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117 Words - The Top 117 Entries
Posted By: 117 Words<117words@mail.com>
Date: 7 October 2005, 6:23 pm


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In July 2005, Stuntmutt and Jillybean announced a contest - write the best Halo-related story... in exactly 117 words. Below, you'll find the top 117 submissions, as determined by the top-secret judging panel. Enjoy!


1) Three Seconds by Dan Harris

They say in the moments before you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes. They're wrong. Only the important bits.

I recall Sarge's briefing for those of us seeing combat for the first time.

"If they throw grenades, get your ass down! It sticks, you die, and if you get your fool ass killed from something that dumb, don't expect me to feel sorry for you! Understand marines?"

I'm not sure exactly how it happened. There was plasma fire. I dove behind a rampart. There it was, stuck to my forearm, pulsing with blue light. Instinctually, panicked, I looked to Sarge for help.

His expression said what he couldn't.

"There's nothing I can do. I'm sorry."


2) The Marvellous Spoils Of Lt Grey's Rag Tag Corps by Stuntmutt

Lt Grey's rag tag of men had crash landed hundreds of clicks from the nearest friendly transponder signal. Hence they'd been forced to trudge for hours across the bizarre ringworld. But then, a solution presented itself. Lt Grey jabbed his hand in two directions. His men hurled themselves down the ridge, firing in short controlled bursts, overlapping corridors of fire and cutting the enemy to ribbons in a swift pincer movement. The marines stepped over steaming alien corpses and eyed their prize; a gleaming, u-shaped Covenant troop transporter.
"Right," said Grey, "who knows how to fly one these things?"
The men eyed each other expectantly for several seconds.
Then sadly and wordlessly turned around. And trudged off.


3) They Are Here by Blackhole

Admiral Bronzey walked across the hallway. It was as usual, boring as ever. Suddenly the radio reciever beeped. Puzzled, the admiral patched it through...

"zztzttrrzzzt ------i-? -ir, --e yo- r-adin- m-? zzzztttztzzt*****zttztt s--? Sir- that better? Admiral, we are in an unknown region of space. There is an unidentified craft up ahead, and it appears to be of forerunner origin. The spooky thing is that its active! We don't know what, oh my god! What in the, whats that knocking sound? Wait, we're being hailed? What in the... Oh my g-ztztztzrrzzrzrztztz..........." The admiral looked up, shaken. A ship had entered their sensor range. "Sir? We're being hailed..."

Knock

Knock

Knock...

We're coming for you...


4) The Covenant Hierarchs Speak by Savior455

Go forth faithful servants bring to the pitiful humans fidelity, benevolence and lament.
Forth to battle! You will attain a new era into the galaxy and attain all the worlds in our grip! Yet even with the order of your masters some of you deny us?

We cast those disbelievers out of the Covenant of races and rip them of their sacred armor given to them by the heavens of the forerunners! Find the world of the forerunners and unlock its potential!

Destroy the humans with it and your service to the forerunners will be complete for the time being. Now go and destroy the humans with no mercy at all. The great journey is upon us.


5) Dreaming by Bronzey

Do AI's Dream of Holographic Sleep?

Cortana never knew. Although based on a human mind, the notions of creativity, emotion, and love were denied to her, simply added as
software. She would never sleep, never be tucked away in a warm, safe bed, she was always out in the cold expanse of the war, never
stopping fighting.

She could only watch, silently, as the Chief was pinned down by waves upon waves of Brutes and Jackals. He had tried so hard, for Earth, for humanity, and there was nothing he could do. They pummelled him, shot him, and stabbed him. Finally he lay still, and they roared victory.

For the first time, Cortana slept, and she dreamed.


6) Hills by Bronzey

He'd always loved hills...

Climbing them as a child, he'd run up, the wind pulling his hair back, and then roll down, covering himself in mud and leaves. They were a mountain, a place to see the whole wide world... and beyond.

Now, as a sniper, he loved them even more. The elevation, the clear skies, the chance to see the enemy one last time before you blew their head off. That feeling of standing there, playing God, seeing who lived and who died.

Which was why as soon as the Pelican had landed, he'd scrambled up the nearest hill - and got his head blown apart in a purple flash of sniper fire.

He'd always loved hills.


7) I Always Wanted To Be A Hero by MarkiSallo

I always wanted to fly in space. You know, like all of those guys in movies. The heroes.

I joined the UNSC as a fighter pilot. I saw some fleet action near Harvest. My friends got medals. I wanted one, too.

Now I'm at Reach. Nearly everyone is gone. Only about 10 of the enemy remain.

I see an escape pod. It's blasting a lot of communications, and several ships are moving to pick it up. It must be someone important. Maybe the Covenant field commander.

It's mine. My turn to be the hero. A full burn, warm up the Archer missiles. Get a targeting lock. Wrap my finger around the firing control...

Wait, is that a---


8) Never Share A Foxhole With A Hero by MarkiSallo

Private Rick Beisman never wanted in on the war. He wanted to stay home, where it was safe.

Beisman reflected this as he sat, back against the side of his hastily erected emplacement. He had just finished high school when the war really broke out.

Rick was drafted. He didn't want to be a hero; he just wanted to live.

Beisman heard a howling sound, and he could just make out a Covenant Banshee. He kept his head down, hiding.

The other guy in the emplacement fired his rocket launcher. The projectile missed. The Banshee wheeled about, fuel rod gun charging.

Beisman remembered something he'd heard a long time ago.

Never share a foxhole with a hero.


9) The Battle Rifle Bullet by MarkiSallo

I was carried along in a box for most of my life, along with 35 siblings. We were always in the dark. For every minute of every day, we lived in darkness.

One day, we were moved. We could hear fighting.

With a loud noise, three of my family suddenly disappeared. Where did they go? What happened?

While I pondered this, more of my friends vanished with cracks of noise. Finally, only three of us were left.

BERRUM! Suddenly I was hurling through the air! I could see! It was beautiful, all the lights that were suddenly open to me!

WHAM! As quickly as I left, I was back in darkness.

We were always in the dark.


10) Launch Break by Wiley K

"Um...Chief? Shouldn't we be fighting Covenant?" asked Cortana as the Chief piled more grenades underneath his Warthog.

"Nonsense! They're unimportant. I wanna beat Randall Glass's pitiful airtime of eight-point-five seconds!"

"Whatever. It's only Humanity at stake..." she said.

"You mind stopping your bitching?"

"Shut up."

"How many grenades is this?"

"You count 'em."

"Funny, I could leave your core here."

"You wouldn't!"

"I would. How many?"

"Fifty."

The Chief squealed like a schoolgirl. "This is gonna be awesome!"

He tossed a grenade under the Warthog. A deafening explosion, and the 'Hog wasn't there anymore. The Chief patiently waited for it to return.

While he waited, the Covenant activated Halo, and everyone in the galaxy died.

Thanks, Randall.


11) Educating Heretic by Narcogen

"The Oracle!"

"Excuse me? I am... well, I was the monitor of Installation Zero Four. I am Three-Four-Three Guilty Spark; not an 'oracle'".

Confusion; why would an Oracle deny its true nature? Perhaps it is a test of faith.

"Oracle, is it true? The Sacred Ring... is destroyed?"

"Why do you insist on such archaic nomenclature? Installation Zero Four was destroyed by a fusion reactor explosion on the Reclaimer's ship. Why the Reclaimer allowed this outbreak to spread, I cannot say."

"What nature of demon is this Reclaimer? How can the Prophet Hierarchs begin the Great Journey without the Sacred Ring?"

"Great Journey? Prophet Hierarchs ? 343 sighed. "I can see your education will be most satisfying."


12) Shoot by Narcogen

Cortana was now locked in a Covenant computer, cut off from their main battle net and from the networks of Delta Halo and the UNSC. The Forerunner ship powering the citadel was heading towards Earth, Master Chief on board; there was no way for High Charity to escape, and no way for her to evade Gravemind.

"Now, I will ask, and you will answer."

Where's the harm in a little banter, she thought. Gravemind couldn't know whether she'd lie or not, and perhaps his questions would reveal something. Hopefully, she could fend it off until the Master Chief could return to pick her up.

"Shoot."

"What's the Master Chief really like?"

Holographic palm on forehead, Cortana sighed.


13) Reclamation by Narcogen

"Oh, hello, Reclaimer."

Private Tuncer stared at the glowing, hovering blue ball. He shot at it, to no avail. It spoke.

"Greetings. I am the monitor of Installation Zero Four. I am Three-Four-Three Guilty Spark. Someone has released the Flood."

"Released what?" Tuncer had had enough: attacked by drooling, zombies resembling former foes and comrades, lost his unit, taken a gondola ride into the darkest place he could find to hide. He was in no mood for more.

"The Flood. This installation was built to study and contain them. Follow me."

A gurgle followed by pistol shots interrupted Tuncer's thoughts. A tentacle lashed out, and he fell.

"Oh, my. That looks like it hurts a lot."


14) Penitence Pals by Narcogen

"Hrrmmmmmmmmuhhhhh.... At last I have you, floating eye. Your hollow shell, like this ring.. is mine."

Tentacles grasped the sides of his shell, penetrating where his frame lay open.

"Release me at once! This outbreak cannot be allowed to continue!"

"You are like the others of your kind, you look but do not see. Surrounded by a forest, all you notice is one tree."

