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Fan Fiction

The Heretic Uprising by DarkZipper

Part1: The Architect's Mission
Date: 13 October 2005, 6:40 pm

Gnarlg marched into the prophet's chamber with confidence. Finally, he was leading an important mission. This was no ordinary assignment either. He was usually assigned to lead scout groups that traveled to distant planets searching for supplies that could be used to create weapons and warships, but this was his greatest gift that the Prophets had given him. He was going to be the first of the Covenant to step into a Forerunner structure located in the gas giant that the original Halo orbited around. He could find such knowledge inside! He could be greatly rewarded if he was able to find something that the Covenant could use.
"Architect Gnarlg, I am glad that you have arrived." Said the Prophet of Truth with a sense of omnipotence. " Your mission is to lead a group of one hundred soldiers into a Forerunner structure that lies in the atmosphere of this gas giant."
A hologram of the great planet, and the rubble that was once the holy ring, appeared beside the prophet, glowing over the armrest of the mighty one's throne. Although the Prophet was powerful politically and spiritually, he, like the other two, was very fragile and their hovering thrones were a perfect solution to standing and walking.
"The reason that we are sending this many troops to accompany you, is because our recent intelligence has lead us to believe that the structure could in fact be a "factory", if you may, for creating the Flood. If this is the case, then I want that facility destroyed upon discovery of the parasite." He paused for a moment to catch his breath. "Of course, our intelligence could have been misinformed, but you should be careful anyway. Your troops are assembled. Go to the docking bay and be on your way. I am quite curious about this place.
"A-as you wish my lord." Gnarlg said. He slowly walked out of the chamber as the doors behind him closed. The confidence that he had possessed beforehand had now been washed away by the Prophet's news of the Flood. They were the most vicious and most evil things in the universe. He feared them more than he did the Demon that had destroyed the first Halo.
Before going into the docking bay he stopped by the armory. A brute was standing at attention at the door guarding it. Gnarlg hated the Brutes. They were fierce warriors, but they were pitifully ignorant. He walked up to the door and was about to touch his finger to the keypad to open the door when the Brute's fur covered arm blocked his way.
"Show your identification now. Only choice officers are allowed in the armory." The Brute snarled after this as if he had caught the elite committing heresy. Gnarlg sighed and scanned his fingerprints and eyes. " Forerunner Architect Gnarlg of the first company, you are not allowed in the armory. Please leave now, before you cause yourself harm," The intolerable thing said as it looked the Architect in the eyes and growled. Gnarlg became very angry very quickly. This lower ranking imbecile had just threatened him, and hadn't allowed him entrance to a part of the military station that all of the Elite's were supposed to be allowed inside of. He grabbed the Brute's fur on its chest and pulled it down towards him so that he could smell the cretin's horrible breath.
"Listen to me you peon of a guard!" He said threateningly. "First of all, all Elite's are allowed in the armory for any reason they choose to be in there. They should not have to give their identification! Also, I am on a mission from the Prophet of Truth, and I require a weapon to defend myself! He paused for a second and realized that he was yelling at a being much larger than himself, but he also realized that he was enjoying the experience immensely. Thirdly, and most importantly, I am a high-ranking officer, and you are a simple private on guard duty! That means that you have no right to threaten me! Do you understand peon? The Brute reflected on the architect's sudden outburst of brute force and stepping back, opened the door for him.
"Please enter, and my apologies," the Brute snarled. Gnarlg walked inside without giving the Brute a second glance. Now that he was inside he decided to think about what weapon he would bring. Gnarlg was no warrior, but he had a large thirst for survival, and if there were flood there he wanted to be ready. He scanned the room for a moment, and then saw exactly what he needed. He saw the Covenant energy sword. The Elite placed his long fingers around the handle and lifted it. It was very light, but he knew how dangerous it could be. "This will do nicely!" he exclaimed with glee.
Gnarlg stepped out of the armory to be greeted by a Brute captain! The private was just a small obstacle, but this one was actually dangerous, and he didn't look happy. "Is their something wrong captain?" he said nervously as he began to fiddle around with the energy sword handle in his hand. "I hear that you gave my brother a little trouble about entrance to the armory. I am very displeased by this event," the gigantic captain said as he stepped closer to Gnarlg snarling. The architect had no idea what to do. The last thing he wanted to do was release the fury of his sword on the Brute. That would only make more enemies. He couldn't talk back to a higher-ranking officer either. He looked to his left and saw his answer. The Special Operations Commander was strolling down the hall in their direction. He looked almost as holy as the prophets in his glowing white armor, and his aura of power. Good thing the Commander was an Elite.
" Step away from the architect Captain." The Commander said slyly. "He's on an important mission and we wouldn't want anyone to do him any harm. Think of the trouble that they would get into with the Prophets." The Brute looked at the commander for a moment, then back at Gnarlg. "I'll be back!" the giant said. The Brute practically crawled away in embarrassment. Many had been watching. Once the beast was out of earshot the Architect sighed, and the onlookers went back to their business.
"Thank you commander. I don't know what I would've done if you hadn't been here at the perfect time." The white armored warrior looked down at the handle he had resting in his left hand. "You could've sliced him to bits." he joked. He laughed a bit and went on walking. Gnarlg was no warrior, but the Commander was right. He could've at least looked threatening. He shook his head and walked to the docking bay.
When he arrived he looked in awe upon his force. Sixty grunts and forty elites saluted him with honor. Although the group was mostly made up of grunts, the forty Elites he had been trusted with were all skilled warriors. The Prophets had chosen them themselves. Gnarlg stepped on top of a small ramp to give his before mission speech. He was delighted to have so many noble warriors under his command.
"Warriors of the Covenant! Today we will travel to a forerunner structure hidden with secrets and power! We will travel to a place of knowledge, and history." He had them in the palm of his hand so he decided to continue. "Sadly, it is possible that the parasite has taken residence inside the facility. But do not fear! The Gods will guide us along the righteous path, and unlock the mysteries of the Forerunners. It's time." Once he finished they all turned around and marched into their respective Phantoms. He followed the leading group inside of the commanding vessel, and they set off towards the ruins. While they were in the ship speeding towards the structure the Grunt commanding officer waddled up to him and bowed. The Grunts weren't warriors at all, but they were perfect shields. "Holy Architect," the Grunt squeaked. "Do you really think that the parasite is inside that structure? I fear for the lives of my soldiers." The poor thing was obviously afraid, and he couldn't let the commanding officer of over half of the force be afraid. He kneeled down and looked the grunt in the eyes. "I trust that our intelligence is correct, and that there are Flood inside of the structure." The Grunt looked down at its feet. "But do not fear my comrade. You are a warrior of the covenant on a holy quest. The Gods will aid your battles." The little being looked up at him, almost breathless. "Thank you sir." The creature bowed again and waddled back to his station. As Gnarlg looked at the Grunt leave, he realized that he was in grave danger if there were Flood there. He was barely a better fighter than that Grunt. He clenched the handle in his hand and strapped it onto his belt. They were landing.

