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[Locked] 6th Community Writing Contest

OP Flugel Meister

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It's Baaaaaaaaaaaack!

Waypoint Community Contest 6
Character interaction. We all enjoy it, but can you write it?

This is a slight change to the intended contest. But you'll thank me for it later. Maybe ; )

What have you got to do?
Write a story of no more than 1,000 words featuring at least two but no more than four non-canon Halo characters (in other words, your own original creations), who are on their way to war/battle. No action or fighting is to be used. This is to set the scene and get the reader used to your characters. How they think, speak, act, behave etc. Most of all, give your characters character.
  • Word length: no more than 1,000 words.
  • No Spartans.
  • No ODSTs
  • Use Marines or Army.
  • No action. No shooting. No fighting.
  • There is no need to title your story, but feel free. The title will not count towards your word length.
  • Do NOT feature other Halo characters. This is an opportunity for your characters to take centre stage. Don’t rely on other well-known characters to help your story.
  • The story period must be set between 2525 – 2558.
  • 1 entry per person
  • The entry must be written by the person submitting it.
  • Entries must be in English
  • Prose entries only. No poems. Sorry.
  • The contest will run until 23.59 PDT April 10th
  • Late entries or those not in line with the listed criteria will be disqualified.
Advice

Get to know your characters before writing this. It's important that they come across as authentic. Use dialogue here. It'll help. This isn't necessarily a contemplation of fate here. But feel free to weave it in. Don't fall into the trap of having your characters talk about death all the time, or how futile things are. Subtext goes a long way here. This is all about getting the most out of your characters before any action happens. So keep it interesting.
  • Remember to hook the reader at the start. Make a statement. Don't start with pacing the room, looking out of the window or contemplation.
  • Show, don’t tell. Tell has it's place. But showing is better when starting the story.
  • Don’t start your story with a load of adjective-laden description
  • Or go here for tips and advice on writing
You have 1,000 words. Don’t waste them.
Good luck!
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Obey

The wheat blew in the gentle summer winds. The sky, pale blue, was dotted with colossal clouds. The sun was blazing hot, and baked them in their armor as they marched through the field.

"Hey, Commander," Wallace's voice called from behind, in the column. "I think it's time for a break. We need to drink some water, regain our breath."

Samson's patience was running out. Wallace had been lowering morale for far too long. "We stop for breaks when I say. If you're so intent on conserving your energy, it's best you keep your mouth shut."

The silence that followed made Samson uncomfortable. Never before had he demeaned a soldier in front of the company. In a sudden maddened fit, he turned around.

His men were staring at him. All twelve of them. The survivors.

Samson met their eyes- one by one. Some, like Felix and Wes, appeared broken. Shells of their former selves, barely strong enough to stay upright. Others, such as Hannah and Loeke, shook with anger. The rest simply appeared hollow- as though they could never again in their life feel any form of emotion. Samson could not blame them.

It was only Wallace who was different. Where others showed doubt and rage and hopelessness, Wallace's expression was cheerfully smug. That made him the worst of the lot.

"You all look like a bunch of Grunts." Samson shook his head, and spat into the earth. "Where's your courage gone? Where's your pride?"

"It died," said Wallace. "Along with the others."

Samson tightened his fist. "You just crossed the line, Wallace. I warned you. Not once, not twice, not even three times. Not another word, I said. But you can't keep your mouth shut. What am I supposed to do with you?"

Wallace chuckled. "I don't know, Commander. It can't get much worse than this."

The sun was blazing hot, and Samson's blood was boiling in his veins. Here, in the middle of war, Wallace was adamantly refusing to obey his commands. In front of all of them. Samson could see the others' faces contort. He could see them examine him, awaiting his reaction- as was always done with newly appointed command. Even now, as people were dying, it was all the same.

Samson pointed ahead. "Right over there, fifteen kilometers away. That's where the fighting's at. If you listen close enough, you can still hear the sounds of bulletfire. You can still feel the gentle shake of the earth every time a plasma blast bombards the ground. And you have the guts to disobey my command… Who do you think you are, Wallace?"

"I don't know, Commander. Who do you think you are?"

The wind blew gently at the wheat. The sun was blazing hot. Bulletfire echoed from afar, and the ground shook. "Look here, Wallace. You calling me 'Commander' as if it's an insult doesn't bother me at all. And do you know why? Because it's the truth. Because I am your commander now, whether you like it or not. It doesn't matter that you were my friend. Priest is dead. He died fulfilling his mission, along with half this damned company. And now we're all that's left, and I'm all that's left. The mission stands, our brothers' sacrifice already made. Look me in the eyes and tell me you're willing to let it all go to waste."

Wallace looked his new commander in the eyes. Suddenly, the soldier's smug and satisfied expression was gone. There were tears in his eyes, true tears. Of the entire company, Samson never expected to see Wallace cry.

"We didn't even bury them," Wallace whispered, averting Samson's gaze. "Left their bodies to rot on the field. To feed the crows."