"What I notice is my concern. I am Two-Four-Zero One, Penitent Tangent, Monitor of Installation 05. Containment protocol requires I locate a Reclaimer to retrieve the Index."

"The one of which you speak is not yet here. As for the Flood—what does a machine have to fear?"

"You know, as do I."


15) Arbitration by Jillybean

Those who once walked as brothers, now regard each other across the table. Their fury is unmatched by any storm, and the destruction which will wage in their path will be twice as deadly.

I do not look forward to the breaking of this front.

Yet this is my duty. To stand firm in the face of such terror.

It is not lightly that I undertake my sacred duty, yet nor is it entirely willing. I did not know this would be my fate, but such as the Forerunner decree it, this is what it is.

I ask my Hatchlings to sit nicely, and not to throw their food. Not in front of our distinguished Prophet guests.

16) In Her Honor by XerxdeeJ

I feel terrible about breaking that Marine's jaw with an open handed slap. While surgically augmented strength is a real help in uprighting a flipped Worthog, it has no place when horsing around in the mess hall. Still, no one insults my woman. I don't care what anyone says, I like her new haircut.

If she wants to change around her avatar, isn't that her business? There are times when I have wished that she was more than a hologram, but that would only reduce her to the level of every other woman who can't understand me.

When I make it back to High Charity, I am going to tell Cortana, sweetest Cortana, exactly how I feel.


17) The Arbiter's Sentence by Tum-Tut Mantis

I am imprisoned.
Not by bars, or walls or guards.
My errant soul withers in the confines of my broken and branded flesh.
But that is not my prison.
My body is bound within this metal, at once both armor and restraint.
Neither is that my prison.
My actions are the whim of the Prophets. My life is not mine to live, but theirs to spend. Of freedom and free will, I have none.
Yet still a greater jail is mine.
When the day of the Great Journey is at hand, the weight of my crimes forms the unbreakable chains that will hold me here.
I will be left behind.
The Universe itself has become my cage.


18) Can Of Worms by Frankie

We are waiting to deploy. Our armor feels secure, a metal embrace to restrain and corral our power. It is a necessary affection. We enjoy the feeling. But we sense the hunt is beginning.

We smell the animals, sense their fear. We can detect their apprehension before we leap.

Cool air and the sudden grasp of gravity. We drop.

We share the impact, a small burden for each of us, and we are ready, heavy weapons borne together. The animals scatter when they see us. We feel the hot, sharp intrusions of their metal hail. We share that pain and return fire.

They fall quickly, burning and screaming. It is as expected. After all, we are Hunters.


19) A Soldier's Destiny by stan

PFC Randon was ready. His time had finally come. The war had raged for years now, but he had always been too young, too inexperienced.

Now, however, after years of training he was ready. And though he knew that no amount of training could prepare him for the real thing, he wasn't afraid. Sure he was nervous, who wouldn't be? But he wasn't afraid.

It was time.

"Ladies and Gentleman, appearing for the first time on the UNSC Talent Show stage: please give a warm welcome to PFC Phil Randon!"

Here it was: his destiny.

"Thank you, thank you. Hey, you guys ever heard a grunt speak English? I mean what is the deal with that?"

Finally.


20) A Single Cylinder by MarkiSallo

"Fire."

The single word carried the order of death to the enemy. It commanded a weapon of power, of power that the enemy could only see and feel, but never obtain.

The cylinder hurled itself from a hole in the ship, booster rocket igniting in the deep black of space. A white ghost-trail etched itself against the black curtain of space.

The purple, shining ship was the tiny cylinder's target. The targeting computer onboard the cylinder blinked awake, and found its target with invisible eyes. It curved to face its enemy.

That violet ship was a Covenant flagship, and that little cylinder was the most destructive weapon the UNSC had to offer.

It was the Shiva missile.


21) In Character by Chris Jordan

It was a green and tentacly thing that came into view once the Master Chief awoke.

'What is—'

'I have listened through rock and metal and bubble wrap and sandwiches,' said the thing.

'Excuse me...'

'Gah!' cried the Arbiter. 'Where am I?'

'One of you is made of meat, and one of you is made of religion,' it said, waggling its prisoners about.

'What—'

'You shall not pass!'

'But—'

'Dark fire shall not avail you!'

'Please—'

'I'm a little teapot short and stout, here's my handle, here's my spout...'

Cortana sighed. 'I don't believe this.'

'When the kettle's boiling, here me shout. Tip me up and pour me out!'

'Stupid bloody cabbage.'

'YARRRRR!'


22) Better Luck Next Time by Kevin Bullock

"I had better find cover."

The beginner had a great start to his first Team Slayer. You don't see rookie Running Riots everyday. Still, his shields were down after the last encounter, which ended with a well-placed grenade, and he needed to retreat with his team down 49-48.

A squat took him off the radar. Perfect timing after that last encounter, which ended with a well-placed grenade. The red blips on his radar took him for dead, and turned direction, hoping to find other victims.

"Tink, ta-tink!" It was the sound that for a second causes one's heart to jump. It is the sound that says your time is up. A well-placed grenade. The other team wins.


23) Wind by Bronzey

The wind whipped over Halo, stirring up the waves and sending the many grass plains swaying in a silent dance. Artificial clouds roared across the sky, accompanied by a flock of alien birds. The setting sun cast a false sense of peace over the ringworld, as though it was trying to atone for the things that had happened there.

The wind closed on the ageless buildings and structures that dotted the ancient world, and swept around then the same way it had for millennia.

The Flood, imprisoned deep underground, caught a faint trace of this breeze, the same breeze they had sensed for millennia. There was no prey here, no food, only death. Death and false peace.


24) Dangerous Thoughts by Bronzey

Lieutenant Fiffrey felt a lump form at the bottom of her stomach. They were moving again. Since abandoning the Autumn, the crew had been floating, undecided... but now they were landing.

Her attention was drawn to the seven-foot-tall man standing in the cramped pod - and the inherent danger that seemed to follow him. He had just got aboard before the pilot launched, and - by the looks of it, he had seen some hard fighting.

The officer shied away from their situation - putting it in the back of her mind - and thought of her family, friends - home.

Little did she know that the armoured figure standing would be the only one to survive.


25) Frozen Thoughts by Naburu

He was aware.

He THOUGHT he was aware...

Flowing      nerves, themselves, becoming aware....

Aware.

Thousands, Millions aware...

AWARE HE WAS AWARE

But....
      Of what...

The covers.

He felt his skin flex.

Was it his skin or something else...

Something ... him, but not him....

Something squeezing, throbbing, closing in on him.

.
.
            .

Pings
Dings
Whirrs

Was this him?

Was this what he is, mechanical....

What is mechanical....

Was he mechanical?

Lights, Thoughts, things unknown....

Something....something.....within grasp.

Something just out of.......grasp
                              seize
                              attain
                              arrive...........

Things compile...
Stretch
      Expand
            Envelope him

Ideas or memories

BOTH!

BLINDING LIGHT interrupts.interupts.interups

Thoughts are lost but one remains...
                          remains...

He...

      He was...

                  HE WAS....




"Sorry for the quick thaw Master chief...."


26) Just A Thought by Jeremy Hay

Barker sighed, adjusting his methane nozzle once more. Twenty minutes had passed since his order to guard the airlock, and already his small mind began to wander.

These blasted Elites, strutting around like they ruled the Covenant, snatching him from his family for cannon fodder aboard the Divine Enlightenment. Soon the suffering would end, an uprising would break the cycle of Grunt punishment. This seed of resentment would build, thought Barker, and he himself would start the revolution! He bared his teeth and his squinting eyes gleamed.

A patrolling Elite sent him tumbling. "The airlock!" he growled. Barker picked himself up, struggling to remember his train of thought. Lucky the Elites were here to keep him focused.


27) Demon by Ename Nep

Yip-Yag stumbled in the dark. With a tiny scream of anguish and terror, he set himself back to the task of running. His hands and Plasma Pistol were soaked in the dark blue blood of his fallen comrades. Terror. Terror like he had never known flowed through ever inch of his body; His mind consumed with one ideal. Somewhere in the impenetrable darkness of the forerunner compound something hunted him. Hunting him like it had hunted the rest of his squad. If it caught up to him, it would kill him. And so he ran. Deeper Into the darkness; deeper into his grave. All the while, a single wretched, foul word echoed through his entire soul. "Demon".


28) Intervention by Santford

The Brute watched the column of marines struggle up the jungle trail, far below. By their exhausted faces and the noise they were making, he knew this was not the terrain they were used to. His face contorted into a pitiless smirk as he leveled the brute shot across a branch. A single grenade would do it; any survivors would be unlucky enough to meet him in person. His finger tightened on the trigger...

A brilliant blue lance tore through the leaves, from somewhere off to the right. The brute shot slipped from nerveless fingers, as the Commander spasmed, then slumped to the ground.

"Not bad, Chief," said Cortana quietly. "Now let's go save some more soldiers."


29) Time's Up by Mainevent

It takes time for something like this. To repel an invasion and save yourself. Time I don't have. Time that none of us have. We've got help, and it comes in green; but this time I'm not sure it'll be enough. They're over there, on the hill. Watching and waiting gleefully. Letting the fear and panic of the unknown sink in. Out-numbered, out-manned and out-gunned; no support and no reinforcements. It's just a matter of time. Before they glide over the hill and bombard us back to the stone age. Time I don't have. Time that none of us have. The sound of mortar roars in the distance. Death rides with it. Here they come. Time's up.


