halo.bungie.org

They're Random, Baby!

Fan Fiction

Halo 2: The Wraiths by Wiley Kimball



Halo 2: The Wraiths chapter one; and so it begins
Date: 27 April 2003, 1:07 AM

Dramatis Personae

      The Wraiths

Com. Oni Yazuka, AKA the "Ghost's Shadow"

Sgt. Sergey Arkadeyevich, AKA "Sergey the Devil"

Sgt. Louis Loiselle, AKA "Louie"

Major Dieter Weber, AKA "Rifle One"

Sgt Homer Johnson, AKA "Rifle Two"

Corporal Tim Noonan

Master Chief Petty Officer Julio Vega, AKA "Oso", AKA "Big Man"

Lieutenant Eddie Price, AKA "Rocket Man"

Flight Officer Dan Malloy, AKA, "Vulture"


      Crew of the UNSC Bonhomme Richard


Admiral Kevin Mangles



      Crew of the CCS Lucifer

Ship Master 'Loki Lukamme












Chapter one; And so it begins…
Time unknown, September 25, 2552(military calendar)/UNSC battle cruiser Bonhomme Richard, location: en rout to Threshold system


      Admiral Kevin Mangles entered the bridge of the UNSC Bonhomme Richard, looked out the main view port at the nauseating green of Slipspace, and sighed. It had been one week since the fall of Reach, and things were looking grim. There had been no contact from any of the ships that had escaped Reach so far, especially the Pillar of Autumn; which carried the only known Spartan super-soldiers. The Bonhomme Richard had been given the task of finding that ship, as Humanity's fate could very well lie on that ship and her cargo.

      The Bonhomme Richard was one of the most powerful ships in the fleet. Well over three kilometers long, it was the first true Human-Covenant hybrid. Equipped with tri-MAC guns, shields, a totally new reactor system, and even an experimental plasma torpedo system, in addition to the standard Archer missile pods and 50mm autocannons. She was also equipped with four SHIVA nuke tubes: two in the bow and two in the stern.

      However, this was almost nothing compared to what she carried; a group of soldiers only rivaled by the Spartans themselves. Composed of the best soldiers available, this team of crack-commandos was specially trained in teamwork, stealth tactics, and marksmanship. They were, for lack of a better word, perfect. Their Commander, Oni Yazuka, was one of the bravest men in the UNSC. Trained specifically in stealth action, he is often referred to as the "Ghost's Shadow." The number two man in the unit, Sergey Arkadeyevich, was so ferocious in close combat that he is often called "Sergey the Devil," and was eve rumored to haven taken down a Hunter with his K-Bar combat knife. The Russian taught the team every aspect of close combat he could, but none of them were really his equal. The next man was Louis Loiselle. Quick as a fox, he was the team's forward scout. The Frenchman was also known to be an extremely good shot with his modified MA5B assault rifle. Next came the unit's long-riflemen, Dieter and Homer. Both were near perfect shots, and regularly competed against one another for the top spot. The next man on the roster was the group's tech expert, Timothy Noonan. Skilled in using and maintaining just about every piece of electronical equipment in the galaxy, he was responsible for both making sure every uber-cool gadget the unit owned was in working order as well as using some of those devices in the field. He was also a bit of an artist with his p-343 submachine gun. There is also Julio "Oso" Vega, the heavy support man. He was responsible for laying the smack down on the Covenant troops with his man-portable M-41 12.7mm chaingun, usually when all hell broke loose and stealth was out of the question. By far the strongest man on the team, he is also one of the toughest, haven once taken four plasma shots to assorted parts of his body, yet still managing to complete the mission and make it back alive. Also on the team is Eddie Price, the explosives specialist. Expert with grenades, mines rocket launchers and various other things that go boom, he, like Oso, usually only provides fire support when stealth is not a factor. Finally, there is the pilot who helps make the whole team possible; Daniel Malloy. One of the best dropship pilots in the UNSC, he excelles n nap-of-the-earth flying as well as the use of his ship's 70mm autocannons. His ship, a heavily modified version of the Pelican, is equipped with the latest in thermoptic camouflage, which masks both the visual and thermal signatures of the ship. It is also equipped with scanner jamming and a noise-reduction system for its engine, making it one of the hardest things to track in the UNSC's arsenal.

      Together, these nine men make up an elite team of men. They strike out of the blue, and when they do, may God have mercy on the poor Covies who will soon know no more. Their MO: swiftly, silently, invisibly. They call themselves: The Wraiths.


      However, there was one ship poised, although unknowingly, to oppose the Richard, that ship was the CCS Lucifer. It was also sent to find out what had happened to the ship that had escaped Reach, and was sent on a course with the Covenant's most holy relic, Halo. They were also sent there to find out why there had been no transmissions coming from that system in the last unit. The ship's commander was the relatively new Ship Master 'Loki Lukamme. The gold-armored Elite stood on his command deck, fiddling with his plasma swords, eventually using it to draw a set of Forerunner symbols in the air with the blades.
Lukamme, however, was not entirely happy with his command position; he preferred to fight on solid ground, plasma swords in hand, than to command the battle from the relative safety of the bridge. However, insubordination meant certain death, and he wasn't about to argue with a Prophet, so he accepted the promotion and departed for the Threshold system, not knowing that he would play a very important role in the days, weeks, and even months to come.


To be continued…



Halo 2: The Wraiths part two: New Friends
Date: 13 May 2003, 7:58 PM

HALO 2: The Wraiths chapter 2; New Friends




Dramatis Personae

      The Wraiths

Com. Oni Yazuka, AKA the "Ghost's Shadow"

Sgt. Sergey Arkadeyevich, AKA "Sergey the Devil"

Sgt. Louis Loiselle, AKA "Louie"

Major Dieter Weber, AKA "Rifle One"

Sgt Homer Johnson, AKA "Rifle Two"

Corporal Tim Noonan

Master Chief Petty Officer Julio Vega, AKA "Oso"

Lieutenant Eddie Price, AKA "Rocket Man"

Flight Officer Dan Malloy, AKA, "Vulture"


      Crew of the UNSC Bonhomme Richard


Admiral Kevin Mangles

Ships AI, Alexander


      Crew of the CCS Lucifer

Ship Master Loki 'Lukamme

'Lukamme's bodyguard,Isao 'Namoree


      Other UNSC personnel

Master Chief Petty Officer John-117

AI Cortana.




Location: UNSC Longsword fighter, Threshold system
(Master Chief mission clock: +77 hours, 34 minuets.)




      "Halo, it's finished," Cortana said
       "No, I think we're just getting started," Replied the Master Chief in his deep, calm voice, while removing the helmet of his MOJLNIR battle suit, now battle-scarred and flecked with bits of Flood meat. He pulled out his M90 Shotgun; now one of his favorite weapons, and set it next to him, well within reach if he had any unwelcome passengers on his Longsword interceptor.
"Cortana, what is the nearest known human ship, you know I would very much not like to spend the whole trip to Earth in this rather small space, don't you?"
      "Scanning, the nearest known human ship to our current location is the UNSC Grey Wolf, however," Cortana stated, "At this speed it will take five days at least to come within hailing distance." "Oh and one more thing," She added as an afterthought, "Would you mind taking me out of your helmet? There should be an AI slot somewhere on this ship."
      "All right, then." He moved to the helmet, removed the blue AI chip, and slipped it into the slot on the instrument panel. Cortana's image, that of a young woman in her mid twenty's, appeared over a small consol.
      " Much better," She commented.
      "If you don't mind, I would like to catch up on some sleep," said the Master Chief.
      "Of course not, you've earned it," She said. "I'm just going to analyze some data I found in the Core, I think it might be useful."
      "Go ahead." And with that he sank into the pilot's seat, and fell asleep within five minuets.

