“You’re not the only one here because of him.” – What if Jameson Locke was in Halo 3?

16 November 2552

ONI EYES ONLY

OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE
CONFIDENTIAL

//AMICO ET INIMICO?//
//URGENT// ADM. M. O. PARANGOSKY

‘VADAMEE

Margaret,

Considering the circumstances of impending extinction, I’ll be brief. Two months ago, I compiled a target profile on Supreme Commander Thel ‘Vadamee and his recorded interactions with humanity from 2535 to the fall of Reach. As the Covenant’s most dangerous military asset, it was my recommendation that he be terminated immediately.

Yesterday, 48789-20114-AJ was authorised by 07960-48392-TH to step into the interrogation (our interrogation) of ASSET RD-9743-X within the terminus of the QUITO SPACE ELEVATOR.

Exactly how 48789-20114-AJ and 15972-19891-MK returned home from the Halo ring has been classified, but striking up an alliance with the Sangheili is a hard thing to keep quiet. It has come to the attention of Naval Intelligence that the leader of these Sangheili is ‘Vadamee himself, now simply referred to as ‘The Arbiter.’

The obvious hardly needs to be pointed out here.

Due to the event at Joyous Exultation and the complete loss of the Combined Fleet of Righteous Purpose, the Sangheili are hobbled – they are no longer in a position to finish the fight by themselves. Whatever caused that detonation was a damn miracle for us, but this alliance of convenience is more delicate than that awful tea set you sent me last year (end of the world confessions, apologies, you can court martial me if we survive this), particularly considering ‘Vadamee’s leadership.

To cut the BS: Two months ago, I signed up to personally carry out ‘Vadamee’s assassination. That option is still on the table.

Our needs may be aligned for now, but this war has shown us that anything can happen – the scales tip, the wheel turns, and our grasp on our place in the universe becomes more distant and more solemn than a fading star.

If there’s even the slightest sign that ‘Vadamee and our alliance with the Sangheili is compromised, permission to cut off the head of the snake?

//Jameson Locke


//PRIVATE TRANSMISSION//CLASSIFIED
//RE: AMICO ET INIMICO?
//ADM. M. O. PARANGOSKY TO LT. CMDR. LOCKE

Permission granted.

//M

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343’s Growing Problem with Halo’s Endings

MIDNIGHT


The ornate edifice of the Didact’s combat skin shook and sputtered as the pulse grenade overloaded his systems, and the Master Chief fell at the ancient Forerunner’s feet on the hard-light bridge.

A moment lingered between them, from behind their cold masks – warrior-to-warrior, acknowledging that this battle was over, but the fight, their fight, was far from finished.

No matter how many stars would soon stand between them, fate was, once again, off-centre. The wheel of life had cracked under the strain of the weapon that hissed and roared and sang as its victims were consumed, sent to be digested, and then spat out again – their songs and souls, sublimated and shackled, unlike what they were before – encased now, entombed, in metal and madness.

It seemed as if the twining streams of Living Time stood still for that moment, as the grey hulk of the Didact toppled backwards – his hand still outstretched – and fell into the slipspace abyss.

“Getting back is going to be a problem for me,” Sam said, his voice echoing down the years, as the Master Chief struggled to his feet but found he no longer had the strength to stand. Not like Sam had, when he faced the end…

“Your duty to the UNSC supersedes your duty to yourself or even your crew.” Mendez did not look John in the eye – he was crawling now – as he pronounced the difference between a life spent and a life wasted. Which was this?

“One last lesson. I’m trying to teach you something it’s taken me all my life to realise,” said Catherine Halsey – his hands were on the HAVOK – and it only occurred to him now that she had been pleading with him.

“Don’t let her go. Don’t ever let her go.” It was his last thought as he slammed his hand on the detonator, knowing he couldn’t keep his promise. I let them all down.

“Send me out… with a bang.” Continue reading

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Meeting Your Heroes – The Day of the Doctor (Who Book Signing)

Yesterday was something of a fever dream to me. In fact, I’m convinced that I’ll wake up at some point and discover that the following events were entirely fictional – merely a product of my desires as both a writer and a Doctor Who fan…

Yesterday, I was in London, standing in a very long queue outside the Forbidden Planet megastore, where an all-star book signing event was taking place to mark the store’s one hundredth Doctor Who signing and celebrate the release of a series of novelisations for various episodes (City of Death, Rose, The Christmas Invasion, The Day of the Doctor, and Twice Upon A Time).