Part II: The Oracle
Date: 15 October 2005, 3:35 am

      The purple gleaming phantom that contained the Architect and his mighty warriors hovered above the first flat surface sighted on the structure. The purple beast opened its belly and the soldiers inside filed downwards with grace. Then Gnarlg slowly came down after his troops had their feet on the ground and were standing at attention. He hadn't been able to get a good view of the structure coming in so he took this time to gaze at its beauty.
      It was a floating fortress of history and valor. Its brown and blue exterior was awe inspiring. They were standing atop the largest part of the structure that branched off into four other smaller ones. Each of the sub-buildings were held to the beams that connected them to the main building by three giant cords on each of them.       Gnarlg cleared his throat and turned to the technician. "Before we do anything, release the engineers and let them examine these buildings. I want to know where I'm leading my troops before we go inside any of them.
      "Yes sir." The technician replied. He then walked over to the phantom in the middle of the other two and opened a hatch on the bottom. Almost immediately after he opened the hatch the engineers came pouring out.
      The engineers were the ultimate tools. They could take anything apart and put it back together. They could tell how any piece of machinery was made, or how to make another one. The small creatures' tentacles could do amazing things.
      The engineers came back and released their newly aquired knowledge onto the Architect's data pad. It was a lot of information but it all said the same thing:
1: The middle structure that they were standing on was purely meant for keeping the whole facility suspended at that point.
2.The other four structures purposes were unkown, but they all had entrances.
3.There were Flood in one of the sub-structures.
4. There were setinels inside every structure.
5. There was something else inside the building to the left of the building that contained the Flood. It had a different signature than the sentinels but it was definetely a machine.
      Gnarlg looked over the data pad again to confirm the grim news. There was no doubt that the parasite was located inside of the building he was facing. He fiddled with the handle on his belt and turned to his men. "There is a large concentration of the parasite in the sub-structure behind me." He pointed to the structure with his thumb. "We will not explore that area. Luckily none of the other three sub-structures contain the vile things. Although they all contain sentinels. I don't believe that they will be a problem, but stay on guard either way." The troops nodded in agreement. "We will split up our forces and explore the three parasite free buildings seperately, but we must constantly keep radio contact. I will go into the structure to the left of the structure with the Flood. I want ten elites and ten grunts with me. Twenty-five Grunts and fifteen Elites will each go into the others. Remember, constantly keep radio contact with me." He paused for a moment. "Does everyone understand your orders?"
      "Yes Architect!" They said in unison. Gnarlg leaped into his phantom, and the troops filed into their respective phantoms. Gnarlg decided to make sure all of the leaders communications were online.
      "Red and Blue leaders, do you read me?" Gnarlg waited for a response through the static. Finally a voice chimed an answer.
      "Sir, Blue team is ready." A gravely voice exclaimed.
      "Red team is ready sir," said Red team's leader. He, unlike the Blues' leader, was always thirsting for battle so he was a bit on edge.
      "Good," Gnarlg replied. Remember, we want to try and keep the sentinels peaceful. The last thing we need is lost lives.
      "Yes sir," the leaders said in unison. The Architect knew that they would follow orders and keep their men in line. After all, they had been hand picked by the Prophets.
      His phantom landed and he was the first one to exit. Gnarlg was standing in front of a large doorway with a control panel beside it. The doorway had Forerunner markings that he recognized. He walked up to the control panel and looked it over for a moment as his men filed out behind him. He saw the red hologram on the pad and pressed it. The door slowly opened as they all gazed in awe at it. When it opened it revealed a room with another door on the other side. It was much to small for all of his troops.
      He turned to his men. "The room is obviously to small to fit all of us. I want the grunts to come through first and open the door. Assess the situation when it opens, and we will see if it is safe to enter."
      The grunt in the front of the pack stepped forward. "Yes sir." The small warrior stepped inside with the other nine grunts. Just as the last one of them walked inside the door immediately shut.
      "Grunt leader what's happening in there?" Gnarlg asked worriedly over the communications network.
      "Nothing yet si-" It was about to answer but the door in front of the grunts opened and they all walked inside. The leader quickly looked over the room. "No enemies sighted sir. We are currently inside of the structure, and the door leading to the room behind us has closed. You can come through now."
      The Architect and the other Elites went throught the process and also scanned the room. It was much like the outer walls. He conversed with Red and Blue teams for a moment. They had gone through the same process. Gnarlg walked up a ramp in the room and looked upon an assembly line of silver containers holding a blue gas. The containers were moving on a blue energy conveyer belt. His men walked up and also saw it.
      "Find out what that blue gas is." Gnarlg ordered. A Grunt hurriedly stepped forward and examined a barrel with a needle like tool.
      "It's a form of nitrogen sir. Us Grunts could probably live off of this stuff."
      Gnarlg smiled. "Good. Maybe we can use that. Contact Red and Blue team and report this to them." Gnarlg walked past the little being as it chattered with the other groups. He noticed a ramp that led downwards to a floor dirctly below. The floor was made up of little more than a ramp from what he could tell. The rest was a deep abyss. He was about to descend into the next floor when he saw a blue light deep in the abyss. A few Grunts walked up beside him and readied their plasma pistols just in case.
      This must be that other signal the engineers detected! he thought.
      "What are you?" he demanded. At first there was no response, but then the light began to rise. Before it reached them he discovered that the blue light was within an ,oddly crafted, round metal surface that indicated the light was an eye of some sort. The machine rose and viewed Gnarlg and his warriors.
      After a short pause it turned to Gnarlg and said happily, "Hello. I am 343 Guilty Spark."