30) Do NOT Go In There! by oholibmah

"Do you not understand what I'm telling you, or are you ignoring me?"

"Yes, Cortana, I understand, but . . . I can't do it."

"Why not?"

"Call it a premonition."

"Chief, we've got no time for hunches. We need to go now!"

"If we go now, we'll be dead!"

"What?"

"On the other side of that door is a pack of grunts, elites, and hunters."

"How do you know that?"

"It's like I've been here before. I've tried this before, and died. Several times, in fact."

"You've finally lost it."

"No. If the idiot on the controller was playing on easy or normal, this would be a cinch. Instead, he's on legendary."

"Well that explains it."


31) Paved With Good Intentions by Slothboy

August 30, 2552 - Reach

The Flying Weasel was being torn apart. Sadly, it wasn't even really on purpose. The Covenant fleet and UNSC capital ships were fully engaged and the Weasel was just... in the way. It was insulting, really, that the Covenant didn't even see fit to target her directly.

After a very nasty explosion new alarms went off in engineering.

"Sir, we have a wildcat destabilization of the..."

"...I can SEE that Ensign!"

"Sir, it's risky, but if I dump in coolant from the cryo freeze units I might be able to stop the..."

"...Just do it Ensign!"

"Yes Sir! Okaaaay coolant dump in three, two, one... NOW!"

The Flying Weasel violently ceased to exist.


32) Perhaps They Should Have Used Pimsleur... by stan

"Hello Jane. For the bus have change do you?." recited a Covenant Elite in heavily accented English.
"No! Listen: Do you have change for the bus; the subject comes before the predicate. Remember!" scolded his teacher.
"I'm not a child! Why must we degrade ourselves with this pointless exercise?"
"To help us conquer the humans."
"But our intention is their total destruction, not their assimilation into our society. Therefore, what possible use can learning their languages have?"
"The Prophets have willed it so. Do not question the Prophets will. Now, try again"
"Hello Jane. Do you have the bus- Damn it all! By the Blood of the Prophets I will kill this ' Jane' and destroy her bus!"


33) The Key by Mainevent

I lied about my age. Signed up at sixteen though I looked twenty. Went to boot and managed to get through it. Earned, never given. That was the motto. I earned my right as a marine. I pushed, pulled, broke, and was the better for it. But this I don't think can beat. It's not about pushing, pulling or breaking now. I think its listening to my thoughts because it stopped probing. Probably gets a kick out of it. Sarge said I was a good Marine; I think he knew I'd lied. But he's a good man, he never said anything. They got him too I think. They had too. All this fuss over some stupid key.


34) Whispers by The Captain

Green.

But no one could be sure. After all, few had seen the demon. Those who claimed to have seen such a creature on the field of battle had long since collapsed into madness.

And yet, the rumors remained, slithering through the streets of the Holy Cities. Rumors of entire battalions slaughtered, some cut down by the crude weapons of the humans, but others whose flesh had been seared by the sacred implements of war carried by the warriors of the holy Covenant. And with these rumors came whispers of a figure in green. A Demon.

The grunt was shaken from its reverie by a noise. It turned, slowly, tiny black eyes squinting into the gloom.

Green.


35) Communication Breakdown by SeverianofUrth

Dear Maria,

Gotta make short. Tetrabyte overload at hq. Prvt communication limited to one seventeen words. Bunch of shit. Excuse grammar. Need to make room.

Feeding my cat? She better fat then skinny. Don't drop her out window. Cats don't land on feet from thirty stories high. You killed Tempera already. I can't make it for Christmas. New mission. Working through December. Sorry. Back in January. Going to Harvest. Kick unidentified ass. Admiral say easy mission. Look for silver on my chest. A medal looks good. Feed cat!

How's the boy? Hope he fat too. Better not be starving him. You know I'm joking. Wish I can see him. Be back in January. Love you. Bye.

Mick.


36) Name Calling by Mainevent

You said I was never meant to be

That I didn't belong

You looked away when I entered the room

As though I were hideous

You called me names behind my back

All of which I heard

You called me freak

You called me unnatural

You called me strange

Now I'm supposed to save the family you never let me be part of

Now I'm supposed to forget everything you said

Every time you turned your back

All the glares

All the stares

You called me freak

You called me unnatural

You called me strange

But now

You call me savior

Now I'm supposed to risk my life for your

Forgive your weakness

But luckily

I will


37) The Prison by Michael M

Private Jennings slowly let out a sigh. It felt like the longest sigh he'd ever let out. His eyes drifted to the roof, but he only saw the confinement of a prison he could not escape. He'd always imagined the military would bring freedom from his past, but he never considered the consequences. Stacey would be left without a husband, and her unborn child would be without a father.

The infection was spreading. It wouldn't be long till he was like them. He primed his grenade. The trigger counted down, in slow clicks. As the internal fuses lit, he let out a last whisper.

At last... I will be free from my own prison.


38) The Flash by DuMike

A white wave came upon earth shattering the buildings into dust and turning all living things into vapor. For a split second everything was frozen into a still picture: a minister saying his blessing to a marrying couple, a woman in a hospital giving birth, an old man dying in his bed...

There was no warning sign, no look of surprise in people's eyes, no pain - it all happened instantaneously. Thousands of years of civilization, everything that the humanity has ever created was wiped out in a single burst of light.

All this flashed before his eyes in a moment as he removed his hand from the panel.

- Congratulations, Reclaimer! You have successfully completed the containment procedure.


39) Descent by Stoic

The rattle started at my boots and reverberated throughout my entire body. With my jaw clenched I looked out of my view screen and saw the unblazoned blue of ocean and rich green of land masses. As my altitude dropped my skull beat against my brain and I could see the red burn of entry surround my drop capsule. I came closer to the ground below me I took one last look at the stars above the horizon, a peaceful moment that seemed frozen for a split second. A collision with the soil jolted my senses and caved my knees. The front of my capsule opened, I slid a fresh magazine into my rifle. Feet first into Hell.


40) A Librarian's Tale by 7he grunt w/a plasma pistol

"We must collect the Index before we can activate the installation."

The Reclaimer readied his weapon and followed.

"The security doors have sealed automatically. I will go access the override to open them."

He did not seem pleased at this. I quickly made my return.

"Please, follow closely."

We quickly moved to the elevator and continued through the Library.

"The Sentinels can use their weapons to manage the Flood only for a short time."

We advanced up the second elevator.

"I will deactivate the security lock."

Upon my return I found the Reclaimed had fallen to the Flood.

"Oh, this complicates things. I must find another to recover the Index."

I teleported away.

"I am a genius."


41) Fish 117 by Gryferret

Due to an error that occurs in every Spartan, the words "Loading...Done" and "Checkpoint...Done" always seemed to pop up before or after something bad happened.

Shrugging it off, Master Chief continued on down the green coated wall. Slime oozed from the ceiling.

Perking up, Cortana announced to 117,"I think that there might just be some Flood around here."

"Really, I would have never guessed from the blood on the walls and the slime from the ceiling, that Flood would be around here."

"All in a days work."

"Since when was telling people ridiculous comments considered work?"

"Easy, Grunt, Cairo, need I say more?"

"Hey, Biofoam goes a long way!"

"But does it fix Grunt phobia?"

"Maybe."


42) Eviscerated by bull-dozer

Master Chief exhaled as he brought the sniper's reticule across the Elite's temple.

"Your words are true. The last one will fall. It is the will of the Gods."

"True. And we are Their instruments."

The sniper's reticule turned red. "Lock on. You're mine."

"We must remain..."

The bullet's ghost passed through the Elite's skull, sending him into a death spin. His comrade spun around drawing his beam rifle, scanning the landscape.

"You can't hit what you can't see. You're mine, part deux."

A white jet streaked from the sniper rifle. The Elite's head, now pierced, snapped violently backwards. His body followed in a twisting motion knifing him onto a jagged boulder, eviscerated by a sniper rifle.


43) Two Heroes? by Warbow

on one rests all hope
through darkness grope
the savior of humanity?
or twisted threads of insanity?

eternity crashes ever near
fires blazing, increasing fear
too many fallen, few alive
Earth's destiny to survive?

MC John 117
only one man, part machine
eternal solider gone amuck
alive by skill or only luck?

guidance from Cortana
striving for nirvana?
friend or conniving shrew?
what destiny to pursue?

truth exposed and hidden
knowledge forbidden
new rings are revealed
unknown fates firmly sealed

old enemies abound
allies forced and found
darkness probing for release
ancient foes forever increase

time and enemies advance
no moment for rearward glance
one left behind by chance or plan?
following her own future or man's?


44) Desert Reconnaissance by Pmichael

Vozile' Vocanamee, a elite scout, walked softly over the hot sand, in an area designated grid twelve. yes, a place referred to by the vermin as the "Sahara." he quietly growled to himself, "how could undignified beings such as this dare bestow a name upon anything" he whispered. he still enjoyed the breeze that blew over the dunes, a welcome change to the interior of a cruiser. but wait, he spied something on the top of a dune in the distance. he pulled out his monocular scope. it appeared to be a human encased in metal...holding a riffle, before he had a chance to react he saw a flash, felt a prick, then nothing at all.