~

      Meanwhile, on the bridge of the UNSC Bonhomme Richard, Admiral Kevin Mangles, a young, physically fit man of thirty, was busy preparing himself for a possible fight with Covenant forces in the target system.
      "Alexander," as the ships AI was known," Power up all offensive and defensive systems, I want them fully charged by the time we are ready to exit Subspace."
      "Already on it, Sir," replied the AI. Modeled after Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Alexander's image was that of a young man wearing a gold armor suit. A brilliant tactician, Alexander had been programmed with multiple answers to just about every strategic scenario, and was a worthy AI of the Bonhomme Richard.
      "Good, and while you're at it, give everyone a wake-up call," commanded the Admiral.
      "Of course, Sir," was the AI's response.
      Five minuets later in the Wraiths private cryo-bay, the elite troopers were busy thawing out and suiting up in their black Nomex body suits, also known as "ninja suits". They had their orders: be ready for anything, and they would be. After they were suited up, they moved to the private armory and equipment room, where they loaded up on their specialized weaponry, which included the SC1 tactical pistol: a .50 caliber 7-shot pistol with integrated silencer and mounts for several different specialized items, including laser mics, scopes, and laser sights.
      Another piece of weaponry the Wraiths used was the MA5C battle rifle, further augmented for their needs with a silencer and a mount for a multipurpose launcher which could be used to launch several different pieces of hardware: grenades, gas grenades, sticky cameras, flashbangs, sticky shockers, even a grappling hook. The Battle Rifle was a slower firing, more accurate, and lighter version of the MA5B assault rifle. It fired 9.5mmx40 AP ammunition, held in 70-shot clips, and was of bullpup design, which meant the ammo feed was to the rear of the trigger, which allowed for a longer barrel, but in a shorter gun.
      The next set of weapons that every trooper carried was the grenade; from standard frag grenades, to nonlethal flashbangs, to sneaky remote-detonation grenades. Also, Tim Noonan, the tech specialist, utilized special issue grenades, namely the EM pulse grenade, which was used to disrupt Covenant electrical systems.
      The team was also outfitted with the P-343 submachine pistol; a relatively compact weapon with a high fire rate, but poor accuracy. Perfect for swarm clearing, the SMP had a 40-shot clip of 5.5-mmx99 AP ammunition.
      Julio Vega, the team's fire support man, was equipped with a M-41B heavy chain gun, a portable version of the one on the M12 LRV "Warthog". It was shorter, lighter, and was fed from a 1700-shot pack that was strapped on the user's back. It had a very high fire rate, and was more accurate than the standard M-41.
      The two snipers, Dieter and Johnson, equipped their S-2 sniper rifles. It fired a 14.7mm anti material bullet that could pierce several armored soldiers before stopping. The rifles also had several different barrel lengths, all of them equipped with silencers. The snipers equipped the shortest barrel they had, since they expected to have to board a Covenant ship.
      Another thing every trooper carried was a close-combat weapon of some kind; from Yazuka's samurai katana to simple combat knives, they were the most silent weapons the men had, and stealth was usually key in their missions.
      The next thing the troopers did was get their specialized equipment: night/thermal vision goggles, wireless motion sensors, fiber optic cables, which hooked up to their OPSAT, or Operational Satellite Uplink, a thousand- credit PDA strapped on their wrist which held info, objectives, and served as a view screen for their camera equipment. They also loaded up on flares, wall mines, first-aid kits, lock-decrypters, and even tranquilizer-dart guns. Then they moved to the Pelican, and waited.

~
      "Exiting Slipspace now, Excellency." The Grunt standing next to Loki 'Lukamme said.
      "Good, bring the Construct on-screen," said Loki.
      The screen appeared, seemingly out of thin air, and showed what was left of Halo; a cloud of gas, dust, and a few pieces. "Damn it!" He roared, and spun around, slinging his activated plasma sword, catching a Grunt and pinning it to the wall. The rest of the bridge crew stared. " What are you looking at? Scan the area; I want to know if anyone is still alive."
      "Scanning, Excellency, I'm detecting one Human fighter, type 2," replied the Grunt at the scanning station.
      "What is it carrying?" Loki inquired.
      "One Human and one AI, Excellency."
      "Vaporize it," commanded the Ship Master, walking over and retrieving his sword. Now what am I going to do?Thought 'Lukamme.The Prophets will have my head, even though I did not cause this.

~

      "Chief, wake up! Covenant!" Yelled Cortana.
      The Chief woke with a start, instinctively grabbed his Shotgun, pumped it, and swept the cockpit.
      "Where are they?" He asked.
      "9 'o clock, about 20 kilometers, they're powering up weapons." Replied Cortana.
      The Chief was readying the weapons systems, ready to go down fighting, when the Bonhomme Richard appeared 'above' his Longsword, and immediately hailed him.
"This is the UNSC Bonhomme Richard to unidentified Longsword, with whom am I speaking?" The voice on the comm asked.
      "This is Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, formerly stationed on the Pillar of Autumn, nice timing.
      "Copy that, Master Chief, it's good to hear from you. You are cleared to dock in landing bay 1A, and make it quick; we're going to have a fight on our hands." Came the voice on the comm.
      The Master Chief quickly accelerated the Longsword and brought it around to the port side of the immense ship. In seconds he was in the docking bay. "We're safe, for now." He announced to Cortana
      "I sure hope so." She replied.

~

      "Excellency, reading one Human ship, unknown class, it has recovered the fighter and is turning to attack us." Informed the Grunt at the sensor station.
      "Power up all weapons and shield systems, blow the Humans to pieces." 'Lukamme said to the weapons officer.
      " Yes, commander," replied the Elite at the weapons station.
~

      "Alexander, give me a firing solution on the target's bridge area." Said Mangles.
      "For plasma torpedoes or MAC guns?" Alexander responded.
      "Both."
      "Yes, Sir." Alexander barked. "Solution plotted, weapons read as fully charged, ready to fire on your command," he informed.
      "Fire plasma torpedoes on my mark. Three… two… one…mark!" He yelled.
      There was a pause, and then the whole ship shook as the plasma torpedoes malfunctioned, and then shut down. "What happened?" The Admiral asked.
      "Sir, plasma torpedo cooling system overheated, system is shot," Alexander said.
      "Great, just great." Kevin commented. "Fire MAC guns on my signal."
      "Sir," Alexander interrupted, "Covenant ship has launched plasma torpedoes. Beginning evasive maneuvers.
      The ship rolled and dove hard to starboard, launching missiles to try and intercept the torpedoes. Two succeeded, but there were still three torpedoes with a good lock, and they were closing fast. "Sir, I'm going to try something I think just might work." The AI said.
      "Go ahead," the Admiral said.
      The ship suddenly turned around, heading straight for the torpedoes.
      "Bringing forward shields up to full, brace for impact
      "Yo, this is loco!" Burst out one of the bridge members
      Nobody challenged him, as they were all most likely thinking the same thing. The torpedoes struck the forward shields, and, strangely, bounced off in random directions, and were immediately shot down by missiles or guns.
      "Excellent maneuver, Alexander. Now, let's finish this," ADM Mangles said.

