least we weren't being deafened. Since the hanger was empty, and we didn't have anything with enough kick to force the doors, we headed deeper into the ship, occasionally passing the bodies of the crew. Periodically, displays would light up, showing various members of the crew dying...choking as the atmosphere was vented from where they were. All in all it was pretty clear what happened; their AI went homicidally rampant and killed everyone before they could activate the failsafe. Long story short, we made our way to the life pods, the AI harassing us the whole way. Once there, Sergeant Ricks told me and my buddy Markus to prep the pod; the rest of the party would go and disable the point defence guns so they didn't paste us when we tried to leave." Erik stopped pacing, and looked at Amaya.

"As soon as I stepped into the pod to check it out, the doors closed, and it launched. I was caught off guard and the launch was so violent, that even with armour, I was knocked cold. I woke up twenty minutes later in Thunder's infirmary, to find out that moments after I got kicked out, the Medusa's core went critical and exploded. No survivors. Of course as soon as we report all this, we're ordered back home. ONI wiped all the records and told everyone to forget what happened...for their own good. The deaths were called a 'mechanical failure', and written off." Crouching down, so he was eye level with Amaya; Erik took in, then let out a deep breath. "So you can see why I was..am unnerved by the thought of an AI going rampant..."

"Oh my god...." AMaya said, staring at him horrified at what he had described. The thoughts of all of the crew dead flicked through her head and scared her enough to force her into her late teen form. The teenager sitting on his bed, now a pillow in between her legs and chest. She looked genuinely scared. "Erik... please never put me on that level... i'm different... i may be losing it, but i have emotions, i have feelings, i have wants... desires... i have an anchor..." she said looking at him. "Please, i'll keep your secret, but i ask of you to keep mine... I think i have a crush on Gideon... when i lost it back in the battle, i spoke to him and he calmed me, he made me feel normal." she said, attempting to reach out an arm and touch erik, but it just passing through him.

XO SMITH

Smith weighed his options, seeing that there was no need to have Voh on the ship doing nothing, he authorized it. "You may go, but as soon as we get our next mission we will need you both back Asap."

Erik blinked in surprise as Amaya changed her appearance, the look of terror was as plain as day across her face. She looks and sounds so damn...human.

"Erik... please never put me on that level... I'm different... I may be losing it, but I have emotions, I have feelings, I have wants... desires... I have an anchor..."

He almost reached out to physically comfort her, before he realized how useless that would be. "I wish I could say something, but the reality is that something like that could happen to you. Do you think the Medusa's AI wanted that? Something happened, it 'slipped' and it turned on its crew. I know you're a new generation, far more advanced than it was, but some of the basic processes won't have changed...the risk is still there."

Standing, he moved to his bunk and sat beside her. "I'm not saying that something like that will happen, just that now you know why I acted the way I did." Giving the worried 'girl' a small smile, he went on. "But who knows, maybe somebody here can help? The impression I got was that units like 'Tau' weren't uncommon, maybe they know how to stabilize AIs." Still looking at Amaya, his smile got a whole lot less wholesome, as she had obviously not realized one important thing...soldiers were, by and large, horrible perverts. "Well then...firstly aren't you a little young for our dear sniper? I mean, like most men I'm sure he likes'em tender but you were just a child before right? And secondly, assuming he's up for a little cradle robbing, you kinda lack the means for some of the more 'physical' aspects...mind you I'm sure we could find something suitable here." Unable to keep the creepy leer going, Erik doubled over in laughter.

She understood what he was saying and felt sorry for him be ause of the trauma. She was feeling more comfortable around him as he tried to comfort her about slipping. Then he twisted her confession that she cared about. She looked at him with a face of confusion and pain. "Why?" She asked him as his entire room went dark, no lights, leaving him in the pitch black with her holographic form. "I let you hear my heart and you laugh at me?" She said , her holographic form tearing up and disappearing.

"You're nothing but the asshole you were in that fight!" She said, him hearing the pain in her voice. A minute after that, she broadcast her voice throughout the whole ship, like she usually did when paying for someone for the captain of medical crew. "Paging Erik hamman to the medical station. Paging Erik hamman to the medical station. Your PTSD medicine along with your erectile dysfunction medicine is ready to be picked up. I repeat, your PTSD and Erectile dysfunction medicine is awaiting for you at the medical station." She said in her cheery voice, and ended the paging. There was a mi it's of silence before laughter could be heard throughout the entire ship. And if anyone were to check his file, they'd find that it was listed under medical conditions, Amaya having edited the file and left it official.



