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Fall of Fate: Special Edition by 'Nosolee

The Fall of Fate: Special Edition (Parts 3-6)
Date: 22 December 2003, 11:03 PM

900 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Above The Surface of Ucundus
      Wkehu 'Drrana suddenly awoke to an atmosphere of death that hung around the battlefield. He gasped for breath and choked on the tainted air. He could barely see a few feet in front of him Am I dead, he thought, no, I'm still very much alive. The very tangible pain he felt from the metal spike that protruded from his armor served to convince him that he was still alive. Oh, how I wish I were dead!, he thought. The pointed spike was a jagged piece of debris that had been uprooted by the crash flew at him at a high speed, cracking his armor and piercing his scaly skin. He grasped the long piece of metal and was hesitant to pull it out of the wound because of the pain. It was a good thing he did so because a few moments later he heard the crunching of boots, human boots, approaching him. They appeared from the misty cloud with oxygen masks over their faces to keep their airways from clogging up because of the dust. There were three of them, all carrying assault shotguns to put down any wounded enemy quickly. Wheku played dead.
      'Drrana could barely understand what they were saying because of the garbled interference of the masks they wore on their faces. He saw one lift a radio to his face and say:
      "This is Richard York to Pelican Beta 514. Do you copy, over?" he paused to listen for a response. A new transmission came from the radio.
      "Yeah, York, how's the search coming. Has there been any resistance from the Covenant?" a man's voice asked from the speaker of the radio.
      "Barely any, a few wounded elites, we took care of 'em pretty fast with these babies," he patted the metallic-black barrel of the shotgun, "There's no sign of the Spartan anywhere, we're towards the edge of the battlefield and the hills are ahead. There's nothing moving on radar, it's a wasteland out here. I'm calling it quits, requesting extraction to continue our search from the sky; we might be able to see him better from above, over."
      "Rodger that, I'm on my way," the radio clicked off. Richard took a deep breath and then sighed.
      "What puzzles me, is why the Covenant came here in such a small quantity. I mean, why didn't they just glass the planet and be done with it. Why risk three ships and thousands of troops?" Richard asked the other marines. 'Drrana thought the same thing. We should've glassed the whole damned planet. I really don't give a shit what the Ancients left underground at this point, he thought.
      "Yeah, I dunno, there could be a million different explinations. But I'm sure glad I'm not that guy!" another marine said as he gestured towards 'Drrana. Wkehu felt the piercing stares of the humans as each one looked at him. His eyes were shut and he held his breath, but he knew that they each raised their shotguns and were contemplating shooting him. He had no protection. His shield generator had been damaged and died out during the battle and his armor had been considerably weakened. Wkehu thought about ripping the painful, jagged spike from the left side of his chest and slicing each of the humans' throats. But he knew that if he so much as lifted a finger, the vile humans would end his life in a heartbeat. He had seen marines take down mighty hunters with single shots form the powerful weapons the aliens held in their hands. They called them 'shat-gunes'.
      "He's long dead," said the third marine.
      "Yeah. Oh hey over here!" the second marine said as he waved to another group of three marines. They too were carrying shotguns. They hurried over to York's group.
[indent["Any luck with the Spartan?" said one of the other marines.
      "No, we're callin' it quits," Richard said as the loud roar of the Pelican was heard close by, "here's our ride." The Pelican blew dust all over the place and Wkehu had to hold his breath and squeeze his eyes shut to avoid coughing. The dropship caused a dust storm and the marines had trouble seeing the loading ramp, but they obviously made it onboard because Wkehu heard the Pelican ascend and accelerate, leaving huge amounts of dust to blow in his face.       Wkehu Drrana opened his eyes when the dust finally cleared and let out a deep breath. He grabbed the spike again and yanked it out of his chest forcefully. He tried to ignore the ear-splitting pain that followed. He looked at the tip, which was covered in his dry, purple blood. When some of the agony left he pushed himself from the upright piece of debris that he was resting his back on and tried to find his way to the hills. His vision was fogged by the large amounts of dust in the air. He stuck his arms out in front of his face as a blind person would so he wouldn't hit into any rubble. When the dust cloud became lighter he was able to see the silhouette of the hills and pretty soon he saw the charred skeletons of the Seraph fighters still spewing orange flames in various places. The ground became softer as he trotted from the battlefield and into the grassy plains. His walk became a desperate limp and he became even thirstier and hungrier than before.