~

      "Bring us around behind the Humans and fire again. Kill them this time." Loki commanded. This Ship Master knows what he is doing, that was an excellent move. Let's not let it happen again. He thought. Still, what am I going to do about the loss of Halo? The Prophets are not forgiving. Even killing this Human ship, with our stolen technology built in, the Prophets will still kill me, they always need someone to blame, and I'm pretty sure it wont be the Humans… Then it dawned on him. "Disregard that last order, bring us ten units from the Human ship, and put me thru to their Ship Master." He ordered.
      "Excellency?" One of the Elites questioned.
      "You heard me, do it!" He barked.
      "Yes, Excellency, as you wish." Said the Elite.

~

      "Sir, Covenant ship is pulling away." The sensor officer said in alarm.
      "What? Why?" The commander asked. What's he up to? He thought.
      "Sir, incoming transmission from Covenant ship.' Shouted the comm officer.
      "Put him on." Instructed the Admiral.
      "Attention, Humans, I request that you power down your weapons and stop your attack." Came the deep voice on the comm, that of Loki 'Lukamme.
      "Why?" Responded Mangles.
      There was a momentary pause, and then: "Because I wish to form an alliance."
      Everyone on both bridges stood in shocked silence. Suddenly, there was a commotion on the Covenant ship as an Elite tried to stop 'Lukamme. There was a blue-and-white blur, and in one swift motion 'Lukamme's white-armored bodyguard, Isao 'Namoree, sliced the rebeller in half with his plasma sword.
      "Thank you, Isao." Said 'Lukamme
      "Anytime, Excellency." He replied.
      "Now, Human, do you accept my offer?" Loki asked.
      "Of course, we are powering down now." Said the still-stunned Mangles.
      Just then, The CCS Lucifer received the transmission that the Covenant had wanted to receive for so long: that the location of Earth was finally ascertained, and to head there immediately. Loki saw this, and decided to inform his newfound allies.
      "While we should have an on-board meeting, I have just received word that the Covenant has learned the location of your home-world, Earth. I suggest that we depart for the system now, if we wish to save your species." He said.
      "Well, then, it has finally begun; The Battle for Earth. All right, then, Alexander," He said.
      "Yes, Sir?"
      "Plot a new course: Earth."
      "I've already started." He replied.




To be continued…



Halo 2: The Wraiths Chapter Three(Section one of three) Reunion
Date: 10 June 2004, 12:37 AM

Halo 2 Part 3 (Section one of three): Reunion

Dramatis Personae

The Wraiths

Com. Oni Yazuka, AKA the "Ghost's Shadow"
Sgt. Sergey Arkadeyevich, AKA "Sergey the Devil"
Sgt. Louis Loiselle, AKA "Louie"
Major Dieter Weber, AKA "Rifle One"
Sgt Homer Johnston, AKA "Rifle Two"
Corporal Tim Noonan
Master Chief Petty Officer Julio Vega, AKA "Oso"
Lieutenant Eddie Price, AKA "Rocket Man"
Flight Officer Dan Malloy, AKA, "Vulture"
      Crew of the UNSC Bonhomme Richard
Admiral Kevin Mangles
Ships AI, Alexander
      Crew of the CCS Lucifer
Ship Master Loki 'Lukamme
Isao 'Namoree
      Other UNSC personnel
Master Chief Petty Officer John-117
A.I. Cortana.




~note~
~Disclaimer~ All characters from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six are property of Jack Ryan Industries, 1998. ~End Disclaimer~ So, as always; read and enjoy! Constructive criticism is appreciated.
And now, without further ado: Halo 2: The Wraiths Part One (of three): Reunion
~End note~


