HUNT the TRUTH – Critical Condition

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Officially, the Master Chief’s story is one of heroism and service to the UNSC, but as Benjamin Giraud is discovering, the truth behind the beloved icon isn’t as picture perfect as he imagined.  Ben mentions in his previous episode, when Ellie Bloom follows up with him, John’s death comes back into the picture.  Wanting to resolve this issue, Ben called upon one of his good friends, Ray Curzig, to follow up on the information that Ellie and Katrina gave him.  What Ray brought back was unsettling to Ben, as he confirmed what they had said about John dying and that his parents were indeed still alive with plenty of proof to back it.  Everything from financial records, to local merchants relying on their business to even the medical insurance claims for an autoimmune specialist.  No matter what, Ben couldn’t shake the death record thread of John.

Hoping for some answers or resolution, Ben once again calls up Sully at ONI HQ.  Sully insists on stating that glassed planets have bad records before Ben puts his foot down and asks the obvious question, “Do glassed people have bad records?” At that point, Ben is queued to stop recording and the conversation that followed Ben tells us was along the lines of wanting to keep the assignment and continue with the interviews.

The next interview on the tour was of Jacob Walker, who supposedly trained with John in boot camp.  Jacob is retired Navy who now lives in a beach community on Castallaneta on one of Saturn’s moons.  As Jacob recalls, when he went into naval force reconnaissance school, John was one of the last things he would expect.  Jacob and several of the cadets came into the school with big talk, puffed up chests, while John stood quietly on the fringes of the group.  He was aiming to take a leadership role one day, but John always took the brunt of punishment, brought up the rear, helped out the stragglers and grew into a leader himself that people want to follow.  To Jacob, John was almost a mythical character, recalling one night in particular that John was able to get back to the Pelican in pitch black without nav equipment; something to him that wasn’t humanly possible.  Jacob later followed up his call with Ben with this lovely postcard from Castallaneta.

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Ben’s next interviewee did not hold as favorable of an opinion of John as his previous contacts.  Anthony Petrosky, a retired ODST was given to Ben through Mashak Maradi, the truther that Ben mentioned in his first episode who has kept bugging him.  Because Anthony was not on ONI’s approved contact list, Ben reached out to him on ChatterNet for the interview.  Anthony calls John a freak and tells the story of a time when him and some ODSTs were training in a gym and had a confrontation with John.  According to Anthony, John had a certain kind of attitude and when a fellow ODST asked him his name, it lead to them mouthing off.  After a bit of bickering, a CPO told them to fight it out in the ring.  What happened next was nothing short of a slaughter.  After the fight, two of the ODSTs died and one was paralyzed to not walk ever again.  This is the same fight mentioned in , The Fall of Reach, just after John received his augmentations.  Ben didn’t want to believe him especially the augmentations that Anthony claimed John had undergone.  The Spartan IVs were adults who undergo tested procedures whereas with kids, it’s a lot more risky.

As he was mulling over everything the next day, Ellie Bloom’s name came up again.  He let her preview a rough copy of his first episode to provide feedback.  Ben called her back on ChatterNet where she brought up two major things.  First was that Deon Govender was a liar, since boxing had been outlawed at the turn of the century, let alone a high school league for one.  Second was that there was no Insurrectionist occupation in Elysium.  There was a political presence, but no abductions and little violence.  Ben needed to verify what Ellie was saying, but he had the feeling that what she was saying was true.

Trying to get a hold of his previous contacts wasn’t easy as Deon Govender and Gabriella Dvo?ák were unreachable, but he was able to get a hold of Thomas Wu, the one who had previously talked about the insurrectionist camps on Eridanus II.  Ben asked him if he was sure about knowing whether or not Elysium City was for sure under violent control of Insurrectionists.  Since Thomas was tired, he didn’t give Ben a straight answer.  Ben pressured him, setting up his question that Elysium City wasn’t in fact occupied and then Thomas started accusing Ben for defending them.  Apparently, when other cities got taken over, Elysium City was one of the cities who weren’t affected and didn’t always take on refugees.  Ben apologizes about bringing up the topic when Thomas mentions he just wanted peace of mind for his family.  This tips Ben off and verifies to us that he was being payed to say the things he did.  Thomas became lucid and told Ben to never talk to leave them alone.  To Ben’s sudden realization, the whole conversation he just had took place over Waypoint, where anyone could be listening.

Ben has seen a lot during his time as a war journalist and snapped this picture of a glassed planet on one of his assignments.  It just goes to show the devastating effects the cleaning hand of the Covenant can have on human civilization.

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