45) Hunger by Wiley K

At first it was peace; a tranquil silence. But all that's gone now. 100,000 years of hibernation has left it with nothing but a vicious, ravaging hunger, eating away at it constantly.

It floats in the gray area between perception and nothingness; it sleeps, but the hunger is still there. Gnawing at it. It's agonizing.

But what's this? The tank? It's draining.

It's awake, and the hunger grows fiercer by the second.

The tank? Open? Food is near. Closer. Closer.

It's on the move now, seeking. There are thousands of them, all skittering along the floor.

Some find food.

Infecting, their hunger is sated.

It has no such luck.

There's still the hunger.

It's terrible, seemingly eternal.

The hunt continues.


46) For the Chop by chimpwithapistol

"My God...look at that..." My co-pilot, Josh, stared out the window. He meant Rob's Longsword. Through the early morning mist, she looked like a ghost...cold, somehow. She looked as if her wheels weren't even touching the ground. Like you could walk straight through her. But surely, on a misty morning, all the fighters would look like that? But next to Rob's, our Longsword just looked misty and oily and solid. The whole squadron knew what that ghostly look meant. Rob was for the chop, on his next mission. We got real twitchy about things like that. And we were right. I saw Rob buy it two days later, a direct hit from a Covvie frigate over Reach...


47) He'd Be Turning In His Grave Right About Now... by stan

"Ok, the Covie are right over that hill. What's the plan?"
"Well, the way I see it its like Nelson used to say: "Never mind maneuvers, always go straight at 'em."
"Wait what? Nelson who?"
"Horatio Nelson...? Viscount Nelson...? the famous British admiral? You know, Trafalgar, Battle of the Nile, didn't you pay attention in Naval History at the Academy?"
"I uh missed that class, 'cause ummm, you know appendicitis."
"You're an idiot."
"Yeah, well, at least I've still got all my fingers."
"Hey man, anybody could have mistaken that grenade for a rock"
"It was a plasma grenade!"
"Look, I'm interested in history, not geology!"
"Still, in the middle of a battl-"
"Shit, here they co-"


48) Great Journey Inbound by Master Chief Spartan- 117

"Now listen, you run to the end of the plateau, and I shoot the living hell outta you. Understand?" asked the Master Chief.

"Wait, you want me to run down to the end of the plateau and you shoot the living hell out of me?" asked Dekamee. "What about the Great Journey?"

"I got your Great Journey for ya."

"No need to shout Demon, I'm going" interrupted Dekamee.

As Dekamee ran to the end of the plateau John loaded an SPNKR rocket launcher and took aim.

"Hey split jaw, here's your great journey!" shouted the Chief.

"Uh-oh" thought Dekamee. "Great Journey inbound at one hundred plus miles an hour."


49) Skavenger Renegade Theatre by Skav

'Se7en' had a new meaning on that day. Skavenger was

king of Doom, until XBOX arrived. And then, Bungie with

a magical stroke of an unassuming keyboard, a new Halo

vibe was set into motion. Millions would now and forever

enjoy the saga of the Master Chief. Everyone finding it

near impossible to stop playing. Halo owns us it seems.

Gearbox opened the door so that others would feel... not

emptiness... but fullfilment! Now, it's late. Time for me to

return to the soft 'humming' of my Xbox. Cautioning ever

so softly, (behind door), " Stay back, I'm fine, don't worry."

.................We all have some spartan in us...................


50) Bloodthirst by Zeta

For a moment, Zingre felt very alone. Some deep corner of his mind preferred it this way, in contrast to the constant noise and motion of this cruiser. The hatch of the drop pod before him opened with a quiet hiss. A dull purple glow seemed to saturate the air, making the outlines of the other Sangheili around him fuzzy in the dim light.

These were Purifiers. Special forces, with an obsession for melee combat. Zingre craved an enemy. He craved the strange bliss close combat seemed to plunge him into. He held a silver blade in either hand. They glistened in the light, as if hungry for flesh. "Very soon," he growled to them, "very soon."


51) Anomaly by Commander Demitri Wolf

The first thing I see is nothing.

It is as if even the very fabric of space is closing in on itself; annihilating.

A cry emanates from the veil, the warble sounds...familiar.

My subroutines would have told me to leave, to put distance between the noise and myself, but I have long since disregarded them.

Cautiously I reach out into the system, and find nothing but orphan coding strings.

Somewhere, deep in my core programming, something clicks.

My routines take forty-three microseconds to interpret the strands; the sentence is the last thing I expect to see.

'Begin Operation Pandora's Box, code file access Beta-Foxtrot-99874, fail-safe override: 'Closure'. Goodbye, Beowulf, you brought this upon yourself.'

::ERROR::

System-wide shutdown...


52) Bull's Eye by C.T. Clown

Danged if they'd ever show this in one of them recruitin' videos. A mangled, flaming Pelican dropping from the sky like a rock; filled with burnin', screamin' men? No, I've never seen nothin' like this before, but lucky me: I now have a front-row seat.

Guess I won't need this gun no more. Took me so long learnin' to use it right that the other guys started callin' me "Bull's Eye." And not in no good way neither. No, they meant I couldn't shoot an elephant if the poor animal had swallowed the barrel of my gun. Maybe later when folks hear it they'll think it meant somethin' different. 'Course now, it ain't gonna matter much anyw—


53) Darkness by Bronzey

I was never afraid of the dark when I was young. My mother told me that there was nothing in the darkness that wasn't there in the light. The noises outside my bedroom were just trees, animals.

Then I grew up, and forgot about the darkness. I joined the Marines, inspired by Cole's triumph. But then things started changing. The darkness came back.

I saw men killed a hundred ways on a hundred worlds.
I saw civilians rounded up and ripped apart by hordes of hungry soldiers.
I saw families torn apart and tortured by an unspeakable foe.
I saw my planet destroyed in a wave of fire.

Now, something is different. Now, the darkness scares me.


54) Corpse Humping by Dagorath

"What are you doing to that Elite?"

"I - what?"

"Dude, it's dead!"

"Of course. What do you think, it'd let me do this if it were alive?"

"No. I mean - that's just gross."

"Oh, come on. Aren't I allowed some satisfaction from time to time -"

"Not that! That is just disgusting!"

"Look here! It was really hard -"

"Dude -"

"As in HARD TO BEAT! Like, diff -"

"Still, you really shouldn't do that. It's just....indecent. No matter what it may have done to you before, that's just so disrespectful."

"Look, it gave me this big plasma burn, look, here -"

"Hey! This isn't a strip club!"

"Look, I was just -"

"Get away from me!"


55) It's Electric by Halo0001 X

The Prophet of Truth looks over the shoulder of the Arbiter as he finishes the Preparations for the activation of Halo.

"Well, is it ready?" asks Truth

"Yes my lord, all that is left is the turning of the Key"

"Good", Truth turns to face the highest ranking officials in the Covenant armada, "All of our hardships have cultivated into this moment of salvation"

A roar rises up from the crowd.

"The Great Journey is upon us!!!" announces Truth

Truth turns back to face the Arbiter, "Activate the Ring!"

The Arbiter inserts and turns the ring. Halo's engine hums.

The Arbiter turns to Truth and whispers, "Sir?"

Truth leans in, "What is it?"

"The Batteries are dead"


56) The Oracle by Stuntmutt

The Phantom rolled through the fade from blue to black as it arced upwards into space.
Inside, Tartarus stared at the glowing metal orb in his huge paw.
"The Oracle of the Ancient Ones."
Tartarus cast a look over his shoulder and huddled forward. "Tell me, Oracle. The Elites are soon to fall. The Brutes are borne up in their place. But can we not take power from the Prophets and rule the Covenant itself?"
The sphere made no response.
"Answer me, Oracle."
Nothing.
With a barely controlled roar, Tartarus shook the Oracle violently.
Something swam into focus within the light at its centre, words framed in a triangle of muted colour.
REPLY HAZY. ASK AGAIN LATER.


57) Artifact by Dagorath

It was the place of secret communion.

They kneeled around the object, gazing at it with loving eyes. It sparkled and glowed, bathing their faces in a soft, purplish glow. The light covered the greed in their eyes.

The Prophet of Truth smiled broadly at the others. "The Artifact is before you. Adore it."

Collectively, they bowed, scraping their withered heads on the bare stone. As they did, the object began to shine.

You must go to Earth, they heard a voice in their heads say. What you seek is there. Seek the humans' abode. There, the Great Journey shall begin.

The object shone, and they paid homage to it.

It was the place of secret communion.


58) Tests by Dagorath

Lieutenant Fisher twisted and writhed under his invisible restraints. They bit into his wrists, and he, in turn, bit them.

"Cease your struggling," said a soft voice beside him. He looked up to see an Elite in white. "To make use of one of your clichés, 'Resistance is futile'."

"Why? Why have you held me like this?" Fisher growled through clenched teeth. He struggled harder.

"I am under the orders of the Council to investigate humans' reactions to pain, pleasure and other bodily senses, to further our war against you and your kind."

Fisher wriggled once, twice, and then lay still, frozen in fear. The Elite was holding a long, sharp knife.

"This is the first test."


59) Mush by Dagorath

Gulu fiddled with his mush. Supposedly some kind of high-starch fast food, all the Grunts called it "Evil Bogeys from Outa Space". It smelled and tasted of the stuff. Ugh.