To Be Continued...

Date: 4 November 2005, 12:10 am

      "You mean to tell me that you were the monitor of the first Halo? You are the Oracle of the holy ring?" Gnarlg asked in awe.
      "Actually, that installation was the fourth that the forerunners built. I have monitored the ring since its creation. Specifically, I monitor the parasite to prevent an outbreak. Of course, when your race and the reclaimer came, you both completely ignored the protocols that keep the Flood trapped in pockets of the instillation," the blinking machine said with an as a matter of fact tone.
      The Oracle had just finished giving Gnarlg and his battalion of troops a tour of the installation, and now they were speaking in private by an assembly line of some unidentifiable gas containers.
      "Tell me holy Oracle," he said with wonder in his eyes. " What is the purpose of that wretched parasite that infests the holy rings?
      343 Guilty Spark tilted his spherical body to the side, as if to cock his head. "I thought that you already knew the purpose of the Flood. They are the weapons that the ring deploys."
      The Architect looked up at the Oracle and eyed him carefully. What you speak of is a lie. The ring creates a holy wind that-" he was interrupted before he could finish.
      "I am the monitor of the instillation." Guilty Spark exclaimed. "I am telling you the facts." He paused for a moment to make sure that he had Gnarlg's full attention, and then continued. " You see, the forerunners built the rings as a weapon that would destroy all sentient life in the universe. My memory banks do not include any information about their enemy, but the forerunners could not win a war that they were losing, so they developed the parasite to bring their enemies down with them. They believed it to be a perfectly logical solution to their problem. Although the Flood would destroy all sentient life in the universe, that wound would heal overtime. Do you have anymore questions?" Guilty Spark asked in his same robotic tone.
      All of Gnarlg's beliefs had been shattered in that instant. The holy war that he had been fighting would not bring his race salvation; it would bring his race, and all of the others in the galaxy a painful and gruesome death. The Architect turned on his radio, and set it so that all of his troops could hear it. "I want everyone to meet me at my coordinates. The Oracle has told me something… important about Halo."
      Within minutes all of his warriors had arrived. He and Guilty Spark were on the second floor of the large chamber looking down on his troops. "Warriors of the Covenant, we have been lied to. For years we have been fighting a war that if won, will bring us nothing but suffering." His troops began to look questioning, as if they didn't understand, but they knew exactly what he was saying. He pointed to Guilty Spark. "This is the Oracle of the first holy ring. He will force open your blind eyes." He paused for a moment. "Oracle, what is Halo's purpose?"
      Guilty Spark exclaimed to the troops exactly what he had told Gnarlg. The blue and silver machine had shown them something that the prophets had been so ignorant of. All of the battles that they had fought, and the soldiers that had died for those horrible rings, meant nothing now. They were nothing but deteriorating filth, lying in the cold hard ground.
      After the Oracle had finished Gnarlg walked in front of it. "It pains me to tell you this horrible news, but you had to know." He said regrettably. He paused, and then continued with more confidence. "Although this news is heart shattering, we have a new goal now! We have a new war to fight. This is a war of honor, bravery, and justice for the universe. We must do all that we can to stop the Covenant from activating those rings, and show them the light of our salvation!" Everyone cheered with enthusiasm. They had a real purpose… a good purpose. They were going to help set the universe right, by making sure that no one ever got near the horrible rings.
      343 Guilty Spark looked onto the cheering crowd curiously. He hadn't really been paying attention to the speech. He had been managing a transcription error with the computer, but it seemed that what they were cheering for had to do with the installations, so he hovered beside the Architect. "Excuse me," Guilty Spark exclaimed happily. "I would be happy to give you the assistance of myself, and the sentinels. They are perfect soldiers, and will serve you well. I believe that there is a way to produce your plasma weapons here using this factory."
      Gnarlg was now filled with confidence. "Good! Our base of operations will be located in this facility."

