Halo 2: The Forerunner Chronicle by Velker
Halo 2: The Forerunner Chronicle
Date: 25 February 2002, 9:31 pm
"Wake up Chief!"
"What is it?" The Master Chief opened his eyes, staring at Cortana's hologram.
"We're almost at Earth. What'll we find when we get there?" Cortana looked worried. The Chief didn't usually see her worried, but then again, she was inside his helmet most of the time.
"I don't like to think about it. I'm just thinking of what I'll do if I find Covs." He got up and walked towards the weapons locker in the rear of the Longsword-class Interceptor. It was locked, but with the massive amount of strength his armor gave him, he ripped off the door like a piece of toilet paper. Inside was an MA5B assault rifle, some magazines, and four frag grenades. The MC grabbed it all and slung the rifle over his shoulder.
"Dropping out of slipspace in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..." The lines blurring the viewscreen faded into stars. There was a beautiful blue planet in front of the fighter, shrouded by white clouds.
"Identify yourself Longsword!" barked a voice from over the COM. A UNSC Destroyer came into view from the other side of Earth.
"UNSC Destroyer, this is Cortana of the Pillar of Autumn requesting an immediate meeting with the head of the fleet. I've got Master Chief Petty Officer Spartan 117 on this fighter with me."
"What about Captain Keyes?" came the reply, this time from a different man, probably the first one's boss.
"Dead. We're the only survivors."
"Control copies. Continue on your current course. Platform C5 in Washington DC's Akrayd Military Base."
"Roger that Control. Cortana out."
A lone Marine Lieutenant was waiting for the Master Chief when he landed. The Master Chief followed him, carrying the MA5B and the M90 Shotgun that had saved his life against the Floodies. They walked out of the hanger into a large translucent blue dome. Insides were about a hundred soldiers, all of them looking stronger and taller than average soldiers did. There was a man in front of them, a Latin-American man with gray hair. He wore the insignia of a Chief Petty Officer in ONI SpecOps.
"Chief Mendez!" The Master Chief ran over to greet his old commander. Mendez saluted and the gesture was returned.
"Spartan 117. What happened back there?"
"It is a long story, sir. We need to strike back against the Covenant now, sir. I wiped out their whole armada back at Halo."
"Halo? What are you talking about?"
"Master Chief!" said a man standing on a podium in front of the soldiers. "I am Admiral Stanforth, the current commander of all UNSC Naval Ops. What happened?"
"Well Admiral, we made a blind jump from Reach and came out near the gas giant Threshold. There we found a strange metal ring, which we called Halo. The Covenant Armada chased us, and we were forced to bail out onto the ring world. Before we bailed, the Captain gave me Cortana and then he took the PoA down and landed it manually on Halo." It took John an hour to tell the tale of his exploits on Halo.
"So there were no survivors? Human, Covenant or Flood?" asked Stanforth when he was done.
"No sir, I have no reason to believe there were."
"I see. Well, you're dismissed Master Chief. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the Spartans."
"The Spartans sir? They were on the ground when reach was glassed?."
"CPO Mendez has one hundred new Spartans. There have been major advances in weaponry since you left, and I believe you'll want to practice with them. I'm going back to command to see what they want," said Stanforth.
John saluted and shouted, "Spartans! Ten-hut!" The Spartans stepped to attention and saluted the Admiral as he walked out of the room.
A tall Spartan walked up to John. His features seemed familiar, yet distant. "John, it is good to see you again!" He hugged the MC, grinning wildly.
"Who are you Spartan?"
"It's Sam. My body was recovered, you know that. You weren't at the funeral because there wasn't one. They flash-cloned me and I was sent to join the new generation of Spartans. To help the Chief train them; to get my body re augmented. I've been with these Spartans on Earth ever since. And you're not the only one who got promoted. I'm a CPO. I'm ready to get those Covenant bugs back. Everybody, Kelly, Linda, Jim, all gone. You must be pretty torn up about it."
"I've had a lot of time to think about it. It took me a week to get here from Halo. Introduce me to your Spartans Sam."
Sam and the Master Chief walked through the ranks, inspecting the younger Spartans. Then they and Chief Mendez went off to one of Washington DC's best restaurants for a drink, and to reminisce about old times.
The next day, the Master Chief went down to the Spartans' shooting range to look at the new weapons. He found Gunnery Sergeant Tom-235. "Sergeant, Admiral Stanforth told me their have been weaponry advances since I've been gone. Can I see what he was talking about?"
"Certainly Master Chief." He walked over to a weapons locker and pulled out a rifle. It looked like an MA5B for the most part, but the barrel was longer and had ridges in a corkscrew pattern all along it. "This is the MA6T, a laser assault rifle. The power pack," he pulled out a small plastic box that looked like an MA5B clip, "is inserted into the same slot as where a mag would be inserted into on an MA5B. They'll recharge over three hours. Each one gives you one hundred shots. You can't shoot in bursts of more than fifty. Care to take it for a spin on the range?"
"Yes sir." The Sergeant handed over the MA6T, and the Master Chief took it out to the range. A bell rang and a man-shaped target popped up. The Master Chief sent a red beam of energy into the target's head, disintegrating it. "I like it Sarge. Can you give me a couple bandoleers of power packs? After Halo, I'm never going anywhere without a gun."
"Sure. Here you go." The Sergeant pulled out two bandoleers of ammo from the locker, and John strapped them on.
"Master Chief!" said Admiral Stanforth's voice inside his helmet. "Report to Sector A, briefing room 1."
"Yes sir. I'm on my way.
