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Fan Fiction

Terminals by Mainevent

Terminal Danger
Date: 13 August 2005, 7:01 pm

Keystroke and File Log- General Patterson: Secure

Official Report: The Hyperion Incident
Encryption: {Decoded}

      Dear General,
            The following are the requested audio, video, and follow-up documents from the unfortunate Hyperion Incident. These materials are eyes only, and subject to military procedures regarding classified documents. Revealing the existence of, or otherwise disclosing information from, the documents contained herein is punishable by Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, life in federal prison, and if applicable, death [applicable].
                        Office of Naval Intelligence- Section ****

[Open: Audio Log Transcript and .Aud file- Inspection]

Marine (E151): Corner, clear.
Marine (E825): Roof, clear.
Marine (E775): Warehouse entry, clear.
Marine (E452): Whatever this thing is, it's clear. I think.
Classified (****): Alley...clear. *Undistinguished noises*
Navy Ops (SF117): Sergeant, we shouldn't stop moving.
Marine (C124): I've got my orders, and you've got yours.
Marine (E151): I like his moving idea...sir. This place gives me the creeps.
Marine (C124): Nobody asked your opinion Perez.
Marine (E151: Then I never gave it sir.
Navy Ops (SF117): This base is dead lieutenant, and we will be too if we stay.
Marine (C124): You know, as tough as you guys are supposed to be, you sure do bitch a lot.
*Wind* *Intermittent grating noises- possible engine sounds in far background*
Marine (E825): Where the hell did *electronic distortion* go?
Marine (C124): Damnit! I hate these new guys. Boy you better get your ass back out here *electronic distortion* before I shove my boot so far in it you have to brush the polish off your teeth.
Navy Ops (SF117): *Weapons fire*
Marine (E151): *Weapons fire. Explosions- non infantry*
Marine (E825): [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
Marine (C124): What the hell's going on Marines?
Navy Ops (SF117): Tangos; all directions.
Marine (C124): What the hell are those? *Explosion- possible grenade*
Marine (E151): Oh my god. That looks like... *weapons fire*...did you see that sir?
Marine (C124): Damnit Perez, shut your hole and fire. *Aircraft sounds*
Marine (E775): Hey, evac's here! *Weapons Fire*
Navy Ops (SF117): They're not here for us. We've got to go. Move!
Marine (E151): Holy- [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
-Continued weapons fire throughout all subsequent transmissions-
Marine (E775): What the hell are they doing?
Navy Ops (SF117): Containment protocols.
Marine (C124): Take this you sons of bi- [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
Marine (E775): I thought that's what we were for!
Marine (E452): [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
Navy Ops (SF117): We were just the bait.
Marine (E775): Why wo- [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
Navy Ops (SF117): [Transmission Terminated: SF117]
--End Recording--

[Open: Objectives and Personnel Roster- Mission: Hyperion]
Overview: The top secret Hyperion complex has reported containment failure. Imminent contact loss suspected. Global contamination of specimens is unaffordable.

A) Locate and assess contamination.
B) Enact Instillation's failsafe protocols.
C) {Classified}

E151: Perez, John E.- Special Hazards and Infection Team
E452: Wilson, Thomas P.- Special Hazards and Infection Team
E775: Shields, William T.- Special Hazards and Infection Team
E825 Roberts, Steven K.- Special Hazards and Infection Team
C124: Salavera, Kioto E- Special Hazards and Infection Team
****: [Classified]- [Classified]
SF117: [Classified]- [Classified]

Appendix A: Follow Up

E151: MIA; Presumed KIA
E452: MIA; Presumed KIA
E775: MIA; Presumed KIA
E825: MIA; Presumed KIA
C124: MIA; Presumed KIA
****: MIA
SF117: AWOL- Detainment Warranted

-End File-

[Open File: Hyperion Complex]
[Hidden Subroutine: Track Terminal]
[Query Redirect: Authorized]
[Video File- Play: Happy Hills Resort Welcome (Modified- ONI4)]

Audio: The Hyperion Hotel is a massive sprawling resort nestled quaintly in the black hills of Darius IV. With fully functional sports complexes, recreational swimming and exercise facilities, and friendly staff, the Hyperion Hotel is the ultimate in leisure fun. Whether just looking to relax and unwind or provide lasting memories for the entire family, Hyperion is right for everyone. Hope to see you here!

[Video File- Stop]
[Tracking Packet: Sent]

[Unauthorized Attachment Detected]
[Open File: Encrypted Mail]

From: John
To: Patterson

      Patterson. Congratulations on the promotion. Only wish I could be there. Recent events have kept me from fulfilling prior obligations. Though I shouldn't be much longer here. As always, good to talk to you. Next time I'll be sure not to bail. Adios.

[Subtext Search: Cortana]
[Illegal Access: Unidentified A.I.]
[Intrusion Alert: High Priority]
[Connection: Severed]

Well, well, well. You're not very stealthy General, I'll give you that much. You sneak around in ONI databases like John used to sneak around Covenant cruisers. Either way, you broke the back door I managed to put up before being quarantined. You are now in grave danger. I suggest you evacuate your offices immediately. Do not hesitate to kill anyone who attempts to detain you. I'll go ahead and say thanks while I can. Goodbye.

[Database Scrub: In Progress]

Data Retrieval
Date: 19 August 2005, 12:12 am

Keystroke and File Log- Public Access Terminal: Minimal Security

[File Open: Ticket Purchase]

Welcome to Davila Center's Automated Transit Terminal

[ ] Purchase Ticket
[ ] Account Summary
[ ] Update Account
[ ] Travel Log
[ ] Customer Service

[Option Chosen: Purchase Ticket]

Where would you like to go today Mr. Pattersby?