Part IV: The Truth
Date: 5 November 2005, 8:46 pm

      It was one thing for Gnarlg to have a battalion of troops under his command, but a whole other thing to have an army. Under his command were sixty Grunts, forty Elites, and an endless number of Sentinels. Of course, it wasn't as grand as the Covenant army, but it would suffice.
      Every Grunt and Elite now wore the armor of The Heretics. The Elite armor looked like a stripped down dark brown and red version of their old armor. Also, they had lighter helmets. They did have their own shield technology designed by Guilty Spark himself. He was very proud of this accomplishment. They also carried carbines instead of plasma rifles. It was one of the weapons that could be made in the factory.
      The Grunt armor was a light brown color, and the methane gas that they breathed was inside of two transparent tubes that rose vertically from their backs. These were much easier to manage than the old triangular methane packs. A large number of the Grunts were also given needlers instead of plasma pistols. In this army, everyone was equal.
      The greatest aspect of it all was that the installation could even mass produce heretic banshees, fuel rod cannons, and they had upgraded the phantoms that they brought!
      But of course, Gnarlg was given the best that Guilty Spark and the Forerunner structure had to offer. He had been given armor with slightly better shields than the other elites, a booster pack that allowed him to fly, and best of all, three small orbs that if activated would make exact copies of him. It was amazing how advanced the Forerunners were. He also carried two plasma rifles with him instead of the carbine. And of course he still had his energy sword strapped to his armor. Just in case…
      Gnarlg was no longer The Architect of the Covenant anymore. He had been given a new title. He was now the Heretic Leader. He thought it was a bit ironic that he was the worst fighter there though.
      "Oracle, I need to send a message to High Charity," The Heretic Leader said. "I need more warriors."

High Charity

      The Prophet of Truth had just finished dealing with an Elite General that had failed to protect Halo from the Demon. He had enjoyed watching him suffer by the hand of Tartarus. But now he had something very important to attend to. The Architect had not contacted him for over two months. He had ordered some of his subordinates to do so, but they had received no response. He feared that The Architect and his battalion had encountered the flood; and whoever did that never came back alive.
      He turned on his hologram communicator to contact the Special Operations Commander. Once the Prophet saw the Commander on the hologram he began to speak.
      "Commander, as you know, The Architect and a large battalion of warriors were sent to investigate a forerunner structure on Threshold. They have not reported back since. I want you to-"He had been cut off! Someone, or something, was sending another transmission that was overriding his. The hologram of the Commander disappeared, and was replaced by…The Architect?
       "Our Prophets are false! Open your eyes, my brothers! They would use the faith of our Forefathers to bring ruin to us all! The Great Journey is a lie! Our Prophets were too stubborn to notice this fact! Halo will not bring our salvation…it will bring only death, and destruction. The wretched parasite is the weapon of the so called 'holy rings'! They will destroy all life in the galaxy if that horrible installation is activated. For those of you, who believe in honor and truth, join me! For those of you that don't, I pity your foolishness." The Architect ended his transmission as soon as he had finished, and he once again saw the (now dumbstruck) face of the Commander.
      The message had been set to show on every holopad in High Charity. Every single warrior of the Covenant saw it. Except for one…
      Truth had to catch his breath. This had all happened right under his nose! He could've crushed them at any time! Once he regained his confidence, he cleared his throat and spoke. "Commander, I have a new mission for you and your warriors. Destroy this Heretic Leader!" He paused for a moment. "The Arbiter will accompany you."
      "The Arbiter?" the Commander asked. "But there hasn't been an Arbiter for-"
      "I have a new warrior in mind that will suffice." The Prophet said.

The Forerunner Installation on Threshold

      "Do you think that anyone will come to your aid?" asked Guilty Spark.
      "It is hard to tell." Gnarlg said regrettably. "It is near impossible to force open the eyes of the blind, but we shall see my friend."
      Deep down inside of the structure, a Grunt was speaking to a hologram of The Special Operations Commander. He was inside of one of the assembly lines of the installation. He had decided that it would be a good hiding place.
      "Yes, leader. They made many big weapons from the building. The Heretic Boss has made big army. Mostly Sentinels." The little traitor said quietly.
      "Thank you for this information Yig-pah. We will come for you soon." he replied.
      "Thank you. I-" The Commander heard another voice in the background.
      "Yig-pah! What are you doing?" one inquired.
      The Commander saw Yig-pah getting nervous, and trying to fiddle with the controls to turn it off. "N-n-nothing sir."
      "Who are you talking to?" The elite pushed the little grunt to the side and looked at the hologram. He looked closely at the commander. "You will not destroy us," He heard carbine shots being fired in the background. "You can kill us all, but our message is being spread as I stand here. The truth will never-"
      The Commander turned off the hologram. The Prophets had better choose the next Arbiter wisely, or these Heretics could become too great to handle.
      Another transmission was coming in. It was from the Prophet of Mercy. He accepted and bowed. "We have a problem in the docking bay Commander." The Prophet said, obviously hiding rage.
      "What is it great Prophet?" he asked.
      "Over five-hundred Grunts and Elites have stolen ten phantoms from our holy city!"
      The Commander was dumbstruck. "Where are they headed? Do you know why holy one?"

Part V: A Drastic Step
Date: 9 November 2005, 2:27 am

      One-Thousand new warriors! About five-hundred Grunts, and Elites, ten more phantoms, thirty more banshees, and so many weapons had been added to his army. Gnarlg's force was now so large that he had to spread them out through the whole facility, except of course the part of the installation that included the parasite.
      Gnarlg was actually quite surprised at how many warriors had come to him. These beings had been told lies for their entire lives, and all of those things had been washed away by a speech made by a former Covenant Architect. He supposed that they had never really believed the Prophet's tales deep down inside. Perhaps they merely had been waiting for a chance to know a different belief.
      A Grunt waddled up to The Heretic Leader with great urgency. "Heretic Boss, Heretic Boss! Me have big news!" the little thing cried out with enthusiasm. "Storm headed for facility! Big storm!" The Grunt was obviously very worried.
      Gnarlg activated his personal hologram communicator, and gave his orders. "Warriors, I want everyone inside of the facility. Lock the entrances, and hangar doors. A large storm is headed this way. We have a glorious mission to fulfill, and we cannot lose anyone to a simple storm!"