      "So, should we get out of this ship?" Asked the Master Chief.
      "Sure, why not." Replied Cortana. Without waiting any longer, Master Chief Picked up his helmet, gun, and A.I. construct and walked out into the Bonhomme Richard's hanger bay. It was alive with activity. He looked at the entrance, and saw it was closed, indicating that the ship was in Slipspace. He then looked around the hanger bay. Dagger fighters were being un-armed, and un-manned, meaning of course that the fight was over. Hold on,He thought, that was way too fast. Something's going on here. He put on his helmet, and inserted Cortana into the appropriate shot.
      "Cortana, what's going on here?"
      "I don't know, Chief. I'm sure the Admiral will explain everything. We should get to the bridge.'
      'Affirmative...but where is the bridge. I've never seen a ship like this. Could you download a schematic?"
      "I would, If I could find one." was Cortana's answer after a few seconds. "This ship's got some of the best anti-hacking equipment I've ever seen."
      "I guess we'll have to ask someone then." He took one last look around the hanger bay, and then saw something that caught his eye: a jet-black Pelican dropship. He then took a look at the men exiting it: Dressed in jet-black, like the Pelican, and well armed. He knew instantly that they were Spec-ops, though he had never seen anyone quite like them. He was deciding whether he should ask them the direction to the bridge when a Marine interrupted his thoughts.
"Master Chief, sir!"He said with an obviously British accent. "You're required on the bridge ASAP. I'll show you the way."
"Lead on" He replied. Master Chief followed the Marine through what seemed like miles of corridors before he found himself in front of a doorway that had "bridge" above it.
"The Admiral's waiting for you, sir." He said. The Chief gave him a polite nod, and entered the bridge.
      The bridge was fairly large, with a main level, and a smaller, raised platform in the center. The lower level was made up of crew posts, while the upper level contained the command chair, or the 'Hot Seat" as it was often referred to. Sitting in the command chair, doing something with the command console, was Admiral Kevin Mangles.
      "Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 reporting as ordered, Sir!" He announced. With than statement, many of the bridge crew turned to look as the Spartan, who was a very strange and intimidating sight, and many of the crew thought he was as alien as many of the Covenant.
      Admiral Mangles stood and faced the Chief. "At ease, soldier." He said, and returned the Chief's salute. "Welcome back from the dead, Chief, it's good to see you. FLEETCOMs been turning up every stone in the galaxy looking for you and the Pillar of Autumn. We were sent on her last Slipspace vector from REACH..." The Chief cut him off before he could finish;
      "Admiral, sir, what happened to REACH, my Spartans were down there, last thing I saw of REACH was a burning world..." The Admiral cut him off in return.
      "Chief, this may come as a blow, but REACH completely is gone. The Covenant burned it to ashes. There were very few survivors, one of which you might be familiar with. Alexander!" He snapped.
       Alexander turned around and looked up at him, "Sir?"
      "Send the good Doctor in, if you would."
      "Aye, sir."
       A pair of doors on the side of the bridge opened, and out stepped a gray haired woman in a white lab coat. She had a cast on one arm, and a scar on her face, which looked recently healed, but the cold blue eyes were the same.
      "Dr. Halsey, you made it off of REACH." John said. He felt something surge in his stomach, and suddenly felt less burdened.
       "Indeed I did, John. And I must say, it is a pleasure to see you alive." Dr. Halsey gave a rare smile.
      "Well, now that we're all reunited, back to business." Mangles said. "Chief, I want to know everything that happened since you left REACH almost three weeks ago. Where is the Pillar of Autumn, and what was that wreckage we saw when we picked you up?" Mangles asked.
      "It's a long story sir." Was the Chiefs reply.
      "Alexander, ETA to Sol?"
      "Fourteen hours, sir."
      "It seems we have plenty of time, then. Now, if you would, tell your tale."
      And the Master Chief proceeded to tell the Admiral what had happened. He started with the space battle above Halo, and how they had crash-landed on the ring. He told them the events on the Truth and Reconciliation, of the slaughter at the Silent Cartographer, and of how he fought to Halo's Control Room. He then reached the Flood and the horrors in the swamp facility, and of the ancient A.I., 343 Guilty Spark. He told of his seemingly endless fight to get to the Index, and of the two betrayals, how he had almost wiped out the galaxy, and of his efforts against Guilty Spark. When he told of the fate of Capt. Keyes, Admiral Mangles seemed to whisper a small prayer. He finally finished his story with how he had destroyed Halo, the Flood, and escaped the nuclear hellfire that ensued. When he was finished, he stood in silence as the Admiral sat and thought for several minutes, and finally he stood up and looked the Chief in the eye, which was extremely hard to do due to both his size, and the reflective visor on his helmet.
      "Chief, if that came from anyone other than you, I woulda said 'Bullshit', but I trust you. It's sad news to learn of Captain Keyes' and the Pillar's fate.
However, I have some good news to deliver: That Covenant cruiser that damn near vaporized you? It's now on our side." He paused and let that sink in
      "He defected? Why?" The Chief wondered aloud.
      "I'm not sure, but judging from how you say the Covenant worshipped this 'Halo', I would bet that the Covenant leadership will be putting heads on spikes when they find out. Looks like our Elite friend didn't want to die just yet."
      "Seems the Covenant take after ONI in at least one way," Cortana remarked. She had been oddly silent up until now.
      "Unfortunately, Chief, with all good news comes bad news. I'll keep it short and sweet; The Covenant has found Earth. We don't know how, but they found it. According to our new comrades, a large fleet will assemble in the Delta Serpentis system, and then make the jump to Earth. We estimate this will take about three days, giving us time to warn HighCom, and hopefully prepare a defense. I can only hope we do not fail." With that statement, Admiral Mangles sat in the command chair, pulled a bottle of Scotch and several tumblers from under the command console. "I suppose I can't interest either of you in sharing a drink with me?" He said. When he looked at Dr. Halsey's expression, he could tell that the last thing she wanted was a drink. "I suppose not," he said, a hint of disappointment in his voice.
      "I'll take one though," said a voice behind John. He turned around, and looked at who had said that.
      He wasn't the tallest man, standing at 5'7", but he had an aura of power about him. His black hair was cut short, with some gray at the temples. He wore a black body suit, with a vest over it. From his right hip, holstered almost cowboy-style, was a large pistol, and he had a single fragmentation grenade hanging from his belt. He had a vision enhancement headset resting on his forehead, and bore a large, hearty smile offset by his cold, green eyes. Eight other men were standing behind him.
      "Yazuka, you old drunk!" Mangles said. "Master Chief, I'd like to introduce to you Commander Oni Yazuka, stealth expert and former head of the commando school on REACH, currently leader of the 112th squad of ONI's Section One special forces."