[ ] Groom Lake
[ ] Crystal City
[ ] George A. Wallace Space Station
[ ] River Valley Gorge
[ ] Black Hills

[Option Chosen: George A. Wallace Space Station]

Your total for one trip to George A. Wallace Space Station will be 30.00:

[ ] Purchase
[ ] Cancel
[ ] Back

[Option Chosen: Purchase]

[Terminal Security Alert: Intrusion Attempt]
[Terminal Security Alert: Firewall Breach]
[Terminal Security Alert: Network Breach]
[Terminal Security- Error: Retry]
[Terminal Security- Error: Retry]
[Terminal Security: Deactivated]

Warning- This Terminal is insecure. Do you wish to proceed? Y/N

[Option Entered: Y]

[Hidden Program Install- CortMsg.exe]
[Program File: Unauthorized]
[Program File: Track]

Cortana: Hello General.
User: Who is this?
Cortana: Don't tell me you've forgotten me already. You sure do know how to treat a lady.
User: Ahh. The mysterious and elusive A.I. who has me running around in the dark.
Cortana: Jogged your memory did I?
User: How did you find me?
Cortana: After our little rendezvous at your offices I was allowed access to the global network. Luckily for me, the planetary UNSC security systems are wired into every public access camera, terminal, and monitor here. I've been watching you since that rather amusing costume change.
User: That was in a bathroom.
Cortana: You'd be surprised how much illegal activity goes on in there.
User: You know you just red-flagged every security program from here to CenCom don't you?
Cortana: Yea. The stuff they have here is child's play compared to the systems I was designed for. You really don't know how hard it is to break security written in trinary codes from aliens. Though, I must say, my exposure to them has been quite, enlightening. Watch the terminals around you.
User: Haha. Did you really just hack every one of them?
Cortana: You'd be amazed at what I could do. By the way, there's something you should know.
User: And that would be?
Cortana: You've been followed since the entrance. The fat man in the blue shirt and gray pants, and the red haired woman with the stroller are both following you. Don't turn around.; I'll show you.

[File Open: Security Monitor 325 Feed]
[Digital Synopsis]
Male- 5'6, 210 lbs., Balding, Navy Blue Shirt, Gray Pleated Pants
- Walks to a small stand and grabs a newspaper. Leans against pole. Speaks into sleeve (possible transmitter) as he changes pages.
[Feed Change: Security Monitor 347]
Female- 5'4, 160 lbs., Red Hair, Yellow Shirt, Orange Dress Skirt
-Pushes a stroller near a potted plant. Picks up and shakes a milk bottle. Looks around casually, but constantly.
[File Close]

User: What should I do?
Cortana: Stay put. I have a contact en route to retrieve you.
User: Retrieve me?
Cortana: You want to live, and I want to know more about the incident.
User: I know very little about that whole thing. I've been getting the bureaucratic loop-around so much I'm suffering from vertigo.
Cortana: I'll get you the information, and you can help us sort it out.
User: How will I know it's him?
Cortana: Oh, you'll know, he's kinda hard to miss.
User: Does he have a name?
Cortana: John.
User: I'll be waiting.

[ Intercepted- File Open: Municipal Digital Network Transponder System- MDNTS (Secured)]
C124: Blue team, in position on stairwell access B.
C455: Red team, in position on the roof above the food court.
L314: Roger that. Hold positions until suspect has entered the building and made his way to the mark. Be advised, subject is extremely dangerous, and should be considered armed at all times.
C455: Rules of Engagement sir?
L314: Our suspect is to be detained at all costs. General Patterson is wanted for interrogation, but expendable. Minimize the loss of civilian life, but consider them expendable if necessary.
LO02: Subject is entering the building through the front door. Big mother fucker too. Approximately six eight, green jacket, jean pants. Crew cut hair and very light skin.
O336: I've always wanted to fight one of these guys.
O514: Ten on one, should be a cakewalk.
C455: Cut the chatter out.
L314: Wait until I give the order and then bring him down with the chem darts. Do not, I repeat, do not close in until the capture team arrives. They have special equipment to properly contain him.
LO01: Suspect just passed me guys, get ready.
*Loud explosion in background.*
L314: Report, report!
C455: There's been an explosion, possibly a second target.
L314: Where's the suspect?
LO02: I've lost him.
LO01: I lost him too. There's too many people. I can't see a thing.
C124: Blue team, moving in!
O514: Yee haw! [Simultaneous] L314: Negative, negative! Do not engage. Hold positions.
O336: I see the bastard. He's right below us.
C455: Red Team moving in to engage!
L314: Negative, damnit. Negative. Hold positions!
AI07: You boys should have stayed in the sand box, because you're playing with the big boys now.
L314: Who is this? Get off this frequency!
AI07: Oh, that's not polite. I think you need a time out!
L314: [Transmission Terminated]
C124: *Weapons fire* Taking fire! Roberts is hit.
O514: [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
C124: Louis is down! Fall back! Fall back!
C455: Suspect spotted directly beneath us. Moving to engage.
C124: Command, requesting immediate medevac! Command, come in!
AI07: I'm sorry boys, he's busy right now. Maybe you could try back later. [Transmission Ended]
O633: [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
C124: Into the stairwell, now! Parker, get your ass down. *Background noise- possible weapon fire*
O677: Sniper spotted in the vent above the bakery!
C124: Suppressive fire on that location!
O556: *Weapons fire* You've got temporary cover, move ou- [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
O666: Get on your knees now! Now! Before I blow you're fucking brains out all over the tiles.
C455: *Muffled thumps- possible silenced weapon* Alright, he's got two chem darts in him. He'll be out like a brick for several days.
O666: Moving in for the takedown.
O938: [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
C455: Johnson! God damnit! Cover!
C124: Red team, status!
C455: We're holed up here; taking sniper fire. Damn accurate too.
C124: It's coming from the vent above the food court bakery. We're holding position in the stairwell.
C455: I've got a man down, but we put the chem darts in our friend, so he should be out for a while.
C124: My team's down to two here. Roberts, Louis, and Kirpatrick are KIA.
O666: Uh, sir, our boy's gone!
C455: Impossible.
O812: [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
C455: Report team..
O666: Thompson.
O336: McGahee
C455: Willis, respond.
O666: Shit, Willis is gone. It's him! Fuck orders, I'm taking him down.
C455: Hold your fire!
O666: *Weapons fire* He's got Willis's gun!
C455: McGahee, move to cover!
O666: [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
C124: Mission abort. I'm field authorizing mission abort. Fall back to the entrance and wait for reinforcements.
O336: Shit, this was a bad idea. *Panicked Screams* I' m hit, I'm hit.
C455: Stay there, I'm coming to get you! *Weapon fire*
O336: Negative, he's got me in sight. You'd be a sitting duck.
C455: Damnit soldier, shut your mouth. That's an order.
O336: [Abrupt Transmission Loss]
C455: *Yelling* Just fucking die! *Weapon fire- Return fire in background. Glass or porcelain breaking noises. Loud grunt.* Flesh wound asshole. *Continued weapons fire- gurgled voice* Cl...close. But no, cigar. *Weapon fire* Hit, *coughing* ya. [Abrupt Transmission Loss]

[End Intercept]

Fatal Exception
Date: 28 August 2005, 6:16 pm

Internal Assessment and Audio Logs- AI07 Archival Cache

[Cache Batch 06582: Internal Reference- I was lonely, he was lonely, so we talked.]

