mdama

3

“What are you doing, Mother?”

“I’m going to look for Uncle Jul,” she said. Lying to children made them weak and confused. They had to know that the world was a dangerous place, and preparing them for it meant withholding nothing that might distress them. By watching her deal with difficult things, Dural would learn to be decisive and unafraid. “He should have come home by now.”

“Is he dead?”

It was a perfectly normal question in a society where almost every male who was physically capable expected to be a warrior and where so many had died in battle. But this was Jul’s son, not that the youngster realised that, and Raia was far more fragile about the prospect of losing her husband than she’d realised.

The word dead wounded her. She tried to look calm.

“Jul’s a survivor,” she said. “Wherever he is, he’ll return to us.” [Halo: The Thursday War]

HALO: SPARTAN NEXT DOOR

Here’s a little idea that I came up with a few days ago while thinking about the “my life as a romantic comedy” meme…

Dr. Catherine Halsey, renowned UNSC scientist, is in danger.
She is retired and living a peaceful life on a modest Sangheili neighborhood on 26th century California, but they have found her and they want her dead. The Covenant, humanity’s greatest alien enemy, has sworn to vaporize the good Doctor in revenge for her supposed crimes (which helped the humans to win the war) and for her own safety, the UNSC deployed a SPARTAN team to deal with the problem. For weeks, Blue Team has been in disguise expecting any kind of alien (or human) attack on Dr. Halsey, which also unfortunately means to cope with the old lady and her two eccentric daughters, Miranda and Cortana. However, Cortana might be the whole reason behind the threat and it’s up to John, one of the finest SPARTANS, to keep her safe… sometimes even from himself.
Join Humanity’s bravest and best as they settle in the empty house across the street and try to pass on for brothers and sisters recently moved into the neighborhood.

Starring:

John-117 as THE TALL, BROODING, HANDSOME MALE PROTAGONIST. Facing a potential forced retirement due to an old injury, John is given his last chance to keep working for the UNSC. He was made to live in the line of fire and the perspective of retirement is as awful as it can get, but he sure wasn’t expecting this amount of bullshit. He’s a tenacious man of few words with little patience for stupidity and annoying neighbors. Especially children. And Dr. Halsey’s younger daughter, Cortana, because she constantly pisses him off with her witty comments.

Cortana as THE CUTE BUT WEIRD SMART GIRL SLASH FEMALE PROTAGONIST Dr. Halsey’s youngest, kind-of-hippie-but-actually-smart-and-hot-beyond-your-wildest-dreams daughter. She is the real target behind the Covenant’s threat and ultimately becomes John’s little shield and sword, since her wits more than once save everyone’s lifes. Literally she can’t stand him but deep down she has a really big soft spot for the big guy and only wants to understand him. She loves children and animals and making things blow up, also, she might or might not have discovered a very important secret that could destroy the Covenant forever.

Fred-104 as THE TEAM LEADER. UNSC Lieutenant Junior Grade Fred-104 was originally commissioned with the mission. He thinks he calls the shots but he doesn’t, he’s really the team’s mom, always looking after everyone else. He helps old ladies to cross the street and he’s even a decent cook. Seriously, he’s such a good guy that it’s annoying.

Kelly-087 as THE CUTE INNOCENT RABBIT being most likely the fastest SPARTAN alive, Kelly is quite spirited and the team’s absolute badass along with John; and like Fred, she cares about her teammates but more than once she misunderstands their feelings and ends up breaking uncomfortable havoc. She likes to make jokes that nobody understands.

Linda-058 as SNIPER GIRL she’s a quiet loner, most of the time she stands at the background, just staring. Always with a sniper rifle in hand, she barely leaves the house or her spot at the attic, from where she watches out for the street and Dr. Halsey’s house. Her only vocabulary consists in deadpans. She always takes the night shifts.

Charley K-90456 as JOHN’S SURVEILLANCE GADGET. UNSC enhanced war dog Charley is the perfect partner for long-term surveillance missions slash perfect decoy. If a German Shepherd of the size of an adult lion can be considered a decoy. John uses her as an excuse to patrol up and down the streets early at morning and late at night.

