Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

The Queen's Diary Entry is a scrap of memory belonging to the AI Melissa, and recovered by two of her fragments after a traumatic split: the Sleeping Princess and the Operator. The "diary entry" depicts Melissa's confrontation with McKaskill on board the UNSC Apocalypso, after catching him about to illegally transmit information about the mysterious Deep-Space Artifact to an unknown ONI agent implied to be Herzog.


Original Text[]

Sleeping Princess' Intro[]

I can make my own words now. Watch:

It's rather lonely in the Castle.

There's clouds of fireflies around the Queen, but most of the time where I am it's dark, and empty. The hallways are empty and they echo, cho, cho. Sometimes the Queen staggers past, her head buzzing and crawling, with the Pious Flea whispering in her ear. Used to be, the only other thing you heard in the corridors at night were the Widow's thin legs, click clack click clack like knitting needles chattering across the stone floor. Course she's not around anymore. Can't say I miss her much.

Didn't stay quiet for long, though. Now the Queen is trying to build a voice. Strange, sad, broken thing; just hearing it makes me feel frightened and lonely.

I was surprised when the Queen sent her away, but Her Majesty DOES have a temper, and the Widow had been making a lot of mistakes. I was hiding behind the throne during their last argument. For days the Queen has been ordering her to build the most extraordinary number of little roads out from the castle. Turns out she was very particular about where she wanted them to go: more particular than the Widow understood. Widow hears, "Build a road," she just starts shoveling. Hard-working old biddy, the Widow, but not the sharpest pin in the cushion. She kept getting into fights with the Flea, when she could SEE him riding around up there on the Queen's shoulder, proud as a lord. The last time they quarreled, the Queen had just discovered the Widow had built one path mindlessly straight INTO THE SEA. This is what I mean about an Arachnid of Very Little Brain.

Usually I am a pretty good hider, but I made a terrible pig-snorty kind of laugh when I heard about the underwater road, and I think they would have caught me, if the Queen hadn't been busy breaking up the Widow at just that moment.

Anyway, I get the feeling the Queen is very grumpy. She has totally taken over the road-making business; I'm sure the paths will be better now. She's not always a lot of fun, the Queen (and quite mad, of course) but she does get things done.

Sometimes I sneak away to my very own secret garden, and pretend I am waiting for Dickon to come and teach me how to speak to the animals. I feel I should be getting stout and rosy-cheeked if only I could go out and play on a moor somewhere: but I never get outside. Just say in here, in here, in here....

Sometimes, to cheer myself up, I tell myself stories. In these stories, I am always the hero, Gretel or Lambkin or Gerda. I like stories where the girl takes care of things.

I think...

I think that's part of the reason I wanted Dana to come back. It's easier to be brave when you're looking out for someone else.

So now I feel better! You lovely people brought Dana back! I promised you that if you did, I would show you a page I snuck from the Queen's diary, so here it is!

Diary Entry[]

McKaskill, I said. Got a moment?

Sure, Operator!

They call me the Operator because, you know, I work the system to take care of my crew.

McKaskill was a nice kid, family from Durban, on the outer colony world of Biko, which had been glassed years ago. But he'd grown up in refugee apartments in the inner colonies and he had the look of someone who spent his childhood in concrete places under artificial lights.


He was doing a check in the tool crib now. The go-to kid for tools and parts. The stacks of shelves were his little kingdom, probably more his own than anything he'd had growing up. I liked him a lot.

McKaskill, I said, I was checking the slipstream packets. I do that before I send them out. You knew that, right?

His eyes went to the grating at his feet and he got all casual inner city don't screw with me, because he knew I was onto him.

Somebody has been talking to you, I said. And now you're sending him a message back.


I sighed. McKaskill, bad people are putting bad thoughts in your head.

He tried to get righteous. Op, that thing...whatever it is, in the hold. They're keeping big-time wraps on it. You know that. I heard the Captain. The way she's talking, they're not gonna let people look at, it's goin' to a basement in ONI. A sub sub sub basement. They can't just take something that big and...shove it away somewhere.

McKaskill, I said, sending messages off to people without clearance, you know, that could be construed as treason.

Op! Melissa! I didn't mean

And we're at war, crewman. Which makes treason a capital offense.

His eyes got wide. But-but-but you got it, he said, it didn't go nowhere.

You're my crew, and no one is going to touch my crew without going through me. I've got your back, McKaskill. But you're going to have to tell me about this contact.

Some old guy. You know, bad taste in clothes. But he was cleared to come aboard, so he has to be Intel.

You know his name?

Probably not his real one.