      "I m-must get into those hills. There must be some sort of food, some stream to drink from," Wkehu said desperately. 'Drrana continued towards the hills and twenty minutes later he was scavenging for supplies, weapons, and maybe even large purple transmitter around the base of the fallen fighter. Wkehu ripped a piece of the weakened hull from the Seraph off and entered the inside. It was an inferno, but Wkehu was determined to get into the cargo bay. He walked passed burning supply crates and knew that if there was anything in them they would be burnt and damaged, thus of no use.
      He squeezed through a pair of smashed double-doors and entered the cargo bay. The cargo bay of the Seraph fighters were considerably smaller that the other ships, it was only about twenty feet long by fifteen wide. Plasma weapons littered the floor. Wkehu paused to pick a plasma rifle up, checked its condition, and clipped if to his holster. He found only one undamaged crate. He opened it up and thanked the gods that there were food packets inside. He devoured some of the foul tasting gel packages and took the rest in his arms. On his way out with his hands and arms filled with supplies, he accidentally tripped on a piece of ragged metal. The supplies flew from his hands, one of which was a plasma grenade. The blue sphere flew into a flaming crack in the wall. 'Drrana took notice of this, got to his feet, and ran. He slipped past the two damaged doors and kept on sprinting as the overheated grenade exploded, setting off other grenades, creating massive detonation. The hull of the ship shuddered and 'Drrana slipped again only to see more flames race at him. He quickly regained his balance and left the ship, still at a full sprint through the hills. When Wkehu 'Drrana became too tired to run anymore he turned to see both Seraph fighters explode into greater flames and noticed that the explosion must have punctured the fuel tank of one of the ships, creating a chain reaction. But he soon realized the fatality of his error when he heard the human dropship circling overhead...       Wkehu 'Drrana threw himself prostrate and clutched his plasma rifle as he prayed to the gods that he humans hadn't located him. He looked around for a place to hide until the humans had left. There was no sturdy, fully concealable cover in sight. 'Drrana got to his feet, pressed his back against a boulder, and hoped for the best.
      "What the hell was that?" Private Richard York leaned over the seat behind the copilot of the Pelican and watched as the two Seraph fighters exploded in white flames.
      "Could be the Spartan; I'm also getting a figure on radar," the pilot of the dropship said. York looked at the radar and watched as the blip went from white, to yellow, and finally to red.
      "Shit, we've got an enemy in the area. Use machine-guns to take 'em out," York said.
      "My pleasure," the pilot responded by activating the Pelican's 70mm heavy chain guns.
      Wkehu 'Drrana's fear mounted to terror when he heard the roar of the human dropship's engines getting louder as it approached. The ship flew swiftly overhead and was followed by a gust of wind from its engines. 'Drrana said a prayer of thanks to the gods as he saw the plane continue its straight flight ahead, but paused in the middle of it when he saw it decelerate and turn to rush at him.       "Oh, oh no!" 'Drrana exclaimed as he realized they were about to fire at him. Soon after he comprehended this thought, the heavy machine-guns blared and fired high speed, armor piercing, 70mm bullets at him. 'Drrana ducked and spun around the opposite face of the boulder as soon as the bullets pounded into the exact spot on the rock where 'Drrana was just standing. The Dropship zoomed past again and the machine guns under the wings rotated to face him once again and fired. 'Drrana repeated his last movement and ducked behind the original face of the rock as the ground was laced with bullets.
      "Damn it!" Wkehu screamed. This same procedure was repeated for the next ten minutes—the dropship would approach, 'Drrana would duck behind the opposite face of the boulder.
      "York, I'm wastin' a lot of ammo and we're not gettin' anywhere. You mind if I drop you guys off and let you handle it yourselves?" the pilot asked.
      "Not at all," Richard said to the pilot, "Guys, get ready, we're taking this son of a bitch down ourselves," the York loaded the last shell into his shotgun and re-clipped his helmet onto his head. The Dropship began its decent to let off the troops about thirty yards from where 'Drrana was hiding.

