They're Random, Baby!

Fan Fiction

Survival by Agent Shade

Survival, Prologue
Date: 2 September 2003, 11:21 PM

Survival, Prologue

~*Author's Note*~

      I'm back!!

~*End Note*~

      The story about to unfold takes place some time after the Covenant attempt to invade and potentially wipe out the human home world, Earth. However, the combined efforts of the Marine Core and the legendary Master Chief, Spartan-117 were strong enough to fight back against the Covenant and push them out of the Solar System.

      After this quite large and vital battle ended, the UNSC began making plans for their huge comeback. This included new tactics, additional members of the Marine Core, but the most important part was the new and advanced weaponry being constructed. The humans realized that to ensure victory, they would have to think like their enemy, and that meant, using plasma technology. Already, they had created body shields for the Spartans, but human scientists went beyond that and began creating the same shields for marines. New weapons that fired plasma rounds were made. A lot of these weapons were experimental, but many of them were put into use, like the MA7B Battle rifle, whose bullets were coated with a plasma surface, strengthening the bullets damage and force. But, the most important upgrade the UNSC were doing, was adding this plasma technology to their ships.

      It seemed for some time, that as long as they had the Spartans, they would always win on the ground. However, when it came to space battles, the UNSC only won when they outnumbered their enemy one hundred to four. Because of this nearly impossible odd, plasma technology was fused into the technology used to create the human's warships. This allowed ships to have their own plasma shields, pulse lasers, plasma armor and some even held plasma torpedoes, but those were proving to be very difficult. Upgrades like the ones stated above were put onto a single ship, known as the Hybrid since it had Covenant and Human technology on it. The massive battle cruiser was the first ship to leave its spaceport, loaded with Covenant weaponry.

      During this time, knowledge about the Flood was limited. The UNSC knew about the various warriors used in battle. Starting from the small, popcorn-like infection forms, to the large and ferocious combat forms. They knew that a single infection form could assimilate a Covenant Elite or a Human adult into the Flood's expanding collective. Other than that, they had no idea what other capabilities the grotesque race had.

      One such unknown ability was the Flood's function to observe and learn. Many Flood forms were successful during the battle of Halo in taking over Covenant ships; however, they did not know exactly how to fly it. However, because of an unknown leadership caste that had been created, certain Flood forms were gifted with the talent of flying any vehicle. However, this talent was not known by Humanity or the Covenant.

      It was time that the Flood put this into play. During a ground battle on Beta Halo, found near the Eridanus system, Flood forces were successful in taking over a Covenant war cruiser and using it for their own purposes. This cruiser left the battle area, taking with it enough Flood forms to wipe out a small army.

      At the same time, the Hybrid was put into space and ordered to take out both the Covenant and Flood forces around Beta Halo, and then destroy the ring itself. The Master Chief had warned them that additional Halos existed, and this was the second one found. Since most of the Covenant and Flood forces were weakened a lot during the large battles, the crew of the Hybrid assumed that victory would be quite easy.

      Unknown to them, the captured Covenant war cruiser was heading straight towards this Covenant-Human ship. What the outcome of a possible battle will be, no one knows.

      The Hybrid, under the command of Captain Malcolm Savard, has a total ship crew of one hundred seventy-five. A single battle division (Fifty or so men/women) of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers and two battle divisions of Marine Regulars made up the ship's internal security and ground assault forces. The two hangars positioned on either side of the ship were each equipped with eight Pelican dropships, fourteen Longbow bombers, twenty M12 LRVs and ten M808B Scorpion tanks. The ship itself was created to look much like the Pillar of Autumn, only the surface of the ship is more reflective and the armor is a lot darker. The ship has four Super MAC (Magnetic Accelerator Canon) guns, two on the top and two on the bottom. Positioned around these canons are five Plasma pulse laser turrets. Naturally, the plasma shield is the ship's main defense, but if the shields are breached, the armor itself is honey-combed with Titanium-A battle armor and a thick, very strong metal, used by the Covenant. The metal is unknown and is merely designated as "Covie" armor. The ship weighs around one hundred seventy tones.

      This is the story of the UNSC's, first
Covenant-Human warship.

~*Author's Note*~

      Sorry about the italics, I can't seem to fix it...hope you enjoyed it and please comment on what you think. Cheers.

~*End Note*~

By: Agent Shade

Survival, Chapter One: Hijacked
Date: 16 September 2003, 4:13 AM

Survival, Chapter One: Hijacked

Several light years away from Earth's Solar System, an intricate battle was taking place. Positioned between a planet know as Ragas V and it's single moon, a large ring hovered in between the two in a stable orbit. Surrounding this ring was a fleet of Covenant warships, transporting troops and supplies to the surface of the ring below. In return, dozens of other dropships carrying wounded and dead Covenant were flying back up. Unknown to the crew of the Covenant war cruiser Strength and Honor, the seven dropships flying in their direction did not carry Covenant beings.

Field Master Vira 'Viminee was quite scared. It was the first time in his entire military career where the sensation for fear had run through his body. He sat at the controls of the lead dropship. Standing behind him was a large figure with odd tentacles poking out of its body. It held a plasma rifle and was holding it to the back of 'Viminee's head. The Field Master winced as the figure pressed hard on his skull and he finally turned his head.

"Could you please not push so hard with that thing" he growled. The figure complied and relaxed. The Covenant leader turned back around and a large plasma screen in front of him warmed to his presence. The stern face of Ship Master Quala 'Qualamee stared at him. The Elite nodded.

"Field Master, what is your status?" he asked. 'Viminee gulped.

"Seven dropships including my own, four carrying wounded and the remaining three carrying the dead. We request permission to dock with your ship" he said. The Ship Master nodded.

"Proceed" he said and the view screen clicked off. 'Viminee sighed and turned around to look at the figure still pointing the rifle at him..

"All done, the cruiser's gravity lifts will take over the dropship" he said. The shadow nodded and leveled the plasma rifle forward. 'Viminee gasped, but the single round fired from the weapon struck him in the face before he could scream. The dead Elite topped forward and the shadow emerged into the light. The Flood combat form fired two more times at the Field Master, then returned to the holding pods positioned along the dropship, where additional Flood forms were waiting to eat.

Ship Master 'Qualamee stood in the Strength and Honor's large docking bay, which was already overcrowded with wounded Covenant and damaged ships. The flight of seven dropships slowly hovered into the bay and waited for a pack of Jackals to signal for them to land. Once a few wounded Grunts were hauled aside, the ships landed. 'Qualamee walked forward to the lead dropship. He and Field Master 'Viminee had been good friends, since the beginning of their training to join the Covenant Army. He looked forward to hearing a report from the Field Master.

'Qualamee and a phalanx of Jackals stood near one of the large holding pods on the dropship. At first, nothing happened and they remained closed. 'Qualamee looked at the other dropships and realized, they had the same problem. Nothing was opening. He motioned to two of his Jackals, who walked forward and activated the exterior ramp switch. Slowly, the pods began to open. What came out of the pods surprised and frightened 'Qualamee. The dead hulk of Field Master 'Viminee fell out of the pods and landed on the deck. The Ship Master looked at the other pods and could see other Field Masters fall onto the ground. Following that came dozens of Flood combat and infection forms. The two Jackals positioned near the pods were ripped apart as a Flood form whipped them.

The entire scene was chaos. All seven dropships were loaded with Flood combat and infection forms. They spread out throughout the bay, killing Covenant that tried to resist. 'Qualamee was rushed away from the battle by several of his Elite officers. As they ran, the doors leading into the docking bay opened, and Special Forces troops rushed into the battle. However, the Flood forms were too many. A lot of the infection forms were able to sink their tendrils into Elites. Within seconds, they stood up, their bodies mutated and discolored. Two Hunters roared and rushed forward, swinging their battle shields. However, infection forms latched onto them and slowly drained their life away. The Special Forces stuck together and killed many of the Flood, but they were outnumbered. A huge tidal wave of infection forms jump and were successful in assimilating four additional Elites. 'Qualamee stood on the second level, overlooking the madness. The entire main floor was loaded with Flood within several minutes. Elites positioned around the Ship Master fired down below. Sadly, it was proven that plasma technology was almost ineffective against the Flood. Many of the Ship Master's officers fell into the Flood army below. The docking bay doors were reopened and several more dropships flew in, loaded with more Flood forms. The Ship Master could not believe what he was seeing. The Flood planned an assault and were winning. 'Qualamee grabbed what remained of his staff.

"To the control room, we must order the other ships to open fire" he growled. The officers nodded and they sprinted off, as more Covenant soldiers tried to hold the Flood back. They rushed up several levels, passed dozens of blockades being set up by the crew. They reached the control room in a matter of seconds. The control room crew saluted at 'Qualamee who ignored it and rushed to the controls. His officers began yelling out reports.

"They're moving fast, security reports that the engine room is theirs. Armory stations are being locked up. I'm sealing off level eight"

"The entire bow of the ship is dead Excellency, the Flood are moving too fast. They've ripped open entrance to level nine, overrun fourteen blockades. They'll be here in a matter of minutes." 'Qualamee ignored all of these reports and concentrated on sending a message to the rest of the fleet. He typed in the commands quickly and a text box appeared. Just as he began to type his message, the entire room blacked out.

"Excellency, they've cut main power!" screamed an Elite.

"Silence! Seal off the bridge, activate emergency lighting" the Ship Master roared. The computer responded and several spot lights appeared, which light up the room. Grunts and Jackals were positioned around the door, sealing it off. 'Qualamee took out his two plasma blades and activated them. His officers recharged their plasma rifles and leveled them.

"No, take out needle guns, those weapons are useless" 'Qualamee ordered. The entire crew rushed to the small armory containers in the corner of the room and armed themselves with needlers. They then positioned themselves around the room and waited.

The sounds of gunfire, screams and the Flood's barks could be heard all over the ship. No one spoke. 'Qualamee knew it was hopeless to win here, but he knew that if the Flood attempted to fire upon the rest of the fleet, they would be destroyed. He hoped that's what they would do.

Suddenly, large bangs could be heard near the doors and the control room members all shivered and leveled their weapons. Without any warning, all four of the doors leading into the room were blown open, crushing several Grunts. 'Qualamee roared and charged forward, swinging his plasma swords around him. His crew fired their needlers and Flood forms were ripped apart by the explosive projectiles. 'Qualamee's shields flared as continuous shots and whips hit him. A warning siren blared in his ear, but he ignored it. He twirled around, chopping several forms in half, but received several huge blows in return. His shields were gone, but he didn't care. The Ship Master took a moment to look around and noticed that the last of his crew were dead. He roared a battle cry, tossed his blades aside, and activated all four of the plasma grenade he held. He stuck them to him and grinned.

"Come to me" he growled as the Flood surrounded him. Just before their whips and tendrils hit him, the grenades detonated and 'Qualamee disappeared.

Outside, several more dropships, full of Flood forms entered the Strength and Honor then the huge ship turned and accelerated out of the system. Not a single Covenant commander or leader noticed the enormous war cruiser disappear into a Slip Stream hole and vanish from their scopes. The ship was headed for one place; Earth's Solar System.

"Duty...a UNSC Captain's life is filled with solemn duty. I have led thousands of souls into battle, I have thought up unthinkable battlefield tactics. I have represented the UNSC in forty space engagements with the Covenant, but none of this compares to my solemn duty today...as the new commander in chief, of the United Nations Space Command's first Human-Covenant warship. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...the Hybrid" The curtains hung over the huge observation room windows were put aside, revealing the massive USNC warship that was docked in the small space port. There were a few audible gasps from the people gathered in the room, followed by a large applause. Captain Malcolm Savard smiled and shook hands with several UNSC High Council members, who goggled over the ship. Savard too was deeply impressed. It reminded him a lot of the Pillar of Autumn; the ship that he first served on when he joined the UNSC. In many ways, the Hybrid looked exactly like it in design structure, however, there were unique differences, which was what most people noticed.

Savard stepped away from the window and allowed the people in the room to get a better look. A waiter walked by and the Captain grabbed a glass of Tequila. As he drank the warm liquid, he gazed at his new ship. He had been promoted to Captain during the battle of Vegas IV. The Captain didn't know how he did it, but somehow managed to prevent a huge invasion force from landing on the small planet, and kill of Covenant boarding parties that were all over the ship. Savard received a medal and got the promotion. Now, it was time to for him to show people what he could really do.

Savard put the empty glass down on a nearby table and walked over to a group of young people chatting away with each other. They all turned and saluted at him, but Savard shook his head.

"Please, you guys don't have to do that" he said. The five officers all nodded and grinned at their Captain. Savard stood before his four main officers who would be with him on the bridge. Lieutenant Jonathon Bishop; Weapons officer, Lieutenant Catherine Hayes; Communications officer, Lieutenant Michelle Yu; Engineering and Lieutenant Lance Dela Cruz; Navigation officer. The four of them were young, but very experienced. Malcolm had had them transferred from their old ship to this new ship under his command. The four of them were quite attached to one another and were good friends.

"We'll be leaving soon, I suggest we all say our goodbyes and prepare to board her" he said, pointing at the large ship in the window. The officers nodded and finished of their drinks. They saluted Malcolm again, and then walked off, waving a few goodbyes to several Generals and High Commanders. As they left, Captain Savard walked over to an old man standing alone, looking at the ship. Savard stood straight and saluted. The man turned and returned it, smiling at him.

"How are you Captain?" asked Vice Admiral Daniel Avery.

"A little nervous, but I'm ready sir" Savard answered. Avery nodded.

"Understandable, taking a ship like this, anyone would be nervous" he said.

"I'm here to receive orders sir" Savard said, getting straight to the point. Avery grinned.

"Ah yes, of course. Well, I don't expect you to carry them out right away. Every Captain has to get used to their new ship. Here's what I need you to do. We have reports of a large battle going on near the Ragas V system. Covenant ships have been detected, along with a large circular structure floating between Ragas and it's moon" Avery began. Savard's eyes went wide.

"Another Halo?" he asked.

"I'm afraid so. We've designated this one as Beta Halo. By the amount of Covenant ships leaving the battle group, I'm willing to bet they've taken heavy casualties. Once you've familiarized yourself with the ship, get over there and put a stop to the fighting, then destroy the Halo" the Admiral ordered. Savard nodded.

"Not a problem sir" he said, and then saluted. Avery nodded and returned it.

"You'll do fine son" he said. Savard nodded again, then turned and left the room. He took the elevator down several levels and arrived at his quarters. It was a somewhat large spacious apartment. Just enough room for a bachelor. Malcolm's bags were already packed and ready to leave. He remembered doing this in the morning. The man sighed and picked them up. Just as he was about to leave, he paused and stared down at a picture on a nearby table. It showed a very attractive looking woman, holding a toddler, who was around the age of four. Malcolm stared long and hard at his ex-wife and son. Megan had left him because of his constant traveling and fighting. The life of a Captain didn't leave much time for his or her personal side. Malcolm would often go several years without seeing his wife. His son barely recognized him when he got the chance to visit. Malcolm could feel tears well up in his eyes. He quickly looked away, and marched out the door, blinking several times to rid himself of the tears forming in his eyes.

The Captain took another elevator down to the docking bay level. The Starport had a large bay full with small shuttlecrafts that allowed captains and officers to get to their ships. Malcolm spotted his crew and marched over to them. Within a matter of seconds, they were standing in the Hybrid's docking bay, staring in awe at the amount of room there was. Unlike the Pillar of Autumn the Hybrid had two docking bays, each loaded with a variety of ships and vehicles. Savard led the way out of the docking bay and into the busy halls of the ship. Many crewmembers paused and saluted their Captain, who returned it. They took a single lift up to the bridge level. When they entered the large bridge, Lieutenant Bishop stood straight.

"Captain on deck!" he yelled. Immediately, all movement ceased and the tech crews and crewmembers stood straight and saluted. Savard nodded to everyone and returned the salute.

"You all know why we are here, let's get ready to leave" he said. With that, the crewmembers went back to work, getting the ship ready. Savard wasn't one for long speeches. He merely stood beside his command chair or the "hot seat" as it was sometimes called. His officers sat at stations around him, each checking their systems.

"No COM link traffic sir, we're clear to leave" Lieutenant Hayes said.

"All weapons online, pulse lasers charged up, MAC gun capacitators are at zero charge" Lieutenant Bishop reported.

"Engines running smoothly sir, bringing the Slip Stream engines online" Lieutenant Yu said.

"Awaiting your destination sir" Lieutenant Dela Cruz said, finishing off the quick report. Savard nodded and sat down.

"Lay in a course for the Ragas system. Prepare for Slip Stream entry" he ordered. Dela Cruz and Yu nodded, and typed away at their consoles.

"Course plotted, Slip Stream generators ready to go" reported Dela Cruz. Before Malcolm could issue the order, Lieutenant Hayes turned in her seat.

"Sir, scanners are picking up radar contact" she said. Savard raised an eyebrow. They hadn't even left cleared the spaceport and there was already trouble.

"What do you make of it?" he asked.

"Covenant war cruiser of some type. I believe it is called the Strength and Honor" the Lieutenant said. Savard stood.

"Visual?" he asked. The large view screen in front of Lieutenant Dela Cruz warmed to show the large Covenant ship appear out of a Slip Stream hole and come at them. "No response to hails?" asked Savard.

"None sir" Hayes responded. Savard grinned.

"Battle alert..."

By: Agent Shade

~*Author's note*~

      Hopefully this will tie you guys over while I try and finish this series and the Last War.

~*End note*~

Survival, Chapter Two: Strength and Honor
Date: 18 September 2003, 2:45 AM

Survival, Chapter Two: Strength and Honor

"Battle alert"

"Activating defense shield, charging pulse canons and MAC guns"

"Pushing engines to one hundred fifty percent"

"All ahead one third; lure that bastard away from the Starport." Captain Malcolm Savard gripped his command chair tightly as the Hybrid swung around and roared off in the opposite direction to the Covenant war cruiser barring down on them.

"They're following, no sign of weapon activation, but their shields are up" reported Lieutenant Hayes.

"Weapons status?" asked Savard.

"MAC guns and pulse canons set to go sir" Lieutenant Bishop replied, looking up from his console.

"Target their weapons systems and shield generator. Let's try and disable her" ordered Savard. Lieutenant Bishop nodded.

"Locked on sir"

"Captain! Their powering their forward pulse laser arrays!" cried out Lieutenant Hayes. Savard watched as four strobes of white light shot out from the front of the Covenant ship and flew at them.

"Polarize the armor! All hands, brace for impact!" yelled Savard, holding his chair even tighter. The white balls of energy continued to advance on them.

"Five seconds" said Lieutenant Hayes, before she held onto her console. The energy balls hit the shield surrounding the Hybrid and disappeared. Not a single explosion rocked the ship, and Savard raised an eyebrow.

"Damage report?" he asked his engineering officer.

"Nothing sir. Shields fully charged no casualties" Lieutenant Yu answered. Savard stared at the screen as the Covenant ship continued to advance on them.

"Sir, they're preparing another volley" Lieutenant Hayes said. Savard nodded at Lieutenant Bishop.

"Fire at will Lieutenant" he ordered. Bishop nodded and pressed a single button.

The Hybrid shook violently as all four of her MAC guns fired huge uranium shells at their enemy. The pulse canon turrets let loose a controlled burst of plasma fire as well. The Hybrid's attack salvo took out the shields instantly, and ripped through several decks. She listed to port, flames engulfing most of the ship. A huge hole were her docking bay had been, remained.

"Direct hit sir"

"They're firing!" Sure enough, four additional white energy balls flew out from the crippled vessel and hit the Hybrid. They received the same reaction as last time. Nothing. Savard watched as the Covenant ship slowly began to float lifelessly in space.

"Hack into their systems, retrieve whatever data you can. Lieutenant Bishop, prepare another round, MAC guns only." ordered Savard. Because the Hybrid wasn't equipped with an AI system yet, Savard would have to rely on his crew to calculate appropriate battle calculations and Slip Stream coordinates. It wouldn't be too hard, since Slip Stream travel had improved a lot over the course of a century.

"I got what I could sir" Lieutenant Hayes said.

"Lieutenant Bishop"


"Send them to Hades, fire!" Not all of the shots fired by the Hybrid struck the Covenant ship, since it exploded once the first two MAC rounds hit it. The Covenant warship disintegrated into space, becoming nothing but flaming rubble and space dust. Savard leaned back in his chair, sighing deeply. Hybrid's first kill...

"Analysis of the download?" he asked. Hayes looked up from her console.

"From what I've gathered, the ship's name was Strength and Honor and had been part of a cleansing team over in the Ragas V system. That's all we have so far, the translation is going a little slow" she reported. Savard nodded, and then turned to Lieutenant Yu.

"Whereabouts did those white lights hit us?" he asked her.

"Well sir, they didn't really hit us, but they were directed at the engine room" she said.

"And the ship took no damage?"

"None at all sir. Whatever that weapon was, the shields on this ship stopped it cold" Savard nodded. It still didn't make any sense. The Covenant wouldn't invent some sort of weapon that wouldn't do anything to weaken the enemy ship. It was all power behind their space fleet. So why didn't this weapon do anything? Maybe Lieutenant Yu was right. Maybe the shields on the Hybrid were really powerful. Savard shook his head.

"Sir, control tower is requesting an explanation" Lieutenant Hayes reported. Savard nodded.

"Patch us through Lieutenant." A second later, Vice Admiral Avery's worried face filled the screen in front of Captain Savard.

"What's going on Malcolm? We're detecting fragments of a Covenant ship floating out there" he asked.

"A Covenant warship by the name of Strength and Honor entered this system as we were leaving the docking bay sir. We managed to lure it away from the Starport and destroy it" Savard said.

"Any damage or casualties?" Avery asked.

"No sir, nothing at all. We are completely fine" Savard said. Avery sighed.

"Thank god. Strength and Honor sounds like a powerful name. They didn't do any damage to you?" asked Avery.

"No sir, they fired some sort of white energy ball at us, but it was stopped by our shields we believe. The shields didn't even take any damage" Captain Savard explained. He could tell by Avery's expression he wasn't sure what was going on.