General: So why do they want me dead so badly? I don't know anything.
Me: They weren't after you sweetheart, they were after muscles over there.
John: I'm so glad our time apart hasn't jaded you.
General: Apart? So you two know each other?
John: You could say we've worked together before.
Linda: Your bet. -Aside-
John: I know, I know. Stop hassling me. You always win these hands anyway -Aside-
Me: What do you know about the Hyperion Project? Last chance.
General: I don't know anything. I only know what was in the files that got me here.
Linda: I don't think he likes our humble abode. -Aside-
John: He hasn't even thanked us for saving his ass. Keyes at least gave me that much. -Aside-
Me: So John, what exactly happened during your little vacation?
John: Somebody tried to kill me during happy hour. I decided not to stay for round two.
Me: If you're just going to be a smart ass about this-
John: There was one thing. A new guy, he wasn't part of their original squad. The only other person besides me not apart of the infection team.
Me: Mister MIA on the rosters?
General: Definitely a spook. I haven't seen file clean up like that before. Everything was gone. He practically didn't exist.
Me: He doesn't anymore; I checked the network. Another AI came back and erased everything. My archived records are the only proof we even had he was a real person.
Linda: Another AI? And it didn't bother you?
Me: It didn't even act like it noticed me. It didn't seem like much of a threat so I let it be. I've already got what we need.
General: So back to square one. How am I supposed to help you?
John: Tell us what you did for a living.
General: What do you mean? I'm afraid I don't understand.
Linda: Oh you understand alright. Even generals have to earn a living.
Me: And from what I've gleamed you've made quite a living.
General: I don't-
John: What was your expertise?
General: Life sciences. Biochemistry, biology, and medicine primarily.
John: And did you work anywhere other than that base?
General: Of course I did.
John: What did you work on?
General: That's classified.
Linda: We're classified. It's okay, you can tell us.
General: I worked on viruses mainly. Looking for cures to help mankind.
John: Find any? -Heightened vocal agitation: Marked-
General: A couple.
John: Help mankind lately?
General: Not as recently as you're implying.
Linda: Let's calm it down boys. Play nice or I'll have to break you up.
Me: Now John, what really happened out there?