900 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Beneath The Surface of Ucundus

      "Open. Up. You. Stupid. Son. Of. A. BITCH!" After every word Gregory Spartan 183 pounded the metal of the ancient cryo-tube.
      "Don't waste your energy, it's not going to open by force," Augustus said.
      "Why? Huh? Why can't things be that simple?!" Gregory pounded the metal again.
      "Relax, I've got a new game for us to play, okay?" Augustus said.
      "What? What else could we possibly do. The holo images of the ring won't come up any more, this damned cryo-tube won't open, and we're trapped down here!" Gregory shouted.
      "Well, while you were ruthlessly beating the cryo-tube, I reasoned with the idea that the Forerunner might have built another entrance, almost like a back door," Augustus said.
      "Yeah, so."
      "So, after analyzing the reverberations of sounds, making a small thermo-scan, and more technical data that would confuse you," the Spartan made a grunt of amusement, "I've concluded that a portion of the ground below us is actually...hollow."
      "Hollow?" the Spartan repeated.
      "Yes, there must be more to this underground 'room' than meets the eye. Start looking over there for some sort of hatch or door," Augustus marked a target on Gregory's HUD.

910 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Above The Surface of Ucundus, In the Hills

      Wkehu 'Drrana readied his plasma rifle as he heard the vile infidels disengage from their dropship and set out to hunt him. 'Drrana crouched behind the boulder.
      "Let's move! Tom, check behind that boulder. Be careful, the bastard could be anywhere!" York shouted. The marine they called Tom crept closer to the boulder. There wasn't anyone visible at first glance, but as he got closer he saw the massive, black boot of the Elite; then he saw the blue burst of energy from the alien's rifle.
      Directly after Tom fell, grasping his bloody face in pain, the other marines fired their shotguns at the exposed creature. 'Drrana crouched back again behind the rock, but the marines had a new tactic.
      "Stand clear! Frag out!" a marine threw a fragmentation grenade beside the rock. There was a thud as it bounced. Seconds later, 'Drrana somersaulted from behind the boulder and the grenade exploded, sending shrapnel and dirt high into the air while blasting a significant piece of 'Drrana's cover to pieces. He side-stepped as he fired the plasma rifle at the marines, evading their bullets.
      "Yeearoww!" 'Drrana screamed and he continued to fire at the marines. One marine caught some fire in the shoulder and fell to the ground, another was shot in the forehead.
      "Shit! This freak is tougher than I thought!" York exclaimed, "He's outta range, these shotgun bullets can't do much damage from our position. Derek, try to sneak around the back and take him out. Get us a P.O.W., but if he's too difficult, just shoot the son of a bitch." Derek snuck around the hills and came up behind 'Drrana. Wkehu 'Drrana continued to fire at the marines but suddenly paused when he heard someone approaching him. He spun and was greeted by a fast, painful smack in the face. The familiar feeling of unconsciousness flowed over him.

910 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Beneath The Surface of Ucundus

      Gregory waved his hand along the ancient floor, brushing sand and dust aside. He continued his search for the hatch until he found a thin groove in the floor.
      "Huh, what's this?" he traced the line around until it formed a square. He brushed more dust away and revealed a handle.
      "Alright, no tricks or electronic do-dads to deal with. Great, hopefully this will really be that easy," Gregory said as he opened the trapdoor and peered into the darkness below.
      "What in the hell?" Gregory looked down a steep, dark stairwell. His boots clanked as they stepped on the metal steps and the echo reverberated down the ancient staircase. The Spartan continued down the steps for fifteen minutes until he reached a small, roughly pentagonal door. He stared at the odd looking door and noticed two rectangular, green lights. As he got closer, the door hissed and opened automatically.
      "Hmm, interesting," Augustus mused to himself. Beyond the door was a long rectangular gallery with a high ceiling and black walls. The room was dimly lit; most of the light came from strange, tall, blue screens that lined the entire length of the room.
      "This place just gets weirder and weirder," Gregory said as he stepped through the bizarre Forerunner arcade. At the end of the hallway was another door exactly like the first. He opened the door and walked up a short ramp. He surfaced into another bizarre looking room with light bluish-tinted walls and floors. This room, however, was well lit and, so far as Gregory could tell, roughly circular in shape. In the nucleus of the room were three strange, delta-shaped structures.
      "Hmm, I wonder what those are for," Gregory said.
      "Analyzing. They appear to be some sort of engine, or power generator. They could possibly be used for keeping this place running," Augustus declared, "Let's continue to move through this structure." Gregory got closer to the pointed machines and looked up. Three holes, parallel to each generator, went from the ceiling up to...it looked like the surface. A blue band of light streaked along the sides of the holes going upwards revealing the tube that went to the surface. Gregory followed the light with his eyes until it disappeared.
      "Hey, Augustus, do you think these machines are supposed to fire something?"
      "Hmm, possibly. I cannot make deductions on their purpose just yet."
      "Right," the Spartan said dully. They exited the chamber through a large, triangular door and entered another long, rectangular room, but this one was wider. The floor was oddly corrugated and so was the high ceiling. At the end was a large blast door, it was signified locked by the two red lights.
      "Well, I guess this is the end. Can't go any more, dead end. Better be heading back," the Spartan said hoping that Augustus wouldn't make him press any further.
      "Hold on now, not so fast. See those holo-pads..."
      "Not this again."
      "Go press one of the big yellow buttons, that should open the doors," Augustus marked the button with a nav point. Gregory let out a long sigh.
      "Damn it. Fine, but if that door blows up in my face like that other thing, we'll either both be dead, or I'll survive, and then I'll crush you," Gregory threatened.
      "You charm me, just open the damn door." Gregory pressed the button and watched. There was a deep clank as the gears shifted, the light turned green, there was a hiss of released pressure, and the doors slid apart revealing a room beyond anything the Spartan could have ever imagined.

950 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Above The Surface of Ucundus, In the Makeshift Prison Shack

      "Damn you humans! I'm telling you I have no idea where the Sphar'tin is!" 'Drrana pounded the bars of the metal cage.
      "You sure as hell better know, for you sake," York said as he shoved the shotgun barrel between the rods, into Wkehu's face.
      "Or you'll what, kill me? Go ahead, end my painful misery!" 'Drrana screamed at the marine.
      "Damn you, where is he!" York yelled.
      "I swear! I'm telling you this again! I don't have any clue on the whereabouts of your stupid Spartan," 'Drrana violently rattled the cage bars and roared. Even though the marines were bad asses, the scene of a vicious alien in a brutal rage made their spines tingle with fear. York held his ground.
      "Fine then, we'll just have to torture you until you do know where the Spartan is," York said. 'Drrana snarled and clicked his lower mandibles. He was trying to be as patient as he could.
      "Grrahh! Just because you stupid humans left without taking one of your insolent soldiers and then crushing him with the body of Fate, does not mean that you should take your anger out on me!"
      "I have one quick question for you. How come you speak perfect English, but none of your other elite buddies do?" York asked.
      "I am educated you imbecile! I am a field master!" 'Drrana replied.
      "And, oh yeah, in response to your last comment--just because your stupid, fucked up leaders tell you to kill us, doesn't mean that you should," York said to anger the Elite off. And it did. The Elite took his hand of the bars, clenched them into fists, raised them above his head and roared. An ear splitting scream echoed towards the heavens. He never heard such blasphemy in his entire life. The Elite took the wooden bench in his cell and smashed it against the bars. He picked up a jagged piece of wood and attempted to slice at York, who tumbled backwards, startled.
      "Shit! Someone get the sedative!" he yelled at a marine to get the narcotic drug. The marine opened a black case, loaded the drug into the gun, and fired at Wkehu 'Drrana's neck. The Elite felt a sharp sting in the side of his neck, stopped screaming, and greeted the familiar friend of unconsciousness.