"We'll worry about that later. The ship is fine?"

"Ship's fine sir"

"Well, continue on with your mission, but I'll expect a detailed explanation in your report" Avery ordered. Savard nodded and saluted. "Good luck Hybrid." And with that, Vice Admiral Avery's face disappeared. Savard sighed.

"Well, you heard the man, let's continue with our mission. Helm, lay in a Slip Stream course for Ragas V" he ordered. Lieutenant Dela Cruz nodded and typed at this control pad in front of him. Ragas V was exactly one trillion light years away. Taking the Slip Stream hole would lower their original distance time by eight hours. Savard leaned back in his chair.

"Course ready sir" Dela Cruz said.

"Engage the engines, open the hole" Savard ordered. The Hybrid's engines exploded with power and the ship shot forward. The hole to the Slip Stream opened and the massive ship disappeared into it.

Tech Officer Bryan Kerr yawned out loud and nearly fell over in the elevator he rode down to the engine room. His shift started half an hour ago. The Chief wouldn't be happy. The door to the elevator opened and the young man slouched into the Hybrid's massive engine room. Normally, the huge room would be bustling with movement, but today, Kerr spotted a few technicians doing simple system checks and listening to loud roar of the engines as they sped through the Slip Stream. Bryan climbed up a ramp and stood near Tech Chief James Elliott, who was chatting with his Senior Officer, Tech Chief Todd Cassell. The two of them turned and glared at Bryan, who rolled his eyes.

"Watch it Kerr, you shouldn't be rolling your eyes like that. We did warn you what would happen if you would be late" Elliott growled.

"Yeah, but that's only if it becomes a habit. This is my first real shift onboard the Hybrid Chief, it won't happen again" Kerr said, shrugging. Cassell chuckled.

"First or last, you can't be late man" he said. Kerr finally just shook his head and walked away.

"Whatever, I'm here now and want to do some work" he mumbled, and then walked through an access door, which lead up to the maintenance level of the engine room. All it was was a huge catwalk that surrounded the engines. The odd control console stood out of the ground, which was were most technicians stood. Kerr stepped through another access door and onto the massive catwalk. Tech Officer Hal Jacobs nodded at his friend.

"Morning Bryan" he said. Kerr grunted and his friend laughed.

"Slept in?" he asked. Kerr merely nodded and grabbed a nearby data pad. Before he could read it, Jacobs pointed to the other side of the catwalk behind them.

"They're doing a check of the halls that lead to and from the external access junctions, just in case there's some internal damage we missed" Jacobs said. Kerr nodded and walked over to a small group of technicians who were gathered around a single console. Tech Officer Earl Bernard smiled at Kerr.

"Hey Bryan, we need your help" he said. Bryan nodded and spread his arms out.

"That's what I'm here for man. What's up?"

"We're afraid that when the Covenant attacked us, they might've done some damage. I just need you and the other guys here to check the external hatches and elevators" said Bernard. Kerr nodded.

"Not a problem." And without another word, Bryan slouched off through another door, which led into a few hallways. He passed two other technicians in there, and then reached the external elevator. It came to a stop and the huge titanium doors parted, allowing the single human to walk on the elevator. It was designed to hold military vehicles and large repair crews, but since the ship had just left the star base, it wasn't used a lot.

As the elevator continued to ascend, Bryan noticed that the temperature levels began to climb. Even with the somewhat large amounts of wind hitting him from the elevator, he was still sweating. He activated his radio.

"Hey Jacobs" he said. No answer. Kerr raised an eyebrow and tried again. He banged his radio a few times, and tried. Still nothing. Muttering curses, he pocketed the radio away and watched the elevator stop. The doors opened and led into a dimly light hall. Kerr walked down it and activated his flashlight. He scanned the walls and ceiling, looking for any signs of damage. Nothing. As he continued on through the hall, he could hear the steady sound of water dripping. This confused Bryan, since water wasn't used at all in the engines of UNSC vessels. He pressed on, keeping his eyes and ears open for the source. He rounded a corner and walked into a somewhat large room, whose lights weren't giving off enough light. Bryan scanned the room. There were a few consoles which were offline and some repair crates, but nothing special.

Suddenly, the sound of water dripping could be heard again. Bryan turned around and looked up at the ceiling. Along the wall was what looked like some sort of blood, but it was a greenish color. A large puddle of it was formed in the corner. The dripping was coming from the ceiling. As Kerr squinted to get a better look, he could hear a squishy noise behind him. He whirled around and aimed the flashlight around. A shadow moved near the offline consoles. Bryan look at is, but saw nothing. His heart was hammering and his sweat coming down his face didn't help. It was so hot. The squishy noise returned. Bryan's hand shook as he aimed his flashlight around. Suddenly, the dripping behind him increased. Kerr watched it come down a lot more forcefully and the puddle expanded. Bryan had to get out of here. He began to back out of the room, still aiming his flashlight around. He finally turned and almost ran into a shadowy figure blocking the hall. Bryan grinned.

"Jacobs, thank god" he said. Bryan aimed his flashlight up. What stood in front of him made his voice disappear as he tried to scream. Without warning, a smaller figure appeared at the large grotesque's feet and latched onto Bryan's neck. His voice returned and he screamed as he tried to get the thing off. A tendril of some sort entered the tech officer's neck and found his brain stem. Without warning, Bryan Kerr blacked out.

"Jacobs to Kerr, come in Kerr"

"Tech Officer Bryan Kerr, this is Tech Chief Elliott, please respond." Hal Jacobs lowered his radio.

"The area he's in should allow radio communication" he said. Elliott nodded.

"Did he take his radio?"

"Of course sir, he always does" Jacobs answered. Elliott nodded again.

"Okay, Jacobs, Bernard, you're with me. The rest of you, keep working" Elliott ordered. Hal Jacobs fastened his radio to his belt and also made sure his M6D pistol was there. He looked up at Elliott.

"Bryan didn't have his pistol sir, he didn't have it on him" he said. Elliott looked up from his own pistol, and then slowly nodded. Bernard stood waiting by the access elevator, looking up and calling Bryan's name. Jacobs and Elliott joined him.

"No answer, just my echo" Bernard said. Elliott smirked, and then climbed onto the elevator. The huge catwalk trembled as it slowly began to ascend into the external access junction. Bernard wiped his forehead.

"Is it just me, or is it hot up here?" he asked. Jacobs nodded. He too had suddenly become very hot. The elevator came to a stop and lead into a dimly light hallway. Elliott led the way, Jacobs right behind him and Bernard bringing up the rear. They walked slowly through the hall, listening hard for any noises. Elliott had his flashlight out and came to a corner. He stood frozen to the spot.

"Oh god" he whispered. Jacobs rounded the corner as well and stared at the floor. A huge buddle of green and red blood blocked their path. The green blood was slowly consuming the human red blood, as if infecting it. Suddenly, a series of bangs echoed throughout the hall. Elliott turned around.

"Bernard, will you....Bernard?" Jacobs turned and suddenly realized that Tech Officer Bernard was gone.

"Bernard!" called Jacobs. No answer. Jacobs looked at Elliott, who took out his pistol and cocked it. Jacobs did the same. They began walking back to the elevator, pistols up at the ready. They reached it and the two of them nearly vomited at what lay on the titanium catwalk.

It was Bernard, or at least, half of him. His body from the waist up lay on the elevator, his intestines and other vital organs hanging out. Bernard was still alive, but barely. He looked up the two technicians, but was shaking too much to talk. His mouth moved.

"What?" asked Elliott, leaned in closer. Bernard coughed and blood went flying. Jacobs suddenly realized that Bernard was covered in some sort of green fungus, and it was still growing. Elliott didn't notice however, he was trying to get an answer out of the nearly dead technician. Jacobs leaned closer as well. Bernard looked at them.

"Run" he whispered. Without warning, the elevator let out a bang and began to drop to the ground. Bernard screamed widely and reached for help. Elliott was about to fall, but Jacobs caught him and held him back. The elevator disappeared, Bernard still screaming.

Following the huge bang from the elevator smashing into the ground below, the air was filled with barks and gurgles noises. Jacobs and Elliott both turned around and pointed their pistols into the hallway they had been in. Jacobs could make out movement, but couldn't see what it was. Suddenly, a single figure appeared into the light off the elevator hall. What had been a human was now a dead human corpse, dug up from its grave after being left in it for a few years. Jacobs stared into the glazed over eyes of Bryan Kerr. He was sort of limping towards them; his one arm was some sort of long tentacle. In fact, his whole body was sprouting tentacles. That green fungus that had been on Bernard's body had totally covered Bryan. His head wasn't even on straight. It hung off to the side, held together by a few strands of flesh.

"Bryan?" asked Elliott beside Jacobs. Without warning, Bryan charged forward, raising his tentacle arm and flinging it at Elliott. Like a whip, the tip of the tentacle hit Elliott in the face and beheaded him. The Tech Chief's corpse fell backwards and disappeared down the elevator hole. Jacobs screamed and fired off several pistol rounds. They struck Bryan in his stomach area and the grotesque being fell over. Jacobs was breathing hard and was about to scream for help, when Bryan's body began to shift. He suddenly stood up completely and even more pissed. Jacobs raised his pistol, but Bryan smashed it away, breaking Jacobs's wrist in the process. The technician screamed, and then punched Bryan with his other hand. His fist met completely hardened flesh and Jacobs felt several bones in his fingers snap. He howled with pain. The last thing he saw was a little ball with tiny tentacle legs rush forward and latch onto Hal's face. The technician screamed and tried to get it off, but the little thing inserted a tendril and Hal blacked out.

As the Hybrid continued through the Slip Stream hole to its destination, the engine room was slowly being taken over by an enemy known as the Flood. The white balls of energy had actually been Covenant boarding ships, but had a special shield that glowed white and allowed the ship to breach the shields and latch onto the hull of the enemy ship. Soon, the entire crew company of the Hybrid would be fighting for their lives onboard their own ship.

By: Agent Shade

Survival, Chapter Three: The Battle for Survival begins...
Date: 20 September 2003, 4:16 AM

Survival, Chapter Three: The Battle for Survival begins...

It was hot. Captain Malcolm Savard sat in his command chair, his uniform collar unbuttoned and fanning himself. He looked back over at Lieutenant Yu.

"Turn the air up would you Lieutenant" he asked.

"Sir, the air conditioning in the ship has been put to full blast several times, but someone keep turning it down" the Chinese woman replied. Savard finally stood up and walked over to her console. He could see a blue bar on her screen going up, which represented the power of the air cycling through the vents. Suddenly, it began to drop. Yu moved her hands away from her console.

"It's not accidental sir" she said. Savard scratched his chin and stood straight.

"Have you had the engine room check it out?" he asked. Yu's face changed to a scared expression.

"Well, there's another problem. Tech Officer Elliott has gone missing. He and two other technicians went up into the access junctions to look for Tech Officer Bryan Kerr. All four of them haven't been back. Tech Chief Cassell is running things down there now, but they're trying to fix one of the access elevators that fell of its hinges" she said. Savard was really confused. The thing that confused him the most was the missing technicians. He had to act.

"Go to caution alert and post security teams throughout the ship. We may have some stowaways onboard" he ordered. The emergency lights in the bridge began to blink a dark orange. Within seconds, a full team of eight Marine Regulars marched into the room, holding MA5B assault rifles. The Staff Sergeant saluted at the Captain, who returned it. Savard then turned back to Lieutenant Yu.

"What are the current reports from engineering?" he asked.

"They found the elevator and it's covered with the remains of a human. The hinges were blown off by someone. The elevator can't be fixed" she reported, looking at the readouts scrolling across her screen. Savard gulped.

"Jesus..." he whispered and sat back in his chair. "Full emergency stop, take us out of the Slip Stream" he suddenly ordered. Lieutenant Dela Cruz raised an eyebrow as he typed in several commands to his console. The Hybrid braked quickly and Savard could feel his body lean forward from the sudden stoppage of movement. The bridge crew turned to look at him. He stood.

"Staff Sergeant, send your men into the access ways and find out what the hell is going on up there" he ordered. Staff Sergeant Jordan Evans nodded and rushed out of the bridge.

"I need a full security detail down in engineering now!" he yelled into his radio. Savard then relaxed and looked at the rest of the bridge crew.

"Monitor your consoles; we'll let the marines handle this one. If anything bad comes up, notify me immediately" he said. Not a second later, Lieutenant Yu gasped.

"Uhhh, sir" she said. Savard looked at her. "I've just lost contact with engineering" she whispered. Malcolm furrowed his brow and rushed to her console. It was completely blank. No info scrolled across its screen. Savard looked at Yu who was still looking at the blank screen. The Captain turned around.

"Seal off the engineering deck, post security teams at every access points" he ordered. As several technicians obliged, Malcolm grabbed his radio.

"Sergeant Evans?"

"Yes Captain?"

"Hold your progress; fall back to the nearest access point leading into the engineering deck. We may have a small problem" he said.

"I was just about to tell you that sir, we've just found a couple of dead crewman here in the hall" he said.

"Get out of there now Sergeant, we're sealing off that deck" Savard said quickly.

"Already on it sir" Savard switched the radio off, and then moved to Lieutenant Dela Cruz.

"Show me the exterior of the ship, all cameras" he said. Dela Cruz nodded and eight small screens appeared on the main screen. Savard looked long and hard at them.

"Magnify the engineering camera" he ordered. The next screen that popped up was completely blank. "Is it offline?"

"No sir, I'm getting a return signal from it" Dela Cruz said. Savard nodded.

"Which camera shows part of the engineering area?" he asked. The Lieutenant typed several commands in. Another camera screen appeared, showing the hull of the ship. Savard continued to look hard at the image. Something didn't seem right. Where access hatches and elevators should be, there were odd lumps of some sort.

"Magnify" he ordered. The image enhanced. The lumps didn't look like part of the ship at all. At a closer look, they looked like Covenant boarding crafts. Savard's eyes widened and he sat up.

"Replay the Strength and Honor's attack on us" he ordered. A small movie screen appeared, showing the first volley of the white balls of energy the Covenant ship had fired at them.

"Go" Savard said. The image played and the white lights flew at the shields. Just at the moment of contact, Savard raised his hand.

"Freeze image!" The computer complied and the image froze. "Magnify" he said again. The camera zoomed in on the edge of the shield barrier. Savard could make out four Covenant boarding ships emerging from the vanishing white lights. They were camouflaged quite well to look like a part of the ship.

"Resume playback, speed negative ten" Savard said. The playback continued, but at a much slower rate. The white light vanished, but the Covenant boarding crafts remained. They latched into the ship and became part of the hull. Savard shook his head.

"Lieutenant Bishop" he said suddenly. The young weapons officer snapped to attention.

"Yes sir?" he asked.

"See those eight lumps on the hull of the ship? Near the engineering area?" Malcolm asked. Bishop squinted at his screen.

"Yes sir, I do"

"Are they within turret range?" he asked. Bishop did a few calculations with his computer.

"Yes sir, four nearby 50mm chain guns can hit all eight of them" he said.

"Open fire Lieutenant" Savard ordered. The Lieutenant replied and the sound of chain gun fire could be heard. The camera showed all eight of the lumps exploding, then breaking off as Covenant boarding crafts.

"Son of a bitch" whispered a nearby marine Corporal. Malcolm nodded.

"Go to Battle alert" he ordered.

Lance Corporal David Fitzgerald sat cross-legged on the floor, twirling his combat knife in his hand. He spat a wad of chewing tobacco on the deck and leaned back against a piece of the blockade they had set up around the main entrance to the engineering deck. Sergeant McGrath looked up from his weapon he was polishing.

"What did I tell you about chewing that shit Corporal? You spit that all out right now, you here me?" he ordered. Fitzgerald smirked and spat out the whole wad onto the deck. Several nearby marines grimaced at the lump of tobacco. McGrath stood.

"God damnit marine, clean that shit up right now!" he yelled. Fitzgerald shook his head and stood. He had always shown attitude to higher ranking marines. They handled it well, but most times they found him damn annoying. That was understandable, since that was what David was trying to do.

A patrol team of seven marines walked into the hall, Lance Corporal Adam Banton leading them. The Corporal saluted Sergeant McGrath, who returned it.

"All quiet sir"

"Sure is...to damn quiet. Whatever is in there isn't going to act soon" McGrath growled. The patrol team fanned out and began chatting away with each other. Fitzgerald simply kicked the lump of tobacco aside with his boot and walked over to the two men.

"Think we should go in there Sarge?" he asked. McGrath looked at him thoughtfully.

"I dunno marine. Normally I would, but we're under strict orders too making sure nothing breaks loose. We'll stay here for now" the Sergeant said. Fitzgerald stomped his foot.

"Damnit, you know as well as I do that I hate waiting for an ambush of some sort" he growled.

"I know Corporal, but we stick to procedure and wait for orders understood?" Sergeant McGrath asked, staring at David. Corporal Fitzgerald nodded.

"Loud and clear sir" he whispered. The Sergeant nodded and walked off to the line of titanium blockades they had set up. Fitzgerald turned to Banton.

"What do you think dude?"

"I tell ya man, I'm with you. Let's kill those bastards who fight like cowards" the Corporal said through gritted teeth. Fitzgerald smirked and stared at the floor. He had seen war before, he had seen death, he wasn't afraid of it at all. He just wanted to do his duty and end the war. He had gone into boot with that attitude; he would die with that attitude. Fitzgerald had been raised on Earth, like many of the other marines in his company. He had joined the military the moment word got out of the Covenant invasion. Before he knew it, he was fighting in residential areas of Earth he had grown up in. He'd seen loved ones get slaughtered, good friends fall. He used the pain to increase his rage for the enemy and improve his overall battle effort. Fitzgerald was a born fighter and wasn't supposed to wait for an enemy to attack him. His prayers were answered quickly.

"Bridge to Sergeant McGrath" came the voice of Staff Sergeant Jordan Evans through Sergeant McGrath's radio. The Sergeant grabbed it from his collar and clicked it on.

"Yes sir, what can I do for you?"

"It's been at least four hours since we lost contact of engineering. Scans and internal cameras show nothing. I'm sending another security detail your way. Head into the compromised area of the ship and flush out whatever the hell is in there" ordered the Staff Sergeant. McGrath grinned and glanced over at Fitzgerald briefly.

"Yes sir, we're on it, out" he said, putting his radio back on his collar. He turned to the rest of the marines around him.

"Saddle up you pussies. Got some new orders for us" he yelled. This seemed to boost the marine's spirits as they grabbed their weapons, buckled up their bodysuit armor and gathered around the Sergeant. While this happened, a large group of marines appeared at the end of the hall and walked towards them. One man saluted Sergeant McGrath.

"Sergeant Graham, good to see you" McGrath said, returning the salute. Graham grinned.

"Let's get this show on the road" he whispered. His voice was very scratchy, suggesting over usage of cigars. McGrath nodded.

"We split up into two groups and search out those assholes killing off the flyboys in the engineering area. I will lead team one, Sergeant Graham will lead team two. We search every single nook and cranny on this deck, and then meet back here. Keep radio contact to a minimum. You report any sounds or movements at all to either me or Sergeant Graham, or one of the Corporals in your group, got it?" explained Sergeant McGrath. Several marines nodded, others grunted in approval. McGrath raised himself to his full six foot height. "Well we won't get anywhere just standing here. Move your pussy asses on the double. Move that blockade and open the door. We got some hunting to do!" he roared. The marines moved quickly and shoved the titanium blockades aside in groups. Fitzgerald stood by the door control panel on the left side of the giant airlock door. When the blockades were pushed aside, the marines fanned out in front of the door, weapons up and ready. Sergeant McGrath nodded at David, who pulled the lever, then crouched low and raised his weapon.

Slowly, the doors that were used as airlocks to trap enemies in a specific area opened. All that was revealed was complete darkness. Not a single light was functional. Fitzgerald squinted hard, but couldn't see anything. Sergeant McGrath switched his flashlight on. The other marines followed suite. Slowly, they moved into the darkened hallway in large groups. Fitzgerald, McGrath and three other marines followed two other large groups of marines ahead of them. Four other groups followed. They kept the door open, allowing some of the light from the hallway to shed into the darkness.

Even with the flashlights, Fitzgerald could barely see. He switched to night vision mode on his eye reticule and could make out his surroundings a lot better. The hallway they walked through looked exactly like it did before, except the lights were off. McGrath motioned to his right, and Fitzgerald hugged the wall, sidestepping across. He approached an access door which led into a smaller hall. Fitzgerald stood at the corner; a marine private crouched in front of him. Fitzgerald counted down from three with his fingers, and then the two of them swung around and aimed their lights into the hall. There was nothing there. The two men shrugged and rushed to gather around the two Sergeants.

"Okay, this is where we split up. I don't want a single marine to go wandering off. You stick with your squad until this mission is done got it?" McGrath whispered. The marines nodded. McGrath nodded at Graham, who returned it.

"Team two, on me" Graham whispered. The security detail that Staff Sergeant Evans sent followed the Sergeant and disappeared in a smaller hall to their left. Fitzgerald stood around the marines he had been with since they stood on guard duty. McGrath looked at them.

"We'll start with that door, it leads to the engine room more or less" he said, motioning to the hall that Fitzgerald and the private had looked into. McGrath and Corporal Banton led the way, with Fitzgerald and the other marines right behind them. They moved slowly, to make sure they didn't get ambushed. McGrath swung around the corner of the hall, along with Banton. Fitzgerald moved through with two marines behind him. They stopped at another corner and looked down the hall. There was nothing there. The rest of the group followed through and moved down the new hall, waving their weapons about. The end of the hall was a door, which led into a larger hallway, much like the one they had come from, from the start. Fitzgerald found the control panel for the door. He looked at Banton, who looked at McGrath. The Sergeant nodded, and then Corporal Banton nodded. Fitzgerald pulled the lever, and the door moved open slowly. Banton and two marines moved in first. The door entered into the end of the large hallway. The three marines pointed their weapons down the hall and covered McGrath and Fitzgerald as they followed them. As Fitzgerald moved into the new, larger hallway, he knew something was wrong immediately. The air was a lot heavier in here, and the heat was incredible. He could smell rotting flesh somewhere and it was very hazy. McGrath motioned for them to split up into smaller groups again and fan out along the walls of the hallway. Fitzgerald and three other marines lead the other marine groups on the left side of the wall. They moved just as slow as the other marines did on the right side of the hall.