Admiral Stanforth sat in front of Sam, Chief Mendez, and John. "Based on what Cortana's told us, we have discovered the location of another Halo. You and the Spartans will be escorting a research team there. They will try and figure how to harness the power of Halo in some other way than to wipe out all life in the galaxy. We want the Spartans there to protect them in case of a Flood outbreak. The UNSC Carrier New Jersey will be taking the pre-fab buildings and several hundred Marines, though you Spartans ought to be able to handle whatever you find. The New Jersey leaves tomorrow. The Master Chief and Captain Orus of the New Jersey are in charge of the mission. On behalf of all humanity, I tell you good luck. Dismissed."
The Master Chief, Sam, and CPO Mendez jumped up and saluted. After Stanford had left, John said, "You two are going to be my second-in-commands, okay?" His friend and his former teacher nodded. "These places are like paradise, so I need you to make sure the Spartans keep their guards up. If 343 Guilty Spark survived, we're going to have a problem with his Sentinels. I'm going to make sure Cortana is with us."
A week later, the Master Chief was regretting his persistence in making sure that the spirited AI had accompanied them. "We're almost there," said Cortana on day seven of the voyage.
"How do you know? You're in my head, not the ship's computer," asked John, who was becoming more than a little annoyed with Cortana.
"I plotted the course. If my calculations are correct, we should be there in one hour." The Master Chief's helmet chirped.
"Yes?" he asked into the COM.
CPO Mendez answered, "Sir, Captain Orus wants you on the bridge. I was up here already, having a cup of coffee with him."
"Master Chief, you're my superior now, you don't have to say sir after everything you say to me."
"Nor do you when to me or Sam. Among us, rank shall be forgotten. Should I have Sam ready the Spartans?"
"Yes 117. I'm staring at Halo through the front viewports."
"Acknowledged. Over and out." The Master Chief switched his helmet's frequency to a private one and hailed Sam. "Sam, this is John, get the Spartans in ready to go. I'd like the Pelicans loaded in fifteen minutes."
"Roger. I'll have it done in ten. Over and out." His words chilled John. Sam had said the same thing on the day he had died.
On the bridge, Captain Orus was waiting with Chief Mendez. Orus was a tall man that had a wiry muscularity to him, though he was not nearly as tall or as strong as any of the Spartans. "Ah Master Chief! Good to see you. We've arrived at the Halo, as Chief Mendez told you. Is your team ready to go down?"
"We need ten minutes, but yes we'll be ready. My Spartans will scout out a site for the base. When we find it, I'll call for regular Marines, the scientists, and the pre-fab buildings," said the Master Chief.
"That'll work. I suppose you'll want to join you crew then. Chief Mendez, are you going with the Master Chief and the Spartans?"
"No. I'll be coming down in command of the Marines."
"Master Chief, you are dismissed." The Master Chief saluted and turned on his heel, heading for the Spartan's armory, which was adjacent to the dropship bay. When he got there, the Spartans were busy grabbing weapons. One Spartan, whom the Master Chief knew only as Boomer, was stocking up on explosives. The Master Chief grabbed two M7D pistols, a couple batteries for each, and strapped them to his belt. Then he opened his locker, which housed his custom gear: the M90 shotgun which he had been carrying when he escaped the first Halo and some ammo bandoleers. His MA6T laser rifle was slung over his shoulder. John knew he was taking a risk going into a potential combat zone with that much weaponry, as it could slow him down, but he had been in situations where he had run out of ammunition, and they had not been fun times.
"You ready Chief?" asked Sam from the locker next to his.
"I'm ready for anything. Payback against Guilty Spark would be nice."
"I know what you're saying." Together they walked out to one of the Pelicans. There were five Pelicans taking them down to the Halo and all of them had Warthogs attached to the back.
The COM crackled, "Hello Spartans, My name is Lt. Chris Knight, and I'll be you pilot today. Maybe you know my brother, Lonsword pilot Lt. Steve Knight. Conditions look clear over most of the ring. What terrain are you looking for Chief?"
"Flat grasslands, preferably near a river or ocean, maybe near a Forerunner structure."
"Roger that sir. Off we go!" The doors of the Pelican closed and it lifted off. The ride down to Halo was short.
When the Pelican's doors opened, the Master Chief saw a wide valley with a river running through it. One of the structures that John had seen on the previous Halo was in the middle. It was a tall building with a sort of triangle-shaped spire, out of which shot a blew beam. He had thought it was some sort of power plant. "Knight! Take us down here. I think we've found our base area.
"Got it Master Chief."
Five minutes later, the Spartans had established a defensive perimeter around the area, and Sam and John were preparing to take a team into the structure and make sure the area was safe. Six of the Spartans were accompanying 'Gold team' into the structure.
The Master Chief, Gold-1, and Sam, Gold-2, entered the first room, rifles leading the way. The Chief gave an all clear sign and motioned for his squad to follow. They moved through down to the basement. "Okay, this sight is clear-"
"HALT!" ordered a metallic voice. A hidden door in the wall slid open and ten guards, all of them in armor similar to the Spartans, ran out, surrounding all the Spartans. "Hands up!" said the one that appeared to be the leader.
"Do it Spartans," hissed the Master Chief. A guard went around and policed their laser rifles, and the MC's shotgun. That's pretty stupid, leaving us with our pistols. On a private COM channel, he said, "We'll play along a bit longer." To the Spartans outside, John said, "We've been captured. I want a twenty man team ready at the door for my command. On my mark, rush in here."
"I copy," said the Spartan in charge, an energetic young man named Lt. Tim-201.
"Where are you going to take us?" the Master Chief asked his captors.
"We're taking you to Xarnin, the leader of the Forerunner on this Halo."
"Understood. Are you going to kill us?"
"No. At least not until we've questioned your motives."
"Again, understood." To his forces, the Master Chief said, "Now! Don't kill them though! Hold them at gun point!" He added this last bit as an afterthought.
In ten seconds, twenty Spartans clattered in. The Lieutenant yelled, "Drop your weapons! Hands where we can see them!" The Forerunner guards complied. Their visors made it impossible to discern their expression.