Dr. Catherine Halsey as THE TARGET quite-not-so-okay-in-the-head scientist slash miracle worker. A long time widow with some issues about personal space, personal morals and people by themselves. Sometimes she spaces out in the middle of a conversation and she strongly believes that she can solve all the problems in the world; which is why she keeps working in her secret basement’s lab against UNSC permission. She thinks John is a good boy and always invites him and his “siblings” for dinner, but she actually wants Fred to cook because she can’t even make a fried egg.

Miranda Keyes as THE POLITICALLY CORRECT DAUGHTER Dr. Halsey’s older daughter; she married Sergeant Avery Johnson of the Marine Corps and currently is on maternity leave because of her second child, having a vacation at her mother’s house while her husband is on duty. She is always in her right mind and full of older sister’s wisdom, but like her mother, sometimes she spaces out in the middle of conversations.

Jacob Keyes as THE DEAD DAD EVERYONE ALWAYS TALKS ABOUT. Enough said.

Jameson Locke and fire-team Osiris as THE TOP DOGS WHO LOOK DOWN ON OUR BELOVED BLUE BABIES. They act like a bunch of a***les but deep down they admire Blue Team and aspire to become as trustworthy and badass as them. Vale has a thing for Usze but she’s too shy to make a move.

Thomas Lasky as THE BOSS. He looks like a cinnamon roll, but he can kill you. And fire your ass. He protects John because they went to the Academy together.

Sarah Palmer as THE HARSH ASS SPARTAN COMMANDER. Like J. Jonah Jameson, she can’t decide if she likes Blue Team or if she wants to get rid of them forever, but since they always get the job done with the average amount of domestic damage, she ends up filing requests for more medals. She yells a lot and probably has a thing going on with Lasky but we can never confirm.

Thel Vadam as THE ALIEN NEIGHBOUR. A retired Covenant Shipmaster who traded secrets with the UNSC in exchange for a quiet, simple life with his wife. He’s the president of the Home Owners Association, doesn’t like SPARTANS stomping on his lawn and pretty much keeps to himself. Unless the SPARTAN’s dog decides to make a crater where his roses used to be or the newspaper doesn’t arrive in time every morning.

Rtas ‘Vaduum and Usze Taham as THE SECRET AGENTS acting as two Sangheili college students, Rtas and Usze are the backup team that most of the time fixes everyone else’s fuck ups. And boy, they fuck up a lot.

Jul 'Mdama as THE TRAITOR YOU NEVER EXPECTED Another neighbor. Enough said.

Kurt-051 as THE NOT SO DEAD FRIEND THAT THINKS HE’S TUXEDO MASK. He’s always in full armor so we really don’t know it’s Kurt until the end of the story, but he mysteriously appears and disappears in the middle of impossible combat situations, saving everyone’s asses from time to time.

Sam-034 as THE DEAD FRIEND THAT REMINDS US THAT SPARTANS ACTUALLY DO DIE.

Fire-team Majestic as THE BACKUP. Recurring characters with no personality whatsoever, they’re here just in case.

*Charley is my OC, get your hands off my dog.

REBLOG IF YOU LIKE, DO NOT REPOST. DID YA HEAR ME?

anonymous asked:

I'm not sure if you've written about this before or if you're aware of it, but one of the sanghelli NPCs in halo 5 says "Jul Mdama, Thel Vdam, they're all the same. Nothing more then power hungry despots" I've always wondered about that line since I always considered Thel to be a pretty good leader, and you're one of the only blogs I know thats into Halo character analysis so I was wondering what you made of it, and if it reflects on Thel's character at all.

MY BOY

I think this is less a reflection of Thel’s character and moreso a hint at what the political climate of Sanghelios is. It makes complete sense for Sangheili to distrust someone who seems to have absolute power over a major faction of their people. Just look how things ended with the Prophet-run Covenant.