The smell of rotting flesh became stronger. Fitzgerald wanted to cover his nose, but he held back the temptation and focused on making it through the hallway alive. Sure enough, as they continued to move, the source of the smell was found.

A green fungus was growing along the hallway up ahead. It was alive and still infecting the hall. Fitzgerald could see it expanding and forming around the pillars and floor. He moved away from the right side of the wall as the fungus grew past him. The marines on the other side of the wall were encountering similar problems. The stayed near the middle and continued to move down it.

As they did, Fitzgerald could see something in the fungus. There were large lumps in the growing and alive fungus. They were quite large and didn't seem like a part of the original hallway. Fitzgerald held up a fist and knelt beside one of the lumps. He had battle gloves on, which covered his hands completely. He leaned forward and scratched at the fungus. It peeled right off. Fitzgerald continued doing this along the lump in front of him. He eventually stopped and looked at his gloves. Fragments off the fungus were starting to grow on them. He quickly ripped them off and threw them onto the floor, where they were consumed by the fungus. Fitzgerald then looked at the lump he had been digging up and gasped.

The lumps were part of the hallway or the fungus. They were bodies. The distorted dead face of a ship crewman looked up at them. His face was screwed up completely. His eyes were glazed over completely and his skin color was green. Fitzgerald looked away and followed the marines as Sergeant McGrath ordered them to move on.

As they continued moving down the infested hall, David realized they were getting closer to the engine room. What scared Fitzgerald was the large amount of lumps here. They were literally climbing over them. As they reached several more doors, McGrath's radio went off with static. He quickly grabbed it.

"I said no radio contact!" he whispered harshly. No one answered. McGrath raised an eyebrow. "Hello?" he asked.

"AHHHHHHH!!" The distorted death scream of a human somewhere sent a chill down everyone's spin. McGrath shut his radio off and put it away.

"Looks like team two is in trouble. Let's get out of here, the enemy is too strong for a small team like us" McGrath said. Even Fitzgerald was getting spooked out. The team of marines turned and began to head back the way they came. Suddenly, a huge bang echoed throughout the hall. Everyone squatted low and spread apart, scanning the area with their weapons. Following that, the sound of metal being ripped apart could be heard. Fitzgerald pointed his flashlight near the entrance to the engine room and let his mouth drop open.

The doors had been literally blown open. Standing in the entrance way to the engine room was not an army, but more like an invasion of little tennis ball creatures with tentacles. The marines noticed this too and everyone was frozen was fear as they looked at the little things. Suddenly, they noticed the marines and charged, making odd squishy noises as they scurried along the ground towards them. Sergeant McGrath shouldered his assault rifle.

"Fire at will!" he roared. The marines didn't need to be told twice. They fired in long bursts at the little tentacle balls. As the bullets hit them, they popped in a small explosion of flesh and fungi. Fitzgerald must've popped at least fifty of the things, but more kept coming. Without warning, one tentacle ball jumped high into the air and latched itself onto Private Hunter's face. The man screamed widely and ran around, trying to get the thing off. Fitzgerald watched horrified as the man made several choking and gurgle noises, then collapsed onto the ground, the tentacle ball still on him. Fitzgerald turned back to the battle and fired his assault rifle full auto. Several other marines followed suite, and the rate of death increased for the enemy.

"There's too many Sarge!" yelled a nearby private.

"Fall back damnit" McGrath ordered. The marines complied and retreated backwards, firing at the flood of tentacle balls. Fitzgerald suddenly froze on horror.

Most of the little tentacle things were dead, however, the lumps in the floor were starting to move. The bodies in the fungus were moving and coming alive. Fitzgerald watched a dead crewman rip itself free of the fungus and stand immobile for a second. It turned to look at Fitzgerald.

The crewman looked like it was a corpse that had been dug out of its grave after several years of undisturbed sleep. Its right arm looked like some sort of whip. The man's head wasn't even on right, it sort of lay off to the side, useless. The ex-human suddenly let out a bark and rushed forward at Fitzgerald. The Corporal fired at point blank range, and the creature fell. David nodded, thinking it was too easy, but the creature suddenly stood up again and lashed out with its whip. The tip of the large tentacle smashed into Fitzgerald's chest, ripping open the armor. The Corporal yelped in surprise and fired blindly at the creature. Its various limbs fell off and eventually it died.

The other marines were facing similar problems. These new grotesques would go down, and then suddenly come back up. A single whip creature killed two marines by beheading both of them. Not only that, the whip creatures proved to be a distraction for the tentacle balls, which latched themselves onto occupied marines. Fitzgerald punched a tentacle ball in the air as it came at him, and then fired his assault rifle again. A nearby marine private screamed as his arm was ripped off. He fell, clutching his open wound as blood squirted out. This seemed to attract the tentacle balls, since a large tidal wave of them jumped at the private. Fitzgerald heard muffled screams and could see his legs and arms flail around as the little infection forms killed him. Sergeant McGrath knocked down a nearby whip creature, and then looked around him.

"Fall back! Fall back god damnit!" he yelled. Fitzgerald nodded.

"Let's get out of here!" he yelled, grabbing a nearby private and pulling him away from the carnage. Several wounded marines screamed for help, but the infection balls got to most of them first. Fitzgerald grabbed a private who was missing part of his shoulder. His whole arm dangled loosely, until it finally fell off. Two other marines were rescued, but the others were taken by the enemy. The whip creatures chased after them, firing the assault rifles they had acquired from the dead. A marine took a bullet to the back of his neck. He fell forward, sending the wounded marine he was carrying flying into the wall. Bullets flew all around them as the creatures chased them, using their own weapons against them. Several marines who weren't carrying anyone returned fire. Fitzgerald handed the wounded marine he was carrying to someone else, and then helped out the three marines firing at the creatures. As the other marines ran by, a bullet caught a private in the throat. He fell over, trying to scream, but his vocal cords were gone. He rolled back and forth, blood flowing from the wound. Fitzgerald paused to look, but a bullet pinged off his armor. He winced, but returned fire. Sergeant McGrath appeared in the entranceway.

"Let's move it marines!" he yelled. Fitzgerald nodded and ran after him. The other two marines followed, but as the last one ran, a successful three round burst slammed into his head. The marine didn't even scream and simply fell to the ground. The private who got hit in the throat was dead already. All David could think about was running. He, McGrath and the other private ran after the rest of the squad, the creatures right behind them. As they rounded the corner, the enemy appeared and fired. The private took a round to his neck. His body slammed into the wall and slide onto the ground. McGrath and Fitzgerald were alone and running for their lives. They eventually reached the main hall they had came from and made a beeline for the blockade. The other marines were already setting it up. They fired at the creatures behind them. Fitzgerald pumped his legs and arms and sped up. He literally dove over a nearby blockade and skidded along the floor, exhausted. The Sergeant did the same, but a single bullet caught him in the leg. He grunted, and quickly held his wound as he landed on the floor. A marine private quickly shut the door and watched as the creatures tried to scramble through. A single infection form was successful and grabbed hold of a Corporal. The man whoever stayed calm and ripped the thing off, popping it with his hands.

Fitzgerald was breathed heavily and was raised from the floor. McGrath was taken to a corner, where the other wounded were. Fitzgerald could see remnants of team two standing around, many of them covered in blood. Another security detail had arrived. Sergeant George O'Flaherty nodded at all of them.

"Good effort, but this new enemy has proven to be stronger than we expected. Security blockades all around the engineering deck are reporting sightings of these creatures and are under constant attack. Nevertheless, survival is going to be a big issue here. Get some rest; we have a few long days ahead of us..."

By: Agent Shade

Survival, Chapter Four: Critical Alert
Date: 22 September 2003, 7:06 PM

Survival, Chapter Four: Critical Alert

Captain Malcolm Savard sat in his command chair, head in his hands. The news of the existence of Flood specimens on board his ship had just reached him. This was a complete surprise to him. He expected Covenant warriors to be on board, not the Flood. Not only that, but he was hoping the Covenant were onboard, since they seemed to be the easier enemy than the Flood. Savard raised his head and put his chin on his hands, sighing heavily. Beside him, Sergeant Major Harry Anderson stood at attention.

"Captain Savard" he said, saluting. Malcolm stood and returned it.

"What's happening down there Harry?" asked the Captain. Anderson walked over to a nearby console and accessed the data charts of the engineering deck. Malcolm looked over his shoulder.

"Well sir, here is how it starts. The engineering deck has four main access ways, which we've surrounded with marine security teams. There are two additional entrances, in the auxiliary access tubes, located throughout the ship. I doubt the Flood know about them, but since they've infested tech officers, we'll assume they do. Because of that, I've had marines completely seal off those tubes with titanium blockades and triple locking the doors. There's no way they can break through. Now, we look at the main problem here. The Flood most likely obtained an additional one hundred fifty specimens into their army when they took the engine room, and the surrounding halls. Thanks to field data, we've confirmed they can use our weapons and have most likely accessed our main armory stations along that level. Because of this added firepower, our security teams positioned around the four entrances are encountering a lot of resistance. Reports show that each blockade team is attacked by at least ten or fifteen Flood warriors spread out through a few hours. These guys don't go down with a fight. In the past day of fighting these bastards, we've lost sixty marines" Anderson explained. Savard pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Will they hold?" he asked, referring to the security teams. Anderson looked up at his Captain and slowly shook his head.

"By the rate of losses we're encountering, our supply of marine regulars will be gone within three days" he said.

"We still have your special forces" Savard said.

"Captain, if we use the Special Forces, we know we are in trouble for sure. I think its best we try to avoid using them. I doubt they would have much success" Anderson countered. Savard lowered his head to the floor.

"What options do we have?" he asked.

"Not much sir. We could increase the numbers of our marines at each entrance, and then slowly move into the engineering. However, by the way our men our dying, we wouldn't last long"

"What else then?"

"The only other idea I could think of is using the access tubes. Send marines through them and dropping in on the Flood unexpected. But, I'm really worried that the Flood knows about the tubes already. We could be setting ourselves up for a very deadly trap" said Anderson. Savard thought for a moment. Both plans were extremely risky. Both plans had the same failure probability. However, if there was one plan Savard was leaning towards, it was the access tubes.

"Okay, here's what we're going to do. We'll rely on our defenses around the entrances for now. See if we can turn the tide and not lose so many marines in every attack. We also go on the offensive. Send small teams of marines in with explosives to kill as many of the bastards as we can. However, if we keep losing more and more marines, we send in the ODSTs through the tubes and kill them, regardless of the danger" Savard decided. Anderson nodded.

"Combine the two plans, good idea sir; I'll relay that to the security team officers" Anderson said. Savard nodded and watched the big marine walk out of the bridge. Malcolm sighed heavily and returned to his chair, where he prayed to whatever god was out there to assist him in this endeavor.


"Cover fire, cover fire!"

"AHHH! It's got me, it's got me!"

"Hold still damnit, MEDIC!"

"I'm hit!"

"Fire in the hole!" Lance Corporal Fitzgerald fired off his assault rifle at a small tentacle ball which was running to a wounded private. The small thing exploded. The marine then crouched up and finished the rest of his clip into a bigger tentacle enemy coming at him. The thing slowly fell over as Fitzgerald reloaded. He slammed a new clip in, cocked his weapon and fired a few rounds into the corpse in front of him. He paused at the sound of a marine screaming "HIT THE DIRT" as he unpinned a fragmentation grenade. As he did, a tentacle corpse launched itself into the air and stomped right on top of the private, crushing the man's chest. The marine screamed and coughed up blood. The grenade without the pin in it fell and detonated.

There was a flash of light, followed by an explosion that rocked the entire deck. The marine and the tentacle corpse disappeared. Two nearby marines were blown into the wall, covered in shrapnel. Another marine lost part of his leg from the explosion. Fitzgerald felt small pieces of shrapnel hit him, and then it was done. He stood and fired what was left in his clip at the enemy. He rushed over to the wounded marine and dragged him off to the side. He reloaded and continued to fire, hitting another tentacle corpse.

After a few more minutes of dreadful carnage, the last four tentacle corpses rushed back into their domain, their barks and screams echoing off throughout the hall. Fitzgerald still had his gun pointed down the hall, but finally relaxed his grip and sat against the wall. He discharged the old clip and reached for another one, but found none. A dead marine lay beside him, three clips of 7.62 armor-piercing rounds on his belt. Fitzgerald grabbed the three of them and nodded at the dead man's glazed over eyes. A corpsman came by and dragged him away. As Fitzgerald sat there, trying to get his heart beat down, Staff Sergeant McGrath limped over to him.

"How you doin marine?" he asked. Fitzgerald looked up at him.

"I dunno Sarge, I'm kinda confused" he said. McGrath knelt beside him, wincing at his bullet wound.

"What's up?" he asked. Fitzgerald and the Sergeant had become a lot closer as friends since this they returned from their little field trip into the engine room. Fitzgerald looked away for a second, staring into the darkness of the hall ahead of them.

"What are they?" he asked, looking back at the Sergeant. McGrath nodded and leaned back.

"Bout time I told you and the others what they are eh? You've never seen them before?" asked the Sergeant.

"No sir, I did most of my fighting on Earth" the Corporal answered. McGrath nodded again.

"I know what they are, as do the flyboys up there in the bridge, but I guess they aren't going to tell you. They're called the Flood Fitzgerald, and I guess you can assume why. They're a parasitic enemy that Spartan-117 found on that ring world he fought on, back in the days of the Pillar of Autumn. We know almost nothing about them, only that those little guys, the infection forms, infest worthy subjects like marines and Covenant Elites and assimilate them into Flood combat forms. Infested marines, Elites, crewman, those are the guys you're fight now. The little guys ensure that their numbers stay high. There's another form of fighter called the Carrier form. We assume their unworthy subjects like Grunts and Jackals, or they are full grown infection forms. Carriers are suicidal. They waddle up to enemies and explode, spilling more infection forms into the battle. The blast of the carrier is quite powerful, and can whip out the shields of an Elite or a Spartan. But I doubt we'll be fighting them" McGrath explained. Fitzgerald nodded afterwards, digesting all the information.

"Thanks Sarge" he said. McGrath nodded.

"We'll be getting better weapons soon. Assault rifles aren't the best in trying to take out the Flood. The other armory stations are being raided and they're bringing us some shotguns" the Sergeant said. Fitzgerald grinned at this news.

"Good, I was beginning to wonder if any of our weapons could take them out" he said. There was a small silence between them, and then Fitzgerald stood and saluted. McGrath returned it.

"Keep it up Corporal, them flyboys will have us outta here soon" he said, a hint of doubt in his tone. Fitzgerald smirked and walked off. Not a second that he turned away, the Flood returned.

A marine screamed out in alarm and Fitzgerald turned. A single Flood combat form stood in the entrance of the airlock door, which had been blown open earlier. The infested marine held a M19 SSM Jackhammer launcher in its one hand. Fitzgerald gasped and watched the thing turn and fire a 108mm rocket into a group of marine's playing cards. The entire wall they sat around exploded and the remains of the six men splattered all over the deck. Fitzgerald raised his assault rifle, but the combat form fired again, this time in the direction of Staff Sergeant McGrath. The marine Sergeant was standing a few feet away from the wall, but the blast wave of the rocket exploding sent him flying into the other wall, the back of his armor gone. Fitzgerald fired, and the Flood's arm fell off. The smoking Jackhammer fell. Without warning, the Flood form charged at Fitzgerald, who dropped his assault rifle and whipped out his Kevlar combat knife. The Flood form raised its tentacle whip back and then swung it forward. David held his knife up and cut off part of the whip coming at him. However, a good majority of it slammed into the left side of his torso area. The armor in that area was ripped apart, revealing open flesh. David sidestepped to avoid another attack, and then stabbed several times at the infested marine. It roared and turned, bringing its whip around again. It cracked over Fitzgerald's shoulder, piercing his skin. David howled in pain, and then growled viciously as he brought his knife down all over the Flood form. He successfully cut off the thing's whip, and then jumped on top of it, stabbing at it continuously. It let out small gurgles, and then seized to exist. Fitzgerald stood over it and spat on its body. He suddenly realized that the entire area was filling up with Flood combat forms as they charged into the hall. David grabbed his assault rifle and fired a few rounds with his good arm. He rushed over to Sergeant McGrath, who held his M6D pistol and was firing. Blood was flowing from the back of his head, and his nose was bleeding. He grinned, showing blood painted teeth. David shook his head.

"Damnit Sarge, why didn't you move outta the way?" he asked. McGrath chuckled and coughed up blood.

"You get the men out of here, finish the mission and kill all of them" he ordered. Fitzgerald nodded.

"Yes sir" he said. McGrath smiled at him.

"You're in charge now son, good luck" he whispered. Fitzgerald patted his shoulder, and then saluted. McGrath raised a shaky hand and returned it. Slowly, David backed away, then turned and ran.

"Fall back! Fall back!" he yelled at the marines still trying to fight off the Flood. However, they had sent every available warrior and their position was being overrun. As Fitzgerald and the others ran, McGrath fought for his life with a single pistol. Without warning, a single infection form leapt forward and grabbed the man's face. McGrath screamed, but no one could help him. His life ended.

Malcolm Savard could hear reports being yelled out all around him; however he could not hear them. He had dozed off for a moment, wishing the mission could've gone well. He wasn't prepared for this kind of battle. He felt a hand on his shoulder. Savard snapped out of his trance and looked up at Sergeant Major Anderson.

"The Flood jumped ahead of schedule. They've sent all of their warriors through the entrances and through the access tubes" he said. Savard stood.

"I thought you said you sealed the tubes off?" he asked. Anderson nodded.

"Yes sir, we thought we did, but they proved to be more resourceful than we though. They overcame the locks and pretty much climbed over the blockades. We're facing a massive infestation of the ship. All forward security teams are falling back. We've confirmed that all of the Staff Sergeants in charge have been killed" Anderson explained. Savard bowed his head. He turned around to Lieutenant Dela Cruz at the helm.

"Go to Critical alert" he ordered. Dela Cruz nodded. A loud Klaxon alarm soon filled the room. Savard then turned to Major Anderson.

"Get the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers" he said. Anderson hesitated, and then nodded. He turned and headed out of the bridge again, passing a huge group of marines who were setting up a security blockade. Savard sat back in his chair.

"New strategies are needed" he said to no one.

By: Agent Shade

Survival, Chapter Five: Chaos
Date: 25 September 2003, 3:21 AM

Survival, Chapter Five: Chaos

"Flood forces overwhelming the blockade! Executive officers all dead. Casualties range in the hundreds, we need back up. Oh Christ, they've breached the perimeter, fall back! Control, Flood forces pushing deeper into the ship, nothing we can-"

Captain Savard sat completely still as the same message from a marine Corporal was played over again. Finally, he looked at Lieutenant Hayes and motioned with his hand across his throat. The Lieutenant nodded and the message stopped. Major Anderson stood by the Captain's side.

"We're getting reports of Flood activity all over the ship. They've escaped the engineering deck and are moving throughout the levels above and below" he said gravely. Savard swore out loud and looked at a readout of the ships interior. There were red markings all over the bottom level of the ship, indicating Flood activity.

"Seal off decks 19-24. I don't want a single one of those bastards breaching the upper part of this ship" he growled. Lieutenant Hayes nodded and relayed the order. Savard looked at the Major.

"What kind of weapons are our boys using?"

"Mostly assault rifles sir. We're grabbing all the available shotguns in the armories and dishing them out the marine security teams, but they're scattered all over the place" Anderson replied. Savard nodded.

"Just make sure every marine has one. I also want this bridge sealed off. Bring in what marines you can Major, I don't want a huge defense in here, most of our boys should be out in the ship" he said. Major Anderson nodded.

"Is that all sir?" he asked. Savard shook his head.

"I'm putting you in charge of internal security Major Anderson. You're in command of the marine forces. Tell them what to do to beat our enemy" he said. Anderson nodded and saluted. Savard returned it.

"Good luck" Malcolm said. Anderson nodded and marched out of the room, a handful of marines following him. Staff Sergeant Evans watched them go, and then turned to Captain Savard.

"Awaiting your orders sir" he said.

"Raid the barracks Evans, get some combat armor for the ships crew. I also want some more weapons and ammo in here" Savard ordered. The Sergeant nodded and turned to the fifteen marines with him.

"Green team with me, the rest of you hold here" he said quickly and rushed out of the bridge, five marines behind him. As they left, Savard looked at the readouts scrolling across Lieutenant Yu's screen.

"What power do we have?" he asked.

"Not much sir, the Flood have re-routed almost all main power to main engineering. They've knocked out communications, weapons systems and most of the controls of this ship. All I have is environmental control, life support, internal Comm. Channels and the rest of the ship's controls" she said.

"What can you make this ship do?" Captain Savard asked again.

"Well sir, the Flood have control over engine power. I can activate the engines, but they have the power to increase or decrease our speed. They can also steer most of the ship, although I'm sure Lieutenant Dela Cruz would be able to battle that" she said. Malcolm nodded.

"Is there someway we can get a single out to the UNSC about our situation. Can we somehow use the Comm. channels?"

"For now, no sir, there is no way, but I'm sure if you give me a few hours or so, I could cook something up with Lieutenant Hayes" she said. Malcolm patted her shoulder.

"Get to it" he ordered. Yu nodded and abandoned her station. Savard turned around.

"Lieutenant Dela Cruz, since helm controls are useless, man Lieutenant Yu's post" he said. The Mexican-American crewmember saluted and walked over to Yu's post. Savard turned to his weapon's officer.