The Master Chief and the other former captives grabbed their guns back. "Take us to Xarnin, please, sir."
"This way." The guards led them back through the hidden door and down a long hallway. They emerged into a large cavern, filled with tables. Scientists buzzed around the tables, while guards stood at the doors. The Spartans policed their weapons and followed their captives to a scientist in a white coat. "Sir, these are the humans. They captured us, we didn't want a firefight, since their suits look so much like ours. We weren't sure of their origin, so we led them to you," the leader said.
Xarnin nodded. He was a man of medium height, with a black goatee. "I greet you..."
"Master Chief, of the UNSC."
"Yes, Master Chief. I am Xarnin, the leader of the Forerunner. We are all that remain of the Forerunner. There is a long story to how we came here."
"Tell it then," ordered the Master Chief.
"He'll tell you in good time. There's no need to be violent!" said a familiar voice from behind Xarnin, one with a familiar British-sounding accent.
"I know that voice," said the Master Chief, whipping his shotgun off his shoulder.
A silver orb with a purple light in the center floated out from behind Xarnin. "Him! Why I oughta..." The Master Chief slapped his helmet to shut Cortana up and then leveled his shotgun at the Monitor.
"343 Guilty Spark! Give me one good reason why I shouldn't blast you into oblivion right know," said the Master Chief.
"343 Guilty Spark? No. I am 342 Guilty Spark, his figurative 'brother.' 343 is on the other Halo," chirped the little robot cheerfully.
"He's dead. I blew up the other Halo. Now why don't you," The Master Chief pointed to Xarnin, "tell us the whole story."
"Okay. Millions of years ago, the Covenant and the Forerunner were at peace. We were technological brothers, advancing in science together. Our science had reached a peak. The Forerunner had become rich and wanted a slave species. So our scientists set to work. Their result was the Flood. They marveled at their own intelligence, until they discovered what the Flood were capable of. That's how they were named. Already we had built the Halos. They were research stations, where scientists could hypothesize and experiment without causing damage to our homeworld. The Flood were created on the Halo that you destroyed. Some Flood were shipped off the other three Halos. All the Halos were top secret. When the Covenant found out about the Flood, they were enraged. It violated their holy laws, and they declared a jihad. Meanwhile, there was a Flood outbreak on Halo 4. The precautions were taken and the Flood were put back into containment. They realized the Flood's power and the Halos had the giant weapons systems put into them as a failsafe. The Covenant reached our homeworld with a massive fleet and overran it, killing all of the Forerunner. Back on the Halos, there was a Flood outbreak, all of them except this one were wiped out. No one knows how the outbreaks occurred, but they did. Presumably, a single escape pod, filled with soldiers, not scientists, escaped and landed on earth. That is how Humanity was started. Once we learned about the outbreaks, and the Covenant attack, we ended our space-faring ways and settled on this Halo. We studied the Flood, and developed technology that would enable an outbreak to be contained extremely quickly. Our colony has been here ever since."
TO BE CONTINUED...
Halo 2: The Forerunner Chronicle Part II
Date: 27 February 2002, 2:13 am
"That puzzles me. So there's two more Halos besides this one?" asked Sam.
"Presuming that Installation 4 was actually destroyed," said Xarnin.
"It was," growled the Master Chief. "I did it with my own hands. Our scientists wish to study this Halo. Is that okay?" he said, for lack of better words.
"It is fine, so long as you do not disrupt our own scientists or citizens."
"Well, if that's all, we'll be leaving." The Master Chief's Spartans tossed back the guards weapons and marched out.
"Do you trust him John?" asked Sam, who sounded slightly worried.
"Not one bit. We're moving our base location; most likely it'll be somewhere near the control room, as that ought to be what the scientists want to study.
"I'll have one of the boys radio up to command."
It took them a week to find a suitable base. It was on a luscious island. It housed the Silent Cartographer, which the Chief used to find the control room. The island was a mostly open area, with some forests and a few caves and Forerunner facilities, like a security checkpoint for the 'Cartographer. After two days, the base was fully operational. A half of a division of Marine regulars had been deployed, to hold down the fort while the Spartans did the dirty work. Well, the dirty work of escorting scientists.
The Master Chief and Sam were constantly on Pelicans, going back and forth from various sights on the ring world.
One day, the Head Scientist, a little old man named Dr. James summoned the Master Chief. He was very pushy and the Spartans didn't like him.
"Master Chief reporting as requested, Doctor."
"Ah, yes, Master Chief. I would like you and a team of your...men to escort myself and some of my scientists to the control room. We wish to study its workings."
"We'll do it. Twenty of my best men will go. I'm just reminding you, however, that there is no way you'll be activating Halo while my Spartans are guarding it. Anyway, you couldn't activate it without the index." The Master Chief shifted his shotgun to his other shoulder.
"I understand completely Master Chief. I wish to depart immediately."
"My people will be loaded in ten minutes. I'm going to have Knight get 'hogs mounted on the dropship; as there's no telling what we may encounter."
"I believe Master Chief," said Dr. James haughtily, "that you're being overly cautious.
"There's no such thing as overly cautious, Doc, no such thing."
On the Spartan's Pelican, Gunnery Sergeant Tom-235 expressed his discomfort about the mission to the Master Chief. "Sir, I got a bad feeling about this," he confessed.
"Quit your bellyaching Sergeant!" barked Sam.
"No Sam, he's okay. I feel the same way. Just an little bad feeling in the pit of your stomach, right Sarge?"
"Yes, sir. Though it could've been that mush I had for breakfast." There was general agreement throughout the dropship on that comment, as the meals weren't exactly five-star dishes. Still, John couldn't shake the feeling he had about the mission.