High Charity

      Why? Why had the council called him a Heretic? He had done all that he could to save the holy ring. He was a true believer that had never before faltered in his quest for salvation. These thoughts rushed through his mind as Tartarus and his lackeys dragged him to the Prophets of Truth and Mercy.
      Why are these imbeciles headed to the Mausoleum of the Arbiter? Do the Prophets plan to kill me as the souls of our heroes look down upon me in shame?
      It all happened so very fast. The Brutes dropped his almost limp body as he felt the horrible mark on his chest, as if he wanted to rip it off of him. They spoke for some time… the pod came down… the holy armor was his now. The Heretic that had caused Halo's destruction had been given the holiest of honors.
      "What would you have your Arbiter do?" he asked the holy ones. After quite a wait, he was on a phantom headed to Threshold. He was to destroy the 'true heretics' that were such a threat to the Covenant's ideals.

The Forerunner Facility on Threshold

      All of the heretic warriors were inside now. Gnarlg had placed most of them in his part of the installation. Now that he had sent that transmission, the Prophets would not hesitate in striking him down, and this storm left his tracking devices useless. He feared not only for his life, but for the lives of his troops. He fiddled with the sword in his hand.
      His hologram transmitter beeped wildly. Someone needed him. Gnarlg activated the device and listened.
      It was an Elite. He had been one of the last to venture inside the facility, so he had been posted by the entrance. "Holy Heretic Leader," his voice crackled quickly. "The Covenant has come and aims to destroy you. They will stop at nothing! They have even chosen a new Arbit-"
      He had been cut off. The last picture the hologram showed was a sword traveling through the warrior's chest. He had been the first to fall.
      He hadn't finished his sentence, but Gnarlg knew what he was about to say. The Covenant had chosen an Arbiter. They had chosen him for the sole purpose of destroying The Heretic Leader.
      Gnarlg felt his heart slowly beating. He had to stay alive. He did nothing but stand there as more reports came in about the Arbiter and his small group of blind warriors heading closer to him. If he didn't do something quickly, then they would reach him, and ultimately destroy him.
      "I want thirty of our best warriors standing beside me as fast as possible! I also want a phantom ready by the closest hanger bay!" he screamed. Everyone around him stopped dead in their tracks for an instant processing his orders, but afterwards ran chaotically with more vigor.
      Within ten minutes Gnarlg and thirty of the best warriors under his command were headed to another part of the installation. He decided that it was the time to tell his warriors his plan.
      "My brothers, we are traveling to the structure that contains the parasite. I do not believe that the Covenant will follow us there. It will be dangerous, but if we can find a safe place away from the Flood until the Covenant has departed, then we will be safe. We will also have the sentinels on our side. They will help protect us." He paused and thought for a moment. "This may be a drastic step, but we have to stay alive at all costs. If we stay close, and stay strong, then we will stay alive, and carry out the holy work that must be done."
      He had posted troops outside of the facilities, to battle the Covenant in case they decided to follow their suicidal path.
      They were landing. As they walked out and opened the door, fear tore at Gnarlg. He was no fighter. He could not show his fear to his men though. He holstered his plasma rifles and released the power of his sword. As it erupted from the small silver handle, the weapon of light glowed with passion of strength. This would have to be his source of courage. They carefully walked inside, and the door closed behind them.
      "Parasite!" An Elite opened fire on an infection form. As the others followed, the little abominations began to steadily grow in number. One of them attached itself to another Elite. He was quickly shot down by his own men.
      So is the horror of survival. Gnarlg sliced one in half and charged into the swarm.

Part VI:
Date: 17 November 2005, 2:01 am

      Gnarlg sliced every single parasite that moved. He decided that he was lucky that he had only sent himself and twenty of his warriors inside, or else they would have had to deal with many, more dangerous parasites. Sadly, he had already lost twelve of his twenty men. They wouldn't be able to keep this up much longer.
      He clicked on his radio. "I want one hundred troops (not stationed outside) at my position now! The parasite is becoming overwhelming!" he yelled. "Make haste!" Another one of his comrades went down from a parasite and was shot down before it could fester in his skull. They were down to seven, and him now. The Heretic Leader was beginning to regret this drastic step that he had taken.

      The Arbiter was surprised at how few troops there were in the facility as he traveled deeper into it. Perhaps they had been called somewhere else; but where else should they be sent? He sliced a Heretic Grunt in half and bolted to a console to open the hanger door so that a phantom with reinforcements could drop in. He pressed his finger to the hologram as the phantom slowly edged inwards. Another Heretic Grunt with a fuel rod cannon began firing at the phantom from the floor above him, but he was quickly taken out by the phantom's powerful weapons.
      As the phantom dropped their reinforcements he picked up the fuel rod cannon and examined it. There were eight shots left in it, so he decided to save it in case he needed its great power later.

      The reinforcements arrived in mere minutes and The Heretics quickly took out the parasites in the area. Then Gnarlg and about ten other soldiers traveled onto a large elevator. He had ordered more soldiers to follow him when another elevator arrived. It was a rather painless ride downwards.
      Most of the parasites were quickly dealt with by the helpful sentinels. He had never been more thankful for those machines. Not only were they unlimited in number, but they were the ultimate Flood killing machines.
      Finally the elevator screeched to a halt and he and his ten warriors slowly edged towards the entrance as they heard the next elevator descending. When they walked into the next room they were greeted by an enormous horde of infection forms.
      They were inside a laboratory with two computer consoles across from each other on the bottom of the two floors. Luckily reinforcements quickly arrived, and they set up two stationary turrets to hold off the Flood (or the Covenant if they were crazy enough to follow him) while he traveled deeper into the parasite filled facility.