"You up to some fighting?" he asked the man. Lieutenant Bishop was holding his M6D pistol in his hands. Before joining the Navy, he had been a combat marine, part of the Earth Defense Forces. Bishop looked up and grinned.

"Yes sir" he said. Savard nodded.

"Suit up and go find Major Anderson. You'll take your orders from him" Savard said. Bishop nodded and left. Savard had a moment to breathe in slowly, and then relax. He sat in his chair and listened to the chaotic reports coming in from the marines.

Lance Corporal Fitzgerald and what remained of his security team had run through two decks, trying to escape the Flood behind them. Eventually, they rounded a corner after exiting an elevator and faced a large security blockade positioned at one of the air locks. Surrounding the titanium blockades were chunks of human and Flood flesh. The floor was stained with blood and the walls covered with bullet holes. Fitzgerald slowly walked into the open.
"Friendlies coming out!" he yelled. The security marines held their fire and one stood and saluted.

"Private First Class Walker sir!" he said. David Fitzgerald returned the salute.

"Lance Corporal Fitzgerald, who's in charge here private?" he has quickly. Private Walker shook his head.

"Killed in the last attack sir" he said. Fitzgerald swore.

"All right, the Flood army is right behind us. Let's pull together and try and fight them off" he said. He heard mumbled agreements as he climbed over the blockades and grabbed some weapons and ammo. This team of marines didn't have shotguns, which made him worry even more. No sooner did he and his teams of marines get ammo for their weapons, the sound of the Flood could be heard. First came the squishy noise that the infection forms made, followed by the gurgles and barks of combat forms. Fitzgerald crouched behind a blockade.

"Gentlemen, assault rifles are the worst type of weapon to use against the Flood, but since it's all we have, we'll make do. The limbs of the Flood are east to shoot off. If you can, aim for their arms and legs to put them down" yelled the Corporal. Not a heartbeat later, the Flood rounded the corner of the hall and came at them. Without a word, Fitzgerald opened fire, as did his marines. Dozens of bullets flew into the Flood lines, causing many of them to recoil backwards. Several Flood forms were knocked over, and then trampled by the other forms running to the marines. Fitzgerald ran out of ammo quickly. He tossed a fragmentation grenade as he reloaded. Slowly, the other marines around him encountered the same problem. This allowed the Flood to advance. Several of them leapt forward at them, but several marines had reloaded early and shot them out of the air. However, the other flood forms took out their own assault rifles and opened fire. Bullets pinged off the blockade pieces, as the marines attempted to duck and stay low. Several bullets struck marines in the head and shoulders. They fell over sideways, screaming in pain. A marine beside Fitzgerald took a round to his neck. He fell backwards, grabbing his wound in pain. He tried to scream, but nothing but a weak scream came out.

Fitzgerald forced himself to ignore the man and continued to fire. Both sides exchanged death to each other. Blood was forming in puddles around the marines as more and more took bullets to their upper torso area. As Flood forms kept fire on the marines, a second wave of Flood combat forms jumped and flew right over the blockades, landing behind the marines. Fitzgerald turned right around and fired quickly, taking out a combat form's leg. Two of its colleagues however moved in and swiped away with their tentacle whips. Two marines stood to attack, but gunfire from the other Flood forms struck them in the back. As they fell, the combat forms they were going to attack moved in on them and ripped them to pieces. Fitzgerald stood and tackled a Flood form that beheaded a nearby marine. The two of them skidded along the floor, fighting each other. Fitzgerald knew he was in trouble. The Flood combat form was extremely powerful. He quickly grabbed his pistol from his side and fired five rounds into the Flood form's stomach. It let out a loud gurgle, than died. Fitzgerald stood, and then tossed another fragmentation grenade into the Flood forms moving in on the blockade. The marines were scattered around the area, firing the odd shot, then turning to defend themselves from a tentacle whip. Fitzgerald began using his assault rifle as a club. He was able to beat on wounded Flood to death, but another Flood form leapt at him and lashed out with its whip. Fitzgerald felt the tip of the whip rip open his armor around his stomach. Luckily, his skin wasn't pierced. David grabbed his pistol and fired it continuously into combat form. Finally, he stood up completely.

"Retreat! Fall back to the upper level!" he yelled. The marines didn't need to be told twice. They ran quickly from the blockade, firing random shots over their heads. Fitzgerald and two privates provided cover fire from the hall they stood in. The marines rushed past him, and they followed, tossing two frag grenades as they did. As Fitzgerald and the others ran through the corridors, additional marine teams provided cover fire, crouching near the edge of the hall and fired random shots at the Flood. They followed Fitzgerald, who was eventually leading the way. They reached another airlock hallway and passed Private Walker and four marines waiting to help their comrades. Fitzgerald waited with them and urged his men onwards. The Flood suddenly appeared at the end of the hall. The small team with David fired and the first two Flood forms dropped dead. They kept firing, until finally they retreated.

"Hold here!" Fitzgerald yelled, looking at the air lock they were standing around. The marines acknowledged him and fanned out along the edge of the hall, weapons trained at the entrance. The Flood ran through and were cut down by bullet fire. More fragmentation grenades were tossed. Two Flood forms were blown right into the marine lines, knocking over a private. Several Flood forms were able to fire off a few rounds. A nearby private took a round to his leg. The marine in front of him turned to help, but another bullet round hit him in the back of the head. He fell over, a pool of blood forming around him. Two marines standing closest to the entrance to the air lock hallway both died quickly as a group of Flood near the entrance fired at them. Their bodies danced on the spot as bullets rammed into them. When the Flood stopped, the dead marines fell. The same Flood forms rounded the corner and fired again. The marine in front of Fitzgerald took a bullet round to his left hip. He fell, clutching it and screaming for help. David lifted him up and threw him over his shoulder.

"Retreat!" he yelled again. Several marines provided cover fire, while the others either ran for their lives, or helped carry the wounded. Fitzgerald led the way, the marine on his back still screaming in pain.

"Shut up marine! Tough it out until we find you a doctor!"

"My kidney's gone and exploded sir! I'm pissing blood and it hurts!" he screamed. Fitzgerald shook his head and dropped him to the ground.

"Put your arm around me, I'm not having your piss and blood all over the back of my head" he said. The marine complied and they slowed to a jog. Others limped around them. The marines who had been providing cover fire were dead. The last one was tramped by a horde of infection forms. Fitzgerald ignored their screams and kept on running. He knew they were dead. The Flood were breathing right down their backs. Suddenly, an access tube hatch burst open and a large group of combat marines rushed through, all holding M90 shotguns. They didn't say a word and quickly rushed at the Flood, firing off the 12 gauge rounds into them. Within a few seconds of fighting, half of the Flood were dead. Another few seconds went by, and the last Flood form fell dead. The ten marines who had come to their rescue turned and began helping with the wounded. One marine stood in the middle.

"Who's in charge here?" he asked. Fitzgerald stood, wiping blood of his hands.

"I am sir, Lance Corporal Fitzgerald" he said, saluting. The marine returned it.

"Major Anderson, good to see you and your boys made it Fitzgerald. Captain Savard has put me in charge of internal security on this ship. You boys all take orders from me now" he said. Fitzgerald nodded.

"Sure thing sir, what can we do for you?" he asked. It was good to show that even with wounded soldiers; you were willing to help out in anyway. Major Anderson chuckled.

"You and your boys are going to get some rest. For the time being, we've set up a command post in the main cafeteria, two decks up from this one. We'll head there, drop off your wounded, and then head out. I'm focusing on gathering all of the remaining marine forces in that area, then fall back to a smaller area of the ship so it's easier to defend" Anderson explained. Fitzgerald nodded. Suddenly, the barks of more Flood forms could be heard.

"Let's move it ladies, grab the wounded and let's get out of here" Major Anderson snapped. Fitzgerald grabbed his assault rifle, then ushered the marines carrying wounded into the access tube. He and Major Anderson brought up the rear. The hatch closed behind them, just as another Flood attack wave appeared at the end of the hall.

The access tubes ran all over the ship and allowed easy access to certain areas. They were mainly used by engineers and flyboys, but in case of mutiny or aggressive capture, they were handy for positioning troops for an attack within the ship. That was proven when Major Anderson and his men pulled Fitzgerald out of the fire. The tubes were only five feet tall. Fitzgerald was 6'3", so he was forced to duck his head as they walked through the tubes.

Within minutes, the marines at the front of the column popped open the hatch and they climbed into the main cafeteria onboard the Hybrid. Fitzgerald walked in and cracked his neck. Several minutes of crouching low in an enclosed space wasn't fun. He looked around him.

This was Fitzgerald's first visit to the cafeteria. It was quite large and made up most of this deck. They were around seven or eight rows of benches and a large kitchen in the back. There were only three entrances, and all were blocked off. Groups of marines were gathered around them, firing off shotgun rounds at what David assumed was Flood combat forms. He ignored it for now. What attracted him was in the kitchen.

Not only was there food which he helped himself too, but a large ammo dump in the back. He grabbed a M90 shotgun and around 30 rounds. He immediately loaded twelve into the chamber and cocked the weapon. Slinging it over his shoulder, he grabbed a bowl of hot soup and a chunk of bread. A group of marines were sitting at a bench, playing cards. Fitzgerald joined them. Private Walker was sitting among them. He nodded.

"Corporal" he said. Fitzgerald returned the nod. He looked at the other three marines. Walker leaned forward.

"PFCs Graham, Mackenzie and Lafleur" the private said. Fitzgerald nodded at all of them, and then began eating his bread and soup. As he did, he glanced over at Private Mackenzie's cards. They were playing a game of Black Jack, and the private was holding a ten and a five. David chuckled.

"Take a hit" he said. Mackenzie shook his head.

"I got bad luck man, I'm going to stay" he said. Private Lafleur called for a hit. Walker handed him a six. Private Mackenzie swore, causing David to nearly choke on his soup. Private Lafleur grinned and revealed his cards. He had started off with fifteen as well and now had twenty-one.

"The frenchie wins it again" Private Graham said, shaking his head.

"Ah oui my friends, the French always win" Lafleur said with his strong French accent. Fitzgerald drained his soup, and then played a few games with the privates. On David's fourth game, Major Anderson walked over to them.

"Who's winning?" he asked. Everyone pointed to Private Lafleur who grinned. Anderson shook his head.

"Well, my congratulations. Time to wrap up the game though. We're got reports of a group of marines trapped in armory station D. That place only has assault rifles and pistols if I remember correctly. I'm gathering a small team. You boys are with me. Saddle up and meet me near the access tubes" he said. The five marines nodded, and then ditched their cards. Fitzgerald made sure his shotgun was still cocked, and then slammed a fresh magazine into his pistol. He holstered that, and then unslung his shotgun. He and the other privates gathered around Major Anderson, who was already ready.

"Okay, armory station D isn't far from here. Follow me, wait for my signal to attack" he ordered. Including Fitzgerald, eleven marines followed the Major into the access tubes. Fitzgerald was once again forced to duck his head.

The Major was right. The team came to a halt in front of a hatch. Anderson put a finger to his lips and they all listened. The sound of gunfire could be heard beyond the access hatch in front of them. They could hear the Flood and marine's screaming.

"When we get out, we'll be right behind the Flood. Move quickly and take them out. We'll gather up the wounded and move back through this tube. Fitzgerald, you, Graham, Walker, Lafleur and Mackenzie remain here at the tube entrance to make sure it doesn't get surrounded by the Flood got it?" Anderson explained. Fitzgerald and the others nodded. Anderson slowly counted down to three, and then opened the hatch. The team of marines piled out into the hallway and looked around. The Flood were swarming the entrance into the armory room. Immediately, the small fire team came about and opened fire.

Flood forms fell to their knees as continuous shotgun shells flew into them. Several turned, but none of them were able to shoot. The marines moved forward and cut them down, eventually reloading. Fitzgerald took out his pistol and fired off a few rounds, before finishing reloading his shotgun. The Flood forms attack the marines died off quickly. Anderson rushed forward into the armory.

"Fitzgerald, hold here!" he yelled over his shoulder. David nodded and turned to the privates with him.

"Fan out here guys, and shoot anything that comes down that hall" he ordered. The four privates nodded and stayed close to the walls along the hall, crouching low and raising their weapons. Fitzgerald knew that reinforcements would be coming soon. His thoughts betrayed him. They came now.

The hall was soon filled with Flood forms, charging forward. Walker and Graham tossed fragmentation grenades, while Lafleur, Mackenzie and Fitzgerald used their shotguns. The Flood were cut down quickly, but many of them were able to fire off a few shots. Luckily, they all missed. As Fitzgerald fired, he looked behind him.

"Major! We need help" he yelled. Four marines rushed out of the armory room and joined Fitzgerald and the others. They opened fire immediately, causing more Flood forms to fall. The last few were able to fire off a few shots, but not many. They dropped dead.

The ends of the nine shotguns pointing down the hall were smoking terribly. Two of the marines who had joined them, rushing back inside to assist Major Anderson. Fitzgerald kept his eye on the hall.

"Man, this is insane" he heard Private Mackenzie whisper.

"Dude, this may be insane, but do you want to go and fight for the Flood?" asked Private Graham.

"My friends, I would not talk about such things right now. Look, more of our enemies approach us" Private Lafleur said to them both. Fitzgerald smirked, and then fired his shotgun again. As they fought off this new wave, Major Anderson and the other marines appeared, carrying several wounded marines on stretchers. Anderson nodded at Fitzgerald as he passed into the tube.

"Hold here until we're through" he said.

"Got it sir" Fitzgerald answered and tossed his last fragmentation grenade. There was a long line of wounded marines being carried on stretchers. Some of the Flood forms stopped and fired their weapons. A marine carrying the one end of a stretcher took a bullet to his shoulder. Blood flew out and he fell, the stretcher following him. The wounded marine in it screaming in pain from the impact. The marine at the other end bent down to help him, but a round slammed into his head and he fell off to one side. Fitzgerald crouched and ran to the stretcher.

"Where are you hurt?" he asked the marine.

"My left leg sir, its broken" he answered, wincing in pain. Fitzgerald helped him up quickly.

"Walker!" he yelled. Private Walker tossed another grenade, and then ran over to him.

"Yes sir?" he asked.

"Help this man back to the cafeteria, he's the last one" he ordered. Walker slung his shotgun over his shoulder, and then held up the wounded marine. The two of them climbed into the tube. Fitzgerald turned to look at the rest of his marines.

"Fall back into the tubes!" he yelled, after reloading his shotgun. Private Graham threw his last frag grenades, and then ran through the tube, Private Mackenzie right behind him. One of the marines with them took a bullet to his shoulder. He fell over, clutching his wound and screaming. Fitzgerald and Private Lafleur grabbed him and held him up. Private Lafleur went with him. Fitzgerald walked to the tube, ushering the last marine with him to follow.

"Come on!" David yelled. The marine put his shotgun aside then ran to David. A bullet struck him in the chest and he stopped.

"Go sir!" he was able to yell, before being hit by additional bullets. Fitzgerald winced and slammed the hatch shut. He locked it twice, and then backed away, his shotgun still up. As he did, he felt someone tap his shoulder. He whirled around to see Privates Mackenzie and Graham waiting with him.

"Let's get out of here" Fitzgerald said after nodding at the two of them. Second later, they were in the cafeteria, checking in with Major Anderson.

"Glad to see you boys are okay. The last of the rescue teams of come in, we'll hold here for the night. From what the radio's picked up, there are still at least four groups of marines trapped out there. For the time being, looks like the Flood have eased off a bit and are taking a break themselves. Nevertheless, the entire ship has been encumbered by chaos" the Major said sadly. Fitzgerald stood at attention, listening to every word. The Major nodded at them.

"You boys did well, now go rest, we have more rough days ahead of us by the looks of it" he said. Fitzgerald saluted, and then walked back to a bench with Walker and the others. The five of them had become friends, which Fitzgerald was happy about. His one friend, Lance Corporal Banton was dead and the two of them had been life friends. It was good to have some friendly faces to nod too.

That night, Fitzgerald didn't sleep well. The Flood kept on attacking, forcing several marines to defend the entrances. The next few days and nights weren't going to be fun.

By: Agent Shade

Survival, Chapter Six: Days of Rescue and Defense
Date: 27 September 2003, 6:11 AM

Survival, Chapter Six: Days of Rescue and Defense

"Look out!" Lance Corporal Fitzgerald quickly ducked as a volley of assault rifle bullets flew at him. He stood up completely and fired off two rounds from his shotgun. The Flood combat form standing in the hall fell backwards dead. Fitzgerald reloaded quickly and fired an additional four rounds into the mass of Flood forms that were running at him. He stood behind one of the blockades set up in the main cafeteria that was being used as a home base for the marines. Beside him, Privates Walker, Mackenzie, Graham and two other marines fired their own shotguns as well.

"Loading" called out Mackenzie, dropping to one knee and slipping twelve shotgun shells into his weapon. The five other marines covered for the marine. Fitzgerald quickly slammed two more shells in and fired. The Flood had been sending huge attack waves ever since they got back from rescuing the marine fire team trapped in the armory. Fitzgerald had gotten no sleep at all. The two days worth of fighting was starting to affect him.

The Flood pulled back for a moment, before coming in again, firing their weapons wildly. Fitzgerald ducked low, avoiding volleys of bullets being fired at him. He ran out of ammo quickly as he fired at the oncoming mass.

"Loading" he yelled. One of the marines standing beside him suddenly fell backwards, blood flowing from a wound in his shoulder. Fitzgerald kneeled over him.

"Medic!" he called out, looking into the cafeteria. He suddenly realized that they didn't have any medics yet, and most of the marines in the base had gone looking for more trapped security teams with Major Anderson. Fitzgerald turned around.

"Walker, Graham, Mackenzie! Cover me!" he yelled. The three marines nodded and increased their rate of fire at the enemy. Fitzgerald stood and dragged the wounded marine into the kitchen, where the other wounded marines lay. One of them was almost done healing.

"I got it sir" he said, grabbing hold of the man. Fitzgerald nodded, and then ran back to the entrance. As he did, he paused to look at the other two entrances to the cafeteria. Each one had five marines around the blockade, ducking and firing at the Flood. Fitzgerald saw one get hit in the head with a bullet and fall backwards dead. A marine near him looked down at him for a moment, but another bullet struck him in the neck. He fell and lay beside the other dead marine. Fitzgerald quickly glanced at Walker and the others. They were merely picking off the survivors.

"Mackenzie, Graham, switch over!" he yelled at the two privates. They nodded and rushed over to the blockade which had taken casualties. Fitzgerald made sure Walker was okay, and then joined them. However, as he walked over, the blockade surround the third entrance exploded, blasting three of the marines around it into the cafeteria and engulfing the remaining two in flame. Fitzgerald gaped at the huge hole in the blockade, and then snapped out of his trance. Flood forms began rushing in. One of them had a Jackhammer launcher.

"Shit! Walker, Graham, regroup on me!" he yelled, rolling to the left, avoiding a volley of bullets. He crouched up behind a table and fired, killing two Flood combat forms. Private Walker and Graham rushed to his aid, firing their own shotguns and taking out more of the Flood forms. The combat Flood wielding the Jackhammer launcher rushed in after its comrades. Fitzgerald quickly targeted it and fired. Just as the shotgun shells ripped through the Flood form's body, it pulled the trigger on the rocket launcher it held. The rocket flew straight at Private Graham and Mackenzie. Luckily, the two of them dove right out of the way. It flew by and exploded into the wall behind him. The two privates jumped up quickly and charged forward, firing what remaining in their shotgun shells. The three marines were able to push the Flood back into the hall and eventually kill them all. The other Flood combat forms attacking retreated, leaving the wearied group of marines left in charge of the cafeteria. Most of the privates sat on a bench, panting and playing with their trigger fingers to make sure they didn't go stiff. Fitzgerald didn't sit at first. He checked on the wounded, then sat with the rest of his men.

"That was a close one" he said. The marines around him nodded.

"Another attack like that, and we're done" Private Walker said. Mackenzie nodded.

"Did you see that rocket? Jesus, I thought for sure I was dead" he exclaimed. Private Graham smirked.

"We both would've been toasted" he said merely. Fitzgerald leaned back.

"No worries, the Major should be back soon" he said. Sure enough, the access tube hatch opened and the Major stepped through. Behind him came a line of tired Marine Regulars, carrying wounded men on their backs and stretchers. Most of Major Anderson's men were being carried. The big man sat right down and pointed to were the wounded went.

"Jesus..." he whispered after helping a young private. Fitzgerald nodded at him.

"What happened out there?" he asked. Anderson shook his head. His face was covered in human and Flood blood.

"This security team was encamped around Air lock 7A, surrounded by those huge blockade things. The Flood were on either side, and the marines only had six shooters and a shitload of wounded. Mostly bullet wounds to the shoulder and legs. Many were dead though. We came in and fought off that wave, but as we were leaving, another wave of Flood forms came. Took out five of my men instantly and wounded an additional three. We fought them off as well, but six other marines, including my own, died. I hope that never happens again" he said. Fitzgerald nodded through the whole thing.

"We've got more wounded than we do fighters Major" he said. Anderson nodded.

"I know, what happened here?" he asked. Fitzgerald shrugged.

"The usual attack wave. It wasn't very hard at first, but Private Johnson and Collins were wounded and we lost five guys to a Jackhammer Flood form. The thing blew up the entire blockade, and then nearly killed Mackenzie and Graham. We fought them off though" explained Fitzgerald. Anderson nodded.

"Jesus, we don't have enough marines to send out and have stay here" he said, looking briefly at the kitchen which was loaded with wounded marines. Fitzgerald looked into the corner of the cafeteria and noticed additional blockade pieces. Some where stacked on top of another. This gave the Corporal an idea.

"Sir, why don't we just block off the entrances to the cafeteria completely?" he asked. Anderson laughed.

"Do you have any idea how much those blockades weigh?" he asked, laughing still. Fitzgerald pursed his lips.

"But what if they're stacked for us already?" continued the Corporal. Anderson stopped laughing. He looked into the corner of the room and saw the stacked blockades. He grinned.