(As we get into some canon evidence ahead, I unfortunately cannot provide the exact page numbers and exact quotes because I do not have the books with me at the moment. You’ll also have to pardon the excessive linking to my Halo blog about this…)

We’ve seen this distrust play out across several books and at least one comic over the years. 

Ghosts of Onyx: Voro ‘Mantakree expressed this distrust in authoritarian words against Xytan ‘Jar Wattinree, who was essentially trying to establish himself as the undisputed Sangheili leader.

Glasslands: Jul has a similar wariness about Thel as Voro did about Xytan. More comparisons between these two interactions here.

The Thursday War: We see Sangheili civilian farmlands under attack from a Sangheili who may or may not have allied himself with the Vadam Keep simply for the sake of being able to grab land from his Servants of Abiding Truth-supporting neighbor. We never get to hear if Thel has any response to this or was made aware of it at all (things were pretty awful for Vadam Keep right then…)

Halo: Escalation: Though Lydus is not a Sangheili, it’s not as if the Jiralhanae haven’t been hurt by the Covenant (and by the Sangheili specifically) either. So he is very vocal about his distrust towards Thel because mere platitudes mean nothing anymore to practically any of the Covenant species.

So this Sangheili calling Thel a “power hungry despot” really isn’t anything new, even though he didn’t return from the Human-Covenant War, claiming to have authority over the planet - the official Halo site says “he was installed as a leader,” indicating passiveness on his part. That wasn’t a position he gunned for.

What’s important is how Thel has responded to and acted in spite of such accusations.

Referring again to the interaction between him and Jul: Thel tries to back away from the place of authority he might hold as Arbiter, to address the other Sangheili as equals. 

In Halo 5, it’s mentioned that Thel actually gathered a council of Kaidons to govern the Swords of Sanghelios. Buuuut they kinda don’t like each other and Thel’s kinda the one thing keeping them from each others’ throats, (Well, him and the war with the Covenant), and so he remains the “formal, interim leader.”

Speaking of leading the Swords, do you know the significance of Thel choosing this name? Not only is it a pre-Covenant Sangheili brotherhood, and thus a reclamation of their past, but it was a brotherhood that was first formed specifically to take down a tyrannical Arbiter. It’s like he’s trying to build in safeguards into the very fabric of this government in order to take him down if he does become a power-hungry despot.

And then there’s the assassins.

Back in The Cole Protocol, in Thel’s Covenant days, in his days as ‘Vadamee, in his days as an ambitious, arrogant, genocidal racist, he gloated over killing his would-be assassins, showed no mercy.

But now, Post-War, his power has grown beyond what he even dreamed of in The Cole Protocol, and the number of assassins has likewise sky-rocketed.

But what’s his response to them now?

Mercy, if they will accept it. Trust and a second chance, if they will take it. Even those who die - like the assassin in Hunters in the Dark - Thel takes no joy in their death.

Because he’s not rebuilding Sanghelios for himself. He’s rebuilding it for the people.

conrad6136  asked:

hi, your probably sick of hearing from me but I'm kinda curios on your stance on the halo community specifically the part that is basically "humanity fuck yeah" which saddens me as they don't seem to focus on the story or the lessons of respecting others that are different from you and that only together can we succeed. And also about what happened to the Didact in that most of the community seems to have forgotten him and whenever I look for fanfiction about him theres barely any? your thoughts

Not at all, and this is a really good question!

This particular isn’t so much as one that the Halo community suffers from as it is one that Halo’s writing suffers from. And that’s the fact that neither Bungie nor 343 seems to quite get the difference between ‘Humanity, fuck yeah!’ and ‘humanity, fuck yeah!’

As far as the games go, Halo’s human characters are mostly incredibly weak archetypes who only really see meaningful expansion in the expanded universe materials. In fact, the UNSC is just about the most boring aspect of Halo, yet it’s the one we’re constantly saddled with throughout the series because there’s an inherent assumption that we’re going to root for these characters simply because they’re human. They’re supposedly ‘easier’ to connect with and root for, unlike some of the ugly-ass aliens who are infinitely more interesting.