The Fall of Fate: Special Edition (Parts 7-8)
Date: 24 December 2003, 8:05 PM

Merry Christmas to all you HBOers who read this!

1000 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Beneath The Surface of Ucundus, Forerunner Control Center

      Holy...what is this place, Augustus?" Gregory stood on a long, luminous bridge that appeared to have no supports. The platform outstretched a deep, round, seemingly bottomless chasm. The bridge ended in a circular walkway, in the center of this walkway floated a holographic model of the Orion 3 system, including Ucundus and its moon. But, even more spectacular, was the enormous holographic effigy of Ucundus itself, which was suspended in the air around the bridge. It was easily one-thousand feet in circumference, and it orbited and rotated on its axis as if the gigantic room was space itself. Gregory looked up towards the domed ceiling and noticed how high it arched. At the front of the circular walkway was a long, glowing panel with illuminated symbols that twisted, turned, and morphed in a bizarre fashion whereby neither Gregory nor Augustus had ever seen.       "Let's try to find a way to upload me into this device. I might be able to identify the true purpose for this instillation," Augustus suggested.
      "You still persist on tampering with stuff that you shouldn't. And how do you plan on translating this ancient language?" Gregory asked.
      "I have my ways. And look, the last door you went through didn't blow up in your face. So you should trust me with this, right?" Augustus tried to give an answer to Gregory's doubt.
      "No. But I'll do it anyway," Gregory said as he stared at the control panel, searching for some sort of spot to upload the AI. He was careful not to touch anything; this was the biggest holo-pad he had ever seen.
      "Look, that terminal. Try to put me in there," Augustus directed the Spartan. Gregory took the AI cube from his helmet, felt August's presence depart from his mind, and placed the device into a likely looking square spot. A few moments later the holographic representation of Caesar Augustus, complete with armor and sword, appeared out of the control panel, looming over Gregory.
      "Wow," was Gregory's only reaction. Data scrolled across Augustus's chest-plate and body.
      "My God! I must begin translating this information at once! So much information, so much knowledge!" the AI put on a look like he was thinking, processing the immense amounts of data.
      "Hey, why don't you figure out something useful, like finding a way to relay a transmission to a human satellite, an S.O.S. maybe?" Gregory asked the holographic emperor.
      "Good suggestion, barbarian. But I will do as I please for the next few moments," Augustus said with high authority.
      "Barbarian," Gregory repeated, "what the hell are you talking about? And let's keep in mind who put you into the machine, and who can just as easily take you out," Gregory snapped back.
      "Oh, yeah, right. I cannot let that ancient Roman mentality get to me. And I will find a way to transmit a signal, just not right now," Augustus responded.
      "Alright, did you find the reason for this place yet?" Gregory asked.
      "I've just about finished the translation. Well, I've learned that the first room we entered, you remember the one with the malfunctioning machines?" Augustus asked.
      "Yeah, how could I forget, it put me into a coma," Gregory responded.
      "Right, its purpose was to act as a directional map to the ring-worlds. If I'm reading this correctly, the closest one to our galaxy is Instillation 04, located in the Threshold system. I'm copying my coordinates to my memory database now, so ONI might be able to send a team there and collect data. If I'm translating this correctly, there are several ring-worlds throughout the universe.
      "The next room—the long, dark one—is a prison, for a flood? No, I must be translating this incorrectly. I'll get back to that later," Augustus continued.
      "I'm not playing around with any holo-pads in that room, no matter how you attempt to coerce me. Nuh-uh," the Spartan made a hand gesture to signify his resilience. "Have you figured out how to open the cryotube?" the Spartan asked.
      "No, I have not. I'm afraid that I can't either. The tube's machinery is not connected with the mainframe of this control center. It's impossible," the AI said sadly.
      "Well what about the function of this instillation?" the Spartan asked.
      "Hmm, I almost have it. Ah yes! Here it is, the purpose of this instillation is to...Oh my God," a countenance of fear covered the AI's face.