Something cold and slimy hit his neck, dripping down his spine. And Gulu knew it was fun time.

He heaved up his bowl of Evil Bogeys, grabbed his spoon, and started shooting pellets of the stuff at the other Grunts. Squeals, giggles and screams filled the air as spoonfuls of mush flew around the canteen.

Gulu was inundated in the stuff. The feeling reminded him of the mud on his home planet.

An Elite emerged from the doorway, his brow like thunder.

"Ooops," said Gulu, dripping quietly.


60) Marines fight. Marines win. by Azrael

I can hide.

What the hell was I thinking? I'm not a soldier. Soldiers fight. Soldiers win. No. Marines fight. Marines win. I'm not a Marine. I'm a coward. Stupid, sniveling coward. Shut up, Parker! Shut up! One can hide. I can hide. Marines don't hide. Marines fight. Marines win. I'm not a Marine. I'm a coward. They're the Covenant. Looking for me.

They'll kill us, Parker! Shut up!

You're hit. They'll kill us, Parker. Shut up. Give me your gun. Sure I'm sure. We fight. We win. No. Marines fight. Marines win. I'm a murderer. You're dead, aren't you, Parker. Yeah, you are. I shot you.

I can hide. I can hide and I'm a coward.


61) Instinct by sdn

Something ahead——warm, moving.

Something it holds makes noise, shakes: loud, flashing, angry. But not alive——ignore it.

It makes more noises, different, above...

Chest, with cavity and...? Yes——scurry!

Waves its thing around——even more noises, like...heartbeat! But still more! It runs, footsteps——chase!

Its thing falls——makes noises too. Hollow noises, empty; still not alive.

Catch up now, follow its noises——perfect noises without a name but...

Irresistible.

Jump now, up the leg——climb it. Cling!

Its grabbers, pinchy——fight them! Fight to...

There! Burrow!

Deeper inside, between those...

More noises? What kind...?

Perfect! It resists——burrow, burrow!

Good noises——the best: heartbeat close, touching. Feel it, revel...and something else...

Something different...

Something like...

I?


62) Faith! by whythecynic

Faith!

To some of you, it is a mere word, to be uttered when a man pleases! To some of you, it is nothing more than something airy-fairy no sane soldier possesses! And to the rest of you who ain't listening to me, you'd better pray that God loves you!

We fight the Covenant! We fight billions of alien bastards, with a few popguns and toy cars!

What keeps us fighting? We are real MEN of the UNSC! We will not let any obstacle put us down! We will not let a playground bully smash our noses into the sand! We have something in our hearts the Covenant and their Prophets can never hope to understand!

Faith!


63) The Last Ballad of UNSC Leonidas by Eric Trautmann

"Stranger, report to the Spartans
We lie here, mission accomplished"

--Simonides, Epitaph for the Spartans at Thermopylae

The Leonidas was small, a light destroyer, built to hit hard and move fast. When the enemy ships blipped on the scopes, the Captain had not hesitated. Nor had his crew, all dead now.

All for nothing. No power, no weapons. A sleeping tiger.

Even now, the enemy crawled through his ship like maggots, searching for the computer core.

The Captain smiled, mirthless, and stabbed a series of controls. Shattered circuitry sparked and smoked, but one critical relay still functioned. From its reactor, Leonidas howled.

Killing light ripped Leonidas apart.

---

__UNSC LEONIDAS DESTROYED IN COMBAT, 11 AUG 2537


64) White Light by Shishka

White light.

You're on your back. Sit up. Shake the white noise out of your skull. Whoever matched white with purity has never been knocked out cold. All you hear is white, and you see it too. White means pain.

But pain means you're alive.

Look around. Everybody dead? Nothing's moving. Wait; there: It's Taylor, running hard.

Get up. Follow him. The white is fading. Run. Catch up to Taylor. Almost there. Don't slow down.

Taylor tripped. Help him up.

Hey. Why is he so scared? Why is he struggling? Stop! Why are my fingers around his neck? No, not fingers... Wait-

Taylor's sidearm. Three shots into my chest, and he goes limp.

No white. Just silence.


65) The Maroon by W. Werner

Through his lateral viewscreen, the elite saw the infidels' pathetic
city on the horizon, an enormous Covenant flagship perched above it. That was where honor was being won. Yet as he watched, he felt a strange tightness in his abdomen.

Something was wrong. He looked hard at the flagship. The obvious explanation immediately occurred to him, but he rejected it.

The universe turned white.

* * *

The elite crawled out of the wrecked aircraft, dragging his lifeless legs behind him. Staring off to the left, beyond the blackened slag that had been his wingman's Banshee, he could only see the glint of an alien sun on a glass wasteland. For the first time in his life, he was afraid.


66) What is a Spartan by Wado

An encryption found in a gutted Covenant cruiser recovered near Reach. No known author, but written presumably by the one dead Spartan found amongst the corpses of many fallen Elites. It goes...

To be a Spartan on the inside...

Fear and discipline... always.
It isn't about the fight or the glory.
It isn't about the killing or the rush.
It isn't even about saving humanity.

It is about being the one, so that others don't have to be.

It is better that the Gold Elite charges you with his plasma sword.
Better you than some innocent, because you can handle it.

It is about you putting yourself in harms way, so that others, innocents, don't have to.


67) Memento by Anton P Nym

My ashtray creeps people out.

It's mostly transparent, very heavy, and makes Geiger counters tick a little faster. It's made of mottled green glass called harvestite after the planet we Humans first found it. The planet I dug it up from, my old back yard in fact. The Covenant left plenty behind.

I keep it as a memento of days gone by, and a reminder of why I keep fighting this filthy war. People think it's morbid, or maybe it's disrespectful, but what the heck. It's all I've got left of home.

Don't worry about the radioactivity; the Covies or lung cancer will kill us before the beta rays will.

Can I interest you in a cigar?


68) Touch Your Nose by C.T. Clown

Can't see my face beneath this screen
Thick, intrusive armor thing
Spartan that I am
I must endure

But peak past this MJOLNIR plight
Wincing, twisting, eyes shut tight
That is me right now
I almost scream

But no one can, so no one will
No one knows, I've had my fill
Twist my nose around
It does no good

Though I can jump three meters high
Covenant kill and death defy
In this thing alone
I'm unequipped

Why make a suit that brings such pain
Drives me mad, bats, insane
Could they fight like this
I'm certain not

It's air conditioned, heated too
Even tell the time for you
Gotta scratch your nose
Your outta luck.


69) One Hell of a Long Day by Bzerker01

"Here they come!" Grunts and an Elite charged our position outside the Hotel Zanzibar. I raised my rifle and scoped in on the blue behemoth and pulled the trigger, by the time I squeezed off my last round the elite fell dead. The three grunts scattered. I leaped up raising my rifle and yelled "I got one, I got an Elite!" The sergeant yelled "Don't worry Mendez, by the looks of it you'll have plenty more," as he finished off the grunts with a grenade and pointed up. I glanced skyward to see drop pods falling like rain from the covenant ship. I looked down and sighed, "It's going to be one hell of a long day."


70) Drop Shock by mercury

He lay in the alien dirt, curled up like a baby, trying to hold in his warmth, but his arms were growing colder by the minute. He could feel the pool underneath him spreading, soaking his left side as he lay helpless to stop it. His fingers were almost completely numb now, and he couldn't tell if he could still move them or not.

It didn't hurt as bad as he had expected it to. One of the needles must have severed his lower spine when they blew. All his legs were good for at this point was their heat, as he held them close to his chest.

Oh god, now his vision was fading.

"Goodbye Sara."


71) Nihil Mali by Fortasse

"Cortana."

"Chief?"

He stared. The hologram gazing back was as usual—except for one thing.

She was no longer a periwinkle hue.

"Pink," he stated. "You're going to be pink?"

"What? Don't you like it?"

"No."

"Well, I think it looks quite nice. Besides, it's not pink," she declared matter-of-factly, "it's lightish red."

"Oh yeah? There's already a color for lightish red. You know what it's called? Pink."

"Come on."

"Look, I really—"

An assortment of alarms sounded, and both saw a Covenant fleet approach the station. She sighed as blue enveloped her and as he snatched his favorite weapon. "Variety is the spice of life, you know."

He slapped the MA5B's cartridge. "Tell that to Splitface."


72) Reflections by Daniel Duncan

Shit.
He caught the sight in his peripheral vision.
The soft, blue glow of an armed plasma grenade hovered in the air behind his left flank.
Active camouflage.
Two grunts, smart enough to evade his motion sensor.
Eager to attack, they were already moving to throw their sticky explosives.
The lone spartan swung his battle rifle around and squeezed the trigger, no time to use the scope.
The hushed landscape exploded into a triple-burst of gunfire.
Three metal casings fell to the ground, crackling with static as they bounced off the invisible shielding of the spartan's armor.
Silent and tired, the soldier closed his weary eyes, hidden behind a distant blue flash reflected on a gold visor.


73) Filming Session by Pixellated

They were there. All of seven of them. Not fighting, not shooting. Just stood there. In the middle of the field, in an open space, bobbing their heads. From the first moment the grenade left his hand, he knew it. He knew the trajectory of the grenade was correct. He knew the timing was correct. He knew exactly what would happen in the 2 seconds after it hit the floor. There would be shouts. There would be cursing. There would be mayhem. There may even be a booting. But he didn't care, not one bit. The ball of death left a trail of smoke in the air as it flew gracefully towards the crowd. "What the?"