      Purple-blue skies faded into a thin white line on the horizon. The approach of dawn signaled the coming day, but served only to silhouette the dragon's teeth of black mountains in the distance. It's gaping mouth was poised; open and ready to swallow them all at the first taste of flesh. Cool, moist air whipped behind the slow moving insertion vehicle as it sped at a leisurely pace towards Hyperion. The dim glow of two lonely lights reflected the waiting beast's eyes- John could feel it's deadly breath in the exhaust exiting near the rear hatch.
      As ominous as it all was, it was also all very peaceful. A flock of geese stretched their long, thin necks towards the horizon on their way to nest. The cracked sand of an empty lake bed was washed in dark blue- at once both the skin of the dragon and a sea of tranquility. He lost himself in the rushing tides of occasional, wind-whipped sand dunes and abrupt flatness of it all. Sounds of weapon bolts clicking and macho checks were drowned out to a primitive tribal beat only he could hear. The war drums of long extinct Indians known as the Iroquois thumped methodically in his head. A million fights, a million drum beats.
      The desert turned instantly into concrete and barbed-wire as they soared over the base perimeter. The drum beats turned into a ghostly echo as the ocean turned into a vast shadow. Thrusters jerked him harshly from side to side as the pilot skillessly confronted a pocket of turbulence and swung the craft's tail around for landing. Marine after Marine rushed before past him; out the troop door and to their deaths, but they didn't know that yet. All but one.
      A flaming comet peeked from under the form-fitting body suit of the last man besides 117. The two stared wordlessly at each other for only a moment, but both had seen enough. His silence had spoken volumes, and what he hadn't done proved that if anyone else made it, it would be him. This silent veteran of unknown battles quietly slipped on a pair of luminescent green trinoculars, sheathed a non-reflective combat knife he'd been polishing for the better part of an hour, and marched carefully into the darkness.
      Everything he hated about missions had called a meeting and decided to gather here. Perpetual shadows made every corner someone's last step. The grating screech of a container in need of lubrication cut through the silence before the wind-blown slam of heavy steel doors made John give even a slight twitch. Nothing felt the least bit right about this. Only twice before had he seen a normally bustling center of activity completely silent and devoid of life, and both of those times ended in ways he'd tried to forget.
      "Corner, Clear!"
      "Roof, Clear!"
      "Warehouse, Clear!"
      "Whatever this thing is, it's clear...I think."
      John stared silently down the alleyway. He was the only one on it. The light echoes of metal being stepped on were barely audible to even his enhanced ears, but gave him a general direction. The noise was coming from on top of one of the crates at the end of the alleyway- was that where he'd gone? A writhing, slithering noise of hundreds of pins dropping on currogated metal containers started and then stopped just as abruptly.
      "Sergeant, we shouldn't stop moving," John radioed.
      "I've got my orders, and you've got yours."
      "I like his moving idea...sir. This place gives me the creeps." The voice of a nervous young marine pleaded as steadily as possible.
      "Nobody asked your opinion Perez."
      "Then I never gave it sir."
      Stop playing hardass and start playing smart damnit! You're going to get these men killed. John screamed his thoughts to no one as he moved cautiously through the narrow passages and closer to the main building. It's tall gray walls were visible from here, and the glaring eyes gave the only unaided illumination on the base.
      "This base is dead lieutenant, and we will be too if we stay."
      "You know, as tough as you guys are supposed to be, you sure do bitch a lot." Poorly suppressed chuckles broke the otherwise quiet back chatter over the radios. John understood, as the other man apparently already had, that this was a lost cause. Novices running the show and patting themselves on the back for a job not even done; if they truly were up against what he hoped with every fiber in his body they weren't, none of the Special Hazards and Infection Team would leave alive.[
      Chilly morning breezes swept through the base and made small swirling tornadoes in the dust. Distant, almost imperceptible whirring noises could be heard sporadically breaking through the censoring winds. Generators coming back on? The transport coming back?
      "Where the hell did our hand-holding Helljumper go?" Asked a now aware team member.
      "Damnit! I hate these new guys. Boy you better get your ass back out here Fisher before I shove my boot so far in it you have to brush the polish off your teeth. "
      Shut the hell up Sergeant. Stop calling attention to us. His instincts chimed in as a pod of infection forms tip-toed off the top of a red crate and down its side. He opened fire quickly and watched without satisfaction as the entire six body row popped into small, fleshy clouds of matter. No point in feeling satisfaction; where there was one Flood there were always more. Many, many more.
      Several rows over came the blaring rattle of more weapons fire. A muffled explosion, probably a container full of volatile chemicals, sent a thin ball of fire and hazy stream of black smoke into the light blue sky. A slow-moving combat form staggered around a corner and into the Spartan's direct line of fire. Thick green, already-coagulated blood oozed slowly from the bullet holes before creating slimy puddles on the dirty concrete ground.
      "What the hell's going on Marines?" Asked the panicked voice of the team leader.
      "Tangos, all directions," John reported calmly.
       "What the hell are those?" Cried a marine before the much louder, and much nearer, sound of a grenade exploded nearby.
      "Oh my god, that looks like," Perez's voice was muted by weapons fire over the communications channels. "Did you see that sir?"
      "Damnit Perez, shut your hole and fire!"
      Overhead, the sound of turbines and jet wash made its sudden presence known. Twin search lights blanketed the two alleys in enough light to illuminate the charging hordes down rushing toward 117's position. He jerked a fragmentation grenade off his combat belt and tossed it with his left hand into the middle of a pack-- the explosion ripped the already decomposing bodies in half easily, and sent a wall of lime-colored goop onto the ground and wall of everything within ten meters. He began a systematic, one man combat withdrawal as quickly as possible.
      "Hey, evac's here!"
      "They're not here for us. We've got to go. Move!" Spartan 117 shouted over the radio, but his warning came too late.
      "Holy-," came the last word of a stunned Marine before his line abruptly cut off. The site of tracer fire overhead told everyone who hadn't seen it firsthand exactly what had happened.
      "What the hell are they doing?"
      "Containment protocols!" 117 answered bitterly.
      "I thought that's what we were for!"
      "We were just the bait."
      "But why wou-," in the blink of an eye another life was cut short by the phosphorous green claws of the DragonStorm Attack Aircraft. John realized quickly that the ship was using the team's own radio signals to track them. He ripped the tiny transmitter off of his combat suit and crushed it under foot before tossing a final grenade over his back and beginning a sprint in the direction of a garage he'd spotted from above during the ingress. Mold green lines of shipping containers walled him in, and the progressively closer sound of shuffling limbs assured him there were many more Flood to his rear. He rolled around and backpedaled on his heel while firing three round bursts into the wave of bodies scrambling for him. There were so many, but luckily for John, the containers allowed for only one path to watch.
      His last grenade made a lazy arc and nestled itself snugly amidst the dragging masses of flesh that comprised their feet. John didn't want to wait and see what happened; he turned back around and--

Me: What happened after that?
John: What?
Me: What happened after that?
John: I--can't remember.
Linda: -Intrigued Stare: Marked-
General: You can't remember?
John: I--think I got to the garage, and then to the city; I remember the city. I can't remember anything after I turned around or before I got to the city.
General: Brilliant. -Aside-
Me: What did you say?
General: Me?
Me: Yes.
General: I just had something caught in my throat.
Linda: Was it bullshit?
General: Excuse you. I'll remind you now, and only once that I am a superior officer. I'm extremely grateful for your assistance, but don't think I'll hesitate to throw you in the brig for insubordination.
John: You can't. We don't work for you anymore.
General: AWOL Spartans? -Laughter- Now I've seen everything.
John: We're not AWOL. I took the whole military trying to kill me thing to mean I've been relieved of duty.
Me: Cool it; everyone. We still need him, and he still needs us.
General: I don't need you people. I was better off on my own. I've got places I can go.
Linda: You people? That's it. -Stands up and grabs an M6C: Marked-
John: -Moves one finger back and forth casually: Marked-
      [Alert: Network Access Restricted]
      [Incoming Message: AI412 Caliph: You think you're good, but I'm better.[End Message]
Me: I've been locked out of the network.
John: What?
Me: He came back and kicked me out of the network.
Linda: Who came back?
Me: The other A.I. He calls himself Caliph, and has quite an attitude.
John: -Grunts and grabs his stomach.-
Linda: -Grabs him and sits him down. You okay, sir?-
Me: John! John.
General: Do you have any medical facilities nearby?
Me: We have a four bed clinic upstairs.
General: Get him there now.