1030 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Above The Surface of Ucundus, In the Makeshift Prison Shack

      Wkehu 'Drrana awoke in his grey cell to the sound of human speech. How long has it been, he thought. His fogged vision cleared and he could visibly notice the bars and the face of the two marines on guard.
      "Hey, Jim, the alien's awake," one marine said to the other.
      "Right, let's radio York and tell 'em.
      "Okay," the first marine said, "This is Rob to Richard York. Anyone copy, over," the marine clicked the radio off.
      "Yo, Rob. We found another P.O.W. here. It's a Grunt. He says he knows where the Spartan is. We had to tie 'em up because he was wild. It shot a marine in the knee-cap. We're bringing him over now. Get ready, over," York said.
      "Alright, the Elite's awake, though. How should we go about opening the cell?" the marine asked.
      "When did Sleeping Beauty wake up?" came York's voice.
      "Bout five minutes ago," the marine responded.
      "He shouldn't be too lively. He should still be drowsy from the narcotic," York said. And that was exactly how 'Drrana felt, very tired.
      Ten minutes later the wooden door busted open and four marines, all grasping the arms and legs of an orange, screaming grunt, opened the cell and tossed him in.
      "Let me go! Let me go! I can't move," the Grunt yelled in his high pitched voice. Wkehu 'Drrana couldn't help but chuckle a little bit. The Grunt amused him. It wriggled around in a circle on the dirty floor, its arms and legs still bound. It continued this until its eyes fell upon the golden-armored elite and just stared.
      "Ooooh. Could you un-untie me, Excellency?" the Grunt asked. My,this grunt was brave to be asking a field-master a favor, the Elite thought. But 'Drrana was glad to have the company of another Covenant soldier, even if he was just a lowly Grunt.
      "I shall. What is your name, Grunt?" the elite asked.
      "My name is Grunter!" the grunt said excitedly.
      "Well, Grunter, why do you not have a traditional name for a Grunt? Did your Parental Figures not bestow one onto you" the Elite asked.
      "Well, in a sense yes, and in another sense no," Grunter said.       "Explain."
      "It is a long story. Many year units ago, my Parental Figures were murdered by the blasphemers in our homeland, during the infidel rebellion which our mighty army crushed in a short matter of three month units. But sadly, my Parental Figures were one of the few victims. I was only a fetus in an egg at the time, so I only heard stories of this when I was older. Once I hatched, I was implemented into Covenant army training. When I was asked for a name, me and my brethren had none, so the elites just called us Grunts. In a battle against the humans, I was taken prisoner. The humans decided that, since I was their only prisoner and I made growling noises at them, they would give me a human name and call me Grunter," Grunter explained.
      "Why did you keep such a name, if it was given to you by the humans?" 'Drrana asked.
      "Because none of the higher-ranking Covenant soldiers cared. Actually, you are the only one that ever asked me," Grunter said.
      "Well, Grunt..."
      "-er," Grunter corrected.
      "Right, well, Grunter, right now we only have to worry on escaping this imprisonment," Wkehu said.
      "Oh, no don't worry. I found one of those transmitters and contacted Fate's sister ship, Destiny. Another invasion is in the works."

The Fall of Fate: Special Edition (Destiny-Freedom)
Date: 30 December 2003, 1:16 AM

1030 Hours April 29, 2548(Military Calendar)//Onboard the Covenant Sister-Ship of Fate, Destiny.

      The black armored Elite, Tusla 'Pokaree, stood before the Prophet of medium power in a dimly lit room. They were to discuss the second invasion of Ucundus, and the excavation of the room beneath the planet's surface. 'Pokaree stared at his marvelous leader. The Prophet wore a complex and intricate headpiece and his body was draped with opulently embroidered crimson robes. The Prophet gazed at his soldier with cold, black eyes, as if he were analyzing the Elite's unworthy soul. Tusla 'Pokaree lowered his head in respect and waited for the Prophet to speak to him. The bony lips of the Prophet parted but no words came out. He closed his mouth again as if what he was about to say would have been deemed wrong, like a question to an oral examination. The Prophet took another breath and sighed. Now he spoke.
      "I have heard rumors, 'Pokaree. Are these rumors true?" the Prophet inquired. The Elite raised his head.
      "May I inquire what these rumors concern, Your Excellency?" the Elite asked.
      "You know very well what they concern. The transmission we received from the Grunt. Is it true? True that we have lost three ships and the only survivor is a Grunt? What of Field-master Wkehu 'Drrana? Hmm, why have we failed!" the Prophet exclaimed in anger and pounded his gaunt fist on the armrest of the hovering throne.
      "Your Excellency, the humans found our sister-ship, Fate, hovering above the excavation site. The two Seraph fighters were not enough to hold against the human forces. I believe we were overwhelmed. The ship could not drop off enough troops before humans entered the ship and planted their nuclear weapon. The bow was blown to pieces; thousands of troops were killed in that one single blast, the debris alone killed hundreds. The ship fell upright and was held in place by dirt and rubble. The destroyer could not deploy any more dropships, the abundant human forces overwhelmed our troops and then fled. And as if the destruction of the ship was not enough, the humans persisted on knocking it down upon our survivors! No one, except the grunt, survived. I am sorry, Your Excellency," Tusla said. The Prophet stared in disbelief for a few seconds, let out a deep breath, and said:
      "Well, how do you know all of these details? Surly the Grunt didn't explain them to you," the Prophet asked.
      "I watched on a view screen via our battle cameras, Your Excellency," the elite responded with his head lowered once more.
      "Hmm, this is a problem. This is a very, very difficult problem. How many ships are in this armada?" the Prophet questioned.
      "Two destroyers, Destiny and Providence, Fate's two sister-ships. Three frigates, The Repentance, The Candor and Appeasement, and The Belief and Wisdom. We have twenty Seraph fighters, and one assault carrier, Judgment," the Elite explained.
      "Excellent. Where are we en route to?" the Prophet asked.
      "We are headed to..." at that moment a blue armored Elite bustled through the door holding a coordinate chip, gasping for air.
      "I-I A-am very s-sorry to disrupt you, Your Ex-Excellency, but we h-have received anoth-another transmission from Ucundus!" the Elite said.
      "Well, what is it?" the Prophet asked impatiently. The blue elite made a gesture with his hand to let him catch his breath.
      "The Grunt has been captured, this transmission is from the hunter named Yugo Kosa Bohrrok. He says that Field-master Wkehu 'Drrana is still alive, but is being held prisoner at theses coordinates," the Elite placed the chip into a control panel and a holographic representation of the battlefield sprang to life. The target was marked on a small shack-like building where Grunter and 'Drrana were imprisoned, "The Hunter is severely wounded and his bond brother is dead," the blue Elite said.
      "Alright, I want the Ship-master alerted to place his Slipspace coordinates on Ucundus. Get the combat Ossoonas ready to be deployed as soon as possible. The failure on Ucundus was unacceptable. We will not fail again," the Prophets orders were immediately executed and in a matter of minutes the armada was facing the blue and green countenance of Ucundus.

