The Honour Guard's cleared the bridge as they silently mourned the loss of their brother's. Ripa sat alone in his quarter's, staring at a holo-screen that listed the current casualties of war. He hung his head in silence, an eery feel of regret overcoming him. "I sent them all to their death's, my brother's, my kin . . ."
A tear fell from his eye's as he realized the truth. To fight an innocent foe had about as much sense as a meaningless death, about as little honour . . . The Prophet's condemned them of heresy, though when in truth they did not even know whom they faced. He removed his helmet and placed it on his lap, caressing the ancient symbol's gently. The empty helmet echoed him precisely, hollow and useless. Ripa stared at the ancient symbol of the Arbiter, finally realizing the truth about who he was meant to be. The Sangheili, the Convenant, it was a weapon, a tool, not an extension of the Prophet's religion.
As his ship's name clearly showed, they were simply a mean's to an end's for the Prophet's. The silent realization shook every fibre of his being, but he knew it wasn't he who was meant to put an end to the lies, to the corruption. It would be an Arbiter, yes, but not this one, not this war-mongering fool. He replaced the helmet and moved to a nearby wall, examining his reflection. He had fallen to far into the web to be of use to his people now, all he could do was serve the hollow purpose that had been created for him. He realised that many of his fellow Sangheili had gone through this already and he expected that Neerg and Valkanar were amongst the number.
Perhap's that's why they were wiser, they were more free-thinking. A new sense of energy and power fluctuated throughout his being, filling him with a hope, a flicker to a flame. Not in his life-time, but he knew that the oppression of the Prophet's would come to an end and that his people would only gain for it. The first sacrifice was the freedom of his race, until such a time could come. A sacrifice he, personally, was able to make. He knew that trying to spark a rebellion at such a time would be trivial and only make him a 'Heretic' in the Convenant's eye's. He could wait, he could watch.
He drew his blade and held it inches from his face, his expression one of stone as the energy singed the surface of his skin. The purple light radiated fabulously, the radiance skimming his face. "I am the Arbiter . . . the blade of the Prophet's . . ."
He flicked the blade off and cast it into it's respective holster, leaving it ready for use. He replaced his harness and strode boldy onto the bridge, an expression of strength and power about him. He eyed each of the crew carefully, ensuring they were doing their correct duties. A quick glance at two chatting Kig-Yar set them back about their work, three-fold the efficiency of your standard worker. He nodded to them, then returned his focus to Neerg and his Unggoy companion.
The Arbiter spoke this time with a sense of power and respect, ensuring that his sub-ordinate's knew he meant no disrespect in his order's. "Fleet Master, you have full command over the fleet. I expect you to show five-fold the efficiency of your predecessor as his failure's before were not forgiven. You will make a brilliant Councillor one day, but until that day come's, I expect you to follow my order's, to the letter! Move the fleet into position and prepare to send in the second wave and issue a fall back to the first. We will reinforce our position's and advance further with the second force, as the gaping hole's in their defense's will be exploited. This time we will make a lasting impression upon the Human's, is that clear?!"
Grand Admiral of the Imperial Remnant.
"This one is constantly thinking, analyzing, strategizing. He showed no fear, but was curious, studying me in turn."
"All thoughts are worth listening to, whether later judged to be of value or not."
"I have no qualms about accepting a useful idea merely because it wasn't my own."
"Butů it was so artistically done."
―Thrawn's last words