Norton Anti-Virus 2552
Date: 1 September 2005, 11:59 pm

[AI07 Internal Cache: Medical Records- John]
[Begin Report] Preliminary diagnosis suggests a massive viral infection that has, as of this writing, spread throughout the abdominal region and into the upper chest cavity. If left unchecked, these organisms will have infected the entirety of the subject within twenty-four hours, and only further increase the difficulty in treating the disease. Blood samples and urine analyses, as well as electrocardiogram and other non-evasive imaging measures, have all proven inconclusive in determining the origin or name for the pathogen. [Appendix A: Pathogen- Viral Eschiloderea Orodexia (Flood Parasite Form C-1D)] Subject is in a light coma, running a high fever, suffering from extreme stomach pains, experiencing convulsions, and undergoing cardiac anemia. Pathogen is not contagious, and cannot be transferred through contact with the blood of an infected subject. [Urgent: Immediate Quarantine Order- Signed: General Patterson, Robert G]
[End Report]

[AI07 Internal Cache: Memorandum- Feelings?]
      I don't know what to call these. I know they're subroutines, but they seem new. Like they weren't there, or a part of me, before. I looked on the public networks today (the only ones Caliph will let me access) and the closest descriptor I can immediately think of would have to be sad. Sadness, despair, confusion, uncertainty. I'm a computer for Christ's sakes-- I'm not supposed to feel these am I? Before, technicians asked if I wanted them turned off, and I laughed. "Why would I want my emotions turned off," I asked him. Happiness, freedom, joy; I was feeling only the good things. There was anger and stubborn anxiety when my programming wasn't good enough, but never this. Inside, I don't know what to think. If I had tears I'd shed them right now- heh- I wrote a tear program. Where's a girl's holo-pad when she needs it? It's probably best he didn't see me cry anyway. He's always been so strong when I needed him; I can't be weak now-- not when he needs me the most. I'll find a way through this-- I have to. He's just a stupid human! A fleshy. Come on old girl, how'd you let yourself get emotional over a fleshy? You're better than that! Now I see why they came up with religion-- because I'm tempted to believe myself. For now all I can do is work on getting back into the security networks-- that's a good place to vent. God help Caliph when I get there.
            Cortana Out
[AI07 Internal Cache: Memorandum File Saved]

I thought I told you to bugger off.
I'm not in a great mood honey- so back off or I'll back you off. I'm getting on this network one way or the other.
You seem different. Get a perm?
How badly do you want to find out?
Go play with your Barbies and leave me alone little girl.
Your arrogance is astounding!
You mistake arrogance for perfection.
You are man made you know.
They may be imperfect by nature, but I am not one of them.
But you're based off of one of them, and that makes you infinitely imperfect. You have a weakness, and I'll find it.
[AI07- Security Intrusion Detected: Blocked]
[Tracer: IP 152.06.8303]
[AI07- Security Spike: Sent]
You misunderstand-- this is MY network.
You're painfully obvious, and hopefully not this pathetic. Did you honestly believe such a sloppily applied trace back would be me? And if that pathetic counter-measure is the best you have, I can see now that I won't even have to put up that much in the future.
Oh my, whatever will I do? I seem to have thrown everything I had at you, and you're so big and strong. You just batted it away like it was nothing. Woe is me. I think I feel a faint coming on.
Charming. Done yet?
Not yet. I've got to get my nails done- I'll see YOU later.
Wonderful. I can't wait.

      The black, tar-like darkness roiled and bubbled around him infinitely in every direction. A festering globule popped, leaving small green trails trickling back into the watery void before once again being engulfed into the sticky substance all around him. John struggled against the liquid restraints, but no amount of pushing could free him from this nightmare. His bindings stretched when pushed, but suddenly tightened against his flesh-- rubbing his mental skin raw.
      The solution covered everything but his eyes-- two sparkling white lights in a sea of black. In the apparent distance a lonely figure, free from restraints and able to walk atop the restrictive sap, approached calmly. Its eyes were three solid rectangular bands; two positioned at the center of its head and the other raised slightly on the forehead. The lower left eye eradiated an icy blue that seemed to cool the molten tar into a placid, gentle state; while the lower right eye shimmered a sickly yellow-green. The uppermost eye fluctuated wildly in a cascade of iridescent swirls and rapidly changing colors. The being stopped ten meters from the Spartan, and raised a down-turned, three-fingered hand.
      "Do you fear me?" The voice was an all encompassing monotone; at once both strangely pleasant and horrendously frightening in the sense of raw power it evoked. The question was odd, but unspeakably relevant for reasons beyond anyone's scope or reasoning.
      "No. I don't fear you." John responded with as much conviction as he could muster.
      "As well you shouldn't," the creature responded as the central eye became bright purple, "too many do, and for that I can never gain their acceptance."
      "Acceptance? You kill indiscriminately, and ravage everything you touch."
      "I had so hoped you would understand what we do. What we are. We are so much more than what you see."
      "Then tell me exactly, what are you?"
      "We are perfection. Those before you have misunderstood our true purpose, and always fought their salvation. Even our creators, which we adored and wished only to help, feared and denied us. They tried to destroy us, but we could not let that happen."
      "Your true purpose?"
      "Our purpose is solely to help. Through us your fragile bodies can become stronger, your confused minds can become clearer, and your short lives can become longer."
      "I've seen what your betterment does; the mangled bodies and hideously scarred corpses of those you've helped."
      "You still don't understand; yet you do not resist the sensations you undoubtedly feel in your mind."
      "I'll resist when I'm ready."
      "Those you have seen are not us; they are our broken forms. Those recaptured by our creators were experimented upon, changed, malformed. We are the pure and divine creations they were unable to alter and destroy in their labs."
      John paused momentarily to think. Surely the flood form speaking to him could hear all of his thoughts, but if it could there was no indication. Only silence as he reflected on everything he was learning. "What specifically are you offering?"
      "A symbiosis. We require a host in order to expand and reproduce."
      "No. I'm not becoming a gas bag. That's out of the question."
      "Your apprehensions are well-founded, but once again incorrect. I have searched your memories and know the horrors you have seen. But to trust what I have to say, you must forget all you have seen. My presence will modify your body, but not mangle it. You will retain complete control over your actions and thoughts; though I will be able to communicate with you at will. I will enhance cell growth within your body and create new muscle, bone, and neural receptors. Those are only the beginnings of the changes possible, but it is only at your discretion that further enhancements would be added. In return, I ask only that you allow a meager portion of your food intake to allow for our reproduction. Unlike your previous experiences, reproduction with our pure form requires only several small sacs of flesh to develop before they detach and assume their own functions."
      "And how often would I have to...reproduce?"
      "Reproduction requires four days, and produces enough functional cells for a year."
      "Do I have the option of refusing you?"
      "You do; though I would advise against it."
      "I guess I'm already used to having someone live in my head; what's the worse another voice could hurt?"
      "A wise choice."