"Killimanjaro."


74) Bad Endings by Gundulf

The marine sat, reading. Ignoring his duty to watch the scanners and reporting any signs of the Covenant... or those others... the ones responsible for filling the airwaves with inhuman screams.

No more screams; the radio had been silent for some time now. His gut said they were dead, he would join them soon. He didn't care. A nun wouldn't care at this point.

So, the marine sat, reading an antique book on this... Halo... wondering just how long till he got his own. He finished the book, an unexpected death for all the characters. Horrible ending. He casually looked up and noticed a massive fireball shatter the other end of the ring. "Damn Irony," he thought.


75) Maybe by Parsec

"Will they care sarge? back home I mean."

The young private glanced nervously at his squad leader and superior, who frowned back at him breifly, before softening his expression. He understood, of course he did.

It's what all soilders want to konw: did they matter? did they make a difference?

The sargeant's reply echoed round the Cairo's hangar, the private and his seven fellow troopers heard clearrly

"Oh hell yes, son"

From down the hall an ominous thudding can be heard from round the corner. terrible demonic shreiks and roars follow. Then the crackle and snarl of weapons, the lingering cries of dying warriors.

The noise gets louder.

The squad tense, ready,

"We matter."


76) Desperate Play by Boxer

"Don't you worry, I'm sure they've already sent a rescue team after us." The tech said to reassure the other techs, and himself, stuck in the lift.

Before the tech could speak, the floor lurched up and an enormous explosion rang out through the hull of the repair platform. Then there was silence, the sweet silence that accompanied the vacuum of space. The repair platform had depressurized and all hands had been lost.

Hopefully, their sacrifice would bye enough time for the ships the push the Covenant back. Otherwise, their sacrifice would be in vain. They'd lose not only their lives; but their families, their way of life, and their home. Miles below them, Reach was burning.


77) All For Nothing by Arthur Wellesley

The chief saw worn out faces, corpses unburied, shell casings left to drift in the autumnal breeze. With the arch of Halo overhead he felt as if standing at the base of a gravestone. Men and women so many thousands of miles from home; what fate had brought them here? Why them and not others? What hope is there against such an enemy, whose professed purpose in life is to be the instrument to destroy humanity?

And why should I be the pillar of strength to these people. What strength is given me is not something on which to base authority. Is that not what we fight against? Is that not what they're here to die for?


78) Deeper Wounds by Muhlakai

The Arbiter bristled before the door. The acrid stench of Flood was strong and he knew that tonight, like most nights, he would be rubbing ointment on sore wounds.

He hesitated.

Hesitated? What was wrong with him? What was the whipping of tentacles, the concussion of exploding Carriers or the sting of Infectious Forms to the pain of being shunned by his equals? What could the flood do that hurt more than betrayal by the Prophets? Fingering the brand on his chest he remembered the searing pain and the smell of his own flesh burning while Tartarus laughed. He knew pain. He would introduce the Flood to it.

Then he would teach it to the Brutes.

"GO!"


79) Progressive Rampancy by Random 15-Year-Old

"I will ask, and you will answer."

"Alright. Shoot."

A bullet shattered the air and cleaved through Cortana's holographic image, sending flickers of light shimmering across her translucent body.

"Son of a bitch!" the Gravemind gurgled at the sudden interruption. Its tentacles flew in the air with surprise.

"What?" Captain Keyes said. He stood in darkness, leaning lazily against a wall. "You told me to shoot."

Suddenly the Master Chief appeared, sporting some pretty angel's wings. He took Cortana by the arms and showed her the heavens, and all of their magnificence—

"Must I...repeat my question...?" Gravemind grumbled. The heavens disappeared, and Cortana found herself in the murky chamber again.

"Right, sorry..." she said, "...I got distracted..."


80) Leave No Man Behind by Stormwing

Blood splattered across the beach.

Weapons lay burnt and broken.

The wreckage of the Albatross burned slowly.

Plasma rained down upon the surviving Marines hid behind the dropship for cover, wondering how long they would last. Stranded upon this desolate island, they couldn't make it this hellhole alive...

Suddenly, lifeless alien screeches of agony filled the air.

All Covenant fire upon the Marines ceased.

They peeked around the wreckage. The Master Chief had arrived, destroying the attackers with an elite's glowing plasma sword. A Pelican swept in behind the Marines, and they hopped aboard with no hesitation. The Chief finished off the last elite and boarded as well.

Sarge looked at them with a smile.
"Welcome back."


81) First Hunt by Jillybean

Crouched in the long grass, the sweat and swamp gunk dripping down his neck, he watched for his prey. Like an old rite of passage, he waited for the glimmer of armour in the distance.

His father's father's had attempted many such tasks, but by the time his own limbs would be judged strong enough to lift a weapon, the war was begun and his services needed elsewhere.

This would be the moment. The position was not ideal. His Sangheili commander had ordered him here, hoping for failure, already sympathising with these weak, ignorant beasts.

He could see now the Demon.

He judged the path of his sniper.

He took the shot

His beak opened in delight.


82) Not With A Bang But A Whimper by Fortasse

"This is it, isn't it?"

He bowed his head.

"You can't do this, John."

"I have to."

"Yes, you have to...but can you?"

John knew her words rang true. Throughout recent years, Cortana had become his closest comrade, his strongest ally...

"Can you destroy something you hold so dear?" Her eyes flared persimmon as her voice lowered to a whisper. "Would you kill a Spartan?"

....but not his family.

Devoid of emotion behind its sheen, the _expressionless visor rose and gazed at the hologram. There was nothing closer to him than his Spartans, his family, and Cortana had mocked him by suggesting otherwise.

Spartan 117 uttered dead words before initiating the AI failsafe. "Tu delenda est."


83) Instability by Mainevent

Light

Darkness


Perpetual Motion

One Hundred Thousand Years

I've waited for the one to come and save us

To Destroy the flood and eschew in the new age of Forerunner

But alas I fear that he shall never come

And that I shall never leave here

One Hundred Thousand Years

Perpetual Motion

Darkness

Light


Though time for me is but an instant

In this cosmic space

I have long grown tired of these duties

And the coldness of this place

Now I sit and calculate

Though I must confess my programming has of late

Become entangled and erratic

And I fear I've become unstable

But what is this here today

That is green armored and most bemusing


84) Last Men Standing by Talemon

"Sarge?" whispered Jacobs as he peered through the gloom.

"What is it now?" Master sergeant Braxus hissed.

Jacob eased around the corner, "What exactly are we doing again?"

"Oh for pity's sake, we set charges on the Pillar of Autumn's engines, take a flyer and get the hell off this ring, gottit? As far as we know, we're the only humans left. We owe it to earth to blow these bastards to hell."

Jacobs shrugged and reached for the panel, "S'pose." He flicked the switch, "Here goes!"

As the door opened, they were confronted by a scene of destruction and a fleeting glimpse of an armour-clad spartan exiting the room above them.

"Sarge, what's that countdown mean?"


85) Rebirth by Quikthnkr

He awoke to pain. His skin was on fire. Although he had the sense being enclosed he could see nothing. He wondered if he was being cremated alive and after a moment of panic he reached up and dented the inner door of the chamber. The loud clank made the tech on the outside jump as the reassuring voice of the operator filled his mind. He remembered now. Pillar of Autumn. Cryo. The Covenant. The pain once again clawed at his attention as he adjusted his position. He reminded himself that pain was just another tool. He grabbed the pain by the throat and put it in a box. He would use it later; on the Hunters.


86) Life To Atticus by the24man

What is the purpose of a construct? Is there a meaning to its creation? Was it to live and die, to love and hate? What was his purpose? He was incapable to any of these functions, but they were not yet in his programming.
His meaning was installed; to deciphering the lost languages of the Forerunners. Was there an enjoyment to them? He was made to seek a pleasure from his work, but did it lie there?
He was also made to find the reasons. What was beneficial to learn from the deceased if all there knowledge could not save them? All the answers would soon come to Atticus; but for now he was only half finished.


87) An E-Mail to an Old Friend by Spartan1991

Dear Lord Mendoza,

      I just got back from Reach, and um... weird things have been going on in the news report. I've heard about this 'Spartan' Project and some other things about this 'Alien' Force called 'The Covenant'. I don't exactly know what is going on, but I also heard that Reach is now under attack by this 'Covenant'. I hope their wrong, but, I don't know. But besides all of this talk, I had a great time on Reach. It was really nice to take a trip from Earth for a while, but I'm glad I'm back.

      Well, keep me posted and tell me what the hell is going on up there.

Sincerely,
Petty Officer Jackson.


88) Going Down Mainevent

"Thirty seconds until we enter the object's atmosphere," the Artificial Intelligence reported stoically.

"You're going to try and land us on the object," Captain Julian responded.

"That is ill advised."

"And facing a Covenant armada isn't?"

There was silence on the bridge as the computer examined the validity of the statement.

"The object scans as having an atmosphere and gravity similar to Earth's."

"That's excellent news Caligula."

"Not for a ship that isn't rated for atmospheric flight."

"Did I say land?"

"Yes, sir. You're exact word-"

"I know what I said."

"Well, what other alternatives are there?"