      "That stench… I've smelled it before." The Spec Ops Commander whispered to the Arbiter. As they quietly walked into the facility they came upon a tank filled with small creatures floating inside. They looked a bit like small infection forms of the flood.
      As they moved into the next room they heard a battle going on below them. They couldn't see who or what was fighting through the fogged glass though.
      As they traveled further they came upon a chamber filled with bodies of Heretics… and Flood!
      "What happened here?" An Elite asked almost to himself.
      A small Grunt shivered in terror at the sight of the corpses. "Me have bad feeling about this." He said.
      Another Grunt looked at him rudely and spoke to him. "You always have bad feeling! You had bad feeling about this morning's food nipple!"

      Gnarlg and his few remaining warriors that had reached him were safe for now. They were in a large room with ramps that led high above them. They decided not to find out where they led in fear of finding more parasites. The vast room had a red light and a more peaceful feeling then the other darker areas of the facility. At the back of the room there was a door with a shield covering it. They decided that this was for the best.
      He walked up to a computer terminal, and saw security cameras that showed the Arbiter and other warriors in the first chamber. They have quite a journey ahead of them.
      He activated a hologram projector so that he could taunt them. He was going to have fun with these fools as they stepped into their graves.

      A floating orb entered the room, and an image of The Heretic Leader formed there. An idiotic Grunt believed it to be the real thing.
      "See! Heretic!" He and another Grunt began to fire at it, but the Spec Ops Commander quickly alerted them to the Heretic's true form. The foul Heretic began speaking with his fouled tongue.
      "I wondered who the prophets would send to silence me." He turned to the Arbiter. "An Arbiter… I'm flattered."
      The Spec Ops Commander was not intimidated. "He's using a holodrone. He must be close," he said to his troops. Then he turned to the Heretic "Come out, so we may kill you." He said threateningly.
      The Heretic Leader merely laughed at his threat. "Get in line."
      The holodrone deactivated, and the Arbiter heard something. It was faint, but it sounded like something was… slithering. "Stand firm," said the Commander. "The Flood is upon us."

      Gnarlg almost laughed out loud at the Commander. He underestimated the Forerunner's technology by thinking that he was close by. He walked up to his second in command who had been with him since he had first walked in.
      "This room will be our base of operations," Gnarlg said. "There are no parasites here, and-" The Heretic Leader almost jumped five feet in the air as an infection form latched to the back of his comrade's head. Gnarlg simply pulled the thing off of him and crushed it in his hands, "Are you all right?" he inquired.
      "Yes Leader." He said. Then, more infection forms began to fall from the ceiling. The peaceful feeling of the room immediately deteriorated. "Sir, I will access the computer and unlock the door leading out of here!" You will probably fare better there!"
      So, his second in command began to fiddle with the terminal furiously as Gnarlg and his warriors made a perimeter around him. We won't be able to hold this position for long! I never should have led my men into this horrible place! Why was I so selfish?
      The sentinels began to pour into the room and assist them. They formed around his men and took the majority of the beatings from the Flood so that The Heretic Leader and his men wouldn't have to.
      Gnarlg and his men stood shooting for what seemed like an eternity, until they finally ran out of ammunition… and sentinels, and were forced to merely beat the parasites with their weapons. The only ones left were him, his second in command on the hologram computer, and another brave soul.
      "Sir!" The Heretic at the computer exclaimed. I've opened the door!" He died. An infection form had just overtaken him. It had probably been attached to him, feeding on his brain, for at least thirty seconds. Then his other warrior died.
      He crouched down and lunged to the open door, his only escape, running at full speed. Then the entrance into the horrible red room opened, and the Arbiter and his men came through!
      "Heretic Boss! You see, you see!" a Grunt exclaimed with excitement.
      They opened fire on him as he fled, but Gnarlg made it behind the door, and immediately activated the shield as the Arbiter raced towards him.
      He smirked at the face of true heresy. "This will save me from the storm, but you will be consumed." At that, the door closed and he could no longer see the Arbiter.
      Gnarlg turned around and saw another unopened door. Thankfully it was locked, but could be opened from the inside in case the Covenant found a way to reach him. He was safe… for now.