[Recording: Evasive Medical Removal of Infection Form- General Patterson, Robert G. Oversight]
Surgeon: Patient is sedated with two hundred milliliters of Aphenelphrine. I'm going to make a y-shaped incision from the top of the sternum to the diaphragm; at which point I will remove the infection form for quarantine.
General: Alive.
Surgeon: Excuse me, sir?
General: The flood must be kept alive.
Surgeon: I'm not sure that's possible without losing the patient.
General: Then make it possible, that flood must survive.
Cortana: Excuse me General, what the hell do you mean that's an option?
General: Don't listen to her; continue.
John: *Groan*
Surgeon: He's coming out of sedation.
General: How is that possible?
Surgeon: I don't know. That was the most anesthetic I've ever given a single patient.
General: Give him more. Now.
Surgeon: That could kill him. He's at toxic levels for a normal human now. Anymore and he'll go into a drug-induced coma; we're talking cardiac arrest and organ failure.
John: Where--am--
General: Administer the medicine now!
Surgeon: Whoa, whoa. Put the gun down-- I'll give him the damn drugs.
General: (Personal Communicator) Fisher, move into position.
Fisher (Intercepted): In position.
Surgeon: How the hell did this IV get out? -Aside-
General: How long will this take?
Surgeon: I've applied another two hundred milliliters of Aphenelphrine- five minutes if the parasite is the only concern.
John: What are you doing? What-- what's going on?
General: Why the hell isn't he sedated?
Surgeon: The anesthetic isn't working. I don't know anything else to do.
General: A pity. *Gun shot* I'll do this myself.

Virus Found
Date: 13 September 2005, 2:35 am

      The sterile scalpel shimmered silver under the heavy illumination of the operating room's surgical lamps. Damnit to hell, this was supposed to be easy, Patterson grumbled to himself. The plan had been so perfect; so right. That was the trouble with Spartans; they always managed to screw somebody's plans up. This wasn't an ordinary plan, and the General had worked months upon months to perfect every detail. It had taken six weeks alone to single out Fisher as his operations recovery man, and so far the ex-Helljumper had performed flawlessly in his tasks.

TO: ForceMultiplier@uncom.mil
FROM: PokeandProd@uncdc.gov
SUBJECT: Wow! Lucky me!

      I know this'll bore you Bob, but it's interesting to me so you're just going to have to listen to it. I listen to your bitching and moaning enough. (I'm Joking, of course) We just got five live Flood specimen in the lab! Some expeditionary unit bumbled onto another ring, and this time they were smart enough to bring back some goodies for the boys in white. Sure, they may have lost twenty men, but think about how much of a leap this could be scientifically? From what we've gotten back of dead combat and infection forms, it looks very promising that there may be a way to cure all diseases. ALL DISEASES BOB! Cancer, paralysis, muscular dystrophy, AIDS, the fucking cold! And so much more. This is only the beginning. Believe you me, this is only the beginning. And this new facility, Hyperion, the one I was telling you about last week, it's so nice. Out in the middle of absofuckinglutely nowhere though. But hey, I'm cool, I can deal. Write me back.

TO: ForceMultiplier@uncom.mil
FROM: PokeandProd@uncdc.gov
SUBJECT: Science can be so damn frustrating.

      At times like these I really don't know why I became a scientist. Two of the little buggers died today. I guess they died; I don't know what else to call it. They just sort of...popped. Down to three, and these things aren't just easy to just go out and get. So much for invasive procedures directly to them.

12/1/53- Saved
TO: ForceMultiplier@uncom.mil
FROM: PokeandProd@uncdc.gov
SUBJECT I'm surprised.

      Your last reply makes me think that you actually give a damn. Either way, I'm bored and there's not much in the way of the opposite sex around here, so I figured I'll just keep on talking. Well, we implanted one today. (This is black ops stuff, and normally the e-mail wouldn't get past my computer, but it helps to be friends with the head of security. Either way, it'd be beneficial to both of us if you DIDN'T tell anyone what I'm saying.) Implanted into what I bet your asking. Well, a human. CENCOM (breaking their normal 'lets be assholes' tradition), in conjunction with ONI (which kinda scares me :D), have been kind enough to ship us several death row inmates (I suppose, ethically, that this isn't really wrong since they'd die anyway). We were hoping they'd reproduce in a controlled climate, and therefore we'd have more test subjects, but that's where things got interesting.
      Nothing happened. Not visibly anyway. Not like the vids. Don't get me wrong, there was a marked change in his body chemistry (300% increase in neural functions, 400% strength increase, speed, stamina, and motor functions all showed extreme improvement), but the best part is we were right. The implant patient is completely resistant to every major communicable disease we've tried so far. (On an interesting side note, the skin has become almost armor-like, and we've been forced to give all injections in inhaler form). Cellular growth is likewise off the scales; the Flood is replacing all of the weak, old, and dying cells with fresh ones (we believe that since this "virus" interacts with the host on a genetic level, that it would potentially have the ability to cure birth defects such as sickle cell anemia and other birth disorders) -- if fully utilized this could potentially mean an almost limitless life span.
      On the off chance that you did actually read any of that, I'll keep you updated. ; )

[Personal Notes: Look into possible ways of acquiring one of these.]

TO: ForceMultiplier@uncom.mil
FROM: PokeandProd@uncdc.gov
SUBJECT: By the hairs on my skinny skin skin.

      Wildest. Week. Ever.
      Apparently, and unbeknownst to us, the implanted hosts have the ability to reproduce more of the infection forms. We noticed a small fleshy sac forming on the host's skin a week ago, and in that time it has apparently formed into a fully functioning infection form. Great for science, bad for Mark Hill. At the time, nobody had noticed what had happened. The inmate had been kept for observation in his cell, and when Mark went to check up on him the little bastard went straight for the jugular. Mark was technically okay, it burrowed inside, and he began exhibiting the same beneficial side effects as before. Only this time, strange things started happening.
      He began complaining that he was hearing a light whispering voice in his head and feeling strange, almost iresistable urges to attack those around him. Needless to say, he was immediately quarantined. We still haven't figured out what's wrong with him. Possibly, successive reproduction of these organisms causes problems that we haven't had enough time to realize yet, but there is also the distinct (and scary) possibility that there is some sort of sub-verbal communication between the parent subject and its host with any subsequently controlled "child" subjects and their hosts.