April 29, 2548. In the Control Center of Ucundus.

      "What? What's wrong?" Gregory stared at the horrified expression that engulfed Augustus's face.
      "T-this instillation," Augustus stammered, "is a weapon," upon uttering the word 'weapon', both Augustus's and Gregory's eyes flared.
      "What, wuh-what do you mean this is a weapon?" Gregory asked nervously.
      "This Control Center has a pulse radius capable of annihilating this galaxy, and it also contains the coordinates of...Earth," as soon as Augustus articulated Earth, a holographic representation of the blue planet appeared, along with a series of numbers marking the coordinates.
      "Shit! If the Coven.." Gregory exclaimed.
      "N-not only that," Augustus continued in his horrified drone, "but it contained the coordinates of many other human colonies also. The Covenant must not gain access to this instillation." His voice became more excited. "We've got to get a rescue party here. We need reinforcements," Augusts said as if commanding Gregory to execute his orders immediately.
      "Okay, but what kind of weapon is it? Can it be controlled? Can it be used against the Covenant?" Gregory asked these questions hastily.
      "No, no it cannot. But, if I'm translating these encryptions correctly, this instillation has its fair share of defenses. There are several, highly powerful energy-pulse cannons. I believe they would be capable of defending the planet from the ground in time of an aerial or orbital attack. If I can locate these cannons, we may be able to harness Forerunner weapons technology. We may be able to lead an effective stand against the Covenant!" Augustus said with a new triumphant vigor.
      "Great," Gregory said dully, "but I don't want to have to touch any holo buttons."

1030 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Above The Surface of Ucundus, In the Makeshift Prison Shack

      Wkehu 'Drrana stared in disbelief at the little grunt for several seconds.
      "What do you mean, another invasion is in the works?" the elite inquired.
      "I mean, that they are coming back for us. We're gonna be saved!" the Grunt exclaimed. At that moment two marines entered through the wooden door.
      "So, how are we feeling today? Hmm?" York said to the prisoners. The Elite just glared in contempt at the human, while the Grunt said nothing.
      "Well, I hope you're ready to work, Grunt. We've got a lot of debris removal to do. Ha ha ha!" York chuckled. The other marine raised his shotgun as York opened the prison door and dragged the Grunt out. They led the alien out of the wooden door onto the once silent and somber battlefield, which was now transformed into what looked like a massive construction site. Dozens of huge cranes removed debris and rubble that had once been the hull and interior of the Covenant battleship. Grunter saw hundreds of prisoners of war that had been brought from various battles to help remove the wreckage. Grunts, jackals, and he even saw a few Hunters helping out with the heavier pieces, but those were the only species of Covenant he noticed. The others, the Elites were to strong willed, unlike the three weaker minded species. All P.O.W. were forced into labor practically at gunpoint.
      "At this rate, we'll be done in about a week," York shouted above the din.
      "Yeah, but the removal of that ship is going to be a bitch," the other marine yelled. Grunter watched as one of the cranes dropped a large package of rubble into the back of a huge garbage-craft.
      "Yeah, some of this stuff will be shot to the space dumps, others will be rushed to ONI, like the ruined ship," York explained to the other marine. Hehe, that is if the garbage-crafts don't get blown up by the oncoming invasion , Grunter thought.
      "Hey, Grunt! You'll be working over there in cleaning up some coolant leakage from the craft," York yelled, Grunter felt the chill of the coolant already.
      "Just don't fall into the pools," the other marine snickered. The coolant bubbled and churned.