The Control Room was huge. The Master Chief had ordered that the Warthogs be driven into the large room, in case a quick getaway was needed. The scientists worked all over the computer console. Secretly, before the scientists had gotten to the console, the Master Chief had slipped Cortana in, to make sure that the scientists didn't activate Halo. The Spartans mostly sat around, shared stories, a couple had gotten into a wild card game on the floor of the catwalk.
There was a banging on the large metal door. Dents started appearing as the Spartans leveled their guns at the door. "Spartan!" John ordered the Spartan closest to the computer. "Get me Cortana now!" The Spartan yanked the AI and brought the data card to the Master Chief, who slipped it into his helmet.
"What is it Chief?"
"Someone's at the door." He gestured with his M90.
"Somehow," said Cortana, "I have a sinking feeling it's not a social call."
Then a hole appeared in the door, about six feet across and twice that tall. Ten zombie-like creatures shambled in, carrying Forerunner weaponry. "FLOOD!" shouted a Spartan. They had all seen some of the video from the MC's helmet recordings. Hundreds or spores rushed through the door around the Worker/Warrior Flood. Then it was as if the heavens had opened up with laser fire. Every Spartan started shooting. One got in a 'hog's M41 LAAG turret and started ripping through the Flood spores.
"Get the scientists the hell out of here!" ordered the Master Chief. "Someone radio for Knight and his pilots to come pick us up!" Things weren't looking all that great, as Floodies kept coming. Who had released the plague of the Flood? John intended to find out as soon as he got back the base. If he got back.
Halo 2: The Forerunner Chronicle Part III
Date: 28 February 2002, 7:26 pm
The Chief pumped his shotgun again to chamber another round. There was a click as the shotgun ran dry. "Cover me. I've got to fall back and reload!" called the Master Chief as he backpedaled and crouched behind a 'hog, reloading his shotgun with some explosive shells. The shells produced a small explosion upon impact. He stepped out from behind the jeep and thumped a Flood warrior. The whole group that was clustered around it flew down. They were vaporized by more laser fire.
"Knight here! We can get you guys as soon as you blow that door. The hole's not big enough. Until then, we're stuck outside."
"Roger that Knight. Boomer!" John called to the demolitions expert. "Satchel charges! I want that door slagged now!" As soon as the MC stopped speaking, two high-explosive satchel charges flew overhead. "Now!"
"Acknowledged Chief!" shouted the large Spartan. He yelled, "Take cover Spartans!" Everyone dropped back behind the Warthogs. Boomer pressed a little red button on the detonator and the door blew in with a resounding crash, vaporizing all the Floodies within fifteen feet. The Pelicans swooped through the wreckage and around to the very back of the catwalk. Knight himself fired up his thrusters and came down right over the Floods, setting about half the remaining Warrior Flood alight. There was one last volley of laser fire and then the Flood were gone.
"What were those things Chief?" asked Knight as John clambered about the Pelican.
"Those were the Flood. They must have been let loose by someone and they've taken some Forerunner hosts. We've got to get back to base and get everyone back aboard the New Jersey now. If those things get a hold of a biological form, they can take it and use it. I don't want a half division of Marines turned into Floodie warriors."
"Aye, sir. Returning to base right now," Knight said as he fired up his thrusters and throttled up back towards HQ.
When they got back to the HQ, they found everything the same as it had been when the Spartan/scientist team had left. It took five hours to get everyone and their equipment up to the New Jersey. When the Master Chief got back up to the carrier, he found Captain Orus waiting.
"What is the meaning of evacuating the Halo?" he asked as soon as the Master Chief climbed off the dropship.
"The Flood, they've been released." He pulled a chip from his helmet. "Here's the recording if you want proof."
"I'll take your word for it Chief. What do we do about it?"
"We send only Spartans down to the surface from now on. Our Mjolnir armor will protect us from infestation. We'll go down and find out who released the Flood, and then we'll find away to stop the infestation. If all else fails, there's got to be a self-destruct somewhere on the ring. Talk to Jones and see what he says about it."
"Sir!" an aide ran up to the Captain and Master Chief. "I've got three Covenant ships on approach. One frigate and two troop carrier ships."
The Captain cursed. "This mission just got a lot more complicated."
"Let me talk to them." The Captain and John sprinted to the bridge's COM station. "Put me on an open broadcast that'll reach those Cov pigs."
"Will do sir," said the communications officer. "Do you want visual sir?" After John nodded, the bridge officer said, "You're on."
"To all Covenant, this is the Master Chief. If you want to know who killed your armada at the first Halo, it was me. I did it. I killed every single one of your soldiers there."
"Then why shouldn't we kill you right now human?" came an Elite's bass-pitched voice over the COM.
"Because, I have the power to kill you all right now. And then there's the matter of the Flood. They've just been released on the Halo. After what happened before, I don't think you want to call my bluff."
"Puny human...your soldiers may not be well-trained enough to survive against the Flood, but ours are."
"Think whatever you want to think scum. But remember what I did at Halo and I was only one Spartan. I have a hundred with me, they may not have as much experience as I do, but I assure you, one Spartan is the equal of a hundred of your Hunters and Elites."
"Pah," spat the Elite. "Helm! Bring the Death's Kiss by their ship and we'll show them who the Masters of the Universe are!"
The Master Chief acted quickly by yanking Cortana out of his helmet and putting her into the ship's computer. "Cortana!" yelled John after thirty seconds of Cortana's shouting at him. "Fly the ship and kill that Cov cruiser!"
"Yes Master Chief." John and Captain Orus watched as Cortana's hologram appeared. The hologram started shouting orders to the Longsword pilots, her voice amplified by the intercom. "Longsword pilots! Launch now! Attack any Covenant boarding ships. Marines, prepare to be boarded. Weapons, charge the MAC guns now. Fire starboard laser batteries as the frigate passes. When the MAC guns are charged give me a firing solution on those transports!" Watching Cortana yell was like watching a master chef cook.