Nobody has been willing to do it differently since Halo 2. Even then, Joe Staten had to really push to get Thel ‘Vadam as Halo 2′s protagonist - and the community response to that at the time paints a pretty clear picture why humanity is considered the ‘safe’ option.

Likewise, another issue here is the fact that 99% of Halo’s plots are exactly the fucking same - humans and Covenant squabbling over X piece of Forerunner tech, blowing it up or losing it at the end and very little sense that the status quo will ever meaningfully change because these stories lack any narrative consequences.

This is why stuff like Forward Unto Dawn, the Forerunner Saga, Hunt the Truth, the more experimental thematic stories in Evolutions and Fractures, Last Light (etc) are just more interesting - they don’t follow the Halo plot formula. They are unique stories that do something different.

343 has done really quite well with characters like Cortana and Lasky in Halo 4, Locke, and Tanaka in Halo 5, with their quieter kind of heroism that is more indicative of ‘humanity, fuck yeah’ than ‘Humanity, fuck yeah!’

But they still have this huge issue with watering down the presentation of their most interesting characters to one or two traits and motivations. I love Jul ‘Mdama, he’s one of my favourite characters, but he was unnecessarily saddled with something that’s, quite frankly, just ruining Halo stories for me.

Revenge.

I’ve talked about this in some of my articles before, but ‘revenge’ is to me what allegory was to Tolkien. Because so few writers actually understand how to use revenge and how to subvert it to make for a more interesting story. It’s just used as a character’s short-term motivator to get a story going, never gets properly explored, and it comes with the expectation that the character having lost something to turn them to such an extreme is inherently going to make us care for them more.

In the vast majority of stories, revenge is fucking boring. It’s been prevalent for a very long time in fiction, but I put a lot of blame on Game of Thrones for really popularising its use in the recent media climate. I cannot stand it and 343 literally can’t conceive an antagonist who doesn’t have Revenge™ at the foreground of their reasons for doing things.

Killing off Raia to motivate Jul, for instance, was completely unnecessary. He was kidnapped by ONI and imprisoned in a human-occupied Shield World, experimented on like a lab rat to gauge the weaknesses of his species, saw that they were planning to commit genocide against his species by crop-induced famine (a plan which only didn’t g ahead because Parangosky feared it might affect the humans who would later appropriate Sangheili worlds)… but no. That just wasn’t enough to set him against humanity. Raia had to die too.

That could’ve worked if they’d actually done something with it (as I outlined in my redemption arc for the ‘Mdamas), but then Halo 5 happened.

The problem, I’ve come to realise, having been utterly spoiled by Doctor Who and other media that’s just better, is that a lot of Halo’s writing is actually pretty fucking bad.

I think I’ve been in-denial about that for a really long time, but the post-Halo 5 period has woken me up to that sobering fact. This series just isn’t as good as I once gave it credit for being.

When it hits the mark, it hits it bang-on and produces some absolutely incredible fiction - don’t get me wrong, Halo still has one of the most imaginative universes and in-depth lore out there. But the extent to which the writing is hit-or-miss has escalated beyond reason, and that is something that comes down to the people who are managing and writing the franchise. The people dictating that Cortana needs to come back from the dead to be a caricature of a moustache-twirling villain (who wants revenge on Halsey, no less), that the Didact was “extraneous” to the games they literally wrote for him, that character arcs and plots and settings can just be jettisoned.

That, in a nutshell, is Halo’s problem.

Spartans and their enemies
  • *Cortana, the didact, Jul Mdama and Elsa Zane are fighting each other as Blue Team and Osiris take cover*
  • Tanaka: we've got this. There are eight of us and four of them. (Looks out of cover) if we-wait, never mind, they've teamed up.
  • *the four walk together, their weapons at the ready*
  • John-117: Ah, good. That means only one target. (Jumps out of cover)
  • Buck: no, get back, you're old!