"Let's do it. Pull the old ones out, move the new ones in" he ordered. The marines snapped to attention, then went about setting up the new defenses. It took them a total of fifteen minutes to drag the old blockades out and put the stacked ones it. The additional weight of a second blockade made pushing the huge things into position very hard. However, when they finished, they couldn't see out of the entrances to the cafeteria.

"Good, that will do, good thinking Corporal" Anderson said, nodding at Fitzgerald, who saluted. Suddenly, a marine walked over.

"Radio for you sir" he said. Anderson raised an eyebrow and grabbed the radio.

"This is Anderson" he said. At first, static came out of the speaker, but following it came a frantic voice.

"This is Lieutenant Bishop, Bridge Weapons Officer, I am with a fire team marines and we are trapped in the control room of Cryo Chamber 4C. Request immediate assistance and rescue. The Flood have surrounded the flood below and are attempting to climb up to get us. We're running low on ammo and have many wounded, please send help, out" said the voice. Anderson pulled the radio away from his ear. He nodded at Fitzgerald.

"Gather the marines on me" he ordered. David nodded and turned to the marines who were double-checking that the blockades didn't fall.

"Marines! Fall in!" he yelled. They moved quickly to surround the Major, who was already saddling up and grabbing ammo.

"Last one for the day gentlemen. A Lieutenant from the bridge and a team of marines are trapped in Cryo Chamber 4C. That's two decks below us. We head through the tubes, neutralize the enemy, and then get out of there. Corporal Fitzgerald, have a small group of marines stay back. Everyone else, grab weapons and ammo, then let's move" he ordered. Fitzgerald turned as the marines dispersed and picked six marines who would not join them. They wandered back to the benches, one marine taking out a deck of cards. Fitzgerald grabbed two handfuls of shotgun shells from a nearby weapon pile, and then got in line for the access tube. Major Anderson opened the hatch and nodded at Private Walker who was first.

"Head for the ladder" Anderson nodded. Walker saluted, then crouched low and climbed in. The marines behind him followed suite and before Fitzgerald knew it, he was bending low and crawling through the small space. The line of marines moved quickly, which Fitzgerald was thankful for. He grabbed hold of an access ladder that allowed crewmembers to descend or ascend to different levels on the ship. In this case, the marines climbed down. Fitzgerald hit the ground of the bottom deck and crawled after the marines, who were slowing up ahead. Major Anderson moved to the front, Fitzgerald decided to follow him. The two marines looked down at a small circular opening in the ground. In it was an extendable ladder and a hatch, which would lead them to the Cryo Chamber's control room. Fitzgerald climbed and held onto the ladder. He looked up at Major Anderson and nodded. The Major acknowledged him, and then hit a switch. The ladder jolted and began to fall. As it did, Fitzgerald kicked out with his foot and knocked open the hatch. The ladder slide all the way down into the control room. The Corporal jumped off and crouched up, looking around.

The control room for this Cryo Chamber was rather large than the other ones. There were two huge windows, which looked down into the chamber. Observation computers and consoles covered the walls and a single monitoring console was positioned in the middle. Since the control room was offline, that console was being used for weapons and ammo. Fitzgerald could see that there wasn't a lot. The only entrance to the control room was a large break in the glass that leads onto catwalks above the cryo-tubes. Three marines were surrounding that break, firing their assault rifles at the Flood onslaught. Fitzgerald could make out five additional marines who were able to fight, but were helping the wounded.

Behind Fitzgerald, Major Anderson dropped down and stood beside the Corporal. He looked around at the marines that they found.

"Lieutenant Bishop?" he asked. A marine near the entrance to the control room, patted two of the marines on their backs and walked over to the Major, ordering one of his marines to take over for him. He saluted.

"Weapons Officer, Lieutenant Bishop Sir" he said. Anderson returned the salute.

"Major Anderson, Internal Security forces" he said. Bishop nodded.

"Thank god you guys came, I was worried no one would get my message, we're really roughed up here" he said thankfully, panting hard. Without warning, one of the marines standing near the entrance screamed and fell backwards, holding his thigh in pain.

"Oh shit, Wilson take over for him. Cochrane, get over here and help up Maddox" Lieutenant Bishop said.

"Belay that, you three marines, help Maddox. Green team, cover fire at the entrance" Major Anderson said. Fitzgerald didn't realize that the entire marine team he had come with was standing in the control room with him. A team of five marines wielding shotguns rushed to the entrance, as the two marines standing there walked off, dragging Private Maddox with him. Lieutenant Bishop turned to the Major.

"I highly suggest we get out of here" he said. Anderson shook his head.

"Negative, we take out the enemy before we go, prevents more marines from getting hurt. However, we will start getting the wounded ready. Get some stretchers made and let's get them ready to go" Major Anderson ordered. The marines around him went to work, getting everyone ready to leave. Green team continued to pump rounds into the Flood attackers. Private First Class Jacob turned around.

"Major, there's too many, we can't take them all out" he said. Anderson nodded.

"Okay, provide some cover fire. Red and Blue teams will move out onto the catwalks and take them out" Anderson ordered. Fitzgerald led his four marines Walker, Mackenzie, Graham and Lafleur to the main entrance. Anderson stood behind them.

"Ready?" he asked. Fitzgerald nodded. "Cover fire!" he yelled. The Green team marines fired quickly then paused to let Fitzgerald and his marines by. The Corporal emerged onto the catwalk and tossed two fragmentation grenades. His marines behind him did the same. As he fired, Green team fired a few more rounds, and then Red team moved out onto the catwalk opposite to Fitzgerald's. Green team then spaced themselves out along the two catwalks and the marines opened fire.

The shotguns were god when used against the Flood. Fitzgerald must've killed twenty, just by firing twelve rounds. He reloaded, and then tossed his last frag grenade. It exploded and Flood bodies flew into the air. As the Corporal continued to fire, he was amazing at how many Flood forms there were. He couldn't even see the flood of the chamber, there were so many. Nevertheless, they had to die. Fitzgerald began firing more quickly, his marines doing the same. David glanced inside the control room and could see the wounded being sent up the tubes. Hopefully they too would be out of there soon. He was worried that Flood forms wielding human weapons would start attacking.

Without warning, bullets flew up from the ground and smashed into Red team and two other marines who were part of Green team. Human blood splattered along the wall as the bullets from assault rifles and pistols alike drove through the marines. Two wounded men fell off the catwalk and disappeared into the sea of Flood forms. Fitzgerald quickly dove to one side, just as bullets and ammo fired from below smashed into them. Luckily, most of the other marines copied Fitzgerald and dove out of the way, except for the two marines from Green team. Both of them hit the wall they stood in front of and slowly slide to the ground. Private Graham took a bullet to his leg and was slowly crawling back into the control room. Fitzgerald crouched low and ran after him, firing rounds from his shotgun.

"Retreat!" he yelled at his three remaining marines. They provided cover fire and rushed after him. However, Private Mackenzie was not so lucky. As he ran, a volley of assault rifle bullets slammed into him. It pierced his armor, and fountains of blood flew out of his wounds. The man dropped to his knees, looked briefly at the marines gaping at him, and then fell to the floor.

"Fuck!" Private Walker screamed. Fitzgerald held the man back.

"He's dead Walker, let's get out of here" he said. Private Walker bowed his head.

"So long dude" he whispered to the prone body of Private Mackenzie. The two marines turned and helped Private Lafleur hoist Private Graham into the access tubes. A small group of marines who had been helping with the wounded provided some protection. They stayed at the entrance and fired their assault rifles wildly at the enemy. More bullets flew at them and two marines fell back from bullet wounds to the face and neck. The remaining two retreated back into the room. Fitzgerald allowed Privates Walker and Lafleur up first, and then helped the remaining two marines. As the last marine was going up, several Flood forms stood at the entrance to the room and fired, catching the young private in the head. He fell off the ladder and hit the ground. Fitzgerald quickly grabbed on and hit a switch on the wall. He angled himself so his gun faced the enemy and fired. Bullets pinged off around him as he was lifted into the tube. He killed two of the Flood forms as he went up. When the ladder stopped moving, Major Anderson hit another switch and the hatch closed, sealing them in. Fitzgerald breathed with relief, and then looked up at the Major, who shook his head.

"Nice one 007" he said. Fitzgerald smiled briefly, but stopped. He looked at the hatch, picturing the control room below.

"Bye Mackenzie" he whispered. Major Anderson lowered his hand and pulled the Corporal up and into the tubes. The two men then began the long trek back to the cafeteria. When they reached there, everyone they had rescued was alive and well. The wounded were resting and the lives ones were chatting with the other marines. When the Major entered the room, everything went silent. Lieutenant Bishop approached.

"On behalf of all of my marines, I would like you to deeply thank you for the rescue, you assistance was much appreciated by all who lived" he said, and then saluted. Major Anderson nodded, and then returned the salute. He then turned to the other marines.

"For the next few days, the marines you see around you are your brothers. Each and every one of you depends on one another to watch their backs and make sure they aren't killed. The last of the security teams have been rescued, we are now on our own to try and fight off this threat. For now, let's rest up, but tomorrow, we start our campaign to take back this ship" he said defiantly. The marines cheered and pumped their fists into the air. Fitzgerald swelled with pride and grinned. Major Anderson turned to him.

"I'm in need for a new Sergeant, and you're the man I'm looking for. What do you say Corporal?" he asked. Fitzgerald grinned and saluted.

"I'm your man sir" he said. Major Anderson grinned and returned the salute.

"Good, you deserve it though. Lieutenant Bishop is here however, he is my new second in command. For the time being, he'll be in charge of interior security of his cafeteria, until we can establish some sort of plan to attack the Flood with" the Major said. Fitzgerald nodded, and then saluted at Lieutenant Bishop, who returned it.

The Days of Rescuing and Defending were over. It was time to fight back and take back what is rightfully theirs...

By: Agent Shade

Survival, Chapter Seven
Date: 4 October 2003, 4:52 AM

Survival, Chapter Seven

~*Author's note*~

Forgive me fellow readers, however, I'm running out of names for each of my chapters, therefore, I've decided to stop naming them. Sorry if this causes any inconvenience for some people. Enjoy!

~*End note*~

Sergeant David Fitzgerald slammed several shotgun shells into his weapon, then raised it to his shoulder and fired off four rounds. The kickback of the weapon barely affected his aim, since he'd been fighting for several years now. Two of the Flood forms charging at the blockade line fell, however they're comrades did not stop. Fitzgerald ducked to allow the other marines behind him to open fire with their own weapons. Staff Sergeant Evans was crouching near them, helping out a wounded marine. His continuous barks and insults were ignored. Fitzgerald smirked and fired the last three shells in his gun. He sat against the wall of the hall and reloaded eight shells. He looked up.

"Anyone got any more ammo?" he grunted. A nearby marine stopped firing, reached into his pocket and tossed a full shotgun shell magazine, loaded with 32 shells.

"Thanks" Fitzgerald said, grabbing the magazine, opening it and taking out four more shells. He pocketed the magazine, loaded the shells into his gun, and then continued to fire. However, he only fired three of the shells. The moment his third shot struck a Flood form, the remaining forms retreated. The marines stopped firing, but kept their weapons raised. The hallway went silent. Finally, Fitzgerald sighed and sat back against the wall. The marines with him did the same. Sergeant Evans crawled around them, making sure his boys were all right. He came to Fitzgerald.

"Anderson wants you" he said. Fitzgerald nodded and patted Evans on the back, who grunted in response. David climbed over all the other marines and began the somewhat long walk back to the bridge.

Fitzgerald, Major Anderson and a small group of marines had been called back to the bridge, to report to Captain Savard what the situation was and also to strategize. There was only one entrance to the bridge, which was well protected, but the marines had taken the liberty to expand their little territory to the other halls around them. There were small blockade stations along the way, which David climbed over. He had been ordered to assist the defense forces, while the Major talked with the Captain.

Fitzgerald walked into the bridge, slinging his shotgun over his shoulder, then standing at attention. Captain Savard, Major Anderson and Lieutenant Bishop stood around the small view screen that was fixed in front of the Captain's chair. The three men turned. Both the Captain and the Major returned the salute given to them. Captain Savard nodded.

"This him?" he asked. The Major nodded. Savard took a step forward.

"Major Anderson tells me that you have shown excellent leadership and battle skills. You apparently defended the main cafeteria with only...what was it? Fourteen marines, against a full Flood attack?" the Captain asked. Fitzgerald choose his words carefully.

"Sir, it wasn't a big accomplishment, but yes, I did" he said. Savard shook his head.

"Sergeant, had your defenses fallen, we probably wouldn't be standing here right now, you've done an excellent job it seems" he said. Major Anderson was nodding behind him. Fitzgerald was going red. Why was he being honored for doing this?

"Sir, I appreciate the thanks, but it was really nothing" he said.

"Also, Major Anderson tells me that you were successful in protecting the wounded marines being loaded into the tubes when you went and rescued Lieutenant Bishop here" The Captain said. Bishop nodded at Fitzgerald who gave a small nod.

"Not just me sir" he said.

"You also lost a man in the process?" Savard asked.

"Yes sir, Private First Class Mackenzie" he said.

"Well, our greatest sympathy to him Sergeant, he must've been a good soldier. However, you're the reason why I've called you here" he said. Fitzgerald nodded.

"Sergeant, I believe you deserve to be more than a Sergeant. Your dedication to this ship and its crew is admirable. I'm therefore promoting you to the rank of First Sergeant" Captain Savard announced. Fitzgerald was about to protest, but the patch indicating his knew rank was already in the Captain's hands. The Captain slapped it on, ripping his old Corporal patch off first. Fitzgerald grinned with pride and saluted.

"Thank you sir" he said. Captain Savard returned the salute.

"You earned it son, keep up the good work. Now then, let's get down to the real deal gentlemen. We have two command posts on this ship; everywhere else is loaded with Flood combat forms. We assume their numbers are dwindling, hence the less and less attacks they send, which therefore means they're getting weak. What should be our next course of action gentlemen?" he asked. Major Anderson raised his head.

"Sir, I do not believe that it is safe to say that their numbers are dwindling. Although their attack strategies have changed, the number of Flood forms they send in each wave is still the same, which means that they still have a somewhat large supply of combat forms" Anderson explained. Captain Savard turned to him.

"Good point, what do you have in mind then Major?" asked the Captain.

"We need to assume more control over this ship and that means covering more ground. I suggest we set up a second command post somewhere. The main cafeteria is already bustling with marines, too many marines to be honest. I'm thinking about liberating an armory station on deck C. That will be our second command post. Once that's accomplished, we then work out an attack plan" the Major said, answering the Captain's question. Savard raised an eyebrow.

"Major, how does liberating an armory station help gain more control over this ship?" he asked.

"Forgive me sir; I used the wrong analogy for that. I meant to say, I don't think it's safe to have all our eggs in one basket. If the main cafeteria is breached and all the marines in it killed, not only will the Flood numbers grow, but the defenses inside this ship will be gone" Anderson said. Savard nodded thoughtfully.

"That's happened too many times in the past with assembled ground teams. Very well Major, work up a strategy for taking that armory station, then report back to me to discuss our attack plan to taking out those bastards" he said. The Major, Fitzgerald and Lieutenant Bishop saluted. The Captain returned it, and then turned his back to them. The three men walked out of the bridge.

"Lieutenant, gather our men near the access hatch, but make sure all the enemies in the area have been killed" Anderson ordered. Bishop saluted and rushed off down the hall. Fitzgerald and Anderson were left alone at the end of the hall. Anderson turned to him.

"I personally asked for your promotion Fitzgerald. My company Sergeant was killed during the Flood assault. I'm in need of a second command for my marines" he said. Fitzgerald nodded looked up at the man.

"What about Lieutenant Bishop Sir?" he asked.

"When we take that armory station, Bishop will be in charge of it and the marines in it. You'll be the second-in-command" Anderson explained. David nodded, and then watched the Lieutenant and a group of eight marines walk towards them. Anderson nodded at them all, then opened the hatch that lead into the access tubes.

While the hallway leading to the bridge was the only entrance, the access tubes provided a secondary entrance in case of possible boarding action. In this case, the tubes were being used for same transportation from one spot to another. Fitzgerald climbed in after everyone else, closing the hatch behind him. The small group of marines climbed down several ladders to reach deck B, then exited the tube and entered the main cafeteria. Fitzgerald climbed out and sealed the hatch shut behind him. He looked around the big room.

Even the cafeteria couldn't hold all the marines they had rescued. Many sat at the benches, others sat along the wall. A few marines were curled up in corners, trying to sleep. Screams from the wounded being helped could be heard. They had recently been sent three medical marines who were getting many of their wounded marines back into battle. The stacked titanium blockade pieces were still in position around the entrances and hadn't been destroyed. Fitzgerald walked over to his three new friends he had made and promoted; Corporals Walker, Graham and Lafleur. The three men were playing their usual game of black jack. Fitzgerald sat at their table. They looked at him.

"Jesus, promoted again?" Corporal Graham asked, leaning back from the bench. Fitzgerald smirked.

"Damn right marine" he said, trying to imitate a boot camp drill sergeant. The marines chuckled, and then went back to their game, allowing Fitzgerald to play as well. The First Sergeant did well several games, but when a young private accidentally spilt his soup on David, he started to lose it.

"Oh yes" Corporal Walker said, flipping his cards over to reveal twenty. Corporal Graham growled, and tossed his cards onto the table, revealing eighteen. However, like always, Corporal Lafleur flipped his cards over to reveal twenty-one.

"Damnit man!" Walker exclaimed, laughing and throwing his cards at the French man. Lafleur grinned and chuckled.

"My friends, what can I say, I am a winner no?" he said. Fitzgerald smiled and tossed his cards onto the table, revealing sixteen. His fellow marines booed him.

"Take a chance man" Graham said.

"Last time you told me that Graham, I do believe I ended up with twenty-six!" Fitzgerald said. That brought upon more laughs from the marines. However, because the next few games were won by Lafleur, they stopped playing. Walker stood, mentioning something about soup. Graham and Lafleur both went to play poker with some other marines. Fitzgerald however stayed where he was. He was soon joined by Major Anderson, who was holding two cups of what looked like coffee. Fitzgerald grabbed the offered cup.

"Coffee sir?" he asked, saluting briefly. Anderson chuckled and sat across from him.

"One of the medics was bored, so he got it working" he said. Fitzgerald shrugged and took a sip at the hot liquid.

"Can't complain I guess" he said. Anderson nodded and took a sip. He then looked over at the Sergeant as he swallowed the caffeine-loaded drink.

"Here's the plan David. The armory station I want is the same one we rescued Security Team Alpha-B from. One entrance facility, with a small little barracks room in the back. Last report said that there were still lots of ammo left and the explosive racks hadn't been opened, which is good for us. We use the tubes naturally, large group, probably close to twenty marines. The tube entrance sadly leads to the front of the station, so we might have to see how easy, invading the interior is going to be. However, I have a strong feeling no one is going to show up" Anderson explained. Fitzgerald merely nodded and listened. "Now, once we've pretty much secured the area, we'll expand our territory slightly, by setting up blockade pieces at the end of the hall, so if we send reinforcements, they aren't jumping in on Flood forms trying to get into the base" Fitzgerald laughed at that.

"That wouldn't be too good now" he said, taking another sip of his drink. Anderson laughed as well.

"Wouldn't be pretty, that's for sure. I want you to grab ten combat marines; I'll grab the additional ten. I want to move out ASAP" Anderson said. Fitzgerald drained his coffee and slammed his cup onto the table, nodding at the Major.

"Kick ass sir" he said. Anderson finished his as well.

"Let's see who wants to kill" he muttered, standing and walking off among the marines. Fitzgerald took the two cups to the sink, where the medics were attempting to do dishes, since they had helped the wounded the best they could. David then turned and searched among the marines, looking for ones who were fit to fight. Naturally, his three friends immediately volunteered and suited up quickly. Seven other marines followed them, each of them running on a days worth of sleep, which was good compared to the others. Fitzgerald suited up and grabbed a new shotgun which was already loaded. He strapped two of the shotgun shell magazines to his combat belt, and then cocked his weapon. The rest of the marines forces were already gathered around Major Anderson, who was explaining to them the process.

"...wouldn't want some of our boys to jump down into Flood combat forms trying to get into the armory station" he said. The marines laughed at the joke. Anderson nodded at Fitzgerald, who returned.

"All right, let's do this quickly so we can all sleep tonight. I will lead the way to the access hatch; Major Anderson brings up the rear. There should be little resistance, but be on your guard, Once we've confirmed that we've secured the area, Lieutenant Bishop and the others who were assigned to stay at that station will move through the tubes" Fitzgerald yelled. The marines nodded in understanding. Major Anderson turned and opened the hatch.

"Let's kick some ass" he said. As the marines cheered, First Sergeant Fitzgerald climbed into the tubes and began a slow, steady jog to his destination. He remembered the way, since he had been at that armory station two days ago. The marines followed closely behind him. As they went, someone began humming "Click Click Boom" by Saliva. Fitzgerald eventually heard the others joining in and before they knew it, the band's over-used song was being sung by everyone, even the Major. Fitzgerald merely shook his head, but was eventually forced to make a fist. They had reached their destination.

The hatch was much like the hatch in the cryo-room they had been in yesterday when rescuing Lieutenant Bishop. Fitzgerald climbed down and hung onto the ladder that would extend into the hall. He looked up to see Corporal Walker fingering a small switch. Fitzgerald nodded and Walker pressed it. Immediately, the small access hatch opened and the ladder fell into the hall, Fitzgerald hanging onto it. He let go with one hand and swung his shotgun around, looking for hostiles. There were none. He jumped off and allowed the other marines to jump down. They gathered around the main entrance, which was closed off. Major Anderson walked forward through the group, his ID card up. Surprisingly, when he slipped it through a small control panel on the side, the door opened.

Fitzgerald leveled his shotgun, switched it's flashlight on and slowly walked into the room. The interior of the armory station was like all the other stations on the ship. A large rectangular room, filled with titanium blockades. Four locked racks of explosives and down the middle of the room were cases of guns and ammo all positioned on a structure that filled up most of the room.

