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Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian is a short story written by Frank O'Connor, which is featured in the short story anthology Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe. It follows the story of an ODST named Michael Baird in-battle on board the ship UNSC The Heart of Midlothian, with the help of the AI Mo Ye.
Aboard the UNSC The Heart of Midlothian, ODST Sergeant Michael Baird is told he has cancer. The ship's medical technician shows no concern however, the disease is easily treatable in the 26th century with the procedure taking about an hour. The operation begins with the ship's AI, Mo Ye watching over him. While Baird is asleep, the ship is ambushed by a small Covenant fleet just after it drops out of slipspace. The crew are caught by surprise, and overwhelmed by boarding parties. Mo Ye wakes Baird, explaining the Covenant's goal is likely to circumvent the Cole Protocol. Recognizing the danger, Baird asks why she doesn't wipe the nav database. The AI explains this boarding party was unlike any other, as they brought aboard a Covenant species which destroyed Mo Ye's systems, leaving her crippled. All that is left of Mo Ye is a small piece of her coding that she left to watch over Baird's surgery. In this state, she is unable to access any of the destroyer's "useful stuff," and is bound to obey Asimov's First Law of Robotics (she cannot, through action or inaction, allow a human to come to harm). Mo Ye orders Baird to go to the engine room and spin up the drive, crashing the ship into a nearby red giant.
Armed only with a fire extinguisher, Baird sets out but encounters a Covenant lance consisting of four Unggoy, two Kig-Yar, and one Sangheili. He snaps the first Kig-Yar's neck with the fire extinguisher, commandeering its Covenant Carbine to take out the next. As the Unggoy begin to disperse in fear, one accidentally runs into him. In shock, Baird notices an Energy Sword running through the cowering Unggoy and himself. As the Sangheili pulls away, the Unggoy falls dead and Baird loses consciousness. Baird is awoken again by Mo Ye, who leads him to four drugs in the med-bay, one of which is a combat stim used by Insurrectionists for combating SPARTANs. Taking it is equal to suicide as it slowly destroys the body, but temporarily renders the user impervious to pain and capable of amazing feats of strength. Mo Ye was only able to inform Baird of the drugs because he would die sooner without them.
With only an hour to live, Baird sets out for the engine room. The plan goes awry, however, when he discovers that the engines are offline, nor will he be able to use the ship's escape pods in time. Formulating a new plan, he went to the bridge and surrendered. There he offered a deal, would give the boarding party Earth's coordinates if they let him go. In order to retrieve the coordinates, Baird explained that Mo Ye needed to be reconnected, as she would only obey him. The Covenant comply, but are cautious of a trick. As such, despite now being able to destroy the ship, Mo Ye still cannot allow Baird to come to harm.
Baird then punched the Sangheili leader, breaking his hand in the process. The Sangheili retaliates and decapitates Baird with his energy sword. With Baird dead, Mo Ye detonates the nuclear charges after spiting the commander briefly. The explosion destroyed The Heart of Midlothian as well as the surrounding Covenant ships, leaving everything peaceful "like midnight."
- "Mo Ye" means silent night in Chinese.
- The story is similar to Bungie's project Marathon in the sense that the protagonist is the last human survivor on board a ship and is helped by an AI who can only open doors. The engineers fulfill a similar role to the S'pht.
- This story mentions a previously unknown type of Covenant spacecraft, described as "all gray with no running lights"; given their nature, these may be Stealth Corvettes.
- The story was visualized in a motion comic format and published on Halo Waypoint as a four-part series.
- 'Heart of Midlothian' is the name of Frank O'Connor's favorite association football team, based in the Gorgie area of Edinburgh.
- The story is linked to the Halo Legends short film Prototype. It states:
- “Algolis had been attacked by a small but potent Covenant force. Details were thin, since the only witnesses were civilians... Civilians who'd been been kept deliberately in the dark about the Prototype weapons systems on that planet... The plan was to...find out what happened on Algolis and make sure the weapons prototypes were completely eradicated... The last mission had been complicated by a Marine sergeant going MIA. Guy the other Corps of Engineers salts called "Ghost."”— Halo: Evolutions, page 82