Part VII: Extinguished Flame
Date: 2 January 2008, 11:48 pm

      Gnarlg's mouth went agape as the door leading to the rest of the facility opened. Behind him stood the Arbiter and other Covenant soldiers, thirsting for his blood. And before him the Flood, in its horrible glory swarmed into the small room he took residence in.
      The small parasites flung themselves at him, attempting to find purchase somewhere on his flesh to make him one of their own: a mindless servant within a multitude of others. And for a moment, as he watched them hungrily edge near him, he wanted to let them take him. If he did it would all be over. His struggles would be left to someone else and he could rest in oblivion…
      But he could not choose that fate. He would not damn himself and his people. He had a duty that could not be forgotten. He removed his plasma rifles from his side, took aim at the lead parasite, and unleashed a steady stream of plasma into their ranks, inching forward.
      Sadly, it was not enough. For every parasite he killed three others took its place. He imagined all hope was lost as the swarm multiplied and continued to surge forward, when the Oracle and three Sentinels swarmed into the room and began pushing back the Flood. As the Sentinels flashed their beams, thinning the numbers of the Flood, the Oracle turned to Gnarlg.
      "It is quite lucky that I found you! You surely would have joined the parasite had I not been here."
      "Yes, thank you Oracle. My thanks are boundless. Now I have another favor to ask of you."
      The quizzical machine cocked its spherical body sideways as it replied, "Anything at all."
      "I need a way for my warriors and me to escape this place. Coming into this facility was a grave mistake, and between the Covenant forces and the parasite we cannot hope to stay alive in this place."
      For a moment Guilty Spark simply hovered there, considering their few options. "There are no ships in this facility that have Slipspace capabilities, but there is a portal on another facility in this planet. Please follow me."
      And with that, the Oracle sped off over the shredded remains of the Flood, flanked by his Sentinels. "Wait," Gnarlg said as he jogged slightly behind the mechanized beings, "you mean there is another facility on this planet and a portal? I was not aware portals existed!"
      "Why yes," Spark said, delighted to be sharing his boundless information. "My creators crafted it so that The Ark would be more accessible from the ring that was here previously. One of your small vessels is located inside one of the other sectors of this facility. If we arrive there in time we will be able to board it, pick up as many of your soldiers as possible, and escape to the portal!"
      Gnarlg almost stopped hearing this, but reminded himself to keep on running. The Oracle was moving at a very quick pace and to lose him would be catastrophic. He had so many questions regarding this new information, but one was the most important. "Oracle, one Seraph can only hold so many of my men."
      Spark was about to give Gnarlg a quick reply when a multitude of the Flood appeared around the next corner, stopping the five of them in their tracks to deal with the dirty things.

      The Arbiter waited in the elevator leading up to the cables that held the facility together. The only way to get the Heretic out of his hiding place was to cut the cables. Then when the instillation began plummeting to the surface of the gas giant he would find the scum and kill him, silencing his lies.
      But for now things were peaceful. It was an odd feeling, sitting in this elevator created years ago. Very little noise came to this elongated chamber at first, but as he ascended the silence began to whither away, replaced by the guttural groans and shouts of the Flood.
      "All my Phantoms are in the air, Arbiter. Go ahead, cut that cable," the Spec Ops Commander said over his radio. He was eager to complete this mission and leave but somehow the Arbiter found that fighting made him feel invincible. And at moments like these, despite his past faults and heresies he felt like a god.
      And as the elevator ended its ascent, as the parasite rushed towards him, begging for his flesh, he broke out of his peaceful feeling, released his energy sword and began the duty at hand, carefully slashing at the Flood as they bounded to him. The way the creatures jumped was incredible. One might spring towards him leagues away and reach him in one leap.
      But he was ready for every single one that crossed his path. Whether they flailed their limbs at him, shot at him, or tried to tear him apart he was able to defeat them. True, the Arbiter was meant to carry out suicide missions, but that did not mean he would go down without a struggle.
Then he came upon the first cable. Crushing an infection form in his one hand, he used the other hand to swipe the blade across the cable, splitting it where the blade had sliced it.
      "That's one!" The Spec Ops Commander exclaimed almost gleefully. "By the Prophets, look at this station list!" Perhaps he was learning to enjoy these moments himself.
      Quickly but carefully, the Arbiter worked his way to the other two cables, each swing of his blade a message of the Covenant to clear the path for the worthy. And as he cut the third cable the facility finally gave way. He felt the greatest rush of his life as he and the installation both began to plummet. Now things were getting interesting!