       The Commander offered his hand to the Chief, instead of the customary salute. The Chief shook his hand and was surprised by the small man's relatively strong grip. "It's a pleasure to meet you Master Chief." He said.
      "Likewise, Commander."
      "First off, Chief, No titles. They make my skin crawl. Just call me Shadow, everybody else does."
      "Yes, Si- Shadow." He replied, feeling rather awkward.
      "Second, let me introduce you to my partners in crime, First up is my XO, Sgt. Sergey Arkadeyevich, close combat extraordinaire. He likes to get up-close and personal. Even I wont piss him off." With that, the tall Russian man cracked a slight grin. He stood 6' even, and weighed close to 200 pounds. He had close-cut dark hair, and cold brown eyes. He wore his pistol in the same fashion and Yazuka, but also had a large sheathed combat knife on the back of his belt.
      "Second is Sgt. Louis Loiselle. He functions as our forward scout, and sees everything." The Sergeant Shook the Chief's hand. He stood 5'9", and was lightly built. He had warm blue eyes, and his blonde hair, which was way beyond regulation length, was tied back in a ponytail. He had a bandolier bristling with shotgun shells, and had a modified M90 shotgun, with a collapsible stock, slung over his back.
      "Next in line," he continued, "Is Lieutenant Eddie Price, who is our demolitions whiz, and generally enjoys blowing shit up." He was relatively tall, at 6'3", and was well built, which came from hauling satchel charges, grenades, and Jackhammer launchers, often at the same time. He had dark brown eyes, a hard demeanor, and even sported a moustache.
      "We also have our heavy support man, Master Chief Petty Officer Julio Vega, also known as "Oso". I believe the name speaks for itself," the Commander remarked. It was true; Vega was almost seven feet tall, and built like a truck. He looked almost like a Spartan, and could probably pass for one if he needed to. The Latino man had a warm aura, evident by his smile. His black eyes, however, revealed something deeper. Buried in the bulk of his physical body was actually a kind soul, who only fought because he knew it was absolutely necessary to the survival of his friends, his religion, and his species.
      "We also have our local techno-weenie, Timothy Noonan." The leader said with a laugh.
      "I resent that, I'm a techno-nerd. Weenies don't get married," and he raised a fist, showing his wedding band.
      "Alright, what ever you say."
      For a tech, he was surprisingly well built, most likely from training. He was still the shortest member, at 5'5", and weighed in at only 130lbs. He was fast, though, and could almost outrun Loiselle. A submachine gun rested in his hip holster, and he had a large data-pad in a pouch on his opposite hip.
      "And these are our two snipers, Dieter Weber and Homer Johnson. They're both better shots then anybody else on the team, and continually like to show off to drive the point home. They're also competing with each other constantly, keeping track of shots fired, and number of kills each mission, and comparing their data after the mission. Whoever loses has to buy the other's drinks until they win again. I think currently, Homer, you're on a losing streak?"
      The American descendent hung his head, and shot Dieter a glowering look "Unfortunately, yes. I was hoping we could try again on board that Covenant ship, but it looks like I'll be broke for another day at least." The American sniper was built like most snipers the Chief had met: moderately tall, and fairly skinny. Johnson clocked in at 6'1", and weighed 146lbs. His hair was buzz-cut, and he wore a black bandanna over his head. Weber, however, was the opposite. Tall and heavy, he stood at 6'4", and weighed 198lbs. His blonde hair was tied back like Loiselle's, but the Aryan man's hair wasn't as long. He had a piercing blue stare, looking remarkably like a bird of prey when his gaze was focused on a target. He looked like he might even be able to out-stare Linda, the Spartans best sniper. When the Chief thought this, he immediately felt a pang of sorrow, thinking about the last time he had seen her, charred and battered, nearly three weeks ago. He wondered if she had somehow escaped Halo.
      "Last, but not least, is our pilot, Flight Officer Dan Malloy, with the call-sign of 'Vulture'. I must say, he's one hell of a pilot. Don't know how many times he's saved our collective sorry asses." Shadow remarked.
       The Flight Officer gave a hearty laugh. "Yup, that sounds like me. Don't know how often I have to save you ground-pounders from a horrible death. It begins to get old very quickly, kind of like your wife, Noonan..." He backed away as Noonan tried to slug him.
      "Remember who has the access codes to your Pelican, Malloy." Noonan said threateningly.
      "Alright, don't get your panties in a bunch!"
      The Flight Officer was built like Arkadeyevich, although not as heavy. He had warm brown eyes, and his hair was just over regulation, and he would tuck it back behind his ears when he wore his helmet. He had on a special-issue black flight suit, with the same vest and "rigging" as the rest of the team's uniforms, except instead of one of the large pistols on his hip, he had two M6D's in shoulder holsters. His helmet was tucked under his left arm, and the pilot had an orange in his other hand, tossing it up and down like a grenade.
      "Well, as you can see, this is my squad. We like to call ourselves the Wraiths." Yazuka said.
      "Well then, Master Chief," Admiral Mangles finally said, "now we need to figure out what to do with you until we get to Sol, and what to do once we get there. I originally had orders from one Colonel Ackerson that you were to report to the brig and be detained if you were found pending your return. Obviously, this is a bunch of horseshit, and since I neither like the Colonel, nor give a damn about his orders, and the fact that I outrank him considerably, I am overriding those orders. You are free to do as you please, and I believe that the Wraiths have a few empty bunks in their quarters they would share with you. I'm ordering you to get at least six hours of sleep. No interruptions whatsoever. The mess hall is on level eight, and you'll find the shooting range on level seven. From your story, and your record, I doubt you'll need much practice, although the Wraiths have finished field-testing some new weapons, and you might want to familiarize yourself with them. Other than that, you are free to do what you please until we make it to Sol. Dismissed."
      "Aye, Sir." The Chief said, and turned on his heel to face the 112th, whom he thought were the oddest Special Forces unit he had ever seen. Unlike most ONI units, these troopers were laid-back, but looked deadly nonetheless.
      "Master Chief, if you're looking for digs, you can follow us. Were heading back right now." And with that, the Master Chief followed them through even more corridors, finally reaching a spacious berthing. He slowly began the work of removing his MJOLNIR armor, set it beside his bed, and slipped Cortana's cube into a slot next to his bed. She popped up seconds later, and immediately sat cross-legged, poring over mountains of data, both from Halo and the Bonhomme Richard. The Chief placed the shotgun, which was slung over his shoulder, against the wall, unloaded his M6D pistol, and placed it in a small table next to his bed. Then he collapsed in his bed, and fell asleep within two minutes.