"There was no time," Samson whispered, stepping close, laying his palm on his brother's shoulder. "The Covenant are advancing. The colony is almost lost."

Wallace chuckled, and dried the tears on his sleeve. Everybody else was dead silent. "Almost lost, you say. It's been lost since the moment the Covenant landed. It's been lost, and still they sent us here. Sent us to die."

Samson pushed him. "Don't you say that. There are civilians in this colony. Innocent farmers. Do you expect us to leave them to die? To ignore their screams when they call out for the UNSC?"

Wallace did not answer, instead looking down at his feet in shame. The others were more defiant. Samson could see it in their eyes- the judgment, the lack of purpose.

"We," said Samson. "Are soldiers. We do not hesitate. We do not cry, or curse our fates. We obey- even if it means we march for miles in the sun, even if we watch our friends die beside us. Even if we have to give our lives. We obey, always."

Feeling his eyes gloss over with tears, Samson turned back towards the battle. He would not let them see him cry. "We march on, and quickly. The battle isn't waiting for us. The civillians are."

And so they marched- through picturesque wheat fields, unscarred by war. Towards a rising pillar of smoke, a tempest of death and destruction. They marched, and as they marched remembered. Remembered Priest's shivering, bloody hand, still gripping the comms device. Remembering the sound of the blast, which then tore the commander to pieces. They remembered the men charging into the smoke, rifles raised. Their brothers and sisters. And they remembered what was left behind.

A garden of corpses. Food for crows.

A single tear slid down Samson's cheek, painting a clear line through the muck that stained his face. The sun was blazing hot, and cooked the soldiers in their armor. The gentle breeze made waves across a sea of wheat.

Even now, hours later, Priest's final words echoed in his head.

"Keep marching," the old commander said, blood pouring out of his mouth as he thrust the comms device into Samson's hands. "Never look back."

The words echoed in his head, and all Samson could do was obey.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Quick question on the "no Spartans, no ODST" point. Can we allude to/mention the concept of these units, or do you just not want them anywhere near the piece?
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Quick question on the "no Spartans, no ODST" point. Can we allude to/mention the concept of these units, or do you just not want them anywhere near the piece?
You can mention. But don't fall into the trap of hero worship. Such as "you should have seen those Spartans the other day. Nothing could stop them".
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Can we use the Navy instead of the Army or Marines?
Can you please define “army” is it solely the army of the UNSC?
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Can we use the Navy instead of the Army or Marines?
Sure.
UK1V wrote:
Can you please define “army” is it solely the army of the UNSC?
Yes, UNSC Army personnel.
The Captain

The cell stank of old sweat. Odd, how he’d never noticed it until now; he had inspected the brig once a month, as regulation dictated, and found them to be well within UNSC guidelines. “Spacious, clean, and with more than adequate amenities,” he had declared. “Anyone detained here should consider themselves fortunate.”

Thaddeus J. Isherwood did not consider himself fortunate. He sat, legs crossed on the floor, and thought of better times. The ceiling seemed only an inch shorter than his head, and he hunched on instinct whenever he stood to avoid banging his bald pate. As punishment for his endless cries of, “Treason,” they had taken his bed away, forcing him to sleep in a crumple on the harsh concrete floor. And the cold? Like wearing a sleeveless top in February; not excruciating, but just enough to ensure permanent discomfort.

Grey engulfed him; the walls, the floor, the ceiling, even the thick metal door that kept him entombed in here. Food would arrive periodically, and that glimpse of hand as the hatch open and shut was his only scrap of human contact. If he had to guess, it belonged to Sergeant Hiram Ramsgate- white, wrinkled, a mark where there had previously been a wedding ring- and that made him think of the time he had invited him to his personal quarters and had a pointless and lengthy debate over the UNSC’s colonial policy, peppered with laughter and copious alcohol consumption.

Did those times mean nothing to any of them? He had screamed Hiram’s name when first imprisoned. No answer.

“Captain on deck!” someone out in the unknown screamed- Corporal Jayla Walsh, he recognized it as. She had told him about her brother’s death in the outer colonies, and as she broke down crying Isherwood had ensured she had a visit to the ship’s shrink.

“Open the cell door.” The voice was frighteningly familiar, and Isherwood was struck with a sudden surreal bolt of disbelief- she would never do this to me. Never. This isn’t real.
The door creaked and shifted, and its hinges screeched. There, in the centre of the doorway, stood Commander Ignatia Sparke.

Their eyes locked. Her lips formed a straight line, hard as rock. “Ish.”

“Commander Sparke.” Until a court decided otherwise, she still held the rank of commander… but Isherwood said the words grudgingly regardless.

She sighed. “It’s Captain Sparke now.”

“Commander. I am going to be extremely generous. Release me now and restore me to command of this vessel, and I will pardon all non-officers involved in this mutiny. I assure you that none of you will face the death penalty. We will then return to the colony of Vulpes Pablo to-“

“Ish.”

