So I’m a bit of a Halo fan. Fan won’t even begin to cut it. I own most of the books, and have played the games at least once or twice. I’ve written RP posts and integrated all sorts of Halo lore into roleplays over the years. So, with what Halo 4 due to eat a fair bit of my paycheck come next month, I have been keeping track of the shorts that have been released online. Spoilers ahead. Overall, I consider them well done, using unseasoned actors and lots of CG effects, I am ultimately jealous at the props and would want one for myself if at all possible.
Episode One starts off with cadets coming out of cryochambers. In Halo lore, such scenese would’ve necessitated nudity, but since Halo Wars depictions of such have changed, and it’s an aspect of real world interference into what I consider plausible reasons for said nudity. I mean, freezing your body, covering any part of it in anything but bare skin and purpose-built fabrics would no doubt lead to complications. Moving on, the main character is Thomas Lasky (of Hastati squad), who we saw in the beginning of the short as playing a pre-recorded distress signal from Cortana, whilst aboard the UNSC Infinity. Shots on Halo Wikia have shown him to be at least an in-game NPC, and so this no doubt got more blessings from 343 industries’ own storyboard and writers than the earlier, now Jossed, books.
Back to Lasky, he fucks up a training exercise. The man leading it no doubt would qualify to be the next Lieutenant Dyke, but charging headlong into enemy fire is no doubt the dumbest move you can do. Ultra realistic training in the use of what I could imagine non-tranquilizing TTRs (Tactical Training Rounds, featured in Halo: Contact Harvest). Although the squad leader’s use of em in such close proximity might mean she was completely pissed. Running the course, and I imagine the entire training field (no doubt several kilometers), the remaining episode is done to highlight the rest of the squad. no doubt Cadet Silva is remotely connected to a certain ODST commander, but this is conjecture.
Lasky and Silva seem particularly close, and no doubt the abysmal failure of the morning’s exercise causes a rift. But of course they make for it. We get a glimpse into the other squadmates, from the guy who encountered secret classified camera footage, to the Chinese cadet getting berated by his father, and allusions to Hastati squad’s squad leader and her nickname “Robot.” The action scenes and the overall visual presentation made me want more.
Episode Two was no slouch in that regard. Besides a clip of UNSC Forward Unto Dawn and a glimpse into Cortana’s furthering descent into rampancy, the cadets are awakened by a combat drill. From sleeping into full combat gear, Silva easily makes 51.7 seconds, a record second to that of Thomas Lasky’s brother. Other cadets are berated for their poor performance, and it is later in mess that the Robot explains to Vickers and Lasky that their poor showing in the last combat exercise was the reason Hastati was sent on a jog around the facily, AND were woken up to combat alert in 0300 Hrs.
As they turn in about-face (after giving the squadleader their food), Vickers mumbles something about Thomas’ brother, implying death or at worse, incapacitation. This is no doubt true. Set in the year after Harvest falls, and being an ODST, he is most likely at the forefront of the Human-Covenant war. Anyone with two braincells to rub together would probably equate the classified video as the helmetcam from either the elder Lasky’s helmet, or someone in his squad, but regardless, this bought and abrupt change in Lasky, as he beats the everliving daylights out of Vickers.
The arrival of Captain Mehaffey breaks up the fight, and tells Tom to practically believe in himself. To trust that he is a true soldier after all. The scene cuts into a classic lecture on Hannibal’s pincer. Lasky does catch me as the reluctant soldier type, trying to find out how to stop the war, etc. Silva merely remarks, if he wants to change the world, he has to be one people are willing to follow. The following day, Hastati squad, with a newly rejuvenated Thomas (well, motivate is a better term).
The combat exercise. It was revealed in Episode One that Lasky is suffering from severe reactions from the Cryotraining, either the pre-freezing medications, the cryo, or both. But in a fit of bravery, or foolishness, he calls to be point, and thus leads the exercise. With the school’s commandant watching, Hastati’s squadleader gives it to him, and upon reaching their flag, they wait.
It was a very good strategy, in terms of war gaming, and seems similar to what I encountered while in ROTC and in World of Tanks. Now, this segment reminds me a lot of Orson Scott Card’s depictions of battle school, although not in zero gee. With the enemy squad, fully armored, approaching from all sides, hastati removes their helmets, and thus the IFF transponders, and set up their own ambush. Finding just the helmets on the ground, the flanking elements of the enemy squad are cut down by Hastati as Lasky and Silva go for the enemy flag. The segment ends with Lasky knocking out, no doubt to his body’s allergic reactions to cryo training.
- This is no doubt written by a team well versed in the lore. Tiny tidbits I pick up from the source materials come alive in this short series and I’m liking it.
- I wish WETA would give me that warthog. I’d also settle for an MA5B prop.
- Foreshadowing is very very heavy handed in this, then again, it’s not meant to be a long series, and is barely 20 minutes long.
- God. Did I mention I want WETA to give me some of the props?
I’m looking forward to the next episode. Although I may run out of Touhou+Halo pictures on pixiv/danbooru by then.