The ship accelerated and headed on what seemed to be a crash course with the Cov frigate. Cortana opened fire with the forward laser batteries at the same time as the Covvies opened up with theirs. To the Master Chief's surprise, the first bolts started flashing off the shield. "Launch Archer missiles in starboard pods A to E as the frigate passes." Just as the two ships were about to crash, both swerved away from one another. The starboard batteries opened up at the same time as the five Archer missiles fired, slamming into the Covenant ship. The Cov pigs had no chance to shoot down the missiles and all five hit the frigate, blasting a tremendous hole in the cruiser's side. It limped away like a wounded pig. The rear laser batteries opened up on it at that same moment, before the shields could recharge. "Launch Archer missiles in pods F to J now!" Five more missiles blasted the crippled Covenant cruiser into oblivion. A cheer went up around the bridge.
"Cortana!" shouted the weapons officer. "The MAC guns are hot! Firing solution on first transport ready."
"Fire now!" ordered the AI. Three tremendously huge MAC rounds shot out of the carrier's guns. The MAC rounds blasted through the transport, blowing a hole in its core. The transport exploded in a burst of plasma energy thirty seconds later.
"Look!" said the Captain. Escape pods, cargo modules, and dropships were launching from the Covenant transport, headed Halo's surface.
"These Covs keep making things harder," commented the Master Chief. "Now we have to go down there and destroy them."
Halo 2: The Forerunner Chronicle Part IV
Date: 01 March 2002, 7:43 pm
The ride down to the planet was short. Knight and his pilots brought the Spartans in about five klicks from a main Cov position. Before they had gone in, the Master Chief had insisted on every Spartan bringing an M90 shotgun, in case they met up with the Flood.
The Master Chief took his Gold team deep into Covenant territory on a Warthog. The jeeps were meant for three, but they managed to squeeze four Spartans in. They pulled up onto a cliff and Gold Team's sniper, Jack, scoped out the base with his rifle. He linked his targeting information to the rest of the squad, so they could see the Cov base. There were three pre-fab buildings already set up. Arrayed around the perimeter at even intervals were sixteen plasma turrets. Two Covenant Wraith tanks patrolled the around the inner area. An electronic energy fence surrounded the fortress. A large number of Ghosts patrolled the area outside the fence, and presumably, judging from the distant whine of their engines, the surrounding area. There was a strip of sixteen Banshees. An Elite stood or sat next to each. For every three pilots, there was a pilot with golden armor, the MC guessed these were flight leaders. A Black armored Elite stood at the first Banshee in the row, probably the leader of the whole group. Hundreds of Grunts and Jackals patrolled the inner and outer perimeters. Mixed in with them was maybe fifty Elites, one out of every six or so had gold, red, or black armor. There was the tell-tale shimmer of some cloaked Elites, through heat scans only showed five. About ten Hunters were on the prowl, staying in groups of two. Four dropships were 'parked' near the Banshees, as well as some of a Covenant hover vehicle that the Chief had never seen before. It seemed to hold three Elites, as there was one patrolling the base. There was a plasma turret on the back, with two seats up front. The Elite riding shotgun had his gun aimed out the window. Two forward plasma cannons could be seen on the front, near the bottom. They seemed to be the Cov equivalent to a 'hog, so John deemed them 'pigs.'
"Chief, orders sir?" asked Jack, "You want me to snipe those gold and black elites? I found some incendiary rounds in the armory. Work real nice. They make a target burst into flames, while nearly tearing off whatever body part they hit."
"No. We're going to head back to camp and get a plan. I'm thinking Longsword attack followed by a ground assault. I'm going to have some Scorpions shipped down from the 'Jersey. That firepower will help against the enemy light and heavy armor, which, as you saw, they have a lot of." It'll be tough taking this base, he didn't add, since he knew that all of Gold team could see that.
It took an hour for all the equipment to be shuttled down from the NJ. Two Scorpions and one Longsword, plus about sixteen Warthogs. This was definitely going to be a full-scale attack. John, Sam, Knight, his brother the Longsword Pilot and the Spartans' best tank operators, a quiet woman named Tina and a small (for a Spartan) man named Stephen, were hunched over a table inside the command tent.
"Okay, here's the plan," said the Master Chief. "First I want Lt. Steve Knight to do a high altitude missile strike, aimed here." He pointed to a spot on the map, right in the center of the Covenant base. "Then I want our sniper teams, which will be placed here, here, here, here, and here, to open fire on Elites, preferably black, gold, and red armored ones, turrets, and Hunters. Then six of the 'hogs will tear into the base through the main gate opening, trying to take the Banshees out before they can get off the ground. Then the tanks will burst through here and here, on different sides of the base, and open up of the enemy mortar tanks. Then the rest of the assault force will rush in to mop up. Is that understood?" The soldiers surrounding the table nodded.
The Master Chief sat in the driver's seat of a Pig, on a cliff overlooking the enemy base. He looked through his binoculars at the camp. It had taken three hours to get everyone in position for the raid. A few Covenant recon parties had been encountered during the process, and a some of the Spartans, including John, had appropriated a few Ghosts and Pig Jeeps. The Pigs had proven to be equal to a Warthog in terms of speed, toughness, and firepower. And they could strafe from side to side, a feature that John had liked about Ghosts. It was time. Right on cue, a Longsword roared across the sky, launching one missile. Its core was a the same high explosive compound found in frag grenades, except only finer and there was more of it. The missile hit right on target, wiping out the three pre-fab buildings. As the Chief had suspected, one supplied power to the whole base, so the plasma fence went down. The turrets however would be powered by independent back-up generators. As soon as the smoke cleared, the snipers opened up fire. There were about ten snipers hidden at various points around the base. The Covs had selected a bad location for their base, one surrounded by hills, forests, and cliffs. Several of the Hunters and Elites burst into flames from incendiary rounds. One had cut Hunter in half completely. The tree trunk-like legs were still standing. The Master Chief put his binoculars down and revved the Pig's throttle. "All teams begin assault!" He launched the Pig off the cliff and into the center of the Covvie base.
