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Posted By: ISitInA <>Date: 3/16/11 4:55 p.m.

To: Cpt********.1465.UNSC.THESEUS
Classifications: Captain's Eyes Only, Message Archival Allowed, Neural Net Upload Permissions Denied
Attachments: 1 (SmartAlec, 12 Mb)
Subject: Christmas


Sorry for my silence. We heard about your little issue and I'm being pulled in a hundred different directions. Half of them seem to be of the opinion that F484 might be responsible somehow. Have you ever heard of such insanity?

I'm looking forward to debriefing you. I'm going to need to get rather drunk when all this is done. Amazingly drunk.

A small, unrelated attachment this time, but I wanted to discuss something with you that might seem a little odd: Christmas.

For the Orion-IVs, Christmas was a special time. It wasn't so much a time of religion as it was a special time for them to be together with their family. Not their biological families, of course; for most of them their biological families were nothing more than fleeting dreams in the middle of the night. That's what happens when you combine intense brainwashing with physical brainwashing. All that they knew was the UNSC now. Some of them had forgotten that they even had names other than their designation.

No, for an Orion-IV, their family were their comrades. It might sound odd, but that's the way that it worked. They got paid, naturally (that could have been a PR fiasco, the grunts finding out that Orions didn't get paid) and this was their one chance in the year to really spend that pay. All over Reach, they'd hit up shops en masse. Of course, this was a major problem for shopkeepers.

Imagine, if you will, what an Orion-IV might buy for his brothers and sisters. It can't be anything big, because then they couldn't take it with them. They tended to prefer buying things for each other that would have some sort of tactical application, even if it was never taken into combat.

After that first post-graduation Christmas, ONI opened up the armories to the IVs for Christmas. A lot of them bought HEIAP ammunition for another's preferred weapon. Some bought after-market mods. Some had specialty data matrixes constructed that could be put on a necklace. Some had unique blades crafted.

F484, one year, got everybody something that was almost completely free. He drew up instructions on how to use a CNI set to wireless mode in order to hack a vehicle, allowing somebody to drive it while both their hands were occupied. (He was the first to perform this feat, in the aforementioned incident where he recovered Shiva warheads.) Though you had to keep your eyes on the road for the most part, it had served him well. By the end of Christmas leave, the process had been refined so that there could be group control, with Orions switching who was actively driving without any loss of control or speed. It could be unnerving to watch, a bunch of Orions practicing "high-speed target acquisition and elimination" with the driver hanging out the side of the vehicle.

The IVs that I talked to said it was the best present he ever gave, and that from that point on his presents were along these lines. Nothing material, just knowledge that nobody else had even thought of looking into that would later prove to be invaluable. Like hacking the BIOS of their Kavacha or the like.

Most importantly, it was a chance for them to talk. To be together. To laugh. ONI had learned from the other projects. Every human needs time to decompress. To reassert themselves. PTSD, combat stress reaction, the human mind is only designed to comprehend so many horrors before it needs to reaffirm reality. And though IVs were conditioned to handle it better than most anybody, they still needed that time of communication amongst each other. A chance to be more than a machine. A small window of opportunity to be human once again.

I wish I could show you the videos. They are some of the most hauntingly beautiful, and painful, celebrations that you'll ever see. Partially because nobody went back to their bunks -- they'd just find a spot and sleep. Silent conversations that would erupt with laughter, quiet enough not to wake the others. The food, real food, served by the truckload.

It's moments like these which remind me why they became my obsession.



Message Index


ChristmasISitInA 3/16/11 4:55 p.m.
     SmartAlecISitInA 3/16/11 4:56 p.m.
           Re: SmartAlecCarver 3/16/11 5:07 p.m.
                 Re: SmartAlecHive 3/16/11 5:15 p.m.
                       Re: SmartAlecHive 3/16/11 6:26 p.m.
                             Re: SmartAleciamalex13 3/16/11 6:30 p.m.
                                   Re: SmartAlecHive 3/16/11 6:54 p.m.
                                         Re: SmartAleciamalex13 3/16/11 7:00 p.m.
                                               Re: SmartAlecHive 3/16/11 7:01 p.m.
                             Re: SmartAlecCarver 3/16/11 6:34 p.m.
                                   Re: SmartAlecHive 3/16/11 6:52 p.m.
                                         I would pay for that movie. Indeed I would *NM*ZackDark 3/16/11 7:52 p.m.
                                               Re: I would pay for that movie. Indeed I wouldArithmomaniac 3/16/11 9:04 p.m.
     UpdateHive 3/16/11 5:13 p.m.
           Re: UpdateCarver 3/16/11 5:22 p.m.
     Re: ChristmasCaptainTony 3/16/11 5:25 p.m.
     Happiness lostISitInA 3/16/11 5:56 p.m.
           BallComm24872AISitInA 3/16/11 5:57 p.m.
           Snippet 4ISitInA 3/16/11 5:58 p.m.
     Alert!Hive 3/16/11 6:06 p.m.
           Re: Alert!iamalex13 3/16/11 6:19 p.m.
                 Re: Alert!Hive 3/16/11 6:21 p.m.
                       Re: Alert!iamalex13 3/16/11 6:30 p.m.
                             Re: Alert!Hive 3/16/11 6:43 p.m.
     Alert!Hive 3/16/11 8:10 p.m.
           Re: Alert!iamalex13 3/16/11 8:36 p.m.
                 Re: Alert!Hive 3/16/11 8:43 p.m.
     Notable interactionHive 3/16/11 8:56 p.m.
           Re: Notable interactioniamalex13 3/16/11 10:46 p.m.
                 Re: Notable interactionHive 3/17/11 12:16 a.m.
           Re: Notable interactionHive 3/17/11 12:45 a.m.
                 Re: Notable interactionLord Friendship 3/17/11 7:31 a.m.
                       Service Record, condensed, highlightsHive 3/17/11 8:20 a.m.
                       Lebanon (Unedited)Hive 3/17/11 8:24 a.m.
                             Re: Lebanon (Unedited)Lord Friendship 3/17/11 9:37 a.m.
                                   Re: Lebanon (Unedited)Hive 3/17/11 10:12 a.m.
                                         Re: Lebanon (Unedited)Lord Friendship 3/17/11 10:38 a.m.

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