The Wraiths Chapter 3 (Part two of three) Tour
Date: 21 July 2004, 7:18 PM

Halo 2; The Wraiths Chapter 3(part two of three) Tour



0830, September 22, 2552/Military Calendar
/UNSC Bonhomme Richard/Slipspace/En route to Sol

       The Master Chief woke up eight hours later, feeling very refreshed. He looked over at Cortana, who was sitting in the exact same position she was when he fell asleep. He let her be, put on a set of fatigues, loaded his pistol, and strapped the holster to his belt. He then made the long journey to the mess hall, ate a large plate of something that looked and tasted vaguely like scrambled eggs, and proceeded to deck seven, to find the shooting range. When he arrived, the Wraiths were shooting at various targets in the long, narrow room. Behind them lay a table piled high with weapons: rifles, pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, grenades, even what looked like a M-41 chaingun. Oni Yazuka stopped shooting when the Chief walked in, and strode up to the table the Master Chief was now standing at.
      "As you can see, Chief, we have a few new weapons to introduce you to. We finished field-testing shortly before REACH fell, and now these weapons are being issued widespread." Yazuka stopped, and picked up a Battle Rifle. To the Chief, it looked similar to the old MA2B rifle, albeit with a longer barrel. "This is the MA5C Battle Rifle. 9.5mmx40 ammunition stored in thirty-five-shot clips, although we have double capacity ones at our disposal. Unfortunately, they're quite large and can get in the way, especially if you have to move fast. The rifles are extremely versatile, and pack a mean punch. Note the 4x zoom scope on the optics rail. Undermounts for a single M239-D 40mm Multi-purpose grenade launcher, or a standard handgrip." He popped the grip off, and attached a large grenade launcher to the bottom. He tossed the weapon to the Chief, who snatched it out of the air and shouldered it, testing the weight. It was fairly light, and the grenade launcher made a rather comfortable grip. He picked up a clip, slapped it into the receiver, and pulled back on the bolt.
      "You have both single shot and three-shot-burst," the Commander said, pointing to the selector switch. "And the weapon should compat with your battle suit." The Chief set the weapon down as the Commander picked up a submachine gun.
      "This is the P-343 Submachine Weapon. Fires 5.5mm ammunition, held in standard twenty-shot clips. Of course, ours hold more. Forty shots, to be exact." He picked up the extended clip, and slapped it into the receiver in the grip. He then pulled back on the cocking handle, and extended the stock. He handed it to the Chief, who flipped down the handgrip on the front, flipped it back up, and held it one handed like a pistol. Comfortable with the diminutive-looking weapon, he set it on the table, and looked at the pistol in Yazuka's holster.
      "What is that?" He questioned, nodding at the large weapon.
      "Oh, this? This is the SC-1 Tactical Action Pistol, commonly called the TACONE." He pulled out the large pistol, and dropped the clip. "Fires .50 caliber Action Express cartridges, very powerful rounds, by the way, held in seven-shot clips." He handed the pistol and clip to the Chief, who took them both, and slapped the clip back into the weapon. He looked on the side of the slide, and saw these words engraved into it: "ISRAELI MILITARY INDUSTRIES". He looked on the other side and "Desert Eagle .50AE" was engraved on the slide.
      'Desert Eagle?" He inquired.
      "Yup, the IMI Desert Eagle. Quite possibly one of the best handguns ever made. An almost 600-year-old design, it still is very reliable. Of course, the Brass doesn't like that name, don't know why, so we call it the TACONE. Very powerful handgun, the AE rounds make the M6D look like a squirt gun; they'll rip through metal, flesh, and energy shields, leaving large, messy holes in their wake. We've fitted them with silencers, and even have some thirteen-shot clips for when we really need them." He picked up an un-silenced one from the table, along with several clips, and a large box of bullets. "These are yours, Chief, seems we have an extra one that isn't being used right now. You can keep it," Yazuka said.
       "Thank you, Si- I mean, Shadow." The Chief said, nodding in thanks. He picked up all three new guns, and a large supply of bullets for each, and set them on a new table.
      "Before you start having fun, Master Chief, I have a few more things to show you. First up is the M239. This is a relatively simple weapon; with many different rounds it is capable of firing. Just load it, aim, and pull the trigger. First up is your standard HE grenade, simply a chunk of explosives in a streamlined case, nothing special." John picked up the grenade and looked at it. Some enterprising young soldier had stenciled the words "Can o' Whoop Ass" onto the case, and he found the same words on the box it came out of.
      "Next, we have your CS-21 gas grenade. It will incapacitate and disorient anything without a gas mask for a short while; hence, it has no effect on the Grunts, who have their own atmosphere rebreathers. Also, we haven't had a chance to use them against Hunters, so their effects are unknown, a pity...I'd like to see what would happen if one of those got disoriented. It could even shoot its own people.
      Anyway, this is the Napalm grenade. Just as the name says, it releases flaming gobs of Napalm everywhere, very effective against Grunts and Jackals, especially in large groups. The body shielding of the Elites are pretty resistant to Napalm, though, and don't even try to use it against a Hunter. They shrug it off like sunburn."
      John reached down and picked up the grenade. It looked like a too-wide shotgun shell, and had the words 'NAPALM' and 'shoot far away' written on it. John himself approved of the warning; he could tell you from experience that you should stay as far away from burning Napalm as possible. He set the grenade down as Yazuka picked up a new, purple grenade.
      "This," He said, "Is the EMP grenade, sometimes called the MAGPULSE. This is a tricky little weapon to use, especially in a battle suit such as yours. Fire it too close to your own location, and you can short out every electrical circuit in your suit, and even erase an A.I., such as Cortana. Used correctly, however, it can fry shield generators, and even bring plasma weapons offline. Permanently, however, so make sure you don't need one before firing. Also, keep these in something armored, as even a piece of shrapnel could set one off. I find it best not to even mess with them, although they are worth the risk sometimes." Yazuka stated, putting the purple grenade in a special case to keep it safe.
      "Next, we have your standard smoke grenade. Multi-use: use it to lay down a smoke screen, mark a target, and even spot camouflaged Elites, exactly like your standard thrown grenade, and I'm sure you know all this already, so I'll move on".
      He produced what looked like a black Napalm grenade. "This," He said, "Is a very useful little device I like to call a "Sticky Camera", so called because it will stick to almost any solid surface, and provide you a nice view of the area. Has Night- and thermal- vision, as well as a pan and zoom function. I think Noonan can reconfigure it to display on your HUD in your suit. I'll talk to him about that, see if it's possible."
      The Chief gave an acknowledgement nod, and picked up the miniscule device. "This is a little conspicuous, wouldn't you think? An Elite or even a Grunt could see this rather easily." Said the Chief.
      "Not really, watch." And the Commander hit a button on the camera. The front end of the camera popped off, and revealed a six-pronged hook. Yazuka stuck the device onto the table, and almost instantly the device emitted a kind of Active Camouflage. "Ingenious, no? Our pals at R&D apparently thought the same thing, and added a micro Active Camo system to it, which they stole from the Covenant and reverse-engineered. Unfortunately, the battery has to exert a lot of power, and the Camo only stays on for about five minutes, then it has to recharge for about three. During that time, you had better have it secure, as ONI will lynch us if we lose one of these things. They're very expensive, and we barely managed to get our hands on them " He placed the thing in a small crate, with about ten others.
      Finally, he reached into the last box, and pulled out a little teardrop-shaped device, with a set of prongs on one end, and even a small airfoil around the middle. "This is a little thing I like to call the "Bug Zapper". Shoot somebody with this, and it latches on and releases a large electrical pulse, capable of knocking an Elite out cold. As you can probably figure out yourself, these things are very hard to get, and are also one-time-use packages. Make 'em count." With that, he set the Chief off to go shoot some targets.
      He took his three new guns to an unoccupied booth, and first picked up the Battle Rifle. He checked to make sure it was loaded, yanked back on the bolt, and clicked the safety off. He shouldered and aimed at the target, a Covenant Elite, and fired a three round burst. The weapon had substantial recoil, and was very loud. The Chief looked in satisfaction at the two-inch wide hole in the target's "skull". All three shots had hit and made one large hole. He peered into the scope, and found a new target: a "Grunt". He switched to single shot, and blew its "head" off with one squeeze of the trigger. Of course, he was shooting cardboard, not flesh and armor. He was satisfied nonetheless, both at its punch and at its accuracy, which was extremely good.
      He then picked up the SMG, and pointed it at what was left of the "Elite". When he squeezed and held down the trigger, he was surprised at both the miniscule gun's noise and recoil. He emptied the clip in less than four seconds, and looked at his target: everything from the middle of the chest up was gone, shredded and lying scattered on the ground. The Master Chief looked at the weapon approvingly; its small size belied its power, and it had a decent clip size to boot.