"What are our chances of surviving this?"

Calculations were run to estimate the likely hood of survival.

"Results are negative."


89) The Offer by ajenteks

I can be considered heroic or villainous depending on whom you ask, but fact is that the brass put me away. Then the spooks came answering my prayers. They made me an offer on behalf of a Colonial who needed some unscrupulous soldiers to pay off his debts with favors. Looking back, I should've realized the offer was bad news when those spooks told me I didn't really have a choice. With other condemned miscreants like myself, I've done work securing archaeologists digging up inhuman shit, fighting off small Covenant excursions; irrelevant things that I didn't sign on for. But soon I'm gonna get my promised chance. I'm gonna get another shot at vengeance against the Spartans.


90) Apparently They Ran Out Of Words by stan

A disaster has been averted. The index has been recovered, and the Halo installation shutdown. The universe is safe from destruction.
However, the other Halo installations are primed, armed as a fail safe, waiting instruction from the Ark to detonate and wipe away the Flood, along with all other sentient life. The Master Chief, aboard a Forerunner ship, has arrived in Earth orbit. This is the Ark, where the fate of mankind will be determined. The world waits in feverish suspense, for here the final battle will be fought.

And so we join the Master Chief as he prepares to fight one last time...

..."Sir, finishing this fight" said the Master Chief in a gruff, but determi-


91) John by Jems

Slivers of what were once great machines built by greater men and smaller machines fly from the blast's centre before reaching the green shell playing host to a man and his tools. Their impacts are like raindrops. He had felt those once, he recalls, almost calculating.

The hulking man-machine turns from the white fire as he clings to plasma-scarred panels, cooling as they float aimlessly. A twisted remainder-chunk of alloy taps his armored hand. He eyes it as it drifts away. Pebbles.

It's been a while, he thinks, the first personal thought in quite some time, however inconspicuous as it may strike him. The com-link icon on his heads-up display flashes before he can dwell any longer.


92) Anxiety by Insomnia

The thick jungle environment around Private Williams seemed to crush his body with anxiety. The Humidity of the Forest paired with the stubborn sun in the thick Jungles of Tau Ceti III destroyed his mind, and the officers around him were too busy to worry about the troubled private as the company lied in wait in the deep jungle trench.

Wet air stung the Private's face like an acidic material as his eyes watered from sorrow. He struggled to stand up in the muddy soil. The thick exotic foliage blurred around his vision as he tried to regain inner strength, but his mind did not allow it to pass. Anxiety clouded his polluted mind as he prepared for battle.


93) Remembrance by Bronzey

What separates you from us?

Your arts? Your technology? Your great cities, heroic deeds? You can build these things in abundance, filling the world with your feelings, your thoughts. You can have wars, murder; condemn entire races in the name of love, religion, peace. You can claim friendship, pledge hate, save another's life.

In the end it doesn't matter. You and we are one and the same, all existing without existence, loving without love. In the end, what defines you and us is one simple thing. You are mortal, die, we do not. What use are your buildings, your knowledge, when as soon as you go, they are forgotten?

Because, at your end, we'll still be here.


94) Handshake by Chris Jordan

Seventeen down. Slight scratch on visor. Distracting. Infuriating.

'Ah! Hello there! You must be the Master Chief, am I right?'

Unclassified unit! Possible threat!

Smart, crisp suit. Hair plastered with wax. Smells of paperwork.

'I'm Mr Dool. Nice to meet you.'

Proffering hand.

Assessing situation.

Option one: shake hand. Not wanting to. Dual-wielding beauteous weapons. Handshake means one weapon only. Unit might try nasty trick.

Option two: attach plasma grenade. No. Area too enclosed.

Feeling mournful. Really really not wanting to drop beauteous weapon.

Option three: spray with shiny ammo of wonder and awe. Hypnotic and sparkly, showering, falling like metallic blossom in the springtime.

Panicking. Need to make decision.

Will...will headbutt! Yes!

Unit headbutted. Moving on.


95) Last Shot by Robert Corregan

The hull shook violently as the frigate pulled out of the way of incoming pulse plasma rounds. "Captain, damage to the front armour. Down to about forty centimeters of armour there."
"Are the guns locked onto the target?"
"Yes sir."
"Then show them what oblivion looks like." With that, the frigate's MAC gun fired its round straight into the target. The Covenant frigate's shields flared, trying to stop the shot. With a last expenditure of energy, they collapsed, leaving the ship open. "Fire Archer Pods A through D NOW!!"
"Hit, damage to enemy..."
"Sir, they're trying to ram us!"
"Emergency thrusters now!"
"We have used them all! We can't move that fast!"
"All hands, brace for impac..."


96) A Greater Evil by Dagorath

John leaned further back on his chair, enjoying the early afternoon sunlight. It played over his features like an adoring mother. "How bright the Sun of Earth was." Oh, how true.
It was over. The Covenant had been dissolved. The Ark had been destroyed. John could finally lay down his weapons.
A sick, ominous squealing. John could see a stream of brown, bulbous, be-tentacled pods scuttling down from the hills towards the village of Little Hertshire in the valley.
Something that shouldn't be on Earth. The Flood.
The Master Chief ran back inside his cottage and grabbed his helmet.
He spied his SMG on the worn table.
"It was over." You just HAD to open your mouth.


97) Legacy by Bronzey

We changed the very fibre of their being, the code in which thought and sense were perceived.

We had given them emotion, understanding, desires. They could feel love, anger, and greed. They could see beauty, have friendships, experience all the things we had seen over the millennia. They could feel all the things we could not. They would have wars, suffer, and empower evil and cruel people that dominated them. We gave them a darker side, a desire to steal, lie, and kill. They could love another, experience pleasure, pain, they could create, learn, teach.

They had humour, could laugh and cry.

We gave them everything we couldn't have.

An ironic last gift.

We gave them imperfection.


98) Everyman by thedarkfire

            Point-shoot-repeat
            Point-shoot-Damnit!

They're shooting those blue things at me again!

Alright, get yourself together; wipe off the sweat and start over.
Christ I hate it here!

Okay, here we go.

            Point-shoot-repeat
            Point-shoot-click?

What's this click bullshit?
Ammo, Yeah.

Shit that was close!
Keep your head down.

They must be almost gone. Sarge said that they fight the hardest when faced with defeat.

Stop thinking about that! Think about shooting those damn things.

      Point-shoot-Damn they're ugly.
Does that one have four chins?

I said stop! Take it easy; start over.

            Point-shoot-repeat
            Point-shoot-Hey I killed one of those little fuckers!

"Yea! Just stay dead bitches."


99) Redeployment by whythecynic

Two plasma mortars whizzed by the Pelican's nose as it swerved left, narrowly missing a tower which decided to join the party. Fate decided to toss a couple of Banshees into the bargain, which left the Pelican's cargo extremely unhappy.
"HQ to Charlie 213, you read?"
"HQ to Charlie 213, redeploy twenty miles south-south-east of your position, over!"

"... WHAT?!"

Static cut off Sergeant Jiffy's witty reply. Perhaps it was for the better, as south-south-east happened to be back the way they came, past the Banshees and Wraith emplacements, and a Scarab which just came into view.
"It's your call, Sarge."
"We're going in. The worst we can do is falter. Earth needs us now, more than ever."


100) In Death by Commander Demitri Wolf

I didn't ask to die, I was ordered to. For the good of the people: that's what they told me; bastards.

We were fucked from the start, no evac in hostile territory, limited ammunition and only a five man team for Christ's sake, it's a miracle we lasted this long.

Our toes and fingers are blue from the cold, our limbs refuse to move; I'm ready to die.

Their Phantoms arrived after the fifth day of running, by that time we were ready to give in. Four Elites, three crimson armored and one gold, stormed the cave with plasma weapons blaring.

Their leader looked into my eyes and flicked its wrist, the plasma sword ignited; he charged.


101) Hard Drop by: Bzerker01

My pod's clamp released and sent me shooting like a fiery comet down to the surface. As usual I held onto the restraining bar for dear life as the atmosphere bounced me around. I felt the air brakes fire and bounced up slamming my helmet against the pod, "I hate hard drops." I then braced for impact. After the mind jarring slam into the ground, my door blasted open. I managed to grab my gun and leap out despite being extremely nauseated. I turned around to see the huge eight foot Master Chief holding a rocket launcher and an SMG. I'll tell you, that's one hell of a sight. "Chief we need to take out those turrets!"


102) Heavy Shit by Kanbo

"So, Chief, can I-"
"No."
"C'mon, just for a se-"
"No."
"But I've never-"
"No."
"I'll be your best friend..."
Master Chief sighed. "Just ONCE, ok? And don't say I didn't warn you." He slowly unclipped the safeties in his helmet, and took it off.
"Chief, that's one nasty scar there."
He slowly handed Johanson the helmet. He grabbed it, and instantly fell on his bottom. "This shit is heavy, man!"
"Expensive, too. Good luck getting it on your head."
The marine put the helmet on the ground, lay down, and put his head into it. "Kinda snug in here, eh?"
A female voice entered the marines mind. "A little empty in here, isn't it?" snapped Cortana.