David side stepped off to the left. Behind him, Corporal Graham went to the right. The marines split up into two lines and followed the two marines into the station. Fitzgerald wasn't surprised to see that the bodies of the dead Flood were gone. However, he could still make out large blotches of blood; human and flood. He ignored the small stench he could smell and explored the station. He eventually met up with Corporal Graham and the other line of marines. They place was empty. The light suddenly turned on. Major Anderson walked towards them, looking around.

"Still seems in good shape" he muttered to Fitzgerald as he walked by.

"Doesn't seem right sir, where's the Flood?" he asked. Anderson could only shake his head as he looked around.

"I think we should be thankful there isn't any flood Sergeant" he said. David agreed.

"Yes sir. Shall I have Lieutenant Bishop start bringing his men over here?" he asked. Major Anderson stood still for a moment, looking at the blood, and then nodded.

"Yes, have him come" he said. Fitzgerald nodded and grabbed his small two-way radio.

"Alpha team to Café Marine, come in please" he said.

"This is Café Marine, done already Fitzgerald?" asked the voice of Lieutenant Bishop.

"No resistance at all Lieutenant, we're ready for your men to be transferred" he said.

"Roger that Sergeant, we're on the way, out" Fitzgerald clicked his radio off, and then looked at the titanium blockades. However, the Major was already ahead of him.

"All right, I want these blockade pieces placed at the end of that hall. Be quick about it, we don't know if there are Flood forces nearby. Try and stack them, if not, just make sure no one can just walk forward and kill one of you" he ordered. Fitzgerald helped his men do their orders, while Major Anderson waited for Lieutenant Bishop. Luckily for them, some of the blockade pieces were stacked up upon one another. This allowed them to create a successful wall at the end of the hall, sealing off their armory station from the rest of the ship. Small blockade pieces were positioned around the hall, in case of a breach. While this was happening, Lieutenant Bishop and his men had arrived. They were setting up inside. Fitzgerald finished pushing a blockade piece and turned to Major Anderson, who was walking towards him.

"Ten of our boys have to stay here, the Lieutenant didn't bring enough defenders" he said. Fitzgerald nodded and turned.

"I need ten marines willing to stay here and help defend this station" he said. Corporal Graham and nine other marines volunteered immediately. Fitzgerald nodded and had them report to Lieutenant Bishop. The remaining marines packed up what gear they brought and got ready to leave. They waited for Major Anderson, who walked back to them, Lieutenant Bishop at his side.

"All set sir, thanks for your help" the Lieutenant was saying. The two men saluted, and then Bishop left them. Anderson nodded at them all.

"Let's go" he said and climbed up the ladder. The marines followed suit, leaving Fitzgerald behind. The Sergeant looked around him. Something didn't feel right. No resistance of any kind. They basically just walked into a part of the ship that wasn't controlled by the Flood. He felt odd. He knew something was wrong. However, he prepared himself for the worse and climbed up the ladder, which was pulled up after him. The hatch was closed and the second security marine command post was established on board the Hybrid. Survival seemed a possibility for the internal security forces.

Unknown to the secure internal security forces, the access hatch that led from the tubes, into the bridge of the Hybrid was slowly opening. A patrol marine turns and prepares to greet a security marine of some sort. However, a human being does not step out of the tube...

Survival, Chapter Eight
Date: 6 October 2003, 10:46 PM

Survival, Chapter Eight

First Sergeant Fitzgerald returned to the main cafeteria and found it to be under attack by more Flood combat forms. Bullets were pinging off the stacked blockade pieces guarding the main entrance. Fitzgerald rolled his eyes and rushed over to the nearest blockade. The huge titanium piece on top of the other was slowly being pushed off. A handful of marines were pushing against it, but the Flood were overpowering them. Fitzgerald stuck his shotgun nozzle through a small gap between the blockade pieces and fired. He heard several of the combat forms growl and die. David unpinned a fragmentation grenade and tossed it through. The marines around him ducked, and the grenade detonated. The Flood forms on this side of the cafeteria were dead. Fitzgerald received thanks from the exhausted marines, and then rushed to the other two blockades.

"Fitzgerald! We need help over here!" yelled out Major Anderson. David rushed over to the Major, slamming additional shotgun shells into his weapon. The blockade piece of the far right side of the cafeteria had fallen over. Several Flood combat forms were climbing over and swinging their whips around, and firing their assault rifles. Two marines were cut down by the tentacle whips. Another marine screamed as bullets slammed into his body. Fitzgerald jammed his shotgun nozzle into the first Flood combat form and fired. It toppled over, blood gushing from the hole in its stomach. Without thinking, Fitzgerald slammed the butt end of this shotgun into the next combat form's head. It fell down for a second and was about to get up, but David pressed down on its back and fired four shells into it. He ducked to avoid a tentacle whip lashed at him and fired the last of his shotgun rounds at the Flood. With his help, the marines pushed the Flood forms back into the hall. A few fragmentation grenades finished them. Fitzgerald breathed out deeply and took a knee.

First Sergeant Jordan Evans heard the access tube hatch open behind him. He turned and waited to see who came out. At first, there was no movement, but the hatch remained open. A sudden stench filled the small hall. Evans raised an eyebrow and slowly walked over to the hatch.

"Hello?" he grunted. No reply to his call. The Sergeant raised his shotgun and moved in. He peered inside the tube. He could see nothing but darkness. Evans shrugged and grabbed the hatch. He was about the close it, when a huge figure emerged and struck the Sergeant in the arm. Evans froze and watched his arm from the elbow down disappear. Suddenly, the pain struck him and he screamed. He fired two shotgun shells into the tube, but another figure appeared and struck him in the shoulder. Evans spiraled in the air to the right and hit the wall, where he slide down and landed on the ground. His scream brought several marines running down the hall, but the Flood combat form force was already making their way into the bridge.

The clean up took over half an hour. It took Fitzgerald and seven other marines to life the titanium blockade piece and put it back on top of the other one. Once that was done, they were exhausted. They things weighed a ton. Fitzgerald stood after a quick break and helped drag several dead marines away into the kitchen. When he returned to the cafeteria, Major Anderson rushed at him, his face completely white.

"Jesus sir, looks like you've seen a ghost" he said. The Major grabbed him.

"A Flood combat force has infiltrated the bridge and are killing at random, they're requesting back up" he whispered into his ear. Fitzgerald's eyes went wide and he too turned white.

"Are you serious?" he asked.

"The private who told me their situation was killed while he was explaining their casualties" the Major said. Fitzgerald broke away.

"Everyone into the tubes now! Get to the bridge! Move you asses, let's go!" he roared. The marines snapped out of their relaxation and rushed to the tube entrance. Fitzgerald rushed after them, not bothering to grab more ammo for his shotgun. "Go go go!" he yelled again at the marines. They moved fast and ascended the ladders to the bridge level. The access hatch was already opened. Fitzgerald could hear screams and gunfire. He swore. "MOVE IT!" he yelled. The marines in front of him quickly climbed into the hall, followed by Fitzgerald.

The entire hallway was covered in human blood. Dead marines lay everywhere, their body parts and innards sprayed along the deck. Fitzgerald jumped over the cluster of bodies and found his way to the blockade piece that was supposed to protect the bridge from invasion.

The huge titanium blockade pieces were in pieces. The amount of blood and bodies in here was huge, indicating some sort of explosion. Fitzgerald backed away from the hall and rushed inside the bridge. Crewman were dead everywhere. Groups of marines were slowly starting to clean up the dead. Along the walls of the bridge lay wounded marines. Many of them were dead, others were screaming. It was a scene of mass massacre. The Flood had hit them were it hurt.

One crewman suddenly rushed over to David, blood covering the right side of his face. There was a huge hole in his shoulder and it was spitting out blood. He grabbed Fitzgerald and looked right at him.

"They've taken the captain" he whispered. Fitzgerald read the man's name tag. "Dela Cruz, Lieutenant." This was the ship's helmsman. The man looked at David. "The Captain...they've taken him" he said faintly. Suddenly, he went limp and fell to the floor. Fitzgerald stood rooted to the spot. Captain Savard, the man who had promoted him for bravery and courage was gone. Major Anderson ran up to him.

"Everyone's dead, they left no one alive" he said, a hint of anger in his voice. Fitzgerald looked at the Major.

"They took the Captain Sir" he said.

Captain Savard opened his eyes and could see nothing. He felt something touch him, and then he was thrown to the ground. He shivered as the cold floor greeted his bare skin. Suddenly, his eye sight returned. He gasped at what he saw.

The Captain lay in the very middle of the Hybrid's engine room. Only, it was no longer the engine room. Tentacles hung everywhere like cobwebs. The green fungus that covered most of the halls was so thick here, it felt like grass. Savard could feel small organisms running through the grass. He could hear screaming echoing throughout the room. Near him, a marine was being dragged into the room. He too was screaming and struggling to break free. Two Flood combat forms held him to the ground and a small infection form sprouted from the fungus. The marine's screaming intensified as the infection form scurried over to him.

"No! Oh god, no!" he yelled. The infection form jumped at the marine's face. Savard winced as the little thing stuck a small tendril into the marine's neck. The man's veins all over his body popped and he screamed even louder. Slowly, the infection form began to suck itself into the tendril sticking out of the man's neck. As it did this, the marine's body structure began to bubble and expand. His voice became much lower and deep. Tentacles began bursting through his armor. His entire right arm fell off and a tentacle whip sprouted from his elbow. His neck suddenly snapped off as the tendril was removed by a Flood combat form. His head hung off to the side, the man's expression of horror and pain inscribed on his dead face. Slowly, the new Flood combat form stood and looked around. It then dashed away.

Savard looked around, but could see infection form coming at him. Instead, a parade of six Flood combat forms marched towards him, carrying a huge mound of flesh. At a closer look, Savard could see a somewhat larger infection form; however, it glowed with an intense brightness. Its tentacle legs allowed it to move, and its larger tentacles that it used to latch onto its prey were huge. It was dropped to the floor in front of Savard. A voice suddenly entered his head.

"Hmmm, quite a fine brain here" the voice said. Savard looked around. "Haha, do not worry Malcolm, you are not going crazy" the voice chuckled.

"What are you?" he asked. There was a long pause.

"I am the Flood" the voice said simply. Savard raised an eyebrow, and then looked at the massive infection form in front of him.

"Yes, this is who is speaking to you" the voice said.

"You speak English?" Savard said. The voice returned, but this time different.

"I keaps ynam segauganl" it said. Savard looked at the infection form, confused. "That was the tongues of the Covenant Elite" the voice said. Savard nodded.

"Why am I here? How come I'm not being turned into a combat form like the others?" he asked.

"You are the captain of this ship, you are a specific human being we need" the voice said.

"What do you plan to do with me?" Savard asked.

"Are you sure you wish to know?" the voice said, ignoring the question.

"Yes" Savard whispered, regretting he said that.

"So be it." Without warning, the infection form dashed forward and jumped high into the air. It landed on Savard's head. Malcolm was about to get it off, but the infection form stuck out its tendril and literally made a hole in his head. Malcolm's eyes went wide. He could feel the tendril in his skull, ripping apart his brain tenants. With a huge yank, the infection form removed his brain. Savard froze. His brain was gone, yet he was alive. He couldn't think. He couldn't talk. He merely looked around, trying to scream, but couldn't. Slowly, the infection form climbed into his empty skull. Thousands of tentacles exploded out of the infection form and moved throughout his body. Savard could feel tentacles travel through his veins in his legs, arms, eyes, mouth, and all his essential body parts. Without warning, his body stood up.

"This is why I need you" the voice said. Savard could hear his own voice being spoken to him. The infection form had taken control of him. He couldn't do a thing about it, not without his brain. The infection form turned his body around. Savard saw two smaller infection forms grab his brain and slowly peel it apart, feeding it into the fungus. He realized that all his knowledge of this ship and its capabilities were being into the Flood and its minions. They would know about everything. Savard tried to resist, but could do nothing.

"Thank you Captain...now, let's go visit you're loyal crew" he said. Savard's body turned to face three marine privates who walked up to him. Because of the odd skin discoloration, Savard realized that the same thing had been done to them as him. They were under control of the flood.

"Let's go" Savard said, even though it was really the infection form talking. The four human hosts walked out of the engine room, unable to do anything.

"Okay, without the captain, that puts me in charge. First thing we have to do is get him back" Major Anderson said. Fitzgerald and Lieutenant Bishop sat around him in the cafeteria. For the time being, the bridge was sealed off. The survivors from the bridge security forces were resting along the walls, while the other marines stood watch.

"By now, the Captain is in engineering, probably dead" Bishop whispered. Major Anderson shook his head.

"This has happened before. Marine Lieutenants told me about a Covenant Prophet being captured by the Flood and held as a prisoner. The same thing is happening here, except we could be dealing with a hostage situation here" Anderson said. Fitzgerald nodded, but then shook his head.

"They don't need hostage's sir. They know they can destroy us quite easily. What's the point in taking a hostage when all they want to do is kill us" he said. Anderson leaned back.

"Okay, but either way, we need to try and get him back" he said. Without warning, shouts and yelling could be heard. Fitzgerald turned around to see several marines privates taking apart one of the blockades.

"What the fuck are you doing marines?" he yelled, running towards them. The blockade pieces were moved aside. Walking through the now exposed entrance was three marine privates and Captain Savard.

Survival, Chapter Nine
Date: 10 October 2003, 3:03 AM

Survival, Chapter Nine

      Captain Savard looked around at the group of humans clustering around him and the three marines. Sergeant Fitzgerald stood in the back, amazed at how the Captain was standing there with, alive. Major Anderson had also had the same reaction as the Sergeants. He was able to snap out of it however and pushed his way through the marines.

      "Move, coming through, excuse me" he growled. He eventually stood in front of Savard. He saluted and the Captain returned it. Savard smiled.

      "Hello Major, I know you must feel quite confused right now?" he asked. Major Anderson nodded. Fitzgerald could see that his left hand was positioned near his M6D pistol holstered on his gun belt. The Captain noticed this too.

      "I assure you Major, this is Captain Malcolm Savard, commander in chief of the UNSC Hybrid" he said. Anderson nodded again, but did not move. Savard sighed. "The Flood force came through the access tubes killed First Sergeant Evans and went about killing everyone else. Many of the marines standing guard at the blockade barrier attempted to help, but another Flood attack force came and blew the barrier away with two Jackhammer rocket shots. By then, the Flood was moving into the bridge. The Lieutenants were trying to hide me in the small armory station in the bridge, but those damn bastards moved too fast. All the crewmembers were killed instantly. Many were even infected. The Flood killed all my Lieutenants and then grabbed hold of me. All I remember was a single Flood form standing over me. It knocked me unconscious. I can only assume that I was being dragged to the engine room, when these marines here found me" Savard said, gesturing to the three marines behind him. Anderson looked at them.

      "Name, ranks?" he asked. The marines saluted.

      "Private Taylor"

      "Private McConnell"

      "Corporal Lawley" Anderson nodded at each of them. Savard looked back at the Major.

      "These three marines were part of Security Team Beta-C, a team of marines not rescued. They had been hiding in the access tubes on E deck. They found a group of Flood forms dragging me and another marine in the hall. They ambushed them, killing over half. The one marine prisoner awoke, but was killed by its captor. The remaining Flood forms were then killed and I was brought awake by them. With my help, we made it back here undetected" he finished. Major Anderson slowly began moving his hand away from his pistol and smiled.

      "Good to have you back sir" he said.

      "Major Anderson! This is a fake! God damnit soldier, don't listen to him!" The words Malcolm Savard wanted to scream weren't coming out of his mouth. He was trapped in an empty black void, watching these scenes through his own eyes, but unable to control his body at all. It was if his body was gone, but his soul remained. He did not know why he was alive. He tried to think, but couldn't.

      "Would you please try and stop talking Malcolm" the Flood said. Malcolm looked around him. He couldn't say anything.

      "If you're wondering why you are still alive, I shall tell you. I only ripped out half of your brain Malcolm. The body cannot survive without a full brain; therefore, I only took out half. The half of the brain that held the information about this ship, its crew and your home world and its capabilities, is now being dispersed throughout my minions. The other half that is here with me, is a mere useless part of your brain that I need to ensure that you survive." the Flood explained. Malcolm wanted to scream in anger, but couldn't. He watched as Major Anderson led his body over to a table, where he began explaining the battle plan.

      "Hmmm, this Major of yours is quite a tactician, his plan would definitely be a crucial blow to us" the Flood mused. Savard tried to listen, but it was if someone hated muted the scene. "Would you like me to describe it for you?" the Flood asked.

      "YES!" he suddenly screamed. Malcolm froze. Did he just speak?

      "Ha-ha, speak freely as you wish Malcolm, I've already memorized what the Major's plan is and I already know how to counter it. There's nothing you can do except scream at me" the Flood said, laughing.

      "What is the plan?" Malcolm asked.

      "Oh it's quite simple. Whoever invented your first star vessel was smart to construct these access tubes. You see Malcolm, when my minions detect an enemy, they'll alert all the other minions around them and come attacking. Major Anderson plans to have all of his marine forces start a full front assault, forcing all of my minions to come running. While this is happening, your Orbital Drop Shock Troopers will be moving through the access tubes around the engine room. Once all my minions are gone, they move out and pincer what's left of my Flood forms" he explained.

      "Quite impressive" Malcolm whispered.

      "It is isn't it? Sadly, it will not work. I've already had groups of my minions search out the tubes and remain there. Those Orbital Drop Shock Troopers will receive a big surprise" the Flood said, laughing again. Savard growled viciously.

      "What will you do for now?" he asked.

      "I think it's time that we do what you and your crew set out to do originally. Destroy the Covenant assault force at the second Halo ring world. Rally more Flood minions to my cause, then attack your home world" the Flood said.

      "What have you done with the bridge Major?" Captain Savard asked. Anderson looked up from his data map.

      "For the time being sir, I sealed it off, mainly because the only bridge crew member who is alive, is Lieutenant Bishop" Anderson said. Savard nodded.

      "When you get a chance, I'd like to return there. I will also need Lieutenant Bishop to be transferred over to me, I'm going to need his help" he said. Major Anderson stood straight and raised an eyebrow.

      "Why?" he asked.

      "Lieutenant Yu, the engineering bridge officer and Lieutenant Hayes, my communications officer were successful in creating a hacking program, which would basically switch the main computer system here on the Hybrid, with a fake one. The Flood would gain access of that and assume everything is normal, but it isn't. Majority of the main systems here on the ship were destroyed, however, once the hack is put into place, we can have control over the engines again. We could head back to Earth and have this ship completely neutralized of Flood forms" he said. Major Anderson's eyes went wide with pleasure and he nodded.

      "Of course sir, I'll have Sergeant Fitzgerald and a team of marines go with you to unlock it now" he said. Captain Savard turned to look at the First Sergeant, who was standing in the back. Fitzgerald saluted and Savard returned it.

      "I would like to leave as soon as possible Sergeant" he said. Fitzgerald nodded.

      "Let me just get Lieutenant Bishop up here sir" he said, and then rushed off to a small radio set. Captain Savard sat down and waited. Major Anderson walked over to Fitzgerald.

      "What are you thinking?" Anderson asked. Fitzgerald glared over at the Captain.

      "Something's not right sir. Look at him and the marines. Not a single scratch or blood mark, nothing. Had the Captain been knocked out, there would be some sort of bump or bruise on his head. And three marines taking out a Flood force using just MA5B assault rifles, that's impossible. The rifles are good, but only when used by a dozen or so marines. I dunno sir, I just don't know" Fitzgerald said. Anderson observed the Captain.

      "Yet his knowledge about us and the ship and its capabilities remain the same, I think we should just leave it for now. If anything goes wrong while you're up there, let me know okay?" the Major said. Fitzgerald held up the radio earpiece.

      "Got it sir" he said, then spoke into his microphone. "Café Marine to Armory" he said. There was a moment of static, and then Lieutenant Bishop's voice came.

      "Yes Café, what can I do for you?" he asked.

      "The Captain is alive Lieutenant and is requesting that the bridge be unlocked. He needs you to help install some sort of hack program two of the bridge officers created. Any knowledge of that?" Fitzgerald said.

      "Hmm, a hack program. I don't remember Yu or Hayes creating anything" he said.

      "Well, Major Anderson trusts him, but I'm going with you to the bridge, just to make sure" Fitzgerald said again.

      "Roger that Sergeant let the Captain know I'll meet him up there" Bishop replied.

      "Ten four Armory, out" Fitzgerald put his radio set away and walked back to the Captain.

      "He'll meet us there, let's get rolling" he said to the Captain. Savard stood.

      "I'll have these three marines here come. I think maybe three others will do?" Savard asked. Fitzgerald glanced at the marines who had apparently rescued the Captain. He glanced over at Major Anderson quickly, who nodded. Fitzgerald nodded as well.

      "Very well Captain. Walker, Lafleur and Reynolds. Saddle up and let's get ready to move" he ordered. The three marine privates saluted and gathered their gear. Fitzgerald still had his shotgun slung over his shoulder, and still had enough ammo to last a long battle. They gathered around the access tube entrance. Major Anderson walked with them.

      "While you guys get this thing going, I'll start putting my plan into action. When we get to Earth, we might not have to worry about the clean up" he said. Captain Savard nodded and saluted the Major.

      "Good luck Anderson" he said. Major Anderson returned the salute, and then walked back to his marines. Fitzgerald nodded at Captain Savard, who followed the other marines into the tube. Fitzgerald brought up the rear, his finger on his shotgun trigger.