Yesterday, I met some truly marvellous writers and artists. People who can only be described as heroes of mine… among them, Steven Moffat and Russell T. Davies. Continue reading

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Mantle’s End – What the Forerunners did AFTER Halo (and where they are now…)

“And those who made the rings? What happened to the Forerunners?”

One hundred thousand years ago, a great and terrible civilisation achieved technological dominance. They appointed themselves as the galaxy’s rulers, imposing a chastening peace over their protectorates for countless millennia.

This they did in the name of the Mantle. Their duty: to preserve diversity and serve as guardians of life in all its forms.

And then, one day, they vanished.

They were the Forerunners, and this is what they did next… Continue reading

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Rise of Atriox, Issue #5 – Review

“Brute chief, Jovus, believes himself the most dangerous brute in the galaxy. But Atriox’s fearsome legend has reached even the most distant UNSC outpost. When the two brutes come face to face, their clash shapes the future of the Banished.”

Well, here we are… the final issue of Halo: Rise of Atriox has released, heralding not only the end of this anthology series but also the conclusion of the Halo Wars 2 ‘period’ of fiction – which has spanned the last year.

It’s a bittersweet moment because we’re facing another Great Lore Drought this year, the likes of which have not occurred since 2013, and it’s sad to see this series end…

But it was an end worth waiting for, as this final issue truly consolidates Rise of Atriox as the best Halo comic series since 2009/10’s Helljumper and Blood Line.

Rise of Atriox is a triumphant crescendo of important lessons having been learned from the last couple of years of Halo’s storytelling in the comic format; the result is a truly delightful origin story for a character and faction I find myself only wanting to see more of. Continue reading

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Star Wars IX Needs its Forgotten Skywalker (or, ‘Why Shmi Skywalker Deserves Better’)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

A Queen in-disguise, a Jedi Knight, a heroic droid, and a hapless Gungan fled to a desert planet under the light of twin suns in search of a way to repair their starship, where they happened upon a slave boy with a great and terrible destiny.

Befriending these strangers, he took them to his home and gave them shelter from a storm, where they met the boy’s mother. She, too, was a slave, and had come from nothing, and had no great destiny to fulfil beyond the breaking of her heart in order to see her boy find his place in a galaxy that would never know her name.

A kindly farmer fell in love with her and freed her from her chains, and she knew happiness for a time; but still there remained a deep and empty hole in her heart as she looked to the sky and thought of the great deeds her son – who must have grown to be so strong and wise and kind – would be doing as he walked among the stars.

While she was happy with her new life and loved her newfound family, she hoped that, one day, she would feel the warmth of her son’s hand in hers again – even if she had to wait until her last breath left her body under the setting suns.

Her name was Shmi.

The first Skywalker. Continue reading

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The Last Jedi – Thinking Outside the (Mystery) Box

Rian Johnson pulls off a magic trick with The Last Jedi, revealing that JJ Abrams’ purposefully empty ‘mystery box’ is actually Pandora’s box, and that it’s been open the whole time… and all the evils our heroes must face have already been unleashed.

But, of course, hope still remains.

In the time that The Last Jedi has been in cinemas, I’ve been to watch it four times…

The experience of watching a Star Wars film in the cinema is a novelty that never fades, it always feels momentous. I’m still laughing at all the jokes; I’m still realising, in the aftermath of certain scenes, that I’ve been holding my breath; I still reach the credits with a ridiculous grin on my face – trying, in vain, to articulate coherent thoughts to the person I watched the film with…

What can I say? I loved the film. I daresay it even ranks in my top three of the Star Wars saga. It just clicks with me because Rian Johnson’s vision for the delivery of this film speaks to a lot of my own storytelling sensibilities.

One of those is a storytelling technique that is of central importance to how The Last Jedi deals with the big questions set up by The Force Awakens, one that the Star Wars films have never really dabbled with before – what we will refer to as ‘narrative substitution’.

(Deflector shields for spoilers are down.)

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