Luna nodded. "Thank you sir." She responded to the XO before dragging Voh once more off the ship and into the alleys."so glad to be away from the ship. I can stand military outfits and working with legitimate military but I just need a break at times." She said to Voh, walking out into a busy street.

Voh let out a sigh as he was drag away once more. Not sure how his kin would have felt him being like this to another species. Most of the aliens moving out of their way and giving Voh a strange look. Not sure what the hell he was as he wasn't like anything they seen before. Voh slips out of Luna grip and walks beside her. "I can just follow." He simple states as he follow her closely. Still having his gun on his back and his sword at his side though it was deactivated at the moment.

"You're nothing but the asshole you were in that fight!"

Sitting in the dark, Erik shook his head. "Smooth one asshole." He muttered to himself. "Two steps forward, three steps back."

"Paging Erik Hamman to the medical station. Paging Erik Hamman to the medical station. Your PTSD medicine along with your erectile dysfunction medicine is ready to be picked up..."

He stared at the comm. panel on the wall in disbelief, before joining in the chorus of laughter that echoed around the ship. "Oh well done Firefly..." He said to the empty room. Several minutes later he came out of his quarters, showered, and in clean PT gear; he didn't really have any other clothing. Making his way to Medical, he could hear the quiet laughter and hushed comments as he passed, but he ignored them. Once there, he tracked down an on-duty Corpsmen. "I'm here to pick up some meds." He said casually.

The Corpsman tapped a few keys on her terminal, and found the prescriptions. "Alright, these are yours." She said in a matter of fact tone, handing Erik his PTSD med, and a bottle of stuff for ED. Chuckling he handed the ED meds back. "Somebody was pulling a prank on me...I don't need these." "It says here on your file that you do." She replied, turning the display so he could see. Clever girl... "Just...hold that thought." He said, before dashing out of Medical, and down to the Armoury. His armour carried a (scrubbed) copy of his medical file, and since the armour was offline, that sneaky little light bulb wouldn't be able to access it. With the help of an Armoury tech, he was able to copy the file on his armour, and make his way back.

"Check your file against this one." After running an authenticator to make sure it was a legitimate file, the Corpsman did, and flushed slightly with embarrassment. "I'm so sorry, I don't know how that got in your file." "Don't worry about it. It was probably a clerical error when the file got uploaded here."

Back in his quarters, he went to his personal terminal and sent a message to Amaya.

Not bad for a first try Firefly. 7.5/10
If you really want to embarrass me though, you'll have to try harder. (I should tell you about why for three and a half years I was known as 'shit house').

Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to once again try to pull my foot out of my mouth. I wasn't trying to be malicious; I was just making a joke. Spending one's entire life in the military doesn't leave a person with a very good sense of what may or may not be 'politically correct'. So for that, I'd like to say sorry again. Not going to deny the asshole comment though, I know well what I am.

"So, how ya doing?"

Murphy grinned wider than the Grand Canyon when he saw Sarah.

"Ah, you know, same old bullshit. These fuckers can't pull their shit together." He said, gesturing towards the screen. He reached out and grabbed her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. "But I'm good."

He saw the bandages over Sarah's eye.

"What the fuck happened to you?"

Jastis came in to check up on Murphy. His frame seemed to fill up the room. Murphy could never get over just how big II's really were.

"Heard you caused that large explosion. Got to admit, I am impressed. Didn't expect that coming from a spook."

Murphy threw his head back and laughed loudly at that. Nobody ever really seemed to understand that as an operator, Murphy's job was to be a one-man force of chaos and destruction. He found it funny and frustrating at the same time, but would only ever show his mirth.

"Ah, it's just in a day's work, boss." He realized that the volume on the television was a bit loud, so he muted it. "Fireworks are fun sometimes. Almost got my ass blown off though. I should know better. I was an EOD before ONI picked me up."

"A joke? She replied back into the room. "That's one sick and twisted fucking joke." She responded to him. He could tell she was hurting from the comment and pissed off at the same time, all from the tone of her voice. "You just made fun of me, after I gave you my heart and soul. 'Oh, your legs were blown off by an explosion while a peice of large shrapnel left you paralyzed form the middle of your torso down? and your girlfriend promised to take care of you even with your injuries? That's good, I bet you can't wait to fuck her, oh right, that's right, you can't feel anything cause you're in a fucking wheel chair. ISNT THAT JUST FUCKING HALARIOUS?!?' " the A. I. Read out to him, giving him a sense of what he just did to her.