      Weapons officer, Lieutenant Bishop and two of his marines from the armory station crawled through the long access tube that would lead them to their destination, which was the bridge. The news of the Captain being alive was a surprise to the Lieutenant and a very unexpected one. The rumor was, he was dead and quite frankly, he should be dead. The Flood usually never took prisoners. He merely assumed today was different. He carried all of his gear, since he assumed that he would be with the Captain for the duration of the time left on the Hybrid. He had his shotgun strapped to his equipment pack which was over both shoulders. Private Graham and Corporal Dennis flanked him as they went through the cramped tube. Graham was a tall marine and grunted every time he made an uncomfortable move. Regardless, he moved on, the Lieutenant and the Corporal bringing up the rear. They reached the access hatch a few minutes later.

      The private opened it and poked his head out. A pair of hands appeared and helped him up. The same hands came down and hauled Lieutenant Bishop up. He stood face to face with First Sergeant Fitzgerald. The two men nodded, and then Fitzgerald helped Corporal Dennis out of the tube. Bishop turned to see Captain Savard walk over to him. The two men saluted to each other. Bishop pretended to smile.

      "Glad you're still alive sir" he said. Savard nodded.

      "Thank you Lieutenant, the same goes for you. Now, let's get this door opened so we can stop this madness" he said. Fitzgerald handed Bishop the keycard given to him by Major Anderson. Bishop inserted it into the main bridge door control panel. Slowly, the huge titanium doors opened with a long whine. Captain Savard and the three marines who had "rescued" him walked in first. Fitzgerald and the others were close behind them. The floor of the bridge was still stained with blood. Some of it was so thick, it was still somewhat fresh, but everything else had dried up. They had piled the bodies in the armory station where apparently Captain Savard had tried to hide. The door was sealed tight and no stench greeting them. However, the smell of blood was still heavy. Fitzgerald was used to it by now, after fighting the Flood for a week now.

      Captain Savard put his hand on his command chair arm and the entire bridge literally turned on. The monitors blinked to life, view screens showed data reports of the ship. Lieutenant Bishop went to his station and began typing in some commands. Fitzgerald watched him carefully. It seemed that the Lieutenant was convinced that the Captain was alive. David wasn't though. He turned a nearby console chair around and observed the two remaining bridge officers go to work. The marines stood around the entrance, chatting with each other. Fitzgerald noticed that the three marines, who had been with the Captain, weren't talking. This made him even more suspicious.

      "First things first, got to find the hacking program. Lieutenant, for the time being, monitor the Flood's activities, see if we can help out Major Anderson somehow with his troop placements" Captain Savard said.

      "Aye sir" Bishop answered.

      "What will you do?" Malcolm asked.

      "Well it's quite simple Malcolm. I'm going to pretend I'm looking for this hacking program, but really, I'm alerting my minions about the marine attack. I'll do that for a few minutes, and then once I get the engines running, I'll lay in a course of the second Halo ring. When this happens, no doubt, you're Sergeant over there and Mr. Bishop will ask what I'm doing. Little do they know, I have a small Flood attack force waiting in the access tubes. They will attack and my Flood marines will help. For the time being, I'm going to keep Sergeant Fitzgerald and Lieutenant Bishop alive. The Lieutenant will defiantly be handy, as for the Sergeant, I'm bored" the Flood explained. Malcolm smirked.

      "And what about Major Anderson?" he asked.

      "What about him? He assumes were going to Earth. Once I've destroyed the Covenant attack force, I will have more of my minions board this ship and completely kill all the humans on board. We'll capture some Covenant ships as well, then head to Earth" the Flood said. Malcolm shook what would've been his head, but his body wasn't responding.

      "They'll do anything to stop you" he said.

      "Ha-ha, trust me Malcolm, there's nothing they can do" the Flood said. David suddenly realized that there was only one single human being on this ship that could ruin the Flood's plan. Sergeant Fitzgerald was the only marine/human who didn't believe that the Captain was the real Captain. He was just following orders. Malcolm hoped that he would catch on soon, before he was killed.

      "Ah, found it, I'm uploading it now. Lieutenant Bishop, check to make sure that we have control of the engines" Captain Savard suddenly said. Fitzgerald had been staring off into space for a moment, but snapped out of his trance at the moment the Captain spoke. He watched Savard type commands into a console near him. The words "EXECUTE" flashed across the screen. Bishop, who was sitting in the engineering console, looked over at Savard.

      "Got it, that was awfully quick sir" he said. Captain Savard raised an eyebrow.

      "It was, but then, Lieutenants Yu and Hayes were excellent officers. God bless their souls" he said.

      "We're getting reactor readouts coming in. They're turning on, we'll be able to set a course as soon as you're ready" he said.

      "I'll do that, continue monitoring the Flood Lieutenant" Savard ordered. Bishop nodded and went back to his post, looking over the ship's schematics. Fitzgerald watched the Captain sit at the engineering console. He squinted to look at the coordinates being typed in. He could out the numbers and immediately knew that something was wrong again. The coordinates wouldn't send the ship to Earth. It was headed straight to the second Halo ring. The Captain turned around to look at the Sergeant. He grinned evilly. Fitzgerald reached for his pistol.

      "Imposter!" he roared. Before he could take his weapon out, he heard yells from the entrance to the bridge. A horde of Flood forms were rushing at the marines. The access tube hatches were open and Flood forms were pouring out of them. The marines opened fire, but the three lone marines who helped Captain Savard did not. They pointed their guns at the four men trying to fight off the Flood. Private Walker roared in anger and swung a punch at the nearest phony marine. The marine blocked the blow and used his assault rifle as a club. He smashed the butt end of the rifle into Walker's face, breaking his nose and jaw. The Private leaned against the wall, coughing up blood. The same phony marine took out its pistol, pointed it to the Private's head and pulled the trigger. An explosion of blood splattered against the wall, and Private Walker slide to the ground, dead.

      Private Graham and Corporal Dennis focused on the Flood horde, while the French marine, Private Lafleur took out his combat knife and slammed it into the face of the same marine who had killed Walker. The marine screamed, as a dark, thick green blood flowed from the wound. Lafleur ripped the knife out and slit the marine's throat right open. The marine collapsed to the floor, more green blood oozing from it's wounds. Lafleur turned around to attack again, but another one of the phony marines had its own knife out. It threw it like a throwing knife. With dead on accuracy, it drove through Lafleur's left eye socket, puncturing his skull and brain. Lafleur dropped his knife and fell backwards, the knife still sticking out of his head.

      Corporal Dennis had been the first to die, by one of the Flood combat forms. He lay on the floor, a small infection form slowly infecting his body. Private Graham stood alone. As the enemies closed in around him, he took out a fragmentation grenade and pulled the pin. He turned to look at Fitzgerald, but the grenade went off before he could say anything.

      The ground shook the deck and David was knocked off his feet. The horde of Flood was completely taken out by the explosion, but the two remaining phony marines were still alive. They had successfully dived away from the blast. As David stood up, the one marine who had killed Lafleur grabbed hold of his neck and slowly put him into submission. David reached for his knife, but couldn't get it in time. The marine's strength had been doubled, thanks to whatever Flood being was in him. Slowly, his entire body went numb and he finally fell to the floor.

      Lieutenant Bishop dove at the Captain, but Savard stood and merely stepped aside. Bishop countered and aimed his elbow at the Captain's face. He hit him in the nose. Savard turned to look at Bishop with his head. His nose was broken. Suddenly, it snapped back into position. Bishop gasped and backed away.

      "Sorry Lieutenant, your Captain no longer exists" the fake Savard said. One of the phony marines stood behind the Lieutenant. Bishop looked up at him. Suddenly, the top of the marine's head exploded in blood and skull fragments. A single Flood infection form jumped out. The now dead marine toppled to the ground, blood flowing from the hole in his head. The blood drenched infection form rushed over at Bishop, who backed himself into a corner. The little popcorn form jumped on top of Bishop's head and drilled a hole in his head, using its tendril. The Lieutenant screamed as the infection form cut his brain in half. It tossed out half of it, and then jumped inside. Slowly, Bishop began to lose control of his body. He went numb everywhere, and slowly, he felt as if he was being sucked into a void of some sort. A slurred, clam voice spoke to him.

      "Not a lot of room in here" the voice said. Bishop tried to scream, but couldn't. He could feel tentacles flow through his body and take control of his essential body parts. He stood up suddenly and turned to face Captain Savard who was grinning with pride.

      "Welcome to the Flood Collective Lieutenant Bishop. Time to see what the weapons of this ship can really do" he said.

By: Agent Shade (also known as Nemesis, author of "MJOLNIR")

Survival, Chapter Ten
Date: 12 October 2003, 5:00 AM

Survival, Chapter Ten

The low rumble of the ship's engines was a great sign to the security marines in the main cafeteria. Major Anderson grinned with pride and cheered along with his fellow men as they celebrated their soon to come victory over the Flood. As the excitement slowly died down, the Major grabbed his two-way radio.

"Café Marine to Bridge" he said. There was a very long pause.

"Lieutenant Bishop here Major" said the weapons officer.

"Just want to say congratulations on getting this ship going, how long do you think it will take us to get to Earth?" he asked. Another long pause.

"Good question sir. We estimate at least two hours or so" the Lieutenant answered. Anderson nodded.

"No problem. We're about to get underway here with the attack plan, is Fitzgerald there?" he asked. The pause after the Major spoke was starting to bug him.

"Sorry sir, Sergeant Fitzgerald and three of the marines here went on a quick patrol to see if there were any Flood forms around, they'll be back soon" Bishop said.

"Is everything all right up there Bishop? Taking a long time to respond..."

The Flood-controlled Lieutenant Bishop turned and grinned evilly at the unconscious Fitzgerald.

"Yes sir, everything is fine, we're experiencing the same pause problems here. The engines could be causing it" Bishop said.

"Very well, we're getting ready to attack, out." Lieutenant Bishop put the radio down onto the prone figure of Private Lafleur's body, and then stood by Captain Savard, who was staring down at Fitzgerald. The other phony marine stood beside the knocked out marine. Suddenly, the marine nodded and smacked Fitzgerald across the face several times. The Sergeant's eyes went wide and he roared, attempted to stand. However, the Flood had crafted tentacle bonds that surrounded his legs, arms and mouth. He choked and coughed. The marine beside him ripped the tentacle around his mouth off and the Sergeant breathed in deeply. Captain Savard chuckled.

"Rise and shine Sergeant" he whistled. David glared up at Savard.

"How come I'm not dead, afraid of killing me or something?" he asked.

"Oh no, of course not David...to be honest, I just felt like keeping you alive. You seem to be a smart marine you see. You knew that I wasn't the true Captain Malcolm Savard, but you weren't for sure, so you waited. Sadly, you waited too long" Savard said. Fitzgerald ignored the remark.

"So where is the Captain?" he asked.

"That's a good question David. You see, I ripped out half of the man's brain, so that I could take over his body, just like what happened to Lieutenant Bishop and Private Taylor here. The three human individuals are indeed dead, however their souls remain. If this body dies, they die" Savard explained. Fitzgerald glanced at the dead body of Private McConnell, one of the marines who had been a fake like them. There was a huge hole in his head, blood still flowing out of it.

"Why is McConnell dead then?" he asked.

"We need the infection form in his head to take over Lieutenant Bishop here, mainly because the Lieutenant is a lot more valuable than a mere Private" Savard said. Fitzgerald looked at the Lieutenant, who merely stared back. His normal brown eyes had clouded over, becoming more of a gray color, just like the Captain and Private Taylor. Fitzgerald shook his head.

"I still don't know why I'm being kept alive" he whispered.

"David, I'm trying to decide whether I need you or not. You are a First Sergeant, second-in-command of security forces here. I would've been much happier with Major Anderson, but he had you come instead. I just don't know if you are needed. For the time being, I'm going to keep you alive until I make my decision" Savard explained. At that moment, a group of Flood combat forms rushed into the bridge. Behind them, the bridge doors were sealed shut and the Flood forms gathered around it.

"Now that we're sealed in here, no one gets in or out" Savard chuckled. He paused suddenly and looked at Bishop. The Lieutenant glazed over eyes were rolling into the back of his head. His body was turning different shades of colors and he was sweating.

"Bishop?" Savard asked. The Captain stepped forward and put his hand on the Lieutenant's head. Slowly, Bishop returned to his normal status. He nodded at Savard, who shook his head.

"Seems that Jonathan Bishop is getting very restless in there, we'll have to make sure he doesn't kill himself" Savard said, laughing. Fitzgerald looked at the Lieutenant. Maybe there was hope. Maybe the real Bishop could take back his body. He prayed to whatever god was out there that Jonathan was successful.

"Seems like your marine forces have started their attack..." Savard whispered.

"Move move move! Get in there and fight you apes!" Major Anderson motioned with his one hand as he fired his M90 shotgun with his other. All of his marine security forces rushed past him and converged around the main entrance in the engineering deck. They had started their attack several minutes ago, basically running down to engineering. So far, they had met little resistance, but when the air lock doors leading to the actual deck level opened, Flood forms burst out, firing their weapons. When the last of the marines rushed past Anderson, he ran in after them, reloading his shotgun as he did. He ducked and rolled, avoiding a volley of bullets fired at him. He crouched up and fired three rounds, killing three Flood forms. He switched back and forth between targets as more and more Flood forms rushed at the marine lines. A nearby private yelped, then fell over as multiple bullet rounds slammed into him. A Flood form fired its own shotgun at point blank range, hitting two marines in multiple areas. One of them immediately fell dead, but the second only succumbed a small wound to his leg. He continued to fire. A nearby marine next to Anderson looked up at him.

"Sir, Master Sergeant Chambers reports that his Helljumpers have defeated the Flood forces at the main hangar and barracks and are moving into the access tubes now. They estimate it will take them fifteen minutes to get into position. Major Anderson nodded, and then ducked as rounds pinged off the wall near him. The marine in front of him took several of the bullet rounds to his shoulder and stomach. He fell to his knees, and then toppled over, holding his stomach.

"Medic!" Anderson yelled. One of the three marine combat medics rushed across the hall towards him. As he did, a full volley of shotgun shells slammed into him. The propulsion of the rounds literally lifted the light medic off his feet and sent him skidding along the floor towards the end of the hall. Anderson winced. Instead of calling a second medic over, he grabbed hold of the wounded marine and dragged him over towards the remaining two medics and left him there. The Major then dove sideways, firing his shotgun from his hip as he flew through the air. He landed on the floor and rolled to the side, panting heavily. Anderson reloaded, and then continued firing. He couldn't believe the amount of Flood forms there were coming at them.

Master Sergeant James Chambers crawled through the dark, cramped access tubes that surrounded the entire engineering deck. He was looking for hatch 8D and was only passing hatch 3B. The Sergeant was a big man, too big for the tubes. He was on his stomach, slowly crawled forward using his arms and legs. Sweat covered his face and he licked it to try and saturate his lips.

"C'mon Sarge, you're slowing the momentum back here" a Helljumper Corporal remarked. Chambers turned around and spat at the man who was right behind him. Corporal Benson yelped as the wad of spit hit him in the face. His head jolted up quickly and slammed into the ceiling, causing the troopers behind him to laugh. The Sergeant rolled to the side.

"Why don't you lead us Benson, you seem to be eager get there" he growled. The Corporal wiped the spit of his face and crawled past the Sergeant, mumbling curses under his breath. Slowly, Chambers followed, picking up the pace, since Benson was a lot faster than him. It would be a long crawl to the hatch...

"We've arrived." Fitzgerald had attempted to fall asleep, but the announcement made by Savard snapped him awake. He tried to look out the window, but couldn't see anything. Savard looked back at him and laughed. He then nodded at Private Taylor, who grabbed hold of the Sergeant and allowed him to lean against a console near the front window.

The Hybrid floated in a stationary position just in front of the second Halo ring world. A total of four Covenant warships were stationed much closer to the ring. Lines of dropships were traveling back and forth from the ships, transporting wounded soldiers and fresh troops. Fires and explosions dotted the surface of Halo. It seemed that the war between the Covenant and the Flood wasn't taking place in one spot. Fitzgerald continued to watch in awe. Savard turned to Lieutenant Bishop, who sat at the weapons console.

"Have our starboard weapons target the Covenant cruiser Anger's Blade and our port weapons to target the Prophet's Justice" Savard ordered. Bishop nodded and typed in the coordinates. So far, the Covenant assault force hadn't noticed the lone human ship floating behind them. The two Super MAC guns and four plasma turrets on the top of the ship maneuvered to target the farthest flanking Covenant ship to the right, while the bottom MAC guns and plasma turrets fixed their targeting scanners on the farthest flanking Covenant vessel to the left. Savard looked at Bishop's display and grinned.

"Fire" he ordered. The two ships being targeted were the weakest of the assault force. The awesome power from the MAC rounds and continuous plasma laser shots obliterated both ships. Blazing fragments spiraled around in space, slamming into the remaining two cruisers. Bishop looked up from his console.

"Targeted ships destroyed, but the Covenant ship The Ritual is moving in one us. She's the strongest of the fleet" Bishop said. Savard sat down in his command chair and hummed slightly, thinking about what to do next.

"Did you hear that?" asked Corporal Benson. Master Sergeant Chambers nodded. The sound of the Super MAC canons letting loose their powerful depleted uranium shells could be heard from anywhere on the ship.

"Maybe the Covenant have found us" a private in the back of the line said.

"Oh great, first Flood, now the Covenant" Benson groaned.

"Shut up and keep moving. Whatever is out there, it's most likely dead, so ignore it" Chambers growled.

"Ignore the oncoming ship. Target the Prophet's Grace and destroy it" Savard suddenly ordered. Bishop nodded and typed in the commands. Not a second later, the last ship orbiting Halo was destroyed. The lines of dropships flying towards it were completely destroyed in the resulting explosion and shockwave.

"Sir, The Ritual is powering up its weapons" Bishop exclaimed. Savard shook his head.

"Power up our defense shields" he said, but the Covenant vessel had already opened fire. Lances of hot plasma flew out from the ship's bow and flew at the Hybrid. The blue and white plasma splashed along the surface of the ship, slowly melting the Titanium armor and damaging internal systems.

Major Anderson and the marines around him were thrown to the deck as the ship rocked violently. The Flood forms attacking them experienced the same problem, falling over for a moment. Anderson raised himself back up quickly and continued to open fire.

"Radio!" he yelled, reloading his weapon as the other marines around him continued to attack. The private beside him handed him his two-way radio.

"Anderson to bridge, what the fuck is going on up there?" he asked. The familiar long pause greeted him. Anderson growled.

"Major, we're running into Covenant resistance. Hold onto your butts, this is going to get rough" Captain Savard said, then shut the link down. Anderson shook his head and tossed the radio back, continuing to attack. A marine unpinned a frag grenade and tossed it into a group of Flood forms concentrating their fire at several marines trying to move forward. The combat forms flew in all directions as the grenade detonated among them, allowing the marines to move forward.

"Lucky shot...some sort of power cord was hit sir, weapon systems are temporarily offline" Bishop said. Savard stood up.

"Get our shields up" he said. Fitzgerald, who was still leaning against the wall, was slowly getting the bonds on his hands off. The tentacles were getting very moist, allowing them to slide along his skin. He looked over at Savard, then out the main window. He gasped. Savard looked out the window as well.

"What the hell?" he asked. The Covenant Ship, The Ritual, was flying straight at them, powering their plasma torpedoes up again. Bishop's mouth dropped open. Savard snapped out of his trance and rushed to the helm controls. Lieutenant Bishop stood up as well and rushed to assist the Captain.

"Shit, Flood!" Corporal Benson had suddenly stopped and was trying to back up. His boot slammed into Chamber's face.

"Damnit Corporal" he grunted and shoved the man out of the way. The Corporal screamed and went limp as multiple bullet rounds flew at them. Chambers quickly grabbed hold of Benson's dead body and held it in front of him as bullets pinged off the armor around him. A Helljumper behind him stood up to try and shoot, but was hit in the throat and fell over dead.

"Stay down god damnit!" Chambers roared. As more bullets flew past them, the Sergeant grabbed Benson's radio.

"Chambers to Anderson, Chambers to Anderson!" he yelled.

Major Anderson ducked and fired again, avoiding more bullets. The Flood form in front of him died. Two more Flood forms jumped out and slammed there tentacle whips into two marines in front of Anderson. One man's head was completely cut off, while the second man toppled to the ground, his neck ripped open. Anderson fired three times quickly and killed the forms. He then waved his men forward.

"Move!" he yelled. The radio private rushed over to him, ducking low.

"All the Helljumper COs report Flood forces in the tubes sir, they can't get into position" he yelled. Anderson paused shooting.

"What?" he asked. The private was about to speak, but a bullet to the neck silenced him. Anderson swore and grabbed the man's radio.

"Report!" he yelled.

"This is Chambers; there are Flood hostiles in the access tubes. Attempting to fall back and get out another way" the Master Sergeant said. The Major nodded.

"Don't go to far back, but make sure you get out of there" he ordered. No response. Anderson pocketed the radio, and then crouched low, reloading his weapon. How the hell did the Flood know they would be using the access tubes? They only had knowledge about them around the bridge, not here in engineering. A thought came across Anderson that chilled him to the bone. What if someone tipped them off? He shook his head, thinking that was impossible, but then remembered Fitzgerald telling him about the return of Captain Savard. Anderson turned to look in the direction of the bridge.

"Impact in ten seconds!" yelled Bishop.

"Weapons?" Savard yelled back.

"No time sir, MAC and plasma turrets still charging" Bishop reported.

"Defense shields?" Savard asked.

"Charging now, but it's too late" the Lieutenant yelled. The Captain, Lieutenant Bishop and Fitzgerald all jumped to the deck immediately.

The Ritual came about and drove straight down into the Hybrid's engineering section. At first, it hit solid metal, but the ship's plasma torpedoes fired, melting apart the armor and allowed the ship to break in.

Master Sergeant heard an explosion near him, then the entire access tube he and his men were in exploded. There bodies and the bodies of the Flood combat forms disintegrated as the Covenant ship plowed through.