The syllable was enough to silence him.

“Let me make my own offer.” She strolled into the cell; Ramsgate and Walsh immediately took her place in the doorway, shotguns in hand. “You shut the -Yoink- up and we don’t throw you out the airlock.”

“You would not dare.”

She turned back to Ramsgate and Walsh. “Ramsgate. Pistol.”

Isherwood glanced at Ramsgate and Walsh; Walsh looked away, while Ramsgate stared him down and handed Sparke his pistol.

Sparke knelt, and pressed the ice-cold gun against Captain Isherwood’s forehead. “I could kill you at any moment, and the UNSC couldn’t do a thing to stop me. So accept your rank means nothing anymore and we can discuss this situation without deluding ourselves.”

Ish stared long into Sparke’s eyes-a light hazel, like blazing fires- and said, “Okay.”

She handed the pistol back to Ramsgate. “Unless you do something monumentally moronic, you won’t die here. If, however, you were to officially recognize me as the commander of this vessel, you might be granted certain privileges.” She smiled, and Thaddeus realized- to his absolute horror- it was completely genuine.

“We had a duty, Commander.”

“You had a duty to keep us alive. To not just piss our lives away over nothing.”

“If not for your selfishness, your cowardice, we could have pushed them back-“

Sparke laughed. “-Yoinking!- delusional. Get it into that -Yoinking!- thick skull of yours that Vulpes Pablo was lost the moment the Covenant arrived.”

“Admiral Marlowe’s strategy involved us-"

“-Yoink- Marlowe and -Yoink- his strategy. There are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, on this ship, and I am not going to watch you get them all killed over some stupid desk jockey’s plan to get promoted. Humanity cannot survive this war. We’ve lost.”

“So what’s the next step in your master plan?”

“Run. Run for the stars.”

“And starve.”

“We have cryo pods. We can wake in a few hundred years, once the Covenant have moved on to ravish another corner of the galaxy. Humanity lives.”

“Humanity burns. You run like cowards.”

With a sigh, Ignatia Sparke stood. “Here’s your choice, Ish. You can go free. You’ll have a security detail to ensure your safety, and we’ll even give you some of the privileges you got as captain- whiskey, cigars, your old quarters. Any sort of power is out of the question, I’m afraid, at least for the foreseeable future. All you need to do is to go out and announce to every man and woman on this ship that I’m the captain of this vessel.”

“And if I refuse?”

“You’ll rot in here for the rest of your life. You’ll never talk to anyone out of a few guards who hate your guts. You’ll never see anything but these four grey walls.”

Isherwood said nothing for a very long while.

And then the captain stood. Ramsgate raised his shotgun, but Ish did not even glance at it. “I repeat my offer to you, coward: stand down now, and I will spare your lives.”

Ignatia shook her head, and smirked. “You always were a stubborn -Yoink-, Ish.”

And she turned and left and they closed the door with a heavy clunk and Captain Thaddeus J. Isherwood was alone.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have questions.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Is swearing allowed, due to how 343 uses them in its books and such.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have questions.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Is swearing allowed, due to how 343 uses them in its books and such.
I won't know whether or not it's allowed, but the forum will -Yoink- it anyway
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have questions.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Is swearing allowed, due to how 343 uses them in its books and such.
I won't know whether or not it's allowed, but the forum will -Yoink- it anyway
Ah
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have questions.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Is swearing allowed, due to how 343 uses them in its books and such.
I won't know whether or not it's allowed, but the forum will -Yoink- it anyway
Ah
Yeah, it's best to avoid swearing as the forum won't allow it, and the word YOINK distracts from the flow of the story.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have questions.
Feel free to ask questions in here. If you have any.
Is swearing allowed, due to how 343 uses them in its books and such.
I won't know whether or not it's allowed, but the forum will -Yoink- it anyway
Ah
Yeah, it's best to avoid swearing as the forum won't allow it, and the word YOINK distracts from the flow of the story.
I'm out of ideas :)
Were there results from Contest 5 (or whichever one wasn't the Psych Eval) posted?
Were there results from Contest 5 (or whichever one wasn't the Psych Eval) posted?
If you're referring to the 10k word limit, then no. And to be honest I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get that done. Sorry!
I can manage around it, but just out of curiosity why no ODST?
I can manage around it, but just out of curiosity why no ODST?
It's quite easy for fans to latch on to Spartans and ODSTs. After all, both have featured proximately. Marines and Army, however, have always been there in the background, soaking up the frequent weapons fire in each Halo game.

The main reason, though, is to make writers think more about their characters, and having to start with something or someone that isn't as well known, and not as strong as a Spartan. It's my way of steering the entries away from hyperbole and clichés. Hopefully it'll work as the characters should be more down to earth.
That's fair. As another question, though (and again, I can work around it,) what about writing about Sangheili soldiers?
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