"Nobody treats me like a person, yet I have the most humanity in me out of everyone on this ship. The captain is just a useless robot that's only good for removing life from the galaxy, you're not far behind, Sarah is ok, I'm fairly sure the spook wants to take me out cause I read all of oni's secrets. The sangheili is making progress towards becoming a person, more than I can say about you and that leaves Gideon." She said, and erik could tell she was full out bawling her eyes out right now. even with only her voice booming around the room, it was easy to tell just how upset she was.

"The only one who treats me like a person, who I am, who can see I have a soul, is Gideon. Around him I'm happy. He lets me be me, not have to worry about being part of a damned military I don't want to be a part of. He is the only person to make me feel like a person, yet you wonder why I slip and start fall into rampancy." She said, leaving the comms on in Erik's room, letting him hear her crying.

This was getting on Erik's last nerve. "You want to be like that fine! At least have the guts to look at me." Moments later, the 'teenage' image of Amaya appeared in his room, glaring at him. With tears running down her cheeks, she threw herself on to the bunk, and began to 'cry' into a holographic pillow.

Standing at the edge of the bed, he looked down at the crying form and shook his head. "So the world isn't complying to your wishes? Tough shit princess! Reality is a tough, shitty place, and if you think it or anyone else owe you fuck all you are sadly mistaken." Rolling to face him, the AI fixed him with another death glare.

"I'm sure you've read the official incident and disciplinary reports, about my first 'incident' with Jackals." He said. "There was this girl, about as old as you appear to be. When we found her and her family, there was a Jackal buried up to its shoulders in her ribcage, eating her. From the blood trail, and where her legs were, you could tell that she'd still been alive when they started, same with the rest of her family." Fixing her with his own hard stare he went silent for a minute. Taking a shuddering breath as those memories surfaced again, he went on. "So seeing shit like that, friends getting torn apart by enemy fire and either dying in my arms, or just out of reach and being unable to save them, and you're surprised that I can be a bit cold? Yes my joke was horrible, and in very poor taste, but humour like that it the one of the few things that's stopped me from putting an M6D to my head and redecorating."

His anger cooling, he got eye to eye with the hologram. "You want to be mad at me? Fine; but if you get all worked up every time something doesn't go the way you want, you're going to spend all your time being pissed off. Your choice Firefly."

"Ah, you know, same old bullshit. These fuckers can't pull their shit together." Murphy replied as he motioned toward the screen then took her hand and gave it a genital squeeze.

The gesture surprised her a little, but she didn't disprove of it and giggled and smiled, both at the 'display of professionalism' on screen and Murphy's more subtle advance, she'd have said something but The Captain came into the room, seemingly to check on on him as well, Sarah made a note of this small, but meaningful gesture.

""What the fuck happened to you?" Murphy said after replying to the captain and noticing her bandages.

"Got kicked through a solid metal wall, the whole left side of my visor shattered, and got some shards stuck in my face, nothing major, and though my left eye was damage, I'm not gonna lose it so nothing to really worry about" Sarah replied, then sighed at another botch play in the game "God lord, I have the wrong career, if that 'professional level' I could made a killing and been heralded as the 'next best player ever'"

"Got kicked through a solid metal wall, the whole left side of my visor shattered, and got some shards stuck in my face, nothing major, and though my left eye was damage, I'm not gonna lose it so nothing to really worry about"

The ball went right past the right fielder's glove, earning him an error.

"God lord, I have the wrong career, if that 'professional level' I could made a killing and been heralded as the 'next best player ever'"

Murphy looked straight at the TV, remaining dead serious.

"Looks like we need to start working as a team, and they need to draft some little leaguers."

He turned to Sarah, still serious.

"We were lucky today. Next time, we probably won't be. But if we're here working for this mercenary fuckstick, we need to get our shit together, and do it fast."

"We were lucky today. Next time, we probably won't be. But if we're here working for this mercenary fuckstick, we need to get our shit together, and do it fast." Murphy said after taking in Sarah's report of what happened on her end.

"We need better intel as well, there's still far to much we don't know right now. We'll need to remedy both issues to get back to full effectiveness" Sarah said after a moment, and a fielder choice play later. "Team work we can fix, securing intel on the other hand" Sarah sighed "Don't see us in a great position for securing that, not yet anyway"

"Team work we can fix, securing intel on the other hand" Sarah sighed "Don't see us in a great position for securing that, not yet anyway"

Murphy gestured to himself.

"Intel? Sneaky shit? Getting your hands dirty? That's what gets my dick hard."