Major Anderson looked up from his shotgun he was reloading. Without warning, the bulkhead near him exploded, following by the entire wall section. The blast of heat and fire sent him flying into the wall on the opposite side of the hall. The marines gathered around him met the same fates, completely engulfed in flames. The Major's body slammed into the wall and slide onto the ground, knocked out senseless. The end of the hall exploded, revealing stars and nebulas of space. The hard, cold vacuum of space that rushed into the hall, pulling Flood forms and marines into space. Anderson awoke suddenly and realized that he was slowly being pulled down the hall. He grabbed hold of a bulkhead handle and hung onto dear life, as he was lifted off the ground, his legs dangling in the air. The Flood forms that had been rushing at them disappeared through the hole in the hallway, throwing their limbs around. Marines screamed violently as they flew past the Major and out into the void of space. One marine lost his gripping on a door and began to fly down the hall. He was able to grab hold of another marine's boot, but he too let go and the pair of them disappeared down the hall, screaming. The muscle tension on Anderson's arms was huge. The fact that the ship was still shaking didn't help either.

Several consoles on the bridge erupted in flame. Parts of the ceiling exploded, littering them with wires and metal. Fitzgerald was thrown against the wall. Private Taylor attempted to stand, but the console behind him erupted, showering him in flame and wreckage. The flood-infected marine spiraled through the air and hit the floor, dead. Savard and Bishop were no where to be seen. Fitzgerald ripped apart his tentacle bonds, and then went to work on his legs. The ship around him continued to crumble and shake.

The Covenant ship eventually came to a stop. A small part of its bow was buried in the Hybrid's hall. For the time being, it charged up its plasma torpedoes and continued to fire them, creating a large hole in the hull.

Anderson looked up and found a small control panel on the wall. He pulled himself forward and pressed it quickly. Slowly, the airlock doors behind him began to shut. A marine suddenly let go and began to fall down the hall. However, the air lock doors closed first and the lucky private slammed into them. Anderson fell to the ground as gravity was restored. His arms were completely numb, but he was able to stand and looked around him. He had lost over half of his marine crew, which wasn't good at all. He breathed heavily, and then looked down the hall through the air lock doors. He could clearly make out the second Halo ring world floating in the distance. This confirmed his thoughts. Growling, he turned and began to march towards the bridge, his marines following him.

Fitzgerald staggered as he stood up from the floor, his tentacle bonds on the ground around him. The bridge was an absolute mess. The walls were scorched with fire marks and wreckage lay everywhere. All of the Flood forms were dead, as was Private Taylor. Lieutenant Bishop and Captain Savard stood up in front of him, each of them covered in burn marks and wounds. Fitzgerald crouched low, realized that he was unarmed and both of them were.

The Ritual remained stuck in the hull of the Hybrid, its weapons systems destroyed after its last shot, which had rebounded on a new part of the hull and smashed into them. Unknown to what remained of the crew of the Hybrid; the Covenant Ship Master was planning to destroy his ship, hoping it would destroy the Hybrid...

By: Agent Shade (new display name: Nemesis)

Survival, Chapter Eleven(Finale)
Date: 15 October 2003, 2:49 AM

Survival, Chapter Eleven (Finale)

The Covenant war cruiser, The Ritual, was still dislodged within the hull of the Human-Covenant ship, Hybrid. As the Ship Master of the large Covenant vessel attempted to get its ship free, squads of Covenant boarding parties began loading up in the small landing pods located through the ship and prepared to board the disabled Hybrid. Still on board however, was a fight for Survival, coming to an end...

Fitzgerald remained perfectly still behind a huge piece of the wall inside the bridge of the Hybrid. The explosions were gone, indicating that the crash was over. However, still standing alive was the infected Captain Savard and Lieutenant Bishop. The two of them were doing a systems check, when the Captain eventually realized they had a prisoner missing.

"Where's Fitzgerald?" he asked, turning around from the destroyed console he was observing. Lieutenant Bishop looked up as well, and then looked at the Captain, a look of confusion and question on his face. Savard raised his M6D pistol that was in his one hand and walked into the middle of the bridge.

"Sergeant Fitzgerald, this is Captain Savard, are you there?" the Captain said. Fitzgerald fought hard not to laugh. The Flood form was trying to trick him and it wasn't working. Slowly, he began working his way over to Lieutenant Jonathan Bishop, who remained perfectly still, looking around the destroyed bridge. The large pikes of wreckage that was scattered across the deck, provided the Sergeant with good cover, and the low hum of the still running engines muted his footsteps. Savard seemed to realize this as well.

"Shut down the engines" he ordered. Bishop nodded and typed in commands into the only working console on the bridge. A few minutes later, the low hum disappeared, surrounding them in silence. Savard's eyes swept the room, while Bishop turned his back to the approaching Fitzgerald. David bawled his hands into fists, and without any warning, leapt from his hiding spot and onto the Lieutenant. The two of them collapsed to the floor, Fitzgerald on top. He kicked the pistol out of the Lieutenant's hands and ran for it. Savard stepped forward, but Fitzgerald dove right into him, smashing him against the wall. Savard yelled out and kicked the pistol aside, forcing Fitzgerald to stand. The two of them grappled with each other for a moment, before the sound of a gun being cocked made them stop. Lieutenant Bishop stood in front of them, his weapon up and pointed at Fitzgerald. The Captain smirked and stepped aside.

"Shoot him Lieutenant" he ordered. Jonathan didn't acknowledge the Captain, but kept his gun on the Sergeant. Fitzgerald could see his eyes beginning to change again. The cold sweat was returning and Jonathan's body began to tremble slightly. Fitzgerald grinning, Savard growled. The Captain walked forward to stop the Lieutenant, but Bishop turned suddenly and pointed the gun at him. Savard stepped back, raising his hands. Bishop continued to tremble as he kept his gun up at the Captain. While this was happening, Fitzgerald began backing up slightly. Savard's pistol lay on the ground behind him. He needed to obtain it, before Bishop lost the battle.

"Jonathan, don't do this, don't shoot your own Captain" Savard whispered. Bishop's head twitched slightly, and then he suddenly pulled the trigger...

"Gentlemen, this ship has been under Flood control ever since the Captain returned. Some sort of Flood being has infected his mind, and possibly some fellow marines of ours. They're taking this ship somewhere else, not Earth. We need to stop them. Lock and load your weapons and let's get moving!" Major Anderson looked around at the last of his marine security forces. He had twenty-three left, out of a majority of sixty-four. Majority of his men were lost when the hall was breached. They all floated somewhere in space now. Anderson pushed that thought aside and focused on the task at hand. Captain Savard had to die. He loaded his shotgun and began marching down the long halls that would eventually lead to the bridge. His marines quickly ran after him, scanning the area with their weapons. Not a second later, several access tube hatches opened and groups of Flood combat forms climbed out. Anderson quickly dropped to one knee and fired off his shotgun rapidly, killing the combat forms nearest to him. His marines surrounded him and fired as well, killing more of the combat forms. Several of them leapt at the men, but were shot in the air. Anderson was forced to back up slightly, as one dead Flood form nearly landed on him. No sooner did they kill those groups of Flood forms, more combat forms came running down the hall at them, wielding various weapons, which they used to open fire. Immediately, two marines fell, cradling large bullet holes on their bodies. Anderson quickly rolled off to the left and fired off several rounds from his shotgun, as bullets pinged off the deck around him.

"Get down!" he yelled to his marines. Two more marines fell to bullet wounds, while the others found cover and ducked behind it. The Flood forms moved forward, their weapons drowning out the marines. Groups of them fell, but more came. Anderson was thinking that maybe all the combat forms were dead, but he was mistaken. As he continued to open fire, an access hatch opened up behind him. Anderson whirled around, pointing his shotgun at an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, who raised his hands.

"Sergeant Warren, Group B" he said quickly. He was covered in what looked like ash and soot. The twelve other Helljumpers that crawled out behind him were also covered in black smudges. They quickly joined the marine forces and assisted them in taking down the Flood. Warren knelt near Anderson.

"We're all that's left. Group A was crushed by something, dunno what, but the tunnels they were in are gone. Fires broke out in our tunnel, killed a lot of my men. The fact that there were Flood forces in there didn't help either. We retreated quickly though, thank god for the ladders" he explained, killing four combat forms with what ammo was left in his shotgun. Anderson nodded.

"Good to have at least a few of you. The ship is under Flood control. Some sort of Flood infection form has taken over the Captain and possibly other members of the crew. We're heading there now, hoping we can kill him, and then take back the ship" Anderson said quickly. Warren nodded and reloaded his shotgun.

"We're with you sir" he said and moved to a better spot. Anderson moved as well, but as he did, more Flood forms showed up, and forced him to stay down. He sighed and kept on firing.

The bullet flew straight out from the barrel of the M6D pistol in Bishop's hands. Captain Savard seemed to have sensed that the Lieutenant would shoot, and had already begun to dive out of the way. The bullet caught him in the upper forearm, spraying his uniform with blood. As Savard fell, he roared in pain. Fitzgerald was about to get the gun, but Bishop suddenly aimed at him. Without warning, he fired, but he was shaking so much, the bullet missed the Sergeant. It pinged off the wall behind him, forcing David to drop to the floor. Savard was up, but the Lieutenant turned to him again. Slowly, his eyes were beginning to glaze over again. But Jonathan was fighting still. The gun switched from Fitzgerald on the floor, to Savard with the bleeding arm. Without warning, he slowly began to turn the gun to point at him. It looked as if he was fighting some sort of invisible opponent, he was trembling so hard. Fitzgerald stood.

"No!" he yelled. Bishop suddenly looked up at Fitzgerald and winked. David was about to smile, but the Lieutenant pulled the trigger. A second bullet exited the chamber and flew straight at Bishop's forehead. It punctured his skull, ripping apart what was left of his brain and the Flood infection form. Red blood and a green mucus sprayed out of the back of his head as the bullet flew through the other end. Following that, Jonathan Bishop's head exploded, showering Fitzgerald and Savard with brain and skull fragments. Fitzgerald stood frozen to the spot for a moment, mourning the death of the Lieutenant, but then realized that the leader of the Flood on this ship was still alive. He dove for the pistol, but Savard was already moving there. The two of them met halfway and collided. Savard was up first. His skin had fainted slightly and he looked a lot greener than he did before. His veins were popping out of his head and his eyes were blazing with anger. Ignoring the bullet wound in his arm, he lashed out with his fists, but David avoided each blow. He had trained especially hard in hand to hand combat and was a pro at this. He caught Savard off his guard after his one punch and slammed his own fist into his stomach. Savard doubled over and coughed up green mucus. Fitzgerald moved in, but the Captain leapt up and slammed his foot into David's chest. The Sergeant flew into a wall, amazing at the strength behind the kick. If the Captain had been strong before, he was even stronger now. The tentacles that were positioned throughout his body improved his overall body strength, making him ten times as strong. Savard moved in and punched Fitzgerald in the face, breaking his nose. The Sergeant slide off to the right and punched at Savard's kidneys. He hit them, but it did nothing. Malcolm Savard turned and grabbed Fitzgerald by the throat. He raised him above the ground, grinning evilly. David choked and gasped but received no mercy or air. He raised his fist and slammed it into Savard's head. Without warning, he was dropped to the floor. Fitzgerald looked up to see Savard screaming in pain as he held his head. David had found a weak point. Since the Flood form was located in the Captain's head, it was obvious to hit him in the head to kill him. Malcolm turned at David. He looked around him and grabbed a nearby pipe that had fallen. When he raised it, a small flame was present at the end. Malcolm laughed and twirled the weapon around. Fitzgerald watched it closely and jumped to avoid it as the Captain swung it at him. His swings were deadly and backed up by a lot of power. Fitzgerald waited for the right moment. He pushed his hands forward; catching Malcolm's hands as well as he raised the pipe over his head. Fitzgerald grabbed the base of the pipe and struggled to break it free from Savard's grip. The Captain grinned and resisted. David growled as he tried and get the pipe, but it was no use. Savard slammed his head into David's, hitting him in the nose. A huge surge of pain went through his already broken nose and the Sergeant was forced to let go. He backed up into a corner and held onto a broken handle that was hanging off the wall, at waist level. Savard grinned.

"You are beaten, now die!" he yelled, running forward, raised the pipe over his head. Without even thinking, Fitzgerald grabbed the broken handle, ripped it off the wall and stuck it out in front of him. Savard tried to stop, but it was too late. The broken tip of the metal handle sank straight through Savard's stomach and pierced his back as well. The Captain gasped in pain, unable to scream. He dropped the pipe in his hands and grabbed hold of the handle in him. He looked up at David, still filled with rage. Slowly, he began pulling himself forward, the end of the handle sticking out further from his back. Savard pulled himself in so close to the Sergeant, their faces nearly touched. Malcolm let go of the handle and grabbed hold of Fitzgerald's neck, attempting to choke him. David grinned. There was no strength left in Savard, he was barely hurting him. Fitzgerald broke free and grabbed the pistol out of Lieutenant Bishop's hand. He cocked the weapon and held it at Savard's head.

"So long Captain" he whispered. He pulled the trigger.

Captain Malcolm Savard smiled and saluted to the Sergeant through his own eyes. He then was plunged into darkness...

The bullet drove through Savard's skull, and shot out the other side. However, no blood or anything followed. In fact, the Captain didn't even die. David looked at Savard, then realized that was dead, the Flood form wasn't. Without warning, the top of the Captain's head exploded and a large Flood infection form flew out, covered in human blood. It staggered on its tentacles, obviously weakened. It looked at Fitzgerald, who grinned. Without even a word, David raised his boat and brought it down on the large head of the Flood form. The thing screeched and popped.

Fitzgerald was thrown into the back of the bridge as the large Flood infection form exploded, covering the bridge in green mucus and flesh. David landed hard onto the floor and lay there, unconscious...

Major Anderson reloaded his very last shotgun round and was about to fire it, when the Flood combat form in front of him fell over. Anderson looked around him and realized that the other Flood forms surrounding his marines fell over without a sound. Anderson stood over one and fired his last round into it. It didn't even growl or flip over, it just lay there. Anderson looked over at Sergeant Warren, who was supporting a broken arm. He shook his head and Anderson nodded. He looked around him.

"Let's go! To the bridge!" he yelled. Without a second look at the dead Flood forms, the Major stormed off to the elevator that would take him to the bridge. His marines followed him, still unsure of what just happened.

Fitzgerald awoke to the sound of whispering and footsteps outside the bridge door. He opened his one eye and could see shadows moving around the entrance. David grabbed his pistol and stood up, hugging the wall to avoid being seen. Without warning, two combat marines walked into the bridge, scanning the area with their shotguns. Fitzgerald sighed gratefully and fell to his knees. The marines turned, their weapons pointed at him.

"Sergeant Fitzgerald sir" one of them yelled. David then watched Major Anderson rush into the bridge, a look of surprise on his face. He knelt in front of the Sergeant and grabbed him forcefully.

"What is your name?" he demanded.

"First Sergeant David Fitzgerald, Interior Security Forces" David said tiredly.

"ID number?" Anderson continued.

"09-42-13" Fitzgerald answered.

"Whom do you serve?" Anderson asked, looking into his eyes.

"UNSC Marine Core, Semper Fi" Fitzgerald said, quoting the term used by Fan Fiction commenter Walker (lol). Anderson stood up, pulling the Sergeant with him. He offered his hand and David took it.

"Damn good to see you Fitzgerald" the Major said. David nodded his tired eyes, and then looked at the body of Captain Savard, which was still suspended by the wall handle. Anderson looked at the prone figure as well.

"Both of them dead?" he asked, referring to Captain Savard and the Flood infection form.

"Yes, the Captain was under the influence of some sort of Flood overmind form. Looks like a regular infection form, but much larger" David explained.

"How many more were under its control?" asked Sergeant Warren.

"Lieutenant Bishop fell to its powers before the crash. The three marines, Taylor, McConnell and Lawley" David said. Anderson knelt beside the prone figure of Bishop, and then shook his head.

"Disgusting what those things are capable of doing" he said. There was a moment of silence, before a nearby marine looked up.

"We've got reports of Covenant boarding parties all over the ship. Also, the Flood aren't all dead. There are still a large number of them in the engineering room. One of those overmind things must still be alive" he said. Suddenly, there was a loud crash outside the bridge. Fitzgerald turned to see a group of Covenant Jackals and Elites rush into the bridge. He grabbed a nearby shotgun lying on the deck and opened fire. One of the Elites smashed its plasma rifle into the head of a marine. As he crumpled to the floor, the Elite turned and launched itself at Major Anderson, who dove backwards, firing his unholstered pistol. The Elite fell over him and growled as it slowly died.

A group of Grunts followed suite as the Jackals were killed off. The Elites retreated behind the Grunts and sent large squads of them in. However, their armor wasn't strong enough to protect them from the shotgun rounds fired at him. Before the Elites knew it, all their Grunts were dead and the marines were moving in on them. Two Elites attempted to fight, but were killed quickly. The remaining three tried to retreat, but a fragmentation grenade and dozens of shotgun rounds finished them off. There was a quick moment of silence, before the marines fanned out, waiting for more. Fitzgerald walked over to Anderson.

"We need to get out of here" he said. Anderson nodded, and then rushed to the last working console.

"Hmmm, not much left on this ship Sergeant. Bow weapons remain operational, but the enemy is stuck at the stern. Shields inoperable, the armor is heavily damaged, many of our critical interior systems are gone. The auto-destruct sequence remains an option though" Anderson quoted, looked up from the data board. He looked at the Sergeant, but Fitzgerald shrugged.

"Your call sir" he said. Anderson looked at the remaining marines with him. He then took a moment to look at the ring world that was still floating near them.

"I'm programming a landing solution for five of the nearest landing pods" he said, typing in several commands. Fitzgerald knew what that meant. They were abandoning ship. Fly to the ring world and wait for rescue. Fitzgerald noticed another console working, near communications. He walked over to it and accessed the distress signals. He began programming a distress beacon that would be sent out by one of the landing pods.

"I've got a distress beacon working here, what should I say in it?" he asked Anderson.

"Mention our ship name, situation, survivors, location and outtake on survival" he said without even looking at him. Fitzgerald nodded and began typing in the small text box that appeared. While he did this, another Covenant assault team arrived and harassed the marine forces. One marine took multiple plasma rounds to his shoulder and leg. He fell over, trying to hold both bleeding wounds. Fitzgerald ignored the fighting around him and finished the message.

"Sending it to Pod 1" he reported.

"The Landing pods are ready, the countdown has begun. We got ten minutes to get off this ship, let's move!" he yelled. The marines didn't need to be told twice and pushed their way through the Covenant standing outside the bridge. As they were killed, the surviving crew rushed down several halls, and took two elevators to D deck. By then, they had seven minutes left. They rushed down two more long corridors, passing more Covenant boarding parties that were engaging Flood combat forms. The marines rushed into the battle, killing both of the enemies and not losing a single man. Anderson pushed them hard, not wanting them to stop. They have five minutes left, when they finally reached the landing pods. A small team of Covenant Grunts and Jackals were already there, but they were disposed off quickly. Anderson stood around there five landing pods.

"Spread yourselves up, get into these five landing pods and move quickly!" he yelled. The marines obeyed and jumped into the nearest pod. Pod 1 and 2 was filled immediately. Pods 3 and 4 were filled with the remaining Helljumpers. Anderson, Fitzgerald and Sergeant Warren climbed into Pod 5. The airlock doors were sealed shut behind them. Anderson sat at the controls of the pod and watched the countdown from thirty seconds. They were down to three minutes. Fitzgerald strapped himself in and helped out Warren. His broken arm prevented him from strapping himself in. Without a warning, the pod lurched forward as it blew off from its connecting lines and exploded out of the hatch, the other four pods right behind it. Anderson ordered the pod computer to go to full acceleration. Fitzgerald could feel the tension of the speed of the pod as they accelerated. Breathing became difficult and Fitzgerald nearly threw up. Slowly, as they entered the ring world's atmosphere, the intense pressure from space subsided and Fitzgerald was able to look out back. Through the airlock door, he watched the other four pods fly around there's, then he was blinded by an intense, huge explosion. Slowly, the white light disappeared and was replaced by a huge ball of flame.

The Human-Covenant warship Hybrid imploded, engulfing The Ritual was still remained stuck in its hull. The Ritual exploded and the two large explosions caused an ever bigger one. Fitzgerald could feel the heat just by looking at it. Flaming pieces of wreckage flew out from the burning fire which remaining in space. Slowly, the fires subsided, revealing nothing but empty space and a little bit of space junk. The Hybrid was gone. Several billion dollars, right down the drain, but Fitzgerald wasn't concerned about that. Good people had been lost during their battle on board that ship, and now, they would most likely have to continue this fight down on Halo. Major Anderson crawled into the back and strapped himself in.

"We're coming in hot, standby!" he yelled. Fitzgerald held onto his chair even tighter and prayed that they would make it. The squad of five landing pods flew over a somewhat dense forest. There was a very large valley near the middle of it. Slowly, the landing pod computers calculated their descent depth and angled the pods downwards, allowing them to safety crash into the lush meadow and remain there, until their rescue arrived...

The group of thirty-one ship survivors of the UNSC Hybrid remained on the second Halo ring world for approximately two months. During that time, surviving Covenant assault forces, who had been deployed onto the world as extermination forces, ran into the survivors and perished, providing the marines with food and weapons. By then, it was assumed all hope of being rescued was lost. However, during there third month on the Halo ring world, a UNSC ship known as the Hunter, picked up the weak distress signal from the small landing pod and investigated. The ship's landing parties found twenty-six marines, all camped out in a cave near a large lake. The marines were taken back to Earth, were they were questioned, and then awarded for their deeds. All twenty-six survivors left the Marine Core days after their return, starting new lives as citizens of the UNSC. First Sergeant David Fitzgerald started up a self-defense learning centre, where he advised children in how to defend yourself while being attacked. Major Anderson worked with Fitzgerald for several years, but eventually retired to a tropical island. He kept close contact with Fitzgerald and the two men remained good friends. This was their story of their survival...

By: Agent Shade (new display name: Nemesis)

~*Author's note*~

Thanks everyone for reading this series. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you will enjoy my new series "MJOLNIR." Cheers

~*End note*~