      Finally, he loaded the magazine of the Desert Eagle, slapped the clip home, and pulled back on the slide. It snapped back with surprising force, taking John slightly off guard, but nothing visible. He sighted on another target, a simple bull's-eye, went to a two-hand grip, and fired. The gun's recoil was considerable, but so was its punch. An inch-wide hole appeared on the center of the target. John looked satisfied at the sight of that, and wondered how well the ancient design would hold up in this era. Suddenly, he heard the voice of the A.I., Alexander, come across the 1-MC:
      "All hands, prepare for reversion to normal space in fifteen, repeat, fifteen minutes. We are approaching Sol now, and will be docking with the UNSC refit station, Vigilant after we rendezvous with the CCS Lucifer and the Admiral has a talk with our new allies. However, we don't know their motives yet. This could be a trap. Be ready for anything, repeat, anything. That is all. Alexander, out."
      Another message came out of the speakers in the target range: "Attention, Master Chief and the Wraiths: the Admiral wants you to accompany him onboard the Lucifer. You are to get suited up, but bring minimal arms: pistols and SMGs only, no rifles, explosives, etc. Also, there will be no need for vision equipment. Pack light. Master Chief; you are to report in full MJOLNIR armor. Avoid bringing Cortana if at all possible; we don't want her getting captured if this hits the fan. You are also instructed to pack light, same weapons as everybody else. We don't want to look like an invasion force when we come aboard. These orders come directly from ADM Mangles. Be ready and in your Pelican in ten minutes, all of you. Alexander, out."
      The room was suddenly a flurry of activity as the Wraiths stowed what gear they didn't need, and moved it to the adjacent Armory station. John, however, went back to his quarters. When he got there, he saw Cortana standing, waiting patiently for him.
      "Nice to see you moving around, I was beginning to think you were stuck in that position." The Chief said, as he put on his underarmor, and began clasping pieces of the bulky system to himself.
      "You wouldn't believe the amount of information I had to sift through; Covenant Battle net data, Halo core data, not to mention all the data on this ship. I've been catching up with the times, and a lot has happened over the past three weeks." Cortana replied. The Chief was pleased to see she had returned to her normal purple color scheme, no longer flashing green and red. She had become....different when she was in the core, and had a much shorter temper, not to mention an attitude. He had only seen her hologram twice since he pulled her from the core, and he had been either too busy or too sleepy to notice her return to normality. He finished putting on his suit, and grabbed both of the SMGs he had gotten in the armory, and strapped them to the back of his belt. He put the Desert Eagle in its holster, and clipped it around his waist as well. He then put on his helmet, choosing to leave Cortana on the ship as ordered, where she couldn't be captured if the operation went sour.
      Right on time, he arrived at the black Pelican, and boarded it. The Wraiths were already on board, and Malloy was standing at the front of the troop compartment. When the Admiral arrived, the Spartan snapped to attention and called; "Admiral on deck!"
      "As you were," Mangles ordered even before all of the Wraiths had come to attention. "Malloy, lets get this bucket moving. Exiting Slipspace in thirty seconds."
      "Aye, Sir" was the pilot's response.
      The massive ship slowed, then dropped out of Slipspace roughly two-thousand kilometers from the moon, and soon after, the CCS Lucifer arrived right next to it.
      Before the UNSC had a chance to broadcast, the voice of ADM. Mangles came across the FLEETBAND; "All UNSC personnel, this is Admiral Kevin Mangles, security code: Bravo-Echo-Theta-Gamma-Two-Four-Niner-Zulu-Omega. Do not, repeat do not open fire on the Covenant ship." The voice of Admiral Stanforth answered:
      "Mangles, what the Hell is going on? Why is there a Covenant cruiser on Earth's front porch?"
      "I'm not entirely sure myself, Admiral, we're going to have an on-board meeting with whoever their Captain is to find out what the situation is. I'll put you in touch with Alexander, and he'll explain what is happening. Mangles, out." He clicked off the COM. "Well, Malloy? What are you waiting for? An invitation? Lets get to that ship and find out just what in the name of God's green Earth is going on."
      "Aye, sir. Proceeding on course two-eight-niner to rendezvous with Covenant ship." Malloy was all business, unlike earlier on the bridge. He swung the Pelican out of the docking bay, and lined up with the ship. He then changed the COM to the band they had received the transmission from earlier.
      "Attention, Covenant cruiser: This is Admiral Kevin Mangles of the United Nations Space Command, and Captain of the UNSC Harbinger class Bonhomme Richard. Respond if you will." The Admiral said. John tensed up as he heard the voice that came back in response a few moments later.
      "Admiral Mangles, this is Ship Master Loki 'Lukammee of the Covenant Imperial Navy, Master of the Lucifer Cruiser. I understand you are approaching my cruiser in a black dropship. You have permission to board us. We are lowering shields now. Proceed when ready."
      "Thank you, Ship Master. Beginning our approach now." Mangles then looked at Malloy, who was skeptical of flying into a Covenant ship with minimal armament, and too much faith in this "Loki 'Lukammee". "Easy, son. Stay calm. Just fly straight and level." He then looked as a series of lights on the ship outlined a docking bay. "Looks like they have rolled out the red carpet and invited us in. Let's not disappoint them." He said.
      "Aye, Sir, approaching now. Get ready, ETA two minutes."
      Yazuka stuck his head into the troop bay. "Two minutes," he said, and held up two fingers.
       The next two minutes felt like eternity to all aboard the dropship. Finally, Malloy lined up with the docking bay, and set the dropship down on the cold purple metal. The containment field closed behind them.
      "Well, let's get to it. Price, you and Malloy stay here and guard our exit." Yazuka said. He reached into the weapons locker on the Pelican and pulled out an M6D pistol, which he loaded and handed to the Admiral, along with a holster. "You may want this, Admiral."
      Mangles took the pistol, pulled back on the slide, thought for a second, and handed it back, grip first. "If I need this, we'll be dead anyway. Come on, let's go." With that, he opened the troop bay door and stepped onto the surface of the bay, and the rest of the troops followed him. Malloy pulled a shotgun from the locker, pumped it, and stood at the doorway, looking tense. Price sat next to him, holding a pair of SMGs. Yazuka looked around.
      "Where are they? Nobody seems to be home." He commented, shifting uneasily. He kept checking his SMG, making sure it was full, and glancing around.
      "There." John said, and pointed at a door on the opposite side of the bay. It flickered and opened, and out stepped an Elite in white armor, a black cape with red trim hanging off his shoulders.
      "Admiral Mangles, I am Isao 'Namoree, personal bodyguard to Loki 'Lukammee. Please, follow me." With that, he turned and walked back the way he came. John took point, and Admiral Mangles followed him, flanked by the rest of the Wraiths. They followed the Elite through almost a kilometer of corridor, and finally came to a door, where Isao stopped, and stood aside. The door opened and the humans walked in. Standing on the platform of the bridge was the gold-armored Loki 'Lukammee. His arms were folded over his chest, and a pair of Hunters, who were not curled up, but stood at attention, eyeing the humans intently, flanked him. 'Lukammee looked at Admiral Mangles, and gave a subtle signal to the Hunters, who stepped back.
      "Humans, welcome to the command deck of the Lucifer. You are the one called Mangles, am I correct?" His voice was deep, and he spoke almost perfect English.
      "I am, and you must be Ship Master Loki 'Lukammee, I am honored." Mangles said, coming into a little bow.
      "Rise, human. There is no need for formalities here." 'Lukammee said, unfolding his arms and walking forward towards the Humans. "Now, I'm sure you are wondering why we are even having this meeting...." Suddenly, he was cut off as a stream of plasma came from a doorway on the other side of the bridge. Immediately, John drew his pistol and stood in front of the Admiral, while the rest of the Wraiths drew their pistols and fired at the doorway. John watched as the figure ducked around the doorway, and he immediately leaped off the platform, hit the deck running, and tore after the interloper.
      "I don't know who he is, but I'd say he's having second thoughts!" Mangles shouted. He watched as the Spartan leaped off of the bridge, and looked at Yazuka. "Well, don't just stand there! Go after him, Commander!" He yelled.
      Yazuka gave a quick "Aye, Aye" and pointed to Arkadeyevich and Loiselle, snapped his fingers, and then pointed to himself. He turned and ran after John, and the Russian and Frenchman followed him, slapping fresh clips into their pistols as they went.
      Meanwhile, John was struggling to catch the shooter, who he believed was a red-armored Elite. He bounded through the corridors, leaping over Grunts and Jackals, who immediately jumped out of the way. He aimed his pistol and fired off several shots, but the alien spun around a corner at the last second, and the bullets struck the wall, leaving large holes in their wake. John snapped around the corner, and found himself in a two-tiered loading bay. He swept the bay with his pistol. In it were three Wraith tanks, several Ghosts, and a pair of Banshees. Strangely, no Covenant were around. The Chief checked his motion tracker; no contacts were on his tracker. He heard a clink and turned around, just in time to see the Elite come out of the shadows behind him, pulling back to swing his plasma rifle like a club.