1070 Hours April 29, 2548(Military Calendar)//Onboard the Covenant Sister-Ship of Fate, Destiny.
      "How long until deployment?" the Ship-master, Quasa 'Ligoree, paused his pacing upon hearing the Elite's voice appear from nowhere. Suddenly the air in front of Quasa rippled and a pale armored Ossoona materialized. 'Ligoree grunted.
      "Well, Arga 'Yulemee, don't sneak up on a Ship-master like such, I could have you executed," the noble voice of 'Ligoree responded.
      "Well, how long will it be before my special-ops team goes in for deployment?" the Ossoona inquired once again. And at this moment a dozen other stealth troops materialized from the dark of the room.
      "Oh, how long were you in here?" Quasa questioned. "Never mind, be prepared for deployment in fifteen minute-units," 'Ligoree commanded.
      "Yes, Commander," the Ossoonas left the bridge and continued through the purple halls of the ship into a docking bay. There, two dropships were waiting for the Ossoonas. The stealth troops gathered their gear, some carrying plasma rifles, others carrying the holsters to plasma swords. They boarded the dropships and took off into space. They traveled along the far side of the planet until they quietly landed in the hills where the Seraph fighters had crashed. They had already sent a signal that dismantled the human radars from space so they never knew of the two dropships.

Back inside the makeshift prison

      Wkehu 'Drrana sat in silence, watching the four human marines talk about their private life while playing cards on a makeshift card table. Suddenly, the wooden door swayed open as if from a breeze. A marine stood up and volunteered to close it. He walked to the door and held out his hand to push the door back, when suddenly he was seized. He was spun to face the marines by an unseen force. He limbs swung about violently as if possessed by a demon, he tried to yell but a strangled scream bellowed from his lungs. And suddenly, a loud crack! was heard, as the marine's neck was snapped and he fell to the floor, dead.
      "What the fu..." the marine never finished, because at that moment three, shimmering blue plasma blades appeared out of thin air. The marine was caught in the stomach by the sword. The Ossoona ripped it out sideways, splashing crimson blood and fragments of the marine's ribs across the floor. The other two marines were startled by this new threat, they groped for their assault shotguns, or anything to use as a weapon against the new assaulter. The card table was shattered into fragments by a sword almost as easily as the marine. One soldier saw the rippling air and smacked an Elite in the face with the butt of his weapon, but the Elite had a clearer shot at the human and did the same. The headless carcass fell against a chair with a sickening thud! The last marine backed against the far wall and fired random rounds at the air from his shotgun. He watched in desperate horror as the neon blades crept closer, and closer. He was pulled away from the wall by an invisible force and he felt one of the weapons sever his torso from his stomach. He fell onto his back and stared in ultimate horror, as he watched the aliens fling his departed legs to the side.
      Wkehu 'Drrana watched in amazement at the slaughter from behind the metal bars, as each of the guards was killed with precise brutality. The three Ossoonas deactivated their camouflage and placed the charge to the bars. There was a dull boom and a flash of light as the metal bars were disintegrated. Wkehu 'Drrana felt an exciting notion of freedom. The Ossoonas handed the Field-master a plasma rifle and a few grenades. Wkehu checked the weapon and thanked the Ossoonas, who had now reactivated their camouflage.
      The marine who had last been "killed" was still conscious to watch his assaulters reveal themselves, to see them free the prisoner, and to activate an M9 HE-DP Grenade...

To be Continued...

The Fall of Fate: Special Edition(Part 5)
Date: 4 January 2004, 1:23 AM

1370 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Inside the Makeshift Prison