His gunner opened fire with the plasma cannon, cutting at the line of Banshees. The Warthogs sped through the main gate, LAAG cannons blazing, cutting down the remaining turret gunners. The Master Chief's passenger, riding shotgun, had opened up with an anti-armor rocket on the Banshees, doing his best to make sure that none got off the ground. He had almost succeeded; only two banshees got off the ground and they were cut down by an M41 LAAG and one of the tank's main cannons. The other tank had moved in and wrecked one of the enemy mortar tanks. A few grenades from a 'hog's shotgun rider had taken care of the other. Still, some thirty Grunts and Jackals were running around, trying to escape the slaughterhouse that their headquarters had become. The Elites were smarter and they sought cover behind rocks, foliage and wreckage. Still, the Spartans' shields held, and no one was seriously injured. The sniper fire continued cutting down the remaining Elites; there was no place they could hide from people like Jack who had the whole base surrounded. Finally the shooting stopped.
"Sniper One's reporting all clear!"
"Sniper Two's clear!" The same reports came from all of the snipers positioned around the former Covenant base. They had won. And without a single loss. But then again, thought the Master Chief, isn't that the Spartan way? One thing was for sure however: there was going to be a lot more fighting, as he had yet to find out who had loosed the Flood.
Halo 2: The Forerunner Chronicle Part V
Date: 02 March 2002, 2:35 am
The Master Chief and ten Spartans walked slowly into the place where they had first met Xarnin and the Forerunner. They weren't sure what they would find, being as the Flood might have been contained in that installation. But, thought the Master Chief, if the previous Halo is as similar to this one as it has proved to be so far, the Flood were probably in a swamp. John motioned for Boomer to place a demolition charge where the hidden door had been. They Spartans stepped out of the room and Boomer blew up the door. They crept in through the wreckage of the door and down the long hallway, searching for signs of the Flood. They found six Forerunner robots guards, ones shaped like Forerunner armor, with Forerunner guns grafted onto their metal frames.
"Halt! You are in a restricted area! Leave now!" said the first guard, which had a red stripe on its arm.
The Master Chief ignored the robot and asked, "Where is Xarnin?"
"Ah, Master Chief, you have discovered our latest creations, the Guardian defense robots," yelled Xarnin who walked out from a door on the left.
"You do know the Flood have been released, don't you?" inquired the Master Chief angrily.
"Yes. We know. They've been contained again, in a fortress in a swampy area. We haven't found out who let them loose yet, but our best people our working on it. We lost Colony 4, in one of the Cold Zones, actually, not to far from the Control Room. And how do you know they've been released? We never told you."
"Some of my Spartans and I found out firsthand. Our scientists were studying the Control Room when the Floodies bursted in. Thanks to one of my demolitions experts and some good flying by some Pelican pilots, we survived. And I suppose you know about the Covs arriving?"
"Yes. Our soldiers have drawn all civilians into impenetrable underground fortress. They'll leave sooner or later."
The Master Chief raised his hand to deck the man, but stopped knowing that such a blow would kill him. "You are an ignorant fool Xarnin. The Covenant won't leave. They don't want humans in control of Halo. Don't you see?"
"Well, then we'll just have to fight them off on our own timetable," answered the scientist.
"No. You'll give me command of your armies so we can eliminate what's left of their forces before they really dig down into their foxholes. We'll kill every last one of those murdering pigs!" John's words spoke into the heart of every Spartan there, as all had lost friends and the Human-Covenant war.
"Very well. We'll provide intelligence, but nothing more. Our armies will be stationed at our main colonies and our science bases that the Flood have been contained in. We can do energy missile strikes if need be. There are several missile bases scattered all over Halo. The missiles produce an explosion that should level a good deal of any Covenant base."
"Okay." the Master Chief pulled a radio off the back of one of his soldiers. "We'll be in touch." He turned on his heel and marched off, followed by his Spartans.
Over the next two days, four raids were conducted on some major Cov positions. The Master Chief had requested additional space reinforcements, since the Covvies would likely return after not hearing from their original taskforce. Still, the 'Jersey could hold her own against several Cov ships for a short time with her new weaponry. There had been no sign of the Flood. The Master Chief was shuttling up to the 'Jersey after mission against a Covvie base, tired and splattered with Covenant blood, the whole rainbow was represented on his sage green armor, with the orange of Hunters, the purple of Elites, and the blue of the Grunts. He was in a shower with his armor on, rinsing off the alien blood when a Junior Lieutenant from the bridge came to fetch him.
"Sir! The Covs have arrived. A small taskforce, one cruiser, two corvettes, and four troop transports, but still a threat. The Captain wants you to bring Cortana to the bridge right now. The Cov cruiser is about three hundred kilometers off and closing fast." Both men sprinted to the bridge.
"Captain Orus," said the Master Chief ominously. He remembered saying almost the same thing to Captain Keyes before going down to the first Halo.
"It's good to see you Master Chief. Please, we need Cortana to help fly the ship. The transports are heading straight for the Halo, our Longswords are harassing them, but so far they've only damaged one, and the rest of them are almost down."
The Master Chief pulled Cortana out of his helmet and inserted her into the slot on the computer interface. She starting handing out orders right away. "Weapons, charge the MAC guns. Give me a solution on the cruiser. Helm, take us through the middle of Halo. I want those Covs right on our tail. Communication, call down to Xarnin and his scientists and tell them to launch missiles at..." she read off a string of coordinates right in the center of the ringworld, "Better yet, see if you can get me command of their missile bases. Recall the Longswords. I want them going after any Seraph fighters that decide to come close." Then she shouted orders over the intercom: "To all soldiers, secure air locks and prepare to repel boarding parties. Spartan teams head to your armory and prepare to supplement Marine defenses. Pelican pilots: prepare your dropships in case of a need to evacuate the 'Jersey." Cortana kept barking out orders, and people kept listening, even though most thought she was kind of bossy,Ţbut the AI knew what she was talking about.