      The Chief didn't have time to shoot, but instead dropped the pistol, and grabbed the Elite's arm. He gave a twist, and threw it over his shoulder onto the ground. The alien spun around on the ground, threw his leg out, landed a kick to his knee, and hopped back up, striking out with his fist at the staggering Spartan. The Chief saw stars on the peripheral of his vision as the Elite struck him in the jaw, and as he tried to stand up, the alien hit him square in the gut. The Chief staggered back, clutching his stomach, and then was knocked on his back by another kick, this time to his helmet. He almost blacked out, when he heard the coughs of several silenced pistols, simultaneous with the sound of plasma fire. He looked up in time to see the shields flare, die, and entry wounds appear in the Elite's chest. Gouts of blood sprayed out of the exit wounds in its back, staining the deck behind it. It gave a roar, collapsed, twitched, and then lay still. Arkadeyevich walked over and put a final shot in its forehead. Loiselle grabbed the Chief's hand, and assisted him in getting to his feet.
      "Nice shooting, all of you." The Chief said. He then looked over to where the plasma fire had come from. Standing next to a Wraith was a pair of black-armored Elites, plasma rifles in hand. Immediately, they moved back into the shadows, turning on their active cloaks. The Chief heard the sound of footsteps, and turned to see Isao 'Namoree coming into the bay, a plasma sword in each hand.
      "Impressive, humans." He commented, eying the body on the floor, sitting in a pool of blood and brains.
      "Who were they....Isao, wasn't it?" Yazuka commented, pointing to where the Elites had disappeared.
      "They are one of our hunter-killer teams, sent on patrol to watch for traitors like him." He said, pointing at the body in disgust.
      "But, aren't all of you traitors to the Covenant itself?" Arkadeyevich asked.
      "We are not traitors," he said. "We are simply tired of being pawns of the Prophets. We see no real reason for this war on you humans. I served as a bodyguard to a high-ranking Prophet, and I heard nothing that justified this war. Not one thing." He finished. "Come, we should be returning to the bridge." With that, he deactivated his swords, clipped them to his belt, and turned around, his cape swishing behind him. John caught a glimpse of a white Plasma Rifle holstered on the small of his back. With that, the four humans holstered their weapons and followed 'Namoree back to the bridge. The two Hunters were curled up, their spines sticking straight into the air. Loki 'Lukammee and Admiral Mangles were in conversation with each other, and the rest of the Wraiths stood tense, looking for signs of trouble.
      "So, I assume you eliminated that little annoyance, Isao?" 'Lukammee asked.
      "Actually, Excellency, it was the humans," he replied.
      "Is that so? Interesting. Who was it?"
      Arkadeyevich answered this question: "It was a red-armored Elite-" He was cut off by Loki.
      "We are not "Elites" as you call us, we are the Kro'zk." Lukammee said. "We are native to the planet Nasz'ks, second planet in the Ha'smok system, a five star system where it is night only three units of the rotation, with a rotation being five-hundred divisions, and twenty units making up a division."
      "I understand. Anyway, it was a red-armored Kro'zk. He was amazingly fast, from what we could see, and took a lot of punishment before it went down. Thanks to a hunter-killer team in the bay, we were able to kill it before it killed the Master Chief" Arkadeyevich said, pointing at the Spartan II.
      "You are one of the ones called 'Spartans'?" 'Lukammee asked. "Yes...I have heard about you Humans. You have killed thousands of Covenant soldiers each. I heard reports that our forces captured a few of your comrades during the battle for this 'REACH'. Interesting that our soldiers survived long enough to take them prisoner." 'Lukammee said.
      John felt surges of relief, anger, and hope all at once. "The Spartans, would you know where they are being held?" He asked the Ship Master.
      "There are rumors that they are being held on the pride of our fleet, the Divine Rapture, but these are only rumors. Of course, you can feel free to investigate them, as this ship will be at the head of the invasion force. I would not recommend going near that ship, however. It has four of our long-range plasma beams, dozens of plasma torpedo launchers, and countless pulse laser turrets. It carries a full three Flight Wings of fighters, and carries enough soldiers to take over any of your planets. It is an invasion force unto itself. It would be impossible to get aboard, much less rescue your fellow Spartans." 'Lukammee finished.
      "Impossible is what we Spartans were made to do." John said.
      "'Lukammee, how big can we expect this invasion force to be?" Admiral Mangles questioned.
      "A majority of our fleet will be engaged, led by the Divine Rapture, and accompanied by our other Flagships. Expect the number of cruisers to be in the hundreds, and the Supercarrier fleet to show up some time in the engagement.
      "Great, we're Class-A fucked then." Yazuka commented. " The fleet will be fried with the first salvo. We won't be able to touch them."
      "Even so," Mangles said, a hint of defiance in his voice, "we WILL fight. Humanity has been resisting too long to simply die now."
      "What assistance could you provide us, Ship Master?" The Admiral said.
      'Lukammee thought for a second. "Well, I could offer strategic advice, and my ground forces would be more than willing to assist in defense. I will need to contact your Fleet Master and help devise a battle plan. Of course, you also have the use of my ship to augment your rather impressive fleet."
      "That would mean you need to meet with Admiral Stanforth. If you come with us I could introduce him." Mangles replied, looking at the holographic screens, which displayed the Human fleet, with the Leviathan in the center. The whole planet was ringed by MAC guns, shipyards, and battle cruisers A pair of cruisers were approaching the Lucifer and the Bonhomme Richard. He watched as a shuttlecraft departed from the lead cruiser and approached the Bonhomme Richard. "Well, it would appear our welcoming committee is en route, so should we leave now?"
      "Yes, Human. I am eager to meet your Fleet Commander. Let us depart now."
      "Copy that. Wraiths! Lets move." Yazuka yelled. And with that, 'Lukammee, Mangles, the Master Chief, the Wraiths, and Isao 'Namoree made their way to the docking bay where Eddie Price and Dan Malloy waited with the Pelican dropship. As they approached, however, yet another Elite tried to kill 'Lukammee. Before any of the Wraiths knew he was there, however, 'Namoree had his ornate Plasma Rifle out and was saturating the bay with plasma. The assaulting Elite ducked and dodged the plasma, advancing on the party with plasma sword at the ready. He was stopped in his tracks, however, by a long burst from Price's SMGs. The rounds tore through the shielding on the Elite before a shotgun blast from Malloy put the creature down for good. Loiselle put several pistol shots in the Elite, just to make sure. The party all climbed aboard the dropship. The Wraiths took their usual positions, and the two Elites stood in the middle of the troop bay. During the ride back to the ship, the Wraiths asked the two aliens many questions about their experiences in combat. Isao in particular had many interesting ones, being a Commando Squad Master and expert Infiltrator. He had been around before becoming the bodyguard to a high-ranking Prophet and then to Loki 'Lukammee, whom Isao had saved from a grisly death several years earlier. Finally, the Pelican glided into the docking bay and settled down on the deck. They opened up the bay to find none other than Admiral Stanforth waiting for them. At his side was Colonel James Ackerson. Mangles gave a look of extreme disgust upon seeing the Colonel, whom he rated at the very bottom of Humanity. John and the Wraiths came to attention and saluted the Admiral, who immediately returned the salute, and immediately asked for a word in private with Admiral Mangles and the two Elites
      Commander Yazuka approached Colonel Ackerson, who reluctantly came to attention. Yazuka stood there with a look of deep disgust on his face, not returning the salute. "Colonel Ackerson. I must say, I was extremely disappointed when I learned the Covenant hadn't turned you into a puddle at REACH. Of course, you always could weasel your way out of trouble." Ackerson just stared with hate back. Yazuka gave a snort of revulsion, and shook his head before returning the salute and walking off. He cracked his knuckles and stood waiting with the Wraiths and the Chief until Adm. Mangles and Stanforth, along with the two Elites, were finished talking. Finally, the group came over and addressed the rest of the men in the bay.
      "Well Master Chief, Admiral Mangles here tells me an interesting story regarding your whereabouts the past few weeks. I must say, It's a pleasure to have you back." Stanforth said.
      "Thank you, Admiral Stanforth. It's great to be back." The Master Chief replied. There was a snort from Ackerson's direction.
      "A problem, Colonel?" Mangles asked.
      "No, sir." He sneered.
      "Enough, Colonel." Stanforth said. "Now, our new friends tell us that we are facing a massive invasion fleet in less than 48 hours. While this may seem hopeless, I have a few surprises for these Covenant sons of bitches, no offense" he added, looking at the two aliens. "If we could make our way to the bridge, I'd like to show all of you a few things." The Admiral finished, turning on his heel and starting off towards the elevator that would take him to the command deck, and the rest of the party fell into step.





bungie.org