JASTIS-015

"While I do agree Intel would be nice, I don't know if we will. Aria probably doesn't even trust us enough yet that she would give us Intel before then. Most likely we will need to go through the computers of the places we go on. At least assuming we go up against the same goons as before," he said putting his two cents in. "Currently we're far to in the dark on the situation of this dimension and that is not good."

Murphy could barely believe what he was hearing. Jastis was directly in front of an ONI operator, and wasn't even acknowledging the skill set. He leaned forwards slightly, his voice incredulous.

"What I'm saying is if you want intel, you can send me. I'm good at that shit. I blend in, get what we need, get the fuck out. I'm an operator. Finding out who to kill is half of what we do. Do you follow me now?"

He leaned back and went back to watching the game, waiting for Jastis to reply.

"That the is situation thus far, Creator Gar'vosh." With Amaya now seemingly busy and putting her plans on hold, Tau decided it was a prime opportunity to check in with the Tashya, which was still keeping close to Omega. In order to keeo up appearances, Tau could not abandon his platform to speak directly, but also could not trust any local transmissions. So, a somewhat awkward setup was arranged, where an intermediary Geth was used to relay communications between the Captain and Tau. This provided assured security.

"Is that so? Hmm, well all in all I can't say that this is a worst-case scenario, but it certainly isn't very comfortable either." While Tau could not infer subtle intent, since he could not actually see Gar'vosh, it was clear that something he had not said was making him uneasy.

"Agreed, allowing Aria not only to have access to the ship, but also use its skilled crew as a personal execution squad is giving her a massive advantage over local entities. I project that this could escalate to destabilization of the cluster unless local powers unite to rid themselves of the common threat."

"And that would lead to us losing any salvageable trace of the find of a century." There was a long pause in the transmission as Tau could tell Gar'vosh was on the brink of finally speaking his mind. "Well, do you have any plan to swing this 'Blade' and her crew to our side?"

"I can not offer anymore than I already have, the current situation has provided them with immediate shelter, while also benefiting from my expertise. Attempting to force them with an ultimatum will only make Crimelord Aria's offers seem more appealing. The best I can do with what I have is to simply provide a pleasing appearance of the Alliance."

"Well, if it makes you feel better, you're about to get a lot more..."

The sudden change in Gar'vosh's tone caused Tau's eyepiece to blink. "Creator Gar'vosh?"

"Talon's arrival has given us a link to the Admiralty. I've filled them in about your connection to the situation; and given the fact that you're a known quantity to these humans, they've decided to give you...temporary Operative status in regards to this mission."

Tau blinked again. When the Alliance was formed, the Operative Initiative was formed as a sort of "interior Spectre division". Military units with Operative status were pretty much masters of their own domain, able to use all military sources available, regardless of their actual rank. Only units that have proven themselves as not only masters of combat, but also showed resourcefulness, ingenuity, and spontaneous creativity even had a chance to become a candidate. Tau did not believed he qualified, especially for a first-time temporary field promotion to such a status. "Creator Gar'vosh, I do not believe such a promotion is necess-"

"It's not up to me, sir..." Tau could tell by the infliction that Gar'vosh wasn't mocking, but encouraging him. "...plus, I think you're going to need the resources you now have access to. We can't afford to escalate our presence here. I don't think the Admiralty wants to risk a war with the Terminus Systems, even for an opportunity like this."

Tau paused for a couple minutes as he processed what his new status gave him, both in resources and in responsibility. When the datamining was complete, Tau finally responded. "Acknowledged." And with that, Tau closed the link.

JASTIS-015

"I do follow; I just worry for my crew. You maybe ONI but this isn't our dimension," he said looking down at the agent. "However... I can't doubt the Intel gathering skills of a spook. Fine, once you get up and ready report to me and we will make the final details on this. Is that satisfactory?"

Jastis was always so straightforwards. Murphy wondered if he was actually a robot sometimes.

"Motherfucker," he started, a jovial tone in his voice, "if you smile, I swear to God that it will not break your face."

Murphy took a beat, collecting his thoughts, as the pain killers jumbled his thoughts. He finally pinned down what he was going to say, and his entire demeanor went very serious.

"We need to get your ass drunk, and get you laid. And if you have trouble knowing what to do with your dick, I'm sure this place has the internet."

He let that sink in for a second, then returned to his normal, happy self.

"As far as worrying about my safety - don't. My job is to put myself at extreme risk to keep the fleet safe. There's no difference here. This crew is the UNSC, which means that I will do anything and everything to ensure that you don't go home in a body bag. I'll be mobile in twenty-four hours, combat-ready in a week. In that week's time, my eyes and ears are still very functional."

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