The 'Jersey accelerated towards the center of Halo. "Cortana!" shouted the Comm Officer. "The Forerunner have transferred command of missile stations Alpha through Nu on Halo's surface. The missiles are loaded and ready to fire at your command."
Cortana's hologram nodded. The Master Chief looked at the main view screen. It showed a map of the area, with the Cov cruiser and corvettes on their tail. They passed through the center of Halo, with the Covs closing the distance. About a minute before the Covs passed through the center of the ring, Cortana said, "Firing ground missiles now!" The view switched to a rear camera. It showed about twenty or so flashes on the surface of Halo. The flashes sped towards the Covenant ships. There would be no escape for the cruiser. The two corvettes limped towards Halo's surface. They made it, with only a few moments before the New Jersey could have brought its guns to bear on the smaller ships.
A Junior officer on the bridge voiced what everybody was thinking: "I hate Covs."
John walked into the Spartans' cafeteria. He walked in and pumped his shotgun. Everyone in the room looked up. "I'm going on a volunteer mission to go after a Covenant corvette. If we can find the location of their homeworld, we might be able to wipe the Covvie pigs straight off the face of the universe. There's a catch. I've been informed that the only salvageable corvette crash landed into the Library, where the Floodies have been contained. Only those that want to go have to. If you don't I understand." Every single Spartan raised their hand. This mission definitely wouldn't be a Cov killing mission, since by the time they got there, the Covs were likely to be Flood. And a whole Corvette full of Floodies sporting plasma weapons, which excelled at taking down shields, was not going to be fun, considering the way Flood multiplied. John just had to make sure that none of his Spartans got taken. The Master Chief shuddered at the thought of a Flood with the strength, sight, and speed of a Spartan, combined with the natural strength and dexterity of a Flood warrior. Yep, this wasn't going to be fun. But maybe, just maybe, he could find out who loosed the Flood and find the Cov homeworld, killing two birds with one stone.
Halo 2: The Forerunner Chronicle Part VI
Date: 26 March 2002, 9:00 pm
"Red team, advance twenty meters to that pillar there," ordered the Master Chief. "Blue team, be ready to lay down suppressive fire. Green, advance to the pillar opposite Red team. Gold and Blue we're bringing up the rear." They were down inside the Library, moving towards the crashed Covenant corvette. One Spartan from Blue had ripped an M41 LAAG off of a ╬hog before and was using it as his personal weapon. That LAAG gun would come in handy against whatever they found, Flood or Covenant.
"Red team copies, moving now." Four Spartans sprinted out from cover towards the pillar, shooting at the Floodies that had opened up on them. Blue team opened up with their laser rifles and lone LAAG, laying down suppressive fire to keep the Floods down behind whatever barriers they had been behind. Unfortunately, the Flood weren't to bright. They stayed up and advanced towards Blue team until every single one was riddled with lead or laser burns and lying in a pool of their own awful smelling green blood. Green team then advanced, searching for enemies, but it seemed as if the Flood had been eliminated.
Fifty meters in front of John's position was a large sheet of metal that had been forced downward into the Library. Some purplish-blue Covenant alloy glittered from behind it. "Boomer, toss a satchel charge to get rid of that metal plate. Blue, Red, Green, and Gold teams, advance at my signal. Boomer, blow the charge." There was a huge explosion as the door went up. A rain of debris washed over the Master Chief. "Wait. There's still Cov armor blocking our way. Boomer, get rid of that wall." Another satchel charge was tossed, this one destroying the walls of the Covenant corvette. "All teams advance."
All of the Spartan teams advanced through the large open space towards the corvette. "Crap sir!" said Green leader. "We've got a plasma turret attacking us sir. We're pinned down."
"All teams take cover. Jack," he said to the sniper, while pointing to the area where the plasma was coming from. The sniper nodded. Jack went down prone and rolled out of cover slightly, raising the modified MA5B he was using. The assault rifle was fitted with a scope and a silencer. It shot explosive .50 cal bullets. The gun wasn't as effective on Covs as an SRS99C-S2 AM sniper rifle, but it worked better on Flood and a three round burst still killed Elites. There was a flash from the MA5B and the plasma fire pounding Green team's position stopped.
"I got him sir. Three .50s right through his brain. Another notch to be carved into my gun when we get back to the ╬Jersey." Jack was like a few snipers that the Master Chief had met, keeping track of all the Elites and hunters he had killed since the war started. Which hadn't been many, since the newer Spartans had mostly been protecting Earth.
"Nice shot. Scan the area for more Covenant or Flood positions."
"All clear boss."
"Okay." The Chief waved his hand and said, "All teams get to the corvette." They sprinted across the fifty meters quickly, keeping their sights on the wreckage and maze of pillars around them. When the Spartans got inside the corridors of the Covenant vessel, they found bodies everywhere. There were Covs and Flood dead, all from laser burns. "Fan out. Cortana, direct us to the control room. I want to make sure this ship will not fly, as well as steal their nav data."
"Roger Chief. The bridge is...there." a nav point showed up on the Master Chief's HUD. "First you'll have to travel through the main shuttle bay. Motion sensors are tracking lots of movement in there."
"Okay. All teams move towards the shuttle bay. Permission to neutralize anything that isn't human. I repeat, triggers are free." They sprinted across the cargo bay they were in and moved into the hallways.
"Red Leader here, contact. Four Flood warriors heading towards the shuttle hanger. Wait, they've spotted us. Engaging. All four are dead. The halls are all clear. We are ready to move in."