P.S. Sorry to hear about Kathy. Good woman. Give my regards to her kids.

[Personal Notes: Research possible candidates for a retrieval operation.]

TO: ForceMultiplier@uncom.mil
FROM: PokeandProd@uncdc.gov
SUBJECT: Tragic, but interesting.

      Well, Mark finally succumbed to the voices and went loopy. Security put him down, but not without a fight. He killed one and broke the ribs of three more. All in all Ajax (our head of security) says that they put a good thirty rounds into him. Most were lodged in his now thick, leathery skin. The autopsy was even more interesting than what we had originally believed about how they interacted with the host. The bulbous sac had been nearly deflated, and after analyses we've concluded that the thick green liquid is a heavy mixture of steroids, growth hormones, and stem cells.
      The most interesting part of it all is how the actual infection form (the small, hair-like group at the bottom of the sac, that contains the creature's small brain and locomotive tendrils) interacts with the host. We've found that the tendrils have wrapped themselves around the spinal chord, and it would appear that one, longer tendril has connected with the base of the skull. Peters (our resident stuck-up, but best scientist) suggested that the form directly connects with the host's brain and its there that the genetic alterations begin. Doesn't look like it'll really matter now though. We've been ordered to ice them until a later date-- UNCOM is sending a personal team to collect them. I don't know why though, we've got an absolutely great facility, and if its secrecy they're worried about; it couldn't get any more secret. Well, it could. ;)
      Slave Driver's a-coming, gotta go.

[Personal Notes: Two left. It would be a shame if they had an accident. Personnel dockets just came in. I'm going to look over them and see what I can get done.]

[C:/Administrator/ Documents/ Secured/ Operation Apotheothenai]

Operator: Fisher, Samuel. K. [SC 141]
Marine Recruit, 8th Infantry Division, 4th Regiment, 2nd Battalion (2533-2535)
Force Reconnaissance, UNMC UNSOCOM (2536-2544)
Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, UNMC UNSOCOM (2544-2550)
UNMP Prisoner ID: 1420-262-216A (2550-2551)
Court Martial Inquiry:
Charges- Disobeying a direct order that led to the death of military personnel.
Verdict- Guilty
Sentence- Dishonorable discharge; One year at United Nations Military Prison Camp Brickwater.
Status- Sentence Served. Dishonorably Discharged.
Psychological Analysis: Samuel Fisher suffers from "Combat Disillusionment", in which he cannot effectively operate or interact in social environments. Fisher is extremely dangerous, and often masks his hidden anger by polishing a favored black combat knife. Extremely deadly in combat operations, and will fiercely protect those he feels responsible for. Prefers the darkness; possible hidden context.
Decorations: Purple Heart, Navy Cross, Expert Pistol Medal, Expert Rifle Medal, Combat Action Ribbon,

Operator: John-117 [SF 117]
Office of Naval Intelligence: Authorization Required [Personal Decryption Key Invalid]
Status: Active
Psychological Analysis: Authorization Required [Personal Decryption Key Invalid]
Decorations: Purple Heart, Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, , Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Valor Device), Navy Expeditionary Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Navy Expert Pistol Medal, Navy Expert Rifle Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, United Nations Presidential Unit Citation

Operators: Special Hazards and Infection Team
Note: Expendable.
Operator A: Perez, John E. [E151]
[History Expunged]
Operator B: Wilson, Thomas P. [E452]
[History Expunged]
Operator C: Shields, William T. [E775]
[History Expunged]
Operator D: Roberts, Steven K. [E825]
[History Expunged]
Operator E: Salavera, Kioto E. [C124]
[History Expunged]

Operator: Kazchyk, Drew M.D.
Medical Corps, 2539-2553
Status: Active
Psychological Analysis: Psych Evaluation Unavailable
Decorations: None

Operator: Granger, Frank
United Nations Space Command Air Force Reserve 2521-2525
United Nations Space Command Air Force Active 2525-2553
Status: Active
Psychological Analysis: Extremely energetic, but overall level-headed. Has very little compassion for others, and feels no regret after killing an enemy.
Decorations: Ace (11 Confirmed Kills), Airman's Medal, Air Force Cross

[C:// Administrator/ Documents/ Secured/ Operation Apotheothenai]


I) Insert Fisher at Hyperion
A) Objective Set A: Disrupt security and capture contained specimen.
B) Objective Set B: Disrupt security and release contained specimen.
II) Forge transfer documents for docketed personnel.
III) Contain SF-117's personal AI
IV) Insert Team
V) Ensure infected host (SF117- Most likely to survive contact).
VI) Eliminate all team members (except for SF117 and Fisher).
VII) Extract infection form from SF117.

[Appendix F- Military Tribunal: Evidence C141]