      The blast came so fast and unexpectedly that Wkehu 'Drrana hadn't the faintest idea what had happened. Seconds earlier, he had been gratefully thanking the Ossoonas for rescuing him, and then that fierce explosion. The Elite warrior farthest from him and closest to the blast was split into hundreds of pieces, which proceeded to bounce and splatter all around the room. The second Ossoona was flung headlong into the wall, his skull brutally crushed by force. Wkehu 'Drrana was blown backwards into the prison cell. The right wall was gone and the ceiling of the makeshift shack was half collapsed.
      As 'Drrana slowly regained his focus, he realized what had happened. The last marine to die blew himself up. Relentless bastard, thought the Field-master. They caught the full face of the blast and thus saved my life. The gods will bless you all in the afterlife, he thought. 'Drrana gradually came to his feet and gazed at the ruined cabin. The third Ossoona lay on his back wailing strangled cries from his throat, which had been pierced by a jagged piece of wood. His camouflage faded in and out, creating a ghastly effect that challenged the imagination. Deep violet blood spewed from the Elite's mandibles, and dribbled down his cheek. An expression of terror was imbedded in the warrior's black eyes, which darted violently in their sockets, hoping for some sort of salvation. The Ossoona chocked, his chest heaved forcefully, and his eyes became abruptly still and cold as ice on a glassy pond.
      'Drrana quickly uttered a prayer to the gods, hoping they would grant the Ossoonas an exultant afterlife. He began to push by the smashed pieces of wood and splattered gore, when he heard alarmed voices.
      "What the hell was that!" exclaimed York. "Peters, Browning, move in to see what in God's name happened in there," York cursed under his breath.
      "Yes sir," was Browning's reply. The two marines moved closer to the wrecked cabin. The only thing they could see was smoke coming from the hole in the
half-collapsed roof.
      "York, I can't really see anything. It's all in ruins," Peters said.
      "Try to get a radio transmission from the four guards," York ordered.
      "Yes sir," the two marines answered in unison.
      "Peterson to Carmichael. Do you read me, Carmichael?" Peterson paused with the radio in his hand. "Peterson to Olly, Peterson to Olly. What happened? Over," nothing but static came over the freq. Peterson held the radio up to his mouth again: "Peterson to--" he was cut off by York.
      "That's enough. Go in," York gestured to the improvised prison. The silence and static from the radio scared the marines. They held their assault rifles at the ready—eyes down range, fingers on the trigger, and the butt of the weapon rested between the arm and the shoulder.
      Wkehu 'Drrana heard their voices. He knew they were coming closer.Should I fight?, he thought as his hand felt the smooth plating of the plasma rifle. Should I play dead?, the idea seemed too risky. No, I have a better plan. He held one of the plasma grenades the Ossoonas gave him in his right hand, I will RUN! He replayed the plan over again in his head as his thumb ran over the glossy sphere subconsciously. He activated the round weapon, which proceeded to transform into a flaming blue orb of plasma. He flung the grenade into the cell (whose wall faced away from the battlefield and thus the marines). Three seconds later the bomb detonated into a blue-white explosion. Most of the back wall was gone, leaving 'Drrana limited time to escape before the wrecked prison crushed him.

1370 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Beneath the Surface of Ucundus, inside the Forerunner Control Center

      "I am truly elated at this find," Augustus said happily, as his enormous holographic body beamed over the control panel.
      "Yeah, me too. Does this place have any other weapons besides the one capable of annihilating the entire galaxy? Is there any interior security that I might have to worry about?" Gregory asked.
      "Don't worry, I have control over all systems. But I can't operate the weapon without something they call the 'Index'. I already told you, this place has energy-pulse cannons," Augustus said.
      "Instead of those too," the Spartan said.
      "Hold on, let me see if there are any forms of security," Augustus began translating the Forerunner encryption. "Yes! The Forerunner have independent robotic assaulters, they call them, Sentinels."

1375 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Inside the Makeshift Cabin

      'Drrana sprinted from the Cabin as soon as he heard the creaking of the weakened wood and dove at the moment when the whole roof and walls caved in. 'Drrana abruptly rolled onto his back and stared at the smoldering pile of wood that buried seven bodies. He had no time to collect himself, because he was suddenly under a hail of assault rifle bullets.
      "There he is!" Peterson yelled, "Son of a bitch!" Peterson and Browning squeezed the trigger, letting loose dozens of armor piercing rounds.
      "Short bursts! Short bursts!" York yelled to the two marines, as he loaded his shotgun. 'Drrana sprinted as fast as he could, but the bullets grazed and hit him, he had forgotten that his shield generators had been taken out during battle. The pain was tremendous. 'Drrana threw himself onto his stomach, the shots zooming over his head. His weak armor had taken most of the shots, but he had been hit, purple blood dripped from the wounds. He didn't feel like moving, he wanted to die, to die right then and there. He heard their footsteps coming closer to him, he heard the pump of York's shotgun, and he heard the roar of a Banshee's engine.
      The banshee wailed just over Wkehu 'Drrana's head, he saw the two adjacent vapor trails curl in unison as it turned. York dove, and fired his shotgun at the attack craft.
      "Damn it! Where the hell did he come from!" York yelled as he got to his feet.
      "Uh sir, I think you mean where the hell did they come from?" Peterson said as ten small dots appeared from the left side of the sky and another nine from the right.
      "Shit." York said under his breath, he activated his radio. "York to Delta Base 148, do you copy?"
      "York, is that you?" came an alarmed male voice.
      "Yes, what's wrong?" York said as he dove behind a rock while the banshee pounded the ground with twin plasma bolts.
      "Thank God you're alive. We've come under attack, three enemy dropships have entered the atmosphere, and two are deploying troops right on top of us. We've lost sight of the third. Oh my God. York we need as many reinforcements as possible, we weren't prepared for an attack," the voice from the radio said.
      "I don't know how much assistance we can give to you. We've got twenty enemy aircrafts in the area, and I only have me and two marines," York said in a panic.
      "Shit, get back to base A.S.A.P. It'll be easier to fight 'em off from there. Siglain over and out," the transmission was cut. Each of the purple dots in the sky had come into full view now. They swerved and roared over the cleanup site in a vicious frenzy. They were like angry, purple hornets.
      "Crap, we need to get the civilian workers evacuated immediately. Once that cleanup site gets hot they're toast. Forget the gold alien, we shot him, he's dead." York said to Browning and Peterson. The banshee that had been attacking the three marines turned and flew towards the site of cranes, garbage-crafts, POWs, and humans. The three marines sprinted around the wrecked shack, allowing Wkehu 'Drrana enough time to escape.