"Gold Leader copies. Move in a little and check for available cover then report."
"Acknowledged. Red team moving in." The four Spartans moved into the bay. They found Flood and Covenant battling it out. The Covenant had mostly secured the second floor and were keeping the Flood at bay downstairs. Two dropships were docked, but they seemed to be preparing for takeoff. "Red Leader to Gold Leader. Permission to destroy two enemy dropships."
"Granted Red Leader. We're moving in behind you." The rest of the Spartan teams moved into the hanger. They saw a member of Red team shoulder a Jackhammer launcher and blow both Covenant dropships away. That alerted both the Covenant and the Flood that the Spartans were there. A hail of laser and plasma fire hit the cargo crates that the Spartans were hiding behind. "Snipers, kill the Covs on the floor above us!" ordered the Chief. "The rest of you, concentrate firepower on those Flood. Don't let anything, especially the Spore-Carriers get within fifteen feet of our position."
"John!" called Sam over the noise. "Hunters inbound. Four of them. Their fuel rod guns will tear up our cover pretty fast."
"Copy Sam. Snipers! Concentrate on those Hunters. Gold team, prepare to advance to that abandoned Covenant position twenty feet to your left. Blue team, lay down suppressive fire." The abandoned Cov position was a few cargo crates overturned in a semi-circle around the corner, with a few portable energy shields on top of the crates. A plasma turret sat nestled behind it all. "Now!" Gold team jumped out from cover and sprinted across the hanger floor. Blue team stood up and let loose a heavy barrage of laser bolts, bullets, and grenades, keeping anyone with half a brain down behind cover.
Gold Two hopped into the Shade gun and let loose a barrage of fire towards the upper floor. "Clear!" shouted Jack.
The other squads acknowledged Jack's statement. "Gold Leader to all squads. Advance towards that nav point." All the teams advanced, putting down any Flood that had gotten back up. They made it to the bridge and found it completely empty. John motioned to the other Spartans to secured the perimeter. Then he walked up the ramp into the main control area.
"Master Chief, if you put me into that computer, I can slice into their files and steal this ship's nav data," said Cortana. The Chief pulled her out of his helmet and inserted her into the holographic panel. He didn't know exactly how, but the memory card disappeared and Cortana's hologram popped up "I need thirty seconds Chief...there, it's done. The Covenant homeworld has been located. Wait a moment, what's this?" Cortana looked around frantically. "Chief, we've got to get out of here now. Trust me on this one." He yanked her out of the computer and put the chip into his helmet.
Suddenly, there was a massive tearing sound from behind them. The Chief turned and looked. The wall had been torn to shreds. In its place stood two huge robots, thirty Guardians, and in front of them all floated a familiar orb. "342 Guilty Spark."
"Reclaimer." That put John on guard. Only 343 Guilty Spark had called him that. "I must inform you that I am no longer 342. I am 343. After Installation 4's destruction, I was left floating off in space. My energy charge was running out, so I used a long-range transmitter to transport my mind into 342's body. See, what I accomplished on Installation 4 made me think. I nearly took control of the galaxy. My goal has not been accomplished. The Flood still live, as well as humans, the Covenant, and the Forerunner."
"He must have had his circuits blown during the explosion," whispered Cortana. "We've got to get the Index. I think his programing has been altered. The Monitor will kill us all. He wants the galaxy under his fist. I don't understand why, as Halo would wipe the galaxy clean of life, but the ionization caused by a blast of that magnitude can do a lot of damage to a machine. I've seen it happen to AIs before. Let's get out of here now!"
"All squads pull back! We're getting out of here! Cortana, get us to a Covenant dropship!"
"Okay Chief. Dropship located." A nav point appeared on the Chief's HUD.
"Let the Forerunner bots have it Spartans!" A heavy barrage of fire lit up the room as the Spartans pulled back. They made it to the dropship without incident and slagged the walls with the dropship's cannon. They pulled out of the Covenant corvette.
"Cortana locate the Index. The Monitor must not have it."
"Got it Chief. We've got a large volume of fire coming at us from Covenant, Flood, and Forerunner robots. This crate won't hold together."
The Chief nodded. Then he flicked the intercom. "All Spartans buckle up. I'm opening troop bay doors so you can fire on the hostile forces below. Cortana, fly us to the Index. I'm going down to the gunwale." The Chief climbed out of his chair and down into the gunwale on the bottom of the cockpit. There were Flood warriors fighting a few Covenant Elites and Hunters. A few Sentinels hovered over the scene, not doing anything. John aimed and fired some bursts of plasma into the Hunters' unarmed backs, killing them. He kept his fingers tightened on the trigger, blowing the crap out of the Floods and Covs.
They got to the Index Chamber. "Cortana, can you get that shield down?"
"Certainly Master Chief." She paused for about twenty seconds and the shield surrounding the Index vanished.
"Whoever's closest to that green thing, grab it!" A Spartan pulled the Index into the dropship and put it in his back compartment.
"Good work team Spartans. We're heading out."
"Doesn't look like much," mused Captain Orus. The Captain, John, Chief, Mendez, and Dr. James stood around a table, looking at the Index.
"It has unimaginable power. I want it under the guard of a full platoon of Marines twenty-four-seven," ordered the Master Chief. "My Spartans and I are going after Guilty Spark."
"Impossible! If the explosion of Installation 4 didn't destroy him, nothing will!" said Dr. James, looking at the Master Chief's face with a look of disgust. Fortunately, Dr. James could not see the look the Master Chief was giving him.
"I'll kill the Monitor with my bare hands if I have to." The Chief picked his worn M90 shotgun up of the table, then looked at everyone in the room. "That robot made me kill hundreds of UNSC comrades." He walked out, steel boots clanking on the metal deck.