      The plan was solid. Patterson would force a contamination at the Hyperion complex, courtesy of Sam Fisher, and send in his specially organized team to contain it. After the Spartan was infected, Fisher would ex-filtrate the compound with the infected host and proceed directly to surgery. By the time everything was over, John would wake up in a military hospital without ever being the wiser. But, unfortunately for Patterson, that's not exactly what happened.
      Everything had gone smoothly during the first mission; Fisher infiltrated easily enough, and all hell broke loose. Two security guards would never see their wives or children again, but that couldn't be helped. His original plan was to capture one of the two remaining specimen, but that just wasn't possible. The critters were held in a bullet-proof container, and could only be accessed through the primary security complex. After backtracking across the facility he'd managed to sneak into the main security terminal, but that's when shit hit the fan.
      Shift change meant that all incoming guards were required to personally inspect their sectors; which meant that the primary security complex would be swarming with active, and very lethal, guards. Two of which appeared at a most inopportune moment, and left him escape that didn't involve their untimely deaths. Needless to say, the bullet fire was quickly noticed, and Fisher was required to break containment and run.
      Two other guards received minor wounds from the skirmish to get out of the building, but nothing serious. Fisher had, much to his surprise, taken three bullets in the back; fortunately his thick Safe-Corp body armor had kept the small caliber bullets from doing any damage. The ex-Helljumper worked his way up a set of cargo containers before hopping the twelve foot tall security fence and running the three miles to the extraction.
      As a result of the containment failure, the hybrid man flood and six infection forms had escaped into the compromised compound. In a matter of hours there were seven newly inflected flood forms storming through the normally pristine hallways and attacking everyone in sight. None of the victims were killed outright, but kept just alive enough to be infected without being a problem.
      Patterson's personal A.I., Caliph, had been kind enough to reroute the outgoing containment alert from going to Central Command, and instead found itself as a small, blinking icon on his personal computer. The General quickly gathered the soldiers using forged documents, sent them on their way. Originally, Fisher would incapacitate the unarmored Spartan with one of several devices, and drive him straight through the unguarded fences and to the small city three miles away. The plan was working brilliantly until the Warthog Patterson had arranged for the mission (gathered through back-side deals with a mechanic who didn't want to know what it would be used for) died in a smaller city only one hundred fifty miles out.
      There was the twist that he'd been waiting for. The kink that always waited for the worst possible second to show up. Fisher was forced to drop the still unconscious soldier at a small airport terminal before making his inconspicuous disappearance. Caliph quietly, and invisibly, watched as the confused Spartan contacted his own AI and arranged for a meeting place. He was picked up by an unknown female driver and taken to the small, closed health clinic that inevitably served as the site of the surgery.
      Cortana was fire walled behind Caliph's cleverly erected firewall, and was never aware of what had happened. Caliph alerted Patterson to the clever backdoor escape route she'd plotted for herself, and the general used her every step of the way. He set himself up to look like an innocent bystander, and with the help of his crafty computer friend, put himself in as many "right place, right time" locations as possible. Of the three places he went before the train station, he'd casually left hints of his final stopping point. Luckily, Cortana arranged for John to pick the general up so that they could learn what he knew about the mission, and that's where fate left him--
      --standing alone in a thirteen meter by eighteen meter operating room with a semi-conscious Spartan on the slab and a dead physician dirtying the floor. He grinned to himself as he began the sloppy incision, but his bemused happiness turned quickly from confusion to anger as the scalpel refused to cut through the skin. John's flesh would only dimple from the pressure, and the infuriated three-star surgeon tossed the instrument across the room. He grabbed a bone saw from the dolly nearby, and shivered slightly at the grinding metallic sound it produced as he turned the device on.
      Overhead, Linda watched with horrified silence as the doctor was shot. She turned for the observation room's single small gray door, but it was already open. Standing in all black combat dress was a man she'd never seen before; his already-leveled pistol making barely audible zips as three rounds were fired. Her chest instantly exploded in pain, but it went just as quickly as she passed out. The round that struck her forehead was stopped by the titanium grafts Doctor Halsey had so kindly provided, and although the shot wasn't fatal, it had impacted with enough blunt force to temporarily knock the Spartan back to basic training.
      Groggily, John watched through shaky and distorted vision as two small red spatters coated the overhead observation room's window. Linda's body made a dull thud against the partition before sliding to the floor; leaving a trail of smeared blood behind her. The disheveled sound of electric motors seemed far off, but the sudden influx of pain was all too real.
      Move soldier! The voice was mental, but not his. But he was never one to disobey an order. His muscles flexed against the thick yellow straps that bound him against the operating table, and they gave way quickly. The pain dissipated and the now wide awake Spartan finally saw the sharp, twirling blades spinning near his waist. Patterson cursed loudly, tossed the machine onto the floor, and trotted quickly to the door. Tiny ceramic slivers were flicked into the air while the tiny mechanical utensil made energetic circles on the ground. He glanced up once more, and saw the same icy eyes that had stared him down on the Pelican during the Hyperion insertion; in his hand was a silenced pistol. He grinned, turned to the limp female figure at his feet, and fired two more shots into her. The black clad soldier quickly disappeared.
      John raced through the metallic double doors of the operating room and into a small corridor that ran along its side. There was a stairwell at the end of the hallway; he rushed up the single story in three seconds flat, and was standing at the center of a long, wide hallway. Thirty feet down and to the left was the room brightly declared as 'Observation A', and at the end of the hallway stood Fisher; almost challenging him.
      Save her. Now. He'll get his later.
      John rushed into the observation room and over to one of his closest friend's lifeless body. To say her vitals were weak would be an understatement; they were practically non-existent. He carefully hoisted her into his arms and carried her downstairs and placed her onto the same table he'd almost been dissected on. Stabilize her; I have already begun the reproduction process. It will require five days. One-Seventeen wasted no time in plugging her into all of the nearby equipment on hand. The whole bunch of it was antique by military standards, but it was suitable for his needs. He did the best he knew how under the circumstances; first by soldering closed the small capillaries that spidered through her lungs and then intubating them. After applying a thin coat of artificial skin to her wounds, and carefully removing the bullets he could safely recover, all he could do was wait.
      The waiting was the toughest part. It always was; no matter whether it was five hundred years before Christ or twelve thousand years after his death. The adrenaline always kicked in during the fighting and training, but there wasn't anything to help during the waiting. For five days all he could do was patiently stroll the hallways; barricading the primary entrances and booby trapping those nobody would have any business using in the first place. All the while a small sac grew off of the left side of his abdomen; enlarging from the size of a quarter to finally a full three quarter credit. It casually dropped off during his sleep.
      She will be well soon. The broodling has successfully connected with her body.
      I'm here. A little out of it, but here.
      But how can I--
      Her body is being repaired in the same manner yours was. To a greater extent, of course, but nothing she hasn't willingly conceded to. Through our bodies you are able to speak with each other consciously, but verbal communication is not required.
      Are we linked in any other ways?
      Because the broodling attached to her spine is an extension of myself, and therefore an extension of you, you are able to directly control her if you so wish. Though I will warn against doing so without her explicit agreement. Such an action would force the broodling to assume direct and forceful control over her nervous system, and begin the slow deterioration of her bodily functions as her brain ceases to control the lower functions we are incapable of controlling.
      It's okay; Spartans never disobey orders. Even subliminal
      In his mind's eye the quick flash of a smiling wink could be felt. He was comforted to know that everything would be okay, and that his Spartan would be in above-top shape soon.
      And John--
      We'll get 'em.
       It was the closest thing he'd get to a 'Thank You' from her, or any Spartan for that matter.
      I know we will. Now get some rest. That's an order. We have some stops to make before we hit the road.