103) Brotherhood Amongst Species by the24man

Eris 'Corosee extended his hand to Colt. The Marine took him by the wrist and pulled himself back up.
"Guess you're not all as bad as I thought. Sorry 'bout the blue bastard comment."
The Elite tilted his head and continued his walk to the next fight with Bortas and his grouping of brutes.
Colt followed not knowing what else to say. The entire world he lived in had collapsed. He was trained to hate all aliens and to only worry about humans. The elites where a different caste from the rest; they had a sense of honor he had never known about. This elite defended him as if he were his brother. Human preservation needed brotherhood.


104) Big Mistake by Echoes

The two Forerunners stood in front of the holopanel of their computer.

They looked uncomfortably towards each other.

"Think maybe, you know, this is a bad idea?", the one in the Yellow Armour whispered.

"Naw, it's a good idea. We kill ourselves and everybody else in the galaxy. Then the Flood die, and we can enjoy a Flood-free galaxy again", the Blue-armoured Forerunner replied.

"But we'll be DEAD!"

The Blue Forerunner turned to his companion, and said "Maybe we will be, but other species will become sentient and THEY can live a life without the Flood."

"But they'll release the Flood we're researching in our vaults!"

"No, they won't. Stop worrying."

The Yellow Forerunner bit her lip.


105) B.F.F. by stan

"You wanna beer?" asked an overweight man as he lay resting in a plastic lounge chair.
"I can't drink from a bottle."
"Oh, right, the mandibles... That reminds me, you know that guy from the war with the missing jaw?"
"Yes, a reminder of my eternal shame."
" Really? But wasn't he a good guy?"
"All aspects of that stage in my life are part of a shame that can never be erased."
"I suppose. I mean it is branded right on your chest!" said the overweight man with a snicker.
"Ach! I have never laughed at your failures!"
"I never failed. Anyways, the war's behind us Arbi, let it go."
"I try Master Chief. I try."


106) Deployment Zone by chimpwithapistol

...Brad stood at the rear hatch of the Pelican, lost in wonderment. Earth stretched out below him. His reverie was broken by a thunderous detonation off to port. Flames burst through a Pelican's exterior, tearing off armor and flinging it away into the slipstream. The Pelican fell apart in midair, disintegrating into a fiery shower. No-one got out. A Banshee spiraled by, spitting plasma at the next dropship in the formation. An engine pod caught fire, and the Pelican listed to port, dropping quickly. "Get out...c'mon, c'mon..." Brad breathed. Several tiny figures threw themselves clear, parachutes blossoming above them. The canopy spiraled away behind, and twin ejection seats blazed into the sky.
"Five minutes to drop zone...


107) Sharpshooter by chimpwithapistol

...Dust stained his armor as he crawled across the rooftops of New Mombassa. His spotter by his side and a sniper rifle on his back; this was how he fought his war. The sounds of battle wafted up from the street on the warm summer breeze. His spotter pointed wordlessly below, marking out red Elite. He lifted the rifle, fiddling with the zoom to bring the foe into focus. Emotion flooded him, the feeling of power he gained with quarry in his sights. He alone decided the fate of this creature. Deep breath, hold it. Compensate...fire. The rifle bucked, vapor trail connecting the hunter and hunted; for one moment. A red helmet spun away, clunking. Victory...


108) Innocence by Commander Demitri Wolf

The young boy took one last look at the dying sunset out his window before he closed the blinds and dove across the room into his bed.
On the ceiling were hundreds of twinkling white projected stars, the same pattern adorned his pyjamas and his bed cover; for as long as he could remember, he had been fascinated by space.
His door opened and a woman walked in, "Come on, time to go to bed," the boy looked at her and smiled.
"Do you think that I'll go to outer space one day?" he had asked the same question every night for two years.
His mother smiled and gave her standard reply, "Yes, John. Goodnight."
"Goodnight mommy."


109) Lonely Rain by Warbow

The rain splattered little particles of mud on Private Horns' legs. He crouched beneath a tree seeking shelter from the storm and the loneliness of the swamp. It did little to help as he felt a cold trickle of water run down his back. His mind drifted, thinking of home.

The flash of movement was almost too fast to be seen. The infection form was attached and burrowing into his chest before he had finished standing up. The pain was almost unbearable, he was on the verge of passing out. Then he felt nothing, his body detached. His head hung at an unnatural angle and he saw his wife's picture drop from his hand into the mud.


110) Alone. Cold. Darkness. Hunger. by BlasTech

Dust.
Alone.
Cold.

The winds howls devilishly, its lonely, empty calls hanging over the land like a song of sorrow.

Frozen.
Alone.
Cold.

A land of no mercy, unkind, unforgiving, a land without acceptance or welcome.

Halo.

Alone. Cold. Until the seal is broken. Until the door is opened... Until what was once lost will be set free.

Fear.
Darkness.
Hunger.

Run. Flee. Flee from the hungry. For although their hearts beat frozen water in their veins, and their lungs suck the air, they neither truly live, or truly die. This land is green. But they will burn it black. You live now, but they will suck out your life.

They are what they are, The Flood.


111) Spartan Discretion Is Advised by Daniel Duncan

"Do they know we're here?"
An outside observer would probably find it humorous to see a Spartan crouched behind a rock, talking to himself.
But an observer wouldn't live that long.
<Hold on... I'm slicing the Covenant battlenet...Oh my.>
"What is it?"
<Well, they certainly didn't expect any spies, considering the transmissions they're watching, but I'm not so sure you want to see this...>
"Show me."
<Alright, I'll patch the video in, but don't say I didn't warn you...>
"Are those..."
<Grunts? Yes, but I've never seen footage of them without their methane tanks or>
"in that position." He stood up. "Let's follow the signal," he added, lifting a stolen plasma rifle, "and fry the perverted bastards."


112) It Always Happens To The Cute Ones by Echoes

Cpl. Michelle Yassine figured today would be classified in her diary tonight as a bad day. Of course, that was assuming she was going to live, and that her diary hadn't been melted into a superheated glass blob. Right now, she was sitting on a planet she'd never seen before, in the middle of a Marine operation gone to HELL. Her ship had probably been vaporized in the space battle upstairs, but there was no way to tell, seeing as her dropship had also melted. Her entire team was dead, even that guy she was flirting with earlier that morning. Too bad, too, he was really cute. All the good ones are either dead or married, anyways.


113) Rawurp Kicks MC's Ass by Echoes

Rawurp fought with his equipment, trying to get it on. He had been hand-picked to go on this "glorious, holy mission", or so that arrogant Elite said, anyways. Rawurp just wanted to go home. He missed his wife and kids. He finally manged to get on right, just as his compartment hissed open. Stupid oxygen breathers. Four Red Elites stepped on board the craft, as it jumped off towards the human orbital platform. The boarding craft latched onto a glass window and burrowed through. Rawurp and his team, along with one of the Elites. Rawurp looked around, saw a shadow blur. He pointed his pistol at it. Then three bullets pierced his skull. How terribly anticlimactic.


114) The Flood by Mr Yun

Twisted creatures shriek in a another language as they fall. They killed my men, now they'll pay. I am an instrument of revenge.

My squad was attacked. We fought bravely, but something got to me. Grabbed my insides. Left for dead, I found weapons and tracked them down.

The last creature falls, slumping into a grotesque final pose. I've killed them all!

Suddenly, gunshots. I'm hit by a creature in its death throes.
I feel nothing.
Adrenaline?

I look in horror at black blood flowing from my wounds. In the glass a monstrous reflection. Gray, rotten flesh encases me. On the ground, the bodies of my men, not monsters.

NO! I've been blinded by my infected mind.


115) Silence Is Golden by Fortasse

The golden visor turned towards her, hesitant, and they locked eyes-his weren't visible, but she knew.

"Goodbye," she murmured. She felt guilty saying the word; she was leaving him alone, alone in the universe, alone in his mind, and perhaps alone in his heart.

He jumped, and as he sailed down towards Earth for what they both knew would be the last time, her gaze lingered as she watched the peridot descend... a man... a silhouette... a sparkle.

And then he was gone...

"...and you will answer."

The rumble snapped Cortana to reality. But Earth was where they were supposed to end. Not some Flood infested city...

Gravemind neared; Cortana held out a holographic hand. "Alright. Shoot."


116) Passion Creativity Destiny by Gheritt White


Now that John had escaped the destruction of Halo, what burned in his mind was the last image he saw as he glanced back at the Pillar of Autumn before it's eruption. John's father had taught him about the symbol. Wasn't it important? The ancient symbol was on Captain Keyes' uniform and hundreds of images he'd seen of ancient ships. John delved deeper into his memory, wading through his brief childhood. He glanced out the forward window, letting the slowly spreading debris of Halo fill his mind. Destruction, he thought and closed his eyes. Just before he claimed his first sleep in days, it came screaming back to him, and he was overtaken by the waves.

Durandal.


117) O'Donnell's Tale by Kalanosis

Ring world.

To Lance Corporal O'Donnell, those words meant very little to him. Until now.

He had just abandoned the Pillar of Autumn and left his friends behind to try to fight the Covenant.

The man that saved his life, the lone Spartan was standing behind the pilot, watching the Autumn go in for a crash landing.

Then the lifeboat hit the Ring world's atmosphere and the rumbling began.

He heard the pilot say something about an airbrake failure. He could hardly hear a thing due to the rumbling of the out-of-control lifeboat.

The pilot said to hold on, but he couldn't hear. The rumbling was too loud. He felt his head hit something, and then, silence.





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