      "Oh my goodness!" Spark exclaimed as Gnarlg felt a jolt across the facility. "It seems that we are falling."
      "What?" Gnarlg asked in a tone that was angry and scared at the same time.
      "I mean," Spark said as their group inched closer to the hangar, "someone has cut the three cables holding this station here."
      "Delightful." Gnarlg huffed. Likely the Flood became too destructive.
      Just then, he heard the discharging of a sword behind him and the roar of an elite. He was the only one in his own army with a sword, so one of the Covenant's soldiers must have caught up to him.
      "Quickly Oracle," he said as they entered the Flood infested hangar, "leave the Sentinels here to stop the imbecile behind us. We will get to the Seraph in the other part of the facility!"
      "Marvelous!" Spark replied.
      By now Gnarlg could see one of his banshees sitting outside, amidst the rush of gasses and winds flying about the falling station. The oddly shaped purple vehicle had never looked so gracious before! It would be a miracle if but one of his men survived this to help spread the truth of the Forerunners. And he would not mind if that one soldier was him.
      His thoughts were interrupted as he and the Oracle almost crashed into one of the bloated parasites. Sensing their close proximity it began to swell, and it exploded before Gnarlg could react.
      The force knocked him to the ground and reduced his shields to almost nothing. And he was quickly covered with the little beasts. "No, I will not let you monsters be the death of me! Not now, not ever!" He raised his fists as they covered him and began crushing each as it tried to attach to him. It was odd… picking the wretched things off of him was like picking plants out of soil.
Grabbing the last one and tossing it into a wall he slowly raised himself, grabbed his weapons, and rushed outside with the Oracle just as the door behind him leading into the hangar was opening.
      Then panic struck him as he realized there were two different banshees sitting there. Taking one would still leave his pursuer the other to pilot. His only option was to destroy the second one… but he simply did not have the time. By the time he destroyed it the other elite would be upon him and he wanted to avoid fighting an experienced warrior at all costs. Despite his foray with the Flood he still was not a fighter… he was simply good at surviving.
      "Hurry friend," Spark exclaimed, "we do not have much time." Then not waiting for an answer, Spark sped off in the direction of the other hangar.
      "Coming, Oracle." And with that, he leapt into the farthest banshee and was on his way… sort of.
      The air resistance he had to fight to keep up with the station was incredible. Trying to control the craft was like wrestling with one of the hairy and rough skinned Jiralhanee. But despite the difficulty he was able to keep up with the station. And lo and behold, as he struggled with the controls one of his heretic banshees flew up close to him.
      "Brother," he breathed quickly through the radio in the craft, "I am being pursued by one of the Covenant. Please dispose of him and follow me. We are escaping in the Seraph in this hangar." He received no reply. "Brother, respond!"
      The other banshee began firing at him.
      "By the Prophets," he cursed, "is anything not trying to slay me?" He banked to the left as the opposing banshee sped past him, blazing plasma,. Then fighting the air, he turned as his opponent was coming around for another pass. They sped at each other, firing madly, not caring that there was another life inside of the other banshee, only that the life inside of it needed to be destroyed.
      An idea came to him as he neared the other. He reached up, pushed a bright red button on the hologram that was the controls, and his banshee's fuel rod gun activated, sending a blast of green energy searing through the air and obliterating his opponent. The resulting crash was one of the most satisfying things he had ever heard as he sped off towards the other part of the facility.
      As he landed Guilty Spark was floating there, waiting for him. "Tell me, what took you?" he asked as they sped off into the facility.
      "I apologize, Oracle. Some of my kind would prefer oblivion to life and wish to hinder my progress."
      As they ran through the facility they found plenty of parasites blocking their path. Once again he brought out his sword, but Gnarlg found that it was almost drained of energy. "Curses!" he yelled as he slashed an oncoming Flood organism and watched as the blade sputtered and died. All he had left now were his plasma rifles… and of course his small replication devices… but he was saving those for his hunter.
      "This way," the Oracle said, "we are almost to the hangar, and I do not with to lose you." After a few more rounds of Flood and plasma the two of them finally found themselves at the hangar.
      "Good." Gnarlg said happily. He was more than happy to be rid of this place. "Oracle, activate…"
      He would have continued, but the door behind him opened and he heard the heavy footsteps of an elite… or was it Fate?
      "Turn, heretic," a voice behind him said.
      He was at a bit of a disadvantage, so he obliged his blind brother and turned around, only to lay eyes on the Arbiter himself. The warrior was simply glorious. Unlike the usual blue or red armor of most elites, his was a majestic silver with ancient etchings carved onto its surface by the Sanghelli that crafted it eons ago. Any elite standing in this armor looked positively magnificent and, to Gnarlg's great regret, equally deadly.
      "Arbiter. I would rather die by your hands than let the Prophets lead me to slaughter." He still had no intention of dying. Life was still a very precious thing and he was still very scared, but simply knowing that the Prophets sent an Arbiter to do him away made him feel all the more powerful and confident.
      He felt that his days as the Architect of the Covenant had been a lifetime before this. He was a completely different person now. He was wiser, stronger, and enlightened. Not only that, but he was dangerous. The Prophets, the most feared beings of the Covenant had sent the Arbiter, the greatest fighter they had to offer, to silence him. This only made his message and his goal that much more important. Failure was not an option at any cost!
      "Who has taught you these lies?" The Arbiter asked him as others had asked him before. He was about to answer, when the Oracle sprung up out of nowhere. He seemed to love talking to anyone about anything… especially himself. "The Oracle!" he said in awe.
      Spark tilted his circular body, as he was so apt to do and addressed the elite. "Why hello! I am 343 Guilty Spark, Monitor of Installation 04." Gnarlg waited, hoping that the truth would sink into The Arbiter without his prompting. This elite would make an especially helpful ally in his war against the Prophets. Winning him over would renew the hope of his cause.
      "Ask the Oracle about Halo. How the Prophets would sacrifice us all for nothing," Gnarlg said carefully to The Arbiter. He had to make him see… he just had to.
      "More questions? Splendid! I would be happy to assist you," the Oracle replied to no prompting but his own.
Gnarlg took a moment more to stare into the Arbiter's eyes, to look into the workings of his soul. But to Gnarlg's deepest regret, he realized quickly that the truth, the path that must be taken would not reveal itself to this poor fool. He would sadly be doomed with the rest of them. So he quickly took hold of his plasma rifles and started firing at the Arbiter.
      Reacting quickly, the elite in the ceremonial armor quickly found cover as Gnarlg flew up to the top of the Seraph to get a better angle. If he would not see then he was in Gnalrg's way, and this path could have no barriers if it was to be completed.
      "The Elites are blind, Arbiter. . . but I . . . will make them see." With that, he released the orbs that held his copies. The result was incredible. Two exact replicas of him appeared in a small flash of blue light. But these copies were much fiercer. These copies were actual warriors, which was just what he needed.
      Then an idea struck him. Why not escape while the Arbiter fought his replicas. The Oracle could simply make more of them at another time. So as his digital twins moved in for the kill he slinked away, edging his way to the entrance of the Seraph. It was not that he was running away, he was simply preserving his life. He was one of the few who knew the reality of the Covenant's situation. He was among the few who realized the grave mistakes that could be made.
      He quickly found the entrance to the Seraph, but just as he was about to open it the Arbiter, having already taken out his false twins, tackled him to the ground. Feeling his survival instincts take over, Gnarlg punched the Arbiter off of him and rolled away. Instead of standing he simply used his jet pack to lift himself off of the ground, and he unleashed a torrent of blue plasma towards the elite.
      But he too was obstinate in his thirst for his own survival and his adversary's destruction. For even as he was being seared with plasma, the Arbiter brought out his own energy sword, and gave a mighty roar as he leapt up to Gnarlg and swung his crackling blade in a wide horizontal arc.
      As Gnarlg felt the energy cut through him he silently prayed for the blind Covenant and the galaxy that they were about to destroy.